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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> Rules-based RPGs --> Dungeons and Dragons --> Dying of the Light
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    Messages in Dying of the Light
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Vorrioch
Chaotic Hungry
Karma: 38/6
406 Posts


Dying of the Light

Mael Son of Eon: Temple of the Morninglord, Clerks Ward. Sigil

The polished oak doors, glistening darkly on their resplendent hinges, swing smartly open before your enquiring hand to admit you to the inner sanctum. The old man sits, hunched forward slightly over two neatly stacked piles of paperwork Giuliano Bascilicus, Illuminator and High Priest of your order here in Sigil, now entering into his seventy-eighth year of life.

Two watery, milk-blue eyes check on the page, the quill halts in his hand mid-letter and Bascilicus straightens slowly to face you. “There is mud on your cloak,” he chides you fastidiously in a tone suggesting a transgression comparable perhaps to slave-trading or trafficking with demons.

Giuliano appears exhausted, smaller, than you remember him, and clinging desperately to the worn remnants of a fading authority. There is an odd odour about the room, overpowering as the door swings closed behind you - musty, cloying, and sickly-sweet altogether, and it takes a conscious effort to fight back the instinct to gag. An oversized chasuble, portraying the holy light of Lanthander in brilliant shades of orange, creamy white and gold, hangs loosely about the old man’s withered shoulders. Two hollow, bruised half-circles surround his eyes, bespeaking many nights of troubled sleep, and lending a faintly strigine appearance.

Mael has been absent these past three months, keeping vigil across the Planes, and the Illuminator’s condition has visibly taken a turn for the worse - he appears tangibly frailer, weaker than even on your last visit. The matter of his succession has been a topic of some lively debate for some time, not merely in the alehouses and coffee houses of the district but also within the cloistered corridors of the temple itself - and your understanding is that no small sums of money have been wagered upon the time of the old man’s death.
You can make out a thick film of dust and mildew on the window and bookshelves above his head … a lifetime’s learning given over to rot and decay.

“We’ve received a complaint from Vladimir Tesch,” the Illuminator begins without preamble, his voice a dry rasp between worn-out, yellowed teeth, “a singularly unpleasant creature, and yet one with no mean temporal influence over the good folk of this city.” You’ve heard the name before. Fated. Richer than Crassus. Owns a dozen mills and holds a stranglehold on importing Sigil’s grain supply. The absurd rumour on the streets is that he sleeps curled atop a vast pile of riches like a dragon.

“One of Tesch’s grain shipments has been intercepted by brigands, and half of the poor of this city will go hungry if is not safely returned.” That seems true enough. There’ve been an unremitting string of famines across the Primes these past few years - too many for coincidence, droughts, floods, locusts and stranger things still - the price of bread has doubled since your last visit alone. “Worse yet, reports from the groundsuggest that the raiders were led by a templar of our own order,” the old man’s voice breaks off in a hacking cough, muffled by a handkerchief, and you can see specks of blood upon the pressed white cloth before he is finished. Giuliano’s twisted facial expression suggests a man confronted with a particularly unsavoury taste.

“Now, for the present, Tesch has been - ah, charitable, enough to keep that particular knowledge to himself, but only on the condition that we see to it that the situation is resolved immediately.” Past experience suggests that the news will spread like wildfire across the city before daybreak tomorrow, whether Tesch suppresses it or not. This can purely be an exercise in damage control.

His bent back straightens slightly, “As the most experienced warrior available to our temple in these troubled times, will you do us the honour of representing Lathander upon this difficult matter?” He has no formal authority over you, you are not of his church, nonetheless it is not a request.

“You will of course by compensated in full for your efforts. And if things are as they seem, do try to bring the man back alive” the old man’s appears somewhat conflicted, his lips tighten with the ghost of what might almost be a smile, although there is little enough humour in his expression. “After all, he’s one of us. And then there are formalities to attend to.”


***

The Fist of the Gods Obsolete: Providence Creek, Prime World

Somewhere in the Primes a town is burning. Charred, twisted husks of buildings which were once shops and homes smoulder on, thin tongues of fire picking over their broken remains. There is a thick, pagan haze of smoke about the air, thick with the acrid, slightly greasy stench of charcoal and roasting flesh. Overhead, the sky is masked by a dark shroud of clouds, brooding, pregnant with the storm to follow. There is a heavy rain to fall, and the land will be washed clean before the day is done.

The figure of a man strides, evenly, through the stubble of harvested cornfields, past the mourning and the dead until he stands at the stilled heart of a town which he once called home. Broken glass from a sundered church window lies scattered across the cobblestones, shattering and cracking beneath the force of his footsteps. Unobserved, the beaming, radiant features of some unknown saint vanish into a spray of splinters beneath the force of his boot heel as he passes overhead.

The doors of the town granary are flung wide open, hanging limply on their hinges. Someone’s taken an axe to them. Peering into the empty darkness within, the wayfarer can make out a scattered trail of grain - clearly one of the sacks split when the produce within was removed.

On the street outside a prodigiously fat man lies, sprawled on his back, in a pool of drying blood… his belly has been split, and his red hands are clutched helplessly over the obscene mess within.

“Everything…” he mutters through lips encrusted with gore, gazing vacantly upwards at the stranger’s approach, “they took everything…”

***

Amon Caiedes: Elbow Lane, Lower Ward, Sigil

Dusk creeps softly upon the streets and alleys of the Lower Ward, as the last wan rays of daylight dwindle and retire from their losing battle with the ethereal, yellow-brown shroud of smoke that blankets the city, and usher in a cold, starless night.

Sulphurous fumes, with an oily, rancid odour that could almost strip paint, billow from the factories and workshops of the district, mingling into a nauseating haze of smog. Here and there, the few remaining gaslights flicker and spark, shipwrecked beacons drowning in an ocean of dust and fog.

Burgeoning coils of blue-black razorvine, its deceptively soft, bulbous leaves bristling with spines sharp enough to cut a man’s arm to the quick, twist languidly about the dilapidated architecture of some forgotten era, worming their thick tendrils over and under old stone gargoyles, worn and weathered with the passage of time, slates and redbrick tiles. Here and there a building is entirely overgrown with the stuff, and a teaming mass of vegetation threatens to bring the entire building down about its occupants’ ears.

Amon is seated beside the window, commanding an excellent view of the street outside through cracked panes, frosted with a spider’s web of dust and accumulated filth. Across the table sits Gustav the Tiefling, a business associate and former knight of the post himself, if not exactly a friend. Gustav is known as a man, if you want to call him that, who can acquire things. On this particular evening the subject of his acquisition would appear to be Amon, and he’s slowly (and from the look of things ham fistedly) trying to wheedle the latter round to the fact. Hence the beer and bar snacks, even Gustav isn’t addle headed to give things away unless there’s a profit to be made down the line.

“I’ll be frank, Amon,” Gustav continues, “I know it’s outside your normal line of work. But the man asked for you specifically - and no I didn’t give him your name, so you can stop looking at me like that! And besides, half the Ward’s going to starve if someone doesn’t take care of it.”

Amon can hear the harsh, metallic ring of a bell somewhere in the distance, and moments later the street is packed with a tide of bleary-eyed, unwashed humanity, pressing in on each other as they stagger wearily home at the end of another long shift at one of the district’s many mills. An almost skeletally thin man, Bleaker more likely than not, skin caked with dirt and indescribable filth through the many tears in his ragged clothing, harries the press like a hyena circling a herd of gazelle - screaming exhortations to despair or entreaties for coin which are lost in the bustle of the street.

Two Harmonium guards, resplendent in suits of burnished mail, slouch lazily against a shop-front on the opposite side of the street. One elbows the other as a pretty girl makes her way past, sharing a lewd joke, before she is lost in the crowd.

“So, will you do it?” Gustav presses, sensing that he’s losing his target’s attention. His nimble fingers, a full digit longer than most, chase the last peanut about the bowl and scoop it into his waiting mouth as he speaks. “Rest assured, you’ll be paid well for your efforts - extra for discretion. After all, Tesch couldn’t have us fostering the impression that his shipments are vulnerable to thieves now, could he? And it’ll be what - two days’ work, three tops…”


Posted on 2009-10-11 at 22:59:15.
Edited on 2009-10-11 at 23:00:12 by Vorrioch

Sibelius Eos Owm
A Midsummer Knight
Karma: 59/5
1376 Posts


One Human

Amon Caiedes, Lower Ward, Sigil
“These are our folk,” Phelan would say, “the downcast, downtrodden, the destitute and disparate.” The bard knew how to exercise his vocabulary. “They’re family, the workers and the beggars—even the ones that would as soon knife you as look at you, though those are more like unruly distant relations than siblings.” Amon watched the tide of bodies break forth into the streets after another long, hard day of strenuous labour and little pay.

“So, will you do it?” Gustav presses, sensing that he’s losing his target’s attention.
Amon tore his attention away from the street for a moment and watched the tiefling swoop his latest victim into his mouth, only for him to bear down on his next with that same orifice. “Rest assured, you’ll be paid well for your efforts - extra for discretion. After all, Tesch couldn’t have us fostering the impression that his shipments are vulnerable to thieves now, could he? And it’ll be what - two days’ work, three tops…” Amon flashed a grin, “Of course I’ll do it. A good performer should never deny a willing audience a show, and my audience is calling my name.” He briefly wondered, as he often did in Gustav’s presence, what it was like to have been born the bright-eyed baby of a hellspawn and the woman (or man) who would consent. Not that Amon was judgmental, of course, and he didn’t know enough about Gustav’s deeds to make informed opinions, either.

“And you can tell his magnificent meister, Tesch, that he can set his tremulous heart at ease, he has my confidence. At least until I find my discretion unnecessary or disadvantageous under the circumstance—don’t mention that last bit, though, I don’t need to make enemies before I’ve introduced myself.”

The entertainer glanced back out the filth-frosted window at the waning light. A servant of the Morninglord, hmm? Nobody was too far above petty thievery when the circumstances were dire enough, Amon thought. But where would his ardent affluence, Tesch, have heard his name, he wondered, and why would this crisis warrant his skills specifically?


Posted on 2009-10-15 at 01:22:13.
Edited on 2009-10-17 at 18:34:02 by Sibelius Eos Owm

Dragonblood
Facelick Squeegee
Karma: 37/7
401 Posts


When Justice Comes to Town

The Fist of the Gods Obsolete Providence Creek, Prime World

The world wore the shroud of a coming storm, expectant and unsure under a black sky bearing its funeral gown, pregnant with thunder and rain. The gray corpses of crops consumed in flame blanketed the ground, leaving merely shadows and ash to hug the earth’s fruitless potential. Curled and cracked the memories of harvest hopes sunk back to the ground that had borne their birth. Amidst the claws of gray and black the pale patches of green and yellow were seen discoloured and disinterested beneath the gloom of the brooding sky.

Days had languidly drifted by for the wanderer, passing from morning to night with the lonely movement of a man beneath the gaze of his traveling companion, the sun. Time had abandoned the pilgrim, lost and alone on a long road that bore no signs of future affirmations for his internal faith and had forgotten the stories that had housed his purpose in the past.

Weeks had escaped the drifter as he had played the prisoner to the path that still stretched out, mercilessly, before him. His bulging muscles, which knotted and twisted their way across his 6’6” frame, ached under the weariness of meaningless travel and yet itched to stretch and pull beneath the pressure of exertion. His sword strapped around his back thirsted to taste the cool air as it whistled down upon another man and the idle axe blade watched from his hip with a growing hunger. The hammer was coiled and tensed, opposite of the axe ready to spring from his belt to feel another man’s skull caving under its unyielding iron.

He was most aware however of his two daggers, hanging at his thighs which moaned his wandering way that incessantly refused to lead him to the satisfaction of murder. They moaned silently for the diving and slicing that would leave a chest empty and ground bloodied. More than even the starved knives that weighed his walking was the beating of his own heart. It thundered rhythms of yearning out against his chest, calling louder and louder to throb and pump as the body moved and to be fed by the ceasing of another men’s beating drum and an opened chest.

The nomad had aimlessly allowed himself to spend his feet upon a wayless wandering. He hungered for the hunt again but still no worthy opposition proposed itself. No sin desired his cleaning, the purifier that he was. So his random road had guided him to a hamlet he had once, brief as it was, deemed a home. Though there were few people who would remember his distinct, chiseled face, which displayed a nose and chin, both jutting out prominently, those few that would still bear the man in their mind would welcome him for a brusque passing through.

It wasn’t the silence of his features that would leave him memoryless, for his bald head, his ear dressed in iron rings and, most of all, his pale blue eyes that shone in the night with merciless hunger and a vicious, burning gaze that was utterly unyielding, all left vivid imprints on a soul who spent enough time to share a conversation with the stranger. It was the silence of his gruff voice and the short, reclusive nature of his stay that would leave him but a shadow in most men’s memories.

It was escape he wanted anyways and under the fire of dozens of eyes and ears, seeking conversation and connection he would be captured and forced to exercise his inability to communicate endlessly, leaving him more exhausted upon exiting than upon entering. This town had served as sanctuary in the past, now he sought out the same kindness in returning.

As he approached the wreckage of his solace however he saw that the town had donated something of much deeper value to him. It had given him purpose once again. In the violent demise of the town he could see the death of some senseless perpetrator. Through the smoldering stink that rose from the ashes of destruction in long smokey tendrils and snuck out from charred bodies, carrying the retching odour of charred and burnt flesh, he smelt the sweet scent of justice. The monster who had mindlessly unleashed his malice upon the unsuspecting town was oblivious to the terror he would face from the fist of the Gods obsolete.

He strode slowly through the crumbling remnants of Providence Creek. The ghosts of buildings gaped miserably at him, holes torn through the structures to send silent screams out into the sky patiently preparing its storm to wash away the horrors that had smashed the community and left it cracking and crashing into the ground.

Ahead lay a man who had felt the rage that had torn through the town like a hurricane and left a mess of seething lamentations and blazing regrets. He had been wide once but now swam in the blood born from his split belly. He moaned miserably, barely spilling words out in sorrow with the blood that still poured and dried about his fallen body.

The stranger came calmly to the mess left of the man and bent on one knee. In a harsh voice that the pilgrim had never had the ability to modulate or ameliorate he thrust the simple question towards the remains of a life that was bleeding before him, “What happened?”


Posted on 2009-10-15 at 04:16:26.

Raven
Resident Finn
RDI Staff
Karma: 68/3
985 Posts


And so it begins....

Temple of the Morninglord, Clerks Ward. Sigil

Stepping through the beautiful old doors of the inner sanctum, Mael took a deep breath and mentally prepared himself for the onslaught he knew would be coming. Illuminator Bascilicus was an old man and the only thing apparently giving him pleasure these days was chastising those he worked with. Not that it really botherd Mael. He'd known the High Priest for a very long time and knew that deep inside, Giuliano was not a malevolent person. The old man did not revel in the unhappiness of others. It was just his way of saying how he appreciated the company or the work of the people around him. Mael had learned over the years, thet the old priest was not very good in expressing his feelings - or more likely, he'd been taught it was a weakness to let everyone know how he felt about things.

Despite the scolding he got, Mael couldn't help the smile creeping on his lips. The blue-eyed son of a Solar was truly fond of the elder man. There had always been a kind of father and son type of relationship between them and even if their ranks (if there was such a thing as a hierarchy outside the temples of Lathander) weren't really relative in any way, Mael sincerely respected the Illuminator for all the work the man had done and for his life-long devotion to their God. Definitely in the case of some other church, some other religion, it might be argued that a son of a mighty servant of a god like Lord Eon would easily outrank a common priest. But it was not the way of Lathander to put his followers into positions of inequality. Naturally people of all kind need leaders to uphold some kind of an order, but Mael had always been taught a believer is a believer, no matter what his role in life was. Then again he was not even certain Giuliano knew who his father was. They'd never spoken about it and Mael had never felt like sharing the knowledge with him.

It had only been a couple months since he's last meeting with Master Bascilicus, but it might well have been years. To an Aasimar the years pass somewhat slower than a human, but Mael was not immortal in the same way as the elves were on the prime world of Faerun. Due to the ancient blood running in his veins he would get older a great deal slower than the next man and while back home in Eronia, the Morning Lord's domain on Elysium, the aging seemed to be even slower. People did not seem to die of old age in the vicinity of the greatest of gods.

But the Illuminator had gained years in the 89 days Mael had been away. He looked so frail and tired that the tall warrior almost expected him to collapse on the cold floor any moment. And the smell... The whole room smelled like death. Not the kind of terrible rotting smell of corpses, but the kind very ill people smell of... A promise of a death not too far away. It took all of Mael's willpower not to let his feelings show. He wanted to tell the old man to step aside, let others handle the running of the temple, to enjoy what was left of his life while he still could. But he knew better. Giuliano Bascilicus would never retire. He would die doing what had been doing most of his adult life - serving the Morning Lord. Therefore Mael let it go and knelt down beside his friend with a warm smile and bowed deep. "It is very good to see you too, revered Illuminator. I apologize for the state of my garments. I will see to it right away when we are done."

As master Bascilicus began to explain the current events in Sigil, the tall, muscular priest slowly sat up and carefully removed his sheathed Katana from his belt and laid it on floor beside him. Weapons weren't really allowed in the temple and especially not inside the holier parts such as the Inner Sanctum, but Mael had never offered to leave the sword in holding and no one had ever questioned Mael's right to carry weapon openly.

It took no more than the Illuminator's first sentence to kill the whatever was left of Mael's good mood. The sound of Vladimir Tesch's name had a bad ring to it. He didn't like the man and never had. To Mael Tesch seemed like a bully of man who'd gotten too much too easily and liked to misuse the power he'd gained over the years. He was a Fated to the bone and lived to the nick names the factions members have gained with their actions - Taker, Heartless, Coldblood. Vladimir Tesch was one of those rich people who claimed that they deserved everything they've got; that they'd worked hard for all the jink. But the truth was never that clear. No one made it so well with honest work.

Giuliano must've seen the look on Mael's face despite the condition of his venerable eyes as he cleared his throat before carrying on telling the younger Dawn Priest of the ill-fate of Tesch's shipment of grain. The sharp blue eyes widened a bit as heard of a fellow believer, but he swallowed the question and kept his mouth shut for the meanwhile.

When the old man sat up and looked Mael in the eye, the Aasimar forced the smile back on his lips. “As the most experienced warrior available to our temple in these troubled times, will you do us the honour of representing Lathander upon this difficult matter?”, the Illuminator asked with dry voice. “After all, he’s one of us. And then there are formalities to attend to.”

Mael gave Lord Bascilicus another bow, though not as deep this time and more as an answer than a greeting or a sign of respect. "You know how I feel about Vladimir Tesch. Were his business not in such an important role considering the survival of the people of this city, I would be quick to turn the berk over to the Hard Heads for all the acts of evil he has committed. By the light! I would not be surprised to find out that he is behind the robbery himself only to make his product ever more expensive no matter the effect it has on the poor cagers."

With a sigh quite unlike him, Mael nodded again and then looked Giuliano in the eye. "You also know my answer, old friend. Otherwise you would not even have bothered to ask. You always were a canny cutter."


Posted on 2009-10-15 at 11:02:41.
Edited on 2009-10-15 at 11:42:14 by Raven

   
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