Arcanis: Gonnes, Sons, and Treasure Runs (COMPLETED) - Page 28
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    Adventus Regis - Part 9: Hope is Lost!

    THE KING: Hencefore, all in Hastur shall wear the Mask, and by this sign be known. And war between the masked men and the naked shall be perpetual and bloody, until I come again….or fail to come.

    --The King in Yellow: Act Two
    There were several three- and four-story buildings on the block, none of which were yet on fire. At least two-dozen people had already leaped from the rooftops or hung themselves out of the upper story windows.

    “Steel yourselves,” said Beldin, a dagger in his hand. “We have to cross that.”

    Between them was a sea of shattered and moaning bodies.

    Kham was already ahead of them. Someone reached out and grabbed his ankle.

    “Let go of me!” he shouted. When the woman refused to relinquish her grip, Kham drew Fleshripper. “This is your last warning!” His eyes were wild. “Let go of me or—“

    “Kham!” said Sebastian. “No!”

    With a roar, Kham gripped Fleshripper with both hands and hacked downward. He struck again and again with an inhuman shriek. The death grip on his ankle was finally released.

    “Kham…?” asked Ilmarė.

    The Val was shuddering with rage. His lenses were off, such that they could see the whites that served as his pupils.

    A well-dressed man stood on the edge of a nearby rooftop. “All hope is lost!” he screamed. Then he leaped to his death, crashing through a cart full of grapes.

    The spectacle caused Kham to shriek at the top of his lungs. Then he turned and ran further into Vestalanium.

    “We’d better catch him,” said Beldin, “before he kills again.”

    “Where is he headed?” asked Bijoux.

    Sebastian's features were a grim mask of determination. “Ravulus. We’ve got to get to the villa before he does.”

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    Adventus Regis - Part 10: We Have Seen Him!

    ALL: No! Mercy! Not upon us!

    THE KING: Yhtill! Yhtill! Yhtill!


    --The King in Yellow: Act Two
    A crowd of crazed men and women rushed around the street corner, howling like animals. They were all armed, injured, and bloody.

    “We have seen him!” the mob shouted over and over. “We have seen him!”

    They hit Kham first.

    Fleshripper’s whisper was a pounding, insistent command in his head.

    “The war between the masked men and the naked shall be perpetual and bloody!” it said. “Kill them all!”

    Kham cut them down like wheat before a sickle.

    “Yhtill.”

    A former guard stumbled backwards, his small gladius useless against Fleshripper’s superior reach.

    “Yhtill!”

    A barmaid fell, gurgling from her slit throat.

    “YHTILL!”

    An old man, limping on his good leg, had it hacked out from beneath him.

    Fleshripper was judge, jury and executioner, and all who dared cross its path paid the price.

    Over and over, Kham focused on retrieving the only things that mattered to him: his pistols. They were all just getting in his way.

    Somewhere deep inside, Kham wept.

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    Adventus Regis - Part 11: He is Here!

    THE KING: Henceforth, Hastur and Alar will be divided forever. Forever shalt thou contend for mastery, and strive in bitter blood to claim which shall be uppermost: flesh or phantom, black or white.

    --The King in Yellow: Act Two
    A group of men and women pitched torches into a doorway as the building slowly began to catch on fire. They had piled broken chairs and tables just inside the building.

    “Kham’s gone mad!” shouted Sebastian.

    On the other side of the street were four people with brushes and ladders painting a huge yellow sign upon the side of a building. Each of them also had the Yellow Sign painted on their tunics and togas.

    “Cal, you’re in front. Beldin, take the back,” commanded Ilmarė. “Everyone else stay in the middle.”

    They were almost clear of the street when a screaming man rushed out in front of them.

    Cal advanced, but Ilmarė put out one hand to stop him.

    The man was naked and covered in cuts and gashes. Blood ran off of him and a layer of broken glass clung to his flesh.

    Bijoux stepped forward. “Are you…” she spotted a bed of broken bottles, carefully prepared, covered in blood. Beside the pile was the man’s carefully folded toga and discarded sandals. “Hurt?”

    The man ran away, screaming, “He is here! He is here!”

    Bijoux crouched to pursue.

    Ilmarė grabbed her wrist. “Let him go.”

    “But he will die,” Bijoux said, her slitted pupils focused on the man’s retreating back as he zigzagged through the street.

    “He’s dead already,” said Ilmarė. “We need to focus on the living.”

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    Adventus Regis - Part 12: Give Us Your Children!

    THE KING: But think: Already you own the world. The great query is, Can you rule it? The query is the gift. The King in Yellow gives it into your hands, to hold…or to let loose. Choose, terrible children.

    --The King in Yellow: Act Two
    They had finally reached the hills where the more well appointed villas were located. They arrived just in time to witness a crowd of crazed townspeople battering down the barricaded door to a villa. Servants threw out furniture from the second floor windows onto the mob, in a vain attempt to drive them away. It was clear that the mob would overcome the barricade in minutes.

    “Stop them!” shouted Ilmarė.

    The mob was armed with many torches. Most of them had gathered around a wagon filled with barrels of lamp oil.

    “Give us your children and they shall be spared!” shouted the crowd.

    Cal thudded towards the crowd with his axe. He slammed one aside with the flat of the blade, then two more to his right.

    “Get that oil away from the torches!” shouted Sebastian.

    Beldin rolled underneath the wagon and, with his back to the wall, pushed against the wagon with his feet. The wagon creaked but barely moved.

    An older man screamed, “The Last King demands your children!” Then he lit himself ablaze.

    The flailing conflagration stumbled towards…

    “The wagon!” shouted Ilmarė. “Stop him Cal!”

    The big lizard turned, but it was too late. The man threw himself onto the cart. In seconds, it would explode.

    There were pleas from the people inside. The cries of children.

    Cal bellowed an ear-splitting roar, louder than the screams and the crackling of the flames. His earflaps stood straight up.

    “Not him too!” said Sebastian. “If we lose Cal…”

    “Cal has not gone crazy,” said Bijoux. She watched with careful interest. “He’s just angry.”

    Cal seemed to puff up another full foot. His claws extended as he pounded towards the smoldering wagon. With a mighty heave, the Ss’ressen grabbed the front of the wagon and lifted it over his head. He spun, his dilated eyes scanning the terrain for a place where it would be safe to throw it.

    “No,” said Beldin through gritted teeth. “He’ll never get away in time!”

    “I don’t think he plans to get away,” said Ilmarė.

    With the wagon nearly on his back, Cal strained towards open ground. He almost made it.

    The explosion was powerful enough to knock the sane and insane to the ground. Bits of flaming debris showered down around them.

    And at the center of the wreckage, a blackened form lay still.

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    Adventus Regis - Part 13a: The Screams Become Silence

    THE KING: Until then, Carcosa will vanish; but my rule, I tell you now, is permanent, despite Aldebaran. Be warned.

    --The King in Yellow: Act Two
    Inside the villa were a wealthy couple, their six children, and more than a dozen servants and slaves. They were all sane and unharmed.

    “Will he survive?” asked the woman of the house.

    Cal was a blackened shell of himself. His scales were scarred and flaking. The great chest rose and fell in slow, shuddering gasps.

    “He’ll live,” said Bijoux. “Onara heals her children.”

    “He does this all the time,” said Ilmarė.

    “What happened here?” asked Sebastian.

    “We saw the first fires just after dark,” said the male owner. “Then we started hearing the screams. We closed the gates and barred the doors, but it wasn’t enough. The mobs came into the hills, storming villa after villa. They were looking for children! We hid them, we did, and we tried to stop the mob but there was just too many of them. They dragged them out of the hiding place and outside to the woman.”

    “The woman?” asked Ilmarė.

    “She was tall and thin, dressed in white robes. On her breast was a large pendant with that sign, the yellow one from the play. She wore a pale mask and rode in upon a horse like some fiend. When the children were gathered before her she talked to them for a few minutes, and then blew a conch horn.”

    “That’s when the monster appeared!” said one of the slaves.

    “Monster?” asked Sebastian.

    “It dropped out of the sky like a hawk. It was like a cursed union of bat and man, with horns like a ram. The thing grabbed the children and flew off into the night.”

    “I don’t like the sound of that,” said Beldin. “We’ve got to get to our equipment, fast.”

    “We could hear the woman saying one of them might be chosen by the Nameless King for a great honor and that they were being taken to him for judgment. Then she rode off towards the arena.”

    “We’ll need horses,” said Ilmarė.

    “Done,” said the man of the house. “We can spare two horses, the rest we’ll need to leave town ourselves. They’re yours.”

    “That’s not enough,” said Beldin.

    Cal slowly rose to his feet. The soot flaked off of him as Bijoux’s healing magic took hold.

    “No horse will allow me to ride it,” said Sebastian. He looked Cal up and down. “It’s enough.”

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    Adventus Regis - Part 13b: The Screams Become Silence

    THE KING: Thou wert promised a Dynasty by Truth, and in truth shalt thou have a dynasty. The kingdom of Hastur was first in all the world, and would have ruled the world, except for this: Carcosa did not want it.

    --The King in Yellow: Act Two
    Ilmarė arrived at Ravulus first. The villa was ransacked.

    She climbed two steps at a time to the second floor, to their rooms. The Elorii caught a glimpse of someone hacking down a door.

    BLAM!

    Ilmarė knew the telltale sound. It was the sound of one of Kham’s pistols firing.

    Kham fell backwards into the doorway. The shot had gone wide, glancing off his shoulder. His pupiless eyes started, his face twisted into a hideous snarl. Then he bounded back into the room with Fleshripper raised high.

    “Kham, Thralen! Stop it!” shouted Ilmarė.

    Thralen, his back against a dresser, drew another of Kham’s pistols. He rolled to the side just as Fleshripper hacked a furrow of splinters into the dresser.

    “Drop the pistols!” shouted Ilmarė

    “Are you mad, woman? He’s trying to kill me!”

    Thralen took careful aim at Kham’s head. This time he would not miss.

    The Val lifted Fleshripper over his head…

    “Radius Incensio!”

    A gout of flames from Sebastian’s outstretched hand blasted Kham sideways. He slumped to the ground, unconscious.

    Thralen kept two of Kham’s pistols trained on his prone form. “Easy,” said Ilmarė, lowering his arms by pushing down on the pistol barrels. “He went a little mad. Osalian knows he had good reason to.”

    All energy drained out of Thralen then. He dropped the pistols. “They took Emric.”

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    Adventus Regis - Part 14: To the Arena

    THE KING: Also be promised: He who triumphs in this war shall be my—can I be honest?—inheritor, and so shall have the Dynasty back.

    --The King in Yellow: Act Two
    As they rode along the western road out of the hills, there was a scream of terror. It came from above, out of the inky night sky.

    Ilmarė pointed upwards. “There!”

    Emric flew through the air, flailing frantically. He cried out for help.

    But then it became clear that he was not moving of his own accord. He was being carried.

    Matching the night with its midnight black fur was a creature that could only be the thing the servants described at the villa. With huge wings, long claws and curved ram’s horns, the creature stared down at them all. It tilted its head, its eyes filled with intelligence and curiosity as it quietly flapped its wings.

    Bijoux launched herself into the air, claws outstretched.

    She almost snagged Emric’s pant leg. But then the thing flew higher. It vanished from sight into the night.

    “No!” shouted Bijoux as the updrafts failed her. She glided back to join the others. “I almost had him,” she sobbed. “I almost had him.”

    “We saved him once,” said Ilmarė. “We will save him again.”

    “I will not lose him!” said Bijoux, her delicate features filled with determination. She took a running leap and glided off ahead of them.

    “Let’s go,” said Beldin, “before we have another Kham on our hands.” He clucked his horse into a trot.

    Kham rode up the rear, his pistols all in their proper place and arrayed in his usual overcoat. Fleshripper was strapped across his back.

    “Whoever this King is,” said Kham, “he’s about to experience a coup.”

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    Adventus Regis - Part 15: The Arena

    THE KING: Hence, thereafter, Hastur and Alar divided; but those in Alar sent you from Aldebaran the Phantom of Truth and all was lost; together, you forgot the Covenant of the Sign. Now there is much which needs to be undone.

    --The King in Yellow: Act Two
    A strange quiet had fallen over the ruins of Vestalanium. From their vantage point on the road, they could see that the fires were starting to burn themselves out. Few people moved along the streets, with only the occasional howl sounding a human presence.

    The road eventually led to a large circular stone building; the arena. There was debris and blood everywhere, as well as a scattering of slowly cooling corpses. The gates remained open. Above them hung an enormous banner.

    It read, “Adventus Regis,” and the three-armed symbol of the king seemed to glow in the darkness. Flags and banners still fluttered in the night wind.

    Bijoux was perched on top of the banner, peering down into the arena. “It flew into the arena,” she said. “Emric’s in there somewhere.”

    They dismounted their horses and cautiously entered a scene of utter carnage.

    The inside of the arena was deserted. Blood, debris and scattered bodies littered the place. It was obvious a riot had broken out. Graffiti was scattered her and there, mostly written in blood. “The Last King,” and “Carcosa is now!” were common.

    “I’m going to scope out the arena,” said Kham. And with that, he vaulted over the edge of the arena wall into the lamp-lit pit. Many of the thousand lamps set up all around the arena were still list, filling it with shadows.

    There were many dead. Everywhere, they littered the benches. The air was thick with the stench of spilled blood.

    The majority of the bodies wore the uniforms of the city guard. More than a few of them had thrown themselves on their swords, while others must have turned upon each other or on the crowd.

    Sebastian pulled out a scroll. “I don’t like the looks of this. I’m going to scout ahead.” He read from the scroll and whispered, “invisus.” Then he disappeared.

    “Great,” said Ilmarė. She unshouldered her bow. “Well I’ll guess the rest of us will provide a distraction.”

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    Adventus Regis - Part 16: The Stage Upon the Sands

    THE KING: In due course of starwheels, this strife will come to issue; but not now; oh, no, not now.

    --The King in Yellow: Act Two
    Down in the center of what was usually the chariot course was a stage. It was untouched. The stage was set with the furniture of a throne room. Numerous figures, all dressed in strange costume, lay dead.

    “They look like rag dolls,” said Kham, kneeling down to inspect one of the corpses. “No wounds. The entire cast is dead.”

    If it were not for the looks of sorrow and terror frozen on their faces, they could have been asleep.

    Something landed behind him. It was heavy.

    “Cal?”

    Out of the unimaginable blackness beyond the gangrenous glare of the lamplight, there flopped rhythmically a hybrid, winged thing that no sound eye could ever wholly grasp, or sound brain ever wholly remember. It was not altogether crow, nor mole, nor buzzard, nor ant, nor vampire bat, nor decomposed human being; but something Kham’s mind recoiled at the mere sight. It flopped limply along, half with its webbed feet and half with its membranous wings.

    Then it came for Kham. He could barely make it out, but he could feel its presence. He put his pistols back in their holsters.

    “You don’t deserve to be shot,” said Kham. “I’m going to take you apart.” He drew Fleshripper and his scimitar. “Slowly.”

    And then Kham faced down the darkness.
    Last edited by talien; Tuesday, 8th May, 2007 at 07:03 PM.

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    Adventus Regis - Part 17a: The Senator’s Box

    THE KING: Hastur, you acceded to, and wore, the Pallid Mask. That is the price. Henceforth, all in Hastur shall wear the Mask, and by this sign be known.

    --The King in Yellow: Act Two
    Cloaked by his magic, Sebastian crept to the senator’s box. Two skillfully worked columns flanked a stout open door. The seal of Coryan was carved onto it surface. Upon the seal was painted the triscalion symbol of the strange King, his yellow sign. The paint still appeared wet and glowing, almost pulsing as if it were alive. A single red rose hung above the seal, secured to the door.

    Sebastian slipped through the open doorway.

    Inside, a short, heavyset man and a tall, beautiful woman knelt on the floor. They were well dressed, in robes of white embroidered with the yellow sign. Pale masks lay beside them on the carpet. A third man, Livius Carbo, was seated at a desk beside a large padded settee, busily writing. His hand moved quickly, making notes and corrections, glancing towards the couch as if waiting further instructions. All three appeared in rapture.

    Draped over the couch was the dead body of the local prefect, Octavius. But something horrible had happened to it. It oozed and flowed over the settee, one foot spilling onto the carpets. It appeared boneless and unnatural, like an octopus hauled onto the deck of a fishing boat.

    Although he did not fully understand what was happening, Sebastian knew that the book Livius was writing in must have been very important. It didn’t take him long to decide what to do. It was a spell he had used before, dumping a chamber pot on an overzealous thug.

    “Magis attrecto!”

    The book flew out from underneath Livius’ quill and spiraled into the darkness of the arena. It landed with a light plop.

    With a shriek of horror, Livius dove after it, right off the balcony onto the soft sand.

    Slowly, the eyes set into drooping sockets turned towards Sebastian, focusing on him despite his invisibility. The tongue twitched as it wheezed. It drew breath into itself and spoke in a groaning, deep voice. “It seems we are interrupted. Welcome to my court.”

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