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Tuesday, 7th June, 2005, 08:30 PM #31
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
I know he's back.
I know he's not at work today.
I don't know why he hasn't updated the story hour yet.
Wednesday, 8th June, 2005, 03:35 AM #32
Novice (Lvl 1)
Thank you SJ. I appreciate your praise.
Well Yeti, you're right on both counts. However, the addendum to the second statement (in very fine print) is that I was away from my computer for the majority of the day. And with the woman searching for a new job, I was unable to type anything up. Then there's the jet lag...the 4 month old (as of Wednesday) not adjusting well to Eastern Standard Time....and the excuses just go on.
Expect one this weekend, no sooner. I do start work again tomorrow (sigh). So, feel free to email me all day (per the usual). I know you would with or without my permission
Saturday, 11th June, 2005, 06:59 AM #33
Novice (Lvl 1)
Chapter 1: Fate's Weave
Okay...so hopefully I'll have more than just this update this weekend...but I do have a lot of writing to get to. Enjoy.
Cassock of Cael stood at the precipice of a hill. To his left, a worn tower stretched fifty feet into the cool night air. The tower consisted of nothing but a spiraling staircase that crept upward to an open platform. The wooden platform had been devoured by time. Still stretching across the open gap, a few braces lent contrast to the rusting bell of the tower. Both Enoch and Styg’s early evening rays caressed each mud-red fleck of rust adorning the warning bell <1>.
Cassock had shifted through the rubble although the post had been uninhabited for years if not decades. A paltry handful of coins and a few vials of holy water were the only scraps he found. Confident that his search had produced all to be found, the priest moved outside to glare downward at the bustling town.
Flickering fires danced through the open windows of the tiny cottages. The tiny lights would not have shown normal eyes the detail revealed to Cassock. Cael’s Blessing had already proved its usefulness <2>. Cassock saw at least twenty individuals milling about an open field in the center of the town. They all moved slowly, stirring or searching the ground at their feet. A fine mist clung to the feet of the mob, clambering upward whenever given a chance.
Two distinct natural sensations arose within Cassock at that moment. The first was a fine red glow emanating from the ground beneath the crowd. The second, a scent of charred flesh brought to his notice by the chill kullyc wind. The cleric winced in realization. The field that the townsfolk shifted through was no field; it had been more homes, burnt to the ground.
“I see you have sent me to where I am needed, My Lord! My path becomes clearer.” The priest stood and descended toward the town.
Cassock slid from shadow to shadow into the town, passing like a ghost amongst the living. His crimson and black chain mail was silent as if in respect granted toward the lost souls.
In the center of the village, the small crowd was shifting through ashes. Burnt remains of wood still held the glowing warmth of dying flames. The crackling wood erupted upward at odd angles from a sea of useless roofing. Next to these cinders, lied the remains of the dead. Their faces were contorted in ashen visages of horror. Lips melted together with gums, teeth cleansed pearly white by the fire. The teeth were beacons to the searchers and with each new body discovered another round of sobbing and wails pierced the air.
Most of the crowd continued with the hopeless search, unknowing of the new presence. One man did spot the priest. He moved warily toward the well armored visitor, bastard sword weighing heavily in his left hand. The guard’s armor was only worn leather with scraps dangling uselessly. Despite his middle-age, the man looked ancient and gaunt.
A few steps behind the guard, a group of townsfolk dumped a wooden pail of water upon some smoldering embers. A soft hiss and gout of smoke plumed upward. Nine corpses lie under gray death shrouds beside the group. The rescuers dragged three rigid cadavers from the embers they had quieted. A father, mother and small child were pulled toward the sheeted bodies; all of their faces frozen in agony. Caged within the child’s arms, a small pet rested eternally.
“Hail there! What happened here?”
The guard stopped only a few paces from the cleric. Soot and dirt did nothing to hide the anger and sorrow etched into the creases of the man’s brow. Neither did the grime conceal the wary glances at Cassock’s armor and weaponry. Meticulously, the guard seemed to inventory all of the gear, piece by piece. Once finished measuring the priest, the guard pulls out a flask and takes a long swig. The sweet odor of a dark rum mixes with the heavy scent of rot from the guard’s mouth.
“They came for the Mayor’s half-breed!” he spits out. “But were ‘ey content wit’ jus’ that?” The guard swallowed another draught. “Nah. Burned ‘ese other homes, killin’ dose inside.” With the last grunt, the guard clumsily waves a hand toward the crisp cadavers behind.
The sentry slips the flask back into a pouch on his belt as he bends to lift an iron rod from the wreckage. His slightly intoxicated hand rotates the three foot pole in the air. “Wedged ‘ese in e’ doors. Bastards! Trapped ‘em to roast alive. I can still ‘ere the screams!” The rod vibrated as it hit the ground. The flask instantly replaced the iron.
“Damn Mayor! Damn pointers! Damn Orphan! If’n the Mayor ‘ad jus’ killed the bitch, good peoples ‘ud not be dead! Ara’Kull is punishing us!” The guard turns to leave, stumbling over one of the many corpses. The townspeople pulled him from the ash and soot.
A group of plainly clad females were bent over the dead. Dutifully, they pulled the shrouds back and bathed the singed flesh of the dead with clean cloths and water. The crowd’s talking had diminished, replaced only by a few whispers. Cassock stared downward, trying to pick out the important bits of information. A few of the words did stand out, not because of unfamiliarity but due to their constant repetition: Male Half-Elf, Female Halfling, Keep, and Royal Guard all caught his ear. The Priest of Cael turned to find the keep but is stopped suddenly in his tracks.
The crowd parted as an elderly gentleman approaches the dead. He slowly approached; the majority of his weight supported by a twisted staff. A plain white cloak hung over the slim frame increasing his apparent size. Drawn around his face, a white hood with a black, ornately stitched hem hid his features. Long, gray beard hair spilt down the front of the cloak in a haphazard fashion. A metal symbol had snatched Cassock’s attention. It was a simple silver amulet depicting a broken bastard sword: the symbol of Ara’Kull’s clergy.
The cleric bent down over each body, intoning a brief prayer. With withered hands, he drew their charred eyelids down. As the cleric moved from one cadaver to the next, Cassock nearly leapt out of his skin. Each body jerked upward, a white nimbus of light pouring from the corpse. The light quickly fouled though, becoming pitch-black in hue. Out of the bodies the darkness flowed, vaguely humanoid. Cassock could distinguish facial expressions, still twisted in agony as they reached toward him with their ethereal hands. Before the ghostly fingers could brush the priest, the black souls jerked upward into the black sky. Cassock shuddered, suddenly feeling very frigid.
The Priest of Ara’Kull turned to Cassock as the rites of passage were complete. He raised his head enough to let the dying embers reflect from his eyes. Without saying one word, the cleric vanished into the crowd.
Cassock shivered yet again. His mind tried to piece together the unnatural occurrence he witnessed <3>. What he had seen was not just unnatural but inherently wrong in some unspeakable way. But, there were no logical words to describe the agitation. Worried, the Priest of Cael moved toward the bodies of the dead.
“Help me,” he begged the drunken soldier. Cassock lifted a handful of soot and moved in between the once-blessed corpses. Quickly, he drew Cael’s mark on their brows reciting the proper burial words. Once each body had been marked he stepped backward to finish the rites. “Trasumanar significar per verba non si poria <4>.” The priest knelt briefly to sketch the Death God’s symbol into the soot as well. “I only hope I wasn’t too late to save their souls,” he murmured. “What is going on here? What was that atrocity? Damnation. Am I to be your justicar, Cael?”
“Eh,” the guard butted in, “what er ye babblin’ about?”
Cassock glared at the soldier as his mind returned to the present. “Make sure these people get proper burials. And make sure they’re buried in whatever fashion suited their religion…not the religion of that Heretic.” Cassock throws a glare toward the other priest’s last position. A confused expression spread across the guard’s face.
“And I need to see the half-elf and halfling that were captured earlier today. Take me there immediately.”
“I cannae. I'm jus’ a conscript. But if yeh really wanna see those,” the soldier spit onto the ground, “bastards in the keep, yeh need tah find Mayor Rowen. An’ you’ll find that HERETIC in keep.” The man’s sneer deepened.
“Very well, I will find the mayor. Stay with the bodies and do as I instructed you.” Cassock tossed a handful of silvers at the guard as he ran toward the keep. After Cassock departed, the guard turned toward the ladies in white. He had stuffed the silvers into his purse greedily and was finishing the last draught from his flask.
“Take the bodies to Tobus to be buried,” the conscript commanded.
“What of the man’s requests?” questioned a lady.
“F*ck that dumb foreigner. ‘E don’t know our customs nor our peoples.”
<1> Enoch and Styg are the two moons that circle Norum da Salaex. A copper to anyone that catches the reference to another rpg.
<2> Clerics have been slightly modified from the standard cleric in that each God gifts their clerics with special abilities. One of Cael’s Blessings is darkvision (or an increase if you already have it).
<3> This IS most definitely an unnatural occurrence…not just because Cassock can see the departing souls but for other reasons as well. Hopefully, the group will discover what it means at some point in the future. But I’m not spoiling it.
<4> Trasumanar significar per verba non si poria....is yup, you guessed it, Latin. I by no means know Latin. But I am familiar with some quotes. I'm not sure I spelled it all correctly (its been about five years since I've used this one). But it basically translates to: The passage beyond humanity cannot be set forth in words. I felt it was wholly appropriate to the situation.
Last edited by Funeris; Saturday, 11th June, 2005 at 07:09 AM. Reason: left off a note...
Tuesday, 14th June, 2005, 06:12 PM #34
Nice one Funeris.
Gritty as hell at the moment! When does the sun come out??? Actually, screw it, I'm loving this so far.
The departing souls was well placed - good description all round actually.
Looking eagle-eyed for the next update.
Ever a fan, Spider J
Tuesday, 14th June, 2005, 06:27 PM #35
Novice (Lvl 1)
When does the sun come out???
Seriously though, these guys are going to have it hard. [Insert Spoiler] during the second session!!! And it [Insert Spoiler] because they [Insert Spoiler].
They will be well compensated along the way, though. One (if not all of the characters...and yes Yeti I'm talking about you) is thoroughly dedicated to slaughtering the divine-appointed King of Norum da Salaex. He plans on going all the way. The departing souls just pushed him further into that task...he does see these spirits every time someone dies. That could be maddening. Whether or not the others follow him though...that remains to be seen.
So to answer your question, the sun may or may not come out in a year and a half (game time not real time). They're working on a clock. And there are so many variables....
[Insert Diabolical DM laugh]
Tuesday, 14th June, 2005, 11:00 PM #36
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
I don't need no stinking sun.
Wednesday, 15th June, 2005, 04:41 AM #37
Novice (Lvl 1)
Well, to be a smart@$$,
without light (and thus the sun) there would be no darkness. You need the sun, biznatch.
Don't make heretical statements like that. I may just have to threaten to slaughter you this Friday night
Wednesday, 15th June, 2005, 12:59 PM #38
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
You slaughter me hahhahaha
"As the darkness enclosed the priest, the screams ensued."
That ring a bell.
I will tell my version after you get to it here.
Thursday, 16th June, 2005, 04:04 PM #39
Gallant (Lvl 3)
Good start Funeris.
I've been meaning to check this storyhour out for a while, what with enjoying your Valus storyhour and seeing Spider Jerusalem praising it in his. I don't know what took me so long ... well other than finding the time between reading various other storyhours and trying actually to do some work ... and if I'm honest the name put me off a bit - reminded me too much of Hong Kong Phooey!
Anyway, be that as it may, I've got here now and enjoyed what you've written so far ... so get writing some more !!
Sunday, 10th July, 2005, 05:58 PM #40
What the hell was that noise?
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