It is in the darkest hour that a person comes to term with their true self.
Only when one peers into the blackness of oblivion is the imageless reflection beyond clear in its capture of the viewer’s true character. It is when faced with insurmountable odds, pain, sorrow, or loss that one sheds all pretences and lays bare the only pure emotion of any sentient being… fear. Fear is the proverbial double edged sword. Two sides of the same coin, where one is a crippler, robbing its victim of strength and focus. The other is a profound motivator, propelling those stricken to tap into unknown and remarkable reserves of courage and resolve, propelling those few to acts of heroism and valor.
I fear the Trician Kingdom, nay, all of Nomachron has been thrust into the blackness of her darkest hour. I tremble at the realization that too many will succumb to the disease that will stricken our people when fear wracks their minds, and steals any hope they have, and I pray to the Gods above that the coin will spin and fall in the world’s favor but a handful of times to deliver us the heroes we so desperately need.
Icarius, Royal Scribe
While most slept under veils of security, or delusions of safety this night in the quiet Trician Kingdom, many others reveled in the dark of night. Here the dry hilltops danced with fire, chasing away the blackness with their spiteful glow. Throughout the heart of the untamed badlands civilization had come to call the Wyrmrest, great bonfires had been kindled high atop the ridges overlooking Tres’mir Vale. There thousands of warriors had gathered—hobgoblins in armor dyed crimson, thick-hewed bugbear berserkers, goblin worg riders and skirmishers and archers, and the scaled ones as well, who often towered over the rest. For so long they had fought each other, tribe against tribe, and race against race, engaged in the endless test of battle, feud, and betrayal in an effort to establish some form of supremacy.
But tonight… tonight they stood together, hated enemies shoulder-to-shoulder, shouting together as brothers. And they saw that they were strong, and together they danced tribal steps and sang in guttural tongues and shook their various blades and weapons at the smoke-hidden stars overhead.
“We are the Kulkor Mor’!” they shouted, and the hills shook with the thunderous resonance of their voices. “We are the Children of Mormo! Uighulth na Hargai! None can stand before us!”
One by one the tribes fell silent, as though a mass spell swept over the gathered horde, stealing their voices. Armor creaked as thousands turned to look to the hilltop above, to the Pinnacle of Voice. There, a single champion emerged from the assemblage and slowly climbed the ancient stone stair hewn from the side of the hill. A hundred bright red banners stood beneath him like a phalanx of spears, each marked with a great black hand. The war priests holding the banners chanted battle-prayers in low voices as the champion ascended.
On the hundredth step he stopped and turned to face the waiting warriors. Looking down amongst the throngs of those gathered for one cause, his cruel lips curled into a wicked grin. He was tall and strong, one of the hobgoblin chieftains, but ashen scales gleamed along his shoulders, and jutting horns swept back from his head. “I am Kraith’r Zul!, Son of the Serpent!” he cried. “Hear me warriors of the Kulkor Mor’! Tomorrow we march to war!”
The warriors gathered roared their approval, stamping their feet and clashing spear to shield, blade to helm, or fist to chest. Kraith’r Zul waited, holding his hands aloft until they quieted again. “The war priests of the Serpent Mother have shown us the way! They have taught us honor, discipline, obedience—and strength! No more will we waste our efforts spilling the blood of each other. We will take the lands of the elf, the dwarf, and the human, and make them ours! Their Gods are weakened by their struggle with the Titans, but our Mother defeated has not abandoned us! Her blood strengthens us, empowers us! Under the banner of the Black Claw we will march to victory and conquest! Remember that you stood here this night my faithful warriors, my brethren of Kulkor Mor’! For a hundred generations your sons and your sons’ sons will sing of the blood spilled by your blades, and the glory you win in the nights to come! Now my brothers—to WAR!”
The burning hills of the vale were too small to hold the thunderous shout the Kulkor Mor’ gave in answer to their warlords call.
ACT I: The Ebb and Flow
16th of Madrot, Charday 10:22pm –The Copper Spigot
The typically bustling inn with adjoined tavern house lay locked and unassuming to outside onlookers, its thick oaken doors sealed and barred by a sturdy crossbar, its windows shuttered and lights dim. Tonight, no thick smoke billowed and flowed amongst the rafters, no scents of smoked meats, strong tonics and brews, nor the occasional addition of blood, sweat, tears or vomit permeated the air. Instead, gathered in the common room stood eight chairs along the points of an octagon carved into the hardwood floor and filled with a fine white powder, with each chair facing the center of the room. At the octagons center stood a strong mahogany table, with intricate woodwork of animals and monstrous beasts of myth and legend scrawled into the legs. The center of the table was a finely polished mirror, bordered in golden filigree and more mahogany framework.
Standing behind the table, stood a man garbed in dull grey robes, the loose fitting material seemed to writhe and snake around his form with the consistency of a thick smoke. To look upon him directly would provide a hazy silhouette of a man, whose facial features were kept deep within a hood of the foggy material sheathing his visage from view.
From within the folds of his attire he produced a large golden ring about a foot in diameter. Setting it upon the table next to a small intricately carved box of dark wood and iron, it began to whirl and spin of its own accord increasing in velocity as the shrouded figure began to mutter indecipherable words in the arcane tongue. The ring spun faster and faster, and within the rotating ring images began to flash, images of places near and far, as eight different individuals came and went with each mesmerizing turn of the ring. The loop itself began to crackle with blue-white energy, and the robed figure increased the tempo of his incantation.
The darkness of the room was illuminated by the crackling energy which sparked chaotically about the room now, bouncing off an unseen ward. Within minutes, the veiled Mage seemed to be standing amidst a fantastical display of energy akin to that of a tesla coil. As the energy arced, he channeled the images of those eight with all the concentration he could muster. His hidden brow was drenched in sweat, his voice raspy and his hands gripped the table ledge for support as they trembled. As the gathered energy coalesced into a magnificent lightning storm confined to the small quarters, Bolts shot forth from the ring to each point of the Octagon, tearing open the fabric of reality and forming a shifting, dimensional portal in a constant state of flux. Through it he could see each of the Eight he had chosen. Looks of fear, bewilderment, Awe and the like splayed upon each one, caught unawares from the sudden intrusion into their life.
His strength waning, he could but conjure a simple message to be sent forth to each of them as he desperately tried to hold the portals open.
“Insert Full Character’s True Name Here,” Your life as you have known it changes this night. Nomachron is in great peril, and you are all that stands at the brink of her destruction, capable of bringing her salvation. I implore thee, for whatever reasons may guide your step, enter now the portal before you, accept your part in the world’s destiny, and carve out your own.
(Each PC can be wherever they figure they’d be on a cool Charday’s eve, when the portal and message appear before you, sending arcs of energy this way and that, If there are others nearby, they scamper away in fright, None can hear the message, as it appears clear as day in each of your minds, in any language you speak. The words ring with a sense of urgency, absolute truth, and peering back through the portal each can see the single robed figure at the table, pleading with you to take the portal while you still can. (Lest you be left out of the adventure lol)
(Here’s a perfect opportunity to allow for a character introduction, perhaps a bit of background or their day to day lifestyle before being whisked off to adventure etc. will post next when each person has entered the portal.)
Posted on 2011-05-11 at 10:07:36.
Edited on 2011-05-19 at 10:38:18 by Kaelyn
As the evening settled Vicente sat in his encampment staring into the flames of the small fire thinking about the past.
~ The day had dawned with clear skies and the promise of a gentle warm day. Then the screaming had begun. Running from his morning tasks, Vicente rounded the front of the house just as the fatal blows fell on his wife and child. A roar exploding from his mouth as he watched his family’s lifeless bodies fall to the ground. His next action coming more out of instinct and fury than thought, his hands moving and his lips forming the words, an orb of fire springs into being and falls upon the heads of the monsters who took his family’s lives. Falling to his knees and weeping in the ashes of his life Vicente cried out, “Hedrada, why!?!?” In that moment the presence of Hedrada descended and revealed to him that he would be needed. ~
Shaking his head to clear the visions of the past Vicente continues to stare into the flames. When, without warning, He feels the building emanations of arcane power. Jumping to his feet, Vicente cries out, “Hedrada, guide my hand in this battle!” The feeling that comes is the same as the day of his family’s vengeance. Bowing his head in submission to Hedrada, Vicente moves quickly as the message comes to him, gathering his things and dousing his fire. Stepping through the portal he mutters, “By Hedrada, now is the time for me to move forward and stop living in the past.”
Posted on 2011-05-11 at 17:07:03.
Edited on 2011-05-11 at 17:19:53 by Phelan
Metal parts don't make a hero. It goes beyond that.
The gradual creaking of the grain mill drifted monotonously through the air, accompanied by the gentle lapping of the river as the great paddled waterwheel cranked in accordance. Such a simple thing, yet in some ways so innovative. The natural force of water turned the wheel, which revolved a drive shaft to turn a grindstone to mill grain into usable flour. In such a setup, Atharam found solace. Sometimes, it helped the knight to return to the foundations of things. It helped to remind him of his place in the world, to help ground him. Everything had its place, as the hydro-powered contraption proved. He himself fit into the order of things, in his own way.
Even though the sun had set and cooled the evening air, muting the vibrant golden tones of the fields of grain, this was still one of the man's preferred spots to think and decompress from the ardours of day to day life. It had been years since he'd spent the occasional evening here. Not since his father had been inducted into the knighthood, and their family uprooted from the farm and relocated into the city. And even though the Marquel family name had gained the privileges of minor nobility, at his core, Atharam still possessed the diligence and work ethic of those who tilled the soil.
Sitting in the fragrant grass of the hillock across the water, he leaned his head back and looked up at the stars, feeling his night-black hair flutter slightly upon the breeze. The dusty smell of grain filled his senses, and he drew a ghost of a smile upon his strong features. The land had changed slightly; the family who had taken over the farm in their wake had upturned the grazing land and used it for oats and barley. But the mill still cranked its ever-turning wheel, just as it did when he was a boy, and that constant creak, the gentle splash as each paddle lapped at the river... It was just as sweet to his ears as the first time he was allowed to attend the orchestra, a celebratory event to commemorate the family's rise to the upper echelons of society.
A snort from behind him caused the knight to turn his head and look straight into the long chestnut face of Raykel. The charger rubbed his muzzle against Atharam's hair, an affectionate gesture he was rather fond of. Though he had his own reasons for coming back here, he knew that his horse loved the particular grasses that grew nearby, and he often allowed the great Percheron free reign to enjoy a meal upon the bounty of the rich soils. A quiet ride in the country always did the two of them a world of good.
It was time to return. He had completed his daily patrol, but it would soon be time to rest and prepare for the following day. Duty was etched into Atharam's heart, but it was a day-to-day continuation, and to break the monotony, even a man who lived to see justice served needed time for himself. It was easy to lose sight of one's own being, his place in the world.
His battle raiment lay neatly stacked in the grass beside him, and piece by piece, he began to reassemble his gear. Each polished plate and connecting layer of chain mesh. Just like people, every individual component had its place.
Unite, and the whole shall become mighty. Be strong of body, strong of spirit, and strong of faith, and you shall never falter in your duty to protect the weak and the helpless. The duty we all share and live every day by in our service to Corean and the good people of the the world. Within, and without, the boundaries of Trice.
Pride filled the young man as he finished buckling on his polished breastplate and clasping his crimson cape about his neck. Upon the fluttering material were the four-swords of Corean. A matching symbol adorned his kite shield, brandished for all to see when raised before him. Slipping it onto his back, he buckled on his sword belt and double-checked to make sure he had gathered everything up. A return trip in the midnight air was not something he would be looking forward to if something had fallen free into the grass. His life was governed by order, and that extended to his own personal articles. After all, he had learned upon induction into the temple that if one could not keep track of his belongings, he could not keep track of his convictions, and thus, was unfit for service.
Standing up tall and proud, his armour gleamed even in the starlight. A beacon of hope for those who would look upon him. A man sworn to the sword, to faith, and to justice, Atharam cast one final look at the farm, giving silent thanks to the land for instilling in him the strength to bring him to where he was now. Diligence. Backbone. Strength. Fortitude.
“Sometimes people overlook the basis from where we all come.” He said to Raykel, rubbing a hand over the horse's muzzle. “Farmer or Templar. There is more common ground walked than people give them credit for.”
With a hand to his brow, he saluted his childhood home, and rounded on his feet, making for the road at the base of the hill. With Raykel's reigns in hand, the two descended carefully so as not to fall victim to an upraised root or protrusive stone that might foul their steps. But before the armoured figure could step foot into stirrup, a crackling sound erupted from the air before him. Bright blue arcs tore open the darkness, massing together to create what appeared to be a window opening into thin air itself.
The powerful stallion remained calm, trained from a foal to be strong under pressure. The horse was every bit as brave as Atharam, who drew his sword in anticipation of what might step forth from this mysterious portal. But nothing emerged from it. Rather, it seemed the opposite was due, for within the vortex, a voice emanated forth.
“Atharam Marquel. Your life as you have known it changes this night. Nomachron is in great peril, and you are all that stands at the brink of her destruction, capable of bringing her salvation. I implore thee, for whatever reasons may guide your step, enter now the portal before you, accept your part in the world’s destiny, and carve out your own.”
He was momentarily bewildered. Who was this that knew his name? And to bear such a dismal omen. The realm was in danger. Destruction. He could prevent this. Or so the voice claimed. Was this true?
His grey eyes looked at his charger beside him, adorned with his belongings, lance, and helm. He wore his armour, his sword, cape, and shield. Every material that defined Atharam's career was present. What was stopping him from entering?
The hiss of leather on steel was subdued by the crackling energy as he put his sword away, and reached beneath his breastplate to retrieve his holy icon. Hammered and forged of silver, the sword-compass rose of Corean reflected the bluish light of the extra-dimensional window. Should this mysterious speaker bear the truth, then he was needed elsewhere. But negligence of his own assignments here would break his oath to the brotherhood.
The duty we all share and live every day by in our service to Corean and the good people of the the world.
The knight-commander's words resonated in Atharam's head as he stared at the symbol resting upon his open palm. He rubbed his thumb over the etched swords stamped upon its surface.
Within, and without, the boundaries of Trice.
His armour glowed vibrantly as its meticulously polished plates reflected the storm before him. His armour... Every component having its crucial place and purpose, from the rounded pauldrons to the heavily-plated greaves.
Just like people. Just like him.
I implore thee, for whatever reasons may guide your step...
Atharam looked into the energy torrents and felt his breast fill with pride.
“My reason is duty.” His powerful voice declared to the portal, as he took hold of Raykel's reins in a tightly clenched gauntlet.
Posted on 2011-05-11 at 21:17:04.
Edited on 2011-05-12 at 04:34:49 by Tek
Savan ducked the ancient scimitar, kicking the skeleton's feet out from under it before stamping hard on its skull. Whipping around a gloved forearm snapped another creature's neck as his crossbow felled the last of the undead quartet.
"Karal Vast Entah-May you stay dead."
Shouldering his weapon, the Elf stares around the masuleum, satisfied that it is cleared.
"Kvashlor, come, we must go now..." Both Eagle and Elf stop as a faint rustling of bones on stone echoes softly through the chambre.
"-Your life as you has known it changes this night. Nomachron is in great peril, and you are all that stands at the brink of her destruction, capable of bringing her salvation. I implore thee, for whatever reasons may guide your step, enter now the portal before you, accept your part in the world’s destiny, and carve out your own.-"
The two shared a look, even as the bones swirled together, forming into something shaped vaguley like a man.
"Hmm." Savan apprised the fast-growing monstrosity before him before turning to regard the doorway, fifteen paces away and surprisingly larger than it had been before...
His departure was silent, save for a hiss from Kvashlor as the eagle's green feathers were brushed by the glowing energies of the portal.
Henrik allowed himself a little grin as he redirected the soldier's inexpert spear thrust to the side with his shield. While he never relished combat, there was something satisfying about putting a would-be oppressor in his place. Shifting his weight slightly, he lunged forward, allowing his shield to ride along spear's length before turn inward to collide forcefully with the soldier's chest. For a brief moment the soldier was lifted bodily off the ground before gravity pulled his unfortunate form back to earth with an audible thump.
The man gave a soft moan before going completely limp, and Henrik gave a sigh as he stepped over the man's unconscious form to relieve him of his weapon. As he snapped the spear over his knee, he looked about the area, making sure he hadn't missed anything. Besides the one he'd just incapacitated, four other soldiers laid strewn about the area, one was even gently snoring. Shaking his head, Henrik set about gathering up the broken hafts of their spears, at the very least he'd saved time gathering kindling for the coming night.
Carrying the bundle of wood beneath his arm, he gave a last look over his shoulder at the soldiers as he headed further down the road. He paused as one stirred, slowly rising up to his hands and knees. The man looked up at him with a pained expression on his face, and they briefly made eye contact before the soldier violently swung forward and emptied the contents of his stomach onto the road in front of him. He shuddered for a moment before collapsing back onto the now stained ground, drawing an amused while at the same time slightly concerned expression from Henrik. Some people had to learn the hard way evidently.
He made his way swiftly back to his campsite, though he'd been there so long as of late it seemed more like home to him. He couldn't remember the last time he'd spent so much time in one place since he'd been a child, he'd been camping in Aleria what, two...maybe three months? He couldn't really remember exactly, not that it bothered him. He was needed here, what with the recent unrest following the turmoil amongst the ruling family. There were those that would take advantage of this opportunity to unjustly force their will onto others, but as long as Henrik drew breath he'd keep these lands free, Madriel willing.
As the last flickers of his campfire gave way to coals, the exertions of his day began to catch up to Henrik. Though he was quite adept at it, Henrik was by no means a fan of physical combat. The men earlier had brought the consequences of their actions upon themselves however, and though he wished otherwise, he knew it would not be the last time he found himself called to battle. Whispering a soft prayer to Madriel to forgive his violent actions, he unfurled his bedroll and eased himself down for a solid night's rest.
He couldn't have been asleep long when he was awakened by a faint crackle in the night air. Grabbing his shield from beside his resting spot, Henrik leapt to his feet, ready to confront the intruder. As his eyes adjusted to the lack of light, he scanned his campsite. Whatever had made the sound was seemingly adept at keeping itself out of view. Resolving to investigate, he was about to light a torch when a great gaping whole in the air tore itself in front of him. Before he could so much as yell in surprise, a voice blared from within the tear.
“Henrik Pyrum. Your life as you have known it changes this night. Nomachron is in great peril, and you are all that stands at the brink of her destruction, capable of bringing her salvation. I implore thee, for whatever reasons may guide your step, enter now the portal before you, accept your part in the world’s destiny, and carve out your own.”
Henrik stood a moment, confused by this sudden challenge. He stepped towards the portal, curious as to its origin, and as he did, soft beams of energy leapt from about its circumference, lighting gently on his shield before dissipating. Undoubtedly some form arcane magic, he paused to collect his thoughts a moment, this was clearly a situation that would not reward action without thought.
The voice had spoken of the Scarred Lands, and its eminent collapse into further disorder. Apparently, he was to thwart this fate, and though he never shirked his responsibility to protecting the freedom of those that dwelt in Nomachron, the seeming magnitude of the portal's message gave him a moment of pause. He'd always had a connection to this land, the land of his father and his father before him. He could not let it down now, when he was seemingly called upon to protect it.
Gathering his things, he gave another short prayer to Madriel. Wiping the face of his shield clean with his gauntlet, he took a deep breath and stepped through the portal.
I apologize for not being as cool as the rest of you lol
Charday, The 16th of Madrot,
Kismet strolled into the village ecstatic to have chores behind her and the remainder of the evening to herself. She had spent the entire day thus far helping her mother clean out wagons, gather wood, and other menial tasks that needed doing in their day to day lives. The gypsy caravan camped a little way outside her favorite village and Kismet was hoping to turn a coin or two this evening with her dancing routine. She sent a silent prayer to The Huntress Tanil for fortune and luck before heading toward the village center.
The marketplace, although small, was abuzz with activity and Kismet couldn't help but pause and take notice as she passed through. Village women hurried back and forth displaying homemade baked goods and other domestic wares in hopes of turning a profit. One woman in particular had an impressive display of complexly woven rugs. There were rugs of every shape, size, and color, vividly bright and finely made, each one displaying a different religious symbol in representation of the different Gods of Nomachron. Kismet smiled, her mother would enjoy such a fine piece of craftsmanship, perhaps if she made enough coin this evening she would purchase one as a gift.
Continuing past the rug vendors stall, and various other dealers from blacksmiths to fisherman, Kismet paused at the edge of the central square and watched as a young, brown haired, bard played the flute for a small crowd of villagers. Luck was indeed with her today, this would work perfectly. Removing her traveling cloak she rolled it up and placed it in her bag. An attractive woman with midnight hair that curled waywardly about her pixie like face and sparkling green eyes, she was attired in a flowing red skirt and matching blouse with flared sleeves that paused above her abdomen displaying her feminine curves and athletic build. Her jewelry was comprised mostly of various bits of copper and twine. A petite chain with a copper pendant representing the Goddess Tanil circled her neck and hung nestled between her breasts, while slender arms were adorned with various bracelets that had a tendency to clink together when she moved.
Approaching the performer Kismet grinned impishly. “Perhaps you could play while I dance sir?”
Without removing the flute from his lips the bard nodded in agreement and with a pleased expression began to play a lively upbeat tune that she knew well.
With a nod of thanks Kismet turned and bowed to the audience in greeting, her hands growing warm as her body responded to the tempo of the music and the fiery magic within surfaced to call forth two flaming ribbons. And the dance began.
Kismet twirled and leapt, her lithe form intertwining with two flaming streamers in a sensual dance of unity. Blazing ribbons teasingly caressed her bronzed flesh, drawing gasps of amazement from the audience before her. The impassioned flames embraced her frame, yet did not burn, for the element came from within. Toned muscles in calves and thighs rippled and tightened as she moved to the intricate steps of her own design. A complete blending of element and woman, fire and flesh in perfect harmony with one another.
As Kismet twisted the ribbons in a particularly difficult pattern a voice sounded inside her head and an intense flash of light gave birth to a shimmering shifting portal. The once rapt audience cried out in fear and fled. Kismet was startled from her rhythmic dance and the streamers of fire winked out of existence leaving her to gaze curiously into the gateway and listen as a voice spoke her true name. She stared in rapt attention wondering how this hooded figure had come to know her so intimately.
Your life as you have known it changes this night. Nomachron is in great peril, and you are all that stands at the brink of her destruction, capable of bringing her salvation. I implore thee, for whatever reasons may guide your step, enter now the portal before you, accept your part in the world’s destiny, and carve out your own.
Thoughts raced at random within the confines of Kismets mind. Nomachron was in peril? And needed her?? Surely this was in jest? What could she, a Romani dancer, possibly do to be of any assistance?
Kismet regarded the portal in indecision. What to do. She had never known anything but the mountains. No home but the one she shared with her family. Would her mother be ok without her? And where would Kismet herself be without her mothers continual guidance and wisdom? Romani were supposed to stick together. Still, she felt a growing curiosity about the portal and a sense of urgency to see what the other side might hold. Perhaps it was fate, or chance, or possibly even gypsy wanderlust, but the pull of the entryway was strong and Kismet could not resist. Wrapping her midnight cloak about her shoulders once more she turned and looked for someone to deliver a message. One elderly Romani woman was all that remained of the crowd that had once gathered to see her dance to the bards flute. Beckoning her forth Kismet made a solemn request.
“Tell my family I have gone to find my destiny…” Knowing the woman would deliver her words without question Kismet glanced one last time at the village central, before stepping into the portal and what she prayed to the Huntress would be a vivid future with many tales to share upon her safe return...
Posted on 2011-05-14 at 22:58:33.
Edited on 2011-05-15 at 02:08:24 by Skye
The blackened bones of trees crawled out of the swamp. Brittle bark, dark and dry weaved up and out of the shallow waters and wet grass. Transient, almost incorporeal in nature, the trees seemed closer to shades and smoke than living plants, strong and old. Many of these skeletal soldiers had fallen under the blows of time and now, the bed their roots once rested in, were their graves. Limbs wet and cracked, crawled out of the mud like frozen serpents, the logs laying out a pathway for swift feet to fly over.
Sturdy leather boots leapt from hump to point guiding a figure, with wolf behind him, through the marsh. The silhouettes shrouded in shadow were the only patrons of the dismal remains of what had once been fertile, sucked and squelched in rotting wood and flooded rivers. These lush lands now gripped by decay had been woven into words by the wondrous poets, once upon a time. In search of such beauty, the hooded man had led his road to come across this particular place. He had sought the same splendour that once reigned in the heart of his hero.
Rico Lorca Garcia Fede had once lain in the arms of these trees like a man might with a woman, shutting out the darkness of the world around and living only for the scents of the flowers and the songs of the birds. The sun and rain had fed and nurtured the land then nursing out much fruit from the limbs of the trees, and so had the forest in return nurtured poems from Fede.
Now, the cloaked figure had followed Fede in reverence to his place of fruitfulness, to find that the gnarled claws of death that raked the back of Nomachron, had finally found Belia, a jungle once rich with warmth and pleasure. The night that had stolen light from the rested of the lands, had finally snuffed out a final spark that had flickered in the heart of a man.
Movement froze and the cloth that had swished around with walking was drawn up by the wind and whipped around in the moonlight, ghostly beneath the lich-like face that looked down upon a deadened land and gave it the illusion of light. The silver gaze that now caught the man placed him in a haunted, new image that reflected the brokenness of his heart. The wild-faced wolf that stood next to him rested down upon its haunches nuzzling its mangy face into the hides that hid beneath the cloak after sending up a solitary howl that seemed to shiver over the water and wake ghosts from the depths.
The picture was one of sorrow and strength woven together inextricably. Rising from the floor of soggy moss and grasping branches were finely made leather boots that had coated themselves in dirt and mud, caked with cuts and scuffs, they had wandered over a world of beauty and madness and met the stone and grass, streams and dirt, sand and wood of the wild every day. The soles of these feet had battled and loved the land intimately over many years.
The boots housed, with gnarled feet, the tatters of trousers worn days on end, beaten by the wind and the rock. Wrapped around the pants were leggings cut from the thick hide of animals and cured so the skin was tough and malleable. Formed around his calves, rising up over his thighs, patches of fur bursting out angrily, and ending in a leather belt that wound around the thin waist. Hanging from the hip was a long slightly curved leather sheath that hugged tightly a hunting knife.
Beneath the cloak, which was drawn open, as curtains, to reveal a well made suit of armour drawn from the hides of dead beasts. The slabs of skin and fur that wove around a svelte and strong form were fitted in a way that had a wild grandeur to it. Strapped across his back was a bow, masterfully made. The supple wood had been picked, carved and finished by an adept craftsman and it sat snuggly opposite of a quiver that boasted many feathers peering out, attached to arrows.
Growing from the waters, along with the two legs, was a staff, once a trunk, which had faced an expert carving. The tall marriage of walking stick and cudgel served both purposes perfectly. Maneuvering the marsh had been aided superbly by the wooden companion, who had borne his weight many a time and assisted in particularly nasty or awkward impasses. The staff rounded out into a firm and hard top that might cruelly teach one the meaning of the word ‘weapon’.
From the base images had been artfully crafted to wind around the wood. The first image was a house. Bursting from the house were flames that wove around the staff into dust billowing from behind a wagon. The letters RLGF were boldly framed by the wagon on one side and footprints looping around the wood on the other. The footprints stopped dead in the face of an image of antlers and at the side of the buck’s crown was the head of a wolf, framed by a moon and cast in the image of a constant, quiet howl. This moon, silently serenaded, watched instead the headstone placed at its side.
Kneeling beside his companion the man drew the staff into his lap and ran long, slender yet rough fingers over the wood that bore the symbols. Growing from the stone block that marked death was supposed to be life. This hell around him was supposed to be a haven to whisper warmly away the pain of loss. From the behind the burial stone, was supposed to be a jungle, some fecund sanctuary that would wrap the man in meaning once more. Give him purpose again.
A dark, tanned hand, dressed in scars and callous pulled back the hood to show a face younger than the pain cast in it. Long dark curls fell free from the cage of cloth they had been wrapped in. Thick and wild the mane surrounded a slim but stern face, half-hidden behind the mask of a tight-curled, black beard that had grown mangy and dense. A nose, just crooked enough to notice, rose and bent slightly out from his firm face. Thin red lips were wrapped in the wreath of hair, concealed almost entirely. A scar weaved meanly down from one of the high cheek bones and down into the forest of fur around his jaw. Age and wisdom was swirled into the brown depths that plummeted endlessly around the black pupils of his eyes, nearly swallowing even these up. There were no tears to clean away the wound cut into his soul but some weary melancholy had bored into the oaken eyes.
“Where does this road take me now?” Joseph whispered to the wolf who rested her head upon him. “Once I thought I journeyed and now I see these years of walking are but wandering. Aimless paths cut from the wild without meaning.” His deep voice forgot any trappings of youth and seemed weary with years of experience. Burying a brown hand in the black fur Joseph exhaled slowly, the sigh sooaked in sorrow, drawing a dagger of melancholy deeper through his heart.
The stillness of the swamp seemed to mock his dead end. Surrounded by slime and the black corpses of trees, Joeph David Gabriel Feroz was, for the first time in his life, lost. Gazing about him he saw that he had no direction and knew not the path of any road but the one that had lead him into this depth of despair. He had ben following this scattered road of logs and moss through a swamp with little food and less sleep for over a day now. The choice he faced was ugly. Joseph did not turn back, he was a nomad who wandered only forward, always seeking a new stretch of land at the base of the sky to hold the sun as it fell from the war of the day. Joseph did not how deep this swamp sunk though and perhaps if he walked forward he would find himself cloaked in muck, arms spraying out from the water, face twisted in anguish a body lifeless with the limbs that had fallen around him, until he was buried in the wet and webbed in failure.
Just as he now faced this decision with dark countenance the dead swamp, which boasted Joseph and Tristessa only as its living guests, gave up a crackle and a spark. Joseph’s eyes shot up quickly, hands wrapping around the staff. From the lifeless bog burst out a shower of energy shredding the sky before him into a portal.
“Joseph David Gabriel Feroz, your life as you have known it changes this night. Nomachron is in great peril, and you are all that stands at the brink of her destruction, capable of bringing her salvation. I implore thee, for whatever reasons may guide your step, enter now the portal before you, accept your part in the world’s destiny, and carve out your own.”
The words rang in Joseph’s head, his hands shook and his breath shuddered. At the edge of the world, when life hung like a thread begging for meaning, the map had buried itself into a shroud of darkness and now the embers, thought blackened rose and flared again. Joseph could feel his heart huffing, snorting like bull within his chest, chasing the portal like a matador.
Two nights before and such a wild request from the outside would have been ignored, even begrudged. Joseph had tried to save the world, or ameliorate some small corner, at the very least, once and had earned instead five dead friends, the only friends he had ever had. If Joseph had met this portal before meeting the death of Belia, he would have shook his head, he would have forgotten the needy demand and satisfied his own desires. Now, he saw it with different eyes. He knew first hand the destruction that diseased Nomachron now, it had torn the once tiny hope resting in his heart from him. Perhaps this was a chance, not for revenge, but to save the small shards of beauty that did remain in the land from being shattered. And it was now that Joseph’s breath quickened.
This may be the chance to realize his greatest goal. It seemed fitting that he, a mere man (for now), had been called upon to aid the land. Gods who were, apparently, powerful enough to send the titans to their doom could not pick it up and nurse it back to health. The titans could tear a coast from its roots at the very core of the earth and remake it better than it had been. Had the Gods forgotten their power when they understood mercy or were they so weakened from the war that they could not cure the world. So Joseph instead would rise to meet the need and perhaps rise further to meet a higher destiny.
Joseph turned to Tristessa who gazed back at him. The trust that was written in her eyes gave courage to the druid. He stood, his sleight frame rising tall. Now his fate would be decided, the greatness that burned within him would be realized. One hand upon his storied staff and the other resting on Tristessa’s neck, Joseph entered the portal and, at the same time, his destiny.
Janus possessed a busy mind. He was always doing something, planning something else, while thinking about tomorrow. This was not the case now, however. The bard's full attention was now focused at the task at hand. One false move could bring all to ruin...
"Checkmate," came the voice of the person across the table. Janus smiled. "A good game. You've been practicing, Jonas."
He looked around at the empty stable, his mind beginning to wander.... Jonas was a young lad Janus had met a few years ago, when he had tried (poorly) to cut Janus's purse. The boy was obviously hungry, his clothes torn, and almost darker than his skin with dirt and grime. Janus couldn't find it in his heart to be angry with the boy, and so instead of turning the boy in, he took him to the next tavern, and bought him a meal. Slowly, and under the influence of his first meal in weeks, Janus got the boy to talk. Jonas had come to Torgos with his father, who had hoped that the city would offer a means to to support himself and him son. His father joined the guard, and a few years later, was killed on the job, attempting to capture a common thief. Jonas was left to fend for himself, and had turned to theft when he could find nothing else.
Janus felt for the boy, his own history remarkably similar on some points, and decided to help him. After the meal, he had taken Jonas to purchase a modest set of clothes, then set off to an inn on the edge of the city, ran by an old friend of his. The Traveler's Haven was a smaller inn, but, as the name suggested, did steady business with passers-through. It didn't take much to convince old Garion to accept Jonas as a stable-boy.
From then on, every time Janus came through Torgos, he made it a point to visit Jonas, who was always eager to hear his next tale or song. Soon the boy made friends, and Janus was often coerced into entertaining them. Not that he minded.
Today however, it was just the two of them over a chessboard. Janus broke out of his reverie to hear Jonas pleading. "You said you had a new story if I won. I won, so tell me!"
Janus smiled. He would have told the boy anyway, but no need for him to know that. "Very well. Quiet down a bit, for this might be the best story I've yet told you." The boy instantly was silent and attentive, leaning on the table to keep from tipping off his stool.
"Far to the east of here, there is a village near the mountains," Janus began. That was as far as he'd get this time around.
Light flashed in the room, and a hole rent the air open in the stall next to Janus. Jonas, quite understandably, panicked at the sight, diving into one of the other stalls, and peeking around the corner.
Electricity arced through the air around the portal, for that is all it could have been. Inside Janus could see what appeared to be an empty room, and a shadowy figure. Suddenly his mind was filled with a voice, loud even though there was no sound. It seemed to echo inside his head, drowning out all else.
"Janus Shylor, your life as you have known it changes this night. Nomachron is in great peril, and you are all that stands at the brink of her destruction, capable of bringing her salvation. I implore thee, for whatever reasons may guide your step, enter now the portal before you, accept your part in the world’s destiny, and carve out your own."
"Janus?" Jonas' voice came from behind, fearful but inquisitive. Janus looked over his shoulder and smiled, having already made his decision. "Go tell Garion I'm stepping out, and ask him to take care of Vrail for me." He saw the concern on the boy's face as he nodded. "Cheer up. When I get back, I might have an even better story for you." With that, Janus grabbed his bag, which was never far from him, donned his gear, squared himself, and slowly walked through the portal.
Posted on 2011-05-16 at 21:15:34.
Edited on 2011-05-19 at 22:23:58 by Chessicfayth
Inside the vacant common room, where once merriment and mirth were accompanied by song, smoke and spirits, now eight portals shimmered as crackles of pure magic, old magic tore asunder the very fabric of space and time, and beckoned forth a would be champion. From across the realms one by one the portals shimmered as Nomachron’s hope for a future accepted their Destiny. As each portal’s image rippled like a stone cast upon its liquid surface, a stranger appeared. With each arrival of a would-be-saviour, the enchanter’s breath grew shallower, as each successful transfer of life drew more and more strength from the remaining portals, and by consequence the life force of the mage who made the desperate call.
The man staggered, falling to his knees, fighting to keep the intricate incantation going as his fingers wagged and danced with sparks of white light. His stumble, however brief, caused the portals to flicker dangerously, their stability growing ever less.
The portal shimmered and in walked a man with the gallant trappings of a knight, though at his side a surprising addition, an equally regal steed came into being. No, how could not foresee this. This draws too much power... The man coughed, and blood and spittle flew forth from the confines of his shifting robes as the strands of life, his ties to this world frayed and began to unravel. He could no longer maintain the precise movements and words to maintain the spell that had cost him everything to cast.
The portals began to tremble violently; the electricity arced in violent bolts, searing holes in the dark wood wherever they struck, splintering boards and where they struck the thatch plugging the rafters, embers caught and took, flames already licking their way across the closest rafters to the walls and pillars which supported them threatening to set the entire structure ablaze.
“Six...Hedrada your strength... just a few more seconds.”
Pouring every ounce of strength he had left into maintaining the portals, a man dressed in the skins and hides of the woodlands, and smelling strongly of the earth and rain appeared. Then with him too another creature appeared, this one draped in thick fur, and with cunning eyes that shone with intelligence as sharp teeth bared beneath curled lips and a low growl escaped Joseph’s wolf companion.
The casters last plea of despair was lost as the portals began to collapse as one. Seven had made it through the portals with the eighth barely making it through the dissipating portal... In a great explosion of blinding light the portals imploded, sending a shockwave of temporal energy throughout the room, the wave shook everyone to the core, threatening to rip them apart with the backlash of numerous realities all coalescing in one place as an equilibrium was fought to be restored.
Through grit teeth and steeled resolves, those called fought their first battle mere seconds after answering the call, as this torrent of sheer power surged through them . Eyes blinded shut through searing pain and intense light; everyone clung to whatever strength they could muster to resist the invasive force. Seven would find the strength within, one would not. The last to enter the portal, and the closest to the explosion as the caster collapsed to lie still beneath the table, the either had not the time, nor the fortitude to resist the dimensional pull that assaulted his recently delivered body. The portals having been significantly weakened by two unexpected additions, caught him squarely, and he was lifted from his feet as he cried out in shock and pain, carried over the spinning ring atop the table, as the eight portals blinked shut, all their energies flooding back through him like a conduit. He mouthed a silent scream, though his voice was scattered across the planes. If any managed to open their eyes, through the sting of pain and tears their last vision of him would be his very body and soul being shred apart, his anguished expression almost missed as the portal energy consumed him.
And then it was over. Crackling energy and desperate cries had been replaced by the heavy breathing of heaving chests, the soft echoes of the ring as its spin slowed and its rotation came to an end much like a coin upon the table, leaning against the small box nearby. That coupled with the first sound of a rafter splintering as flames licked around it every descending to the floor below provided a very real danger that in a matter of minutes this entire building would be a fiery blaze. An introduction, and ending to a story before it ever had a chance to be written were steps not taken and quickly.
Already Raykel was nudging Atharam towards the barred doors with his powerful neck; though the horse took no step forward himself. Tristella bayed at the flames above, fear evident in her voice and eyes as she pawed impatiently at the floor by Joseph’s feet.
(And there you have the introduction. There are two shuttered windows about 3’Hx4’L, six feet apart, in the southern wall, as well as the main door, a sturdy wooden board, with a few latches drawn, and numerous chairs and tables from the common room piled in front of it, whether to make room, or bar unwanted entry is unsure. The Common room has one hallway leading north, but with the portals illumination out, light has been reduced to that of torchlight as the flames spread and smoke grows thicker with each passing round. Feel free to pose any questions in the Q/a and I will answer them asap)
Posted on 2011-05-19 at 10:48:33.
Edited on 2011-05-19 at 10:57:12 by Kaelyn
With a string of tribal elven curses, Savan wrenches open his eyes making a quick appraisal of what he can by the firelight.
"Rotting Ancestors, what is this place." A voice unused to common exclaims, his accent a surprisingly heavy mix of elven and draconic.
The elf pulls his bullseye lantern from his belt, setting it on the floor and beginning to light it.
"And who let that Spirit-Dammned wolf in here anyway?" Setting tinder to flint, Savan grimaces the smoke around him grows, glancing up briefly from his work to meet the golden eyes of Kvashlor, the elf's slate grey ones reflected dimly within their curved recesses.
Vicente - The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire...
"Rotting Ancestors, what is this place?" A voice unaccustomed to common exclaimed, the accent a surprisingly heavy mix of draconic and something else. The elf pulled his bulls-eye lantern from his belt, and setting it on the floor began to light it. "And who let that Spirit-Dammned wolf in here anyway?" The Elf continued as he tried to ignite his lantern.
“Not to be rude, but I think, perhaps now is not the best time for introductions,” Vicente spoke calmly as he pulled his ever burning torch out shedding more light on the situation, “There now, that’s a bit better,” he said, referring to the light in his hand. While speaking, Vicente had been moving toward the table and the unfortunate mage’s spell focus.
“I don’t suppose that any of you would have a use for this item,” Vicente muttered as he reached out collecting both the ring and the small box from the table. Vicente placed them in his spell pouch for later inspection and squatted down below the level of the table checking on the prone magic user, “I’m fairly certain that this fellow is dead.” With that pronouncement Vicente quickly searched the mage’s body for its spell book or books and component pouch.
“My apologies old boy, but it looks like I need these more than you do now,” Vicente softly spoke a prayer as he searched for the items, “Hedrada, watch over the soul of my brother mage and shelter him in the arms of your afterlife. May he rest in the peace and beauty of your light.” His prayer and search finished, Vicente turned back to the group of individuals that had been called the same as he to help preserve this world and the lives of its inhabitants.
“Now then, I think, it is time for us to leave,” Vicente said to the group, “Any ideas on how we should go about that? I was thinking of using a window but seeing as there’s a rather large horse in the room….” Vicente’s words trailed off as he realized what he had just said and he looked to the doors and the items barring them. “Perhaps, we should get to work clearing a path out of here.” Striding quickly toward the front doors, Vicente started to shift the furniture blocking the exit of what could just as easily become their graves as it had become the grave of their mysterious summoner.
“As soon as we get this clear someone better look outside before we leave that way,” Vicente thought aloud, “After all we wouldn’t want to go from the fire into the frying pan. Hey, does someone want to take a quick look down the hall way for another exit?” Vicente asked as he realized that leaving by the front doors might be just as dangerous as staying in a burning building.
(OOC: Once he's to the edge of the debris pile barring the door, Vicente will start shifting/moving the debris in an attempt to create a large enough path for the rest of the party and the horse to exit via the front door.)
Posted on 2011-05-20 at 00:58:13.
Edited on 2011-05-20 at 01:33:02 by Phelan
The world of rotting wood and marshy waters was peeled away as Joseph stepped through the portal that had formed in front of him. Painted over the delipadated jungle was the warm world of an inn, cleared out to host the spell. Why must men always meet indoors, caged in by the walls and roofs of their pathetic structures? Joseph thought as he tore through Belia and into the new environment.
The few moments his deep brown eyes had to cast themselves over the environment showed him that he alone had not been called. Something hard and painful caught in his throat as his mind flashed back to the image of bodies beaten, broken and mangled, faces once known and loved then ripped and torn into unrecognition. Joseph would not falter within again and find frienship in others, he and Tristessa were companions alone, he would cure the world of its dark disease with these others and then forget them.
Joseph had no time to rest in this new decision however as the portals which had brought him through to the bar shredded themselves apart flinging the force of wild energy across the room. Joseph dug his feet firmly into the ground, planting the staff into the floorboards for support and burrowing his hands ito Tristessa’s scruff. The body of the wizard who had brought together this party was whipped across the space and smashed into the floor across the room as flames bit down upon the ceiling.
One of those who had been drawn from his own world also fell to wood lifeless. Drawn from his own simple life, whatever it was, the destiny the wizard had spoken of was nothing more than death for this man. Would it be the same for Joseph? When he roamed the wild he was safe, there was so much security in the remote realms of roots and rock.
What was there here for him? This was a world of war, it was no place for a druid, a nomad who fought simply to protect himself. He was no crusader and did not seek to take the life of any. He had once prescribed to a group who had sought to kill for the greater good, had he not learned a better way since then? There was no good and evil, only life and death in the wild. Who was he to stop a predator from the prowl, the death of the prey was the life of another and the cycle of the world was beyond his own discretion.
"And who let that Spirit-Dammned wolf in here anyway?" The heavily accented words of an elf dressed for combat broke Joseph’s daze and brought him back to the angry immediate circumstances of a blazing fire and an enclosed space. Men always sought to close themselves into rooms and buildings. If they had met in a plain or a forest such a crisis would have been averted. Now, perhaps he too would meet the same fate of the smashed body broken on the ground. No. Then he would not achieve his goal and Joseph could feel that it awaited him sometime in the future, he would survive this too… he had to.
“I did.” Joseph responded, moving past the man, largely unconcerned with the pointless question, the chaos of the circumstance was more important than ignorant questions. An elf should know the ways of wildmen, if they did not they had forsaken the roots of their race.
But as he let out the two words another called one responded as well, “Not to be rude, but I think, perhaps now is not the best time for introductions,” At least someone else had the prudence to perceive the proper priority of actions. The same man seemed to be prepared for such dire situations better than the elf, pulling out a magically sustained fire from his cloak, deeming the actions of the elf’s lamp-lighting useless.
Joseph’s first inclination was to save the body of the wizard in case any clues were yielded but the other man was already doing so. Glancing around quickly, Joseph noted that with both warhorse and wolf the most effective exit would be the front door. That said, the only hint to the reason of their call was its location and its caller. The caller, being dead, was already being scoured for evidence. What was more important survival or understanding their purpose? The hall that lead north probably offered no exit but only evidence. Was it worth it?
Joseph glanced around the room seeking out some indication of direction, what he should do? His eyes fell on the huge, beautiful beast that stood astride the plate armoured man. This horse was a gorgeous creature and Joseph could see an intelligence in its eyes that was not found in the average steed. Without the doors opened, the animal would find its flesh burned into ash. Damn all of Nomachron, if I can save the life of one beast before I die, I have had purpose. Joseph’s thoughts raced as his feet propelled him to the door, running towards it and tossing the piled furniture out of the way.
The man who seemed calm and collected in the chaotic situation joined him at the blockage and began assisting him, announcing to the rest “Perhaps, we should get to work clearing a path out of here.” The druid silently worked aside the man, working together with him to lift any of the heavier objects and disregarding those behind him, if they helped he would be grateful, if not, he would save Tristessa and the horse.
“As soon as we get this clear someone better look outside before we leave that way. After all we wouldn’t want to go from the fire into the frying pan. Hey, does someone want to take a quick look down the hall way for another exit?” The words came from Joseph’s side and he saw that it was an intelligent idea.
Perhaps the elf or the woman, both seemed smaller than the rest, should tear the shutters from the windows and climb through, they may even be able to assist from the outside. Joseph sweated as he worked in the heat to clear their path, he had no breath for words as he exerted himself furiously to save the lives of the creatures in the inn.
Posted on 2011-05-21 at 19:11:17.
Edited on 2011-05-21 at 19:15:05 by Dragonblood
Janus shook his head, trying to rid himself of pain. He rubbed at them gently, then slowly opened them, blinking as his eyes adjusted to the now dim lighting.
It was difficult to make sense of things at first. How could so many people fit in one room? and what was a pack of wolves doing here? He shook his head again as the doubles merged into true bodies. An interesting way to begin an adventure, he thought.
Janus quickly looked around the room. The fire was spreading faster than he'd like, but then, it would be if it was spreading at all. He saw two people trying to clear the way. As he was trying to decide how to help them (for there wasnt much room left) he heard someone call out.
“.....we wouldn’t want to go from the fire into the frying pan. Hey, does someone want to take a quick look down the hall way for another exit?”
Janus decided he would be best for the job. Of those left available, only he and the female, by his judge, were quick enough to get out should something go wrong, and he couldnt let her try something so dangerous if he could do it just as easily. "I"m on it," he replied, not stopping to see if anyone heard him.
He muttered a line and gestured into the air, calling forth a few arcan lights to follow him. He peered down the hallway, looking for signs of a roof collapse, or any other dangers, then began down it as quickly as he could manage.
((OOC: for some reason i could not get inspired.... forgive my mediocre post))
Having entered the portal unsure of what to expect, it was no real shock that things did not go as Kismet had envisioned. The gleaming gateway itself had once looked inviting and full of prospective adventure but rather than stepping through, like one would a doorway and immediately being in the next room, it took several long moments for Kismet to be deposited at her destination. The opening seemed to fluctuate and shudder as if perhaps it would be unable to perform the task at hand. But thankfully, even in its rapid deterioration, the portal ejected her out on the other side into the tap room of an unknown Inn.
Kismet barely had a moment’s time to take note of her surroundings before the implosion of portals left everyone scrambling to recover their senses. A stunning bright glare obstructed all vision and her outcry of shock and terror joined that of the now dying mage. An impressive spider web of magical current ran amok throughout the central room and down the corridor, lighting fires in its wake and causing the newcomers great concern.
Kismet stood and brushed off her cloak before glancing about at the rooms other occupants. There were several of them, all male, and dressed in varying adventurers’ garb. Wonderful, just what she needed. She had embraced destiny and landed herself in the middle of a burning building surrounded by men. Well there you have it Kismet next time you have a bright idea. Don’t.
“Not to be rude, but I think, perhaps now is not the best time for introductions.” stated a voice that was rather calm considering the situation at hand. Kismet said nothing but agreed silently that she had no desire to make introductions at this point in time, if ever.
She glanced toward the remains of the magic user his body lying prone on the floor and shuddered as the man who had spoken previously callously searched his body, seemingly unaffected by the loss of life before him or the eerie black holes where once eyes had surely been.
The man stood his inspection of the corpse complete and spoke yet again “Now then, I think, it is time for us to leave,” he appeared to be addressing the group as a whole and hoping for an answer to the dilemma at hand “Any ideas on how we should go about that? I was thinking of using a window but seeing as there’s a rather large horse in the room….
One delicate black brow rose in surprise and more than a bit of annoyance as Kismets eyes came to rest on a horse decked out in battle gear and standing mid room. A horse?! What kind of idiot brings a horse into a tap room?! The poor beast must be frantic! Honestly some people do not think before acting! Her eyes fell on the wolf as well but it seemed more acceptable to her being more of human size and less likely to kill them all in a frantic attempt to escape the fire. Or so she hoped.
“Perhaps, we should get to work clearing a path out of here.” The voice interrupted her thoughts once more and she watched as the talkative man with frisky fingers approached the door and began to move away debris.
Kismet glanced around the room at the strange array of adventurers and beasts and wondered what she should do. She considered helping with the clearing of the door but it seemed to be under hand and she didn’t like the idea of inserting herself among the gadje only to get in the way. She hated enclosed spaces and preferred the open camp and fresh air whenever possible and the fact that said enclosed space was on fire and swiftly filling with smoke brought the young woman to near panic.
“As soon as we get this clear someone better look outside before we leave that way. After all we wouldn’t want to go from the fire into the frying pan. Hey, does someone want to take a quick look down the hall way for another exit?” The man spoke again. He seemed to be a talkative fellow.
"I’m on it," One of the other men spoke up to volunteer for the dangerous task of investigating the corridor. Clearly a magic user of some kind he mumbled an arcane spell that caused shimmering lights to weave and bob behind him, lighting his way down the hall.
Kismet looked at the windows across the room; this would provide a valid escape as well as a chance to see what they would be facing on the doors other side. Pressing a piece of her cloak to her mouth she took a deep breath in an attempt to calm her panic before speaking for the first time. Her voice was pleasant if a bit timid from fear, and had a distinct but not overly strong Romani accent. “I will attend the window and see what we may face outdoors.” Not waiting for a response she approached the nearest window and immediately began to pry at the shutters. If worse came to worse everyone but the horse could use the window as an exit. She sincerely hoped the horse would make it out, but was not about to risk her own life for the creature.
Weightlessness was a most peculiar feeling, Atharam decided.
From the instant he stepped forth into that crackling, white-light portal of energy, he had felt as though he were buoyant as down, like a sudden breeze might catch him and lift him off into nothingness. The knight wasn't even certain how long he was in this state of transmission for. A few moments? An hour? Instantaneous?
However long it had been, the familiar thunk of boots upon plank flooring met his ears, and he realized that he had stepped forth from the extradimensional gateway and into what appeared to be a taproom. The weight of his heavy steel armour fell upon him once more, and though he stood tall and proud, the momentary transition staggered him and left his skin tingling. Absently, the knight wondered if this was what it was like to be struck by lightning, or at least in the vicinity of a sky-to-ground bolt. He made a note to ask Brother Jeicen when he returned to Veyruus.
A look around the room left Atharam blinking, trying to clear the brilliant image of the glaring portal from his bleary eyes, for it appeared that he had been star struck by its shimmer. But a shake of his head chased that thought away, as he took stock of a robed figure in the middle of the room, his image undisturbed by the crackling vortexes he saw elsewhere. Which meant he was not the only one issued to step forth into the unknown. Not by a long shot, it seemed, judging by the other figures already present, as well as those still emerging.
He felt a pull upon his right hand, and realized with shame that he had momentarily forgotten he still clutched Raykel's leather reins in a tight fist. Calm and collected as he always was in Atharam's presence, the equine merely stood stoically beside him, regally bearing the battle gear of a horse bred for war. Turning his gaze from the scene around him for a bare few seconds, rider rubbed a palm between the mount's eyes to smooth out the chestnut hair.
Atharam snapped his attention back to the robed figure in the center of the room, realizing in the pass that a strange man dressed in hides stood near a wolf, the later beginning to growl at the scene unfolding around them. The knight knew little of magics, having been brought up in the cloisters to recognize it as a tool when extended as such, but also a mighty force that many seemed to believe could replicate the effects of the Gods themselves. Whatever this use had been, it appeared to be undoing as the gateways slammed shut, erupting into a tremendous flash of light that burned through his closed eyelids. Atharam offered no sound of discomfort, but ground his teeth together as he turned his head away.
The force of the closing apertures lifted his crimson cape about his neck, sending it fluttering wildly behind his steel-clad form while the arcs of energy lit up his armour like a lighthouse beacon. That limber, intense feeling filled his body again as he drew upon his inner reserves to resist the arcane intrusion. He felt naked of his battle raiment, and even his own body weight seemed non-existent for the barest of moments.
A confused barrage of feelings flooded his senses, and he realized that, despite Raykel being god-blessed as he himself was, this must be too much for the gallant steed. The horse whinnied in its muddle just once before the light faded out, leaving the pair disoriented and trying to once again clear the glare from their vision.
When he managed to chase away his impaired sight and see clearly once more, Atharam was met with the image of six others gathered around him, as well as the shrouded figure of their apparent summoner collapsed in the center of the room, his body unmoving.
More concerning was the fact that the unstable torrents of energy had set torch to timber, and the barroom around them had begun to burn. At the moment, the flames had not spread especially far, but it seemed that state wouldn't last long, given the apparent number of combustibles present.
Already, the others in the room began to act, and Atharam silently cursed himself for his wavering reaction time. Smoke had begun to pollute the room, and unless ventilation were procured, they would soon smother. Fortunately, however, a lightly clad woman had set herself to work on breaking open the shuttered windows, which would at least delay suffocation. That did not provide an exit for Raykel, though, and his eyes turned to the doors that surely led to the outside, where the knight was pleased to see that a pair of the entrants had begun to work on clearing away a makeshift barricade composed of tables and chairs.
That was his avenue. His dedicated Percheron seemed to agree, and gave him a push towards the entryway. Atharam was strong of faith, but also strong of body. This was where he would best serve his purpose in an evacuation process.
“This shall not become our crematorium.” Atharam looked into Raykel's long face, unafraid, as was he. Panic would quickly lead to things collapsing around them. Literally. Time was short, and he doubted the structural integrity of the building would hold up for long under the hunger of the blaze. Odd as it might seem, patience was the means to survival.
A glow unfitting of the orange light cast by the growing pyre caught Atharam's attention, and he looked to see a peculiar set of lighted orbs following a lean young man, who was making his way down a back hallway. Though he was likely looking for a way out, the knight set his jaw firmly. Magic had brought them here. Magic had set their confines alight. The obvious arcane talents of the lad involuntarily roused his suspicions, but that would have to wait. Further inactivity on his part could bring their demise.
His posture perfect, Atharam threw back his cape around his shoulders to free his arms for work. The fluttering embroidery of Corean's swords would serve its own purpose in bolstering the efforts of these others, as it always did. Flames reflecting upon his polished breastplate mirrored his inner passion, his burning faith in The Avenger to allow him to be strong enough to protect those near, and to continue to serve his purpose until the otherworld called his name.
Long strides carried his proud figure across the clouded room to take up a place between a slender individual and the man dressed in vestments of the wilds. Diligence filled his soul as he took hold of a table edge and set to dragging it away from the exit. Metal-clad fingers dug into the wood, helping to buffer the heat that everything in the room was beginning to soak up. While it offered him temporary relief, it wouldn't be long till his mail, too, began to warm, and would slowly bake him within its confines.
“Help has arrived.” His powerful voice declared atop the dull groan of table legs on the plank flooring. “This is not the end of our days. This is but the beginning, for it would seem we are to be united here. We all leave, or none of us do. And, my friends, I assure you now that Corean has greater purpose for us than to burn to ashes along with this unfortunate tavern. Through these doors is our first step towards something greater. We take it as one.”
Protect those near you, Atharam. You bear the sword and shield to stand watch for the people. Ride, train, make yourself strong so that you may do so that your end does not precede the world's. Withstand the blows of hardship in their place. Become the champion of the good people of the world. So is your sworn duty.
The seemingly endless lecturing of Knight-Commander Banthas had been recited for a reason, Atharam was coming to realize. Situations like this called for grit and determination. For an unwavering in one's own purpose. Banthas had a drab manner of speaking, but his messages helped to temper a knight's spirit upon the anvil of their faith. He would not disappoint the man. Atharam would succeed.
(OOC: There are a few options Atharam will potentially take here. If the barricade catches fire, Atharam will send Vincent and Joseph back, cast Endure Elements on himself, and continue to work in the fire. If the chair and table legs prove to be tangled together, he will take his shield and forcibly smash the furniture apart to be easier removed.