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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> Recent posts by Reralae
Topic: The Adventures of Kith, the Cat, and the Khatun
Subject: The beginning of the hunt


452 E.R, Wilderness, Northeast of Dravnor


As she traveled, Aranwen cursed. She cursed the land she travelled. But as she stumbled on a misplaced rock, she took stock of herself. Her hand was clenched tightly around the hilt of her blade, knuckles white. She took the hilt in her other hand as she unlocked her joints, wincing as she restored the blood flow and muscle movement to her hand. 


With a sigh, Aranwen examined her blade. She could see the cracks along its length, though she had no way to measure the extent of the damage. Somehow the edge still seemed good. The ruby heart in the pommel was dull, unpolished. The wooden handle was cracked and worn. Yet, the silver gem in the guard still shined in her mind's eye. She took comfort in that, a faint smile playing at her lips. 


With a shake of her head, she quietly cursed her wandering mind. Yet, even as she could see the sprawling buildings of Dravnor in the distance, she could not help but remember.


422 E.R, Northern Syvari Forest


They were making their path through the northern Sylvari kingdom, patrolling westward near the southern border, when Saeriel suddenly stopped.


"I see smoke," Saeriel spoke, her violet eyes distant


"You see smoke through the canopy?" Aranwen asked


"No, I see it," Saeriel protested, "Caravan. Town. Fire. Blades. Blood. Chains. Smoke," she rubbed her forehead in a daze, "We need to help!"


Aranwen took Saeriel's hand, her voice gentle as she spoke, "Remember, you are here. Lead us there," Aranwen's eyes showed no hesitation.


Saeriel turned and rushed through the forest, Aranwen barely keeping pace with her despite having longer legs. When they reached Lomelindel, they both saw the smoke Saeriel had seen. For a mercy, it looked as though the fire was held at bay under the organized efforts of the townsfolk. Saeriel still trembled, however, pointing to the bodies that lay just outside the town. Both bladesingers moved to investigate.


"An attack?" Saeriel breathed in shock.


"A raid," Aranwen grit her teeth, "These are no soldiers," she observed as she examined the foreign bodies. They bore no sign of an insignia nor rank, "Mercenaries."


"If I had only seen sooner, maybe we could have-" Saeriel bit her lip


Aranwen quickly wrapped an arm around Saeriel's shoulder, bringing her into an embrace, "You can't control it. You never could," she offered, her voice gentle and soothing, "You are here, not in the past, nor the future. Only think about what you want to do now."


"Pursue..." Saeriel's violet eyes narrowed in anger as she looked to the tracks through the broken foliage


"Think we'll catch them?" Aranwen asked


"The forest will hinder a wagon," Saeriel observed, "We just might."


Aranwen and Saeriel moved through the forest with haste, a test of endurance that pushed the limits of their physical training. As they crossed the border into Sendrian land, familiar forest was left behind for unfamiliar, and soon the sky turned red above.


Breathing deeply and recovering her breath, Aranwen looked up to the evening sky, "Nightfall," she muttered, "We may lose them."


Saeriel's breathing was more erratic than Aranwen's, having pushed herself beyond her limits. She shook her head stubbornly, "We haven't yet," she replied.


Aranwen gave a gentle smile, "We should rest a bit. It'd do no good to catch up with them unfit for battle," she suggested.


Saeriel gave a nod, letting out a sigh as she leaned back against a tree. Aranwen moved beside her.


"This is a long way for them to go," Aranwen mused, "To get to their target and back. Why would they go through such efforts? Lomelindel didn't look like it had taken much damage."


"They weren't after homes, or even gold," Saeriel muttered, her violet eyes narrowed in thought, "But people."


Aranwen frowned, "Why though? Why risk so much on an ill fated attack and risk retaliation across borders?"


Saeriel winced as she held her head, "Black?"


"Black?" Aranwen leaned over, taking Saeriel's hand, "What do you see?"


"I can't see anything," Saeriel replied, "It's just... Black," she sighed, looking back to Aranwen, "I'm sorry. Seems like I keep getting us into the thick of things."


Aranwen smirked, "Who's complaining?" she asked, giving Saeriel a kiss, "I wouldn't have it any other way."


The two bladesingers rested for a bit longer, before Saeriel climbed a nearby tree and spotted the smoke of a campfire in the distance. They made their approach slower, quieter. There was the possibility it wasn't their quarry, but seeing the cage on the back of the wagon left no doubt.


"Ara, do you see her?" Saeriel whispered, her hand going to her blade.


Aranwen nodded, mirroring the same motion, "I'm glad we've caught up."


There was no need to plan; they both knew what they needed to do. Before the remnants of the raiding party could react or detect their presence, both bladesingers had pushed into their campsite, blades drawn and their voices harmonized in duet. They fought side by side, then back to back, giving no opportunity for the enemy to flank them.


Listening to the other's song gave both Saeriel and Aranwen an uncanny edge in the battle, as their songs shared both the movements of each other and their adversaries. They often traded sides, together weaving their blades around in deadly arcs that disorientated their foes.


The remnants of the raiders still had the advantage of numbers, but Saeriel and Aranwen endured, until they together struck down the captain and broke the remainder's morale.


Bringing both their blades together in unison, they cut the lock from the cage. Looking at each other with a smile, Aranwen turned, blade ready to make sure they weren't set upon by any remaining slavers while Saeriel opened the door, pulling the Syl free and untying her. Though unsteady on her feet, the girl quickly moved to arm herself, grabbing a blade off of one of the slaver bodies, and stabbing their captain's corpse again for good measure.


"Feeling better?" Aranwen chuckled.


The Syl nodded as she withdrew the blade, before giving a wide smile, "Would have liked to do that when he was alive," she replied, before her face fell and she sighed, "Are- are my parents okay?"


Aranwen looked to Saeriel, and Saeriel bit her lip, "We don't know," Saeriel finally replied, "What is your name?"


"Mithwen," the girl replied.


Saeriel smiled, "Come on, Mithwen. Let's head home."


"Do I still have one?" Mithwen asked, "It was on fire, last I saw."


Aranwen shrugged her shoulders, "Let's get back, at least," she offered, "We'll figure out what to do then."


"It's not safe here," Saeriel agreed, "If worst comes to worst, and you've nowhere to go..." she looked at Aranwen.


Aranwen smiled, "We'll figure something out for you, Mithwen."


Mithwen nodded, relief visible in her eyes. But as the three of them turned to start making their way back to Sylvari land, a voice stopped them in their tracks.


Well, this won't do. Won't do at all.



Posted on 2019-10-08 at 16:02:08.
Edited on 2019-10-09 at 22:54:25 by Reralae

Topic: Kith, the Cat, and the Khatun Q&A
Subject: Whoo


There's a reason they say predators are even more dangerous when cornered.  glad he's on our side


I like that idea for the name. Keep the hard k sound theme going


Incidentally, been writing another flashback on and off a bit. Will see where I get to with it if it will be more post ready  



Posted on 2019-10-08 at 14:52:59.
Edited on 2019-10-08 at 14:55:24 by Reralae

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: Hmm


For flavour, what colour is the skull? Just boney?  



Posted on 2019-10-08 at 14:47:09.

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: On some level I do wonder...


What kind of experience my original character for this game might have had. What strength might she have lent, and what hits she might have taken. She certainly would have not been able to weather the hits to her psyche as well as Aranwen. That was by design though. At the time I wanted a character susceptible to the horror that was hinted at.


That said, she still would have been motivated by a sense of duty, a desire to see the land reclaimed by nature, to remove the source of the unnatural miasma and fog. 


In the end, I am enjoying Aranwen far more.


In my opinion, this story is one you've made. The idea may have come elsewhere, but that's generally the case with all ideas. You're the one that gave it a life of its own  



Posted on 2019-10-08 at 09:50:53.
Edited on 2019-10-08 at 10:12:58 by Reralae

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: Hmms


Reminds me how I made a flashlight in 5e with light by putting the lit object into a cup  


If the light is a special power, then it does make sense to use it. Especially without needing to worry about potentially dropping fire on anyone's toes if the torch were dropped


Also, I had to wonder if the wording might result in that kind of teasing



Posted on 2019-10-08 at 03:38:15.

Topic: Kith, the Cat, and the Khatun Q&A
Subject: It's rather fulfilling


I finally get to put Morgana in writing somewhere. I've had vague ideas for her for a long time, but no opportunity to include her. And now she's here. Someone who you just know is going to be trouble down the road


I'm glad she comes across creepy as intended


After setting up these forces in play, I will probably take a bit of a break (though who knows how long that will last). Let the ideas for scenes past and present simmer until I have another to share. And so I don't constantly break your posts with a 'meanwhile somewhere completely different possibly in a different time'


I'm rather looking forward to seeing Ch'dau and Kithran's next actions in their fight or flight response to everything going on at Adedra's keep



Posted on 2019-10-07 at 15:12:56.

Topic: The Adventures of Kith, the Cat, and the Khatun
Subject: The Mark


452 E.R, Baron Ascinar's keep, Dravnor, Sendria


Ascinar Driol tapped his foot impatiently as he sat on his high chair overlooking his hall. His face was passive but his annoyance was betrayed by a slight twitch of the eyebrow and tightening of the muscle under his eye.


His guests dined, oblivious to the annoyance of their host. Their chatter and the music served a good distraction at least to the self declared Baron. His slaves, however, weren't so oblivious, as they took great efforts to keep any food or wine from spilling on his noble robes or lingering in his beard.


Occasionally a guest would look to the place of honour, before quickly averting their gaze from the mask that had been placed there. Blacker than pitch, save for the red lips it wore, and the deep red gem embedded in the forehead, the mask was uncomfortable to look at.


For a brief moment he was distracted by a rowdy pair of men that had clearly had too much to drink. Before they could disturb any of the other guests, he had them escorted from his halls. He also smirked with bemusement at a Sylvari mother with a daughter. The mother had too much to drink as well, and the child complained of the smell on her lips after a kiss. After being brushed off and told to leave with her guard, the woman seemed to give in to the alcohol and pass out at the table.


Ascinar chuckled in amusement, until his eyes drifted once again to the mask. Not one person had come forward to claim it. The port man scowled inwardly. He knew it was genuine, for it had taken the lives of a couple, rebellious slaves that had greatly displeased him. He didnt watch personally, but the look of horror on the overseeing guard's face told him quite enough. It had cost Ascinar a good sum in gold to acquire, and he was told that he need only extend an invitation to the mask to receive a powerful assassin. That they couldn't be bothered to make an appearance at this banquet was nothing short of an insult.


The hours passed, and eventually the evening came to an end. All of the guests had made their departure. All but one. Ascinar held his chin in thought as he looked over the body of the still passed-out, drunk Sylvari woman. He stood and made his way to approach her and inspect his prize. Perhaps the evening wasn't such a loss after all.


But as he approached, he noticed something. The woman's cup was untouched.


Before he could think to be alarmed, a black blur flew past him and landed upon the woman's face. Within seconds the body was obscured by black smoke.


"Bloody hells!" Ascinar swore, stepping back quickly.


Oh, don't be so alarmed. You did invite me after all. If you were my target, you'd already be dead.


A female voice came from the red lips of the mask, faint but unmistakeably present and echoing hollowly. The wooden bones of the body it wore creaked as it rose, standing upright in ftont of Ascinar.


Whatever snide remarks he might have made about her lateness stuck in Ascinar's throat.


"I er, I expected you sooner"


I don't make public appearances. I've been told that's best for all involved, is it not? Now then, to business.


Ascinar nodded. Now that the initial shock had worn off, he returned to his element. Making deals.


"Yes, you see, there's a competitor of mine that-"


Have you the means to pay for my services?


Ascinar huffed, "Of course. Money is no object to one of my standing."


Gold? The being gave a bemused chuckle, You made such efforts to acquire one of my masks, and you didn't even bother to learn my price? Do you even know my name?


Ascinar frowned, "Mordred, I thought I heard."


The creature gave another chuckle, Three letters. Better than none. Gold has no value to me. The only thing that does is life.


Unexpected, but Ascinar was sure he could adjust accordingly, "I've many slaves in my-"


Life, the figure cut him off, Necromancers may be satisfied by a deal in bodies alone, but not I. Those slaves of yours are devoid of soul. Unsuitable payment. I require bodies with vigor, and souls with certain flavour to them. Will. So you mean to say that you have no payment?


Ascinar grunted. This was not what he had expected at all. Any night blade would be satisfied with gold. Just who was this person?


Then you have wasted my time. Fortunately for you, I am not in a poor mood. And for what it is worth, I am amused at the banquet held for me. Don't call me again unless you have payment, or know you can procure it.


Ascinar nodded. So much for this evening. With a sigh, he asked, "Then, what is your name?"


My name, is Morgana.


With that, the wooden puppet collapsed on itself, crumpling to the floor where the black mask still stared at Ascinar.



Posted on 2019-10-07 at 13:20:07.
Edited on 2019-10-07 at 14:06:26 by Reralae

Topic: Kith, the Cat, and the Khatun Q&A
Subject: Hii Olan


Enjoy 


I'm starting to get tempted to introduce a... Particular assassin into this story. I'll think on it some more. Might be interesting, and chilling, to see Adedra making a deal with them. 



Posted on 2019-10-07 at 10:20:33.

Topic: Kith, the Cat, and the Khatun Q&A
Subject: I can't help but giggle


Isn't that the way of all shadow walkers? Never able to get what they wanted, instead running into trouble wherever they go  


It's really interesting to see into Kithran's thoughts. I've played one rogue before. Somehow I get the impression she and Kithran would get along well, or be stuck in an endless rivalry over what they could steal from their marks and each other. 



Posted on 2019-10-07 at 02:54:05.

Topic: Kith, the Cat, and the Khatun Q&A
Subject: As seen through their eyes...


Thought I'd try something with that post. Not too sure of the result but it's nice to experiment


Adedra intrigues me in her madness. I've never seen necromancers displayed like that before...


She still needs introduction to claws and certain blades though



Posted on 2019-10-07 at 00:30:13.
Edited on 2019-10-07 at 00:31:10 by Reralae

Topic: The Adventures of Kith, the Cat, and the Khatun
Subject: A hunt of a different sort


452 E.R., A Forested Glade in Sendria


Three shadows kept low to the ground as they advanced, before taking positions behind a few trees. One looked out from their cover briefly. His eyes swept the glade beyond, his gaze hungry as he saw the black robed figure that stood out in the open.


"Looks like the tip was a good one," The hooded figure smirked, motioning to his companion to take a look.


"Aye," Their companion grinned, "Lone woman wandering the wilderness, that's just asking for trouble."


"Looks Sylvari too, no less," A third chimed in, "Thought I heard they'd pay good coin for one somewhere southwest."


"What's she doing anyway?" The first asked, one hand going to a blade at his hip, "Just standing there, head bowed... eyes probably closed."


"Maybe some mystic mumbo jumbo's what. I hear sommat like chanting, very faint. See any weapons?"


"Something wooden at her hip, maybe a walking cane? Hard to tell with the black garb she's got. Could be a scabbard. No matter. Get ready."


Between two of the bandits they silently readied a net, well used to the motions involved and how to keep it quiet amidst the foliage.


"She ain't moving. Go!" The third hissed, brandishing a spear.


All three of them advanced quickly, their loud footfalls startling birds from the nearby treetops. The two in front rushed forward and hurled the net between them.


The woman reacted far quicker than they anticipated, leaping from one foot and sliding into a roll under the net in mid air. A piercing, shrill sound came from her mouth as she drew the blade at her side, slicing upward at the left man, who recoiled just out of reach of her blade.


"Damn it all!"


The third rushed forward with his spear, but though he struck black, his thrust met air, unable to follow the woman's movements, cloaked as they were by the black garb. Still seizing the opportunity, he tried to angle the spear down, if only to knock her off balance by stabbing her cloak into the ground.


Seeing his guard down, the woman simply opted to run him through, her steel blade slicing through his gut. The reverberating shrill she had started with shifted, resonating into a low vocalization between a growl and a hymn. A swift kick sent the body off her blade, and she looked to the remainder, her golden eyes focused. The two remaining could see what could only be bloodlust.


"Forget it, run!"


The unfortunate man who turned his back to the woman barely took a pace before he felt the steel slicing into his back, and with a cry he stumbled forward and fell onto the ground. Forcing himself to fight the pain, he crawled forward, and for a mercy it seemed as though the swordswoman had ignored his movement.


He could hear a clash of blade on blade behind him, a lone chorus reaching a crescendo. Then he heard another body hit the ground.


It was quiet.


Reaching a tree, he propped himself up against it, wincing as he forced himself to sit upright. When he turned, he saw golden eyes staring down into his.


"Please, take anything, just, mercy!" He cried


"I've no mercy for the likes of you."


* * *


Wiping the blood from her blade, Aranwen returned it to its sheath, before looking up into the evening sky.


"That I should be attacked by slavers, here of all places," She muttered, shaking her head, "Inexperienced in battle, but slavers nonetheless."


She looked down at the three she had slain, "Adaron, receive these bodies back to the ground," She spoke, holding a hand to her breast.


Stepping away from them, Aranwen returned to where she originally stood, her gaze trailing upward into the evening sky.


"The forest lies empty," she whispered in soft melody, barely reaching beyond the trees.


After a moment, she finally turned.


"Southwest, hm?" Aranwen mused aloud, "Davnor, or further beyond?" She wondered as she started on the path



Posted on 2019-10-07 at 00:06:46.
Edited on 2019-10-09 at 22:53:16 by Reralae

Topic: Kith, the Cat, and the Khatun Q&A
Subject: Character Descriptions: The Galandel


Young Aranwen: The first thing that often draws an onlooker's attention is Aranwen's eyes. Her bright, golden eyes seem to sparkle in the morning sunlight. Her long, oak brown hair is often braided into a crown that trails down her back, contrasting the verdant robe she wears. At 5'10, she is roughly average height for a Sylvari, and still fairly slender in build despite her efforts. Her pale skin is commonly marked with bruises received from excessive training, and her natural grace is often marred by a limp from some injury she is too stubborn to wait to heal.


Saeriel: Years involved in various studies have given Saeriel a bookish atmosphere about her. Yet, even if she carries herself like a librarian, the long, flowing locks of her autumn red hair gives her almost an ethereal glow in contrast with the verdant robe that is common garb for all occupants of Megilindar Nost. At 5'8, she is short for a Sylvari, but her good posture consistently makes her seem taller than she is. Her violet eyes are often distant, as she is easily distracted in thought, but when she is focused, they have a piercing intensity to them befitting her fiery hair.


Present Aranwen: The near two centuries she has lived through have made themselves known on the battle hardened Aranwen. Her hair is not as well kept as many other Sylvari; it is roughly cut to shoulder length and presents a slight curl, while almost haphazardly cut short in front. She exudes an almost rugged beauty to her between her wild, oaken hair, her build, muscular for a Sylvari but with their characteristic grace, and the many scars of battle visible on her pale skin upon closer examination. The armour she wears is made up of bands and plates of leather, woven together and intertwined in a vine and leaf like pattern, matching her verdant cloak. At her side is a single weapon, a sword sheathed in wood at her hip. When drawn, the blade is visible as a beautiful steel with an almost liquid-like texture upon it, a straight sword with the barest hint of a curve along one side of the blade. The guard is a study cross guard, with Sylvari leaf designs etched into the metal, the handle wooden and carved like bark, and the pommel shaped like the seedling of a great tree, with emerald embedded into the core. Aranwen's eyes are a more muted gold, deceptively deep when looked into, a mere reflection into the number of years they've seen.



Posted on 2019-10-06 at 11:55:18.
Edited on 2019-10-06 at 12:16:05 by Reralae

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: The other year...


*cough prequel cough*


 


Loving these interactions! 



Posted on 2019-10-06 at 09:47:53.

Topic: The Corruption Hidden Beneath the Surface...
Subject: The plan comes together


"I, too, have the ability to see some in the darkness, so I may be of some assistance there."


Aranwen gave a knowing smile to Davena


"That said, when we encounter trouble, I would be better use behind the stout blades, not in front of them. I am accustomed to Garn filling that role for me."


The big warrior grunts.


Midge pipes up. "I'm blind as a proverbial bat, so I'm fine keeping muscle between me and any enemies. That said, I say we check the entrance carefully before we proceed - I know that any halfwit stout would have a bell or somesuch to alert him to unsuspecting visitors. I can't imagine a cult looking for secrecy wouldn't have as much sense." Looking very pleased with himself, the cidal continues. "I should probably cast a magic detection spell too, just to be sure, don't you think?"


"Good call, Midge," Aranwen nodded, "We've been on the open road and forest for long enough, I hadn't thought of this cavern system properly, as a potentially fortified location," she paused, "That being the case, Kithran, we will definitely need your support in front," she observed, "I may not be as light on my feet as you or Ch'dau, but I will be with you. Then, if another of those damned giggling creatures attacks, get behind me quick as you can."


I will protect you this time, Aranwen thought, feeling the grip strengthen on her spirit's blade. Looking back to Ch'dau, she gave an apologetic look, "I'd entrust the rear lookout to you, dear friend. Please see that we do not become the ones that are hunted."


"If I may suggest that Cedric take up a position just before Ch'dau, placing himself between Midge and the Lady Davena. I shall do the same at the front. This should place us both in a position to provide what support we can to the vanguard and the rear while keeping us in whatever light we can summon up."


Aranwen nodded at Gib's suggestion, "This sounds like a solid design. Midge, then will be at the mid point of our group. If he were to carry the torch we need, our own bodies may help serve to dilute the light before it reaches beyond our footsteps," She mused, "Davena will be with him, and both will be able to provide aid to the front or back as needed. Then one cleric on each side, and Garn forward, to be able to step in should Kithran need to fall back."


* * *


When there was a moment of silence, Cedric approached the leader of the motley crew and spoke quietly. ”Aranwen, perhaps I could remind you that Solanis willing, I can summon magical light that can be hidden partly or completely if need be. The problem with the magical light is, that it does drain me like all the forms in which the Radiant Father's power can be shaped through prayer.”


The cleric casts a glance at Davena. ”I was wondering… To my understanding sorcerers have similar spells at their disposal. Since it would seem that Davena is a wielder of magic of considerable power or so her spell of lightning would imply, I wonder if she has similar spells in her repertoire? Perhaps more powerful or useful ones than mine? I would hesitate to expend my strength to lighting our way, if not absolutely necessary, for doing so, I will be able to summon less divine healing powers… Just thought I would share my thoughts with you, that’s all.”


Aranwen paused in thought. She couldn't claim to fully understand magic in any of its forms, but she had been with Cedric, Gib, and Midge long enough to get a rudimentary understanding of its strengths, and limitations. Finally, she shook her head, "I would reserve what strength we have and can call on for when we know it is needed. To try to hide a light or flame in the darkness is not easy," She gave a brief glimpse at Davena, "and we cannot be certain we would be successful, magical or not," She reasoned


”Oh and another thing… I would, if you wouldn’t mind, like to swap places with Gib in our order of marching. He is far more capable in combat than I am and in case of a rear ambush, I feel I can buy Ch’dau some time or give him some assistance warding off the attack… But… but I am happy either way of course.”


"It is sound reasoning," Aranwen agreed, "Gib has greater experience in direct combat, and although we can pray we do not find ourselves attacked from the rear, we'd be better to be prepared for it than not. I'll let him know," She gave a warm smile, "But don't sell yourself short," She offered, "That we haven't succumbed to injury or wounds is in large part due to the aid you and Gib have both lent."


"Just the other year, when I was travelling alone, what would I have given to have your aid then," Aranwen chuckled softly in recollection.



Posted on 2019-10-06 at 08:54:28.

Topic: Kith, the Cat, and the Khatun Q&A
Subject: ;)


Now I'll need to think of additional npcs that may pose some additional problems...


We are in Sendria after all... 


Problems everywhere in Sendria



Posted on 2019-10-05 at 20:42:13.
Edited on 2019-10-06 at 02:55:02 by Reralae

Topic: The Adventures of Kith, the Cat, and the Khatun
Subject: Memoirs of the distant past


376 E.R, Megilindar Nost


"Your blades of steel have been forged, but before you may claim them, you must reforge your blade of spirit. A full century have you lived, a hundred years with a rough blade honed by trial and error. Now is the time to let go of this blade, one haphazardly forged over time. Let it melt in the furnace of your soul, that it may be reforged into a stout, strong blade, one that will last you through all your years, and even beyond."


The young Aranwen took a breath and swallowed, her mouth dry. Her hands trembled. She was glad they did not receive their blades already; she'd have dropped it in her trepidation.


Beside her, another young Sylvari gave a smile, reaching over to grasp Aranwen's hand, "Relax, Ara," She whispered, "Your blade may shatter in your grip before it hits the forge."


Aranwen felt her hands steady, and she smiled back in gratitude.


"Saeriel! You can flirt with Aranwen after this ceremony is concluded."


"Of course, blademaster," Saeriel replied quickly, stepping lightly to the side.


"Now, each of you will be led to the forge. You must see the blade you carry, and then thrust it into the fire. Though that is not the furnace of your spirit, the act will serve the purpose; you will feel it melt. It will hurt, but you must let go of the blade. Only by letting it melt down entirely can it be reforged into the blade you will carry with you, even in empty hand. Once it is melted, go to the anvil. You must see the ingot in your mind's eye, now heated and ready to shape. Do what you need to do. For some, it may be to take up the hammer and start striking the anvil. Others it may be something else. Reclaim the blade you gave up, and shape it. Take your oaths! Let your words be embedded within this new blade and lend it strength."


"Once you've finished you may claim your steel blade, and then we will see if you have truly mastered the Bladesong."


One by one, the would-be bladesingers before Aranwen went through the ritual. With each, she felt her anxiety deepen, in spite of Saeriel's aid earlier. What oaths would she take? What if she, alone, failed the forging? They all had been given time to decide upon the oaths that resonated with their spirit, but it was all so nebulous to her. She couldn't see the same things Saeriel could see. Saeriel seemed to be able to see everyone's spiritual blade by their side, or held in hand. Was it her artistic background that let her see such?


All too soon it was Saeriel's turn, and hers would be after. Aranwen watched carefully, to see if she could see any hint of what she needed to do. When it came to the anvil, rather than raise the hammer, Saeriel danced, her arms weaving and beckoning beside it.


"I will pursue the roots of evil where I find them! I will lend my aid to those that will protect other lives! And I will protect the lives I come across that cannot protect themselves!"


In the instant that Saeriel had made her third oath, Aranwen blinked. She could have sworn she saw it. A beautiful curved blade, gleaming in sillhouette beside Saeriel and responding, moving with her in dance. But Aranwen couldn't be certain.


"Aranwen!"


Rubbing the feeling back into her fingers, Aranwen stepped forward into the smithy. This smithy was never used for steel blades. Its only purpose was to be the focal point for this rite of passage. She walked up to the furnace, the fire within crackling and hungry. Unable to shake the feeling of looking a bit silly, Aranwen held out a clenched hand, as though to deposit kindling to the flame. Taking a breath, she let go.


In an instant, she felt feverish. No, it felt like she was burning. She clenched her eyes shut, gritting her teeth that she wouldn't cry out. She wouldn't be the one who failed.


"Ara, let go!"


She opened her eyes, and she could feel it. Though she had recoiled, she still felt her arm outstretched towards the flames. She could feel something in her hand. Something that she was afraid to let go. Against all her instincts, she opened her hand.


She felt her anxiety begin to melt away. She closed her eyes once again, this time seeing visions flow through her mind. A time she stumbled in her haste to get to practise. One time she had cracked a rib during practise, unable to read the movements of her partner.


Aranwen could see her blade melting. A misshapen dagger with spidery cracks that branched from guard to tip. It wasn't the prettiest blade in the world, but it was hers. Instinct told her to take it back, but she held fast. As the anxiety faded from her mind and gave way to clarity, she could feel the impurities that had become embedded in her dagger burn up in the furnace. Finally, she moved to the anvil, and finally she could see.


Aranwen lifted the hammer, and brought it down on the anvil with all the force she could muster.


"I will. Give aid! To those that give it freely," Aranwen spoke, seeing the guard start to take shape, "I will! Take the lives! Of those who would take them for ill intent, for ill purpose!" The blade sharpened with each strike, a good straight sword, "I will..." She faltered for a moment, watching the half finished blade on the anvil. Just one more thing. One more oath. She looked to the side, searching for and finding Saeriel's face in the onlookers. Clenching her fingers about the handle, she lifted the hammer, "Make safe the path ahead! For those who will walk after!"


Standing back upright, Aranwen wiped the sweat from her brow, setting the hammer down to the side. She could see it. Truly see it. A strong and slightly curved blade, a crescent moon guard with one silvery gemstone set in the middle, and a pommel set with a heart shaped ruby.


After the rite, they were given their steel blades. For their last assessment, they were to wield the blades in a performance of swords with a partner. Most chose the blademaster as their partner, as was common.


"It's beautiful," Saeriel smiled, raising the steel blade in her hand in opening salute.


Aranwen returned the smile, "So is yours."



Posted on 2019-10-05 at 14:27:42.

Topic: Kith, the Cat, and the Khatun Q&A
Subject: Much intrigue


Quite the setup here, a very dangerous cultist, an ongoing ritual... a captive warrior


An extra shadow that no one noticed


Hard not to feel the future Aranwen's anger at this situation, wishing she were there to lend her aid.


As for the past Aranwen... Well, I'll have to decide whether the story I've thought of is yet to happen, or has already happened...



Posted on 2019-10-05 at 12:35:26.

Topic: The Corruption Hidden Beneath the Surface...
Subject: Pre-meeting


"By Therassor's Blessing, I've managed to survive military service and a few adventures using what I learned of strategy in the corps." Adjusting the position of his armor to a more comfortable sitting, he continues. "My experience did not serve Kith well last night and I fear that I will be even less effective in our future endeavors. But I will do my best to deliver what further blessings the Battle Lord deems us worthy to receive."


Aranwen nodded, and her eyes grew distant as she recalled the previous night. The start of that horrific battle, where everything seemed against them. Her training was as much on reflection as it was on the act of battle itself. Only by reviewing the past could mistakes be prevented in the future. Of course, that sentiment was intended to be limited to the scope of her posture, her blade, her movements. It took great effort to extrapolate to the wider world, and time as a whole, effort that she wished she were better at.


Crinkling his nose against a particularly foul odor that drifts past, he glances at the Bladesinger. "I'll strive not to fail you in my counsel again, Aranwen."


Aranwen shook her head, "Your counsel was sound, based on what you knew, and your past experiences," She told Gib, "It is not your fault that the situation was not as you had foreseen. My own dealings with these kinds of creatures are sparse, even with the number of years I've seen. Those with dull, empty eyes - I cannot lead them with my blade; I cannot truly predict their movements as I might with a creature with sound mind," She spat with annoyance in recollection, "We can do naught but adapt and learn, concepts that I pray are beyond these creatures."


She offered Gib a gentle smile, "Don't wield the sword of your spirit against yourself," She spoke softly, recalling the same words spoken to her before, a long time ago.


If only I could truly share that knowledge, she thought solemnly, so many don't know the blade that they carry beside them.



Posted on 2019-10-04 at 21:23:38.
Edited on 2019-10-04 at 21:29:59 by Reralae

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: Possible patterns


This is what I end up visualizing when I see the group travelling into the cavern system


From front to back





















Kithran   Garn Midge (Torch?) Gib Ch'dau
         Aranwen   Cedric Davena    

Aranwen wants to be near the front so she may be able to shield Kithran with her body should a giggler be set upon us, prevent a repeat of the prior night. Aranwen's natural dexterity may be sufficient to tread lightly in this position, and she does have good awareness I believe.


Kithran at point makes sense, watch where we're going, and most importantly watch for traps


The middle group is more nebulous, but starting with Garn and Cedric being backup to Kithran and Aranwen - another martial force to back up the front line, and Cedric able to directly support


Midge and Davena next, with the very important torch. From this position, Midge and Davena have visibility front and back. (also: "wizard in the middle, where he can shed some light"... )


Rear we have Gib and Ch'dau. From what I gather, Gib is more martial inclined than Cedric, and his heavier armour would be suited to block an ambush, while simultaneously supporting Ch'dau and our casters as needed.



Posted on 2019-10-04 at 15:39:01.

Topic: The Corruption Hidden Beneath the Surface...
Subject: And the forward


As she travelled in the vanguard, Aranwen made certain to stay a few paces behind the rest of the others. As they walked, she continually looked from side to side, silent and listening. She trusted in Ch'dau and Kithran to fall back and provide warning if an enemy were found ahead. That left her to be the front line for the others, so to speak. She did not doubt the martial skill of either cleric with her, but if they were suddenly attacked, she opted to be the one to weather the attack rather than the others.


Thankfully, no such attack happened.


As report of the cave reached her ears, and the group approached the trail, she heard Gib beside her.


"Are we truly ready for this?" Gib asks quietly as he steps up next to Aranwen. "We'll need light... I'm not even sure what precautions we should take."


"There is a lot that is not known," Aranwen admitted, "Light in the darkness is a double sided blade, as one of my... rivals liked to say. She imagined herself something of a poet as well as a Bladesigner. But there is truth to it, light reveals the carrier, just as it reveals what is around them."


Aranwen's eyes seemed distant as she tried to remember. What year was it when that happened? So long ago. Nearly forgotten.


With a shrug of her shoulders, she looked back to the cleric of Therassor, "Before we gather everyone to discuss our options I wanted to ask, is anything weighing on your mind, Gib?" She asked, her voice gentle, "You seemed withdrawn during breakfast."


As she thought about it, she realized that Cedric, too, seemed withdrawn at the time. Had Cedric even spoken that morning? Aranwen resolved to see the cleric of Solanis as well.


* * *


(( later on ))


With everyone gathered, Aranwen considered the facts, "We must be cautious," Aranwen resolved, "This is familiar ground to our adversaries, not to us. The more light we use, the bigger a target we may become; the less light we use, the more we hinder ourselves. A problematic paradox. Also of concern is the ground. Damp stone is trecherous, as many a child can attest to trying to run on such after a rain."


After a moment, Aranwen nodded to herself, "I think we should continue much as we have been so far. Kithran and I will be the forward eyes, Ch'dau to watch behind and above, in case they try to circle around us through some unseen passageway. As for the light sources," She paused, "Is there any way we may be able to cover the light we bring?" She mused, "I've still a torch or two, but the open flame would be sure to dance on the walls around us, and only announce our presence. What other options do we have?" She asked of the others



Posted on 2019-10-03 at 23:12:59.
Edited on 2019-10-04 at 00:06:06 by Reralae

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: Light sources


I had more or less the same thought, keep the light in the middle, and those with dark-piercing eyes acting lookout both ahead and behind.


I see torches on Aranwen's character sheet, but do we have any lanterns? Partially covering lanterns with spare clothing would limit the amount of light they project upward, reducing our light signature greatly while not hindering the aid of light at the ground to find sure footing, particularly if there are damp slippery stones


Also how good are we overall at sneaking? I can see that Aranwen doesn't have the skill specifically, what of everyone else?



Posted on 2019-10-03 at 22:37:43.
Edited on 2019-10-03 at 22:51:04 by Reralae

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject:


You're all too kind, I'm just happy that I'm making good performance checks


Slight edit on the post to add to it; it's been a while and I definitely need to remember that it's possible in this format to preemptively provide responses to foreseen comments or queries


PS. So what you're saying Olan, is that those rumours of party wipes in other games wasn't exaggerated? 



Posted on 2019-10-03 at 11:03:54.
Edited on 2019-10-03 at 11:14:37 by Reralae

Topic: The Corruption Hidden Beneath the Surface...
Subject: Short reply - will make another a bit later


Aranwen looked around at the assembled group, gauging what she could see in the faces of the others. In Gib she thought she saw hesitation. She tilted her head a bit in query, but didn't ask. Not in the full group. If something had weighed on his mind, perhaps it was best to ask about it if they had a quiet moment. And Ch'dau, she could see the tightening of the muscles around his jaw. Something was setting him on edge. She had a suspicion what it might be.


I hope these suspicions are unfounded, she thought solemnly, but they have given us aid, and I must return the favour.


Davena's gaze falls to Aranwen. "Tell me, brave warrior... I hear that your folk are immune to the grave paralysis of these ghouls. Is this true?


Aranwen lifted her arm, withdrawing the protective bands of leather to reveal the skin underneath. For being Sylvari, her skin still seemed a good sheen and almost unmarked. Almost. The scars of battle lingered on even a Sylvari's body, and she traced one in particular with a fingertip, where one of those giggling monstrosities had landed a sure blow.


"In training, we are taught about the limits of our bodies," Aranwen spoke finally, "Or more accurately, we are taught of the importance of being fully aware of ourselves. The awareness of body and blade together, limits, strengths, and those undefined traits that make each of us unique. In learning of our own potential, we learned of those that came before. There was the occasional odd tale of a bladesinger having fought ghoulish creatures, their corruptive touch unable to bend Sylvari body to their will..."


She paused before she nodded slowly, "Well, I have taken numerous strikes from those creatures. That I have yet to succumb to their touch after so many blows, I can only presume that the story I heard was true."


(( If anyone expresses surprise/curiosity at Aranwen's wording that implies she didn't believe what she had been told she also adds these lines ))


"It's not that I had reason to disbelieve these tales," Aranwen chuckled, "But I remember, at the time, feeling like this learning of others' tales served a different purpose, to ignite within us the resolve to become just as if not stronger than those we learned about. That certain things may have been exaggerated for the sake of having that effect."


"And yet, here I am, standing here on the remnants of battle on a scale I wouldn't have imagined in my younger years. I know this path ahead will lead us to more battles, and a more cautious soul would be well inclined to shy away from it. However, the danger is there, and not just to us, but to whomever gets caught in its wake. And we are here. I would sooner drop my blade than let what befell us fall upon others who would not survive."



Posted on 2019-10-02 at 19:43:45.
Edited on 2019-10-03 at 11:00:02 by Reralae

Topic: Hidden Corruption Q&A
Subject: Showing my 2e unfamiliarity again


Two questions, do Sylvari resistances including paralysis, and has it been tested with a giggler yet?  



Posted on 2019-10-02 at 12:33:40.

Topic: Dreamsynthesis
Subject: Halloween Project complete


One month early too


San




Posted on 2019-09-29 at 18:42:53.

 


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