Pharamne's Urn (updated 4/25/12) - Page 118




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  1. #1171
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sepulchrave II View Post
    Gentlemen, you are kind, but my obstacle is motivational rather than financial...

    But it's something I'll consider making available at some point.
    I quite understand. Let me know if it should become convienent some time in the future.

    "People need vision.
    Sometimes you just have to add spices without a recipie."
    - My wonderful wife.

 

  • #1172
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    I never expected to have so many updates, so I haven't checked since the early December update, man did I miss out!

    There are so many different things going on simultaneously or at least with seeming simultaneity in this story that it is hard to keep track of everything, but I love it and love that you have stuck with it Sep!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheiromancer View Post
    it occurs to me that Soneillon's cycling through non-being is like an alarm-clock going off for Chesne. Sooner or later she is going to stop hitting the snooze button!
    True, true!

    And: You must spread some Experience Points around before giving it to Cheiromancer again.

    Someone help me out?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sepulchrave II View Post
    Gentlemen, you are kind, but my obstacle is motivational rather than financial.

    I'm also shy about my cartography - which is hand-drawn and rather personal.

    But it's something I'll consider making available at some point.
    Jim: I've got a scanner that can handle almost 11x17 sheets, if you need someone to do the physical scanning work. I've scanned a number of my own hand-drawn dungeon levels over the years, as well as a bunch from Rob Kuntz; with such original "artifacts" gamers in general don't seem to expect or even necessarily want computerized reproductions---they want to peruse the raw, unvarnished originals (which is why, for example, the publication of the original Castle Greyhawk levels are still the holy grail for most D&D historians/collectors).

    Anyway, if you want to talk about it sometime, shoot me an email. And, Happy New Year

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sepulchrave II View Post
    Obsession – Part 1

    “Don’t worry; it’s not as bad as you think. But my original assertion about Eadric and women stands. All of which brings me to the real question,” Ortwine raised an eyebrow. “What do we know about Eadric’s mother?”

    “Not much,” Nwm perked up. “But now I think we might be getting somewhere.”
    Man, I laughed out loud reaing this. Thanks again for all these updates and this great story SEP.

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    Obsession – Part 2 (Inversion)


    “A ludja,” Hlioth explained, “acts – or does not – according to its nature. Around each of its saplings it creates a circuit in which its own concerns are afforded precedence, but it is not willful – with the exception of the Hazel, of course: willfulness is its nature. There is nothing stopping Shomei from entering the ambit of the Blackthorn at Deorham: it will not assault her. Or, at least, it will not single her out for assault; its concerns are with all of the processes of decay. The warp which emanates from it – the corruption, if you prefer, although I am reluctant to characterize any natural process in those terms – is an unfortunate side effect. Things rot quickly there: matter, mind and space. Shomei possesses magic enough to prevent its general effects.”

    “And if Shomei – or I, for that matter – were to take an axe to the scion?” Ortwine inquired.

    “You would perish,” Hlioth said simply. “The manner of your passing would likely be ugly. A scion will preserve itself through reflex, and in the unlikely event that a scion is actually threatened, the ludja itself will react to protect its sapling. In the case of the Blackthorn, it might simply squash you. Or you might instantly decompose. Or it might deploy many chthonics, who roost in its branches – when they are not scuttling hither and thither in Dream. The Blackthorn can transfigure them – as it has Soneillon. They are most potent, and would flay you.”

    “And Carasch is one such?”

    “Carasch is Carasch,” Hlioth replied opaquely. “Cheshne looks out for him.”

    Ortwine pondered. “And if, somehow, one were to destroy a scion – before it could react, so to speak. What then?”

    “Another would grow in its place,” Hlioth chuckled.

    “And if one were to assault the ludja directly? To destroy it at the root?”

    “Another. Would grow. In its place. The Great Ludja is the root of all. And it is Reality.”

    Ortwine sighed. “Is there no manner in which these things can be curtailed? Restricted? Contained? Manipulated?”

    “Certainly,” Hlioth replied unexpectedly. “To assert the higher paradigm. That capacity which Nehael possesses, but will only demonstrate in compassion; which Hummaz enjoys, but has no interest in using – except to gratify his immediate urges. Which Kaalaanala cannot realize; toward which Shomei strives; which has not been revealed by the Ahma.”

    “And Soneillon?”

    “My eyes cannot penetrate the Void,” Hlioth smiled.

    “And the Oak and the Elm – here at Galda?” Ortwine was dubious.

    “They are a potent combination; they embody physical characteristics – physicality itself – or two thirds of it. The hardness and temper of the Ash is absent. But strength, resilience, pliability, resistance to decay – yes. Kaalaanala’s sight cannot penetrate the compass set by the ludjas around the scions, and they are vibrant; things which are dead will have a difficult time here, as will things which are predicated on non-Ens – which is obviously to our advantage.”

    “I was denied their protection when I made an appeal. Despite Nehael’s intercession. I am less than confident in their benevolence.”

    The Green Witch shook her head. “You are ascribing a quality – or a lack of it – which is inappropriate to these ludjas.”

    “Then what was the obstacle to their action?”

    “You are the Hazel’s bitch, Ortwine,” Hlioth sighed. “I am not privy to the internal politics of the Trees. Either way, Shomei will not forget that fact.”

    “And this impenetrability to sight around the scions? It is selective. What motivates it? Deorham is invisible to me. Morne is not. Nor is here at Galda. But Jashat is. There are also other areas which are…opaque.”

    “To you, maybe,” Hlioth shrugged. “But not, any longer, to the Eleos. There is no veil through which she cannot now see, except those of Cheshne herself. And you ascribe motivation to all Trees, which implies will – your perspective is too corylian. Although that is to be expected.”

    “Yet the Hazel itself does not shroud the Academy?”

    “It has not been so implored – or directed. Yet.” Hlioth said with narrowed eyes. “It might be construed as an overt act of aggression on the part of Shomei. The Enforcer would be less than pleased.”

    “And Nehael’s perception extends to Jashat? The Temple of Cheshne?”

    “The Fires of Death and all of her avatars are transparent to the Eleos, Ortwine. To Compassion. Something which Kaalaanala is likely to resent.”

    “Does this make sense to you?” The sidhe asked Nwm.

    “Of course,” the Preceptor replied. “What is unclear?”

    “Never mind,” Ortwine sighed. “What are we now waiting to do?”

    “Eadric has been gone for three days, and is unresponsive to any efforts at communication. We will make a reconnaissance,” Nwm said in a matter-of fact way. “Of Deorham and its environs. I, for one, am curious to see what transpires beneath a Blackthorn’s pall.”

    “Is everybody mad?” Ortwine groaned. “Why can’t we just ask Nehael?”

    “Her concerns have become more global,” Nwm replied.

    “In which case,” Ortwine said drily. “She is even less use than previously.”

    “You may be surprised on that count,” Nwm smiled.


    **


    [Daunton]: You should probably come to the Academy.

    [Mostin]: Why?

    [Daunton]: Just come, Mostin.

    *

    “As you can see,” Daunton observed, “things are rather out of hand.”

    A long queue of chattering wizards had formed before a desk, behind which a scholarly devil sat. The fiend was haggling with an enchantress over the precise conditions for access to a number of obscure dweomers.

    Mostin barged his way to the front of the line, over the objections of many who stood there, and shoved the wizard aside. Daunton followed uncertainly.

    “Please take your place in an orderly fashion,” the devil looked up towards him.

    Mostin twitched.

    “I am conducting legitimate business on the part of Shomei the Infernal, as her broker,” Ugales sighed. “Her rights are protected.” He pointed – not to the Articles, but to the Academy’s own protocol guidelines.

    “Bah!” Mostin turned to walk away.

    “But I am also instructed to inform you that access is unrestricted in your case,” Ugales smiled.

    Many voices were raised in protestation, including Daunton.

    Mostin swiveled on the spot, licked his lips, and looked through the portal.

    “Mostin,” Daunton tugged on his sleeve. “Mostin!”

    “Oh very well. This is irregular,” Mostin nodded. “Some our punctilio with regard to brokerage may need revisiting. You should convoke the Collegium. A course of action must be decided.”

    “As Chancellor of the Academy,” Ugales added, “and President of the Collegium, Daunton the Diviner is also allowed unrestricted access.”

    “Oh? Really?” Daunton asked, gazing through the doorway. “Come Mostin, we must inspect these forbidden tomes, to determine if they represent a threat to our work here.”

    “Quite,” Mostin agreed, as he followed him through.


    **


    Teppu grinned, bundling his few magical oddments – each of which was quirky, and of particular interest only to himself – into a cloak, which he tied to a gnarled oak staff.

    Nehael – the Eleos – stood nearby and watched. Her expression was one of sadness.

    “I will miss you,” she said. “Yet not, of course. I will miss your presence. It is comforting to me.”

    He bowed smoothly.

    “When you see Nehael again, she will remember you, but she will not be the same,” she looked at him. “Try to remember that. It is a relationship you will have to forge anew.”

    “I have experienced something similar many times myself,” he laughed. “I’m sure she will be perfectly delightful.”

    “Perhaps. But not in the way you expect; her method of ending suffering – her compassion – is particular.”

    “A paradigm can absorb many paradoxes,” he shrugged.

    “I’ll see you if you die.” She kissed him on the forehead. “Try not to,” she added.

    The Eleos took three paces backward toward the Great Tree-ludja and smiled. “Assume an active stance, and do not compromise your truth. Give her your wisdom freely; she will need it. And do not concern yourself too much with the Aeon; it will take care of itself. Always find the Middle Way. And remember that you are much loved.”

    She – and the Tree – vanished to perception. The Womb of Qinthei was closed.

    Teppu sighed. All things must end.

    Moments later, Nehael appeared: an avatar, emanated by the Eleos. The Image of Uedii, her eyes remained green within green, but her garb was scarlet.

    “Teppu?” She asked.

    “Red?” He asked, and bowed again.

    “I will need a horse and a sword,” she remarked. “Where can I find these?”


    **


    At dusk, a shadow slid furtively through the grounds of the Academy; potent magic cloaked it from the dark exemplars which whirled beyond perception in the skies above. It crept from stock to bole to trunk, seeking to move forward, but always, somehow, vexed in its efforts. Once or twice it espied what it thought might be a light but, upon skulking toward it, seemed to lose its bearings, or become snagged in some briar.

    Shomei the Infernal watched the figure silently. From its movements, it was a Naztharune, but she knew that surely Temenun was not foolish enough to send it against her: what could he hope to achieve? Its purpose must, therefore, be otherwise.

    In an inkling, without word or gesture, she dispelled its wards, dominated it and drew it toward her with telekinesis. Their eyes suddenly alerted to the presence of the tigress, devas with cobalt skin and flaming swords were instantly all about her.

    Shomei wrenched its thoughts from its mind and prepared to unleash a ruthless barrage of flensing upon it. She analyzed meaning and intention, paused, and instead turned it upon its head; it hovered five feet above the ground. Shomei approached so that the Naztharune’s eyes were inches away.

    She held out her hand.

    It reached within its vestment with backward palms, withdrew a bunch of tumid cherries – deep scarlet in color – and placed them in her grasp.

    “Tell your master that I will give his offer due consideration,” she smiled. “But that, at present, I have no nuts for him.”

    She righted it and released it. It slunk away into the night.

    Your concern is appreciated, she spoke drily into the minds of the fallen celestials. But really, I can look after myself. You may return to your stations.

    Shomei withdrew to her cottage and pondered, her mind quickly dissecting new data. Temenun’s ritual pool was not insignificant, and if he was in the process of co-opting Soneillon’s former succubi in Throile as well, then he would emerge as a major player.

    She poured herself a glass of kschiff, threw off her cloak, removed her slippers, and relaxed by the fire. Shomei examined the cherries and sighed, placing them on a silver platter. The marriage of Will and Desire was the last thing that she needed; really, that was where it had all gone wrong last time.

    Hours passed in contemplative reverie; finally, she roused herself and stood. With a thought, she translated to Galda, appearing before the Tabernacle.

    Sercion’s hand moved to his weapon, but she presented an open palm.

    “I wish to speak with the Sela,” she said.

    “Come in, Shomei,” a voice said warmly from within. “You know you’re always welcome.”

    She exhaled slowly, and drew the heavy curtain aside. The Sela sat in meditative posture within.

    “I am not here for moral instruction,” Shomei said tersely.

    “Then you are fortunate that I do not offer it,” the Sela smiled. “Shall we begin where we left off?”

    Shomei nodded.


    *
    Last edited by Sepulchrave II; Thursday, 29th December, 2011 at 05:23 AM.

  • #1177
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    The marriage of Will and Desire was the last thing that she needed; really, that was where it had all gone wrong last time.
    I don't know to what Shomei is alluding. Can someone help me out?

    Also- "corylian" seems to mean "adopted by Hazel". I suppose one can infer hazel-like qualities (like willfulness) as a consequence. A very clever word.

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    I would presume that she is talking about a marriage between her and Hummaz, but could be way off. It seems to me that Hummaz is all about desire, an insatiable desire to be sated. Previously Will and Desire were married in one creature, the Adversary and according to Shomei, that is what went wrong "the first time".

    Since Eadric has apparently dropped Shomei for Soneillion, she still wants to consolidate her power, and gain that portion of the Adversary which is Hummaz. Perhaps marriage to him is another method she would consider.

    The other idea is that Oronthon's Sela represents his intellectual desire to create, but that would seem to be as odd a marriage as Shomei to the Ahma to me.
    ”Neither evil tongues, Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men, Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all The dreary intercourse of daily life, Shall e’er prevail against us.” --William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

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  • #1179
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    Random Slide Show

    I was fortunate that much of my youth was spent traipsing around castles and old churches; something which gives me a particular frame of reference in terms of my internal vision of the campaign world, but which has always been difficult to communicate to my players – moreso because they are American and I am English. I often wish I could paint.

    I used to sing in church choirs when I was a wee boy-treble; I would also sneak into churches (which are always open in Britain) and play Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Bach on the organ. At least, the first few bars; it gets kind of complicated after that.

    Anyway, Wyre has Frankish elements in terms of its culture and politics, but its landscape is more like England and Wales on steroids; trees are greener, mountains are sharper and taller, mist clings to lakes, the lens is soft-focus: it’s easy to view Britain romantically when it’s 8000 miles away and I haven’t been there for 12 years.

    Some more personal/inspirational photographs. Sites that I am intimately familiar with, and which have a particular resonance with me.

    Lake below Cader Idris in Wales:




    Winchester Cathedral. Actual floorplan prototype for the Fane in Morne. Needless to say, my favorite cathedral. I don't know what a copper beech is doing there; it should be a Yew:



    Nave of same:




    Farleigh Castle in Somerset; an example of the late Borchian Period:




    Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire. More in line with Wyrish Period:




    Symonds Yat. Forest of Dean, Wales. Or Western Trempa, near Kyrtill's Burh:





    An erratic near Ingleborough in Yorkshire. Wyre is heavily glaciated; erratics were venerated before stones were erected - there's a continuity between Wyre's pre-Uediian "Shamanic" practice, and later, more formalized observance.





    The Externsteine near Detmold in Germany; ancient pagan site until Charlemagne put the kibosh on it. The inspiration for Groba, although the stones at Groba are more "worked" - probably by magic. I was here for a pagan festival; frankly this place scared the sh*t out of me - as did the German pagans. I expected the Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath to come oozing out of the trees.





    Malvern Hills:





    Interior of Saxon church at Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire. Thinking about it, this might be my favorite church:





    Bridge at Bradford-on-Avon. My favorite bridge




    Hinton Hillfort, near the real Dyrham in Gloucestershire. Ceawlin and Cuthwine defeated the native Britons in 577AD, and drove a wedge between Wales and Cornwall/Dumnonia. Behind the lens of this photo is a dry stone wall I helped repair.





    /end random slide show.
    Last edited by Sepulchrave II; Sunday, 1st January, 2012 at 06:49 PM.

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    Man, I only lived in England for a year, and nowhere near as picturesque or resonant as any of those places, and you're still making me miss it. The place is just made of history.
    Pursuing irrational ends by any means necessary.

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