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 Seven Temples (MoS) 
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Stablehand

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Post Seven Temples (MoS)
The vampire watched over his new kingdom with ambitious eyes. What was once a muck filled swamp encompassing the majority of a massive, foreboding crater, was now his land. After the destruction of his previous kingdom which he had effectively owned for times beyond mortal comprehension, the ancient vampire named Viios had given himself to wandering. His wanderlust and vague curiousities had brought him here, to this forbidden place. Instantly the mishapen natives bowed to him and called him Master. For a time Viios had blindly accepted that gift, enjoying the fruits of his newfound peoples diligence. However, now he grew curious once more. His recent visits to the Ministry had robbed him of the Spear...which was all the natives seemed to bow to. Though they remained peaceful and willing to work for Viios, he wondered how long that would last.

"My lord, we bring you news of the construction efforts." His advisor, a rock skinned fellow of at least 8 feet in height said, his stony face emotionless as ever.

Viios nodded and took a quick look over the maps of his new kingdom and of the building therein. Yet one area was boldly without any construction. It was not a swampy terrain like the rest of his kingdom...and indeed it was very troublesome to build on the marshlands.

"Why do you not work here? It seems fertile and is currently unused." The vampire asked.

"My Lord...that land is forbidden, even to us. We have not sent anyone into that area for ages...the caverns there hold many secrets we are happy to let be."

Viios quickly handed the map back to his advisor and grinned widely. "I fear no secrets. Your Lord will debunk the mystery today- right now." Viios laughed as he walked past his advisor and headed directly for the deserted cavern area. Viios the Tear Drinker feared little in this world...legends least of all. He wouldn't permit some archaic superstition to slow his kingdoms growth.

Yet there was darkness there. Even to the vampire there was a sense of unease. His personal bodyguards slipped away in terror, leaving the Tear Drinker quite alone in dealing with whatever mythical horrors awaited him below the surface. The entire area was a deep red color, the color of the rest of the crater...at least the parts that were not fetid swampland now. The cavern area, however, was not uninviting. The entrance was not a hole in the ground leading to a desolate cave. No, it was a staircase of solid marble, each step the size of a man and descending into the black realm below. Viios grinned and leapt headlong into the darkness, embracing whatever lay below. He had lived much of his unlife in the darkness of the underground world...nothing could shock him here.

The moment his feet fell upon the last step the entire chamber before him illuminated. It was some manner of magic surging through the very walls, coursing into torches and setting them ablaze instantly. Perhaps this was some old tomb? Before him lay seven doors, all closed tight and all carrying some strange emblem. On the first was a Tree, emblazoned onto the stone doors hundred foot tall frame. On the second, an emblem of a Sword. On the third, that of a Wheel. On the fourth a Heart. The fifth, a Key. The sixth bore an emblem of a Book. The seventh, however, bore no emblem. It looked as if it had been slashed or scratched off, destroyed or desecrated in some way.

Viios stared at the monstrous doorways in awe, his mouth agap. In the time he spent underground he never saw such things. These were symbols ripped from a time that even Viios could not, or would not recall. For the first time in an age he felt the rush of discovery in his dead veins.

"...The Ministry shall be informed of this. Oh yes." He uttered to himself.


Mon May 16, 2005 12:47 pm
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The message drifted into his mind like a leaf in the wind, greatly distorted it was simple enough to understand. It seemed that somthing intresting had been found. Shocked Marius stopped walking, he had been searching for 4 weeks now. Looking here and there for someone, anyone. Anyone to break the mind-bending silence that seemed to follow him where ever he went.

Walking once more Marius decided that he would heed this call. Walking next to a moss covered boulder three times his height, Marius seemed to melt into the shadows.

Back at the crater near the opening to the underground chamber, the wind began to pick up. Sheets of red dust were thrust into the air as small dust devils formed here and there. As the wind picked up, the sky began to darken slighty, great clouds were blown infront of the the sun. The silently a black portal formed like a tear in the sky , its face pointing down toward the red ground.

After several minutes, the surface of the portal began to ripple as if it was full of some sort of dark liquid. The wind slowly died down as Marius slowly descended through the portal. He seemed almost weightless as he touched the ground, his cloak fluttered in the air about him before nestling down around his form.

His white pupiless eyes pulsed softly as he stared down the staircase. A faint glow eminated from what appeared to be the base, someone was down there already. tilting his head slightly to the side, popping his neck, Marius slowly made his way down the marble stairs.

Silently he made his way into the darkness, aiming for the faint glow before him. A yawn quietly escaped his lips as he was engulfed by the darkness. A few moments later he found himself at the base, staring at the back of a man he had yet to meet. Silently he stood and observed his surroundings. He glared intently at the seven doors, ignoring the person before him. Each held an emblem except for the last :Tree, Sword, Wheel, Heart, Key, and a book.

Finally looking to the man before him Marius spoke, his voice laf whispering, half wandering. The words seemed to fade in and out as he spoke, "Tree, Sword, Wheel, Heart, Key, and a Book. Intresting that the seventh door lay bare."

It wasn't much of a greeting, more of a way to let him know, if he hadn't already, that he was there.

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Mon May 16, 2005 9:04 pm
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Over hearing the messages of the 7 doors and their symbols, and rumors of the darkness that could be lurking behind them, was too fascinating to let pass by. Enyo made her way as soon as she could clean up from training. Her morning combat exercise was demanding but necessary. A bath and meal were all that was needed, and then she was off. She did not know the land well but her since of direction was good and she could always use the small amount of magic her mother had shown her. Riding day and night she knew it must be at lease two more days travel. The road was good and the nights were bright so the trip was easy. The farther she went into Viios’ crater the darker the terrain got, at the top of a ridge she stopped. Her horse needed a drink and she wanted to look out over the sharp cliff edge. At the bottom of the crater was undeveloped and swampy. It did not look like any of other land she had seen of the Ministry’s. The red dirty swirled around her head, the smell of camp food and fire. She was close, closer than she had thought.

Nearing the bottom of the crater she stopped at the first worker she met.

“Where is your lord? Please tell him Lady Enyo has come to speak with him.”

As she waited for the worker to relay her message, Enyo looked around at the workers. Very different then any people she had seen before. There were some with what appeared to be stone skin.


Mon May 16, 2005 10:02 pm
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Magister was not a young man anymore and the journey across the Ministry lands was not completely enjoyable. It was true he was thankful for an excuse to leave the Ministry mountain and it was some wonderful nostalgia as he journeyed through the lands and stayed at the local inns along the way. He was treated everywhere with respect due more to his Templar bodyguard than to his status as Ministry scholar. Most did not know exactly who he was but the two heavily armoured knights ensured complete courtesy.

After two endless days of bumps and bruises, the balding scholar slid awkwardly off his horse looking around at the scene. The reddish crater area punctured the fertile band of land like a wound. If it wasn’t for the crater, this would have been the most hospitable part of what seemed mostly to be unlivable swamp. It was most certainly not a favoured area of the Diocese and Magister wondered how Lord Viios felt about living here although if he remembered correctly, Lord Viios’ previously lands were completely destroyed so this was perhaps an improvement on his previous situation.

Magister remembered Lord Viios to be a pleasant chap of good manners and was eager to catch up with him, hopefully getting an opportunity to find a bit more about him. For while Magister might have been sent on Ministry business, there was surely no harm in indulging a little in his own interests at the same time. For the truth was, Magister’s true passion was for biography and ethnology more than artifact scholarship. As it happened though, his studies and Ministry work had led him through many old texts shedding more than a little light on the histories of little known cultures and their prized possessions. And so it had been thought wise to send him here after reports of a strange find had reached the Ministry.

Actually, it was the Child that had looked at him with hopeful eyes when the news had arrived for a representative from the Ministry. The old man could not help but smile at that childish anticipation, and volunteered for the journey much to his own surprise.

Even more memorable though was when the Child had run over to Magister just before he had mounted his horse to leave and whispered in his ear.

Magister contemplated this whispered message again as he stepped down carefully into the crater, a Templar before and behind him.

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Thu May 19, 2005 3:06 am
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Viios glared at the man who had appeared so swiftly before him. The Ministry had responded quicker than he had assumed they would...though the vampire was rather well known for his infinite patience. He had been in the caverns for a full week now, eagerly awaiting the other members of the Ministry so he could show off his prize. He was not even terribly concerned with the perhaps invaluable arcane wonders that lay beyond the seven sealed doors...it was more a matter of biting curiousity. For the first time in an Age Viios felt the tug of surprise on his heart, for he had never witnessed such symbols or such potent magics before. It was anticipation that had driven him to summon the Lord and Ladies of the Ministry into his tepid kingdom, though now that they were arriving he was beginning to regret that decision.

"Indeed. The symbols are clear, precise. I believe them to be runes, in fact. Arcana physically sealed within the very borders of the emblems the doors bear. I have tried to move them with both strength and with magic, though neither has succeeded. Suggestions?" The Tear Drinker asked this thusly unnamed man.

"My...my Lord?" A heavy, weighted voice echoed from above the caverns down to Viios. It was his advisor...apparently the stone man had mustered enough courage to come this far, though obviously his bravery faltered at the mouth of the cave. "A Lady Enyo is here to see you my Lord."

Viios laid a finger on his chin and meandered towards the bottom of the monstrous marble staircase leading from the entrance all the way to the antechamber below. "Send her down...and do come down here yourself! It's really quite harmless." Viios snickered, knowing full well the reply he would get from his underling.

"N..No thank you Lord, I am on forbidden ground even now. And Lord, there is another Ministry Lord heading this way. Shall we direct he and his guards down?" The bellowing voice boomed down once more.

Viios ran a hand through his delicate hair and tried to stifle a laugh. Mortals. They had a knack for embelishing stories so much over time that the stories became legend, legend became doctrine, and doctrine became law. Yet another reason why the vampire never cared for the company of mortals. Of course, the vampires immortal mind never took even a moment to ask why the cavern was forbidden to the hearty natives.

"Of course. All faithful of the Ministry are welcome in my kingdom. Send any Lords or Ladies down here post haste." Viios yells back to his advisor, who then departs with excessive zeal.


Thu May 19, 2005 3:38 pm
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Clothed in the darkness of those that she called to herself, she had stood in the shadows of the cavern undisturbed. Watching and waiting patiently. It had not taken her long to arrive, actually only moments as the magic of old was activated. The moment the cavern revealed its light it had sucked her to this location through some magical vortex.

Her heart or at least the essence of where her heart had once been, thumped loudly in her ears. Thumped with the excitement of being on the brink of something that if revealed there would be no going back. She knew that without a doubt but it perturbed her somewhat as she felt she should know a lot more. She could feel that something in her psyche knew more but she could not tap into it. Her mind shrugged slightly, time would eventually reveal everything and time was something that Erina had more than enough of.

So undetected she had watched him, and tasted his presence over the last week. When he had first discovered the cavern he had initially been excited and he had gladly sent news to those that he was now aligned too. But, as the week had passed a jealous covetous shadow had crept across his heart. She was certain he had an inkling of the power behind the doors and now he wanted that power unto himself. Maybe the seeds of those thoughts had not yet entered his mind but in the days to come she was sure that they would.

She had watched him as he had used his brawn and then his magic to test and attempt to open the doors. Nothing would budge them. Now as the first to heed his call arrived, his words were almost a challenge as he recited what he had tried and asked, almost demanded Suggestions? He had waited for a reply and so had she, but none had come before the cavern vibrated with the deep grating voice, that sounded like the roar of a small rock slide, that she recognized belonged to one of the stone people.

It surprised her somewhat that he was here, that he would travel across the ground that his race revered as being hallowed and had done so for eons. But why, why was the ground sacred to them? She couldn’t remember. She knew but she couldn’t remember. Erina probed at her memories, the vibrating essence of the events that still lingered across the isle to find that many seemed to be missing. Well not so much missing but as if she were cut off from them by something intangible. She felt naked and vulnerable and called the spirit shadows closer around her, to embrace and comfort her. In that comforting she wondered what the greater magic of this cavern was and just what she had been called here to participate in.

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Thu May 19, 2005 9:48 pm
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"Indeed. The symbols are clear, precise. I believe them to be runes, in fact. Arcana physically sealed within the very borders of the emblems the doors bear. I have tried to move them with both strength and with magic, though neither has succeeded. Suggestions?"


Marius' eyes pulsed gently as he went over Viios' words in his head. Brute strength, it seemed would be useless, and magic...well this being seemed to posses a limited aray of gifts at the least, none of which had worked.

Looking over the doors once more Marius' attention was drawn to the Tree. He looked every inch over, carfully running a finger alog what he presumed to be the seams.

With a sigh he spoke once again his voice seeming more and more unnatural,"More than likely a key or keys of some sort are needed, have you thourghly searched the cavern?"

Marius didn't wait for answer. He silently took hold of the torch nearest to him and began to search the shadows at the light's edge.

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Thu May 19, 2005 10:07 pm
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Viios nods as this newcomer went about taking up a torch and seeking for more clues. Fool. There was nothing more to discover in this place. What kind of simpleton would be so foolish as to think that he could discover that which a vampire could not?

Just then Viios stepped forward, meandering towards the door of the lost emblem. He had spent a full three days staring at this door in particular, using whatever arcane powers he had to tempt it open. Yet it did not budge. He pulled at its shattered surface for hours, his unholy strength boundless in his fury. Yet it did not budge. Now with but a smug look upon his face and an arrogant stride in his step, the door cracked and became sundered. The entire frame shattered before him and the others with a mighty crash, its many massive fragments turning to sand and falling into nothingness as the entourage watched in awe. Even Viios was not without surprise.

"Impossible!" The vampire hissed. "I used every power at my disposal, and only NOW does the door open?" Viios roared in anger, tormented by the idea that perhaps his presence alone was not enough to open the way. He needed more...and they had arrived. With a jealous heart Viios ran forward into the black hall that lay beyond, not giving the others even a moment to take the lead. Whatever was there was his.


Sun May 22, 2005 11:41 am
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They had sent him there. The large half demon and the blind wizard. It seemed like a fairly normal job, not too out of the ordinary at least, except that the half demon had kept giving him odd looks, as if he knew him from somewhere or something, even though Mantella was quite sure they had never crossed paths before. The task they set out for him was fairly straight forward. Go the cavern, find a way though the unmarked door, and then return. They just wanted to know what was in it; he didn't even have to try to get anything out, just go and look. It couldn't have been any simpler.

The blind wizard had gone into quite a bit of detail about the cavern and its significance and plenty of other things that Mantella did not really care about, in fact the only thing he had actually cared about was the price he was being paid. It was a good price and he'd listen very intently as the wizard said the figure. The rest of the conservation though, he had only been half listening.

Even though his half listening he was quite sure they had said nothing about other people being at the cavern. But here he was, hiding in the bushes about the clearing which held the entrance to the cavern, and all over the place there were other people. It really was the sort of thing that ought to have mention to him.

"I used every power at my disposal, and only NOW does the door open?" The voice rang loudly from within the cavern. The mercenary armored in black leather, and armed with sword, dagger and poison, edged closer to the entrance, still hidden from those that milled about outside the cavern.

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Sun May 22, 2005 3:04 pm
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Marius dropped the torch as the door crumbled to the ground, the large metal handle clanging loudly against the stone floor. A slight sigh escaped his lips as he turned and followed Viios into the darkness.

With eyes closed his footsteps faded as he lifted slightly from the ground, this was of course hidden by his cloak. There was no sense in showing any sort of magical ability yet, he felt it best to keep his abilities to himself for the time being. The vampire had already proved himself as rash and simple minded, better to let him keep his arrogance for alittle longer.

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Mon May 23, 2005 8:08 pm
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The scholar had almost stepped through the cavern opening when he stopped all of a sudden, remembering something. The guard behind him narrowly avoided colliding into the back of him.

Blast it, I’ve forgotten the scrolls,
he muttered, nothing for it, we have to go back.

The idea of following the slower, older man back to the mounts might have been too much for the guard, who suggested that he could go back and get it for him. Magister looked skeptical for a moment, but upon further consideration he agreed and gladly sat down upon the ground outside the cavern, resting his legs. He sat there considering the rather extravagant stairwell they had begun to descend. Yes, a marvelous marble stairwell in this inhospitable place!

Magister heard a noise from the guard who had remained with him. Someone was coming up the stairs. He stood up as quickly as he could and did his best to brush off the red dust as the figure emerged from cavern into the full light.

The stone man seemed to get a sudden fright from seeing the two of them at the cavern entrance, so Magister smiled. His knowledge of the local people here was a little woeful, he made a mental note to visit them should he get a break to pursue his own studies. Of course he had made many such notes with little hope of every achieving them, but there was nothing wrong with dreaming. A droben race perhaps? That would account for the stone-like complexion, he mused, as he looked at the interesting countenance.

Greetings, we come from the Ministry at the request of Lord Viios. I don’t suppose you saw him down in this cavern?

The stone man nodded, and attempted what could have been a smile but looked rather more like a grimace. His gravelly accent stuttered something almost unintelligible and he shuffled off away from the cavern entrance as fast as he could.

Oh bother, thought Magister out loud, I would have liked to have talked to the fellow a bit more. However it wasn’t much longer before the other guard returned carrying a heavy cylinder slung over his shoulder with a chain attached at either end. It measured about the length between a wrist and elbow but was a bit thicker than the well-muscled forearm of the guard carrying it.

Magister prompted the guard waiting to start back down the stairwell. It was a long staircase, the guard ahead lit and held a torch aloft to light the way. Shadows danced on the black stone walls as they made their way down and Magister could hear echoes from noises below. Compared to the daylight of outside, he found the cavern increasingly eerie.

The antechamber at the bottom was well enough lit by torches hanging around the walls. They marvelled for a moment at the impressive structure around them, they were surrounded by large doorways illustrated with bold and ancient symbols. Although it was obvious that the chamber had lain for the most part undisturbed for a long time, the gaping hole where one doorway was distinctly missing was no doubt the only way forward. There was a torch lying on the ground, a large metal object and one pair of footprints in the dust heading into the darkness beyond. The dark ahead made Magister more uneasy and he picked up the torch from the ground before following the guard ahead.

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Tue May 24, 2005 1:43 am
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Viios was already being followed. How pleasent, he thought, that his allies from the Ministry would arrive just as the magics protecting this door fell away. It was too much a coincidence. How many hours had he stood silent vigil over that damaged relic, staring at that damned doorway, mustering his finest magics and skills to crack it. Yet it was only when the others appeared that the door shook free of its mystic trappings. Still, the mystery did not halt the vampires rush for further discovery.

As he thundered forward with inhuman speed, Viios pondered. It would be foolish to leave his compatriots totally in the dust...after all, it seemed that they were as much the trigger of these long dormant magics as much as he was. So the vampire slowed his pace down to a typical mortals run...though it felt as if he had become a slug crawling upon the earth at that point. It didn't really matter anyways, as a series of torches lit at his arrival.

Indeed, the long, dark hallway was merely leading him to a greater mystery, a finer discovery. Before the Black Wound there was a mass of lit torches, several dozen total, waiting to be plucked free for whomever needed them. It seemed as if he would not need one, however. The chamber he had entered was massive, tremendous. Thousands of magical torches burst into flames, one after the other, totally encircling the entire area at the walls. They looked much like a childs dominos, burning one after the other, the rows of them illuminating the whole of the enigmatic place. It ascended an untold distance above, and descended an untold distance below. A single long, spiraling stair of the same marble descended into the black, quiet pit below, while the same stair reached towards the infinite height above. All around the stair was a series of strange altars, each more cruelly decorated than the last. On the first there was naught but bones, dried blood and shattered armor. A blood sacrifice? This strange place seemed a temple of some variety, but what kind? It held no statues to exalt Isonia, nor any of the false gods.

Viios crept forward, examining his new findings. He was no archaeologist...he could barely recall memories from his own lifetime let alone unearth those of former generations. Still, there was a certain familiarity to it all. The altars, seven total, sat, dirtied with the blood of a hundred fallen men and women. Though what they were built to worship remained a mystery. Indeed, all but one of the altars was a bloodbath, the one cleanly one appearing as if a shining, ivory beacon, untouched by whatever massacre occured here.

"What fresh hell is this...?" Viios muttered, his eyes unable to explain the bizarre, momentous vision he beheld. These altars, this temple...meant something. But what, he could not dare say. The entire place filled the vampire with a sense of vague pleasentness, but there was still a drop of reluctance in his heart. Something was wrong here. It was not simply that the area was a long lost temple, littered with bodies from a distant age...held under his own nose for some time before he even found it. Perhaps it was the fact that the armor bore the emblem of a God not his own...not even a heathen god. Perhaps it was the fact that some of the bodies flesh and hair had not decayed. Perhaps it was the fact that some of the blood was still wet. Perhaps. Regardless, the sense of enjoyable unease that crept across his mind was triggered from a memory he thought dead and buried...and exhuming it would take time.


Tue May 24, 2005 4:00 pm
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The presence of other people at the cavern, whatever their reason for being there was, certainly did complicate things for the mercenary but he could not let it stop him from completing the job, the pay was far too good to pass it up. Besides, Mantella was good at what he did. If all he had to do was observe he might very well be able to manage that without being noticed at all. That was the hope at least.

From his hiding place he watched the old man and his guard proceed down the stairs at the entrance of the cavern. He waited and waited, until he thought they would be far enough ahead of them that they would be less likely to notice his entrance. Looking around the outside of the cavern until the coast was clear, he dashed quietly from where he had been hidden to the mouth of the stair way. He started down the stairs moving stealthily, keeping his body low, he steps silenced and watching in both directions. Behind him for anyone knew entering, and ahead of him for those that had already come through, not wanting to suddenly come upon them. Even though he wanted to keep his distance with those ahead of him he moved quickly at first, more eager to get away from the sunlit entrance where he could easily be seen. Much to his dismay as he moved down he noticed that there was light ahead of him too. The chamber ahead of him was lit. Why were things never easy? Had the place been entirely dark the odds of the mercenary in black being seen would have been quite slim. But with this light, those it was not exceptionally bright, hiding would be much harder, especially against the light shades of the marble and stone. It was dim enough that he would not be easily seen, but it would not be difficult to see him either. A suspicious look in the right direction would reveal him if he had not spaced himself far enough from the man ahead of him.

He slowed his pace further and continued downward making it nearly to the first chamber. He tried to look into the room from far enough back that he was still low light. From what he could see there was only one other exit to that room, at least only other open exit. Those ahead of him seemed to have already gone down the dark passage. And a dark passage it was, but Mantella had a sinking suspicion that at the other end of it would be another lit room. He would simply have to continue on in the same fashion as he had been going. He darted stealthily along the perimeter of the large chamber to reach the next passage, moving quickly at first again in an effort to get away from the light.

After a while he could hear the footsteps of people ahead of him, and could see their torch. He suspected it was the old man he had seen go in before him. He continued forward trying to maintain the same distance from them as he went. He felt confident that they could not see him from where they were.

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Tue May 24, 2005 6:04 pm
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~Far from the Swamp Lands and the Cavern~

"That mercenary held the same name as my half brother. And they looked identical, even the manor dress, and the eyes. I thought no-one else could have eyes like that. Are you sure my brother is dead?" asked the half demon, Philemon.

"Of course I am sure. I took care of that myself, remember? Besides, your brother was a pacifist, and that mercenary was nothing but a cold blooded killer. The similarity in their names and appearance is surely nothing but a strange anomaly. I would worry no more about it if I were you, besides there is a good chance that he will not survive the task I have given him. I sense a great and dangerous evil about that place."
The blind wizard Alletnam Drawde was a peculiar sight to behold. He was like a vision in black and white. His skin was deathly pale, and his hair was pure black. The irises of his eyes were nearly as black as the pupils. He dressed in robes of all black, but adorned himself with silver jewelry, lots of silver jewelry. Silver chains and pendants about his neck, silver bracelets, and silver rings, several on each finger. But he was a powerful wizard, and knew more about that situation with Philemon's half brother and that mercenary than he was willing to tell. Even though he was the half demon's advisor, his knowledge was his own and he only shared what he wanted too.

"Why are you so interested in that place that we had to have it investigated?"

"As I said, I sensed a great and powerful evil in that place. Perhaps there is some way for you to obtain that power. Think of all that you could stand to gain."
Alletnam spoke of that which Philemon could gain for he knew it would sate his curiosity but his intentions were far from generous, he sought the power for himself.

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Tue May 24, 2005 8:38 pm
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Toph hurried towards the enterance to the cavern. He was late. Very late. It wasnt his fault that he had been checking up on things in his old castle when the message of the cavern's discovery had been made... but Toph was going to make up for lost time. A discovery such as this was very important... and perhaps Toph would learn a new spell or two from the cavern's contents.
Nodding politely to the droben guard, Toph ran into the cave, only to begin a headlong fall down the gigantic marble stairs. Cursing, Toph mumbled a quick spell to himself, and alighted perfectly on a stair.

Someone REALLY should have mentioned that Toph thought, before continuing down, more cautiously... the last thing he needed was to break his neck. Toph shuddered. To a Sidhe, immune to the effects of time, permanant disability was more frightening than death. Death would be an adventure that Toph would face when it came... whether in battle or by sheer accident... but to spend eternity trapped inside his body, dependant on others for everything... was a horrid thought.

Toph reached the bottom and looked around. He immediately noticed the doors: Tree, Sword, Wheel, Heart, Key, Book. A memory tickled the back of his brain... these symbols were familiar... but where from? Toph wracked his brain... one problem with immortality, he thought to himself, was that things got lost in your own brain due to an overwhelming amount of information.

No... nothing... the memory danced out of his reach, leaving just one faint glimmer... there should be a seventh symbol. Toph turned and looked at the last door... which was... open. Well, that explained where the others had gone. Toph hurried through the door, but paused beyond the threshold and looked back. He could have sworn that someone was watching him... but there was no one there. Toph turned back and continued up the corridor...

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Mon May 30, 2005 6:41 pm
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"And here we are again in the heart of mystery." Viios sneered. He was awed by the temple before him for but a moment. Although it was a majestic thing crafted by beings long departed from the Isle of Maxim, his eyes were steeled to their creation. He wanted conclusion. He wanted an explanation as to why this existed, and perhaps most especially, he wanted whatever benefits the strange temple could afford.

Before him there was a white altar covered in blood and bone. Many of the bodies looked broken, not slain. It was as if they were crushed by some mighty, mysterious force, their life removed from them by something of exceeding physical strength. Viios contemplated this, but was no physician. In fact, he was no savant in general. His lengthy memory was helpful at times, but not at the moment. No matter how deeply he delved into the darkest corners of his mind, he could glean no information regarding the temple and its slaughtered inhabitants. As he sat in the dusty quiet of the bizarre place, there was a noise. It came from the hall...apparently his allies from the Ministry were not ones to be left out of a discovery such as this. Fools. Hopefully one of them will prove useful somehow...perhaps one of them can decipher the mad language scribbled upon these bloody altars...?

Yet there was another noise Viios had heard, but accounted for inappropriately. He merely assumed the crash of footsteps was the encroaching visitors. He merely assumed the virtually indetectable, heavy breathing was coming from his "friends". He assumed wrong.

Somewhere in the darkness beneath the Seventh Temple, a horror was rising from an all too short slumber.


Tue May 31, 2005 4:02 pm
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~ Helios Keep, the Shining Coast ~

He thought of the place he was in as the Void. There was him and nothing, but then nothing is something right? He wasn’t sure. There had been something at first, a voice. A voice that spoke to him from the void that said, “Watch, Listen, and Learn”

So he watched and visions danced in front of his eyes. The void took on shape and color and sound as dramas unfolded before him. Visions of his friends and enemies rolled across the void. The Ministry of Stone, Nights of the Flesh, The Black Dogs Unspoken, Sacred Guardians, Founders of Unequivocal Lunacy, Elementum Ab Fides: They all warred, and played and loved and lost.

He saw it all, he heard it all but he did not know if he learned. The Voice did not return to him and after a time the Void became still. He screamed into its farthest corner, rage and fear. Perhaps he had found eternity and it was nothing, but then that was something, right?

Then his universe folded, creased by the particles of light that stabbed into his being. His last sight for a long time was of a man - no a vampire (how he knew this was a mystery) standing before a row of doors in a place of light and shadow. The doors were decorated with plain symbols, yet strangely they seemed to be symbols of power for all their brevity. The door the vampire stood before was blank, scared where its symbol should have been – damaged. The undead creature seemed to beckon him, compel him to come there, to stand beside him before the doors.

Gradually the world reappeared around him and Kellen sat up. He was lying in bed at Helios Keep. It had all seemed so real; he had felt so lost, so alone. He stood and dressed, washing his face in the basin set aside for his morning routine. Feeling more himself, Kellen walked from his room into his personal study, what had once been Bran’s study.

He paused as he looked across the room to the door opposite the one that led to his own bedroom. That door was locked for now and possible for a long time into the foreseeable future, it had been Bran’s and Kellen just did not feel right about using it. He walked to the door and placed his hand upon the smooth wood on its surface. He imagined he could feel a bit of Bran’s presence here in this room, touching this door – Bran his friend, his mentor, his father.

He walked over to his desk, rang for a servant and began to shuffle through the correspondence that had arrived since Bran’s funeral the week before. He had purposefully put off doing any work as he allowed the small kingdom of the Shinning Coast to mourn the passing of possibly their greatest ruler. He wasn’t really paying attention to what he was doing and was startled by a knock on the door. Some of the papers on his desk were knocked off and he bent down to pick them up while calling out to whomever was outside the room to enter.

“My Lord, I am glad to see that you have ended your seclusion. Some were afraid that you had taken ill, some said that you had already been the focus of a magical attack by those who would see the Ministry weakened.” Granger Nichols said as he entered the room carrying a tray loaded with breakfast. A boy carrying a tray with a pitcher of juice and two metal cups followed him. Granger motioned the boy to set the things down and then sat at his own, smaller desk beside Kellen’s much larger one.

Kellen laughed as he shuffled the papers on the floor into some semblance of order and took one of the cups from the tray. “What do you mean my seclusion? I had to practically command you to leave last night with the figures you brought me to go over!”

He turned toward Granger with the cup raised to his lips to drink, Granger’s face had gone white and his eyes seemed as if they would pop out of his head. Kellen lowered the cup from his mouth and sat it down on the tray. “ What is it Granger? Poison? Have my enemies already struck and taken from me my greatest asset here at Helios? Speak man if you are able!”

Kellen reached across the small desk and shook Granger by the shoulders. “Guards, Guards!!” He called.

“Send the Guards away my lord I beg you. If they come in now there will be more rumors and there are plenty flying around as it is.” Granger said with a hushed tone as color began to flow back into his cheeks. “Give me a minute my lord, to compose myself. Then I will explain to you my… difficulties.”

“Certainly, take all the time you need,” Kellen said as he crossed to the door and waved the guards off with a reassured word. He pulled one of the spare chairs around to face Granger’s desk and then picked up his cup of juice again with a raised eyebrow to Granger. Granger snorted and nodded his head to say it was safe to drink.

“Never can be too careful,” Kellen said as he took a long drink from his cup. He wiped the juice from his lip with his sleeve and smiled sheepishly at Granger as a disapproving scowl flickered across the older man’s face.

“Lord Kellen…”

“Just Kellen, Granger. In this room at least you can still call me by my name alone.”

“Very well. To continue, Kellen, it has been a month since I was last in this room. During that time you have refused entry to anyone and you have only taken meals when they have been left unattended in the hallway outside the door.” Granger said.

Kellen sat in shocked silence. A month, had it not been a dream? Was it the child he had seen in the ashes of the last battle before Bran’s death? Had it been a sign? What was going on?

Granger continued, “ I was determined today to smash my way into your rooms if needed. I was relieved when you rang for your breakfast so I decided to bring it myself. Are you well? I know by what you said and especially by your face that the passing of a month is news to you.”

Kellen ran a hand through his hair and collected his thoughts for a moment. “ Physically I feel fine, mentally I think I just took a dive.” Kellen then proceeded to tell Granger of his strange dream, if it had even been a dream. He explained about the Void and the Voice and the visions that had assailed him. After a time his tale ended. Granger and he had eaten all of the breakfast that had been brought up during the course of Kellen’s story.

Granger rang up the same boy who had brought the cups earlier and the boy quickly cleared the empty dishes and left.

“He seems to be a good lad.” Kellen said to fill in the awkward silence that had descended upon them.

“He’s my wife’s sisters boy, from around Ultil Downs. Good boy all around really, got into some trouble since his father died so we took him in. Enough chitchat though, we have something serious to talk about. Something to do with your story.” Granger said as he crossed to one of the maps that hung on the wall.

Granger placed a finger on a portion of the map. Kellen stood and walked over, looking at what he was pointing at. “A swamp?” Kellen asked.

“Yes, a swamp” Granger said. “In your story you said you saw a man, or rather a vampire, standing in a cavern. That man’s name is Viios and he is a member of the Ministry of Stone. Any answers that we can seek and find will have to start there.”

“Why is that? Except for the part where I saw him in my vision that is.”

“Why because he discovered something there and he sent a message to all of the Ministry asking them to come and see it days ago. This mystery will be unraveled there I am sure of it.” Granger said.

Kellen studied the map for a moment, gripped Granger’s shoulder and said, “ Well then what are we waiting for? We have a journey to make.”

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Let them hate, so long as they fear
POO


Tue May 31, 2005 10:22 pm
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If she actually drew breathe, that is what Erina would have done as the torch light was thrust towards her. The shadows scurried before the invasiveness of the light, Erina retreating with them. It was not quite time to reveal herself to theses beings, but then it might never be time to reveal ones self. One never really knew what the Great Lord, the Father of them All had in store for any of them.

That was definitely the case here for in the very next moment the door that the vampire had tried to open without success now lay as rubble at his feet. Erina watched his back as it disappeared down the tunnel. Carefully Erina called the shadows to her and followed silently behind him. She felt the others follow also and when they moved into the great cavern she still sought the shadows. They were there small slivers of darkness that were barely tangible, but they were enough.

She saw the sacrifices that lay undisturbed for eons on the altars. The bones, the scraps of flesh and hair matted with old dried blood and the armour. It intrigued her and she slipped from the shadows and glided gracefully up the stairs to one of the more remote altars. She waved her hand across the insignia of the armour and the shadows that hung around her swept it free of the dust that had accumulated over the ages. Still the armoured was dull but she could see clearly the insignia. Memories of long ago filled her mind, of a time before Isonia, Darden and Foret had laid claim to the isle, of a time before the prophets Diman, Solas and Mina walked these lands, to a time when there was but the one God Olandar and his three Children, Angelique, Barnabas and Leto. Erina remembered with a shiver the turmoil that raged through the land after the untimely slaying of Olandar as each sibling manoeuvred and grasped for the power that had been his or her fathers. She laughed gently at the memory and her laugh echoed in the cavern like a breeze through the naked branches of a tree in winter, low and mournful. Not that she was felt any sadness.

She paused for a moment in her reveres her attention caught by the subtle vibration of heavy footsteps through the land and of laboured breathing in the air. The shadows clung tightly to her in fear of the unknown and with effort she pushed them away, for if they clung too tight to her, her form would be revealed and the time was not yet right.

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Thu Jun 02, 2005 7:51 pm
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Kellen tucked his gloves behind his belt as he and Granger tied their horses to a tree on the edge of the depression that dominated the swampy area. He could see that way the ground sloped down towards the cave entrance and how the natural growth of the surrounding trees seemed to bend away from the cave itself.

“By Isonia, I hate swamps. Do you see the trees?” Granger asked.

“Aye. Strange forces at work that’s for sure.” Kellen said as he ran his hand over the twisted bark of one of the trees.

“Well, nothing for it but to go down into the hole. I tell you Kellen that I do not like it. A sense of foreboding washes over me at the prospect.”

“It can’t be helped Granger. The forces of the Ministry have been summoned and we must answer.” Kellen said as he rattled his sword in its scabbard to make sure it was loose.

Granger eyed him with a careful appraisal. This was not the green farm boy he had been introduced too so many months ago that was plain. Testing his own sword he nodded to Kellen and they both turned to the cave entrance.

Kellen entered first with Granger close behind as they came upon the first of a series of marble steps, each the size of a man if he were to be laid prone on the ground. Kellen paused at the first step and motioned Granger up beside him.

“Look at the stone, what can you tell me about it?”

Granger peered closer at the stone, its cut and the style in which it had been laid. He rubbed his hands around on the stone feeling the glass smooth surface of the walls. He felt for a seam, mortar, anything that could show how it had been constructed.

“I can’t seem to find any joining even though I can feel the separate stones. What is strange about the whole thing is that it looks similar to some of the ruins I have studied; particularly those that we have no record of who built them and why. It reminds me of the ruins of Inverness and those of the place called Father Blu’s – why they are called that is unknown though. Most curious.”

Kellen studied the wall for a moment and then stared down the stairway where it vanished into darkness. “It seems that the mysteries of this place are only deepening. The answers lie below I fear.” Kellen cocked his eyebrow at Granger and a smile flashed across his face.

“You first.” Kellen said laughing and turning to go farther down the steps as Granger’s eyes boggled for a moment.

Granger shook his head. “Everything and every situation do not require a joke.”
Silence descended upon them as they made their way down the stairs. As they traveled down the stairs a low rumbling could be heard. The noise seemed to build with each step – from a soft wisp of sound at the top, to the sound like someone was at their shoulder, breathing down their necks. Then they heard a crash, as if a stampede was happening below them.

“Granger, move it!” He drew his sword as he hurdled downward into darkness with Granger grimly clutching his own sword as they plummeted down the stairs toward uncertainty.

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Let them hate, so long as they fear
POO


Fri Jun 03, 2005 9:22 pm
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Magister changed his mind. He decided he didn’t want to be down here right now or maybe ever. Where did that icy breeze just come from? He stopped in the middle of the corridor, the torches held before and after him by the guards causing the shadows to dance menacingly on the walls. He rubbed his bald head, surely the last of the hairs on his head had just fallen out.

One..one moment men, he said, and then startled at the sound of his voice in the darkness. Where was Lord Viios! Where were the others? WHAT was that noise behind them! Magister whirled around and peered back down the corridor past the guard who had turned instantly, thrusting the torch before him. Nothing. Magister was feeling a little foolish. He already felt chaperoned by these huge knights. Tugging a cloth from his robe pocket, he wiped his damp brow and turned back to face the unknown. Al..alright now, yes lets proceed. They continued onwards, the spooked guards now with weapons drawn.

The light ahead spurred them on down the long corridor, the first chamber of doors left long behind. None of them were prepared for the sight before them as they spilled out into the vast lit chamber at the end. The immense size was the first thing Magister noticed and he ran his eyes all over the vast chamber, up and down. That the place was entirely lit up with torches was the next miracle to behold, how long had been burning? Viios must surely have arrived down here already but surely he hadn’t lit all of these torches. The wonder of the place overrode Magister’s jitters of before.

The guards had already hung up their torches in empty sconces by the time Magister had discovered the stairways. Magister pointed out to the guards, as he spotted Lord Viios, Look, there he is… and then recoiled in sudden horror at the bloodied mangle of bodies that lay upon the stone altars. The guards became alert, one of them moving quickly to the first of the corpses, his expression unchallenged by the sight before him. For a solider, scenes of carnage are commonplace. Returning quickly to the others, he reported the strange and grim findings. For the corpses did not seem all that old and damage was done by some horrendous force. Magister stared at his surroundings, his eyes darting here and there, looking for movement and danger, wondering if they had intruded upon the lair of some monster or other.

He shuffled as quickly as he could over to Lord Viios, a friendly face in this chamber of horrors. He could not help but look upon the grisly scenes upon the altars as he passed, and now he could see the hundreds and hundreds of victims that lay here. This was not a place for an old man to be. This was not a place for anything that valued life to be.

Lord Viios, he said failing to keep all of the desperation from his voice, thank the Goddess we found you! What a horrific place you have discovered! Perhaps we should leave it well alone, perhaps we should…, Magister’s words faltered and his face fell. He didn’t need to see it, he heard it, felt it rising behind him as the hairs on his neck prickled. He turned around very slowly.

[OOC: Guards can be RPed by anyone]

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Sat Jun 04, 2005 1:35 am
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"I have seen these words before...in the ancient catacombs under Maxim. Only in the most tremendous depths did I find such carvings...their meaning is simple, but it does not fit the current situation. It says..."We are Legion, For We are Many."...it does not make sense." Viios sighed, staring at the writing that had been scrawled into the untouched altar.

Lord Viios, thank the Goddess we found you! What a horrific place you have discovered! Perhaps we should leave it well alone, perhaps we should… The simple mortal, Magister, savant of the Ministry spoke from behind Viios. Then, there was a deathly silence, and in that lingering quiet came the scuff of Magisters feet as he turned around to see what his instincts were driving him to see.

It was death that was standing there, staring back at him. It was death given corporeality, given form and given especially large teeth. With eyes of shimmering samite it stared at him, no pupils there, nothing but the most tragically beautiful white. Somehow one could see clearly that its ivory eyes were fixed on Magister regardless.

Its body was at least twelve feet in height, give or take. It stood on two legs, but was hunched like an ape, its enormous fists holding it upright. Its body was like it was scaled in mirror crystals, showing onlookers nothing but their own horrified stares when they peered into them. A quintuplet of four foot long horns were sticking from its otherwise strangely perfect body, marring it somehow. Each horn was more wicked than the last, each a curved, jagged thing, rent and covered in hundreds of metal barbs, clearly placed there by someone or something intending to make the beast even more deadly.

Yet it stared with its incandescent eyes, both of them watching in awe or in anticipation. Perhaps it sought more blood. Its mirror scales were smeared with dried blood or tainted by broken metal, presumably from the various shattered weapons sitting around, still in the hands of their deceased owners...so one could only assume that it was this foul things handiwork, this things tremendous strength, that had slaughtered these strangers.

In its maw, which was agap and breathing heavily, was a hundred thousand razor teeth...rows and rows of the monstrous things, likely dedicated to the job of rending flesh from a mans bones. From its horrid tongue came a sound so demonic, so unholy, it could only be described as...jovial.

"Greetings gentle ones. I have travelled far to end your lives." It cooed, its voice somewhere between knives against a chalkboard and the seductive purr of a whore.

Standing upon the untouched altar Viios stared in unspeakable curiousity. What had he awakened from the depths of this dark place? What kind of destiny had he loosed upon his own kingdom, should there be more of these cretins. What if there were more of them? Hundreds? Thousands? This one was clearly aggressive...and intelligent. Could it be that this beast was but the vanguard of an ancient, sleeping nemesis he was foolish enough to awaken? Why had he ignored the cautions of his friendly if subdued underlings? Why was he still pondering about this issue?

"Magister, back away from it. Quickly now. You as well." Viios hissed to his ally and his guardians. As the words escaped the vampires lips a magic came into play not seen since before the Tear Drinkers alliance with the Ministry of Stone. His right forearm became engulfed in quicksilver, awash in the strange stuff. Instantly it hardened into a gauntlet, covered in blades and mystic runes that glew a mild yellow. So armed, Viios raised his now armored right index finger towards the creature. "You, whatever you are...I suggest you stop entertaining the idea of ...ending our lives. You will find it most difficult."

With that, the monster cracked a devilish grin, its countless teeth forming into a disturbing smile. "Clearly you do not understand, gentle ones. For we have travelled far to end your lives."

As the words sank into the vampires immortal ears, he could not help but expand his awareness, reaching out into the darkest parts of the cavern to detect what he had otherwise been content to let well enough alone. As he closed his eyes and drank in the magical sensation, it became abundantly obvious what the creature was referring too. Another half dozen of the things were clinging to the walls, the torchlight dancing across their mirrored scales. At least ten more lay in the abyssal chasm just in front of the many altars, slowly ascending.

The words We are Legion played about in the vampires mind as he raised his fist towards the monster standing before him.


Sun Jun 05, 2005 10:19 pm
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As the old fool that Mantella had been following moved into the large chamber along with his guards, the mercenary moved up to the edge of the light, peering into the vast room. Throughout it there were white altars stained red with blood, with death strewn upon them. Mantella was no stranger to death; he had been in wars, the battle field littered with corpses; he had been through towns devastated by some vicious demon or another. He had caused a great deal of death himself, and it did not bother him at all. But something about the scene before him bothered him, it was not the death, there was something more, something in the air.

His eyes moved about the room, taking in as much as he could see from his vantage point so that he could be on his way and collect his payment. When his eyes returned to the small gathering of people not far from his he saw that they were now joined by another. A beast. A giant horned monster. It was at that point that he decided he had seen enough of the place and should leave. But it seemed that would not be so easy. The beast was not alone, there were other of its kind, crawling about the walls, and the evil eyes of one of them were upon Mantella. It knew he was there even if the humans did not. He doubted he could outrun the creature, and by the words of the one speaking to the people, Mantella would not be aloud to simple leave. He mercenary lowered himself into a fighting stance, taking firm hold of the sword and dagger at his waist; preparing himself for what he feared would soon come.

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Mon Jun 06, 2005 5:41 pm
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Toph had kept to the shadows from the moment he had sensed the presence of the... thing in front of him. It was tall. Really tall. And Toph had a bad feeling about those scales. They would probably reflect any heat directed towards them... which put fireballs completely out of the picture.

Toph reached behind his back slowly for his ever-present bow, and blinked in surprize as his hand closed on empty air. Toph shook his head, remembering that his bow was in his room right now, propped up against the bookshelf.

The beast was speaking, but Toph couldnt really hear what it was saying. The acoustics of the room made the creature's rather... happy... voice bounce and echo, so by the time it reached Toph's ears, it was a booming cacaphony of indescriminate sound. From the look on Viios' face, though, and his reactions, Toph guessed the beast was not friendly.

Toph concentrated, bringing some useful spells to the forefront of his mind. Slowly, a ball of dirt began spinning between his hands... blunt trauma should do some damage, he reasoned.

Moments later, he was interrupted by a voice behind him.


"Why do you hide? We have traveled far to end your life, too"

Toph whirled around. There behind him was another one of the beasts. Toph gulped. Things had just gone from bad, to worse.

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Tue Jun 07, 2005 7:33 pm
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"I am the Lord of this domain. Leave in a peaceful manner...or pay the taxes asked of the other residents...and you will not be killed." Viios sneered, his fangs bared in condescending anger.

The beast seemed rather taken aback by the threat casually thrown his way. After a moment, the creatures gullet swung open, a shrieking laughter echoing from its endless depths. "Foolish gentle one. Your blood will run. The Devilkin make the gentle ones know fear. You will know it too, nightwalker." It growled ominously, a dark cackle still bouncing between the monsters on the walls.

Viios shrugged. "The choice was given." He smiled towards Magister and his guards, then winked. The beast took a single, silent step forward, its gargantuan fists unfurling to unveil equally gargantuan clawed digits, seven per hand. The vampires caught the movement in the corner of his eye, and an instant later he was gone.

A thunderous crash resounded through the walls of the Seventh Temple. It sounded as if someone had driven a stake through a mirror only to find a brick wall behind it. An alien sound indeed. Next came the sound of falling glass and the quiet plip-plop of blood. The 'Devilkin' was clearly caught mid stride by the sudden offensive of the Tear Drinker. It stood, mouth agap, blood slowly dripping from its lower jaw, staring blankly towards the ceiling. More accurately it was staring at where the vampire had been a moment after he leapt towards the Devilkin. Yet the beast was only fast enough to see death coming at it...not fast enough to stop it. Viios' metal fist was a full two feet inside the monsters skull, all the bone and mirrored scales surrounding the wound were collapsed and shattered. Its entire head was smashed in by the trauma, and indeed it looked as if the blow left a crater, cracking the Devilkins scales all the way to its back. It lingered in life for just another moment as gravity finally demanded Viios return to the earth.

The metal fist came clean of the beasts brain, dragging not a fragment of bone, scale or gray matter with it as it departed. Viios landed with a dull thud...and the creatures body collapsed with a significantly louder thud. The vampire stood with a taunt grin on his face, pleased that he had proven himself martially superior to yet another foe. The other half dozen horrors were taken aback by their brothers death...however...that sense of surprise clearly faded when they began scuttling down from the walls to make their attacks. The other ten in the chasm clearly took note of the casualty and began making a noisy, hurried ascent. It would appear Viios had stirred the hornets nest. One down, sixteen to go. It was going to be a long night in the Seventh Temple.


Thu Jun 09, 2005 8:49 pm
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Horror of horrors! Magister had only seen such creatures in the drawings of ancient texts. Hideous images of unbelievable devils. While many common folk did not or chose not to believe in such beasts, Magister knew better than to disbelieve his academic sources. But until now, the elderly scholar had never witnessed them in real life. Unfortunately the wisdom these tomes imparted did not often include the recipe for banishment or destruction of the foul creatures and if they did, Magister was not the powerful magus one needed to be.

So, he fainted.

The two knights sent along to assist could not believe their eyes either. They had fought many a foul denizen upon the Isle and they braced themselves for mortal combat after unceremoniously dumping Magister’s limp body behind the clean altar.

They watched the vampire lord take the first Devil by surprise and deal a death blow. Behind them they saw more allies entering the chamber. They also saw more than a dozen scaly horned beasts crawl down the walls at alarming speed towards them. The soldiers, mail armoured and armed with swords, scrambled to join forces with the newest entrants.

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Sat Jun 11, 2005 8:28 pm
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