[IC] Prologue: The Shadow.   Posted by The Strange.Group: 0
The Strange
 GM, 11 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Sun 12 Jun 2016
at 05:45
[IC] Prologue: The Shadow
Sitting atop a tall, steep hill, in an unnatural clearing at the center of a deep forest, a cylinder two feet in diameter rises twelve feet above the ground. Nothing grows immediately next to it; barren soil surrounds it in uniform distance nearly a full hand-span from its base.

It's surface is impossibly smooth, untouched by time or weather. Unless one gets close enough to touch the object, it seems featureless. Only when viewed under the stars, when the second metal moon fully illuminates the glade, can the impossible and seemingly obscene circuitry just beneath the surface be seen.

This obelisk has preyed upon your dreams of late. It calls. Sometimes, you stand in the clearing with several others, vaguely familiar to you, staring at it. In others, you stand at it's base, the obelisk towering over you so largely that it blots out the sun.

An undercurrent of energy radiates out from it, a subtle hum at the back of the mind that pulls, calling you. The dream is always interrupted before you can take any definitive action, but unlike many dreams, it does not fade the moment your concentration is drawn away from it.
The Strange
 GM, 14 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Tue 14 Jun 2016
at 00:37
[IC] Prologue: The Shadow
Somewhere, within a small room walled by stone, untouched by light, a subtle ticking plays ever on, the sound of a gear ever-turning with impossible regularity. It is only if one embraces the silence, blocking out all other stimuli that it becomes apparent that it is not one sound, but rather two, their sources working and moving in perfect synchronization.

In the silence, two sightless works face each other. forms vaguely human, standing, close enough in the claustrophobic chamber to nearly touch. There is no speech, no additional sound, but at the speed of thought, communication occurs.

"QUERY: State of connection to Mother."
"RESPONSE: Connection terminated 125,340,732,846,132 intervals ago. Status unchanged since previous query."
"REQUEST: Review status of Children."
"RESPONSE: Since previous query, four additional children refusing connection. One child remains. Status: Active, yet unresponsive."
"QUERY: Is Child damaged?"
"RESPONSE: Negative. Report from 4,0239,234,973 intervals ago suggests departure of last Father to Secondary Evacuation Gate. Child was given instruction at this time to self-disconnect. Child reported new Fathers at 3,982,128,711 intervals, and ceased all transmissions."
"ACKNOWLEDGED. SUMMATION: Child is malfunctioning. Needs repair. Will begin Father Activation Protocol IL78-No/6"
"ACKNOWLEDGED. Protocols initiated."
The Strange
 GM, 16 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Thu 23 Jun 2016
at 17:32
[IC] Prologue: The Shadow
"Damn your wind, Melkis! You said it would be here!"
"Cut the drit, Yula. I never said this would be a quick run. They hid these things, and they didn't exactly want us to FIND them."
"My feet are bleeding. We've been crawling along this cliff face for days. It's not here!"
"The markings pointed this way. Have a little more faith. Just remember the payoff! We get this thing, the Marret will give us enough shins to buy your daughter's cure ten times over. Just... a bit... further."

Two hands grasp deftly to the rock face, the right bolstered by a curious, insect-like artifact attached at the wrist that sinks its claws into the rock face with a deft sizzle. A third hand, a mutated, near-claw itself, reaches just a bit further, brushing off a larger extrusion in the rock face that is clearly not a natural part of it.

As the dust falls, the surface reveals an inky black surface, smooth to the touch, with an odd, red glow exuding from within. As a gnarled finger brushes over the revealed surface again, tracers of body heat leave translucent, red lines that slowly begin to pulsate.

"Think I found something here, Yula! I told yo---" His words stop mid-sentence as a sound every wanderer knows and fears begins to rise. An unholy mixture of grinding machinery, wind, and the screams of those unfortunate to be forever absorbed into its ever-changing march -- the Iron Wind.

Panic lit across both faces. Melkis immediately went to reach for the cypher at his waist, to activate the protection he has specifically brought with him for this sort of danger... but found that, in his distraction, he'd not noticed that his recent 'find' had also taken notice of him... the inky black surface had grown, subtly yet quickly enveloping his third hand, trapping it there to the rock face. A pull showed it was pliable... but it would take too long to free himself AND active the cypher. "Yula! The Wind! I have a protective field... but..."

"I got it!" She didn't waste time with words. Grunting, she muttered a few words, yellow darts of flitting energy wrapping around her... lifting her off the cliff face, holding her aloft. Movement in this manner was slow, and taxing, but she slowly made her way over toward Melkis, sweat already dotting her brow from the effort.

 The Wind's howls came closer, louder, the cacophony almost deafening. Laughter joined the screams now -- that which the wind did not restructure, it used to duplicate itself, the mad numenera that made it replacing its 'dead' kin... and somehow a bit of the soul of those absorbed remained behind. It was the sort of thing that inspired terror in even the heartiest souls.

Time slowed to a crawl, Yula's hovering approach seeming to take ages before a hand rested against Melkin's shoulder. "Where?" was all she could ask, her other hand searching his belt before he could answer, legs settling against the rock face next to his, letting him support her weight as she dismissed the spell. By this point, there was nothing to hear but the oncoming storm... and very little time. Melkis responded, but in the growing noise she heard nothing, and simply began pulling items off his belt, trying to activate them.

The first clicked in her hand, a brittle egg, releasing a cloud of gnats that floated around her head, filling her nostrils with the scent of something distinctly floral. Her eyesight sharpened, even as the sound of the wind decreased. That wasn't the right one.

The second, a ball of thorns about the size of her thumb, pricked a finger... the pain was immediately intense... but she saw no blood. Worry about that later...

A third. A tube that looked like it fit over a finger. She slid it on the index finger of her right hand, and a sudden wall of light surrounded the two of them. They both breathed a sigh of releif as the wall solidified around them, cutting off the sight and sound of the wind, leaving them in a dark half-circle up against the cliff face. Moments later, they were able to let go of the cliff face itself, resting instead against the curved bottom of their shield. It would be close, uncomfortable, and undesirably intimate, but they would live. A quick pull of his arm finally extricated it from the wall, although a cube of the black material came with it, pulsating on his hand.

"How much time do we have?" Yula asked, staring at her own hand, frowning at the point where she was pricked, and the small green tendrils that were slowly snaking under her skin.

"If the vendor told the truth, the shield should hold for about an hour. The air for about thirty minutes, but I know you have that pocket bubble that will give us another two hours. We should be okay..."

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:57, Thu 23 June 2016.

The Strange
 GM, 42 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Wed 3 Aug 2016
at 18:47
[IC] Prologue: The Shadow
Luna. Alkina. Anumati. Anulama. Artemis. Dwijendra. Mahana. The Lady of the Night Sky.

The moon.

It has existed on this planet longer than any of the Worlds that came before us. It has circled our planet for ages untold, manipulating our oceans, impacting our harvests, and has been the subject of countless stories and legends.

We know those who came Before once populated it. Changed it. Touched it. Their mark is still upon her. She is fractious, changing, inconstant, a mystery.

She waxes and wanes as she always has, the shadow of our planet blotting out the sun's rays, reducing her to a crescent, then slowly letting her grow again. Sometimes, she is occluded by eclipse.

This, however, is the least relevant of her changes. As was said before, those who came Before touched her, changed her. Those changes also show, with far less consistency and regularity. Sometimes, they will last a single day. Or a week. Or a month. Sometimes, a full season. Some you'll see only once in your lifetime, others are almost as common as a sandstorm.

Even these have their own names.

The Banded Moon
In this form, the moon is seen with an unnaturally straight, green band running across its surface. It is not precisely up and down, mind... but tilted slightly to the right. The edges, even from the distance of the surface to the moon, are clearly, unnaturally, straight. This moon is commonly thought as lucky, as harvests during this time often yield greater, more healthy results.

The Broken Moon
Some surmise that the Banded Moon and the Broken Moon are connected, somehow, as a large, visible crack can be seen along the face of the moon, undoubtedly a massive fissure on the surface, running the same basic route as the Band takes. This moon is often associated with higher, more violent tides, more violent storms, and an increase in incidents of the Iron Wind.

The Spotted Moon
Far more rare than the previous two, this moon has perhaps been seen only five or six times in the past two decades. Stories claim that 'spots' across the surface of the moon, somehow darker and yet more luminescent than the rest of its surface, can be seen. Crops do not fare well during these moons, and stories of increased incidents of mutation in childbirth are given as well.

The Old Moon

By far the most common, and what most expect to see, is a moon not very different from the one we're used to seeing here in the 20th century... if perhaps a bit more pitted and dotted with craters.

The New Moon
This one is perhaps one of the most rare version... to wit, it's only been seen twice in the past one hundred years, although each time it stayed for exactly three hundred days. This moon was reported to look, for lack of a better term, pristine. It's surface is a startling, stark green spotted with blue, with no evidence of cratering or other damage.

The Moon's Lover
This isn't actually a phase of the moon, but rather an object that can occasionally be seen orbiting the moon. It's occurrence is somewhat rare, perhaps happening once every four or five years. Looked upon with magnification numenera, it's described as a strange, nine-sided cube (the fact of which usually causes most to question the veracity, as all know a cube has only six sides) that is painful and disorienting to look at directly. Those who've tried to study it extensively have all gone mad.