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Monday, 23rd December, 2002, 02:17 PM #71
Novice (Lvl 1)
I just realised the round finishes on Christmas Day. Well, with that in mind (since I'll forget), here's my entry:
Ferinel was searching high and low through the forest. She didn’t understand why she had been sent on this ‘mission’. Andreil was always the better Woodswoman, after all. And for the love of the gods, they could have been a little more specific than “It’s in the forest, Ferrie.” But at least she had the time now to consider what her life had been like since this all started. Certainly not what I’d expected, she thought to herself.
Finally, she found what she was looking for. As she stepped into the clearing, she could see the temple up ahead. The path there was every bit as majestic as the temple itself. A long, broad path, trees lining its edges and their branches crossing above it to make a beautiful tunnel of wood.  The walk passed uneventfully, and within ten minutes, Ferinel had reached the other side. She had been warned of the dangers in the temple, and had been given a map showing her round, the fastest way in, the safest way out. She had memorised the layout, but had no regard for the instructions, since Andreil had clearly made the plan with herself in mind, and Ferinel had none of the skills of the most basic thief.
She closed her eyes and concentrated. She placed one hand in one of the pockets of her robe, and clutched her hand around a small feather. The other hand moved in a wide circle while she uttered some arcane whispers. Seconds later, Ferinel was floating at about the level of the second floor. She sighed happily,
“I never get tired of this feeling,” she said aloud, dreamily. There was still work to be done, though. She concentrated again, and after a few seconds, some gestures and mutterings, a large fireball hit the second floor’s east wall. She floated through the large hole in the wall, and found herself exactly where she needed to be, in the treasure room. And sure enough, the item she needed was here too.  Ferinel had no clue why a collector was willing to pay millions of gold for a statue of a simple bull, but hey, she thought, money is money, isn’t it? As she slipped the bull into one of her robe’s pockets, she heard the unmistakable clanking of an Iron Golem.
“Shards…” Ferinel ran back to the hole and dived out, landing perfectly and easily on the ground. She began skimming across the ground, pushing herself with her feet to keep the momentum. As she got past the tunnel of trees, she worked franticly to conjure a wall to keep out the fast approaching golem. Soon the tunnel of trees contained an invisible wall, and Ferinel quickly set off again at full speed.
It was well into the next day when Ferinel got back to the closest town, and she decided it was time to get to know the town. She hadn’t had the opportunity before, and the next caravan to Tenita wouldn’t be leaving for a few days yet. As she wandered about the marketplace she began to relax. It was all short-lived though, as she heard a familiar and wholly unwelcome whisper in her ear.
“Hello, Ferinel. Long time no see.”
Slowly, she turned to face him. He looked different. His hair was now white, and he wore a white and red robe instead of the traditional red and black of his faith, but it was he nonetheless. 
“Must you continue to be a thorn in my side? What do you want, Railan?” Maybe Andreil and Railan went in for these long conversations between mortal enemies, but Ferinel had no time for it.
“What do I want? What do I want? Since when has what I ever wanted mattered to you are Andreil or any of her friends? What do I want? I want to see you dead!”
Ferinel had long ago realised that the defeat of his God had sent the cleric of Xeven quite insane, and his hatred was devoted to Andreil and her friends. It had been Andreil who used him to allow her to rob the Citadel of Helshibahr, Xeven’s greatest temple, and it had been Andreil who had struck the gods down from their immortal thrones and that had led to the deaths of almost all them. No matter what any of the group ever says or does, Railan seems to enjoy moaning to us a lot more than he does actually trying to kill us, mused Ferinel. Quick as she could, she cast another spell, downing a potion of strength in the casting, and pulling a sword she almost never used from her back. Railan brought his Mace downward towards her skull, but with her new strength and agility, she parried the blow, and came back with a swinging cut to his left leg, causing a large gaping wound.  She caught the next blow with her arm, and felt the stinging pain as the bone shattered, but managed to catch Railan in the face with the hilt of the sword. She tried to land a killing blow with her sword while he was dazed, but he recovered in time and deflected it. The mace struck the sword with tremendous force, forcing it out of Ferinel’s hand. Railan’s second blow struck her down, and he towered over her, ready to deliver the killing blow. But Ferinel’s time with Andreil had not been without observations, and Ferinel had planned for every eventuality. While her enchantment still enhanced her agility, she reached to her side, drew a throwing dagger, and threw it in Railan’s direction. Railan made as good an effort as he could to block the incoming danger, but rather than hit his weapon, it hit his arm instead. He dropped his mace, and wailed. Ferinel reached for both her sword and kicked away Railan’s mace, and pushed herself up, sword in hand. Railan stood in silence for a second, and then ran as fast as he could.
After receiving healing from the local temple of Thilame (One of the few temples left that worshiped a still living god), Ferinel travelled back to the group’s headquarters in Tenita through a teleport spell, deciding waiting for the caravan would be too dangerous. She spoke with Andreil as soon as she got back.
“Andreil, he’s back. AGAIN. Shards, can’t we do anything
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Monday, 23rd December, 2002, 03:01 PM #72
WOW, thats fast!
Ill comment when I can read bothstories in the pair.
Or maybe Ill just mail my comments to AlSiH2O!
So many games, so little time!
Monday, 23rd December, 2002, 03:04 PM #73
Novice (Lvl 1)
Errata: 2nd block, Line 10, word 19 should be "or" instead of "are".
Since I can't edit.
Monday, 23rd December, 2002, 05:06 PM #74
1 of 8 posts in, i am assuming noitessine knows better than to read oyur post before posting his
waiting on 7 more, any preferences form the players as to posting of the new ingredients? i am thinking xmas morning, that should gve everyone plenty of time
Last edited by alsih2o; Monday, 23rd December, 2002 at 05:06 PM.
Tuesday, 24th December, 2002, 12:55 AM #75
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
As soon as possible. I'll be away on family vacation from the 28th to the 2nd or so, so if I make it to the second round, I'll need to get it out of the way before I head out.Originally posted by alsih2o
any preferences form the players as to posting of the new ingredients? i am thinking xmas morning, that should gve everyone plenty of time
Tuesday, 24th December, 2002, 01:22 AM #76
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
And speaking of which:
LINK TO PDF VERSION WITH IMAGES
Here's the raw text:
Inspector Donne limped in, tired and wet. He removed his wet overcoat and hung it on the rickety wooden stand beside the door. He beat his water-logged hat against his leg to dry it off as best he could, and with some difficulty managed to wrestle it down over the peg as well. Running his fingers through his grey-streaked hair and giving his head a bit of a quick shake of its own, he turned at last to face into the room, eager to address the reason for such a late and unexpected call. The hour had just barely passed where night could reasonably be called the dawn.
“Sit up, now,” growled the burly officer behind the table. Rough hands gave a quick shake to the man seated there. The man had been dozing, face down, and he rose slowly with great effort. A red mark on his forehead hinted that he’d been resting for a few minutes, at least.
Like the officer behind him, the man had rough hands, ill-used through a life of hard labor. His hair was a thick yellow tangle, tied up out of his eyes with a frayed cord. His shirt was a near perfect match to his hair-- a bright and gaudy yellow, though patched in several places and soiled here and there with thick clumps of mud. If he were not a man of Reason, Donne thought, the man might just as well have been a scarecrow, come to life and walked right out of his field. Donne smiled a bit despite himself.
“Aye, now? Eh?” the man said, rising slowly from sleep to coherence. He had a simple country drawl and a simple, innocent way about him.
“Good morning, Henry,” said Donne.
“Ah, Hank, sir, I keep tellin’ yer.”
“Very well, Hank. I trust you’ve something worthwhile to drag me out of bed this morning-- and you without a bath, even.” Donne sniffed. The metallic smell of stale sweat threatened to overpower the room.
“Well, it’s about that lady, sir, as I reckon yer already guessed,” Hank gave a bit of a wink to the inspector, and Donne smiled back graciously.
“That much, indeed, I confess I had. Very astute. You were saying?”
“Well, sir, I been watchin’ the old manor, like yer asked,” he began.
Indeed he had, Donne thought. A recent string of grisly murders in the area had, over the past several months, led Donne inexorably to the door of the Countess, an expatriate of one or another of those damnably indeterminate eastern European countries. He had Henry to thank for the clues that had led him to the Countess, and though the evidence had not yet mounted to his satisfaction, he had taken the groundskeeper into his confidence, sure that an extra pair of eyes and ears in the Countess’ own house would soon close the case.
“Well,” Hank continued, “It was gettin’ on late last night, threatenin’ to rain, so yer might expect I was a bit surprised to wake up to a light movin’ across the grounds. Always been a light sleeper, I have, and blessed grateful for an overcast night to hide that moon.” Hank paused for a moment to make sure Inspector Donne was following along all right. Donne nodded for him to continue.
“Well, I jumped to as quick as I could. This weren’t no flickerin’ torchlight, more like that ‘lectric lantern yer got, whatcha call it?”
“A Ruhmkorff coil?”
“Aye, just so, that’s the one. Just like that.”
“Curious,” Donne said, frowning. “I don’t suppose it’s out of the question, an old manor house like that. The Countess is a woman of some education, after all, or so they say.”
“Well, sir, the odd part was, the light stopped on the hill just outside the manor, so I figured to head out and take a look.
“Forgive me, I wasn’t about to head out unarmed. I got my suspicions, sir, as I told yer before. Now, I know yer laugh,” Henry said, “but it was them old knockers what set me off. Sometimes, us simple folk, we just know, right? I’d been thinkin’ about it for a while now.”
“Would you like a seat, Inspector?” asked the officer.
Donne realized suddenly that he had been pacing back and forth. He waved his hand. “Helps me think. Please, go on.”
“Well, as yer know, the Countess weren’t too keen on rifles since she got there. But I still have my old bow, right, so I scooped it up and headed out. ‘Sides,” Hank whispered, “I figured if there was trouble, last thing I needed was a gunshot bringin’ them grim bodyguards o’ hers runnin’. Don’t like the look o’ them for’ners.”
“A wise precaution,” Donne admitted.
“Well sir, I crept up near as I dared. There was some kind o’ sally port there at the base o’ the manor, right there in my little green hillocks. All this time an’ I never saw it... Truth be told with the light so bright I still couldn’t see much, but I saw the lady, sir, come skulkin’ and creepin’ up to the manor house.”
“To the manor?” the officer asked.
Hank turned to the officer. “Aye, from the outside. An’ it were clear to me she were meetin’ someone there, someone skulkin’ up in there with the light behind ‘em.
“And sir,” he said, turning back to Donne, “This weren’t no friendly meetin’. I heard ‘em sir, raised voices straight away. Angry voices...”
“Go on,” said Donne.
“Well, pardon me, sir, but I’m sure ‘e called ‘er a ‘gangrel bitch,’” Hank blushed, but recovered himself quickly.
“An’ right about now, as yer might imagine, I was mighty glad I took them precautions, and then some... more’n yer think.”
“What do you mean?” Donne asked.
“Stole me the silver right out o’ the lady’s own manor, I did... Just one spoon, sir, but just enough... just enough. Enough for one shaft...”
“What the devil?” said the officer.
“Made me a silver arrow, sir. Melted it down to coat the whole shaft, and I was blessed glad to have it on my hip! By the time I looked up from my quiver, sir...” Hank paused. The room was silent.
“Well, sir, the rain was comin’ on now, and it was mighty bright up on that hill. And maybe it weren’t two wolves up on their hind legs, up an’ at each other’s throats... Maybe it was just two folks wrasslin’ back and forth, yer might say... But eyes be damned, I know the sound of wolves fightin’ when I hear it!”
“The shot, dammit, did you take the shot?” shouted the officer. Donne had grown silent, but his companion had clearly been drawn into Hank’s tale.
“Aye, sir, best I could, and just enough. One was down with a yelp and the other was off. I got another shot, though... might have took him in the hindquarters.”
“What of the one you dropped?” Donne asked.
“Well, sir, I weren’t rightly in no mood to stick around and find out. I ran straight away here-- run the whole way like the Devil himself was behind me.”
“Quite a run, indeed,” said the officer, chuckling. “Quite a tale, too, but that much at least rings true. Shame he didn’t have a second silver arrow, though, right Inspector?”
“Indeed,” said Donne, grabbing his coat and hat and limping out of the room. “A shame indeed.”
Tuesday, 24th December, 2002, 03:21 AM #77
o.k., next round posted by xmas night, that will give even the worst slacker time to chime in...then maybe a break fo rnew years, we will see how the winers of the second round respond (or don't)
Last edited by alsih2o; Tuesday, 24th December, 2002 at 03:21 AM.
Tuesday, 24th December, 2002, 05:49 AM #78
Re: ceramic d.m. 1st round underway
Oh, I remember taking that test.Originally posted by alsih2o
any interest in some story writing based on images?
Tuesday, 24th December, 2002, 02:41 PM #79
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Ok, here's my entry. Be kind to me.
The Kindness of Strangers
(insert image of child on the mountain here)
It was a fine spring day when Gar found the child wandering alone in the foothills north of Stedford town. Several of the lambs had strayed, so Gar sent the dog to round up the ones to the south of the flock, while he himself climbed north. It was a rare brown lamb, whose tawny wool would fetch a handsome sum at the market, so Gar was determined not to let it fall into one of the many cracks & fissures which crossed these high hills. When he spied the lamb, it wasn’t alone. There was a small child kneeling with its arms around the fuzzy little creature. “Here now!” Called Gar. “How did a wee one such as yourself get way up here? Doncha know these mountains are dangerous?” The child looked up from the lamb and into Gar’s face. It’s eyes were large and black. “Who’s your mother, laddie?” asked the kind shepherd. The child remained silent, and continued to stare into Gar’s face. Gar noticed that there was something strange about those eyes. They seemed to draw one into endless depths. Gar shook his head, and mumbled something about the thin air of the mountain making him light headed. “Laddie, you’d best come back to town with me. Scooping up the brown lamb under one strong arm, and the boy under the other, Gar made his way back to the flock. The dog had rounded all of the sheep up and had them ready to descend the steep mountain path.
By the time they had returned all the sheep & lambs to their pens dusk had fallen, so Gar took the child home with him, intending to find the boy’s parents on the morrow. Gar’s wife took one look at the small boy and with a low cry scooped him into her arms. “He can’t have more than five summers, Gar! He might have died up on the mountain alone. His parents must be frantic!” she said. Gar’s wife mothered the child, feeding and bathing him, then wrapping him in a warm blanket and cradling him on her lap by the fire. She gazed into the child’s strange black eyes as she rocked him. She seemed to sink into their depths….
Gar & his wife took the child to the magistrate next morning, but were told that no one had reported a missing boy. It was agreed that the child would stay with the shepherd & his wife while a search was conducted for the parents of this silent boy with the strange eyes. Each day Gar or his wife took the child with them as they went up and down each street of Stedford, asking everyone they passed, knocking on doors, visiting temples. No one knew the boy.
Spring turned to summer, and a pall seemed to fall over Stedford. The weather was hot and dry, causing tempers to flare. Petty fights broke out among townsmen over inconsequential things. Beatings and murders, once a rarity in the peaceful town, began to be commonplace. Even the captain of the city guard was seen striking his wife in the town square. Gar and his wife snarled and snapped at each other, like the rest of the citizens. Always the boy watched them, with his strange dark eyes.
(Insert picture of man striking woman here)
The summer dragged on, hotter and dryer than anyone could recall in the past. People began to feel ill, most said from the heat. Wells began to go brackish, and anyone who drank their water became weak, and developed a dry, hacking cough. Gar and his wife both fell ill. Gar’s wife no longer had the strength to continue the search for the boy’s parents. Gar no longer took the sheep up the mountain—he was too weak to make the climb. The strange, silent boy seemed unaffected by the heat, and did not fall ill. He began to sit on the bench outside Gar’s door, staring at the passersby with his odd eyes. Sometimes the boy wandered off, always returning within a few hours. Gar’s wife worried about this, but every time she was on the verge of scolding the child, he would stare at her, and she would forget what she was going to say. One day, Gar’s wife could not get out of bed. Huge boils were beginning to form on her face.
(insert picture of woman with icky boils here)
Gar looked at the ruins of his wife’s face, but he felt as though he watched the world through a fog. It distantly occurred to him that his wife might be dying, and that he might not be far behind. Marshalling every last ounce of strength, he turned to the child, who was sitting calmly, staring at the ravaged figure on the bed. “Come, boy. We’re too sick to care for you any longer. Let’s go to the temple. I’m sorry.” Then taking the child by the hand, he led him out the door and toward the Temple of the Sun, hard by the town gates.
As Gar and the boy approached the temple, a disturbance erupted not five feet from the steps. A King’s Runner had collapsed on the pavement, face down, and two clerics knelt beside him. The runner gasped out his message. “A pestilence is sweeping the kingdom out of the north. The king’s healers and sages are powerless to halt its progress, or even to explain its origin. It starts with loss of appetite, then emotional disturbances, usually resulting in anger and hostility. It is followed by a cough, fever and finally huge boils on the face. Death follows within hours of the appearance of the boils.” The runner then coughed weakly, and rolled over onto his back. His face was covered with huge boils. He coughed once again, gasped, and died where he lay. The clerics cried out in horror, and began to pray over the lifeless form. Gar looked on, trying to make sense out of what he had just heard. His head was spinning from fever. He did not realize that the boy was nowhere to be found. Indeed he had completely forgotten why he had come.
Three days later, the child wandered through the deserted streets of Stedford. As the sun set, the child entered the city square and stooped to the pavement with a piece of charcoal in his hands. He began to draw symbols on the ground. If Gar had been alive, he would have been surprised at how tall the child had grown, and at the oddly deep chanting which emerged from the mouth of the boy. Soon the symbols on the pavement began to glimmer. A shimmering disk of light began to form in the air. After a minute, or so, the boy’s voice raised into a horrid shriek. Large shapes began to pour through the shimmering portal that now appeared. The hoards of leathery black creatures knelt before the boy. “We come, master!” one of them said. The child opened his mouth wide, revealing far too many needle-sharp teeth, and let loose an ear-piercing cry. The black creatures scattered throughout the dead town. The not-child then turned and walked across the square to the body of a young woman who was slumped on the stones. He began to feed. Behind him was a strange container, made out of bamboo. It had not been there the day before. The not-boy ate neatly, and with gusto. When the arm bone on which he gnawed was completely clean, he threw it into the crate. Soon the leathery creatures began to return, depositing more bones into the crate. When the sun rose, the crate was full of bones, and the leathery creatures were gone. The boy, now the size of a young man, stood and looked at it with a strange smile on his face.
(insert picture of crate of bones here)
It was a chilly autumn day when the patrol rider found the tiny boy wandering at the edge of the forest. The boy would not or could not speak, to tell where he had come from. Being a kind man, the patrol leader decided to take the tiny child home to his wife, and begin a search for his parents.
Tuesday, 24th December, 2002, 03:23 PM #80