(5E) D&D/Moorcock Multiverse Inspiration PBP

JharyOConnah

Explorer
In the far corners of the multiverse, life's facts appeared consistent. Things unfolded as one would assume. Time, as strange as it ever was, rolled on in a consistent fashion.

Although time, and it's passage, was a difficult thing to pin-point among the various spheres of the multiverse, everyone agreed, there had been a tremendous amount of SOMETHING since the last great storm.

Then was then and now was now...

Things were as different as they ever had been. No one could deny it.

All the planes had changed, although the more changes that occurred the more things stayed the same. Most denizens of the prime materials didn't even notice. Hell, most anybody ANYWHERE hadn't observed at all.

The gate cities of the outlands slowly drifted further apart. Beings of the outer-planes, always extremely aloof, became even more self-interested than usual. Nightmares grew, creeping from the shadow-lands into the fey-wild. Chaos spread, even under the guise of normalcy and consistency.

Sigil, inherently absorbed in its own philosophies, barely perceived.

Everything “seemed” the same, yet change was everywhere. At first unnoticed, yet growing...

Things taken for granted started to function differently. Societies and worlds adjusted as the magic they assumed would work one way became wild and unpredictable. Chaos began to infect where once everything had been benign, orderly, righteous.

Imperceptibly the storm expanded...until all there was WAS the storm.

Multi-colored clouds covered the sky. What little communication occurred between the planes confirmed the strangeness of the occurrence. And in places more remote, people began to panic.

Solar systems ceased to function. The laws of nature were in upheaval.

Everything that WAS was not. Everything that COULD'VE BEEN wasn't at all...

But, even as the storm disturbed the natural order, it forced everything closer, moved everything into sharper focus. Even as Chaos pushed as hard as it could, and unchanging similarity pushed back, a single tone rang out across the planes. A solitary lead note for the orchestra to follow.

A new age of everything had begun. Nothing would ever be the same. Thoughts inverted. Perceptions imploded. Connections that ‘never were’ became commonplace. Common ideas disintegrated.

And throughout, the storm enveloped the universe as we know...

Contained in some cosmic parlor, in a room above anything and everything, a game unfolded. Chaos versus Law. Order versus Chance. The sides were still being drawn, but everyone knew that this was for keeps. Something HAD to happen. It was no one's choice. This would determine the fate of the NEW multiverse. This was it.

All on your own, you may have never known, but fate and the 'balance of everything' has determined to bring you together. Movements ARE afoot.

A new paradigm is evolving… (as it always has, as it always will)

New allegiances form. New pictures are framed.

You say goodbye.

I say hello.

(Everyone please post your personal “chapter one” below.)
 
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JharyOConnah

Explorer
A very bad storm has sprung up in everyone's home plane for the last few weeks. It's more severe than any older people can remember EVER happening. Local wise women and medicine men whisper that such a storm happened eons ago, before the world turned and the current age started.

Those same smart elders say a new age is upon us, but this isn't the first time apocalypse had been warned. Maybe they're worrying for nothing. They are, after all, old and set in their ways...

Multi-colored clouds fill the sky. Lightning flashes, thunder crashes, a tremendous downpour floods local common grounds and private abodes alike. No one is happy about it and everyone is just trying to lie low and wait out the storm. ⛈☔

As the weeks have gone on this has given everyone a somewhat grim outlook. No fire is quite warm enough. No set of clothes completely dry. And there's never a second helping of stew...

Something's gotta give.

You can't help but feel like this storm is much bigger than whatever corner of whatever world you find yourself in. Something huge was happening. 🌏🌟💥

* * *
 

tglassy

Adventurer
Thunder raged outside the small hideout. Wind blew and tore at the building, the creaks and moans of the old wood seeming as if it would rip off its hinges. The folk inside shivered against the cold, the fire not quite warming the room, despite its size. It was little more than a poor house, a place for the poor and the destitute to find some shelter.

Unfortunately, other kinds of folks looked to these places for shelter as well.

Kaylee sat, huddled in the corner, her arms wrapped around herself. Being ten years old, and an orphan at that, she wasn't able to push her way closer to the fire. Bart the Fart was there, along with his crew. They'd come in just around night fall, looking for peace from the storms that had plagued the land of late.

Bart didn't like his nickname, given to him because of the smell he seemed to always give off. He was a horrid man. Kaylee didn't like him at all. She never saw him often, but every time she did she scampered away in the other direction. He was known for his liking girls her age, few of which recovered after he'd found them. And since she didn't have a daddy and her momma died of the sickness a few years ago, she'd been lucky not to be caught by him or any of his crew.

But that was before the storms came a few weeks ago. Before then, when Bart came into a hovel like this one, she'd have snuck out of it quick as a mouse, and as quiet to boot. But the wind and lightning outside were scarier than Bart's grabby hands and festering lip.

She wasn't the only one in the hovel. There were a good dozen people, beside's Bart's crew. Bart and company had burst in an hour ago, just after sundown, and made everyone sitting near the fire move. One of them had grabbed Kaylee by the shirt and thrown her to the side, off the stone she'd been using as a chair.

So she sat in the corner, curled, hoping against hope that Bart wouldn't look her way.

Hope apparently didn't like her, today. While she was peaking around, her eyes happened to catch Bart's. He wasn't a pretty man. His nose was broken, and he had a perpetual sore on his lip that never seemed to completely heal. He looked at her, his eyes lingering on her bare leg. She only had one pair of pants, and one of the legs had finally ripped away, when the baker had tripped while chasing her and managed to grab the leg. She'd pulled, letting it rip, deciding the loaf of bread she'd stolen was worth the meager warmth the leg of the pants had provided.

Now, as he looked at her, she wished she'd let the baker catch her. The Baker, at least, only smacked kids that stole from him a little bit, and he never kicked more than once. He usually barely even left a bruise. But seeing the way Bart was staring, her gut started to turn. Maybe she could deal with the storm outside...

Bart got up from his seat, and Kaylee started looking around the room. She knew everyone in there, but she didn't count any of them as friends. She only knew them the way all the poor of the city knew each other. She also knew none of them would bother helping her. They just didn't care. What was a little girl to them?

She kept her face stoic as Bart strode over to her, a confident look on his face.

"'Ello, precious," he said, bending down. She could smell him strongly, now, a putrid smell that churled her stomach. She tried to curl up tighter, tried looking away. "Now, don't be like that. You seem right cold. I gots ways to keep you warm, I do. Nice ways. You won't even know its cold outside, no you won't."

He turned back to his men. "Kap. Clear out the back room."

His lackey got up and moved to the single room in the back of the hovel. It was usually used for storage, but sometimes people slept there when they didn't want to be bothered.

Bart turned back to Kaylee, reaching out his hand. "Why don't you come with me..." he started to say.

Kaylee's whole body tensed. Her hand, hidden from view, closed around a small wooden stick with a rusty nail sticking out of one end. She'd found it at a site where they were building a new house. She gripped it, and as Bart grabbed her arm, she struck. She slammed the rusty nail down on his hand, and he jumped back, screaming in pain. His reaction ripped the stick out of her hand, the nail still embedded in his. He tried to move away from her, but was crouched down, and he wound up falling on to his back.

Kaylee shot up and ran to the door. The Storm would be better than here.

Bart's men were busy laughing, but one of them managed to rise and catch her before she could get to the door. He grabbed her by the arm and flung her into the wall on the other side of the room. She was small, and didn't weigh much. When she hit, she nearly blacked out.

Bart was cursing as he stood up, pulling the nail out of his hand. His face was red, and spittle was dribbling down his lip.

"Having some trouble, Barty?" one of the men laughed.

Bart threw the stick at him, but he dodged it, and that just caused the men to laugh more. Everyone else in the hovel purposefully turned away and minded their own business.

Bart's glare turned to her. "You're going to regret that before the night is over, little wench!"

He moved to grab her.

The door of the hovel slammed open, the icy wind flowing over the room, nearly putting out the fire in the hearth. Then the fire erupted, causing all the men near it to jump back, some falling backwards on the ground.

The man in the doorway walked slowly into the room, the spurs on his boots jingling as he stepped. He wore a long, dark coat that reached past his knees, with a wide brimed hat on his head. The hair under his hat seemed to glow, the light shifting like burning embers. His eyes were the same, glowing with a barely hidden intensity. The smell of brimstone seemed to follow him.

Everyone in the room seemed to freeze as the man entered. The average mood of the people inside went from indifferent, to terrified. They all recognized what he was.

A Gatekeeper had come.

"Bartleby Pile," the man said, his voice like the roar of crackling flame.

"A-ain't nobody here by that name," Bart said, stepping away from the man, fear obvious in his eyes.

The Gatekeeper looked around the room. One of Bart's men pointed at Bart, "He's Bart! Take him! I ain't done nothin!"

"Shut up, you idiot!" Bart called. He stood up straighter, facing the Gatekeeper. "I ain't gotta answer to you, demon spawn."

"I'm not a demon," the Gatekeeper said, sighing with exasperation, as if explaining something for the hundreth time. "And I require no answers. But all men answer to Infiri. I'm just here to arrange the meeting."

At the mention of the God of Judgement, Bart stiffened. The Gatekeeper stepped into the room, apparently not seeing one of Bart's men behind the door. Kaylee cried out as the man stepped out, holding a revolver to the back of the Gatekeeper's head. Gatekeepers were not immortal. They could be killed.

At Kaylee's cry, the Gatekeeper dodged to the side just as the gun went off. He spun, grabbing the man's arm and knocking the gun away. The gun flew, landing near Kaylee. The Gatekeeper spun the man, throwing him into a few of Bart's other lackeys before they could get up to help. Kaylee inched towards the revolver, grabbing it in her tiny hands.

Bart came in, knife drawn. Bart had always been a horrible shot, so bad that he had been made fun of by everyone in town. He'd stopped carrying a gun because of it.

But he was deadly with his knives.

The Gatekeeper managed to grab Bart's wrist, hitting him in the face with his elbow, breaking Bart's nose once more. He kicked Bart, sending him to the ground. Bart came down next to the fire, and grabbed a thick, burning stick by the cool part sticking out. He turned swung he flaming stick at the Gatekeeper.

It hit the Gatekeeper in the face, gouging a deep, burning gash.

The Gatekeeper slowly turned to face Bart, the wound on his face red and angry, blood leaking from it. Then, to everyone's surprise, it began to heal. Within moments the wound was completely gone, the Gatekeeper standing there as if nothing had happened.

Bart swung again, obviously shaken, but the Gatekeeper just grabbed the stick by the burning part, stopping the swing. He stood there, holding stick as the flames wreathed around his hand as if they weren't there, looking in to Bart's eyes.

Bart dropped the stick and fell to his knees. There was no fighting a man like this.

"Please," he said, tears streaming down his face. "Please, I don't wanna die."

"How many young girls have asked the same of you, Bart?" the Gatekeeper said, the fire cracking in his voice. He held out his hand, and fire swirled around it, coalescing into a solid, metallic form. A revolver, black and etched with glowing, red runes. He aimed it at Bart's head. "Welcome to the Gates of Infiri."

He pulled the trigger.

The sound was deafening in the small room. Bart's body fell to the ground, a neat hole in his head. The Gatekeeper blew the smoke from the barrel of the gun, and the gun itself seemed to melt into smoke. He turned and made his way for the door.


_


Josiah's work was done. Another evil man sent to meet his Master for final judgement. Bart had been a rapist and murderer. Infiri gave Josiah great leeway on who he targeted. He was very hands off, trusting in his Gatekeepers to do their job, and do it with honor. Josiah was very careful about who he decided to send to Infiri's Gates. But he had no doubt that of all the men Josiah had sent, few had deserved it as much as Bartleby Pile.

Still, Josiah felt no glee at this death. He never did. As he turned, he could feel a small portion of the man's soul settle over him, granting him a little of its vitality, replacing the last bit he'd had, which he'd used to heal the wound on his face. This piece of the evil man's soul, which he took every time he killed, would give him some protection against injury, and allow him to heal. Not much, but it was usually enough. A gift from Infiri. One of many.

As he reached the door, another gunshot rang out, shocking everyone in the room, including the Gatekeeper.

Josiah spun, seeing another of Bart's men holding a gun. Bart's man stood for a moment, then fell to the ground, a bullet hole in his back.

A young girl stood behind him. She held a gun in her hand, the one Josiah had knocked to the ground earlier, smoke curling from the barrel.

She's so young...he thought. Younger than he'd been when he'd killed his first man. Though, not by much. Kanadra was not a safe place.

Josiah looked her over, seeing the firm look in her eye. The quiet strength. Of all the people in the room, she was the only one who didn't look on him with fear.

She lowered the gun as he walked over to her. Josiah examined the dead man at her feet. A clean shot, right in his heart.

He tipped his hat to her in thanks.

"What's yer name?" he asked her.

"Kaylee," she said. "I'm ten and I'm not afraid of you."

Josiah grinned. Ah, the boldness of youth. "I believe you," he said. And he did. "You'll never have to be afraid of me, Kaylee."

He held his hand out, offering her a small, metal badge. The symbol of the Gatekeepers. "When you're old enough, come find me," he said.

She took the badge. Then he turned from her, his cloak swirling behind him, and made his way back into the storm. This night's work wasn't done.
 

CharlotteOz

Explorer
Alan thought about the dress.

It was still there, on the dressmaker's dummy. In his mind, he was still up there, adjusting the cut, fixing the arrangement of the scarves, checking to see how it held the light. It was the first time he'd designed a dress from scratch, and he wanted it to be perfect.

Right now, Alan would eat a small puppy to be back up there, and he stole a glance towards the second story of the Sterling Tailor's Guild to remind himself of why he couldn't - and there it was, the giant oak tree, torn from its roots by wind and rain and having collided with the side of the building. It was huge enough to be visible through the lashing rain.

All that work, ruined, he thought, as he handled another sandbag and passed it up the line.

Down the line, there was Penny, for whom the dress was being made. She wanted something pretty for spring festivities and incredibly, she'd asked him to design it. Alan didn't know what to think about that. She'd always caught his eye, but she saw right through him and had no time for him at all. So why him?

There was another crack of thunder, that Alan could feel in his teeth. The sheepdogs howled, and he knew how they felt. His muscles were turning to mush - right now it felt like his entire life was simply handing bags of sand up the line. But the alternative was letting the river burst its banks, and if that happened, there were a whole lot of homes and lives that would be ruined.

Still, there was that petty little part of him that wanted to go back into the shop and tweak the design a little, to make sure it was just right. To make a thing so beautiful, no one could argue with it the way they argued with him over everything else.

But there was another part of Alan, a growing part, that - ever since he heard the music - knew that really, he was the one who'd been arguing with them.

Against his wrists, the bracers sat. He wore them all the time now. They were like no other instrument he knew - sure, he could play the lyre and the flute, but these were like nothing else. If only he had time to tap out a melody of the kind that soothed him.

But there was no time. There was only the rain and the sandbags. And so, he kept going.

And then the thunder cracked once more, and Alan wondered if this was his doing; if he'd removed something sacred from the circle that he'd found, the one that he'd stepped inside of and that had shown him a forest where the air had never smelled sweeter, and the trees had never grown taller. Maybe this was his fault.

He wondered if he should put them back...

And then, he was jolted out of his wandering thoughts by someone crying out, further up the line.
 

JharyOConnah

Explorer
Josiah Jones didn't sleep much, but when he did the same images, the same thoughts creeped through his mind.

He saw the world dying. Saw all the evil men. Perishing. Annihilated. Gone. Outside bled in. The storm echoed though Josiah's mind. But he saw innocents perish as well. Too many to count. Josiah awoke with a sweat.

And then. Late at night, rain still rattling on the window of the tiny shanty, Jones heard a knock at the door. Knock. Knock. Knock.

* * *

Alan heard a scream. And again. Definitely...SOMEONE said his name. Well, A name she recognized.

Everyone else along the line kept stacking sandbags. No body was happy.

"Prin-cess! Help! Princess!"

That didn't make any sense. Or did it?

It echoed in Alan's mind.

* * *
 

tglassy

Adventurer
Josiah rubbed his face, trying to still his heart from the nightmares he'd been having. A knock at the door, at this hour?

He got up from his bed, his chest bare, exposing a number of nasty scars he'd collected over the years. he wore the simple shorts he generally slept in. He rarely used a blanket, or warm clothing, as his nature as a Gatekeeper kept him warm indefinitely.

He went to his gun belt before going to the door. He could summon his Infernal Revolver if he wanted, but when he wasn't trying to intimidate a target, he typically just drew it the old fashioned way.

He pulled the pistol out and cocked it. Another of his gifts from his master, he'd never had to reload the thing.

He moved to the door, keeping the pistol out of sight, before opening it a crack to see who was on the other side.
 

Mark Chance

Boingy! Boingy!
Ralph sat on the floor, his sketchpad on his lap, the box of colored pencils near his knee. The TV was on, and Mom sat in her chair, blanket across her lap, watching Jessica Fletcher piece together clues in order to save some fictional famous actress's life. Anne, Ralph's sister, sat at the dining room table, working on her homework. Ralph's younger brother Louis was somewhere in the back of the house, probably building something with his Erector Set. Outside, thunder rumbled, and the wind rushed by the windows.

"We interrupt our regularly scheduled program...."

Mom muttered a monosyllabic cuss word. The local weatherman came on, dressed in a dark suit and looking quite professional as he began to explain how serious the storm might get. Safety warnings, what to do in case of an emergency, blah, blah, blah.

Ralph tuned it out and focused again on his picture. As always, the shading was not working. He knew the light source was to the upper left, but still he couldn't quite get the shadows right. Round shapes looked flat. Parts that should have been in the light weren't. Ralph sighed. When he closed his eyes, he could see his dream self. Vivid colors, real shadows, a palpable solidity that his fingers and pencils could not translate to paper.

"Did you do your homework?" Mom said.

"Uh huh," Ralph lied.

A bone-jarring thud! boomed out, and then all the lights went out.

From the garage, Dad yelled, "Damn transformer blew! Get the candles!"

Anne got the candles. Louis came up front and climbed onto the sofa. Ralph sighed again. He'd never get the shading right now. Too dark. Rain started, a deep drumming on the roof.

While the rest of the family busied themselves with candles, Ralph got up and went to his room. As usual, no one seemed to notice his exit. Might as well go to bed, he thought. Despite the noise of the storm, Ralph had little trouble drifting off. Soon, he heard nothing. All was dark and calm and warm. A flash of lightning and explosion of thunder jerked Ralph upright in bed. He was in the stable. A gust of wind tore open the stable doors. Goats bleated and ran about in their pen, scared by the weather.

"Ralph!" It was Orland, the yeoman on whose farm Ralph had been staying. "Help me!"

Orland struggled with the stable door, trying to pull it closed against the wind. Ralph surged to his feet, crossed the distance in a few quick strides, and exited the stable. He was soaked through to the skin almost immediately by the biting rain. In the nearby corral, horses bucked and dashed. Ralph put his shoulder to the door and shoved it closed so Orland could secure it from the inside. A moment later, Orland was outside again, saying something lost in the roar of rain and wind, but Ralph could see him pointing to the corral.

The horses had to be secured....
 
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At the bend of a river, on the inner curve of the banks, stood a three story tower maybe twenty feet wide. Attached to the tower was a large paddle wheel. Within the tower were two great big polished stones. One turned atop the other, grinding anything between them. The flour dust in the air was a big clue to their primary product. Wheat flour. For four generations, the Oldmill family provided the valley and a few places beyond with the finest grain of wheat flour.

A two room homestead stood not far from the mill. The residence of the mill's current owner Errol Oldmill, currently last of his line. He wasn't always last of his line. His son turned eighteen a few months ago. And on that date, his son was revealed to be not his son. Error knew Turvin was not his natural born son. But Turvin was no longer human. No longer a man either. Turvin was now Eovin, a faery, a pixie he's been told. She stands just under a foot tall.

This is her story.

While people of various ancestry live in the valley, no one would want to buy flour from fae folk. And while Eovin has rejected her fae nature, for the most part, she is still a fae when you see her. The two room homestead has recently become a two and a quarter room homestead. Among the rafters, between the two rooms, in a space that use to be home to a pair of squirrels, Eovin spent a lot of time brooding.

She was raised to learn the family mill business and now she had to find something else to do. Lately, seamstress seems possible. As she spent the first couple months sewing herself a wardrobe, building a bed and dresser, learning how to fashion tools from discarded objects that were too small for human hands to work with. Seamstress was no really her thing though. She could make clothing but human clothing shrunk down to her size was never meant to fly. She needs clothes that fit close to the body. So she learned how to work leather. She learned how to make leather a supple as baby skin. And how to sew it to fit her body. She even made herself a couple pairs of boots because even a small puddle felt like a lake to her sometimes.

She was finishing up the lacings on a bodice when there was knock at her tiny door. "Eve?" her mother called.

Her mother never tried to say her name right. Eovin is not Eve. If you were shortening it, you might say Eov. That would sound like ee of. Not eve. She lay the bodice down on the bed and opened the door to her loft. "Yes, Mom."

"We need to talk. Could you come to the kitchen?"

"Okay."
She flew over her mother's head and flew to the dining area. Her father is sitting at the table as she arrives. He indicates her high stool and she flutters to a landing on it. The stool is maybe an inch or so shorter than the table so she can sit at the table.

"I don't know if you seen the storms in the sky. That red color ain't natural," Errol said. "But people are looking for ways to blame it on something."

"Or someone. And I'm the scapegoat, I suppose."

"Not directly, dear,"
Silma said.

"No," Errol said. "But they are blame the faeries. While no one says you are causing the storm itself, they believe the is centered here because you are here and the faeries want you. It's crazy. You remember Old Roark from Billiamstown? He was here the other day and he says the storm is centered over Billiamstown. Someone from Hartwood said the same thing."

"The problem, Eve,"
Silma said, "is people aren't rational. They still think if you went away the skies would clear."

The pronunciation of 'Eve' got Eovin's ire up and her words were more shrill than usual. "So you want me to leave?"

"Never,"
Silma said with horror in her eyes.

"No, no," Errol said at the same time. "But maybe for a few days, when they see the storm is still here and you aren't maybe they'll understand it has nothing to do with you."

"Where would I go?"


After a pause, Error said, "A caravan to Wallace is leaving later this afternoon. You could hitch a ride with them. They could not complain you take up too much space or would slow them down. Laynard is in charge of the caravan and I know he thinks the idea you're some kind of focal point for the red skies is bunk. So he shouldn't mind if you tag along."

"Laynard is like a week away. Maybe longer by donkey."

"You wouldn't to go all the way to Laynard, You could stop in Meier's Grove and come right back,"
Errol said.

* * *

Eovin looked around the room she had a feeling for the last time. Before the change, she had a room above the tool shack. She had moved into this literal hole in the wall a few months ago. It was small like she was, not a cavernous space like every other place she had been in ever since the change.

She had just finished making a hip bag -- her mother called it a purse -- and she was trying to stuff twelve gold pieces and five silver pieces into it. They barely fit. She could not wear a backpack so she had her extra clothes in a bandoleer of pouches. At the moment only the stuff she could not carry was left in the room. She turned away and flew out.

Mom and Dad were standing on the porch as she flew out the faery door Errol had made in the top of the door. She landed on Mom's shoulder and hugged the side of her face, kissing her cheek.

"You be good," Silma said gently patting Eovin on the arm.

"I will." She flitted over to Dad and, after he nodded, repeated the face-hugging maneuver.

"You come back, my dear."

"Of course."


They waved to her as she flew to caravansary. Laynard was sitting on the lead wagon giving some last minute orders. When he spotted her approaching, he said, "Hello, little lady, I left a spot for you in the cart. I figured you'd like a high place." He pointed to the top of a stack of boxes. "That last box is empty. Should be quite cozy for ye."

"I hope I won't get in the way."

"I can't imagine you could. I just hope that sky doesn't open up while we're out. Who know what falls from red clouds."


She landed near the box and it was bigger than her hole in the wall room. She dropped her bandoleer inside. When the cart first lerched forward it felt like an earthquake. But once the horses figured out their stride, the ride smoothed a bit. She sat on the top of the cart and watched the mill fade into the distance before turning around and watching where she was going.
 

Steve Gorak

Adventurer
Selythin the elf was born to an ancient and secretive race of elves in the feywild. These were shunned by good elves elves because of their association with darker magics and their evil nature.

As a savvy noble, first in line to succeed his father the king and in search of more power, Selythin underwent a dark ritual to bind with a devil. This was supposed to make him stronger, and allow him to lead armies more effectively. The ritual worked, rejuvenating and invigorating him, but it had unforeseen consequences.

He transformed, with features of both elf and the wings of a devil. His heart, some would even say his soul, was as if the evil from both his former selves had been washed away, pushed aside, although still in the background of his mind.

His memories were hazy and confusing. He remembers both his elf-self, content at the prospect of gaining power, and his devil-self, terrified at the prospect of dying as a slave stripped of its power. It took him many weeks to recover after the ritual, and gather his thoughts. The wizards had guaranteed that he would remain himself, or rather, his elf-self, but somehow, they had failed, or succeeded, as the devil in him felt. Those weeks after the ritual were difficult, with many voices competing in his head, one prevailed though, and spoke of a destiny to fulfil.

Many thought that he had gone mad, perhaps he had, but he was better now. The one thing he knew was that he was reborn. Selythin kept his elf-name: his devil name could not be pronounced properly in Elven, and he was surrounded by elves.

The servants and slaves had done their work, and cared for him as he recovered. They whispered of storms, earthquakes, and strange beasts outside of the castle. His mind spinning, he had fleeting thoughts of whether the ritual had anything to do with the events unfolding outside.

After many weeks, Selythin finally entered his father's court for the first time since his transformation. He ignored the gasps and the whispers of the courtesans; although a normal occurrence in courtly life, this time, they were all directing them towards him. Although there had been rumors of his changes, his presence confirmed them: the wings! And yet, his face had not changed and was still distinctly elven.

Walking up to the throne, he presented himself to his father. With an approving nod, the ancient king laconically said "Join me my son, we have much to do", and waved Selythin to his side.

Selythin used to rejoice in attending court: the politics, the power struggles, the pleasure of crushing lesser realms and exacting tribute from them. He had been an active advisor to his father, and had commanded many an army from the comfort of the forward camps. However, things felt different, off, inappropriate. Part of him was even disgusted by what he saw, and his role in a vast and corrupt realm.

He hid his feelings during the day but under the cover of darkness, he gathered a few possessions and stepped out of a window, flying away from the castle without looking back
 

CharlotteOz

Explorer
Alan heard a scream. And again. Definitely...SOMEONE said his name. Well, A name she recognized.

Everyone else along the line kept stacking sandbags. No body was happy.

"Prin-cess! Help! Princess!"

That didn't make any sense. Or did it?

It echoed in Alan's mind.

"Who's..."

Alan looked around, confused, still stacking sandbags on reflex, until he heard it again - and then, he stepped out of line.

"There's no... no princess here. Just us nobodies. Where are you? You need help?"

Alan looked around, trying to figure out where the voice was coming from...
 

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