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Author Topic: Clarion Quietus (IC) Part 3  (Read 135654 times)
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Doomed Hero
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« on: November 21, 2013, 01:46:55 AM »

Chapter 2: The Deep Siege

The Master stood before his mirror surveying his Hunter's work. There had been obstructions, as always, but by and large he was quite pleased.

"Your mission is complete here. The clan will be arriving shortly. I will follow to oversee the rest, personally."

The mirror showed a great dwarven burial chamber, seemingly endless, with stacks and stacks of funerary stones. In the intersections of the long isles large bronze braziers were lit with shadowfire. All around, dwarven spirits stood and stared inward at the Hunter and the Black Knight.

"Something seems wrong, Master." The hunter said. "The Conflux is... moving. It was here, but now it is not. The energies here are not holding."

"Then we will have to act quickly."

In the chamber below, the Odrendor worked, their droning hum taking on a slower meter and richer chords. They were done for now. The moulds were being shattered and the forge fires quenched. Tools were placed in well worn cases and satchels and packed away for storage. This place had been expended. The spirit was gone from the stone. They had learned what they could and were ready to begin again.

"If I may, master, i believe I may have inadvertently caused this." the Hunter said with shame in his voice.

"...continue."

"A dwarven trap collapsed the hall where the fighting was. It was the most intense fire I've ever seen, and released fumes that were poison to the orcs. I mistakenly thought that fire was the fire you had spoken of and cast the Blood into it. We moved the black fires here, but they were not born here."

"That should not matter. Tell me more of this trap."

"It still burns. The hobgoblins used it as a charnel pit after the battle. My guess is that nearly one thousand bodies were cast into it."

The Master paused, checking over a number of divination tools on his alter. He whispered a small prayer and touched an onyx sphere. It pulsed and hummed, and showed him what he needed to know.

"Check for Confluxes again. There will be two. One is dying. Another has been born. I believe that your accident may have inadvertently saved this entire endeavor. The Lord truly favors you."

"Thank you, Master." The Hunter said as the mirror went dark. Into a large chest it went, along with the onyx sphere and the other items from the altar. Two acolytes finished packing the rest as the Master descended the stairs.

The Master in Grey watched the Odrendor begin their march south, the acolytes moving with them, carefully guarding the Master's chests.

The master waited until the last of them had left the hall, walking in a long line, singing their songs with their tools on their shoulders. Then he closed the gate and barred it. Another whispered prayer turned the stone to a liquid clay that shaped itself to his will. The gates were swallowed. The engraved circles and binding symbols smoothed over, the workspaces melted.

In a matter of moments it was just a sealed, empty cavern with himself trapped within.

He lay down against one wall and smiled to himself. "Run back to your tree little mice."

And then he moved no more.


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« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2013, 01:51:39 AM »

Near Kurgun Falls, The Kaladruns, Arc of Obares, Early Winter

"I, Kjellan Hargund Gale oth'Durgis, have inherited a Debt of Stone from Woden, and I will see that the debt is paid in full. This is now my life's purpose, and it requires that I travel to the forest realm of the elves, to deliver a gift to their Queen -- the case that Eirik has mentioned. I hold you under no obligation to accompany me on this journey, though you are welcome to travel with me for as short or as great a distance as you choose. The journey will be perilous, and the Debt of Stone is mine, and mine alone. But for now, Wendle and Eirik are right… we need to place as much distance as we can between the Shadow's forces and ourselves before nightfall, and should strive to reach Kurgun Falls with haste… From there, you may go where you will..." 
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« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2013, 02:20:20 AM »

"Not alone, Kjellan. It is mine too, as your protector.  You are our last Thane, and I your last bodyguard.  Together we will carry out Woden's last command.  And then we can die honorable deaths."Dunk placed his hand on his liege's shoulder, and nodded with a grim smile.  "I can lead us to the falls."
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« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2013, 06:06:02 AM »

Having posted herself by Siobhan once again as the group emerged into open air, Amethyst had gently attached herself to her friend's hand - seeking to provide a tangible anchor to the here-and-now that might help to draw the firebrand out of the darker depths in which she has recently seemed lost.

Her other hand, however, holds one of the mysterious stones, and much of her attention had been split between it and the view before words started to be exchanged.

Talk of honourable deaths prompted her to raise one brow behind the concealing safety of her hat's broad brim, but she made sure that a smile was audible in her voice as she offered her own reply.

"I can't pretend to possess Wendle's expertise in smuggling, but it's possible that you might benefit from a little human assistance in making it across Erenland.  If you were willing, then I would be glad to try to help.  Whatever it is that you have been charged with, it seems to be truly important.  And it seems that success for you will serve as a strike against the Shadow.

So... if you think we won't be a burden for this venture, you can count in me and my tales and my symbols."
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« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2013, 01:12:23 AM »

Kjellan nodded with satisfaction at Dunk. "I knew I could count on you, Uncle."

He then bowed slightly before Amethyst. "You would be far from a burden, Amethyst. Quite the contrary. It would be an honour and a privilege for us to have you accompany us on our journey… and your tales and your symbols..." The dwarrow smiled in the dying light as he spoke those last words.
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« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2013, 02:04:57 AM »

"I won't try to speak for anyone else, but I do have an obligation to accompany you. An obligation to Rhiann, Bayal, Aerin....and myself. I've been hearing the call of that forest since forever, only to find myself staring into the black eyes of the Queen's own avatar. I am witness; I am changed; and I am going."
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« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2013, 04:29:28 AM »

 The corruption of the fell flame had affected her far more than she was prepared to understand. The foul feeling coming from something that granted her such elation shook her to the core. Between that and the fell she had retreated into herself, remaining quiet, shaken, quite unlike her usual self

Amethyst concerned attention was the only thing that kept her at least partially anchored to reality, as much as her mind screamed to escape it. It was that contact, both the occasional supportive squeeze that served as a pacifier, and the emotional support that drew her out now. She faded into reality as Amethyst finished offering her aid to Kjellan.

“You have my aid as well for whatever it’s worth.” She said quietly, flashing Amethyst an appreciative smile when the other woman’s eyes quickly flickered over to her in surprise.

“I’ve been a bit….distracted lately but I’m here to carry on.” She continued, giving her friend’s hand a quick squeeze of thanks.
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« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2013, 12:25:19 AM »

Eirik watched the rising support among the group with a sense of relief. "You'll need someone to treat your wounds before the day is out. I'm with you until this is through."
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« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2013, 09:30:37 PM »

In the high mountains as it got towards winter, the days became very short. Even still though, Dunk realized this was odd. They had not been out of the Hall of the Dead long. They had climbed out the top in the morning, then down and back into the Hold, had enough time to find Rhiann and Woden, and then slip out through the Marmot hole. That hadn't taken any longer than four hours.

There were four hour days some years, but not this early in the season. They should have two more months before that happened.

because he was looking up, hoping for a break in the cloud cover so he could better see the sunset, he watched it happen.

The sky went red.

Not, brilliant, awe-inspiring sunset through the clouds red, but dark, angry, like glowing blood red. The setting sun looked poisoned.

Next him, Kjellan was seeing something else.

Ever since dawning the Helm of Durgis he'd been able to see spirits even after leaving the Hall of the Dead. Thane Woden and Durgis the First were constant companions. He didn't see them all the time, but when he concentrated he could, unless they were within him (which was an odd thought, to be sure).

The world had taken on a strange case, like everyone had a faint glowing outline. He'd realized that he was seeing their spirits superimposed with their bodies. He hadn't figured out what the slight differences in color meant yet, but he was sure they meant something.

He'd had time to ponder it all in the Marmot hole, but now his mind was on other things, which was shy he didn't notice at first that the sky was trying to pull him upward.

He had been about to reply to Eirik, when his gaze seemed to rise of it's own accord. He expected to see a the moon, or the first few stars of evening now that it was getting darker. He didn't.

Instead he saw a glowing spiral that swirled inward and upward. It was the source of the faint sound he'd been hearing, like a roar beneath a hiss, like someone was running a bellows with a leak in it. The sound swelled as he stared up into the the glowing whirlpool. He felt like he was being called. His vision floated upward and he felt like he was falling. He could see it more clearly now as his perception rose. The spiral was made up of spirits. Thousands of them, wailing and moaning, being stretched and pulled toward a central point that twinkled like someone had pushed all the stars together into one place. Something about it was comforting, and frightening. He was tired, and he just wanted to be done with it all.

Strong hands pulled him down and his body jolted. Durgis stood next to him and shook his head while Woden gave him a shake to make sure they had his attention. Durgis looked into Kjellan's confused and vacant-looking eyes and said "Word of advice, don't look up."

Woden turned him back toward the ruin of Durgis Rock. "Somethin's happening, and it ain't good."

Siobhan noticed encroaching dark, and the bloody sky, but more than that, she noticed the cold. It washed over her like she'd jumped into the water. She exhaled and was shocked at how thick the fog in her breath was.

Ivy's elf ears caught the faint sound of fissuring stone. She looked out and saw the ruins of Durgis Rock tremble. A puff of black smoke wafted upward like the ruin had blown a smoke ring.

Nefario knew exactly what was happening.

Eirik collapsed.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2013, 01:18:45 PM by Doomed Hero » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2013, 01:19:29 AM »

Pain.

So much pain and a sensation of falling. Then one last sudden explosion of crushing as all senses abandoned the body. Darkness was immediate. Weakness came. No strength remained. Then nothing.

Eirik, no not Eirik... something... someone else felt like it had been shattered into a thousand pieces and lay unmoving, forgotten, and doomed to oblivion for what felt like aeons.

Then something... a sensation ... like a water drop... no, it was smaller than that more instinctive... more primal... energy... existence... life... so many pieces... pulling them all in, together, reforming ones self. Awareness returned, there was darkness but also the sense of something else. Another beginning. Up. A voice calling, from a place of fire and death. Focusing... the journey upward becomes easier. More energy and... something else. A vessel. An empty vessel! Triumph.



Still collapsed on the ground, Eirik could not see his immediate surroundings. His eyes were rolled back into his head and softly, very softly the word was whispered from his mouth.

"ORCUS"
« Last Edit: November 26, 2013, 02:22:30 AM by Doomed Hero » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2013, 10:38:52 AM »

Smiling at her friend, and returning the hand-squeeze, it took Amethyst a moment or two to register Eirik's collapse.

When she did so, she let out a squawk of alarm, releasing her grip on Siobhan so that she could drop to her knees and peer worriedly at the fallen seer, hastily surveying him for any sign of untreated injury - or fresh attack.
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« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2013, 10:46:28 PM »

When the dwarves had been fighting against themselves as the Shadow approached, Dunk had felt hopelessness.

When he say thousands of soldiers assaulting his home, he had felt fear.

When he had been locked in the Hall of the Dead and the spirits announced Woden was dead, he had felt sadness.

When he saw the ruin that was his home, he had felt pain.

When he saw the pile of bodies laying around Woden as he died, he felt pride mixed with remorse.

But now, as he watched further defilement of his land after his home had been destroyed, after his people had been slaughtered, after everything but the young dwarrow Thane and the urutuks he carried had been taken from him, he felt none of those.  Instead, he felt anger, crystallizing within him like a bolt of lightning out of sky, filling his being.  He heard Elrik fall, but his gaze never left the direction of the poisoned sky and his fallen home.
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« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2013, 11:26:46 PM »

Kjellan did his best to heed Woden and Durgis's warnings, keeping his eyes downcast from the glowing spiral.

He stared back at the ruins of Durgis Rock, confused, uncomprehending, and numb… squinting from the pain he felt overwhelming his mind. He did not notice Eirik fall or the reactions of the others.

"Durgis… Woden…," he mumbled in a feeble monotone. "What… what's going on?"

What does it all mean?

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« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2013, 04:03:56 AM »

The cold was overwhelming. It seeped into her bones like ice water, creeping into her lungs. Fog filled the air with every breath and as Siobahn shivered she heard the thud of Eirik's body. As Amethyst rushed to his side, she responded on instinct, the Ashblade manifesting in her hands, the sudden heat further filling the air around her right hand with mist as she moved to stand over the fallen seer.
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« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2013, 12:19:56 PM »

It was so cold the bladed hissed in the air, a cloud of vapor forming around it.
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« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2013, 03:52:12 AM »

Eirik's eyes snapped into focus. He was on the ground looking up at Amethyst who wore a very worried expression. He inhaled a sharp breath and couldn't help but let out a small cough, as an involuntary shudder ran through his body. The air had turned cold, too cold for the living to withstand long.

The atmosphere had become oppressive and he knew why. An entity had been called, it was easily the most... indescribably evil thing Eirik had ever felt before. And it had answered the call. He looked up at Amethyst his eyes wide and tried to sit up but found that he was uncharacteristically short of breath. That vision had drained him more than he thought. Eirik reached his hand out for Amethyst's.

 "There- there's no time! We have to run. Now!!"
« Last Edit: December 03, 2013, 03:55:01 AM by Fates Chagrin » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2013, 04:36:53 AM »

Eirik's awakening and immediate response at least seemed to answer any doubts over whether he was the focus for the dramatic shift in the world - and before such concerns might reassert themselves, Amethyst reached out to clasp Eirik's hand, putting the weight of herself and her pack into hauling him to his feet.

"Head for lower ground?", she asked apprehensively, hoping that whichever way they ran would be easy enough to let her keep up with the more speedy members of their group.
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« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2013, 12:52:37 PM »

Under normal circumstances Eirik might have thanked her for helping him to his feet. Instead he shook his head, the knot of fear inside his chest was threatening to explode and make him run.

"Lower ground, Kurgan Falls, anywhere, as long as it's away from here!"
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« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2013, 06:39:16 PM »

There was no earthquake. No earth shattering roar. No crack of ominous thunder or gouts of flame.

Instead, it began to snow.

Big, thick puffy flakes, the kind that set children to smiles and laughter. Somehow though, with the red sky, everything it touched looked washed with blood.

They ran.

Eirik didn't let them stop and Rhiann's final blessing gave them all endurance beyond what they had ever thought possible. Only Mandag felt the strain and burning lungs of running in the thin, cold air of the mountain passes, but his superb conditioning let him keep up.

The sky stayed red for far longer than a normal sunset. The red twilight finally faded, taking the last light with it and plunging the mountain passes into darkness. Dunk lead them slowly the rest of the way.

It was when they neared Kurgun Falls that Rhiann's enchantment finally faded. The cold seeped in almost immediately. The massive waterfall filled the air with spray that carried, so this time of year everything around the Falls was slick with ice. The cliffs all around

The sweat from their run and the damp of the air compounded the cold and set them to shivering almost instantly. Only Dorin seemed unbothered. He was a Northman after all.

Dunk stopped them at the top of the small hill leading down to the Falls. He was left with a choice. Darkness and ice-slick stone was a dangerous combination. However, fire carried far on nights like this. If there sere Shadow scouts nearby, a torch would certainly give them away.
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« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2013, 06:14:47 AM »

"Could we hide underground again?", Amethyst wearily enquired, somewhat guiltily leaning against Siobhan, now acutely aware of the loss of the elven boost to her enthusiasm and endurance.  "They'll probably assume this area's been well-cleared of anyone they don't want here, so even a small corner out of sight might be as safe and sheltered as anything we could hope for..."
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« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2013, 06:42:33 PM »

Eirik was breathing hard by the end of the run, but he was recovering quickly too. He'd remembered hating Collin for putting him through all the physical training when he was younger, often times pushing him to the absolute limits of his endurance; but now he was glad for it. He shivered involuntarily but it was not the worst cold he had ever felt.
"As much as I hate to say it, hiding underground may not be a good idea." He vaguely recalled when the stone behemoth had smashed one of the buildings down. He had been in a haze at the time and couldn't quite recall things very well from before. "It's as Wendle said. We can't assume the forces around here will be a standard patrol. They're going to be looking for us and will likely be thorough. If we miss hearing them coming, we'll be trapped underground. Keeping ourselves open to differing ways of escape would be best. But... He looked up at the night sky, his breath becoming visible. "We can't exactly stay out under these conditions either."
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« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2013, 10:00:48 PM »

Dunk shook his head.  "There isn't much in the way of shelter up here.  Our best bet is in the old trade buildings at the base of the falls, even as they are ruined. 

But you're right Elrik, we were nearly trapped there before.  It might be the first place they look. 

Getting to the shelters will be difficult enough: the stones are slick and if anyone falls in, the cold might kill them."


He looked around at his companions.  Some he trusted would be fine, but others were wearing strange armor they had just taken from the fallen, or otherwise clumsy.

"I think we can do this without light, but if you aren't sure of your feet I'd recommend asking someone else to hold your pack."  He waited, seeing if anyone disagreed with his plan.
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« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2013, 08:03:27 PM »

Kjellan shivered and swallowed hard.

"I have nothing better to suggest, Uncle. But I may need some help getting my pack and weapons down… not to mention myself... do we still have rope?"
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« Reply #23 on: December 13, 2013, 02:25:31 AM »

"Aye my Thane, I have some.  We can try to use it as a guide line over the worst parts."
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« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2013, 04:27:24 AM »

Siobahn stood quietly supporting the near exhausted Amethyst, while at the same time glad for the added body heat as she shivered from the unnatural cold.  The climb down would be doubly dangerous to the humans in the group, lacking the superior vision of the others, and the very though of entering the icy water filled her with dread. Every fiber in her being wanted to create a blazing fire, and it was taking an increasing amount of willpower to restrain herself from doing so.
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