Pain exploded with every movement and yet she managed to side step the Orc/Elf's sword stroke.
With the white hot flare of pain came another pain born of a terrible thought. The Pain of Failure, it came to her that this might not be a test, but a dismissal, that somehow she had failed to make the grade. That she was no longer a Bladesinger candidate. She half turned to keep the Orc in sight.
She took another step, using the momentum of her lunge to carry her forward toward the window as she dodged the tiles the Orc/Elf had overstepped. First came the message in the misdt of a testing. Another step even faster, Then no one opens the doors when she presented herself and the scroll. Did they mean that to be a parting lesson in humility, was she to have just walked away? But she had not, and sought to enter the Keep by another way.
A third step, now almost to a run and she was nearing where the secret door was. The first trap, where she was almost strangled should have been another clue, that she was not wanted in the Keep then came the first cut buy the Orc's rapier. Rapier! Why had that not caught her attention before. Orc's did not use rapiers.
No! no time for what was, only what is and what must be. Elessar tightens her focus and just keeps alert and moving, she somehow hopes the Orc/Elf will let her go and not attack because that was what they wanted her to do, leave.
Reaching the door, there was no door. She did the have the hands or strength to get out hetr pipes and play again. She did lift her sword to the ready position, even as her burned skin cracked and screamed pain to her mind. Elessar side stepped, so as not to leave her back to a secret door that could be opened behind her. She then tries to get to the door the Orc came out of, side stepping along the wall, eyes on the Orc and on the other doors, not seeing the blood that ran down from her lower torso to stain the expensive rugs.
If no attack comes before she gets to the door she was heading to, she will try to open it. There had to be a window in there, one she could use to get out of the Keep.
Strange, how she had fought to be accepted as a candidate for Bladesinger and now she had to fight to leave.
Posted on 2006-12-18 at 18:00:17.
Edited on 2008-09-03 at 18:53:29 by Dragon Mistress
Loda felt better than ever. Well better than when she was used as a dwarven spine catcher thats is. Being healed to almost her original strength, she bent over quickly and picked up her bow, and an arrow, knocking it, ready to fire one at Troshba. but soon words of negotiations rang out through out the battle, and Tobin was the one doing the talking.
"Troshba! I wish to renegotiate with you!"
Loda, seeing that Troshba was ready to fire another volley of spikes, didnt feel like being skewered once more, so waited to let them talk it out before making any actions.
“Your words better say that you get Troshba food. Troshba WILL leave you safe. She is not sneaky as short man-likes!”
"I have seen the pain you are able to inflict Troshba. Yes! Pain from claws and spikes. You have been true to your word. I have no wish for one of mine to peris and, yet, you too have felt our sting. And I doubt you wish to perish. So... food for you and your young for free passage through this pass... and a bit of help on your part. Your protection through your land.What say you, Troshba? Shall all live to see tomorrow?"
“That was Troshba’s offer she said first time. You get food and Troshba gets you safety. We all live.”
Lodas eyes darted back and forth between the two, and even though all her instincts tell her to put this beast down once and for all, some things are just to much to handle. She finally decided what ever the group decides to do, she will go along with it. Besides, a druids work cant be done when she's dead.
Tobin was not looking to test the beast, but curiousity more than anything got the better of him. "I know Troshba. I was only ensuring that the original agreement still stood. Food for you and your young, in return for safe passage."
"And now, Troshba, permit us only a few more questions before we go back down to fetch you your dinner. I know you said you liked beef, but is there anything else that you would enjoy?"
Tobin waited for a response before continuing. "Forgive me, Troshba. I do not wish to test you. Permit me only three more questions. I am wondering, Troshba, why you do not go down and bring back your own for? Surely, no cow could withstand your claws and spikes?"
Tobin waited once more before continuing. "Thank you for your patience, Troshba. I have only two more, little questions before we leave to bring you food for your family. Will one cow be enough for you and your young? I would hate to find out that I had brought up dinner, only to have you starve the 'morrow."
Tobin was patient and honey-tongued. "You are most kind, Troshba. If you will allow my final question, before we take our leave. Do you know of a fine spot where we might find the choicest of meats for you?"
After Troshba's response, Tobin will speak for the last time to the creature, "Thank you, Troshba. We will indeed be off now. I hope to meet again under better circumstances."
To his companions, "Let us leave Troshba now, friends."
13th day of the 7th month: Pfier
Troshba wasn’t very keen on answering Tobin’s questions. She did though, seduced by the rogue’s polite and reverent soothing. The party learned that Troshba would be happy with just one cow. She did not see the need in getting more than she and her young could eat. A little prodding revealed that the locals give her offerings every now and then, and that she hasn’t left the boundaries of her territory yet since she birthed her young. She is afraid something will happen to them.
It took the group the rest of the day to find the nearest farm, buy a decent cow for the reasonable price of 4 GP(after some haggling), and return to the place where Troshba had been. They were surprised to find the area deserted at first, but the Manticore came flying back soon. She accepted the cow and once again swore to look over them as they passed. Her voice was less harsh and almost appreciative as she told the group of an empty bear-cave only an hour away. Although it was getting dark, the group headed for the cave and spent the evening in safety. They were in the Kharolis Mountains, and the Khordaldrum Capital was getting closer.
On the morning of the 22nd day of Pfier they arrived at the gates of Khordal. Aside from the encounter with Troshba the Manticore their journey had been a safe and beautiful one. The Kharolis Mountains proved to be rich in wildlife and hunger had been the least of their worries. Also, the paths they had chosen had shown them a few sites that seemed to be blessed by Kith-Jora. A waterfall thundering with brute strength ended in a deep pool. The pool had invigorated their minds and healed the last of their battle wounds. Healthy and energetic they now stood before a gaping opening in the bare rocks. A paved road lead into the mountain, where six guards were just checking the contents of a mule towed two-wheeler.
(OOC: You’ve made it to the city, and you’ll have one and a half day before Guland expects you. I’m giving you guys that as down time. You can tell me what you like to do in the Q/A or in PMs if you prefer that.) Maelamin Kingdom
25th day of the 7th month: Pfier
Fully intend on finding the fastest route out of the keep Elessarae jumped past the orc and towards the door, her exit. The creature made a fast backhand slash with its rapier. The blade missed her widely, and she was free to try the door. It was shut tight. Not lingering too long on yet another disappointment Elessarae ran for the next one, forgetting the tiles and traps that lay under the tiles of the corridor. All doors were shut, and the orc was now in full pursuit. One of the tiles gave away and she felt her right leg freeze over instantly as a sudden ice storm filled several feet of the hallway. She heard the orc scream behind her, and limbed onwards. She felt nauseous and weak. Her leg felt lifeless but she managed to get to the last door, opposing the corridor.
This one opened smoothly and the bladesinger pulled herself in and closed it behind her. There she slid down against the wooden surface, exhausted.
It was only then that she realized the contents of the room she had entered. She was facing a beautiful carpet covered floor with a long desk standing in the middle of this big room. Elves had been seated behind the desk, facing the door she just came through, but they now stood up and approached her. Most of them were old, and they all wore breathtaking garments bearing the symbol of the bladesingers. One of them kneeled down besides Elessarae.
“Come child. Stand up, and address your judges with honor. This is no way for a new member of the bladesingers to attend her final test. You’ve overcome the first part, and you should be proud.”
His voice had a fluent kindness to it, but his words did not reveal whether or not she was deemed worthy.
Most of his words were lost on her as Elessarae struggled to push herself up, fighting pain and nausea, and using her anger at all this to give her the strength to do so. Her eyes flashed with fire, and though it was difficult to ingore the Elder Bladesinger, in a sense she did. She did not rise because of his words, of which few registered, but because she had no idea if there would be another attack coming at her.
Concentrating everything she had she used her burnt arms to help push herself up against the door and balanced as best she could on her one good leg. There was little grace in her movements, that would have only brought on more pain, She stood on grit and determination, but did not leave the support of the wall, or sheathe her blade. At least the numbing cold lessened the pain of the burns on that one leg.
She lifted her sword to ready, as best she could even as her arm stayed against the door. Her bright eyes stared back at the others in the room, waiting.
She wondered what they thought at the sight of her. What clothes that she still had on were badly charred scraps, the rest had fallen as ashes back in the corridor. Her skin was blackened, cracked and blistered. Where she was not fried she was frozen.
She wondered of the poor elf that had to play the Orc was being seen to by a healer. She stood her ground wondering if they would all turn into Drow and attack her.
Where she got the where-with-all to speak in an almost natural and polite manner, she would never know, given her strangled and burned throat, burned by sucking is the hot air as the fireball engulfed her, but she managed to speak in an almost normal and formal manner.
"Please forgive my lack of grace, and the fact that I do not seem to be properly attired for this gathering."
Well, her words were not exactly as she had wanted, being that they were a bit clipped and hard edged, but at least they were not hoarse croaks. As she spoke she felt some pain from burns on her face, but not as bad as the rest of her.
Suddenly she had a terrible thought, some burned skin never healed right, could this truly be the end of her canidacy, scarred and maimed by the fire. A bleakness filled her with dread.
Posted on 2007-01-10 at 19:59:24.
Edited on 2007-01-11 at 16:47:51 by Dragon Mistress
Mrs. Orebelly leaned in, as if she was sharing a secret. Checking the room, she whispered to Geim: “You wouldn’t believe what kind of people come in here. Not just Runemasters, you know. Merchants come in here too, doing research for their business. Mages I see a lot as well, but they’re never as interesting as you are. What did you come here for? Interested in the history of our lands, judging by the books. Why don’t you sit …. here,” the keepers tapped another chair next to the table, “and tell me all about it. I get so bored, sometimes.”
Geim replied “Not just Runemasters? That is interesting. I have a pressing appointment, but I guess I can be a little late. Never mind about me… mostly dull research. But you… must have interesting tales what with all those visitors!” Taking the seat indicated, he continues “Has anyone really interesting wandered in here lately? Merchants and mages!!! I wonder what sort of research they were doing.”
The Grand Library
23rd day of the 7th month: Pfier
The look on Mrs Orebelly’s face when Geim sat down told him that he was in for something good. She leaned in and took a deep breath.
“I’m not supposed to tell anyone, since my work here has its confidentiality…” she whispered, “but I’ve got a good one for you here. Three days ago I got a little visit from Idolain Cobbelforge himself. You know, from the famous Cobbleforge family? He was in the company of an elf! They were investigation something about the Chakran Portal. I thought that was highly interesting.”
The lady said “I’m not supposed to tell anyone, since my work here has its confidentiality…” she whispered, “but I’ve got a good one for you here. Three days ago I got a little visit from Idolain Cobbelforge himself. You know, from the famous Cobbleforge family? He was in the company of an elf! They were investigation something about the Chakran Portal. I thought that was highly interesting.”
Geim interest was now real. He asked “The famous Cobbleforge family and and an elf? What interest would an elf have in the Chakran Portal? Could they have discovered something?” He might show up a bit late for his appointment, but he was sure that this extra bit of information would be important.
22nd day of the 7th month: Pfier
One of the guards had been eyeing Draven while inspecting the cart. When the warrior approached and asked for the best public place of consumption, the Khord looked at him again. For a few seconds he checked the human before him. A definite stern answer followed.
“I suppose someone of your liking would be a good fit in the “Clouded Mug”. Ask for directions in the Rvisthorn Warrens.”
He turned to the others of the group and smiled.
“So what are you all interested in seeing? First time in Khordal? Share me your interests, and I’ll tell you where to go.”
(OOC: Still aiming to get a bigger update in on Saturday. So if all of you can post before that, it would be greatly appreciated. I need to know: Where you go, who you go with, what you intend to do there etc etc. Please message me about your wished in the Q/A so others can see them and decide to go as a group or not. I could make a gargantuan list of things there are to do in Khordal Kingdom, but that wouldn't work. I need you guys to come up with initiatives.) Maelamin Kingdom
25th day of the 7th month: Pfier
The elf before her smiled softly at her reply. It seemed to please him.
“Properly attired you say? One will never know what to expect from life, and can never be properly attired for every occasion. Thus, it is better to do what you can, with what you have.”
He motioned for her to step forward, as the other elves returned to their seats at the long table. When they moved, Elessarae could see a pattern of circles on the carpet under her feet. The Elder Bladesinger guided her towards a centered round of hunter’s green, before the table. He then took his feet off the carpet, and from the stone floor completed his lecture.
“You come here today on request of this council. You have taken part in a test that is only halfway through. As an aspirant Bladesinger you must’ve studied the arts of the bladesong. We are confident that you have come up with your own display of our fine art. We shall witness it now, and recognize that if you can show us perfection in this state, you are worthy of consideration.”
A silence fell. This was Elessar’s moment. Khordal Kingdom
The Grand Library
23rd day of the 7th month: Pfier
“I’m glad you find it as fascinating as myself.” Mrs Orebelly continued.
“Yes, it was most definitely an elf. He wore a common elven outfit, at least, as far as I know. Him and Idolain seemed pretty happy with their findings. I don’t know what they were up to, but wouldn’t it be great if they found a way to bring the portal back to life? Kharox be praised, we could find the lost Lore of the Chakrandrum. The Cobbleforge Stables would love to get their hands on that. You bet! I always wondered why nobody tried to dig deeper into that matter. After the first century I suppose people forgot about them. What do you make of the whole situation?”
(OOC: As a Runemaster you’ve heard the name Chakran Portal before. What it is exactly you do not know.)
Mrs Orebelly asked “What do you make of the whole situation?”
Geim responded with increasing interest, “The lost Lore of the Chakrandrum! Why it would be wonderful to add the knowledge, I had never thought much about it. What is this about a portal? What is it? I have heard mention of it before but cannot quite place it. I must admit to little knowledge of it. Perhaps you can fill tell me more.“ He adjusted his seating to prepare for a long conversation.
Elessarae pushed herself from the door and taking one painful step at a time tried to hide the uselessness of her frozen leg. She remembered one of her instructors lecturing his group about keeping an opponent from knowing how badly one was injured. Burned, maimed, weary from the morning activities, first was her testing when the scroll came, then the run for the keep, and then the battle of the corridor, and they wanted her display her style of the fine art of the Bladesinger. They wanted to witness it now. They wanted her to show them perfection to be worthy of consideration as she was. They doomed her to failure. But she would not accept their doom. She would at least put up a fight.
She could use a spell to heal a little of her damage, but she did not think they wanted that. Otherwise, would they have not offered her healing?
She gave her judges’ one look and then she drove them from her mind, as she would have to drive the pain from her mind. What she would do was not for them, but herself. She fought to get accepted as a candidate and she would fight to the end.
She raised her blade in a salute and then began to sing, the song was low and slow and as she sang she began to move the sword. At first she was only testing the limits of what she was capable of doing. As that song wove down she realized that no song she had ever sung would fit what she had to work with. She had to create the powereto continue the fight. Elessarae remembers how she used her anger in the corridor, but uncontrolled anger was dangerous. If she could harness the anger she might be able to use it.
As the first part of her song faded she looked down to the green circle, but she could hold that spot. There would be no dancing leaps or spectacular pirouettes in the air, no fancy florishes, or wide arched sweeps. She could set herself to a final ditch battle and this would be her holding ground. As she prepared to move into the major movements of the Bladesinger style, she knew she needed something entirely different. But the song, what song would give her that?
To sing a song of grace and fluidity would not fit the situation. It had to be something rousing, something with the power to transcend adversity and pain. Then it came to her. It was no Elven tune; it came from a human land, a small country that was fought over like a bone, by the dogs of the Great Powers around it. A country where music was a very important aspect of their lives, and the proud and steadfast people were noted for their bards, singers, and musicians. Her father had bought her a book of their music and it was there she first learned the tune for “The Men of Harlock” (pardon the usage)staunch defenders of a besieged castle who held out against a far superior force. If ever a piece of music fit the situation this was it.
She sang it in the original language, for the crispness of the language fit the music and her voice. At the first strains of the tune, Elessarae began her dance of defense. She had to rely on her balance to offset the lack of two usable legs. Her blade twisted and cut through the air and she wove her defense to the tune and the words of the song. The words spoke of pridee and loyality, and defiance.
She used speed and conservation of movement to replace the expected grace and fluidity of the Bladesinger style. As the song built she transcended the pain of her burned skin as she fought invisible foes with tenacious grit. Her blade flashed about her as she attacked and parried. Fire flashed in her eyes. She wasted no motion, and kept her blade tight to herself so as not to overextend and lose her balance. She used her good leg and pirouetted about on her bad leg, using her balance to stay upright. She tried to use various Bladesinger maneuvers, “Wind in the Willow”, “Lightning in a Thunderstorm”, “Swirling Waters,” and “Unicorn Charge”, some worked but others maneuvers fell far short of expected Bladesinger forms. Partway through the song her words and singing stopped, at least outwardly, her voice grown too hoarse, and her need for air to breathe increased. But the music and the words still sounded in her heart.
Time lost all meaning, but the song finally came to an end, and with it Elessarae’s blade came back to a salute and then she dropped the tip of her sword to the floor and leaned on it. She felt chilled, her legs and body were shaking. Blood ran from cracked and blistered skin that was stretch too much even by the limited movements that she had made.
A sigh escaped her lips. It was done. There had been no grace, no perfection, only will and determination. Her chin dropped, fearing it was not what they were looking for and fearing they would see the tears that welled in her eyes, tears of pain and tears of disappointment, knowing that her performance was lacking in every way.
She blinked and saw the green spot, now stained with her blood. She had forgotten the wounds the Orc/Elf had given her in the corridor.
“I’...m sor...ry,” Elessarae somehow found the breath to get the words out, “I’ve stained...your rug.”
Posted on 2007-01-16 at 17:55:34.
Edited on 2007-01-17 at 00:32:52 by Dragon Mistress
Tobin had travelled the pathes to Khordal once before. It had been a short visit with ol' Borric. A more surly khord has surely never lived! the cidal remembered with fondness.
Tobin doubted his old friend would be found within the massive kingdom of the Khords; his warrior friend enjoyed a bit of wanderlust himself.
Still... you never know... Tobin brightened. Wouldn't that just be something.
As the group came up to the western gate of the Khords' kingdom, the cidal was pleasantly surprised at the guards' fair demeanors.
Draven spoke first... Lookin' for a pub to drown out the troubled voices of his soul no doubt. Tobin looked sadly at his companion. A more tormented soul would be hard to find, and the cidal initially thought of joining the dark warrior. Just to make sure he's okay... But the cidal sensed Draven may be looking for some time away from the companions... rub shoulders with more kindred spirits.
Speaking to the guard, "Well, I've been to your great kingdom once before, though I really only scratched the surface of the east side of the kingdom. I prefer to wander a bit, if that be alright, though if you've got some sites you think a surface dweller ought not to miss, I'm open to suggestions."
OOC: Tobin will hang with the others, particularly with the mage... would hate to see anything bad happen to the lass.
The Grand Library
23rd day of the 7th month: Pfier
The low tones of secrecy in the librarian’s voice were instantly replaced by exited explanation.
“The Chakran Portal was created during the first dwarf-elven war. It was a magical or supernatural portal created to compensate for the lost trade. The sylvari forces blocked all trade between Chakranna and Khordal, you know. So, using this portal, the Chakrandrum and the Khordaldrum stood in direct contact with each other. Even after the dwarf-elven war the portal still brought great riches to both nations. Then, the portal was shut down somewhere during the ogre wars. Since then, the lore to open it has been lost, and the districts around the portal have fallen into poverty. You know, it’s the east side of the Warrens of Rvisthorn. A place where you and I shouldn’t go.
That’s what I know about it. I’m sure there should be more about it in these books around us.”
She motioned to the library.
“Is there anything else you might want to know? You could also come over to my home one day, if you like. I could clear up some things for you.” Kharolis Mountains
22nd day of the 7th month: Pfier
The guard thought about Tobin’s question for a minute. He looked at his fellows for aid, but they were suddenly very busy with peering around at the mountains.
“Well, what you really shouldn’t miss, I guess, is the Hall of Kings and the Gamulqolfelir. They pretty much form the base of our society. You can see the tombs of our old Kings and the rules and laws of our people. It sounds kinda boring saying it like that, but it’s impressive when you’re there.”
He turned to Draven, who was making moves to enter the cave.
“Sir, please mind your steps in the Warrens of Rvisthorn. It’s the darkest place in Khordal. Keep to yourself, and stay out of the lightless area’s. It’s a warning any surface walker should take to heart.”
(OOC: Dragon M you’ll have to excuse me. I’ll update with a proper post for you soon. I don’t have the time right now, and I don’t want to rush it and lose quality.
For the rest of you. Look at the map in the Q/A. Tell me your intentions. I will wait for people one more week. If I don't get reaction, I think I should get to recruiting new people.)
25th day of the 7th month: Pfier
She danced for 20 minutes before the council. Her wounds and burns dragged her performance below her usual level, but if the elder bladesingers noticed, they didn’t show. In fact, they didn’t show any emotion at all. That didn’t indicate a thing though, since they were trained to withhold signs of thought and feeling.
When she was done, stumbling for balance on the rug, she became aware of a familiar tune. How long had it been playing already? And where had she heard it before?
Then she realized that it was the tune that had been the main melody in her bladesong. She had created the variations on the spot, and recognized them now as they were repeated by an invisible fluteplayer.
One of the bladesingers got up from his seat and clapped his hands twice. It looked like appreciation, but who could know for sure? Then, a friendly smile followed, and he held out a hand to Elessarae. When she took it he guided her through a door into a room where a bed was waiting.
“Please rest. We shall discuss your performance and get back to you.”