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Author Topic: Quietus Clarion (IC)  (Read 231883 times)
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Doomed Hero
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« on: May 05, 2011, 03:31:10 PM »

The Constant Drone

Arbor of the Witch Queen, Caradul, Erathor, Arc of Obares, Dusk


The slab of stone was old. One of the oldest things still in the world. Older even than herself, and she could feel her age like a mountain on her shoulders. She still tried to tell herself that it was never meant to be this way. She still held onto some piece of her youthful defiance, but the stone made such affirmations hollow.

She wasn't the first monarch to stand against the Shadow. Merely the last. It was strange to think back to the time when she was the skeptic and he the zealot. She had chided him every time he had taken the Low Road all the way to her arbor with another stack of stones. She teased him that paper was lighter and that messengers were faster, and that the Old Ways could have him here and back again before dinner, but his answers were always the same.

"Tha' journey is as important as tha' destination, lass. Ye don' get it because ye' cannae see it yet. You're na old enough. I always know how things 'r gonna end up, but I love t'be surprised by how I get there."

She would reply with scoffing laughter about how she was older than him by nearly double, and he would point one of those hard, thick fingers at her and say "Aye, but ah remember more. Gettin' old ain't always a matter o' time passin'."

And he'd hand her another stack of stones to add to the stacks he'd already given her. Thin, rectangular slabs with his perfectly chiseled writings across the faces, and short descriptions of events scratched into the sides. The instructions were simple. Don't read them until the events come to pass. he'd always told her that knowing the future was more of a curse than a blessing, but knowing the present and the past was the greatest gift a leader could have. She'd only not heeded his warning once. It led to some of the most difficult trials of her life, and, embarrassingly, a thorough chiding on the very next slab.

He was thousands of years dead now, and yet somehow he was still there with her every time she realized it was time to flip over another of his stones. He was still her confidante, her teacher, her most trusted advisor, and her best friend. Perhaps now her only friend. It was so hard to trust anymore, and so hard to relate to anyone, even her own people. The Whisper made the voices of the living so faint by comparison. Sometimes she had to have the spirits of the trees relay to her what had just been said by her own councilors while they were in the same room as she was. The worst part was that they had begun to notice. With every passing decade she was a little farther away from the here and now. Lost farther and farther in the past, or the future, or gazing through the eyes of some Avatar trying desperately to save a few more lives. The council had begun acting on it's own. Doubting her. Scared that she had finally become something less than mortal.

Not that mortal had ever really described her. She had tried to keep her mortal sensibilities through it all, but even the lives of her own people seemed so small now. The Lesser Fae were flickering candles. Humans mere sparks, flashing for a moment and then gone forever. He had told her they would come, and what they would do. She could not believe it at first. The idea that such reckless children could be so terrifyingly good at murder and destruction was laughable. he, of course, had been proven right. The worst part about it all was that she could have crushed them. Could have destroyed them all, utterly, and with such ferocity that they would have fled, never again to return. But she did not. She had let them come. Let them settle. Let them bring metal and war and all their disgusting notions of entitlement. Let them become so entrenched that it would take an act of the gods to rout them. She let them kill her people. She let them teach her people horrors they had never known. Through them, her people were changed.

Which was the point of it all. To prepare. She could not tell anyone. She had to simply let it happen. She had learned then that he was right. To know the future was a curse. To understand full well that the pain her people suffered at the hands of the humans was necessary.

Because it taught them what they needed to learn to survive what would come next.

That Act of God she had laughed about before. It came.

"What tha Humans will do is as nothin' t' what will come after. Th' Other Fae are in tha north, an' they won' make it through like we will. They won' run, and they won' listen. The Shadow will take them an' change them an' they'll wash down on us like a wave tha' never ends. "

Once he had been proven right, like he always was, once she had watched over and over as the stones guided her away from disaster after disaster, he was long dead. It didn't matter though. He knew that would happen, and she always asked him the same question anyway. She could hear that conversation every time she picked up one of these silly pieces of rock. "What do we do next?"

"It's gonna be tha Humans, lass. It's like gambling. Y' bet on the best odds. The Godswar ain't done. The Shadow's fell, but there's things that fell with 'im. Energies. Remnants. Echos of what's been lost, and it wants t' find it's way back home. It's gonna grab on t' th' moments when life sparks, and ride it out. See if they can make that kid grow up t' someone that can make a difference. An' if it don' work that time it's gonna try again. That's why th' Human's 'r important. They have lots o' kids."

"You really expect me just to sit back and wait for the humans to do everything for us?"

"Hells no! We try t' find 'em. Teach 'em. Get 'em t' understand. It's about preparin', an' survivin' long enough t' see the results."

"It hardly seems like enough."

"It will be fer you an' yours. The elves make it out o' this a lot better off than tha dwarves do."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, you have t' teach yer people to hang on t' tha things that're important to 'em. It'll get 'em through. Mine, I gotta go an' set up ways t' destroy everything they love just t' make sure tha' they survive at all. Remember when we talked about tha Treaty? That's what it's about. My folk're gonna need help."

"How will I know when? The stones?"

"Oh... you'll know..."

He loved his cryptic answers. She shook her head as she stared at the latest stone. The Avatar had been dispatched to the Watch House of Kurgan. Another die cast. More lives thrown callously into the gears of the machine trying to destroy the world, hoping to slow them down long enough for a miracle to happen.

It's all gonna happen a lot faster now, lass. The stone read. Yer gonna have t' pay attention. They'll come t' you. All you gotta do is send 'em back an' clear the ruins. It's gonna git ugly while ya wait. The enemy's at the gates an' they're buildin' a monster t' chew down th' trees. The Dead City's 'bout ready t' march, an' there's a cauldron o' sickness in th' north that's gettin' ready t' boil over. Hold tight. Stand firm. Build boats.

"Build boats?" she sighed. Sometimes she wanted to figure out a way to bring him back just so she could strangle him with his own beard.

She looked out over the vastness of the forest. her eyes flicked through not only her own perceptions, but also those of her disciples scattered across the land. The black scar on the western horizon was faint today, but she could still feel the heat of the fires through the link with Leifan. It reminded her she needed to take a more personal hand in the Druid's search for a way of restoring the rainfall. To the north, the sky was pale. Tessara was watching the cancerous fortress north of Autilar. They wyverns were circling. Something had agitated them. A mere thought sent a message to Gweihir to dispatch two wings of sky knights to Silverthorn. The eagles did not like the cold, but they could endure it for a time, and the riders could keep them from fighting with the owls as long as they were all well fed. Rhiann was in a cave somewhere in the midlands. Human voices echoed from nearby, but nothing she could make out. It was cold. Bayal was whittling. Eirinn was holding her hand. For the moment, all was well.

Back in the arbor, the Queen smiled. At least one of her people was taking the time to relax and enjoy life. Here, she did not have the luxury. She, who had lived so long, never really seemed to have enough time, and now, apparently, there would be even less to spare. She set the stone down and closed her eyes, opening herself fully to the Whisper. It was like a song with a thousand choruses, all overlapping, but singing the same note. It was a song of warning. Different words about different events, but all with the same meaning. Death comes. A long, quiet hymn to remind her that this was the end of days and that unless she found that miracle she had sought for so long, she would be the last one alive to hear Aryth's death knell.

The last gasp of a dying world.

The Quietus Clarion.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2011, 12:54:38 PM by Doomed Hero » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2011, 03:47:57 PM »

Baden's Bluff, Arc of Zimra, Fall

Gorse stood at the southern gates to Baden's Bluff staring down the road like he'd like to be able to kill it, creatively, just for existing. His quarry had managed to escape. He was not pleased. The Fallen Court had once again proven themselves more resourceful than he had expected. He could not follow. He was needed in the city, and he had a long day ahead of him torturing the few people he could find who might be able to tell him how Fallen Prophet had managed to escape.

Gorse would have sighed, but he no longer did things like that. The High Priest had made such things unnecessary. He looked to his latest apprentice, the one who had both shown promise and managed not to irritate him to the point where he needed to have his face twisted off.

"Go" he said, in a voice like the rasp of stone on bone.

His apprentice only nodded and began to walk.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2011, 03:50:23 PM by Doomed Hero » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2011, 12:12:40 PM »

Volstagg, Road of Ruin, Arc of Zimra, Fall

As far as orcish garrisons went, Volstag was one of the nicest. It had to do with it's location primarily. It sat directly in the middle of the main supply route. It was strategically important and was treated as such by General Grial. There were two garrisons nearby, but neither of them were as accommodating or as efficient. A lot of that had to do with Skarren, the hobgoblin quartermaster. He had a gift for organization, or perhaps an uncharacteristic ability to force some semblance of it out of the constantly changing violent chaos that typically embodied such places. Most hobgoblins slowly went mad or spoke out of turn and were killed by the larger, stronger and more volatile orcs. Skarren thrived here, and had the scars to prove it.

"You're the ssecond legate to come through here lately, and the ssecond one to demean yoursself to talking with uss gruntsss." the big, ugly hobgoblin said. "Usually the fortresss getss bypasssed, unlesss a horsse diess or a wagon breakss. The commander ssaid you actually assked for me. I'm flattered and all, but it doess make me curiousss how I got noticssed by the Order. Or do you jusst need sssome ssuppliess, and I'm misstaking my own importancsse again?"
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2011, 03:03:36 AM »

Riddar swung himself off his horse, armored boots making a grating crunch as the full weight of his massive frame crashed against the ground.  His joints creaked and pain momentarily shot through his right leg.  He gritted his teeth to hide a grimace.

By the Shadow, even just ten years past, such a ride would have been nothing...  He adjusted the reins of his steed, not favoring the hobgoblin with even a glance.

"We all are guilty of mistakes.  When we are lucky, we live long enough to learn from them.  As I think you may be able to see, my good steed Coal here is still very much alive.  But he and I are neither as young as we used to be, and he's in need of grooming and a full feedbag, and I will do with a bowl of whatever sort of stew your cook has managed to invent, and a cup of ale to wash it down."

With that he turned towards the hobgoblin, his gray-whiskered and wrinkled face set like granite and his pale blue eyes cold.

"But for all this, I'm sure you have some lackey that can see to it with no degree of difficulty.  As for my other business, it should prove simple enough.  A quartermaster may know even better than a watchman or a commander what transpires within a fortress or on the road it sits.  You and I will have a chat, and I will know of any travelers that came through here in past days.  Of particular interest is this second legate you mentioned..."
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2011, 11:12:52 AM »

The hobgoblin didn't grimace or even blink at the insinuation that his life might depend on this interaction. He just nodded and waved over a squad of orcish recruits.  "Don't know if you really want the sstew. I think it'ss Cream of Dorn today. We'll find yyou ssomething more ssuitable to a human tongue. You lot! Food for Ssir Knight, and a ssstein of the commanderss ale. I find out your lipss crosssed a drop of it, I'll break your limbss and give you to the cook. You! Take thiss mount to the houndmasster. Get him off his asss and ensssure it has full care."

As the angry looking recruits growled and began to do as they were told, Skarren began to walk back to the supply yard. "Legate'ss name wass Illussstrian. One of the Sspeakers, I think. Csertainly talked enough for it. Hiss horsse went lame, sso he hung around here for a while then hitched a ride ssouth with a Gnome teamsster named Wendle."
« Last Edit: May 13, 2011, 11:18:23 AM by Doomed Hero » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2011, 11:55:38 AM »

Riddar adjusted the straps of Razor's scabbard, hung across his back, and shook himself once to settle the plates of his fur-lined armor about his shoulders.  With stiff, loping strides he kept a measured pace with the quartermaster.

"A Speaker...  Tell me: Was he content preaching to your rabble, or was he more...inquisitive?"
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2011, 12:38:55 PM »

"Hmm." The big hobgoblin says with a shrug as he looks at a detail stacking crates in his yard. "He did assk a lot of questionss, but mosst of them sseemed rhetorical. Truth be told, I wass happy to ssend him off with the Gnome. My job'ss hard enough without half my brainss devoted to anssswering pointless questionss. That'ss alwayss been the way of the Order though. Everything hass to be a big ssecret. Never really undersstood all that mysself. I prefer jusst ssaying what I need and why, and hurting people until I get it. Have to sstart with clarity of purposse firsst though, otherwisse you jusst make a messs."
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2011, 02:14:52 AM »

Volstagg was a far cry from what Kael was accustomed to. Military outposts such as this one lacked the diversity and color of the city and were much simpler to navigate than the winding corridors of Baden's bluff, not that Kael was complaining. With it's central positioning along one of the more prominent supply routes, Volstagg was an excellent candidate to supply information that may aid his search.

The quartermaster would deal with anyone who brought anything in or out... he thought to himself as he passed through the front gate.  Having been pointed towards a particularly scarred hobgoblin, Kael approached, stopping short of him and the large man he spoke with.

Silently he stood waiting until he would have the quartermaster's attention.
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2011, 12:13:58 PM »

"It appears our Brother Speaker is not the only one with a gift for the rhetorical.  But it seems at least that you and I share certain sentiments."

Riddar turned back towards the keeps' gate, staring through narrow eyes to the road beyond.

"South, you say...?  I will need that bowl of stew and cup of ale soon.  Make doubly sure that Coal is well-fed and given a grooming.  We will not stay past the hour and tax your poor brains any further. ...  Hah, although it appears you are quite popular this afternoon, quartermaster."
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« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2011, 04:09:43 PM »

"I'm alwayss popular. It happenss when you're asss pretty asss I am."

The big hobgoblin turned toward the newcomer, giving him the once over. He paused for a moment, his keen mind moving as his oversized slitted eyes narrowed. "Not often you ssee a human sstanding around in the middle of Vorssstuk without a worry or care, essspecially one without any kind of identification or demandss. You're not here for ssuppliess. Who you looking for?"
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« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2011, 10:24:16 PM »

"I was told that you're the quartermaster for this garrison..." Kael said casually as he reached his hand into his pocket.

"And I'm looking for information on anyone who's come through here recently who may have seemed unfamiliar."

As he spoke, Kael drew a symbol of the dark lord from his pocket, presenting it to the hobgoblin like an identifier.

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« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2011, 10:41:14 PM »

The hobgoblin looked down at the symbol in the newcomer's hand, and reached out to take a closer look at it. As soon as he made contact with it he stiffened and pulled his hand a moment later with a hiss of pain. Shaking his hand a bit his eyes widened. "Well *&% me running..."

"You're about three minutesss late to the party. Ssomething tellss me you and Ssir Knight here sshould talk. Ow."
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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2011, 12:29:15 AM »

As the hobgoblin spoke, Kael's eyes drifted from the scarred creature in front of him to the large man with whom the quartermaster had been conversing.

"Very well, but I would still like to see any logs you keep of everyone that has stopped at this garrison to deliver or pick up supplies in the past month."

Placing they symbol back in his pocket, Kael turned to face the legate. It was easy to see that this particular servant of the shadow was for no part lacking in experience or resolve.  Regardless, the motives and opinions of the order were of no real concern to Kael either way.

"So... What brings you through Volstagg?" he inquired with an uninterested tone, and the hint of a smirk.

« Last Edit: May 16, 2011, 12:40:58 AM by Doomed Hero » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2011, 12:41:03 AM »

Road of Ruin, Redwind, North of Swift Water, Arc of Obares, Afternoon

Father Astegar Cormann was in a foul mood. The townsfolk the pair had spoken to had dropped hints that the cheerful Legate who had come through the day before had performed a beautiful harvest ceremony, even going so far as to attend the funeral of the sacrifice and bless her passage to Izrador. Father Cormann had never done any such thing. It hadn't seemed strange before now, but the thing about revelations is that once revealed, it is impossible to go back. The people seemed to be beginning to grasp that Astegar was a sick, old wretch of a man, and Astegar seemed to know that if he wanted to maintain his station he was going to have to do much, much more for the wretched people of Redwind.

"Illustrian. His name was Illustrian. Damned fool made a mockery out of everything I've built here. The people were complacent. Dulled. Productive. They had even worked a lottery out among themselves to feed the needs of my mirror. They came willingly. Do you have any idea how rare that is? I did not have to send out guards to collect a sacrifice. I did not have to resort to any of the usual methods. They came to me. Next month I would stake my office that there will be resistance. Within three I'll have to resort to unsavory methods just to do my duty. It's all his fault isn't it? I knew he was fishy. I knew it! What did he do?"
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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2011, 01:06:11 AM »

Kael was amazed at how anyone who was as seemingly ill-equipped as Father Cormann could stay in power for as long as he had..

This is the legate charged with keeping order in Redwind?

Kael shot a quick, but unconcerning glance towards his new traveling partner before returning his attention to the old man standing before them.

"and who was this Illustrian with? Did he say where he was going?

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« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2011, 04:12:49 PM »

"I was not troubled with the details of his traveling companions. N'er-do-wells  and blasphemers, no doubt. Two of my acolytes met with them. Boy!" The sallow-faced priest barked. "Was it you who met with Legate Illustrian?"

"I am Tim, Father, and no. It was Hans." a lanky child in his early teens said with a small bow.

"Bah. Names. You're all Boy to me. Where is he?"

"Here, Father Cormann." An older youth said coming out of the cloister, handing the other boy a broom and shooing him out of the disgusting Legate's presance. "How can I serve?"

"Illustrian! What kinds of brigands did he travel with?"

"A gnome. Slightly older. Balding and fat. Two humans as well. One tired looking. Sandy hair. Otherwise unremarkable. The other was a wall of a man. As big and thick as an Orc. The humans went on ahead to Swift Water when Illustrian asked the gnome to delay his journey to accommodate the harvest dedication."

"Rode on ahead,you say?" Astegar said with a squinting sneer. "Suspicious. Very suspicious. What kind of men would leave a town just before an important religious observance? Truly blasphemers, no doubt."
« Last Edit: May 17, 2011, 04:16:27 PM by Doomed Hero » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2011, 02:25:21 AM »

"To swiftwater? Does anything else important lie between here and there?"

Kael found himself pausing for a moment, wondering if there was any useful information left that the old man could possibly offer them. His gaze stay locked on the old man as if Kael were trying to stare directly through him, but his change in tone, from inquisitive to passive and empty made it clear that he was no longer speaking to the defeated priest, but to the legate standing beside him.

"Satisfied?" he said in a soft voice, knowing in his mind that regardless of the answer, their next move was already set.
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« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2011, 06:59:18 PM »

"Oh, don't leave just yet!" Astegar said with a wide eyed grin that split the sores at the corners of his eyes. "My humble church is blessed to have been the closest mirror to a nexus of heathen magics recently found and drained by the Maleficarum himself. The Ormelac arrived yesterday. The ceremony will be tonight during the Hour of God. We are hoping that this will be pleasing enough to God that our mirror will become fully blooded. Imagine, a Blood Mirror in little Redwind!" The old priest chuckled proudly.

"The sacrifice is very... worthy." he continued with a leer. "Sir Knight, you may, of course, partake of her if you wish."
« Last Edit: May 30, 2011, 10:38:18 PM by Doomed Hero » Logged
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« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2011, 07:32:08 PM »

The Fleshcrafter's Manor, outside Swiftwater, Arc of Obares, night, rising fog

Rash'Gar had felt it before. Like icy water sliding just beneath his skin. He had enough time to send out a fearful impulse to Xein through their bond, and then he was an observer in his own body. It didn't matter that most of his earliest memories were of this happening, over and over again, with varying degrees of painful success. Every time the master's servant pushed itself into his mind it was a shock that left him whimpering in the tiny recess of himself that was still self aware.

He watched as his body rushed from the kennel, leaping over the sleeping bodies of his parents. He heard his own howl, fierce and full of alarm. The guards turned as words not his own ripped themselves past his lips.

"Out of the way you damn fools!"

"Nothing passes, beast." The guard said quickly with competent concern "The
master is in audien-"


And then he was dead. Rash'Gar nearly missed how it happened, even from inside, but he still tasted the blood in his mouth. The other guard yelled in alarm and whipped his spear down, but the thing in Rash'Gar's skin was far too fast. The spearhead was snapped off and slammed through the front of the other guard's visor with strength and speed that Rash'Gar could only dream of one day possessing.

"Idiots." his lips growled as his body rushed through the door and up the elaborate staircase.

On all fours, muscles tearing under the unnatural strain the creature possessing his body was putting them under, Rash'Gar felt himself half run, half crash through the heavy oaken doors to the master's study.

"Skinner! I lost her!" his lips snarled with a familiarity he himself would never dream of using. "Cara's free..."
« Last Edit: May 30, 2011, 10:36:44 PM by Doomed Hero » Logged
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« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2011, 07:37:01 PM »

Xein felt the fear rip into him, knocking him out of his dreamless sleep. Rash'Gar was in trouble.

The bond felt dampened, and another presence was there. Something powerful, intelligent and darkly blessed. Skindancer. The master's Astirax. Xein was supposed to respect it but mostly he hated it for what it could do to Rash'Gar. He knew the master's whole plan hinged on what Xein had helped Dancer learn to do, but it still made him feel disgusted. He would pray forgiveness later. For now he needed to find out what was wrong. Through the subdued bond Xein picked out the flashes of insight he needed. Despite Skindancer's presence he still felt out the direction.

The manorhouse. Rash'Gar was in the manorhouse.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2011, 07:47:48 PM by Doomed Hero » Logged
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"Inch towards daylight"


« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2011, 10:42:59 PM »

Springing to his feat Xein began to run.  He knew the grounds well and maneuvered his way to the Manor through the quickest path.  He bounded into the manor past the bodies of two unfortunate guardsman who'd been torn to shreds.  

Izrador damn you Skindancer, if you've caused him any harm!  Xein hated astiraxes, he didn't trust them.  He hated Skindancer more for what it did to Rash'Gar, he thought that the demon sometimes took Rash'Gar's body simply for fun.  He could do nothing about it however, it was the Masters Astirax, all he could do was obey.  He knew he was close as he followed the bond

Xein slowed as he neared the Masters study.  Breathing heavily he entered through the already open doors, consequences be damned he would not be dismissed easily in this.  
« Last Edit: May 30, 2011, 10:35:24 PM by Doomed Hero » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2011, 11:00:51 AM »

The Fleshcrafter's Study, Inside the Manor, Arc of Obares, night

Lord Skinner's manorhouse was old. Pre-war. No architect still alive had the skill to design such a place. No carpenters could ever build it. It was a place unconcerned with the realities of the present. It was made entirely of wood with windows galore. No thought to the possibility of a pack of Fell sneaking past the outer walls. All the windows were glass, some stained and glowing with color from the light within, some clear as finest crystal. A treasure unheard of today.

When the pair got close enough to see the grandure of the place through the rising fog they could not help but stare for a moment. The patterning and filigree made every surface dance as the shadows shifted making the house seem much like a living thing, it's skin faintly rippling as it slept.

The guards were efficiently professional, asking the right questions and keeping them under a two person guard while a third fetched the Keeper of the House.

He was a tall, spindly Dornishman in a coat of very old fashion. Long tails behind, a white bow in front, and pristine white gloves that drew the eye to his extraordinarily long, dexterous fingers. He introduced himself as Hans and brought them through a massive entryhall, up one side of an impressive set of curving staircases to a sitting room lined with ancient cabinetry of richly stained cherrywood. Everywhere they looked was a masterfully made peice of scrimshaw ranging from tiny carved teeth to a monstrous glass-topped table who's base was carved from a great skeletal hand, etched with spirals and stained nearly black, that could only have come from an ancient dragon.

The portraits that hung between the cabinets were of the unsettling kind that seemed to be looking at the observer, so detailed were the eyes and the soft leather upholstered chairs they sat in were high-backed, warm, and far more comfortable than they had expected. The soft padding was so fine that it gently conformed to their bodies when they sat, it's consistency more like gel than cotton.

When the master of the house came for them they were surprised to see that he himself was remarkably unelaborate. He wore a dimly made evening jacket over a plain white shirt with the collar of a priest. Save for his polished shoes and belt he was unadorned. Even his dark-horned rosary was made of ivory rather than metal. The only striking thing about him was his face.

The man was perfect. His eyes crystal clear without a hint of line or bag, his brow unfurrowed, his chin strong, his jaw square. His cheekbones gave his face just the right amount of shape without hollowing it and his mouth, set in a slight smile, was kind. His skin carried neither scar nor blemish and his light brown hair was immaculate with only a hint of beginning to recede, adding a bit of age and gravity to an otherwise youthful appearance.

He had introduced himself with a firm handshake and brought them into his study. At first the pair was concerned at the number of books so openly displayed, but they quickly realized that every last one of them was a copy of the Book of Shadows.

Lord Skinner had listened to their tale with quiet interest, sipping from his bone-carved goblet, nodding and asking for an occasional point of clarity. When the finished he nodded and stood to look out the window toward the glow of the town of Swift Water, only barely visible through the fog.

"...and you say this prophet is, or was, here? Traveling with a member of the clergy? Illustrian, was it? I am afraid no one fitting that description has presented themselves to me," Lord Skinner said with thoughtful articulation, "and while I do have servants in the town to watch for things of intrest, an Erenlander traveling with a gnomish wagoner is fairly common. It is this priest you speak of which is the odd element. No entourage or guard, alone with these commoners? Quite out of the ordinary for a priest. Are you certain this Illustrian has not gone Pale?"
« Last Edit: May 30, 2011, 10:34:54 PM by Doomed Hero » Logged
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« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2011, 09:59:41 PM »

Riddar shifted in his seat, his bones creaking as the plates of his mail ground together.  One articulated edge of his cuisse ripping one soft tear in the padded leather chair.  He paid it no mind.

"There is quite precious little to be certain of.  I am no Inquisitor.  My charge is not to judge, only to catch.  From other reports, this Illustrian attends to the common's needs.  When the common's needs are met, they are far more docile.  More...willing and ardent to win the Shadow's favor.  Were this more so, perhaps my order would not be so...necessary.  If this Illustrian is found to be in the Shadow's favor, that is so.  If not, that will also be so. 

The old soldier leaned back in the chair, face relaxing but eyes still fixed on the manor lord.

"Forgive me however for boring you with such philosophizing.  But as I said, questions of intent are far less important than useful information.  There may have been two others of note.  One sandy-haired and rundown.  The other a man the size and shape of an orc.  Also, it is entirely likely the Father stopped to preach and sermonize to the commons.  Perhaps your diligent servants noted any of this...?
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« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2011, 11:02:10 PM »

Hans, Lord Skinner's manservant, was somehow standing quietly by the opposite door to the study. Neither Riddar or Kael had noticed the door open or close despite it being directly across the room from them, so it was impossible to tell how long the tall man had been there.

Lord Skinner seemed unperturbed by his servant's stealthy entrance and stopped his reply mid breath to raise an eyebrow and ask "Yes, Hans. What is it."

"Forgive the intrusion, Lord." Hans said with a slight bow. "One Father Illustrian is awaiting an audience."

Lord Skinner turned back towards his guests with a wry smile. "Hmm. How fortuitous. Show him in."
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« Reply #24 on: May 27, 2011, 04:56:16 PM »

Kael tried his best to hide his surprise at the servants entrance. He was shocked to be caught off guard by such unassuming man, but quickly dismissed his presence as he spoke. Despite his upbringing, the more recent nature of his work had made Kael inpatient at times to the etiquette and lull of these social interactions and he frequently found his mind drifting to desires to keep moving. The lord however seemed someone of importance and it would be in Kael's best interest to act courteously.

Once Hans had said his piece however, Kael's mind snapped back into focus. "Now we might be getting somewhere." he thought to himself, knowing that Illustrians presence signified a definitive step closer to finding the prophet. Content now knowing that the time spent stopping here would not have been a waste, Kael allowed himself to relax back into his chair while his gaze fixed upon the door the priest would soon enter.

For the first time since leaving Baden's Bluff, Kael felt a thin smile growing across his face. "It would seem we showed up just in time."

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