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 Darkest Day 
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Post Darkest Day
Previously


Orders were given and preparations begun. To and fro ran servents fulfilling task after task. Given the level of activity one would assume that a major undertaking was happening. A caravan to the far reaches of the isle or an entire army moving into battle. Reality was far from what it appeared.

Instead of huge numbers of people moving out it was only to be three people and half a dozen horses. Q'il had attempted to get Hesketh to take a company of troops. After that was rebuffed he tried to insist on at least an honor guard. When this too was turned down he had a fit. What nearly sent him over the edge though was when Hesketh casually mentioned using a route that would take them through the Silent Valley.

Q'il argued that surely in no uncertain terms could heathen be allowed to journey though the valley. Hesketh was unperturbed and unmoved by Q'ils arguements. Perhaps it was that he was not viewing Taff and Brett as enemies, rather seeing them as fellow travelers in the quest for a solution to the ooze.

Shortly before they were to leave a rather harried chamberlain rushed into the room nearly tripping over the packs and saddle bags that were strewn about the room. Drawing himself to his full height he took a moment before announcing


Dear sirs, and madam, a guest has arrived and asked to speak with you.

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[center]Sometimes, silence is the most pervasive of sounds[/center][center]Voluntold Emperor of Maxim[/center]


Sat Jun 05, 2004 12:00 am
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Into the room a young page stode, jutting out his chin in what he hoped would be perceived as haughtiness. He wore the insignia of royalty and it mayhaps have gone to his head.

"Milord, may I present her Majesty, Kankakee Aeleon LeBron."

Into the room a tall woman entered. Wearing only a tight shawl draped over a mage's robe, the brown-haired woman shoos away her page and nods towards Hesketh.

"Greeting Noble Brother. It is with great relief mine eyes now settle upon you. These are dire times indeed. Times when the normal lines of decency must be breached. It is with heavy heart that I succumb to working hand-in-hand with the infidels. But I recieved the summons for this important gathering. And I am mentally prepared to make this journey alongside those who would solve this Ooze menace. You have the full backing of my kingdom. My best alchemist stand by to undergo any form of experiment you may wish to undertake. My arcanum also stands ready.

What is the word on our progress? When shall the journey begin?"


Kankakee positions her self in a chair and lets the exhaustion of her travels subside.


Sat Jun 05, 2004 12:26 am
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Hearing from his fellow guildmates of Silence, they were all furiously looking for a solution to the myserious ooze that had plagued them for so long. Devouring buildings constatly, war was now an afterthought. Some were frozen with fear not knowing what to do.

He had spent his time in his library underground his pillars of creation that held his lands steadfast. The glowing pillars represented all that foret granted in creating good for his people and was shielded from the ooze.

Here he was able to study upon the history of the land and what source of dark magic this might be. And it was here that the Prophet could work with his prophecies.

Prophecies were hard to read. Each prophecy came from a route woven of many paths in time. Free will was the variable and which route a prophecy was determined by that..

so far all he could make out was a dark path where the ooze eventually consumed the whole land, the other a lighter one however, Warriors around Maxim celebrating an apparent victory: A land without ooze.


Sat Jun 05, 2004 12:35 pm
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"A very good day to you mi'lord Magister, who is not a mage of great renown. I am Seeks-the-Stars, information broker, keeper of secrets and also not a mage of great renown.

Did you hear that Master Dwarf? This is a gathering of heroes, so the learned man says, and you should always listen to those that are learned. They have all sorts of...secrets. I suppose that makes you and I great heroes too, isn't that a turn up for the books?"


Magister raised his eyebrows at the sprightly Lady, sharply reminded of the irreverence of youth. He was a patient old man and had the fortitude to scour for days through screeds of written minutiae looking for the smallest detail but when it came to the energy required to respond equally to social exuberance, he fell flat. He was never hasty to judge character of course but after a period of time he had noticed that most he had met exhibited certain 'characteristics' that more often than not hinted to an underlying truth.

Overt and shallow playfulness, especially to the social detriment of a complete stranger, was often an unconscious attempt to divert attention away from a darker more intense reality of character. To belie her appearance and appear frivolous and undeserving of any serious attention but yet unable to deny the desire to be memorable. Seeks-the-Stars reminded him of those treats that were coloured sugar on the outside of a hard casing with a very dark centre. Magister normally avoided sweets, they were no good for him. But still, her excitement may be good for this gathering and it was not like he would be stuck in her company for long.

Magister looked uncomfortable but nodded and smiled in polite response to the Lady before the Dwarf, obviously no stranger to these awkward situations continued,

Greetings to you Master Scholar, I am sure that any notes you have made on the ooze will prove to be invaluable once the gathering numbers beyond us three.

And then another arrival, who removed an exotic helmet before introducing himself as Kyoji.

Greetings Seeks-the-Stars and Master Fardrid Dumathoin
, Magister pronounced carefully. Indeed I have not heard of the Bergelmir mines, but you do the meeting a great honour by making this journey I am sure…as do you Lady Stars…er, Seeks, he added clumsily. Magister noticed her eyes were very black.

Turning to the warrior of Silence, Magister addressed Kyoji. He recognised the traditional and exotic dress of the warrior from his studies and bowed low in greeting,

Ah Lord Kyoji, hajime mashite. I did not realise that the Silent Empire claimed warriors of your tradition. It is my pleasure to meet you, my name is Magister. Do you bring hope from Silence? Have the wisest among you found anything that may aid the Isle against the black curse?

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Sat Jun 05, 2004 11:50 pm
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As the young lass skipped away on the trees. Regicider looked at the letter again and enclosed in the letter was also a map. Being without any proper clues on where to look for Magister, regicider decide to try his luck and go towards the meeting. He made haste to his nearest outpost and took a steed and starting riding to the rendezvous point. He rode through the night.

The next dawn, he was nearing the meeting place and from far he could see a gathering of few people. He whipped his steed and pressed forward to go faster.

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Sun Jun 06, 2004 2:59 am
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The scribe came by way of swift courier. Q'ils seal was afixed to the document, but the message itself came from Hesketh. The wandering mage was asking assistance in locating one known as the Magister. The Shaman doubted that anyone fitting his description was to be found within the boundries of his realm, but since Hesketh had requested he look for this man, then look he shall. Turning to the captain who had escorted the courier to him the Shaman handed him the letter and spoke.

Please circulate this description among all officiers. Let it be known that whomever shall find this man shall be given a reward of 500 gold for himself and an additional 500 for his men. Be warned though, that this Magister, should he be found, is to be treated as an honored guest.


Sun Jun 06, 2004 9:48 am
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[ooc]Magister, I took one liberty that has been well documented as your answer to my question. You will see what I mean. I hope you don't mind.[/ooc]

Kyoji's eyebrow rose briefly. It had been a long time since he had been greeted in such a way. He simply bowed.

"Magister-sama, please just call me Kyoji. I am a lord in name only. My heart is that of a warrior. I have been ordered to look for you. Unfortunately, I cannot bring much hope from Silence. Even our wisest sages and greates mages are at a loss when dealing with the ooze. So I, like all my bretheren have be asked to search for you. I was told that you were very wise and may have some sort of insight in this situation. It seems though that the peasentry view you as somewhat of a hero. I have been told numerous times that there may even be two Magisters. One a hero and one just a man. Tell me Sama, which are you?"

I am just a man.

Kyoji smiled. "Then maybe you can indeed help the island. My grandfather taught me that the first path to enlightenment was to realize that you are indeed just a man. As for my tradition, I am one of only a few on the whole island that follow the code of bushido. My story is a short one. But it is for another time. Now there are more pressing matters to attend to. Does anyone have news or a thought?

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Sun Jun 06, 2004 1:03 pm
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To most it would appear that Taff had been sitting in quiet contemplation ignoring much that was going on around him. A more dedicated observer would notice his lips moving occasionally, and presume he was trying to recall a song or conversation long gone.

Yet the reality was quite different. He was casting a fairly easy spell. At least it is easy when one can use spell ingredients, wave your arms about and loudly intone words to effect the desired result. However he wished it remain unknown, which meant doing it silently, motionlessly and without any obvious materital components.

It was not a dangerous spell, it simply sent a message from him to a specific room of a specific inn many miles distant. He wished to set his eyes and ears to task of finding this magister and anything others that were looking into resolving this ooze, and any news of the ooze aswell. He also wanted to send a message to Tiavain to confirm what teh pale lady would say.
He just did not want his host to be aware that he could do such things. Should they become less friendly, it would be prudent to have some means of communication left to him.

On his fourth exhasperating attempt he felt the spell align properly. On the writing desk in the room many miles away, writing singed itself into a block of wood left there for exactly this purpose.

Quote:
An ooze sweeps this land.
Find what you can about it and any others who seek this information.
Have a message sent to Milabar Tarrant in Tiavain:
Taff and his Lady are willing guests of Q'il of Silence. They are investigating the ooze. Alcestis of Silence is heading to inform Lady Dovanucci of this. Any assistance in this matter would be appreciated.


He blinked with suprise, almost shocked that it had finally worked. He looked up hoping that noone had noticed his shocked expression. Fortunately a chamberlain had taken that opportunity to make a less than gracious entrance stumbling over their belongings. The servant recovered and announced a new arrival.

Taff looked up to their host.
Maybe we have word of this magisteralready? That would be a nice turn of fate.
You may be right about our priests. They may need to be consulted, just... not in each others presence?

He smiled across at Brett,
Perhaps we should move our things into one place before the new arival gets here. We wouldn't want anyone else tripping up would we?
As he walked over to start moving his own saddlebags, he let his hand briefly rest reassuringly on Brett's arm.


Mon Jun 07, 2004 5:26 am
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You are 'just' a man?, she cocked her head to one side like an animal examining something curious and yet interesting. Seeks-the-Stars had met few people who were ever 'just' one thing, there was normally something underneath that layer. All it required was for the layer to be pealed back bit by bit, you could never tell what delights might be hidden just beneath the surface. What information was beneath the surface of the scholar? What had he seen in his years of life? What had he learned? What did he know? They were questions that she delighted in.

She narrowed her black eyes, apparently not at all caring for the old social rule of not staring. But there again why should she care for that rule? Her parents had never taught her to the rules of polite human or similar society, a bird a little use of such things. A raven had no need of such rules that human parents taught to their children as soon as they could understand. The parents of Seeks-the-Stars had thought that she would follow in their paths through life, that she would grow strong in the nest, learning to fly before setting out into the world on her own to have her own chicks.

They had never imagined what had happened. Not the bird catcher, nor the market, nor the necromancer or his accident. They would have never been able to understand that one of their offspring would ever gain the ability to change her form from that of a bird to that of a human woman. It wasn't exactly something that happened often amongst her kind, indeed there was no other tale that was equal with her own.

She laughed suddenly, the sound a little too harsh, a little too much like the caw of a raven. As the good master Dwarf says I am no lady or deserving of that title, she winked conspiratorially towards Fardrid who merely frowned in reply. Simply call me Seeks-the Stars for I have no other name. I know of how people normally mark their offspring with a given name and a family name but...well my family followed different naming conventions. We are named for what we are known for, what we have done.

The shapeshifter had once considered taking a more human name for herself. Introducing herself as 'Seeks-the-Stars' had seemed to cause more than a little confusion amongst others at first. But she had found no human or elvish name that she liked, none that made any sense for her to use. And so she used the name that her people have given her, a name that made no sense amongst wingless society but that suited her exactly.

She turned her black eyes towards Kyoji, You are a rare one too? She looked him over from the bottom of his feet to the very top of his head, seeming to drink in the sight of him, remembering the details, filing the memory away for later study and use. What was this 'code' that he followed? It was not something that she had heard of before but it sounded like something that was worth remembering. Perhaps he would speak more of it at some point. Seeks-the-Stars had often found that the seemingly most worthless piece of information could prove useful sooner or later. Maybe the man's code would come in handy at some point in the future, she could not tell at present.

I fear that none of us know anymore than the others of this devouring darkness. That it eats the nests...I mean houses, that it does not seemingly hunt people but will make short work of them if they are caught within it. And it is evil, there is a wickedness behind it or within it, something that means to cause this trouble. An evil like a hunter who sets his traps to injury and hurt but not to kill, she said at the last, remembering Sings-to-Intop's words. There are no lands that I call my own for it to plague but...but I do not like to beaten by a puzzle and this one threatens to.

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[center]A raven calls me in the night
Tempting me, enticing flight.
'Follow Sister, come with me.
Fly with me, come be free'
[/center]


Mon Jun 07, 2004 7:53 am
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He'd been on his way to check up on a few locations, the time that had passed since his last visit may have made more pronounced their differences in how the ooze was affecting them, or shown them to be no different in actuality, just slower to succumb. He could sense the disturbance in the subtle energies of the world; someone was taking control of some of the slime, and seemed to be exerting a significant pull to do so. It took a few moments of concentration to localize the anomaly. Forming the pattern for the next spell, his body seemed to plunge into the earth, as a rock falling into the sea, his robes colapsing into a heap on the ground, then almost disolving into it.

Reaching his destination (or the general vacinity of it; he'd not taken the time to be incredibly precise), he found a large number of people fleeing a village, most with little more than the clothes on their backs. Some had taken the time to fill wagons, and still more hadn't quite left the town yet.

Working his way toward the center of town, he momentarily reflected that this must be akin to what Salmon go through. As he got closer, the flood of people departing grew thin, and there he saw the reason for the commotion.

A vaguely humanoid glob of the slime, slowly plodding down the road, trying to catch up to stragglers. He could detect the souls that were guiding the blob, the sheer number required made them hard to miss. And behind it stood the necromancer responsible.

Taking a deep breath, he marshalled his energies and began his own assault. Much of the energy was absorbed by the slime, but some of it got through, disspelling the necromancer's hold on some of the souls. Globs of the slime fell off the abomination, almost as if it were melting, and though slightly diminished in size, it was still quite substantial.

He recognized his advantage in speed and mobility, it was who would tire first that was at question, and how taxed this necromancer was from what she'd done already that was still at question.

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Mon Jun 07, 2004 1:43 pm
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The wagon creaks as Masanomi drives the dýr onwards through the caves. Nariaki sits beside him in silence as the wagon rolls slowly through the tunnels of the Dark Below. Dýr are not known for their haste. Not like the graceful, elegant horses of the red desert realm, the destination Masanomi steers the wagon-team towards.

Behind them, the catatonic figure of the Shadowborn lies curled in the back of the wagon. Masanomi cannot help but worry what they will find on the surface. Rumours of plague ahead of them, and a strange black ooze behind them. Were they bringing the traumatised Herald from one danger into another?

Perhaps. Perhaps Nariaki and I leap from the frying-pan only to hurl ourselves into the fire. What if the plague has crippled the tribes of Culaearien? What if the Holy Office is unable to defend itself, stricken by sickness? It may well be the case that the Anub-Re are the only ones who stand untainted by this illness. Is that why Toshiro sealed our people away so rapidly? If we are truely the only ones not touched by the unseen hand of this sickness, it may yet fall upon us to stand in defense of the Onyx Temple ... alone.

If that is the case, then we shall. For we are Sanctum Officium and we are Anub-Re. Ware, any of thee who thought our sealing away a sign of weakness. For it was not weakness that compelled us, but wisdom, that we might preserve our strength, should our banner-mates require it.


Masanomi twitches the reigns as the dýr start up the sloping tunnel to the surface. As the wagon rolls forward, the two Anub-Re don thin gauze blindfolds, protecting eyes accustomed to the stygian depths of the Dark Below from the harsh glare of Intop's glory. Masanomi cannot help but wonder what the two Anub-Re will find.

The wagon rolls down the mountain path towards the red sands below. Masanomi draws a deep breath. It feels good to be among the Sunlit Lands once more, to breath the surface air, to feel the warmth of Intop's rays upon his fur.

This may be the death of me. If that is the case, let me face my death as I have faced my life, unflinching and with Darden's name upon my lips.

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Sanctum Officium 0100 GMT Saturday 27th March 2004[/center]


Tue Jun 08, 2004 6:53 pm
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It was almost too easy. The knife slide between the ribs of the man with ease, Quarrel smothered the man’s cries with is free hand and twisted the knife with his other. Quickly he dragged the dead man away from the road under a burbush and began to rifle through his pockets. He found a crust of bread and stuffed it into his mouth quickly, for a moment he was full. The ache in his belly was gone and he was transported back to his home, back before the ooze, back before the banishment, before the accident.

Turning such thoughts out of his mind he finished his search of the body, shoved what he had found in his pouch and left the body under the bush. Soon he came to his camp. He had been there for only a few weeks but already it was getting that lived in feeling to it. His tent was off to the side under a self of rock that had fallen many years ago creating a shallow cavity that protected him from the wind. There was a small pool of water in a niche that provided a safe drinking supply and the brambles that surrounded the campsite kept animals and strangers away.

Quarrel walked over and took a seat by his banked down fire and stirred the coals to life again. He grabbed a blanket and spread it out carefully dumping the contents of his pouch out on it. There was a scroll, two bits of silver and some kind of stone with an etching on it. He hefted the stone in his hand and then cast it casually into the fire, it must have been a lucky rock or something – it had proved how lucky it was.

He pocketed the two bits of silver and then examined the scroll. Its seal was unbroken and it bore a crest unfamiliar to him. He put it to his nose and sniffed. No smell of cinnamon, that was good. The cinnamon smell told Quarrel that it had a spell on it, so the absence of that smell meant that it was safe to open.

He broke the seal and unfurled the scroll. The letters danced before his eyes and then solidified into Foretian. He could not read Foretian very well but he picked out a few words here and there, enough to recognize a call for help, help with the ooze. The ooze was chaos to him, the manifestation of all the pain and turmoil that spread across the lands like a cancer.

Q’ils Keep. That much he understood, along with the ooze. Perhaps Lord Darden had thrown him another route to follow. All was not lost then, there were others working to end the scourge of the ooze.

He chose his cloths carefully that night. The seal on the scroll had shown him that those who sought to end the plague were nobles so he must become as they were. He dressed from head to toe in black, a red cape across his shoulders lined in black fur. Around his waist a sword with an ornamental symbol of a rose carved on the handle. Daggers went into both boots, two wrist sheaths held more daggers and strapped to his thighs were two small throwing axes.

He saddled his horse and then burned everything else, everything but the money. Q’ils Keep was many days travel to the west and south the less baggage he carried the better. He stuffed the letter in his inner pocket and clicked his heels to his horse’s sides.
Three days later he stood before the gates to Q’ils Keep. He stared up at the guards stationed on the crenellated walkway above him.

“I have come in answer to Lord Hesketh’s summons! I have come to battle the ooze and search for the one known as the Magister. I am Lord Quarrel, lately of the Dyrtan Empire.” He yelled to the men above him.

Minutes later the side door opened and a wizened man poked hi head out saying “This way Milord, someone will gather your horse.”

Quarrel just smiled and followed the man into the Keep.

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Wed Jun 09, 2004 1:18 am
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There is a magical link in an unassuming chain which appears to be part of Taff's robes. It rests against his skin, should he need to be contacted it will cool slightly to let him know, the more urgent the colder it gets.

Taff jumped as he felt an icy shock on his hip. He dropped the saddlebag he had been carrying in suprise. It took a moment to recognise what it was, and the icy presence remained until her did. There was barely time for the message to have been passed on, which meant that something important must be happenning, that or one of the less skilled in his network thought it was important. He was weeding them out slowly.
He looked about the room for a suitable surface to receive his message on. His eyes settled on the least extravagent table furnishing the room.

I appologise for this, but I think it is necessary

He swept clear a space on the table one foot square and placed his hands face down at each corner. Gratefully he now channelled a litle heat into the freezing chain link, warming it against his skin and triggering the spell for receiving the message.

Smoke began to waft off the table, scorch marks emerging. Slowly the scorch marks began to form into letters and lines. As the seconds ticked by they coalesced into words and a map. Finally he stepped away from the table and clapped his hands. Yes it is important.
The letters were visible to all, bearing the message in clear common tongue.

Quote:
There is a mass exodus from the place indicated on the map. The refugees speak of a man made of ooze, a necromancer and a sorceror fighting. This is as much as I can glean for now.


A map that looked very much like the lands they had recently travelled completed the set of scorch marks. He compared it to the rest of the furniture which, unlike his own furniture had remained unscorched for may a year. He managed an apologetic smile.

I'm sorry about the tabletop


Wed Jun 09, 2004 6:33 am
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Just as Hesketh began to answer Kankakee's question Taff jumped as if bitten. Quickly the mage crossed to an unornate and somewhat battered table. It was with seemingly little effort that after just a moment or two the table became ruined. Smoke wafted from its now scarred surface. When Taff stepped back it was to reveal a message and a map that had been burned into the table top. Obviously it was of vital importance or else Taff wouldn't have taken a pyromaniac's stance and destroyed the property of another.

The message, and the map that accompanied it, were perhaps just the break that they had all secretly been hoping for. Or not. They might be a mistake or a false lead. Still it was a chance that they could not ignore.

Turning to the group Hesketh spoke with obvious excitment in his voice.

Well, well. I think our course of action is clear. As much as I felt we needed to join the gathering this is a far better gamble towards solving our problem with the ooze. As time is of the essence travel by horseback would prove far to slow. I intend to venture there via spell. Any who wish are welcome to join me, just step to the center of the room.

After taking another look at the map etched into the table the wandering mage grabbed on of his saddle bags and dumped its contents onto the floor. A ten foot wide area was cleared in the center of the room and he set his trusty brazier to burning some thinly sliced bits of wood. Adding various powders and even a splash of some odd red liquid he began chanting.

The room faded and swirled, everything moving out of focus. When things became clear once again they were next to a dirt road on the south side of a small town. A ragged stream of people were fleeing past them, many with only the clothes on their backs.

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[center]Sometimes, silence is the most pervasive of sounds[/center][center]Voluntold Emperor of Maxim[/center]


Sat Jun 12, 2004 9:14 pm
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Kyoji sighed out loud. There was till no word from Hesketh. Kyoji had sent several letters his way informing him of his progress. But he had so far received silence as his only response. This was bad. Hesketh had always been prompt in responding.Kyoji worried that his letters were not getting to him.

He was interupted in his thoughts suddenly by the one named Seeks the stars. She had pretty much the same report as everyone had brought to the meeting so far. Nothing. The situation was quickly becoming dire.

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Sun Jun 13, 2004 6:03 pm
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He stood... so long had he been idle that he had grown unaccustomed to recieving such messages. He had returned to a world at war... one perpetually at war. It was plagued now by a creeping sickness that consumed the land itself. Unbiased by faith or race... it soaked up their lands as if it were a sponge floating in water.

The ooze crept on... it ate small pieces of his land just as it ate small pieces of everyone else's land. He watched it... it took the land back into darkness... where he would go so very soon. His soul, now unfettered by the curse of mortality, had divided into several parts... each gone a different direction to complete a different task before they met and converged... before they walked from this world forever leaving only Chein.

He had walked into the ooze to reach this place... it had caressed his face as would a lover. It was nothingness... void... it sought to bring this island back to oblivion... from whence all worlds were spawned... and he had faded into nothingness.

It was only a few days journey to Q'il's land... but he made it instantly... arriving as he always did... from nowhere.

The darkness within him can no longer hold at bay the desire to provide this island with some measure of longevity... after all... he was born here.

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Mon Jun 14, 2004 1:32 pm
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His hand on my arm was reassuring if at this time unnecessary, his smile though was infectious and I grinned back at him. He had just picked up the saddlebag and suddenly dropped it again I cringed and hoped it wasn’t the one that had some of his alchemic arsenal stowed in it. There didn’t seem to be any smoke or fumes pouring from it so I guess it can’t have cause too much damage to the contents.

I watched him puzzled as he cleared a space on a table, as smoke wafted from the surface I jumped to my feet exclaiming Taff you can’t, but it was too late and I guess it was fortunate that my sudden outburst hadn’t disturbed his concentration. When he had finished receiving the message he looked up and managed an apologetic smile, I just looked at him and shook my head. I looked at Hesketh, and could see that initially he was pleased with Taff’s parlour trick but when he viewed the message and the map his demeanour change to excitement.

Well, well. I think our course of action is clear. As much as I felt we needed to join the gathering this is a far better gamble towards solving our problem with the ooze. As time is of the essence travel by horseback would prove far to slow. I intend to venture there via spell. Any who wish are welcome to join me, just step to the center of the room.

I looked at Taff, Shall we? I wasn’t going to wait for a second invitation and moved to gather my own belongings and a piece of cool charcoal from the fire grate. Before I entered the circle I took a piece of parchment from the table and laying it on the table rubbed the charcoal carefully over the parchment. The result was a copy of the map and the message. I rolled the parchment up thrust it into my saddlebag and stepped into the centre standing beside Hesketh.

As the room faded I felt slightly dizzy and disorientated. This was different from the spell I used to move about the countryside and obviously more flexible. I made a mental note to do some research into it at some time. I was grateful when the scene cleared and we appeared to be standing in the middle of a dirt road. I breathed deeply of the fresh air and the fuzziness began to leave my mind.

I watched the people as they ran by. Mostly they ignored me as I tried to gain their attention, then noticed a young woman who lagged a little behind the others. She had a peculiar gait that might indicate a deformity and would account for her slowness. I stepped towards her smiling and I spoke calming words so that she would not be unduly alarmed. She stopped before me; I could see the fear in her eyes.

What are you running from? She was about to answer when a piercing scream sliced through the air like an arrow. She turned white as a sheet at the sound. I turned in the direction the sound had come from but seeing nothing I looked back to the young woman to find she had gone.

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Tue Jun 15, 2004 2:30 am
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Sometimes a trick of the mind might make you believe you never saw what you saw, or think you did but it wasn't there. And sometimes you simply didn't notice. Others not noticing was something the woman had become accustomed to. The letter and the words to speak were committed to her, Alcestis had simply nodded and lowered her head, stepping back away with an easy smile. The woman merely left, stepped back against a wall seemingly to put the letter safely away. Into her hip pocket it went, she'd cast a glance at Hesketh when the shadows deepened over her face, and was gone.

Moving through the shadowlands in a dream, sleeping through it seemed to quicken the longer distances. One moment she was there in the world and the next her guardian embraced her, her mind closed off and when she woke the Shade was pulling her from darkness's clutches once again. They stood inside the gates of the main city, the solitary woman drew no immediate notice, though she felt her own shadow nudge against her as the Shade settled himself in. She walked down streets she recognized from the Expo, how long ago was that now? Without thinking about it, her feet wandered their way to Tempest Road. She remembered the shop where she'd bought the empyrean disk, and met a man named Dorian. The whole short stay here in the City of Wizards blew easily through her mind and before she knew it her feet had stopped and she was mid-sentence with a dark-skinned woman under the shade of a shop awning. How she hated playing catch up after he'd been guiding her again. The Shade's hold on her mind eased up gently and her ears popped, softly ringing in the other woman's words.

"...so we're leaving..." and the dark-skinned woman was gone. Alcestis squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head to clear her mind, looking after the woman who's entire conversation she'd only heared the last three words of for herself. She turned and started back up Tempest Road, she didn't even know how long she'd walked around the city. The letter in her pocket was missing, and she vaguely remembered a smattering image of a veiled woman and the words, "Your Lady MacGregor says she was Floating on Angels Wings," whispering from Alcestis' own lips. As the still mostly unnoticed woman walked further down Tempest Road, her figure became fainter and fainter until she was just a fading figment of memory.

By the time they'd returned to Q'il's keep the party was gone, but the scorch marks on the table were still there. The woman's vision cleared a moment and she saw all the bags and satchels weren't there. The smell of Hesketh's wood slivers and powders hung gently in the air still, she crossed the room trance-like and looked down at the table and the map etched on its surface. The woman would end up staring down at the map tracing the paths with her index fingers until the pads went numb, she found herself compelled to wait for any other arrivals to Q'il's before leaving again herself to meet the others.



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Wed Jun 16, 2004 3:55 am
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She blinked in bewilderment as her ooze-man began to lose bits and pieces of itself in rather large chunks. That of course wasn't what caused her confusion. Her consternation was caused because the souls that she controlled, were effectively repelled by some force outside of herself. It was all she could do not to lose control of those specific souls. She'd lost control of her army once before and nearly been killed by it when it happened. She couldn't let that happen again.

So what to do? Keep moving the ooze along using far more souls than was really productive and not really accomplishing much more than scaring the local populace? Or should she bring her army back to herself and let the ooze drop where it was- then look for whatever being was powerful enough to fight her wishes? Yes, the latter would probably be the most productive and less dangerous. With a quick handmotion, she bade the spirits release the ooze and return to her.

She then looked toward the magister over the puddle of ooze that the fallen ooze-man had left. Slanting her head, she smiled coyly at the mage in front of her.

Do you make it a habit of thwarting people's fun? Or did you want to join me?

Carefully she walked around the ooze, her slinky dress sliding over her body suggestively as her hips swayed. She pushed a long lock of hair off her face, stopping a few feet from him and putting a hand on one slender hip. It wasn't that she was trying to flirt with the man- she doubted somehow that it would work with him- but old habits were hard to break, especially those that came naturally. Besides. She could be wrong. He could indeed be very seducable.

If nothing else, she needed to get him somewhere else so she could resume playing with the ooze.

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Wed Jun 16, 2004 1:13 pm
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Do you make it a habit of thwarting people's fun? Or did you want to join me?

So this was the mind behind the meddling. Certainly one to be wary of. And with her relinquishing the blob of slime, potentially that much more dangerous. At least with the ooze-man, he'd be able to focus on one target. Now she may be able to bring an attack from multiple fronts.

"I make a habit of hindering people who would hasten the end of this world."

It was doubtful their difference in views would be able to be settled peacably, with words. With that in mind, he needed a bit of space to "negotiate". Sweeping his staff in a downward sweep, he called a lightning bolt on the place where she stood. She might be able to feel the charge building and get out of its way. Either way, encouraging her to step back, or blasting her back, would prove suitable for his immediate purpose.

With his other hand, he threw out a half dozen small globe like bursts of electricity. They scattered in front of him, dancing almost aimlessly, save for their appearant preferance for wandering vaguely in the woman's general direction.

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Wed Jun 16, 2004 10:30 pm
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Here's to 'em, to all of my friends,
Here's to 'em, to all of my friends yeah,
Here's to 'em, to all of my friends,
Here's to the bastards, the best of my friends.


The priest hopped and jumped as he sang under the desert sun, the red sand coating his legs all the way up to his knees. From a distance it almost looked like he was having a fit while standing up but as any who might have looked drew closer it would dawned upon them that he was actually dancing. Or rather attempting to dance. In another soul and another place such a thing would not have been unheard of, but this was Culaearien.

Culaearien of the red sands, Culaearien of the seeress Ebony, Culaearien of the Dardenite fanatics of the Officium. Dancing was unheard of. There was no law that forbid the people from dancing, no rule that stopped them from expressing themselves in such a way. But still few danced, at most only the priestesses of the tribes when they gave praise to their Lord. To see a priest of the temple dancing was most strange. There again to see the priest outside of the temple and far from the refuge of even the settlement was almost unheard of.

At a respective distance a small boy, a novice of the temple, watched the priest dance and sing, embarrassed on the behalf of his superior. He had never seen Father Eskil behave in such a way. His behaviour was unheard of. Or rather it had been until recently, until after two of the Voralphian had brought some disease from heathen lands into the desert. The novice bit his lip, most of the desert people had been struck down by the disease, whose final effects seemed to be an ailing of the mind and wits. Or at least that was the best way that he could describe it. Few had been left untouched by the disease's passage, the boy had been one of them and he offered a silent prayer to Darden for that.

Eskil finally collapsed onto the ground, seemingly exhausted from his exertions. [color=green}I told the silly woman that I just wanted to have some fun, [/color]he said, grinning from ear to ear. Told her that but she just wanted to lock me up, said it was for my own good. Own good indeed, I know what's good for me. The boy bit his lip once more to restrain himself from speaking. Father Eskil seemed to have no idea what was wrong with him, he seemed oblivious of there being anything wrong with him at all. And that was the great pity of it all.

If only the disease had been the only problem to trouble the lands of Culaearien, if only. But the Lord had seen fit to test them twice over, once by the sickness that struck the mind and once by the devouring darkness. Truly the Lord pushed them hard to force them to prove their worth to Him. But, the boy reminded himself, it was the Lord's will and their lives were His to do with as He pleased.

Still...he wished that the Lord had seen fit to send him someone to help him deal with Father Eskil. He didn't dare leave him alone, Darden alone knew what the priest would do. But he was only a novice, he didn't know what to do with priests whose mind's had been taken by disease.

Hail friends, Eskil's sudden words caused the boy to jump. The priest had sat up and was waving like a madman to a dark dot on the horizon coming from the direction of the western mountains. The 'dot' grew larger as it came closer, slowly revealing itself to be a wagon of some sort. But who would come from the mountains at this time? Certainly not the people of the Himmetian tribe, they had sealed themselves away to stop the spread of the disease. The Anub-Re then? Those strange dog-headed allies of the tribes of the disease?

The boy watched as the priest waved and shouted, quietly thanking Darden for sending him someone who might be able to get Eskil back to the temple safely...provided it hadn't already been devoured by the darkness of course.

(OOC: Lyrics from here.)

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[center]If Faith we humans do profess,
As if it is our true belief,
Then death perhaps we all should bless,
Our loved ones went to God's relief.
[/center]


Thu Jun 17, 2004 10:37 am
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Quarrel was led thorugh the keep by a man-at-arms who did not notice Quarrel's raptor like gaze flitting from object to object.

Oh the riches to be had! he thought to himself.

The man-at-arms opened the door and stood aside as Quarrel entered the room, the man-at-arms shutting the door behind him.

A woman stood over what appeared to be a scorched tabletop. She was tracing a pattern on its sooty surface with one finger.

Escuse me, I am Lord Quarrel I am here to speak with Hesketh about this ooze problem. I recieved a letter.

Quarrel smiled at the woman while his thoughts whirled. If he can help these people solve the problem of the ooze, or at least ttag along then surely he would be a hero with all the rewards that hero's alwasy got...

gold, women, and song!

His eyes glittered with anticipation.

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Thu Jun 17, 2004 2:16 pm
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{From here.}

Quote:
The instinct to live, and battle for life is one that is not easy to overcome, but overcome was exactly what she had to do to survive in this instance. The fight to live was literally killing her, and it wasn't until she let go, and gave herself over to the darkness that had enveloped her, that she was able to breath once more.


Once the impath had let go of herself, and allowed her body to be taken over by the ooze, Misty inhaled a deap breath of stagnant, and pungent air, and had to once more fight off the fear this brought on, for it was as though she was breathing that which was not meant to be breathed. She was trapped, and all that she was told her to get free. Inhaling once more, and closing ebon eyes in an effort to relax her panicked mind, Misty then heard them.

There were voices. Well, screams really. They were dying, and they were afraid, and the impathic elvin woman could feel their fear, whcih only intensified that which she felt, and made the struggle to survive that much more intence. Harder to fight off. A part of her ached to tell the voices to calm down, and yet another part was angry with them for being so week. Weekness wasn't something that Misty was tollerant of, and maybe it was this side of her that allowed her maintain as well as she was.

Or.. thought she was. What id she was dead? What if this is what it was like on the other side? No, it couldnt be for Misty had been to the other side, and she had travelled in the place. That place that is neither here nor there, and where she was now was not the same.

Dark eyes fluttered open, and though she could see the lights around her, the darkness was absorbing them before they had a chance to light her way, and the elf's sence of direction, even up and down was still very very distorted, and to attempt to figure that out right now would be fruitless.

In the distance she could see what seemed to be lightning, and this was a phenomenon that she recognised, for it was obviously a clash of magics. Someone was working on the ooze, and someone may even be getting some success, but didn't they know? Didn't they know that their hearts would have to be as black as that one that unleashed this

Didn't they know? They would have to let go of self, and get into the heart of their agressor before they could stop their magic? For now, Misty would float aimlessly, and in time, she should be able to get her bearings, and shemay even be able to control her direction. Controlling her direction became of the up-most importance to the elf, for coming closer to the magic, and hopefully comunicating with those fighting the ooze was her only hope.


Thu Jun 17, 2004 5:22 pm
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She blinked at his words, but didn't have a chance to respond as she found herself under attack within moments of his proclamation. Her army warned her before the lightening actually touched down, and even if they hadn't she could feel the electrical charge building up where she stood. She threw herself out of the way of harm, looking at the man incredulously. The small globes were somewhat easier to fend off. With one word she'd set her spirits in front of her to block any of the lackadaisical balls of energy from reaching her. Eyes flashing angrily she glared at the mage.

Why do you assume I was wishing to end the world? Do you always jump to quick conclusions without asking questions first?!

She frowned at him, her temper roiling. True, she would't object to a large portion of the world being destroyed. It would, after all, free up more spirits to join her army. But she didn't want to destroy the whole world. That would be boring and monotonous if she had only herself and her ghosts to keep her occupied. There wouldn't be anyone to tease or torment. There wouldn't be anyone to flirt with. Life was not worth anything if you couldn't have flirtations or people around to take care of things you didn't want to do.

If you must know, I was just testing it, seeing what could be done and could not be done. I was just having a little fun! No one would have been hurt really. It wasn't moving fast enough to hurt anyone.

She pouted petulantly, eyes narrowed on the Magister. Sighing softly, she shrugged and pushed a lock of hair off her face.

If I promise to leave the black oozie stuff alone, will you stop trying to fry me?

Crossing her arms over her chest and biting her lip, she waited for his answer. If he didn't agree to stop his attack, then she'd have to send her armies after him. She didn't really want to do that. She'd much rather use them in other ways.

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Mon Jun 21, 2004 11:13 am
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Nariaki regards the priest with some measure of surprise. In all the times the warpriest of the Anub-Re has encounted Darden's most faithful amongst the fanatics of Culaerien, they have never been anything less than calm, serious people, wrapped up in their devotion to the Lord of Sorrows.

Granted, the majority of the times Nariaki has encounted the most faithful of Darden's followers amongst the red sands of Culaearien have been either before, during or after one battle or another, marching to war alongside the Anub-Re's fanatical neighbours under the banner of the Sanctum Officium, battling together against the benighted ones who would deny His truths.

Not, perhaps, the ideal circumstances for a lighter, more caring side of one's nature to shine through. But such flippancy is beside the point at this juncture. Simply put - while the Anub-Re venerate Darden as not only the Drinker of the Bowl, the Demon of Tismad - they also venerate Him as the clever one, He who delights in the new, the Trickster God whose pranks open the eyes to new ways.

The tribes of Culaearien, notably, do not venerate Him so. The neighbours of the Isle worship the one true God in his aspect as the Demon, the Bowl-Drinker, and that is what makes the sight before Nariaki so unexpected.

Hail friends

Curiouser and curiouser...

Because, of all the possible ways to be greeted, cheerfully, from a tribesman of Culaearien, is about as likely as Intop's glory illuminating the lowest reaches of the Dark Below.

Greetings to you too, blessed-in-Darden's-name. We seek the sorceress, Lyssia, on a matter of some urgency. Could you direct us to her?

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Sanctum Officium 0100 GMT Saturday 27th March 2004


Tue Jun 22, 2004 3:33 pm
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