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06:03, 27th May 2024 (GMT+0)

Game Q & A.

Posted by DworkinFor group 0
player, 1462 posts
Deep blue eyes. . .
Disarming boyish smile
Thu 15 Apr 2004
at 21:41
  • msg #11

Re: Game Q & A.

Part 9 - Departures and arrivals

The party found out the gate only works in the hardest way.

Lazarus comes through the portal, accompanied by a small sandstorm. On the grasslands the sun is setting, as if time runs at different speeds on opposite sides of the gate. A few minutes there is several hours here...
Behind him, Duncan steps through the gate, just as the sun touches the horizon.
The gate closes, with a sound like thunder directly overhead and Duncan, who was still emerging from the portal as it closed shrieks as he is sucked back into it!
The shriek is cut off as the last vestiges of the opening vanish, leaving only a patch of sand dimly visible in the dusk...

Duncan is gone.

      Somewhere in their travels the group had also lost Lexy, Morgan, Tander and Derek. Each going their own way, though this loss what hard on Cyan. who sought in vain for a way to bring the big man back. Duncan who had been such a good companion on the quest. The man who’s promise started it all, was now gone.

     Now all that remained  was The Resourceful Ares, The Mysterious Kendall, The caring Cyan and Kalika the wild child. Though it seemed that they were joined by two more, Lazarus the crusty Chaosite and Jack amnesiac man with no past. Who was the  unconscious man found in the desert, even Lazarus knew nothing of Jack or Jacui stranger as Kalika called him.

         The Party spent the night talking eating and telling the two newcomers their tale, recruiting them to their cause. Cyan told the tale of the parties past and Kalika told takes of her homelands.   Jack and Kalika seemed to become fast friends. The unknown man latching onto her for stability and she opening to him as she had not to others. Cyan’s cooking filled them warmly as they talked, debated and even bickered in good natured form. Ares the ever quite presence watching over it all.

       As Jack and Kali broke off on their own  to bury the remain of the carcasses she had hunted for their meal. At that time the presence of danger could be felt, and a dragon flew down out of the night to attack the group. Everyone fought admirably and with grace, driving the beast back easily. Every one except for Jack who had nothing, not arms or armor and not the memory of how to fight. Though the others took this in stride accepting him any way. Also Jack accidentally opened one of the gates by starring at it for to long. Proving that the cube could be safely opened.

Eventually the all stetted in to sleep for the night, the group solidly two stronger as Lazarus and Jack were accepted, and also freely accepted the group. Yet they woke up one weaker as Kendal was gone.

Next Chapter 10

Part 10 - The song of the stones and Sparring Partners
player, 1464 posts
Deep blue eyes. . .
Disarming boyish smile
Fri 16 Apr 2004
at 16:03
  • msg #12

The Chunchee Guide

Chunchee Guide

“Chunchee” The Chunchee people are an extremely patriarchial soceity. Men hold all the power and women are treated as filth, scum, and slaves. Noble men lose face when their wives or mistresses birth girlchilds. they often kill them and the mother so that no one knows

"Che tartanu est" the traditional Chunchee words of good bye
"Lala" ?
"Ulez" Wize man / Magi
"Jaciu" Stanger
"Manai" Born both man and woman, also whole and complete. Chunchee warriors

First there was Manai, who was both man and woman. Manai was a peaceful being and was sundered to the ma and the nai when the gods forsake it. The beautiful valleys were filled with water and became the hated oceans, leaving only the craggy mountains and dangerous forests for Manai. Then, the gods struck Manai with thunder and lightning, and thus Manai was .It is said that all are born with ma for it was He who created the People, but that all will remain jaciu until they have been met with their nai, for only then will they be true manai once more"

"Like most traditions, ours have been twisted and changed throughout the moons. It was decided long, long ago that the ma was what was male and then nai that which was female. Since it was Ma who founded the People of the Chunchee, males are everything in our society. Since Nai abadonned Ma after the Sundering, the punishment for being female is severe. We pay the price for Nai's abandonment. Nai went to the forest and there the animals were created to be Nai's People, as the Chunchee are Ma's. Occasionally an animal of the forest will choose a Chunchee. This pair bonds and becomes manai, or whole; complete" she shakes her head bitterly and strokes Hunter's head.

  Hunter and Kali are manai, but they are not complete, so they know that tradition to be false. Ma is you, It is what makes you you... I have heard the word soul? Yes soul, ma is your soul... it may be hiding from you Jack, but you cannot lose it. Nai is what completes your ma... what makes it whole, complete... what makes you whole and complete.

"Ma" Man  / The Chunchee / Soul

"Nai" Woman / The beast people of the forest and Chnchee bonded.
Only few Chunchee are selected by animals, called nai and together the pair is called, you guessed it, manai. This is because it is believed that the animal completes Chunchee and vice versa. They are trained as our warriors and the most elite are the gurndai- the bodyguards

"gurndai" Elite the bodyguards
A curse
“Lalai” companion / ally

A work in progress.
player, 1465 posts
Deep blue eyes. . .
Disarming boyish smile
Fri 16 Apr 2004
at 19:37
  • msg #13

Re: The Chunchee Guide

Part 10 - The song of the stones

In the morning  the band woke to the first rays of sunlight and the stones singing again under the cubes influence. Shortly there after the portal opened to a new world, though it was one of the worlds shown on the N Sided Cube.

Desert of black sand lies beyond the gate, shimmering beneath a sky which is a startling tourquoise in colour. The sun which hangs in that sky is a dull reddish orange in colour and appears sullen, vast and angry.

        The remaining intrepid questors went though the portal hoping to find answers to that which they sought. Though they would find answers here, they would find so much more in the strange lands.

One by one the group step through the gate, each in his or her own manner...

... and out the other side, onto black sand that crunches underfoot. The orange sun hangs, bloated, in the turquoise sky. There are whisps of high, thin cloud, and the air is chilly. A slight breeze stirs the sand, and at this closer range it is clear that there is a circular structure of some sort nearby.
A ring of slabs lays, partially hidden in the sand and composed of a black stone that blends in with that sand, surrounds the gate. It is perhaps one hundred feet across, a circular pavement some ten feet wide, composed of polished, regular flagstones.
Off to one side, two or three miles away, stands a cluster of odd-looking towers and buildings...

           Jack, Ares and Lazarus stood discussing the potential of the Gate and cube. Cyan’s frustration growing at all the chatter while there as a world waiting for them.  With no better lead to follow the started hiking towards the town. Hunter found a play mate in Lazarus as the Chaosite took on the form of a Black Panther.  The bonds of the traveling companions were renewed a fresh with the morning hike. Good humor leading to friendly banter, but no bond seemed to grow half so fast as that between the Chunchee body guard and the Jaciu. They grew comfortable with mental contact, as they spoke at length where others could not over hear.

       Coming to the town the party found it’s alien denizens The Sha'a'a'anpurrkanallapa'an
 accepting and hospitable if somewhat strange. They were warmly greeted and invited in for a meal. Once inside the sat and spoke to Veldoma'antazaclania'antiacla'an the senior of the alien people. In talking to Veldoma they found out the Cylla had been the only other human through the Gathers world for as long as they could remember. She said she had came from a place called Caina and poke of snow and ice.  Unfortunately their host also informed them that they were eating the nutritional caste. Their own people bred for generations to be food.  Cyan, Ares and Lazarus all contemplated what or who they had been eating, while Jack claimed illness and found a reason to excuse himself.

          Kalika followed suit complimenting their host on the meal, with that the two departed outside to spar. Only to be Joined by Cyan a second later.  Ares and Lazarus took over asking questions of their host where Jack had left off. Their host had a drawing of Cylla from when she had come though and gave it to the party. And then went on to tell them of it’s lands and people.

Time for... truth between us it is. Unfair... it would be not to speak thus. This place was as you see it not always. Lush grass across this land grew once. Changed that the Gatherer did. All things it destroyed that in shelters were not. Each seven hundred and forty three anpurin return it does.

Realizing the other may be in danger, Lazarus when to get them.

  Part 10 B Sparring Partners

          Before leaving Kalika had asked Jack via their flirting mental communication if he was okay.  She was also worried that he was excusing himself to go poke around unsupervised. This was not the case,  though he had been to busy asking questions to eat  the thought of the food had made him queasy.  What was more is he was frustrated at being the one asking all of the questions when he was the one that knew the least. Both about the quest and life in general.

   Once outside sparks flew between Kali and Jack as they passed banter back and forth getting ready to spar. Even placing a bet that the winner could ask anything of the looser they wished, first blood would decide the winner. Cyan watch the bouts as Kalika toyed with Jack, testing him, and teaching him painful lessons. Though the Chunchee never drew blood, even going so far in the end as to force him to draw blood. Though she had lost, she was the clear winner.

 The sparing done Cyan teased them about not being as tired as they said.     The trio spoke and bantered between themselves. The fist Kiss passed between Jack and Kalika, and Hunter told them Manai. The banter continued easily. yet was broken up By Lazarus coming to warn them of the coming of the Gatherer. Even As they Spoke Jack and Berd could feel something coming. The Pain of it’s coming driving Jack to his knees.
player, 1469 posts
Deep blue eyes. . .
Disarming boyish smile
Sat 17 Apr 2004
at 18:24
  • msg #14

Re: The Chunchee Guide

First of the Profiles!

Subject: Ares Known Alias: David

Description: He stood at a little over 6 feet, Ares cut an imposing figure. His features were squared off, and handsome in a classical way. His black hair is slicked back, and his goatee neatly trimmed. His skin was tanned and weathered, speaking of much time spent outdoors. He wore loose clothing made of what looked like black and red silks. Knee high black boots, baggy black silk pants, an open black leather vest with a red silk shirt underneath. The vest is embosed with some sort of pattern, of which a flame motif seems to be most conspicuous. The shirt is embroidered at the cuffs and colar with copperish thread, more abstract designs.

Introduced: Part 1: Cadiniagart Died: Part 18 - Who goes there?

1st in Warfare (While Alive)
Known Powers: The Amber Pattern
Known Artifacts: A Special Sword and Special Armor.
Shadow / World: Olympu   

        Ares was part of the party from the start as they arrived aboard the steamer called the Porpoise. Though or perhaps because he was the best of the warriors, he was a quiet introspective man. Saying his say only when he had something to worthy. He proved not only clever and resourceful, but also knowledgeable of Amber and it’s dealing. Seeming to hold the Machiavellian manipulations and lack of cooperation between the Amberites in disdain.

        Though early on he and Cyan seemed to disagree on how to handle certain things, and though they bickered a bit there was a spark between the two. As their journey continued she grew closer to the Man of War than any one. Especially after the shared trauma of witnessing the unimaginable alien power of the Gatherer.  Out of all of the party, his loss affected her the most profoundly.

       It was soon hinted at to Cyan that the Amberite had a troubled past with the Court of Amber it’s self and could not go back there. Hints that proved true as the came to the boundaries of Amber  it’s self and Julian captured Ares and the party. The Prince of forest Arden leveled charges for theft against Ares, but offered the pardon of King Random for his help on the quest. At the same time he offered the others payment for their assistance in the matter.

Ares comment on the accusations of the theft was: "A simple misunderstanding regarding the ownership of some relics and artifacts, that's all. That and a few drops of spilled blood during my last visit here, or rather, during my somewhat-hasty departure. Oh, and the mysterious way that the three daughters of the family I was staying with at that time all found themselves..... er..... shall we say in a delicate condition?"
"Naturally I was blamed for that, and their father had connections at court. So, you see, it was all just misunderstandings, coincidences and circumstance."

Ares proved himself invaluable time and time again on the quest, as a warrior  and a friend. His willingness to help at his own cost was only outweighed by his thoughtful and careful advice as he befriended people openly. Often balancing out some of the more rash and idealistic members of the party with that cautious advise. Though  in the end his caution did not pay off, Ares was ambushed and mortally wounded dying a slow painful envenomed death.  Though he still touches the lives of those who knew him and always will.
player, 1477 posts
Deep blue eyes. . .
Disarming boyish smile
Tue 20 Apr 2004
at 16:32
  • msg #15

Part 11 - The time of the Gatherer

<b>Part 11 - The time of the Gatherer<b>

Outside the building the wind starts to pick up, shifting to the north. The sand starts to drift, driven by the stronger wind into a sleet of stinging particles...

Inside, there comes a musical trilling from the space beneath the floor, dozens, perhaps hundreds of voices calling out in the strange tongue of the Sha'a'a'anpurrkanallapa'an...

       As The group was moving inside portents of the Gatherer grew like a stand storm. Kalika realized that Hunter was not safely with them, instead lost somewhere out in wastes as the Gatherer  drew nearer at tremendous speeds. The Veldoma'antazaclania'antiacla'an herded some of their lumbering giant Nutritional caste out to sacrifice to the alien thing that came.  Quickly it was decided that Kali and Lazarus would go get Hunter, each taking a beastly form that would allow them to survive elements the humans could not. The race to find Kalika’s Nai began.

        As the Storm of the Gatherer drew nearer Jack fretted and worried, he could feel what ever was coming was bigger then a mountain and more powerful then he could imagine. Reaching out with his mind he searched for Kali to ensure that she was okay. He made contact with her only to have it ripped away by the mind of the Gatherer. His mind was now trapped, buffeted by the Gatherers mind like a paper boat on a stormy sea and he crumpled to the ground again.

          Cyan helped Jack inside then realizing the peril Kali and Lazarus were in, Gave Ares her Trump and Berd took off after the three lost in the on coming sand storm which hid the Gatherer. Ares left to wait watch and be the anchor as Jack writhed on the floor looked in defense against the alien mind. Jack began to have delusions and memories, then found himself in a strange place and a strange man. The man identified himself as Aaron. Jack begged him for help for Kalika lost in the storm. A wave of pain washed over Jack casing him to stumble, Aaron caught him just as the Sha'a'a'anpurrkanallapa'an closed the door to their building. To Ares amazement Aaron was now there where no one had been a moment before. It seemed Jack had been in more than one place at the same time. Aaron  drove a mental blow at Jack  trying to drive the madness from Jack mind, but Jacks defenses were up now that he was free of the Gatherer’s mind gain.

Berd flies to Ares, tapping the card that he holds in his hand. Ares though watches as Jack shrieks in pain, writhing in agony, his back arching so far that it looks almost about to snap.  Another wave of tormet and sickness washes through Jack, and in the tunnel he staggers and falls, but Aaron steps foeward and catches him before he hits the floor. The door closes fully, and Jack relaxes, and there is suddenly another man there with him, appearing out of thin air to sprawl on the floor

         Lazarus and Kalika followed Hunter, Kalis frantic calls lost in the wind.  When the found Hunter they all made a break for the sanctuary of the building, not knowing that the door to the safe have was closed. Though with luck the found Cyan who had come to search for them. Berd told Ares that he needed to Trump Cayn and pull her back. Though the warrior tied to make contact he was having problems even with Berd’s help. Jack joined  Ares adding his mental straight to the call.   Between them thew were only just able to open the trump and pull the others to safety as the mountainous form of the beast bore down on them.  Though the cost was high as Ares and Cyan seemed to have their sanity shaken by seeing the unimaginable horror, and Kalika collapsed physically drained by her ordeal.

       The remaining seekers spoke with the newcomer Aaron who was acting curious at best. Then the Gatherer made it’s presence known once more.

As Lazarus turns away from his companions, the whole tower rings like a vast bell and all of the Sha'a'a'anpurrkanallapa'an present fall to their knees, heads bowed to almost touch the floor. Again the sound, deafening, as though somebody has slammed the gates of Hell, and the Sha'a'a'anpurrkanallapa'an start singing in unison, counterpointing the sound of something huge slamming against the walls.
Then the ringing stops for a few moments, to be replaced by a sound like that of a bow being drawn across a badly-tuned violin string, a sound to set teeth on edge and prickle the skin on the back of a person's neck, a sound which drags on and on and on and on... seemingly forever, but which is, in reality, most likely just a few seconds.

     Their host led them down into tunnels below the earth for their protection, as stress told on the party. Lazarus and Cyan bickered as Aaron and Jack held verbal conflicts of their own.  Lazarus also figured out that the building was alive, that it protected them not only physically but psychically as well. Once below Jack and Aaron grated on each other even more as Aaron the Amberite tried to read the party with his psyche and handed out veiled threats and arrogance as if they were candy. This was the starts of Jacks slide into paranoia and lack acceptance of the games that Amberites play.

  They waited for the time of the Gatherer and it’s storm to pass, Cyan and Ares growing closer from the shared madness of the storm. Jack, Cyan and Lazarus taking care of the fallen Kalika. They all spent this time resting, but Jack also spent it working away, examining Aaron and getting an idea of just what he could do. He was something like Ares and Aaron, the pattern users. At one point Aaron and Jack almost came to blows due to Jacks over protectiveness of the downed Kalika and Aaron’s Ambrite games.
          Asking for ares help with the pattern and helping him learn who and what he was, but the Amber warrior was cautious as always and would not to it until all threat of the Gathere had gone.   In the end they all slept for a while. Ares awoke from a nightmare, and their host told them it was safe to go up. Jack and Aaron went up stairs together and Jack talked Aaron into showing him the patter which hurt him badly. Still it showed him the broken Pattern that existed inside himself.   Soon Jack walked the pattern of his mind and had memories back, broken memories, but memories none the less.  Also their host told them of his people plight.

Thus told it is in our histories that once live in a place where moved the sun across the sky we did. Came here many of our people did, to a land green and rich. Well grew the plants and crops. Warm it was then, and from the ground grew dwellings. A good place it was. Increased in numbers we did and across the land spread in our millions. Found the stone gates did we, many of them, but their secret they kept from us."
"In the time before counted was time did that happen. Long did we prosper here. Passed did one thousand seven hundred and six generations, richer than the previous one was each. Then came the Gatherer."
"Cracked the sky did, black burned the sun, and fell to ground the Gatherer did, smaller then, scarce bigger than a dwelling."
"Destroyed all was where it passed. Mountains, oceans, fields, all dust became. Changed the sun was, cold and dim, bigger. Move in the sky it did no longer. Little food we had safely stored, so created the nutritional caste we did. Bigger grew the Gatherer, and before it nothing stood, save the dwellings and the stone portals only."
Veldoma'antazaclania'antiacla'an is oddly still as it recites the tale, no flourishing hand movements. It walks in silence for a little while, then continues, "The last of our people we may be. Three hundred and twelve times now has the Gatherer returned. Failed have dwellings. Died have people, faster than hatched they are. Doomed we are."

      Outside Jack and Aaron could see the effects of the Gatherer in the distance, Now with the lens Jack could see the world was broken and cracked and heard the world calling out in pain as the Gatherer slowly destroyed and ate it. He also saw something draining power from the Gatherer though he did not understand it.  Jack and Aaron went back down and the group as a whole discussed the Gatherer. None of them could give satisfying explanations, but between Jack, Ares and Lazarus the picture painted was grim. It was an eater of worlds, entropy enceinte. Their host told them that Cylla had put some relic out in the waste to try and kill the Gatherer, it would have someone guide them out to the relic.
player, 1478 posts
Deep blue eyes. . .
Disarming boyish smile
Tue 20 Apr 2004
at 17:22
  • msg #16

Part 12 - The plot... thickens?

Part 12 - The plot... thickens?

          Once more Veldoma'antazaclania'antiacla'an leads the group upwards once more, and introduces them to another of its race, "Tn'axatholamentosha'aplanoctuop is this. Take you to the thing Cylla left it will." Tn'axatholamentosha'aplanoctuop bows and speaks, using the same intricate flowing gestures as Veldoma'antazaclania'antiacla'an, "Please to this way come. The device I will show to you." It walks out of the dwelling, and turns to the right before heading off across the sand. Eventually it stops and turns to look back towards the buildings, then moves away at a slight angle to the previous course for a short distance.
Finally it comes to a halt, "This the place is." The tall creature kneels, its legs bending once too often and in not quite the right places, and starts to scoop the sand aside to create a depression. About a foot below the surface it encounters metal, a strange blue-green material, in the form of a sphere perhaps a foot in diameter and inscribed with intricate designs and patterns inlaid with thread-thin lines of red metal. Pulses of golden light are swarming across the surface, following the red lines.
Tn'axatholamentosha'aplanoctuop leans back and says, "Bigger it is now. When first put here it was, this size it was no bigger than." It clenches a fist only slightly larger than a human one.
Private to Jack: This device is located in the same place where you saw energy arcing into the ground from the direction of the Gatherer.

       Between Jack, Lazarus, Ares and Berd, they quickly realized that the Orb had sent some kind of support down deep into the bedrock. It was also draining energy from the Gatherer and sending it out into Shadow. Despite their combined powers of Order and Chaos none of them could trace the power to it’s source. It even blew Lazarus back when he tried to follow the flow of power with a Logrus tendril.

Jack caught the edge of whatever knocked Lazarus down. It wasn't enough to affect him, but he did feel it. The sphere does not react to his own scans though, but he cannot see where the energy goes. It just seems to twist and slip away sideways through Shadow

    Jack had figured out that the energy the Gather was sending was like that of the stone circle portal, yet different. So the seekers sat for some time, until they realized that they were getting no farther with everything they were throwing at it. Cyan’s frustration grew as everyone examined the orb because other party members were unjustly dismissing ir discounting her words.  The briefly spoke of destroying the orb, but with the unknown potential consequences   and the knowledge that the could not afford to loose a member of their party they left it for the moment promising to come back and take care of it later.  unfortunately this promoted a spat between Cyan and Jack.  Jack didn’t help matters by baiting Aaron and playing to his arrogance.

   Instead the seekers quickly chose to help the natives get off this world. Talking to their host and finding out if he and his people wanted to go, they did.  So with much debate the devised a plan to get all the native people off this world. Lazarus searched out the rest of the people with his chaos tendrils and transported himself to the remaining bastions of their civilization. With some prompting words from the Bard Cyan even the most reluctant of the natives came. Then they led them back through the portal of the stone circle, to search for a land safe for the race.
This message was last edited by the player at 02:38, Wed 21 Apr 2004.
GM, 1007 posts
Renegade Lord of Chaos,
creator of the Pattern...
Tue 20 Apr 2004
at 21:24
  • msg #17

Re: Game Q & A.

[doesn't feel the need to explain his actions, but will be magnaminous]

Perhaps a certain drake would be prepared to explain why he mailed the above (very excellent) summary to me in Sweden, claiming authorship?
player, 1480 posts
Deep blue eyes. . .
Disarming boyish smile
Tue 20 Apr 2004
at 21:43
  • msg #18

Re: Game Q & A.

Ahh! The humor has returned! Great to see you Back big D! Hope you had big fun up there. :)

Keep that critter in line! Thief!
player, 132 posts
A small, lazy dragon,
Cyan's friend
Wed 21 Apr 2004
at 12:59
  • msg #19

Re: Game Q & A.

[points at himself, with a 'who, me?' expression on his scaley face....]
player, 133 posts
A small, lazy dragon,
Cyan's friend
Wed 21 Apr 2004
at 17:29
  • msg #20

Re: Game Q & A.

Aaron...........John Travolta................One Step Closer (Linkin' Park)
Andrej..........Vin Diesel...................Planet Hell (Nightwish)
Ares............Sean Bean....................Don't Fear the Reaper (Blue Oyster Cult)
Beldrin.........Christopher Lambert..........Who Are You (The Who)
Berd............James Earl Jones.............The Joker (Steve Miller Band)
                                             Dreamweaver (Gary Wright)
                                             Fallen (Sarah McLauchlan)
Cyan............Mila Jovovitch...............Going Under/Bring Me to Life (Evanescence)
Dorian..........Willem Defoe.................The Imperial March (Star Wars)
Ilsefranvir.....Majel Barrett Rodenberry.....Welcome to the Machine (Pink Floyd)
Jack............Harrison Ford (young)........Jack of Shadows (Hawkwind)
                                             King of Pain (The Police)
Jadus...........Christopher Walkin...........Never Turn Your Back on a Friend (Budgie)
Jen.............Michelle Trachtenburg........Daydream Believer (The Monkees)
Jonnee Kay......Hugh Jackman.................Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)
Kalika..........Carrie Ann Moss..............Hungry Like the Wolf (Duran Duran)
Leonardo........Johnny Depp..................People Are Strange (The Doors)
Lexy............Uma Thurman..................She's Not There (The Zombies) ;)
Serena..........Kiera Knightly...............Closer To Fine (Indigo Girls)
The Unknown.....Tim Curry....................Fire (Arthur Brown)
This message was last edited by the player at 14:36, Mon 17 Jan 2005.
player, 2350 posts
Wild, carefree bard...
...and lazy friend
Sun 6 Jun 2004
at 13:53
  • msg #21

Re: Game Q & A.

Chapter 13:  Where Gods Walk

Now that everyone was prepared to leave, the Walkers, through the use of the Cube, opened a portal to the World of Standing Stones (without a better name), and the Sha'a'a'anpurrkanallapa'an slowly passed through, finally exiting the Hell of the Gatherer...hopefully forever.

Jack proposed splitting the group, Kalika's idea originally, with some of them leading the Sha'a'a'anpurrkanallapa'an to safety, and others continuing with the quest, linked by Cyan's palanquet.  There was some disagreement in the group, discussion rather than arguement (for a change), while Hunter and Berd warned their respective friends about approaching riders.  The 'horses' turned out to be more of the carnivorous mounts favoured by Ares, and summoned by the same.  At this time, the stones and the Cube began to pulse once again with energy, perhaps due to their close proximity.

The discussion continued, with the group finally deciding to split while Ares brought the Sha'a'a'anpurrkanallapa'an to their new home.  But at that time, the Riders returned, far more politely this time, and with a surprising twist....

"Forgive me, Blessed One, I did not realise that your people had returned with these, your sorcerer-servants, to grace our land with their presence after these countless years."
Veldoma'antazaclania'antiacla'an looks at its human friends, "Saying what is he?  Understand I do not.  Why Blessed One does he call me?"
For answer the man reaches inside his tunic and pulls out a silver charm, which at first glance appears to be nothing more than an abstract piece of jewellery.  A silver oval, longest axis vertical, with a small horizontal slot at the lower end and two small oval yellow gemstones set adjacent to each other about half way up the length of the silver oval.  Realization starts to sink in soon though, this charm is a representation of the face of one of the Sha'a'a'anpurrkanallapa'an...

Apparantly, one of the Sha'a'a'anpurrkanallapa'an served the Nephillim, the wanderers who bear a suspicious resemblance to (possibly) people moving from Chaos to Amber...perhaps a newly 'created' Amber.

The people offered to have the Sha'a'a'anpurrkanallapa'an stay in this world.  It became a topic of some discussion, while the group began to attempt to iron out its differences.  Veldoma'antazaclania'antiacla'an returned to the Walkers and spoke of the decision.

"Here stay we will not.  Left here before we did, a reason there must have been for this.  If returned we did, then true are the tales of the Nephilim.  Return they will too.  Confident of this am I."
"An enemy have we, and here we will bring it not.  Your destruction would  ensured be, if came the Gatherer to this world.  Here we can stay not."

It seeks out Ares, "Our own place have we must, endanger others we will not."

Aaron and Jack's 'discussion' grew more tense, with Aaron drawing his odd weapon and revealing one of its stranger attributes.  Ares agreed to bring the Sha'a'a'anpurrkanallapa'an to a more suitable world, and contact the Walkers when he finished.  Goodbyes were said, to both Veldoma'antazaclania'antiacla'an and the Warrior, and Aaron and Jack seemed to iron out their differences.  Jack discovered that the circle of stones was the only one raised by the Nephillim; all others are merely the works of men.

The Walkers paused for discussion regarding the cube.  Finally, the Stones reached their peak, and with a fountain of light, a gate opened, onto a raging ocean and a storm-tossed liner.  Jack and Lazarus bickered over who would go, with the decision falling to Lazarus, due to his ability to shift his shape.  Cyan gave Lazarus the shirt off her back, to facilitate their travel (literally - it contained her Trump, it seemed), while Kalika fought to overcome her fear at the sight of all that water.  Lazarus set off towards the ship in the form of a falcon.

The Walkers waited for some time, before Lazarus shot back through the portal, the storm proving too much for him, suffering a broken arm in the process.  The man managed to shapeshift his arm back into a semblance of normality, while Jack attempted (unsuccessfully) to use the Cube, possibly to transport them to the ship.  After his arm was splinted, Lazarus this time chose the better part of valour, and used the Logrus to transport himself to the ship, following with Cyan's palanquet for the others.

Aboard the ship, the group found themselves in a small, cramped room (a closet).

The Walkers cautiously moved through the ship, garnering directions from a steward and finding themselves in the main dining room.  There, they gained the attention of a small group of youngsters, who were playing an odd game using dice and paper.  The Cube, again, took this moment to 'add' another facet.  Berd caught the attention of one of the teens, a girl named Jen, who offered her assistance.  One of the boys, Dave, expressed disbelief, and Kalika decided to 'encourage' his respect, with a display of sharp teeth.  Berd and Cyan took poorly to this, for their own reasons - Berd did not seem to appreciate what he thought of as intimidation of the young.  This resulted in sharp words between Cyan and Kalika, as well as threatening gestures from Hunter while the rest of the Walkers looked on.  Dave left, while Jen and Pete (her brother) did their level best to remain calm during this, continuing to offer information while remaining calm.

Unfortunately, Jack made a comment at that time which Cyan took completely wrong, and assumed it meant that both he and Kalika were ready to fight.  The situation, due to a number of misunderstandings and Cyan's small problem with imminent violence, quickly spiralled out of control.  Jen grew frightened, finally realizing how dangerous the situation could be, and placed herself in harm's way.  Fortunately, Jack was wise enough to walk away, and Kalika chose not to get involved, preventing a possibly explosive confrontation.

Aaron, unfortunately, reignited the situation by slinging fifteen feet of lethal steel into the doorframe beside Jack, narrowly missing hitting any number of people between them.

"Jack, if you leave, you will die. There is no question. Perhaps not by myself, perhaps not by Cyan or Lazarus or anyone else, but you will die eventually. Will you leave now, knowing that you left your 'friends' to perish without your help, knowing that if you had not left, you could have done something to stop our deaths?"

Aaron's laugh is cold, hard-hearted. All trace of amusement, joy, is gone from him for now. It is the laugh of a man who has taken life and liked it. The laugh of a man who, for a moment, does not give one bit of a damn.

"If I am wrong, and you are leaving for a mere moment, then let it be so, so you and your love, and Cyan, may clear your heads. Yet if you are leaving for good, and should Cyan or any of my other friends die, I personally will hunt you and find you, and make sure you know all of their sufferings and pains. I can do it. I will do it."

"This is it. We all choose, right now. Stay here, continue the path and die together, or go, divide, and die alone."

Jack's reaction was, not surprisingly, poor.  His power tore the control of the blade from Aaron, driving it from the man's hand and away.

Jack glances at the blade, stretched out from Aaron's hand to the doorframe.  Suddenly the blade rips back out of the wood and coils back on itself, narrowly missing Jen and Berd as it does so.

The blade is thrashing about like a living serpent, the sections of Pattern on the blade seeming to fragment and melt momentarily.  The blade segments snap together, and the whole thing seems to twist in Aaron's hand so fast that it drops to the floor and slides away from him on the polished floor, coming to rest under a table some fifteen feet away.

Berd immediately put all in the room, save the Walkers, to sleep.  Aaron, furious, attacked Jack psychically as the big man cleared the distance between them, taking them both to the ground in a tangle of limbs and explosive violence.

This had to end but he did not want to have to kill. If he got his hands on him to he beat the man into the floor again and again with all of his strength until he passes out. Aaron needed a time out!

Jack shrugged both mental and physical blows aside, pummelling Aaron, then finding a hold to cut off the blood to Aaron's brain, with intent to drive the man into unconciousness.  At the same moment, Kalika, furious at the attack against her beloved, moved forward with blinding speed.

Kali takes advantage of the fight to move in, her blade clearing its sheath in a heartbeat. She watches Aaron try to punch Jack and times her strike after his fist has completed its arc. She aims to sever the hand. Due payment for attacking a companion with no provocation. One of the most deadliest transgressions a person could commit to.

Cyan, still struggling to release herself from her near-baresark state, began to understand what is going on, began to understand that there had been no threat, and sensed Kalika's intent - to attack with her blade.  The Bard, appalled at how she allowed herself to cause this situation, hurtles after Kalika.

Kalika has to pause in order to time her strike correctly, and Cyan makes it just in time, diving forwards, eyes still diamond hard.

She doesn't know how strong a blade Kalika is using.  It doesn't matter.

My fault!

Berd shrieks in fear and fury.


One hand lashes out, snaking in to catch the blade as it falls.

player, 2371 posts
Wild, carefree bard...
...and lazy friend
Mon 7 Jun 2004
at 13:38
  • msg #22

Re: Game Q & A.

Chapter 13:  Gods with Feet of Clay

The confrontation ended.  Aaron lay unconscious.  Cyan counted herself lucky -  her right hand, cloven by Kalika’s blade, lost only the little finger and part of the palm.  Jack moved to assist Cyan, their difficulties forgotten, while Kalika, ever-practical, trussed Aaron.  The sudden shock of violent injury seems to have patched the rift between the Questors, but only weakly.

Aaron woke, and there was much discussion.  Eventually the decision was made to go to the infirmary.  Aaron was eventually untied (his sword peaceknotted, Gordian style, by Kalika), and Jen revived – the poor girl now far more distrusting of the wanderers.  She did, however, agree to take them to the infirmary.  Cyan’s hand was bandaged, and Aaron’s nose set; he immediately picked away at the knots on his blade.

At this time, Lexy returned on the wings of Trump.  As one of the original Questors, she was brought up on the events of the past time, while Jack searched for supplies.  Jack and Kalika spent a tender moment together, while Aaron continued to work on the knots.  Lazarus remained quiet.

Aaron, returning, attempted an apology.  Lexy had some sharp words for him, and the man left.

Before he reaches the door, he turns to Cyan and, one hand moving up behind his right shoulder, reveals a roll of unbound rope. This, he hurls to the floor at Cyan's feet.

Behind his shoulder, is the flickering hilt of the Ilse.

At this time, a being slowly began to shadow the group, quite literally.

Lazarus declared that his arm was not healing properly, and that it would require him to stay, to seek out proper healing.  Cyan accepted his apologies, and wished him good fortune, hoping to see him again, soon.  The Questors have yet to meet the mysterious man again, though.

Then Kalika and Jack reentered, as if pursued by Furies, while Aaron communed by Trump contact with his half-brother Jadus.  Berd sensed danger at this time, but Jack, oddly, assured them that it was nothing he couldn’t handle.  His manner changed completely, then, becoming strangely playful despite the gravity of the situation.  Introductions were made between Lexy and Jack, then Jack decided to take a shower.  While he did so, Cyan apologized profusely to Kalika, who accepted it, then (to the Bard’s profuse embarrassment) moved to join her lover in the shower.  Jack’s reply was odd, his voice strangely distorted, and those with enough sensitivity could feel darkness moving in the stateroom.

Outside, in the storm, Aaron continued to question his brother.  Abruptly, the contact ended, and the tired man headed back to the stateroom, sensing (as the others had) something was wrong.

Only, like the others, once at the stateroom, he could not identify the source of the sensation.

Lexy hinted to Cyan that paying too much attention to Jen might be dangerous for the girl, much as Kalika had earlier.  Cyan assured her that no thieving of youngsters was about to take place.

Then the discussion turned to Lexy’s use of the word ‘Shadow’.  Cyan disapproved of it, and Aaron chimed in with his own opinions.  Lexy explained the theory behind the Courts and Amber, and the ‘Myriad Worlds’ as Cyan sometimes call them, but Cyan was adamant about the pejorative nature of the word, and refused to use it, she, herself, being a ‘Shadow’.  From there, they discussed the Amber and Chaos view of ‘Shadowdwellers’.

Time passed, as it often does.
This message was lightly edited by the player at 13:59, Mon 07 June 2004.
player, 1767 posts
Deep blue eyes. . .
Disarming boyish smile
Tue 8 Jun 2004
at 18:55
  • msg #23

Re: Game Q & A.

Part 15 - Decisions and departures

Cyan and Lexy continue their discussion on the nature of reality, while Aaron watches the bathroom door. Lazarus continues trying to heal his arm, or to at least speed the healing process, and Jen, cradling the snoozing Berd, listens with rapt attention to Lexy and Cyan as they discuss matters which, until an hour or two ago, had been totally beyond her imagination...

After some time, Jack and Kali exit the bathroom, their hair still damp, sharing some secret joke between them. Hunter, an expression of wounded pride on his lupine features at being left outside the door, moves aside and sniffs at them as they pass. His eyes flare for a moment, and something flickers behind them...

It is time to decide where to travel next, since Aerth, while a pleasant enough diversion, does not appear to be part of the puzzle.

        As Jack departed the restroom famished and greeted everyone asking what plans they had made. Cyan came up to him apologizing  for her part in the events that lead up to his and Aaron’s confrontation. Cyan had been ready to strike Jack down before he walked away, despite his best efforts to defuse the situation.  That was why Cyan threw herself on Jack and Kalika mercy, betrayal of friendship and thinking the worst of her friends. After some talk and questioning, Jack freely gave absolution to Cyan. Accepting it as an unfortunate misadventure. If only because he had see the honest goodness that lay in Cyan’s Heart.

   As Cyan and Jack resolved any uncertainty between them Lexy whipped up some ' Culinary magic' that resembled Chinese take out.  Now that they were all together again they sat eating and discussing plans. The conversation turned to leaders as the three oldest members were pressed to make decisions . In the end the decision was made to go back to the stone circle and experiment with it, to try and figure it out.  With that goodbyes where said to Jen, and Cyan explained something of the nature of reality to her.  Though the goodbyes were unsettled by odd things happing with Jack as well.

        Back in the stone Circle Jack asked for the cube/key and Aaron stepped up to intervene as Jack had been acting strangely.  Yet the cube was handed over anyway and the experiments were ran, finding nothing as a reward. There was no way to open the gates to a specific point that the could find in their limited time.  Having failed at finding a way to use the cube to open the portal they chose Jacks suggestion of going to the side of the cube that appeared that it might be Cainia, Cylas home world. Aaron watch Jack like a hawk as the broken man seemed to act odder and odder.

         Soon there were on a snow covered mountainside looking down at a village. Lexy changed into a creature adapted to the snow with a little magic, as Jack used his own means to search the world around them.  Jack soon found a building that his powers could not penetrate. And they started for the town, but the broken man was to playful and was caught in his own personal avalanche.  The other race to the fallen man at the bottom, finding him buried in the snow and not breathing.  With great efforts Cyan manages to revive him through CPR, assisted by the others strengthening his spirit.

Once he was awake they made they way to town, with Kalika forced to be a crutch for Jack. Cyan moved ahead to talk them in through the guarded gates. A matter that was eased by the tall guards recognition of the wolf nia in Kalika. The seekers  mad their way to an in and found out that this was indeed Cani. Cyan’s loss of her finger weighed hard on her as she remembered she could not play for the in.  What is a bard without a song?  Aaron  was catching Jack’s constant remarks about need someplace dark.

           Soon they were all set up snug in the darkness of a  barn with food and blankets, someplace safe to heal. Once in the Barn shadows over took Jack, warping him into other forms, but in the end he gained control over them healing himself and becoming Jack of Shadow. Though this did little to comfort anyone else and the seekers began to grill Jack on his new found ability.  Though Cyan and Lexy seemed to relax after he explained it as best he could.  Their host came to the barn and the seekers began to ask questions of him, finding out that indeed Cyalla had been the Head mans daughter, and that  Caina means the green place. Also that Cylla’s travels had aged her greatly.

Yet the problems with Jack still seemed to weight heavily on himself and Kalika. He mentioned the warded building that the others forgot and in his frustration left the barn. Followed by Lexy, who went out to look at this warded building. Cyan went after Jack and Kalika sent hunter after him as well before running Aaron out of the barn. Cyan and Hunter quickly found, and found out that he had just gone out side to cool off and get fresh air but a storm had arisen.

Outside Arron called forth his brother Jadus with a trump. As the others came back to the barn and Jack went in a talked to Kalika. A talk that was put off when Jadus entered. Again tension of the group shot up as Aaron’s actions past and present were questioned.  Aaron’s blade Isle was made whole by Jadus, and already dangerous was now more so. Yet it would also help temper the madness that existed in the Amber man. Still the weight of constant inter party conflict was taking an unseen toll.

Jack indeed found out that Lexy had went into the building as he and Kali moved away from the others and spoke mentally. Finding a ground of trust again. Cyan tried to trump Lexy and Could not. Jadus tried to Read Jack and he also fell short. Finally because no one could find Lexy with and powers they decided to go after her in person and trudged out into the blizzard in search of her.

      Lexy’s trail ended at the warded building and upon entering everyone found that none of their powers worked. Inside the found a hand, and part of an arm that was that had a copy of the True Pattern Tatooed on it. Again Tempers Flared as people refused to even attempt to try and work together.  A split formed in the group as Cyan Jack and Kalika prepared to leave and work on their own.

Cyan’s Quote

  Quickly she throws her gear together, with the efficiency of an experienced traveller. "I am leaving," she says, loudly, to all those in hearing. She will inform Lexy via palanquet when the woman leaves the Church. "I cannot continue with this, as it stands. Hence, I will return to the place of the Gatherer, and begin my ,b>own</b> search, from there. You may keep the cube if you wish - I only need to examine it, once more." Her topaz eyes flash, the energy within her burning away her exhaustion.

"I am weary of bickering, I am weary of secrecy, I am weary of people promising to 'come clean', and then continuing the obfuscation. I am weary of ulterior motives, I am weary unto death of the way I, too, have been sucked into this morass of confusion." Finishing packing, she stands

If something did not change soon the seekers would go their separate ways.
player, 2407 posts
Wild, carefree bard...
...and lazy friend
Wed 9 Jun 2004
at 03:14
  • msg #24

Re: Game Q & A.

Chapter 16:  Fimbulwinter

The ringing of the bell altered the Questors.  They boiled from the barn and hurried to the walls, to find the men and women who would protect the settlement already there, staring directly into the teeth of the gale.  Bjeoric hailed them, speaking of the coming of the Jotenjatte, the Giants of Winter.  While Lexy flew overhead, still in beast form, the other Questors prepared themselves for battle, surveying the feeble appearing defenses.

Then the storm died.  The winds slowed.  A hole appeared in the winter, centered upon the town.  And running towards the town were the beasts of nature; mastodons, white wolves, huge reindeer, giant bears…and behind them, the Giants of Winter.  Beings of ice, fifteen feet tall, carrying massive, ice-rimed hammers and axes.

Bjeoric laughs, "Well, now ye've seen 'em!"
For some reason, even with the storm pushed back, his voice still roars, "I knowed from yer words that ye were far from 'ome, but ye must've travelled a fair way if ye didn't know of the Jotenjatte! Ignore the beasts, they're not 'ere to fight, they're just runnin' from them bastards!"
"Hah! It'll be a better fight now though, now that the 'and 'as robbed 'em of their magic!"

This did not, however, leave the Questors feeling particularly sanguine about the situation.  For each and everyone of them discovered that their magic, their inborn powers, and the energies seared into their weapons and armor had vanished.  Those shapeshifted were trapped, Lexy as a beast, Jack as a dark, shadowy man.  Aaron’s blade remained locked as a shortish sword.  Berd felt rather useless.

Lexy, however, took her attack at the Giants as they closed on the town, diving at speed and knocking one into another as Bjeoric explained their weak points to the Questors.

The form she is in is a hunter from her own world, and though this prey is large, it will be hunted by her. She circles up higher, never loosing track of these giants. And then, when she has circled high enough, she folds her wings about her, using them only to guide her descents. A white bolt shoots through the sky, angled at the giants.
It isn`t until the last moment that the wings flare out and claws strike out, ripping at eyes and face, and her full weight strikes the giant in the head.

At the same time, Hunter let out a howl towards the fleeing beasts.  What effect it would have would be known soon enough.

As the Questors prepared to hold the wall with the men and women of the village, the Alpha Wolf sent a howl of challenge back to Hunter.  Jack and Kalika searched for large logs, Jack explaining that a bit of Caber-tossing might do some good.  Aaron, unfortunately without Ilse’s calming influence, went more than a little mad .

Ilse was very, very good at covering up his insanity. So much so, that he had almost forgotten about it.

You can't fight.

But it was a physical sickness. Irrational Dementia with Homicidal Tendencies, they called it.

Accept me.

Now that Ilse was asleep for the time being, it attacked him like a migraine with a mind of its own. It had hit him fast and hard, and his sudden lack of defense faltered and fell.

Use me.

But he wouldn't fight.
Grinning, he embraced it. Became that red haze that was the desire to just make everything else stop. Raising Ilsefranvir, Aaron let out a bellow of rage, as he surged into the gigantic, lumbering entities that threatened this place. He would not find peace unless he made it himself, without the crutch that was Ilsefranvir.

The real Aaron knew that she was a weakness, but she was a useful weakness.

Small, quite small in comparison to his huge foes, this Amberite version of David charged ahead and leaped to the side as a gigantic axe crashed down beside him.

The second that axe slammed into the ground, and he made his adjustments, he lunged towards the haft of the weapon and cleaved through it just as it hit the earth. Throw enough weight into a weapon, it could very well throw you off balance if you didn't anticipate everything.

Oh, and he was attempting to anticipate everything in his red-eyed stare, for he knew that if that giant toppled, it would be forwards, and the Amberite would have to move fast.

And in the distance that was his mind, he heard laughter...

Cyan watched him attack, and realized that, alone, he would likely die.  Giving instructions that the Bjeoric defend the wall (instructions that would not be followed), she leapt to assist Aaron, knowing full well that her own baresark nature would soon rise up to swamp her.

Jack and Kalika charged into the fray as well, hefting their huge wooden weapons.  Jack, of course, chose that exact moment to propose marriage to her.

“And Kali!!! When we are done with this. . . Will you marry me!?! Before anything else. . .Can go wrong!?!”

Kali follows behind Jack and her eyes widen at his sudden question. A wild, free grin lights up her face as her answer is chased away by the wind.

"Of course... now focus on the battle so that you might survive your marriage bed!!" she calls back louding, her short legs working like pistons to draw her closer to the ice giants.

She notes Jack's lack of success with his log, but it's too late for her to abort her own log attack. Wolven eyes watch the ice hammer descend towards Jack's vulnerable form and with a cry, she summons her strength and uses her momentum to throw the log at the ice hammer. After releasing the log Kali dives forward, arms outstretched. Her vain hope is that if the log misses the descending ice hammer that she will be able to hit Jack out of the way before he is hit, but her instincts tell her she is too slow....

During all of this, Hunter battled with the white wolf for supremacy over his pack.  Cyan, attempting to assist Aaron, spotted the giants converging on the threatened lovers, and turned to assist, her baresark fury falling on her entirely.

Meanwhile Berd, flying overhead with a lantern, dive bombed a Giant…to no appreciable effect.  Lexy, on the other hand, continues to topple Giant after Giant, slowing them, and even damaging them.  The beasts, however, keep coming.

Jack, with phenomenally poor luck, had the shattered Giant’s hammer land directly atop his leg.  Still, he managed to make it to his feet…

“Damn!” Jack cursed with a wince of pain, as he kicked the handle off with his good leg.
Drawing his staff from his belt and the sword from the staff he struggled to his feet using the staff as a prop. The ice shards pouring off of him tinkling to the frozen tundra. Still he almost fell again when he put his weigh on his leg. His right leg felt like it was on fire and yet made of rubber at the same time, but he could use it. Despite the pain he rises and continues.

Continues back to the only place he knows is home, the only place he feels is safe He retreated back to Kali’s side. His blade flashes in the air as he focuses his sword play strictly on defense and parrying , only taking attacks of opportunity. These behemoths may be slow, but he knows he is no longer up to any fancy footwork. One thought on his mind, protecting his love and himself from the lethal blows of the Giants.

He knows he can not compete with any of the team members on the field in a fight, but he will lend what strength and skill he can to his bride to be’s efforts. Giving her protection, cover or at least presenting another target for the giants around her. He was here for her, and she was the only reason he stayed in the fray. Slowed and half lame he relied on his strength of Arm and Blade to keep these things at bay.

Kalika, for her part, was a terrible force among the Giants, her back protected by Jack’s strength.

This time around she plays the defensive, she sword responding to a foot aimed to kick at them or a hammer trying to crush them. Kali directs her blows so that the piececs of giant fall away from them instead of into them. She learned that lesson the hard way last time and Jack would pay the price for that after the battle ended.

Briefly she meets his eyes between slashes, gauging the pain in his face.

"You are strong to be standing on that leg... adrenaline or no" she comments, her blade whistles through the air as it moves to shatter another arm "Hunter is having some fun of this own... the other wolves will not interfere, neither should we" Kali grits her teeth "that's right... just a little closer..." she murmurs under her breath to an approaching giant.

Then her patience snaps.

Unable to curb the temptation any longer, Kali moves to a full on offense. The damned things were so slow she was tired of waiting for them. She stays close to Jack, moving like a silver haired terror, her flashing blade striking down ice giants as she dodged and whirled, jumped and attacked, parried and kicked, stabbed and rolled. Like Cyan, Kali moves in her own battle dance, but she doesn't lose herself completely, she knows she must be readily available should Jack need her.

Lexy found Berd, the little dragon almost dead from over-exertion.

Berd, panting, flops to the ground.. The cauldron, apparantly, is too much for him. With his vision greying, he considers his abdomen, and the possibility of hernia.

Then he spots Lexy, or rather, two Lexys that rapidly merge into one. He sees the rope. He can...feel her request.

Sensing that this one, at least, has a plan, he vaults into the air...


That, he knows, will hurt later. Cursing his overtaxed, weak body, and picking himself up from the snow, Berd climbs atop the cauldron and painfully flaps up to meet Lexy.

All the while, he's hoping desperately she doesn't intend for him to GRAB anything. After all...he's only the size of a large cat. If that.

Lexy, with a plan hatched in her head, had Berd take one end of a long rope to Jack...

Hunter battled the Alpha wolf...

Aaron continued his hopeless contest, alone against the enemy...

And by now the townsfolk had sortied, and found themselves surrounded by the Giants.  Cyan, trapped in her battle madness, came to their aid.

Kalika and Jack are more than capable of demolishing the Giants around them. Ice crystals fill the air as the small, silver-haired woman and her powerful rearguard smash their way through their shadow-clothed enemies.

Cyan's eyes fall on the townsfolk. Hopelessly overmatched, and trapped on the hill.

Kirilinde is a hindrance in this kind of battle. Disengaging easily from the enemy she now battles, eyes shining like the fragments that fly from each of Kalika's blows, Cyan spots the weapon she needs. A backhanded sweep of the arm, casual, and her blade is out of her hand, slicing the air like a bolt from a crossbow to hammer dead center into the icy chest of one of the Giants, shattering it. Sprinting full out towards the hill, leaving her own enemies behind, the bard skids next to a massive, ice-rimed axe, lying on the ground beside a broken mass of ice. No doubt one of Jack or Kallika's earlier victims.

Her hands, protected by the gloves, reach down. Pain spikes her right arm then, but it is lost in the wildness within her mind.

The huge axe is like a timber in her arms, but one she can grip. Barely. Not like a weapon, but more of a ram. It will slow her down, make her vulnerable. It will also allow her to sweep into the enemy's rear like a wave, opening a hole. A route which Bjeoric and his men might take to reach the wall again.

Acceptable, her mind deems this, and she charges, the axe aimed to hammer into the small of one Giant's back, hugged in her arms to allow her to spin, moments later, striking the knees of those Giants around her.

Aaron fell, battered down by the Giants attacks, but the townsfolk took heart, Jack and Kalika broke free and came to their aid, and Hunter, leading the wolves, charged to the attack.  Jack took hold of one end of the rope, brought to him by Berd, and he and Lexy began laying giants low.  Jadus, having entered the conflict, attempted to drag Aaron’s body from the battlefield.

Aaron founds himself lost within his own mind, tormented by spectres of his own devising...and during the battle, a shard of ice ripped into his eye, destroying it.


Within ten minutes the giants, now only a third or less of their original number, are being forced back towards the trees, harried by wolves and stalked by men and more powerful things. More of the ice monsters are slain during their retreat.

OOC – I highly advise everyone read the fight – it’s good. :)

The Questors, in various states of wounding and exhaustion, dragged themselves back to the barn.  They huddled there, trying to bandage themselves, when Bjeoric arrived, bringing spiced cider, lanterns, and supplies.  The man, obviously, was pleased with them, and offered his assistance.  At the same time, the power vanished from the air, and all felt their abilities return.  Lexy and Jack immediately resumed their normal forms, and Berd began to heat the barn.  Jadus asked for assistance from Lexy, and placed a creature within Aaron’s eye socket – one that would eventually make connections with Aaron’s brain, hopefully giving him the equivalent of an eye of his own…albiet possibly with certain, odd abilities.  Jack had noticed that something was wrong between Kalika and Hunter, and the Chunchee woman explained that, having won leadership of the pack, Hunter, dissatisfied with the situation between himself, Kalika, and Jack, might very well decide to stay.  Cyan inquired as to Cylla, and the tale came out.

”Where ter start? The beginin' see, ain't really the beginin'." Bjeoric frowns, then takes a deep breath, "It starts, I suppose, five 'undred years ago, or more, when the Jotenjatte first came. Well, first came this time. They's been 'ere afore that, d'ye see? They came down out o' the far north, an' they brung the winter with 'em."
"In ten years the people were near wiped out. The crops failed, the game beasts ran off from the cold an' perished when they could go no further south because o' the sea."
"The Jotenjatte raided towns, and brought storms an' ice with 'em. Caina looked ter be doomed. Their gaze could freeze a man's 'eart in 'is chest, or drain 'im of the will ter fight."

"Just when all looked ter be lost, a ball o' blue fire fell from out o' the sky one night, an' 'it the slope o' the mountain. Some o' the men went ter see, and they brung back the 'and that ye saw in the church."
"It were a miracle. One o' the priests found that the 'and robbed the rimfrostejatte o' their magic. With the 'and workin' it's own spell, men could stand an' fight 'em."
"But the 'and's magic got weaker as time went on, as if it were dyin'... "

"Now Cylla's gran'mam 'ad the Old Craft in 'er blood, an' she passed it ter Cylla's mam, who then passed it down ter Cylla. Cylla 'ad the gift o' Sight too, it seemed, an' one day, when she were about eight or nine year old, she told 'er dad that a one-eyed man was comin' ter Caina, with gifts fer 'er, that'd also be gifts fer the town, but that she'd 'ave ter go away afore the townsfolk could get their share."
"Sure enough, a week later, 'e turned up at the gate, large as life an' twice as ugly. An old man with one eye, an' a leather bag slung over 'is shoulder. He found Cylla's dad an' gave 'im the bag. Told 'im that when she were ready she'd ask fer the bag, an' if he didn't give it ter the girl, then the town'd die inside of a year. Then 'e left, though none saw 'is goin', an' the bag were all but forgot fer ten year or more."

"Then, one day, Cylla went ter see 'er dad an' asked fer the bag. She said as 'ow she 'ad ter take it away with 'er or the town'd die. Well, Ulfric is the hetman, 'is duty is ter the town first, second an' last. So 'e gave 'er the bag an' all it 'eld, an' sent 'er on 'er way, d'ye see?."
"Well, a little while after that, the 'and started ter get stronger again, started ter grow too, an' folk reckoned as 'ow Cylla was doin' it fer the town, maybe usin' what were in the bag."
"Ulfric see, 'e were worried, so when 'e first 'ad the bag off o' the old man, 'e asked a few folk around town what they thought o' the stuff in it."
 "Let's see, it were ten year since I saw it... Ah, yes. There were some metal balls, smaller than my fist... " "I'd say about the same size as yer man's fist there, Miss." (indicating Jack) "Oh... an' a die with no numbers on it, just a picture o' the mountains, and another place, strange buildin's. Didn't look too close at that die though, made my eyes water, it did. Small it were, no bigger than the end o' my littlest finger, but it were more than just the size o' the thing that made it 'ard ter see clear. There were somethin' queer about it, if ye get my meanin'?"

The balls, of course, were similar to the spheres of the Gatherer.

When Cyan showed the cube to Bjeoric, he identified the city of glass towers as the original face of the cube, along with the mountains.

Cyan informed Bjeoric of Cylla’s death.  The Innmaster and warrior left them for a while, and they discussed the happenings.  The Questors discussed telling all to the people, but letting them know that their defense drew power from another world’s death seemed...terribly harsh.

An agreement was brought forth between those who remained – to keep nothing back from each other, to tell all.

Lexy and Jack attempted to iron out their differences, and failed.  Aaron, still unconscious, was regarded with much suspicion.  He then woke, and Jadus explained the current situation to him.  Jack and Lexy continued to argue, while Kalika spoke with Jadus concerning Aaron.  Here Arianne, Ilse, stepped in to the conversation as well, adding her own opinions and observations to the scene.  Cyan reminded everyone (as Jack had) that this was a slow World, and all of the requests for rest, now, would have them months behind in other, quicker worlds.  They needed to move, and move now.  She also made the point that she simply would NOT travel unless everyone could agree on openess, and that trusting Aaron would be more than a little difficult.  She then left to speak to Bjeoric, and tell him of the source of the power of the Hand.

Back inside the Bard, Lexy and Jack finally managed to come to an understanding, Lexy admitting to Jack’s point, and asking his forgiveness.  Jack accepted it, and Lexy wandered after Cyan.  Aaron and Jack discussed being in the Ass Club, and Jadus left his brother to his own devices.  Jack queried Aaron on himself, looking for explanations, which Aaron attempted to provide.

In the Inn, the men sung of Beowulf, and Cyan sadly explained the story of the Gatherer to Bjeoric.  The man was horrified at the news.  He vowed not to use the hand, instead to find another way.

”Ye say that others are bein' 'armed that we might live? Folk that we know nought about?" Bjeoric almost seems to shrink in on himself, "This is bad. We thought Cylla'd set a spell ter make the 'and stronger. If we'd known that she'd set a monster ter feedin' it... "
He shakes his head, his jovial grin gone for now, "That's wrong... It brings shame on us. Cylla has brung others into our fight, an' they're dyin' instead o' us."
"Thanks ter ye fer tellin' me, Miss. I reckons as we'll have a few years afore the giants come back again. I'll spend them years tryin' ter find another way ter fight the buggers."

Cyan vowed she would return to assist them, then said her goodbyes, as did Lexy.  Bjeoric wished them fortune, saying that their success could save the honor of his people.

Meanwhile, Jack suggested entering Aaron’s mind to determine his trustworthiness.  Aaron declined the offer.

Lexy offered to take the Walkers to another, faster world.  Jack and Kalika agreed to the terms of the agreement as well.  Aaron was still not trusted, but the Questors chose to take him as far as the next world, to at least give him a chance to find a way to regain their trust while they rested.

Then Lexy reached out with the Logrus....
This message was lightly edited by the player at 12:20, Wed 09 June 2004.
player, 2460 posts
Wild, carefree bard...
...and lazy friend
Sun 13 Jun 2004
at 03:34
  • msg #25

Re: Game Q & A.

Chapter 17: Interlude in Bredaniant

…and there they were.  The brokendown ruins of a castle stood around them, in a landscape so full of wild beauty that the Scottish Highlands would go Irish with envy.  Waiting for the Questors was a pile of supplies, firewood, a lit fire, and other essentials.

Lexy took a moment to speak of the history of the place.

"Before you is the fortress of Dakai Pass. Dakaihold was it's name once, when there where people around to remember it." She looks at the crumbling fortress,and begins walking towards it.
"This was once a trade route bewteen two great cities."
She points down the road, away from the fortress. "Go that way for a few days, and you'll find the ruins of a large city by the sea. Shezka was it's name, and it was the main supplier of goods for the cities over there." she point to the other end of the road. "War came to this place. Shezka was destroyed. Without their point of supply, the people of this mountain kingdom began to die out. A few Thanes took some of their people and left. The rest stayed, and eventually died. The mountains are dotted with abandoned villages, towns, and a few ruined cities. It's actually a very interesting story. Eventually, the invaders moved on. From what I've been able to piece together, there was a great battle far to the north. There, great magics or weapons where unleashed, for when the smoke cleared, nothing was left. The sea had reclaimed what had once been a thriving kingdom. There are some islands left, but nothing there conforms to the maps I've seen. Then, I don't know what happened. The people just began to die out. There are still people in this world. You have to travel far over the ocean to find an inhabited place. But they do stil live there, most of them completly unaware of the great tragedy that took place here."

Realizing his presence disturbed the others, Aaron moved out of the keep and pondered his former home, San Anyn, while conversing regarding their place in the group with Ilsefravnir.  Cyan slept.  Jack and Kalika did likewise, arms around one another.  Lexy sat and read.  Cyan woke, left, and commenced work on her palanquet.  Jack woke, and chose to make breakfast.  Cyan returned, and Kalika joined them, with Aaron’s arrival putting a bit of a damper on things.

Lexy chose that time to divulge her background – from the Courts of Chaos, now in a self-imposed Exile.  Aaron decided that it would be best if he spoke next.  He spoke of San Anyn, his place in that World, and the insanity that had come over him, there.

[OOC - For detailed information on each character’s background, refer to the actual chapter.  Summaries cannot do proper justice.]

Ilse explained, as best she could.

"San Anyn had been hit by this insanity over a thousand years ago. It took at least that long to build up to such an extent as to nearly envelop the entire Shadow," Ilse now speaks. "The only thing keeping the folk within from totally falling apart were the eight members of the Protectorate. One person from each province, usually their Lord or Lady, was bound to one of the Sjardring, the Weapons of Soul and Mind. At their head and Lord of the eighth province, was my very first Master, Ostweil."

"The Sjardring were created when the first insanity hit the initial kingdoms, right at the highest representations of government. I was one of the first, and along with my seven other 'siblings', were connected to those so cursed. These first eight became the Protectorate, and we did our best to quell the spread of the madness."

Aaron’s tale also revealed his age – nearly one hundred and twenty three years old.  It was a long story,  pausing at a point with Aaron being named Lord of San Anyn, and his eventual flight from the Land, searching for a means to put an end to the madness and chaos.  Aaron offered to open his mind to any and all who wished to verify his state of mind.  Some brief discussion took place then, with tempers rising among the Questors, most of them uncertain as to how they might trust even a probe of Aaron’s mind, when nothing would prevent things from changing again in the future.  Lexy, however, agreed to perform the task, refusing all offers to observe, and stating that trust must be given as well as earned.  She did, however, have an ace up her sleeve in case of danger.

While Aaron was open to the group, Jack asked certain questions and Aaron answered, thusly (flavor text removed for ease of transcription):

“One!  Why are you here on this quest Aaron? What are your goals? Do you even know what the Quest is?”
“Two!  Is that thing in your eye socket a link to your brother, will it betray us even if you do not?”
“Three!  Will you devote yourself totally to the team and the quest? You do nothing without advising and speaking to one of us, full disclosure. A perfect team, no room for these arrogant games. Are you honestly trust worthy?”

"One: I intend to stay along with the group for as long as I am able. It is already apparent that you need assistance with your quest. Since I have skills that would assist you as a group, and it seems that I am growing in strength, I see nothing but a positive outlook in that respect. Also, I may be able to find the woman who harmed me while on this quest. The Pattern seems to have a habit of dropping such things across my path."
 "Two: My eye is of little consequence. As far as I can see, the only thing it's able to do is allow me to view you as I would normally. I sense nothing out of the ordinary from it. As to what Jadus would do, well, how can I say? I can't read his mind. You may be able to, Jack, but I cannot."
"Three: I will act towards this group in a manner befitting one of its members. However, in the event that something happens within the group that would endanger myself, I will act accordingly in my own defense. In comparison, I would do the same for the rest of you. I will, of course, consider everything that occurs within the light of its effect upon myself and the group as a whole. As for making you all aware of my plans, well... I've no plans save to clear my mind of this foolishness and continue our journey. And who can say what may occur in the future, Jack? Uncertainty is part of life."

The Mindprobe began while the others waited.

Lexy called to the others, asking them to join her in Aaron’s mind, that she had discovered the source of the madness.  Cyan placed her sword in the shapeshifter’s keeping, then laid a hand on Lexy’s shoulder.  Outside, a storm began to gather.  Jack, too, entered Lexy’s mind.

When the journey ends, the pai find themselves in a small area, a small grassy hill, where three mental images are standing. One is obviously Aaron, who seems pained, but whole. The other is a young child, holding Aaron's hand. Long blonde hair, ancient eyes. It's not hard to determine that the 'child' is Lexy, as she chooses to project herself. She seems unharmed, just concentrating on something. On clopser inspection, there is a thread of violet light that seems to connect Lexy to the third person.
The last person in the trio is harder to determine. Surrounded by a shifting cage of shifting light and darkness, it's where Lexy's gaze is locked. Inside is a woman whose features are hard to make out. She's short, and the lights of the cage she is trapped withing seem to have clothed her in shifting shadows, aided by her raven hair.

*Jack. Cyan.* comes the child-like mental voice of Lexy. *Meet Aaron's madness. This is what has tainted his thoughts and actions. And this is what Aaron muct overcome in order for his mind to once more be whole. But battle is harder within your own mind, where memories of the past can be all powerful. So, you are here, as I am, to help Aaron. Give your strength to him, so that he may face this ghost, and vanquish her.*

The mental image of Jack is just Jack, seemingly nothing more or less. Then again the shadow man has never had any pretences. He knows you do not have to form images of armor to be defended. Those were for weaker minds, and his mind saw the realities around them that sat behind the images projected

Like Jack, Cyan remains much the same but even more so, down to carrying Kirilindë here.
This isn't because of any skill, or ability, or knowledge of psychic conbat. This is merely due to ignorance, and the fact that, no matter where she is, Cyan cannot be anything but Cyan.

Jack, Cyan, and Lexy are to lend Aaron their strength, for this is something that only he can finish.

The battle began.

As each member of the group manifested themselves, his once sillhouetted form gained far more clarity, until he was completely represented as they usually see him. His clothes seemed more fitting to one of Amberite blood, and were that same aquamarine that Lexy had seen in his thoughts previously. He straightened himself and seemed to gain strength as he felt out each of the members of the group.

There is so much I wish I could say to all of you for this. comes his echo from everywhere, but feelings of thankfulness and honesty are felt by all nearby.

In seconds, his right hand darts out from his side, and the sword form of Ilsefranvir appears within his hand. At this manifestation, the woman within the cage reaches forwards, slamming her hands against the magical field. She gnashes her teeth, and for the first time, her voice is heard. It is high pitched, but easy to make out.


I ask that you do not fear her, nor I, nor what I am about to do. For the benefit of all of you, I summon the Sjardring.


Now another woman appeared with them as the blade in his hand vanished. She was about Aaron's height, her long, golden hair tied into a tight braid that hung down the length of her back. She wore a long flowing dress of white, and her feet were bare. She turns, looking to each of the members in turn, green eyes flickering. She seems to be very beautiful, but in the mind, how can one be truly sure?

It is good that you are here to help him. I thank you. You need not fear, for madness is what I was created to fend off. Your defenses are sure, especially you, Jack of the Dark Well, but all men can succumb to even the slightest of memories.

She turned and raised her right hand, and a feeling of utter calm overcame each member within the group. While this power encompassed only the mind of Aaron, all the others felt it, and were bolstered by this protection. It was less of a feeling, and more of a solid, understood fact. Distantly, a dark blue haze was seen at the edges of the black oblivion that extened past the island they stood upon.

Now the woman in the cage laughed, and Aaron spoke.

Cyan, I believe her name was Melanie... though, now I have my doubts. She had a different name. he raised his head, and searched the eyes of the woman in the cage. Slowly, he stepped forwards, and took hold of one of her hands.

Instantly, her face changed to one of joy and desire, and she placed her other hand upon his.

Oh yes. You do remember me, my love. Come to me now, yes.

But Aaron yanked upon her hand, pulling it through Lexy's field. The woman's body slammed into it with a yell of pain, and Aaron released her, where she slid back into its confines.

You are nothing to me. You represent nothing but madness. Jadelynn, though you weaken me, you weakened yourself more by striking out against me. I have suffered long enough with your presence in my mind, for I know now that you are not merely a memory, but Jadelynn's actual representation. A hook you placed in my mind, that you have drawn upon whenever you felt the need to be amused.  I can feel you now. I know you are far away from me, but I know you are experiencing this as if you were actually here.

As the woman rose, Aaron and the rest of the group now felt another mind connect with them, and it was in fact coming from the magical cage. Melanie... no, Jadelynn, had been secretly connected to Aaron all this time. And he didn't understand it until now. All they felt was malice and anger emerging from the woman, malice... and the babbling of thousands of voices.

Instantly, they felt the mind reduce the connection and the voices, thankfully also reducing in number and volume, as if power had been sapped from her. The woman in the cage cowered for a moment, her eyes suddenly flaring bright yellow before fading. Arianne thrust her right hand forwards, and the shield she formed strengthened itself.

She is leaving. Her power is... quite considerable, even from this distance. Yet... she only wishes to move away. That is all I feel.

Now Aaron moved forwards, and Jadelynn stood as he penetrated Lexy's field. Suddenly, a billowing, surging force of black erupted from around Jadelynn, but Aaron scoffed.

Woman, cease this foolishness. The people who are backing me cannot be harmed by your madness. If you saw the madness that Cyan or Jack have seen, you would understand that your power is nothing in comparison. His hand shot out and siezed Jadelynn by the throat. She screamed and reached, and the blackness surged forwards, instantly encompassing them both in a cocoon of darkness. It was kept from the outside only by Lexy's field, and now each other member of the group heard one thing enter their mind.

Help me.

Aaron’s will, bolstered by Cyan, Lexy, and Jack (and his powers) proved sufficient to drive Jadelynn away.

This is my mind, and it belongs to none other! his words flow out, and the land beneath his feet falls away, so the shield tops a massive hole. Aaron floats there, holding her high above the void.

Here is where all my memories die, Jadelynn. This is the oblivion that is forced forgetfullness, the same oblivion I placed upon Ilsefranvir without my knowlege. I know of it now, and can use it when I feel the need. I feel the need now!

Jadelyn hisses in his hands, spitting and clawing her nails at his face. Though she slashes and scars him, causing him to bleed, he, and everyone else present, know that those scars and that pain cannot compare to the guilt he feels about his prior actions. The things he did to eveyone now watching. Even now, that guilt slowly makes itself known, reverberating towars them all like a recently struck bell.

That only serves to strengthen Aaron more, as a memory flickers there, Cyan there, losing her hand. Scowling, Aaron suspends Jadelynn above the void, and the blackness about the group begins to take on a sun-like glow.

With a final shake of the woman, Aaron places her face before his.

Jadelynn smiled a syrup-sweet smile, and her eyes seemed to glitter.

You are nothing.

With a sigh, Aaron shook his head.

And you will always be less than what I have.

Aaron threw his arm down, thrusting Jadelynn into the abyss with all his might. As he did so, he let out a powerfull yell, and sealed the void of his memory. In seconds, a blast of light and Jadelynn's piercing scream blinded and deafened all those not within Lexy's shield.

The group immediatly felt the intruding mind instantly disappear. It was there for one moment, screaming with a thousand voices, and then it was there no longer. The sudden silence was deafening.

As the glow dissipated, Aaron was seen on his knees, his head bowed. His body shuddered, as sobs emerged from him, and those were heard as hearing returned.

Knowing that he would remember the consequences of his actions, Aaron could no longer remember what madness was like.
He knew of Jadelynn, of her powers, and the things that he had done... but, he no longer knew how insanity felt.
His sadness was deep, for he felt the pain of knowing that he had been used to cause such great harm.
Yet hope bloomed in the distance, a flaring white. Hope that he could heal the wounds he had caused, and in the process, gain strength through his ordeals, and all that which the group as a whole would encounter.

Yes. I can do that much. And more.

Turning his head, he rose. Taking in the sight before him, Aaron looked to the others and nodded.

That and more. And not alone. Never alone. If it wasn't for all of you being here, I would not have been able to complete the healing.

He lowered himself to his knees, in his mind, though he felt he should do it in person. Bowing his head to them, he spoke.

Thank you all. For this, and all of your patience. Let this pain be finished between us, so that healing may begin. I, Aaron of Amber and San Anyn, speak this as an Anynian Protector, and a Son of Amber, on the word of both my homes and all within them.

Aaron was healed, but answers were still required.  Aaron answered as best he could, informing them that they had also made a dangerous enemy today.  Par for the course, for the Questors.  Kalika was only happy to get Jack back, unharmed, and accepted Aaron.  Lexy was more than willing to agree.  Cyan, after a few questions were answered, resolved to drop her past disputes with the man and start anew.  Jack agreed that it was sufficient, and that he would trust Aaron.

Cyan spoke of her past, then, as short as it was, and explained the nature of her experience, her skills, and her strengths.

[Again, too long to compress, read up.]

Lexy had a few questions regarding Berd, and received unspecific answers – it seemed that there were some things about the little dragon that Cyan did not know, and perhaps the dragon himself was in the dark.

Berd's head comes up, and he stares at her quizzically, eyes glittering. She looks at him, then away. "I believe he may, at one time, have been far more than he is now. Perhaps he begins to regain...." The Bard's voice trails off.

Berd yawns again, uncaring, and puts his head down. Cyan frowns wryly, and shrugs, her good humour flooding back. "In any case, that is the extent of what I know." Rolling her head back, she stretches, then places her sword at her side.

Suddenly the storm without returned, doubling in fury.  It seemed it had evolved somehow, into one of the dreaded shadow storms, deadly to all within its radius.  Lexy summoned the Logrus, to speed them away…

And then that's it, there is no more time for words as the world around them begins to shift as Lexy outraces the shadow storm...
...breakfast table in an otherwise empty room...
...drawn shades, the room darker... gone now, replaced by a city around them...
...steel girders, tumbling...
...dogs walking their pet humans...
...a tree that seems to have an apetite for flesh reaches out for them...
...a barren place, all wind blasted rock... greenery all around...
...hushed silence in a cathedral...
...slowing now, an ampitheatre...
...a small lake... island in the centre of the lake...

And this is where the group winds up. The grass is green, with a grey tinge to it. The vegetation here seems to have very wide leaves, to catch a weak sun. A definate nip to the air, and a feeling of lightness. In the waters around is the sinuous flowings of serpent like things.

Discussion ensued regarding Shadow Storms, while Kalika and Jack considered a ‘Triad Ceremony’, something critically important to them and Hunter.  Shifting shape to a wolf, Kalika loped off to disappear into the wilderness of the island.  Jack shifted to a wolf of shadows, and followed.

Kali looks up and goes up on her tip toes to kiss Jack on the cheek. She then steps away from his side and looks at the others.

"It is obvious that my strengths do not lie in 'World Walking' or Shadow Storms. While I would rule nothing out, the chances of that Storm being caused by an enemy of myself of my people is extremely slim" she takes a breath and looks out a long the waters again "I need to take some time for myself. Hunter will stay to listen for me if more stories are shared or if I am needed" her gaze falls on Aaron with that last statement "I will tell my short tale in the morning"

Being done with her piece, Kali looks at Jack and smiles an honest, heartfelt grin that lights up her face and makes her affection towards him clear. And then she is melting, her body shrinking down, the lines of her form blurring as she reshapes herself. In moments a small silver furred female wolf sits where Kali once stod. With a soft yip, the wolf turns and lopes towards the interior of the island.

It was an easy decision, all they could do is theorize and conjecture. At least that was all he could do. Even though no question was asked, he knew the answer and where he was to go “Hunter, Please let Kali know if I am needed.” He smiled at the others “I’ll tell my story then as well.”

Though it was daylight and his power was not at it’s height the shadows from inside his very cloak darken and begin to writhe tendrils reaching out and flowing over him as he jogs after the his Chunchee love. He is powerful enough to change in the light. The shadows flow over him folding and shifting his form, becoming more beast than man until he bound forward landing on four huge paws. This time he is more lupine then last time he tried this form, but traces of the dire wolf can be seen still. His massive size for one, and a midnight black wolf that is Jack races off after the svelte silver one unerringly, with barely a glance back.

He will not be left behind, unless she wishes it. They would prepair together, he would be there for her, just as doggedly as she was for him.

[OOC – ‘Doggedly’… :)]

More discussion ensued, regarding the Logrus, and to where they might travel next.  People rested, Lexy played her instruments, Cyan worked on the palanquet and Aaron tried to discover more of his abilites with the Pattern.

Eventually night fell, and the three humans (?) and one dragon found themselves alone around the campfire, still waiting for Kalika, Hunter, and Jack.  Time passed, with much campfire discussion of a most odd nature.

Then Jack, Kalika, and Hunter returned.  Kalika immediately went to sleep.  Jack confessed that some kind of ceremony had been carried out, but would not discuss it further.  Hunter and Berd eyed each other, while Cyan drank brandy and Aaron played with a bowl.

[ooc – Sorry – lots of character interaction that has no place in a summary, really]

Then contact.  Someone was using a palanquet, attempting to bespeak Cyan.  After warning all and sundry, the Bard prepared herself (as did the others, in their own particular and nasty fashions), and opened herself to the contact.

Cyan nods, noting Kallika's calm, relaxed stance, able to flow rapidly to do whatever she requires. It's a far cry from the tension filling the air around the Bard from the others. She smiles, faintly - she didn't need any reminder that the woman is far more skilled and prepared for sudden violence than the others, but it help, sometimes, to know who had your back.

Aaron, Ariane, Jack, Hunter, Kallika, Lexy. Her bard's mind settles them in a file, alphabetically.

And, of course, Berd. But then, he is always out of order.

"Very well," she says quietly, and opens her mind to the contact. "Good evening," the bard says, apparently to the empty air.

This message was last edited by the player at 03:35, Sun 13 June 2004.
player, 2463 posts
Wild, carefree bard...
...and lazy friend
Sun 13 Jun 2004
at 18:57
  • msg #26

Re: Game Q & A.

Chapter 18: Who Goes There?

Cyan, accepting the contact, spared no time in informing the others that none other than Ares bespoke her, and that he came to them with danger on his heels.  Enter stage left, pursued by Furies.  As the Questors scrambled to ready themselves, she brought Ares to them, mounted.  The impact drove her from her feet, but she was up and ready as the Enemy began to follow.

For a moment which seems to last an eternity, Cyan stands with one hand outstretched, surrounded by a rainbow nimbus of shimmering light...

A black gloved hand reaches down from the air and grasps hers...
... and suddenly the bard is hurled across the campsite by the force of Ares' arrival, and Lexy staggers sideways but manages to retain her footing. Ares tries to rein in the wild-eyed, sweat-lathered horse, but the panic-stricken beast crashes on for several more paces, leaping over the fire and only stopping when it lands heavily and crashes to the ground, it's tongue lolling out over razor-sharp fangs, laboured breathing staining the sand blood red, the pounding of its racing heart clearly audible to those nearby.
The black-armoured man, thrown clear as the horse fell, scrambles to his feet, and it can be clearly seen that something has punched through the metal below his ribs on the left side. Blood is flowing freely from the opening. His face is pale, and he is sweating profusely.
The horse, too, attempts to rise, but shrieks in terror before collapsing again, dead before it hits the ground.

Ares looks around, and scoops up a sword from where it landed, then takes up a ready posture...

"They should be here any moment now. They even managed to track me through a Hellride and... ah... " he nods towards a shimmering in the air, almost like a heat haze, "This will be them now."

The air seems to swirl and twist, then a vertical black line appears, thin as a thread, reaching from the ground to a point some eight feet above it. There is a ripping noise, and the "thread" widens into an oval of black, and a moment later a dozen or so red-robed, hooded figures leap through, each taller than a man and armed with a vicious hook-bladed sword!

Without hesitation they fan out to attack.

Kalika drew first blood, her carefully thrown weapon taking one down before it entered the fray.  As the Enemy closed, the Questors finally received a good impression of what they fought.

The robed figures, roughly a dozen in number, scatter (all except one, who drops with the hilt of Kalika's dagger protruding from the opening of his hood). They seem to be communicating, although their language consists of whistles and clicks, and is impossible to decipher.
As they move near the fire, the flickering light illuminates the interior of some of the hoods, revealing dark-scaled faces and yellow eyes with cruciform pupils. Their mouths are filled with needle-like teeth.

Aaron, Ares, Cyan, and Kalika engaged them fully, with Jack backing them up psychically and Lexy prepared to move in if necessary.  The blond woman, unfortunately, found herself attacked, as there was no way that only four could keep twelve from overrunning the open campsite.  Jack shifted form, and kept within the shadows, using his words of power and psychic abilities to harry their attackers, and leap in to aid Lexy.  Hunter moved in to tear at those battling Kalika, while Berd silently continued to assist in secret ways.

Then Berd sent warning to Cyan that something else had come, and moved towards their location.

At that very same moment, one of the creatures battling Kalika spat a venomous saliva into her face, blinding her and taking her from the battle completely, the brutal agony driving consciousness from her mind.

The black liquid hits her fully in the face, settling across her eyes like some type of gortesque mask, and it burns. An intense burning, a terrible burning. Caught completely by surprise, pain and anger drives Kali to complete the blow with a loud scream that is part anger, part triumph, but mostly pain. Instinctively she, wipes her eyes with her arm and opens her eyes to see if the blow hit, would she have to try to defend herself against it? The instant she opens her eyes the burning becomes an intense searing that drops her to her knees with a small gasp of pain. She bloodied sword hits the ground with a dull thump besides her as she teeters, fighting the searing inferno that eats at her face. Her mind is a screaming mess of pain, unable to focus. She hears Hunter howling, echoing her pain as she echoed his success. Jack is hit with it, too. A burning, singing heat that eats at his eyes and skin around it. The pain is intense, a maddening pain. And then, it is gone.

Kali falls lifelessly to the ground, joining her blade on the blood slicked grass, unconsciousness offering the only respite from the searing, burning poison on her face.

Jack leapt to her aid, and the remaining creatures were disposed of in seconds by the Questors in a flurry of swordplay.  The Logrus, under Lexy’s will, reached out and captured one of the last, in order to take a prisoner.  Kalika, with Jack’s help, awakened, but her eyes were severely damaged – she had been completely blinded.

And then, to everyone’s surprise, Jen, from aboard the ship, stepped out of the bushes, lost and confused.  Cyan rose to greet her, and suddenly held a blade to her, warning her not to move as Berd, in a very rare loquacious moment, informed the Questors that this was certainly NOT Jen.  While Jack guarded Kalika, Lexy and Aaron moved to back up Cyan.

Then something tore Cyan from her feet, sending her tumbling away, while brilliant flames engulfed Lexy.  The prisoner punched Aaron in the face, straight in his oft-abused nose, and then the Enemy struck at it, tearing it to pieces to deprive the Questors of their answers.

And the Enemy revealed itself….

... a form which seems to be composed of living flame, heat, lightning and wind, with a voice like molten steel being poured into the listener's ears.

An invisible force held the Questors back from the creature.  None could approach it to lay a weapon upon its quasi-real form, though Ares attempted throwing his…proving only that such physical attacks merely passed through the being.  Aaron attempted to summon the Pattern to defend himself, Berd skittered away to (apparantly) hide, while both he and Cyan spoke to the creature, through her.  Lexy, terribly injured, simply attempted to keep herself alive.  But it was Jack, his powerful spirit supported by Kalika, who stood forward to defend them.

Laughter rolls across the campsite, and it seems as though it has weight, a terrible weight which pushes everybody to their knees, save one. Jack staggers, but then stands firm.
The voice seems now to contain a little grudging respect, "BUT ARE YOU STRONG ENOUGH?
Jack is lifted from the ground, as if in the grasp of some giant. He is wrapped in coils of white fire, and wheels of light and dark are orbiting around him.

Slowly, despite Jack’s cunning strategies against it, the creature began to break down his mental walls.  Blood began to flow from his nose as the damage built.  Suddenly the lost man shouted a word of power, and at that moment Berd’s plans came to pass, as the minds of Aaron, Cyan, Kalika, and Lexy were joined with Jack’s, to pass their strength to his.

The entity seems to flinch under the impact of Jack's shouted Word, and in that moment Jack feels the minds of Kali, Hunter, Cyan and Aaron touch his own and feed their strength into him.
The wheels fly away from him, fading as they go, and the bonds shatter, but Jack does not fall. Instead he drops gently to the ground. Shadows flow across the ground, out from under the bushes and rocks around the campsite, swirling around the man like living things. Wrapping him in an umbral cloak, the shadows conceal Jack in darkness, except for his eyes which burn brighter than the sun of this world.

Briefly, or maybe for an eternity, the forces in the clearing are balanced: light and dark, fire and ice, both holding each other at bay, neither side able to gain the advantage over the other. The companions are buffeted by powers which attempt to swat them down, but each time that happens, the creature which opposes them feels its defences buckle and is forced to turn back to protecting itself.
There is a change in its manner, an aura of fear, a sense of desperation.

Suddenly it seems to fold in on itself, burning brighter as it dwindles, until finally there is a human form there, as shrouded in light as Jack is in darkness, its eyes like fragments of the void between the stars.
"Enough! I yield!"
The creature stops trying to attack, pulling its energies back into a crystalline shell around itself, clearly visible to all through Jack's eyes...

Jack sent wave upon wave of fury and power into the being, trying to force it to give up its secrets.  The creature tried to obfuscate, but its attempts were easily seen through, and ignored.  Jack pressed harder…

And in a tremendous flash, the creature imploded.

The group took stock, each attempting to recover in their own way, with Jack tenderly assisting Kalika.  The consensus was that a hospital would be a good thing, and Lexy agreed to take them.

Jack spoke to them before they left, telling them of what information he had wrested from the mind of the Enemy before it was annihilated.

“Berd seemed to think that this thing was akin to the Gatherer…Also the old man that came for Cylla back in the Ice Giants word. . .He had one eye, correct? The reason I ask is because I got some thing from this thing. A image of an old man with one eye and the name of THE BROKEN GOD.

With Aaron assisting Lexy, Cyan helping Ares, and Jack leading Kalika, Lexy swept them up in the Logrus, and spirited them away.

The world around changes..
...a world of water, where jelly things roam the seas...
...a single man, staring at them as they go by..
...a castle, pennants fluttering in the breeze...
...more modern now, the castle replaced by buildings...
...tall and sleek spires of glass...
...a walled city surrounded by mutants creatures...
...another walled city, the gates wide open...
...odd vehicles flying in the sky...
...slower now, near their destination... empty alley, clean. The ground smooth and artificial, A soaring bridge, high above a city. The sounds around them of a bustling metropolis. All clean, all well kept. No one around, no witnesses to see their arrival.
"That panel over there." Lexy says, motioning to a some sort of device on the side of the road. "It can be used.. used to summon medical help." she says, forcing herself to stand, to stay on her feet, to not lean or sit as she wishes to. Pain is nothing, there is no pain. There is only the now, there is only herself, and the pain is but an illusion.

Robotic creatures came to assist, and brought them into a conveyance to take them to the medical facilities.  Ares, it seemed, was in the worst condition – the poison that had stolen Kalika’s sight had also entered his wound, and the warrior faded quickly.  Cyan, Aaron, and Lexy spoke quietly while the others had the benefit of what healing could be done on the ride.

When they arrive, Jack, the only one uninjured, was left by himself with Hunter in a waiting room.

But Cyan and Berd soon joined him (Berd distressed by the ‘No Smoking’ Sign).  Aaron returned as well, nose bandaged.  Lexy, Kalika, and Ares were placed in rooms.  Jack’s agitation grew, moment by moment, as no word came.  Finally he made mental contact with Kalika, and was able to speak to her, calming somewhat.  Not surprisingly, Jack and Cyan had another small argument.  Lexy removed herself to another world, using the Logrus, to better heal, more quickly, and informed Cyan by mental contact with a Logrus tendril.  Aaron jumped into the argument and tried to help defuse it, ending up walking away in frustration.  But the argument came to naught, and the Questors settled down to wait, Cyan Berd, Hunter, Ilsefravnir and Jack in the waiting room, Aaron walking the halls.

Jack and Cyan discussed the Broken God, and came to the conclusion that the legend of a One-eyed, Elderly God was fairly common throughout the Myriad worlds.  Coincidence?  Likely not.  Berd and Ilse spoke of Aaron, while Cyan told Jack of the Legend of Set the Destroyer (whom he had resembled while battling the Enemy), and the Nameless.  It disturbed Berd.

Then Jack suddenly realized that Kalika had been sedated, against her will, and the Questors moved to free her.  Aaron returned, and the two men, one woman, one wolf and one little dragon began to hunt for their companion.  Finding her, they were scolded quite strongly by a doctor, and surrendered, with some complaint.

As it turned out, the damage was more intensive than they had feared – Kalika had lost her eyes, and though they might be replaceable, the optic nerve itself might have been destroyed.  Ares was in terrible condition, barely hanging on.  Full of fear and despair, the Questors returned to the waiting room.

Time passed.  Lexy returned, fully healed.  The discussion, an odd one, as it usually was, moved from shapeshifting, to the parasite in Aaron’s head replacing his own lost eye, to guilt, to Ilsefravnir’s capabilities…and then the doctor returned, with terrible news.  They could not save Kalika’s sight, in any way.

Neither could they save Ares’ life.  The brave warrior had died.

Nobody gets a chance to answer, as the door opens and the doctor enters the room. Her face looks even more grim than before, and she looks around the room, fixing each person with her gaze before moving on to the next.
Finally she speaks.
"I'm afraid that we weren't able to save your friend. The chemical agent had damaged many of his major blood vessels. We tried all we could to save his life, but he had lost too much blood."
"I'm sorry."
"As for your other friend, well we just don't know anything about this chemical. If it is a Milspec toxin, then we likely never will. We can do nothing to help her, but we don't even know if the damage is permanent or not."

The woman looks totaly helpless by the time she has finished speaking.

The group split, Jack electing to watch over Kalika, while the other members, broken with sorrow, moved to secure Ares body.  To bring him home.

The list of the fallen grew.

Otandal. Duncan. Derek. Lazarus gone, crippled. Kallika's eyes.

Now Ares.

player, 2470 posts
Wild, carefree bard...
...and lazy friend
Mon 14 Jun 2004
at 17:48
  • msg #27

Re: Game Q & A.

Chapter 19: Requiems and Reunions

Part of the group came to the room where Ares lay.  Each of them found themselves lost in their own thoughts.  Berd slowly erased any trace of Ares from the World wiping him from cameras, written reports, files, and memories.  Finally the dragon finished, and Cyan prepared a gateway for them to take the Warrior home.

Then they were there, at the cairn, where Ares had journeyed to find his armor.  Around them lay the blue, blue flowers, and in the distance stood the great mountain of Olympu.  Berd, summoning his power, mimicked Ares opening of the cairn in his own way, to prepare the resting place of a great man.

And as the cairn opened, they came.  Those who cared for the fallen man.

"Berd?" Cyan whispers, and the little dragon looks up, dull eyes focusing on her face.

They glitter, and with small sweeps of his wings, the drake rises into the air.  He swoops once, then blurs into dizzying motion, soaring around the cairn of stones twice widdershins, then blurring into a tight Immelman turn to complete the circuit once, clockwise.  Then the little dragon comes to a hovered landing on a single stone, and, raising his head, sings a bright, clear note into the air.  It hangs there, for an instant, somehow seeming familiar.  Echoes of dark metal, a bright sword, hands of terrible skill and an honourable spirit.

Berd's eyes begin to shine.

The whole cairn, twice as tall as a man and consisting of hundreds of large stones, floats into the air. The stones spread out as they rise, spiralling and dancing around each other in a sedate aerial pavane. Beneath them is revealed a pit, easily large enough to serve as a grave for Ares of Amber.

There is a rumble of hooves from beyond a nearby rise, and moments later a number of creatures appear over the low hill, galloping through the flowers and the long grass.  Many are horses, the same coal-black, red-eyed, razor-toothed flesh-eaters that Ares is... was in the habit of summoning.  Running among them, though, are more fantastic things; centaurs, fauns, satyrs, and other beings which have never been given names in any tale told by men.
The horses gallop past, but the centaurs and their ilk veer towards the open cairn and the group of Shadow-walkers.  They come to a halt a few yard away, gazing at Ares, and some are openly weeping.

The creatures of the World chose to stay, and honor Ares.  Cyan asked for the story behind the man, while Aaron stood silent, lost in thought, staring out at the fields of flowers.

Back at the hospital, Kalika awakened, and spoke to Jack.  She was aware of Ares loss, and wished to leave.  She and Jack fled their room, hiding, and Kalika changed and cleaned herself up, not wishing to pay her last respects to Ares as she was.

At the burial site, the centaur began the story.

The centaur bows its head in thought a moment, then lifts its face again and smiles at Cyan, sadly. Then he begins to speak in slow, careful tones, "I know no songs of Ares, but I can tell you the tale of his coming which was passed down to me by my sire..."

"Always there has been an Ares here, but not always the same Ares.  In my great-grandsire's time Ares was older, and more cruel.  He would hunt beasts and half-beasts alike, purely for sport, and none could stop him."

"One day a vagabond appeared at this exact place, which was then marked by a tall spire of stone.  Ares arrived to confront the intruder and they did battle here, on the plain and on the nearer slope of Olympu... "

The centaur pauses to draw breath, and somewhere within the crowd of beast-men it becomes apparent that somebody is playing a flute, a quiet, mournful tune.

"For twenty days they fought, back and forth across the land.  Ares summoned storms, and armies of bronze-clad soldiers, and even the Sisters themselves... but he could not prevail.  The vagabond resisted the elements, fought the armies, and even slew one of the Sisters, Euryale, who had been considered immortal until that time."

"The storms abated as Ares' power faded, the armies retreated before the wrath of the newcomer, and Medusa and Stheno carried the body of their Sister home, swearing eternal emnity towards the intruder."

"Finally... there were just the two, the God and the vagabond."

"Ares struck a desperate two-handed blow with his axe, but the stranger parried it, and the haft snapped.  The blade of the axe struck the spire and shattered it into the cairn of rubble that stands here today.  Before the last of the fragments had settled, Ares lay dead."

"The stranger took the name of Ares, as had Ares before him, and the one before him, and so on, back through all of time."
"This new Ares did not hunt our people, but protected this land for us.  He ensured that the two remaining Sisters stayed only in the farthest reaches of the world, and drove the harpies away from the slopes of Olympu, into the bleak wilds beyond."

"Since that day, our numbers have grown, and we have prospered.  Ares will be missed.  It is my hope that the next Ares is as generous to our people."

With her Palanquet, Cyan summoned Jack, Kalika, and Hunter.  In the grave, Ares awaited his rest.

She moves away from Hunter and Jack and approaches the circle, the source of the faint scent of Ares, tingled with the smell of sterile hospital and salve. She stops when her foot kicks a stone of the cairn. Surprise jolts through her and she stumbles, but catches her balance before falling, the chain chiming, announcing the misstep to those who missed it. Cheeks flaming, Kali allows herself to grieve.

The feelings are intense, as are the memories. The playful glint in his eye when relating the exploits that led to his removal from Amber, the skillful way in which he conducted himself in battle, silhouetted in sunlight speaking with Cyan on a beach, selflessly offering to stay when no one else would. He died from battle, as was fitting, and he would be missed. She wished him as much adventure in the afterlife as he enjoyed in this life. She rises and turns away, returning back to Jack and Hunter, slowly and cautiously retracing her steps. Ares is gone to her, dead. She had allowed herself to mourn, but such was her lifestyle. One day it would be her in the cairn with the others grieving and then moving on with their lives, their own personal quests. She reflected on past funerals, of her people throwing themselves, wailing, over graves and never being the same. Such a display of weakness from one of the Chunchee. There was no death that would reduce her to that state... no death but of those she was bound with and when that time came it was not a state she would be in for long.

Kali lets out a breath she didn't realize she was holding, her hands questing the reassuring feeling of Hunter's fur and Jack's grip as she took in their scents. She was prepared to patiently wait while the others said good bye in their own ways.

Kalika silently finishes, and Cyan stands.  She walks to where Ares lies, her opalescent eyes brimming with tears.  As always, the Bard, uncaring, wears her emotions where all can see; kneeling down before Ares, she stares at him through shimmering vision.  All of her memories of him sweep through her, each with the power to wrench her heart, but one strikes her to the core.  Not Ares battling, the glorious skill and bravery at work; not Ares traveling, grim determination and honor, despite his checkered past.  No, this was the one time, the only time, she has seen Ares laugh.  Laugh at the simple joy of communication, laugh at the surprise and pleasure of touching another mind and finding an unexpected greeting.

For an instant, as it was now, the lines of care had vanished from his face, and she had seen the Ares within.  The true man, the young man beneath the weight of experience and deeds, of responsibility and fate.  It stabs to her heart now, for that face, free of care, was alive, and this one is cold and silent in death.

Unashamedly, Cyan began to weep.

The tears pour silently down her cheeks, and while her breath grows raspy, she holds back the sobs.  They ae not seeming for such a solemn ceremony.  The Bard runs fingers down Ares' brow, touched his closed eyes.  "Safe in the arms of the One," the Bard whispers in a strained voice.  "Go to your reward, Warrior.  Protector.  Defender."  A single blue flower is in her hand.  She wraps it carefully in a silk strip, cut from her sash, and slips it under the helm on his chest.

Slowly, Cyan stands and walks backwards from the fallen Ares, back straight, keeping her eyes on him.  The wind on the plain picks up slightly, and runs over Cyan's harp, lying beside her pack.  A ripple of shimmering notes, slightly discordant, pours from it for an instant, and the Bard's tear-streaked face nearly crumbles.  Grief is rarely pretty.

But she stands alone, waiting for the end of this.  The now-ragged end of her sash snaps in the wind, once.

Berd continues to crouch on the stones, also waiting, eyes dull.  His head comes up, and he stares at Jack, then Aaron, then sweeps his gaze across the gathered, myriad creatures.

As he sought what he needed he pondered his own time with Ares, feeling the Chuchee’s. He did not know the man as they did, by the time he had came on seen Ares was silent mostly. Yet he was there for the group, there as a person. Jack had know Ares would have helped him find his pattern, there by finding himself. Jack just had not had the patients. Getting Aaron to open himself, where Ares had the caution not to due to the threat of the Gatherer. Ares, ever cautious, ever the voice of reason. Despite knot having the time to truly know the man, he had liked him. Ares was the patriarch of the group. . .

        Jack found something that would work, a beautiful thistle like flower. Lush and full laden with many prickly blooms. The stems and leaves were tough, spinney, a silvery green-grey color, but the flowers were soft and a deep royal blue, rich and deeply vibrant. He pulled a single sprig with six large flowers, and then pulled three more flowers from the same bush. His hand feeling the worse for ware as the thorns pricked his skin. He trimmed the thorns back off of the stems. The pain helped him deal with it all, life was pain and joy as well.

     With this done he came back to the group, slipping one of the two flowers that were separate into his lapel. He took the other two and handed them to Aaron speaking softly. “One for you and one for the lady of the blade, Arianne.” He said slipping one of them into Aaron’s lapel button. Moving on from person to person he gave each of the rest of them one of the blooms from the single stemmed bunch. Pealing each away with care. Lexy. . . then Cyan. . . Berd,  though he stopped and looked at Berd for a moment. Then he twinned the stem of one gently weaving it in hunters fur. He took the second to the last one and after making certain that it would not sting her he wove it into Kali’s hair by her ear.

       The last bloom he took and placed in Kali’s hand, at the same time taking her hand. Lets give him his bloom, and let him rest. He guided her hand to place the flower on Ares. Speaking as he did so, “Still waters run deep old friend, never had I seen a person calmer or with more depth then you Ares my friend. Rest well, your memory will live on.” Jack looked at Cyan for a moment “Your songs sung and tales will be told.” perhaps that would motivate the bard to play and sing again. “A man of peace as much as war, I would like to think.”

The rest of the group let their sorrow be known through the use of flowers, words, and tears, yet Aaron felt that he needed to keep his mind on things ahead.

He was saddened by that, also, even though he felt it was only because of the fact that the rest of the group knew Ares better than he did.

Something about the way Jack looked at the moment caused Aaron to gaze his way.
He didn't question the man, and he didn't let any of his curiosity show, but he would have to inquire of his thoughts later on. Was something bothering him?

Sighing, Aaron looked to Cyan, saw the tear-stained streaks tracking down her face. His downcast eyes took in the earth between them.

He could say and think no more upon Ares. He had said his goodbyes.

Throughout the simple ceremony by Ares' friends, the creatures of Olympu watch quietly, not interfering.  Only when the last of his companions has said their farewell to the man do those he had defended step forward.  They form a tight circle around the group at the graveside, and there is a feeling of tension in the air, as if something is about to snap.
Berd hisses as the stones of the cairn rise into the air once more, this time spiralling inwards and piling on top of the grave.  Now though, something is different...
The cairn is taller and narrower, and the stones are glowing, red hot.  The heat increases, driving all back from the cairn, and the stones become hard to see through the heat ripples in the air.
Finally the last stone settles into position, and the heat flares for an instant before the stone cool down to a dull red glow, which fades rapidly.  In place of the cairn, there now stands a tall spire of unbroken, glassy-smooth stone, still radiating heat.
The denizens of Olympu turn and leave, save the centaur who had spoken at length earlier, "We thank you for bringing Ares home to us.  The half-men of Olympu will do their part in honouring him, by keeping others away from this place."

With their leaving, the Questors sat alone, finding a camp distant from the cairn.  Jack chose to examine the cube, then.  Within, he made a discovery – using his powers, he spotted a factory within one of the worlds, a factory that was building the spheres…it was decided that reconnaissance would be best.  Aaron wished to depart for San Anyn, then realized that it might take some time for him to go there, gather what he desired, and return, even with the aid of one of Cyan’s palanquet.  There was a brief discussion of what to do, and the goals were set down.

Holding up her hand, she begins to tick off fingers.

"One.  Find a means to destroy a globe."

"Two.  Find a means to destroy their...industry."

"Three.  Find their command structure.  Destroy it, and the head."

Pausing, Cyan frowns, her jade eyes darkening slightly, and switches hands.  "Four.  Find out where these globes have been taken, how many have been strewn through the myriad worlds, and where."

"Five.  Most important.  Find out their GOALS.  Even if we shatter their leadership, scatter them to the winds, there is nothing preventing this from happening again unless we understand why and how, to deal with that as well.  Understand yourself, and you have a fifty/fifty chance of success.  Understand yourself and your opponent, and you cannot lose."

Aaron decided that, given the situation, it might be best for him to go to San Anyn after all – a certain suit of armor awaited him there….  He took Cyan’s palanquet from Jack to facilitate a swift return, and Hellrode off, into the night.

Aaron focused, and the Pattern moved through him. As was his birthright.

Soon, his form disappeared from view.

Trees to the left and right of me, drifting away, vanishing to become fields of brown grass... the grass going on for miles, only to change to gain hills... hills turn to mountains... mountains flattening to arid desert... skies swirling... myriad colors, purples and blues, hues reflecting themselves back... a skyscraper in the middle of the ocean... black sky... blue earth... screaming rocs in flight... the breeze of dying leaves... the golds, reds and browns of autumn... mountains of onyx... a giant castle buried in earth...

As long as he moved, reality would shift, to become the forever Autumn of San Anyn.

Jack argued that he would be best for reconnaissance, with his power of shadows (rather than simply OVER Shadow), and the others agreed.  Jack accepted Cyan’s offer of her shirt, and said a tender goodbye to Kalika, promising to be careful.  Cyan waited until they were done before returning, giving them privacy, both for her sake and theirs.

Hunter, however, had reservations.

Hunter's sharp gaze falls on Jack, appraisingly. He doesn't say anything, but rather sends memories to the man through their link.

Jack, feeling dead tired, but forcing himself to stay awake.

Jack, sitting in the medical transport, head held in his hands, eyes burning with fatigue.

Jack, locked in mental comabt with the being of Light, using all of his skill and the combined strength of the party to beat it.

Jack, shifting back from dire wolf to man of living Shadow, hunger threatening to consume him, energy leached from his limbs.

And then one that is not a memory.

Jack, shifting, but not having the energy... struck down by an unseen foe, unable to act because of the weakness that plagues him.

I can smell your weakness... remember my true name and think if you wish to walk among enemies in your state. Only you can determine how quickly this must get done, and therefore how much risk to take.

The wolf shares his thoughts to Jack alone, and Kali remains silent, not trusting herself to speak her mind instead of her heart.

Jack agreed to wait, Kalika and he choosing to sleep, to attempt to regain strength.  Cyan watched the cube while he slept, waiting for night to fall on that strange, technological world so that Jack might enter under the cover of darkness.

Then the time arrived, and Jack prepared himself to leave.
This message was last edited by the player at 12:57, Tue 15 June 2004.
player, 2485 posts
Wild, carefree bard...
...and lazy friend
Wed 16 Jun 2004
at 17:59
  • msg #28

Warfare Question

Break from the Summaries for a question.

How Cinematic is Warfare?

For starters, what I'm looking for is what Dworkin wants for his game, not a debate on the matter.  :)  I'm not going to present my own views at all - I'm just looking for clarification.  This question is to Dworkin, not to spark a debate and get everyone's views in the Q&A section.

I ask, because the books and the game are clearly in contradiction (less so with the Merlin Series, but I'm not talking about that :).

Looking at Benedict, game terms, NOBODY can beat him, Benedict cleans house on invisible assasins who attack him on the toilet, and the game states that no projectile weapon could ever hit him because his reactions are too fast.

In the books, Corwin beat him.  The game would argue that Corwin used something against him he didn't know about, but surely a man who can parry the attack of an invisible assasin while doing his business could figure out that Corwin was leading him to that patch of grass (Corwin did, after all, jump over it!).  And Benedict also got blindsided by Ganelon in the same fight - a bum rush, as a matter of fact.

And, to paraphrase a website, when Corwin Trumps Gérard and tells him he just tied Benedict to a tree, Gérard doesn't fall all over himself screaming that it's impossible.  He just accepts it.

In addition, Corwin doesn't prepare to use 'arrow cutting' when Merlin points a crossbow at him.  He holds his sword up as a passive defense and turns his body sideways, hoping that the blade MIGHT get hit by the bolt.  Now, Corwin isn't Benedict, but if Benedict could dodge a bullet, surely Corwin could do the same with a crossbow bolt.

Later on, he grabs a big boulder, in the hope of using it as a shield against Brand's crossbow.  One would think if his relatives could dodge any missle weapon, Brand would have come up with something a little better than a crossbow....

Also, Benedict got his arm cut off by the Hellmaid, Lintra.  Pretty good for a distraction.

In the books, superhuman, maybe.  Superman, no.

Same with Gérard's strength.  Ganelon (okay, Oberon in disguise) 'whips' Gérard.  Ganleon was supposed to be a SHADOW.  Nobody says "THAT'S NOT POSSIBLE!"  Instead, someone remarks 'pretty tough customer' and 'he got lucky'.  And Ganelon CLEANED UP on him.  Even stopped him from grabbing Corwin, strength to strength.

But I understand that the game, and the Merlin novels, present it a little differently.  They want to make a bigger distinction - heck, with a bigger distinction, it's easier to play.

If we're moving at blinding speed, with blinding reactions, then no crossbow or arrow will ever land.  They'll be floating through the air towards us, Matrix (ugh) style, only to be dodged.

If not, they're a credible threat.

So my question is, what is appropriate for my posts?  What is appropriate for this game?  (I'm not going to say "I like X better than Y" because this isn't a debate! :)  Up to Dworkin!)

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon?  The Matrix?  Once Upon A Time In China?  Stormriders :)?

Or is it more grittier, where someone with Ranked Stats is just 'Better' than a normal human, but a dozen is a real problem, and a guy with a crossbow at fifty feet is worth listening to before charging?

Or....does it matter?
This message was last edited by the player at 18:37, Wed 16 June 2004.
GM, 1273 posts
Renegade Lord of Chaos,
creator of the Pattern...
Thu 17 Jun 2004
at 12:10
  • msg #29

Re: Warfare Question

Personally, I like the grittier version.  Higher ranks are just better, but I also let the actual points values be a guide to just how much better.

Benedict can wipe the floor with anybody, but put him against a dozen normal humans, and even he needs to be careful.  Warfare is more in tactics and skill than in superhuman speed and reactions, even Benedict can't defend against multiple attacks from different directions.

Yes, Amberites are faster and stronger than regular humans, but not excessively so.  In the Shadow Knights supplement it actually states that Gerard is not as strong as a bull.  A lot of his apparent strength (IMHO) lies in skillful application of what he has got.  Knowing the best wrestling holds, the best way to lift something, etc...  Yes, he could lift a car, but I see guys on TV in strongman contests doing similar things.

Endurance could be a good solid constitution, backed and enhanced by knowing how to pace yourself, controlled breathing, pain-blocking techniques.  Yes, Amberites heal better than humans, but we're not talking regeneration...

Psyche would be mental disciplines that enable you to control your mind better.
Meditation techniques to improve focus and discipline, etc...

Think of the Attributes not so much in terms of having something, but in terms of knowing how to use what you've got.

So, how can somebody get the drop on Benedict, with all his tactical expertise?  Simple: even Benedict can't predict somebody doing something really dumb.  So suddenly drop your sword and run at him, screaming, and he might be so astonished that you manage to hit him.  Once.

How can Benedict dodge an arrow?  He watches for the moment when the guy releases the arrow, and hopes that he gets lucky.
It can happen.
When it happens, legends are born.  When it doesn't, everybody laughs.

Benedict and invisible assassins: Benedict walks about waving his sword about.  Somebody asks, "Hey, Benny, what are you up to?"
Benedict is practising forms, but can'r be bothered explaining that now, so, "Defending against potential invisible assassins." he replies in a sarcastic tone.
"Wow!  Really?  That's amazing.  Hey, Corwin, guess what Benny's doing..."
player, 226 posts
Leonardo Henri Cezanne
Pièce de Résistance
Thu 17 Jun 2004
at 17:39
  • msg #30

Re: Warfare Question

Endurance could be a good solid constitution, backed and enhanced by knowing how to pace yourself, controlled breathing, pain-blocking techniques.  Yes, Amberites heal better than humans, but we're not talking regeneration...

Not that I'm trying to open debate here in the Q&A thread but... isn't regeneration exactly what Corwin did?  I mean his eyes were put out and in 4 years he had restored them right?  Granted... apparently Benedict was never able to "regrow" the arm he lost and the sister who lost an eye and had it replaced with the Jewel of Judgment didn't obvious worry about a new eye popping back up.

Just wondering.
GM, 1275 posts
Renegade Lord of Chaos,
creator of the Pattern...
Thu 17 Jun 2004
at 17:55
  • msg #31

Re: Warfare Question

I should clarify.  I meant "we're not talking the same level of regeneration that you get from certain powers and artifacts."

Regeneration, to my mind, is when missing limbs, etc, regrow in a matter of days.

Edited to add: also, Corwin seems to be the only one to have achieved such a dramatic feat of reconstruction.  As you pointed out, Benedict showed no sign that his arm was regowing, and Coral didn't seem too concerned about her eye regrowing.
This message was last edited by the GM at 18:08, Thu 17 June 2004.
player, 262 posts
Leonardo Henri Cezanne
Pièce de Résistance
Mon 28 Jun 2004
at 00:21
  • msg #32

Character Contribution Guidelines....

I was just wondering what the guidelines were for how regular our submissions should be for our Character Contributions?  Obviously this applies more to Stories, Journals and Poems than say Trump Images or the like.

I was just curious if there was an expected frequency for Character Contributions (obviously for something like Journals... if you haven't gone very many places or done many things... then there may not be much to update one's Journal with).
GM, 1334 posts
Renegade Lord of Chaos,
creator of the Pattern...
Mon 28 Jun 2004
at 06:59
  • msg #33

Re: Character Contribution Guidelines....

For the Journal, just post an entry when you think you've got enough to make a good one.  Note that "good" does not necessarily mean "long".  The character's opinion on a single conversation might be just as important and interesting as a description of several days of travel and two battles.

For other stuff, once a month sounds reasonable to me...
player, 1891 posts
Deep blue eyes. . .
Disarming boyish smile
Sat 3 Jul 2004
at 04:36
  • msg #34

<b>Part 20c – Vigil</b>

Part 20c – Vigil

Overhead the stars glitter from a clear sky. Strange patterns, which doubtless have strange tales attached to them. The air grows chill, and even Berd's subtle influence can no longer deny the fact that this is so.
By the spire of stone which marks the last resting place of Ares of Amber, the women, one blind and one maimed, sit close together. Hunter sits between them, the wolf sharing his senses with one and his body heat with both.

As Jack was off in the world of the Archon’s reconnoitering, leaving Cyan, Hunter and the blind Kalika alone on Ares Olympus. The fallen war god of this place, his grave maker a little way away from the campsite. Cyan watched over Jack though his palanquet , as a starnger came out of the darkness introducing himself as Leonardo Henri Cezanne.  The stranger got off on a bad foot with the seekers as he started to draw a picture of them. Hunter knowing Kalika’s distrust of Trumps, went over to check what Leonardo  was drawing and the artist took offence at this.

        Insults and injury grew and the artist grew more and more offended at Kalika’s silence, even though Cyan answered for her. Things escalated as arrogant rudeness grew, not realizing that Kalika was just the quiet type and often grew quiet and self conscious in front of people.

   Jack continued to be updated via the trump contact with Cyan could not deal with his attention being divided and worrying about his Chunchee love. So he had Cyan pull him back though the trump, a ominous shadow wraith he danced the shadows around the artist. The shadow man blunt and short tempered with being interrupted and having to come back to be there for Kalika. Standing for her in a social setting where she might not stand for herself.  This only offended the artist that much more.

   Kalika offered an olive branch of diplomacy, but the artist ignored it. Though things were tense the artist started to talk about having come looking for David, who turned out to be the recently deceased Ares.  Answers to questions were traded back and forth, with Leonardo deciding to go to the grave to pay his last respects and the camp finally falling into a calm, yet the calm did not last.

     Berd gave them a warning of danger as two old women approached, Cyan let them sit at the campfire despite the warning. She could not help it, as it was her kind and trusting nature. As soon as the old cones found  out that they were friends of Ares, they reviled them selves to be Gorgons seeking revenge for the death of their sister at Ares hands. Seeking now to take their revenge on Ares friends.

Cyan had given Jack a Trump to open them an escape route, so he was tied up for the battle. Though Cyan, Kalika and Leonardo killed one of the deadly sisters and hurt the other. Kalika’s blindness proving to make her untouchable by their deadly gaze.  Though they had won the gorgons blood had poisoned the ground.   The group settled in to treating each other and helping recover from the combat, Jack and Kali quietly being there for each other, sharing quietly via the mind as ever. Cyan alone and hurting on a deep level since the loss of Ares and Leonardo, now in Cyan’s good grace for his assistance . Though he was still being enigmatic and what more is annoying.

It was at that time that the wayward Aaron chose to show up again, and now it seemed he had some kind of new toy. Arvis / Herzkrieg. . . His tank like armor.

With the ground poisoned and Leonardo getting in better graces, they chose to go someplace safe back to Cyan’s world and her cabin.

Next  Part 20b – Jack of  Shadows & Part 20a – Electrical Storm
player, 206 posts
A small, lazy dragon,
Cyan's friend
Mon 12 Jul 2004
at 14:43
  • msg #35

Double play

Part 20 a – Electrical Storm


Aaron, journeying to San Anyn for his own reasons, found himself caught in a terrible storm.  With a bit of luck, he found himself traveling in a truck, with an interesting man named Rab.  Rab’s news of San Anyn worried the Amberite, but he continued nonetheless, hoping that he could enter and escape detection.

It seemed, though, he needed not have worried.

Aaron doesn't need to watch the clock to know that he's about four centuries late.  He can see a tourist information sign a little further along the colonade which tells him that the Sjardring House Museum is three blocks along and turn right, and helpfully lists the opening times.

Still, Aaron headed onwards to the museum, hoping against hope that what he sought would still be there.  There, he discovered far more than he expected…or wished.

Finally at his destination, Aaron stands before his suit of armour.  It gleams beneath spotlights set to emphasise the arcane markings which adorn its almost-organic form, encased in a cylinder of glass, and labelled as belonging to somebody else.

Still he recognised it immediately when he had entered the room, even with the other dozen or so suits present, each in its own glass tube and lit by hot, white lights.  Something had pulled him to this suit, causing him to ignore the others, and the numerous weapons in cases around the walls.

He stands before the armour, but his attention is directed towards the centre of the room.  A low glass case is there, looking almost like an altar.  The label reads Sjardring Artifact of unknown type.  Unique. but what is in the case is nothing to do with the House of Sjardring.
It glares brightly in the spotlights, larger than the last time he saw one, but recognisable all the same.  Size apart, the thing in the case is the exact duplicate of the orb which had been discovered on the world of the Gatherer!

Still, Aaron remained undaunted.  He had come here for a purpose, and it lay before him.

(Note – Aaron speaks before Ilsefravnir)
The true magic of the Sjardring, not having risen for four hundred years, built within Aaron and his weapon.

And then, the knowlege came.

"Herzkrieg - Engine of intent - Force of reckoning - Refuse all destructions - Drive out all chaos - Rise within darkness - Arrive among men - In Soul - In Mind - In Body - In I."

"Heart's War - Echo of my power - Secret of burdens - Heal all hatred - Seal in all order - Sleep within illumination - Depart among gods - Through Soul - Through Mind - Through Body - Through I"

"Words of the Sjardring, sleeping ancients, champions of sanity, awaken in this unworthy being."

"Power of the Sjardring, conquering forces, lords of purity, channel through this unworthy icon."

Hands raised, voices as one, they spoke.

"Rise! Rise! Rise!"
"Rise! Rise! Rise!"

And it did.  The armor rose, and opened for Aaron, and he entered.  It gave unto him its power.  There was only one witness to this joining, and unfortunately she bore Aaron no good will.

He sees the figure coming down the steps behind him without turning his head, the armour allowing him a 360° field of vision.  An old woman, bent and frail-looking, leaning on a broom; a cleaner by all appearances.
Then she speaks, her voice cracked and broken by age, "Aaron?  I thought I recognised you in the foyer, though I doubt you spotted me.  I must say, the years have dealt better with you than with myself.  You still look like your portrait, the one in the upper gallery."
In the uncertain light she seems like some troll-hag out of legend.  She giggles then, an incongruous sound from those lips.
She stands more upright, and the broom seems to lengthen, the binding snapping and releasing the broomcorn bristles to fall to the floor, even as a gleaming blade seems to grow from the other end of the now-thicker handle.
"You realise, of course, that I have to kill you?  It's nothing personal, just a promise I made to my mother before she died.  I have to stop you taking Herzkrieg... Father."

Unfortunately for Aaron, perhaps due to a strange bracer around her arm, perhaps due to his own blood in her veins, the old woman proved first his match…then his better.  Wounded several times, Aaron drew upon his ancient magics and gained a more perfect understanding of the power of the Herzkrieg - with that power, he was able to turn the tables in a decidedly final fashion, slaying his own daughter in the middle of the floor of the Museum of the Sjardring.

A metaphor, one might say.  Or a foreshadowing.

Then Cyan’s palanquet contact fell upon him, and he allowed himself to be drawn through...after the battle with the Gorgons.

Part 20 b – Jack of Shadows


Jack, having slipped through the Cube to the world of what soon would be known as the Archons, studied the world around him with an interested eye.

Night never really comes to the city of glass.  The sun sets, but any stars are lost in the glare of the flyers' lights and those of the city itself.  A shadowy dusk settles across the city, and the buildings (if such they are) seem even more ethereal.

But nothing stops.  The inhabitants still run their unknown errands, never needing to sleep.  The silver spiders, their metal limbs clicking against the transparent surfaces, clusters of emerald eyes glowing dimly, move tirelessly across the seemingly endless city.

One of the spiders (the term is not entirely accurate, since it has ten limbs and is clearly mechanical in nature) descends a wall of glass to the lowest level of the city.  It pauses briefly whenever it meets another, and a humming, whistling dialogue ensues, before both continue on their way.
The spider reaches "ground" level, a sheet of thick, translucent glass several yards above the actual soil and stone of this world.  Shadows seem to pool down here; blots and splotches of umbral gloom amidst the gleaming transparency of the towers.
The machine creature stops suddenly, its glowing eyes locked on a patch of darkness which had seemed to move in an anomalous fashion.  Strange senses reach out and find nothing lurking there.  The shadows don't move again, and the thing soon turns away, moving faster now as it hurries to complete it's appointed task on schedule.

Behind it the darkness flows, pulling itself inwards and reshaping until a human form can be dimly seen within.
Jack has arrived.

The fallen Prince caught Leonardo’s entry into the campsite and remained peripherally aware of it as he journeyed, using a combination of the Broken Pattern and his own, shadowy form to move at fantastic speeds while still ferreting out sites of interest.  Pausing, the Shadowman studied once such location for a time.

Finally he sees it, the building he had detected earlier.  A broad glass dome, topped with sky-scraping minarets and towers of crystal, each with a spiralling core of silvery metal.  The dome is surrounded by a wide area of open space, slightly concave, as if the dome sits in the bottom of a shallow bowl several times the diameter of the structure at its centre.
Inside the dome, large shapes can be dimly perceived, some of them moving in regular rhythms, as if taking part in some bizarre dance.

Perhaps a mile away across the bowl, Jack can clearly see wide openings around the edge of the dome.  One of the spiders scurries out of an opening, it's man-high body giving Jack a better idea of scale.  The dome is perhaps two hundred feet across, and fifty high, with each of the openings some twenty feet high and wide.
As he watches, lurking in the shadow of a building, Jack sees the spider start to perform a complex series of movements across the bowl, and where it moves it leaves behind a trail of silver metal.  Moments later several dozen more rush into the bowl from various points around the rim, laying their own patterns of silver which connect and intertwine with the original one.

Suddenly one of the moving lights drops from the sky, plummeting like a stone and stopping with an impossibly-fast deceleration just a few feet above the spiders, all of which turn to face it.  It hovers there, a huge wheel of metal, flame, and light revolving sedately in mid-air.  The hairs on Jack's neck prickle as a booming voice issues from the thing, all metallic notes and screeching tones, and the spiders move away in ones and twos, some returning to their work and others heading for a point on the far edge of the bowl.

A loud, angry-sounding blast of sound comes from above, and a second wheel drops into the bowl.  The two start circling each other, their inhuman voices echoing from the surrounding buildings.  Both shift from white to crimson light and the shouting gets louder.  All of the spiders press themselves flat against the ground, and the green glow of their eyes dims.
The wheels spin faster, and start clashing their rims against each other sending showers of sparks flying in all directions, and shadows dancing across the bowl.

Unfortunately at this moment things grew difficult with Leonardo back at the camp, and Jack, furious with how the man was treating his beloved and Cyan, elected to return.

Cyan, pull me back. . . He knew Kalika and Cyan could handle anything, but he had to be there for support if nothing more.  Jack bristled with indignantly and fumed with what little bit he had caught.  His reasons were simple: it would be dangerous for him to do this with distraction.  What’s more he felt the need to simply be there for Kalika and Hunter. Either to defend them or just quietly support them.
This message was last updated by the player at 14:55, Mon 12 July 2004.
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