You find yourselves safe and oddly comforted, though you are definitely not at ease. The creatures that led you here, and led a more than willing Arlan away, are not known to be trustworthy, though little is known about them. As you rest or meditate, another dream teases your weary mind.
Grass grows thick beneath your feet, but you barely notice as you crush it beneath your hurried steps. Fresh flowers bloom all around the field as you rush to the edge battlefield, the heavy perfumed air causing you to wrinkle your nose against the scent. Your companions move with you as you crouch at the edge of the field and carefully lean over the cliff edge; the battle below is in full swing. A well of courage rises in your gut and you rush forward into battle, the names of your gods, their burning sigils, and their blessings, guiding you way.
This however is where the similarities end:
Draven: As your comrades rush down the cliff side you spread wings and soar above. In your hand glows the radiant light of magic, an art powerful, but controlled. Your wings cause a strong wind around you, creating a great barrier that arrows and other projectiles fall away from. Your magic warms in your hands as you carefully target the strongest members of the army below you. When the power erupts on your carefully chosen target, fire flares and bursts, taking out the rear artillery before they can fire another volley on the godly forces fighting the chaos of elementals. You shout in triumph and take aim again. Your magic is powerful, buffered by the gods, and as you watch, life springs from the ashes left behind by your enemies, grass begins to grow. The defilement abated for the moment. You hear a call, “Agrimon, the Calvary!” You spread your wings and turn, swooping down low to greet the oncoming riders with a blast of holy radiance and fire, “By the light of Jhanue and the fire of Katorai I claim Victory in the name of Shedus! Curse of Creiax on you.” A bolt of white hot radiant light fires from hands as you flap your wings and lift away from the oncoming army. The blast scatters the mounts, throwing many of the riders, and causing a crater in the ground. As the smoke wafts away with the power beat of your wings, you watch as a spring begins to fill the empty space your power created. Magic creates life if used correctly.
Lilith: Your form is lighter as you lift off, your powerful wings driving you forward and into a dive from the cliff. Agrimon above you takes out the archers who aim for your wings as you dive into the fray, your powerful claws clasping onto the rocky tower of a creature pounding on the archon leading his formation. With great strength you rend the creature, tearing off rocky limbs and leaving the parts strewn across the edges of the battlefield. You tilt your body and turn in a tight curve, releasing a blast of force from your powerful jaws, blowing back the approaching air elementals before they can surround you. In a soft tone one would not expect to accompany your obvious strength you shout in draconic, “Multra guides me, and so I shall not fail” You beat your strong wings against the turbulent air and spin upward in a graceful twist; as you spread your wings again a series of devils’ darts pierce your scaled flesh and immediately begin to weaken you, with a swift prayer to Andoxia you breath a line of poison onto your targets and the toxin leaves your system. Another whispered prayer to Ashmeer and the minor wounds are healed and you dive again, crashing into a huge fire elemental and driving it into a water barrage. The resulting steam elementals charge after you. You turn in mid air and breathe a blast of icy cold air, turning the steam into tiny snow flakes that melt in the heat of the day. As you resume your circling attacks you see Crixis take a powerful blow to the back and dive to grasp his enemy. You begin to grapple with the storm giant, killing him with a swift bite to his jugular.
Roderick: You leap from the cliff, sliding with ease down the hill before sprinting into combat, spikes and chains wrapped around every extremity, you lift arms, kick out with legs, and punch at enemies you pass by; leaving scrapes and gouges on every enemy you encounter. It doesn’t take long for you to be surrounded by the storm giant clan that has long terrorized your people. You laugh aloud, “By the might of Psurrab’s fist, I will bring you to bear.” Fists swing, feet kick, and blood flies as you mount a vicious attack against the giant creatures. Using your momentum you climb from boot to knee, jumping to dangling belts, and into beards, raking against tender points, spilling gray blood as you go. Dozens fall as you jump and tear, rend and claw your way from one to the next. You land in a powerful crouch and launch yourself again, the chieftain looming before you. As you pounce towards him you release the chains wrapped around your arms and use the extended reach to cleave onto the creature, the sword at the end of the chain in one hand, the spikes digging deep into the thick flesh as you hang on with the other. As you land and pierce his belly with your sword you are tossed aside by another of the giants and land hard upon the ground. As you gasp for breath a platinum scaled creature collides with one of the giants and wrestles him to the ground, “Thank you, Tamist.” You groan as you remake your feet. A soft whisper brushes your ear and you push aside your pain as your passion and fury rise again and push you beyond your mortal means. You lift your chain and swing it around the chieftains fist, yanking his powerful hand away just before grabs onto Tamist. You use the downward movement of the arm to jump onto the giant and run up to the creatures shoulders, wrapping your deadly spikes around his neck you pull until the blood stops flowing, “You shall never harm my people again, I swear it on the blood of Enderris.” As the blood pools around the fallen corpse you watch as from the blood smalls animals rush from the battle to the safety of the field nearby. Alora brings life where only death resides.
Argo: You smile as you see the onslaught below and wink at your comrades before teleporting to the field below. You fire arrow after arrow into the fray as you blink into and out of sight. Landing near an enemy you slash him with the bladed curve of your bow before putting an arrow into his eye and teleporting away. Your skill is obvious in your movements, your precise planning, your exacting shots. Raxxon’s mastery is obvious when watching you. As you bounce about you see your true target, a demonic general that has taunted you for many years, one you vowed upon the power of Xuda you would kill. As you teleport into the air to get a clear shot you shout your vow again, wanting the Demon to know who strikes it, “I, Mae’tai’aerin, claim your life as mine to take, by the Xuda’s oath I bind thee!” Your arrow fires, dodging the shields and flails and flesh between you and your target, you pierce the skull of the horned beast just as he turns to see you above him. Just as you would hit the ground from falling after teleporting high, you teleport to the bloodied creature and tear its head from his dying form with the edge of your bladed bow. You are exhausted. The teleporting takes much from you, but you take a deep breath and blink again. Muttai will give you the enduring strength you need to win the day. You land by your comrades Tamist and Crixis as they free themselves from the bodies of the giants and make plans to regroup.
Coderal: Your allies fly, slide or teleport away as you stand, a single figure left behind on the cliff. As you raise your hands above your head you feel the change over take you. Feathers spread along your form, a long tail like a serpent forms where your legs were and you grow in size. As you float above the cliff you summon lightning into your hands and cast it into the battle below, guiding it from enemy to enemy, pushing them back and away from your friends in the fray. At your command vines climb over and around the fallen, keeping them prone. Swarms of stinging insects come at your call to tire and torment your fleshier enemies until they are so busy fighting the stings they do not notice your allies advance. You control the field of battle from your perch above the fighting and your friends know that with you at their back they are safe, defended, and protected. Lamif grants you great power over nature, and as such, the field below and the creatures who call it home are at your control. As you see your allies regroup you join them, looking around for Amaran you wave him to the group. Amaran waves back, his healing arts immediately reviving the pains from combat. Your half elf friend places a hand on your shoulder, “Gamareth, your power amazes me still to this day.” Agrimon lands beside you just as Amaran exudes a wave of relief and healing, all allies on the field feel the relief, their wounds healing. Each of you takes another hand around Amaran, and as your prayer is heard by your beloved deities, the fallen on the field rise to fight another day.
You wake and become aware of the surroundings again, the small cramped room, your companions. You are rested, your hit points returned, your power back, but your Surges have not refilled. It is time to continue. As you begin packing up your camp, Arlan arrives, walking slower than normal, but a wave of exhausted joy sweeps over the party. Someone had a good night.
August 07 (2 weeks ago)
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After a night of restless dreaming and feeling the shared exhaustion of your ally Arlan, your carefully continue into the next room, down the stairs, and what greets you is a field of grass, blooming flowers and small trees of sweet ripe fruit. Tiny beams of light shine through tiny holes in the ceiling, a slim stream of water trickles down and pools into the soft sand in the corner.
Still being tired the party decides to take watch and rest. Arlan, Draven, and coderal sleep first, only Arlan is restless, but after an hour the dream passes and he finally rests.
Arlan: Staring over the cliff side you know how you are needed. You can keep your allies alive and fighting, but you need to be in the battle to help. You look around and spot a circle of the allies, and call out in a sharp whistle. At your call a large reptilian birdlike creature swoops down and clasps your upraised hand in his claws. Grasping firmly, but not leaving any permanent marks, the creature flies you towards your directed mark. Dropping you, you manage to roll gracefully to your feet and draw your sword of radiance. The bright light blinds the dark denizens that emerge from the earthen ground toward your enemies, searing their flesh. Each hit, each death you bring enlivens your allies. Each drop of blood heals a wound, and so you fight. Scratches and bruises form over your body as you fight, as hard as any fighter would, as any defender could, and it isn’t until you are bloodied, aching, and barely able to stand that you manage to clear the way to your regrouping companions. The enemy has been pushed back. They’ll come again, but for the moment, you can rest. Using what is left of your energy you cause a burst to flare out in all directions, your victory giving you the strength to return your allies back to health. As you work your magic, your friends raise their voices in a chant to the gods you so gladly serve, and slowly your fallen rise. As the last of them stands, you fall, too tired, to injured to continue. You found long ago that you must feel the pain of the wounds in order to heal the wounds of others so well.
Everyone: The battle over, Tamist has bound the wounds of Amaran, and the army regroups, rearms, and readies. As they make camp, around you a radiant light blinds you. When it departs you are each in a separate place, your wounds healed, your clothes new, your aches and worries gone. Amaran wakes to find himself in the arms of his beloved Elia, her stomach round with child. Crixis feels his energy revived as his beautiful Firi approaches, her naked form seducing him with each step. Mae’tai’aerin finds himself dancing with the sweet Prela, her melodious voice calming every ache, and renewing his strength. She places a kiss softly on his lips before turning to the cradle nearby and smiling at the gentle coo of a babe. Tamith rests in quiet comfort as Multra reads to her from a thick book, her hand rocking a small cradle as she leans against her beloved. Agrimon lifts Katorai from her chair and lays her upon the bed they often share. As they unite her fires warm him, but he has long been immune to the burn. Gamareth sits is quiet communion with his Lamif, her calming aura and subtle power gives him a great strength that none could compare to. He reaches out to her, his energy merging with hers to create a beautiful joining that moves beyond the physical.
Your party awakes, the second group having slept, though Arlan has not yet woken. After a few more hours the sleepy half-elf wakes and mumbles something about needing whiskey and food.
August 08 (2 weeks ago)
Edited August 08 (2 weeks ago)
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Roderick sits awake as he takes the first watch looking off into the distance thinking quietly to himself. He wonders if what he saw in his dreams were a memory of his very soul or the memories of an ancestor. Have the gods always been with them? Influencing their lives?
Don’t be a fool worm, we’ve never truely been apart from you. Why I was with you whenever you sold your blade to the highest bidder, don’t you remember the rush of pleasure you received from that slaughter in Balic? Psurrab whispers in what feels like his ear I remember quite nicely, you killed the House of Caaj. Men, women …….children, all fell to your sword. Roderick stiffens as a look of regret washes over his face Oh they didn’t all have to die for your contract to be complete, but you always were an over achiever weren’t you? You finished that contract to build a life for you and that ungrateful wretch and that cow you call a wife. All the good you’ve done, is greatly outweighed by the blood on your hands.
Roderick’s head falls as the memories make their way to the surface, all the atrocities he’s done to feed his family and make a good life for them. Nothing could ever balance all the evil he’s done for the sake of taking care of his own. Suddenly a warmth washes over his body as he seems to feel the loving embrace of Firi wash over him, his thoughts of what Psurrab said are cleansed away for the moment.
I’m sorry my darling, I failed you. He’s still far more powerful than I, I can’t always protect you. But I promise I will be there for you, I will never let his cruelty break you Firi says with a sound of pain in her voice
“Damn it Roddy, keep those memories bottled up.”
August 11 (2 weeks ago)
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The night before descending into the Temple of the Singing Skulls…
It had been a couple days since the possibility of his having a child had been dropped on him, and Arlan had finally sobered up enough to think about it. While he would never admit it, Salesta’s poisoning had worried him. He could not say if he loved her any more than any other girl he had met, but if there had been one thing his mother had successfully taught him was to care for woman.
As they rest of the group sit around the fire, eating and chatting Arlan wandered over to Salesta. As he made his way there, he stumbled for his flask of whiskey and went to take a drink, stopping himself last second. No, I need to stop this. It won’t help with the problem or worrying. He returned the flask to his pocket and drew the flask of water from the temple they had visited outside of Yaramuke, noting the reduced weight. He took a swig of it, finishing off the flask. Well, let’s see how I do without this crutch.
“How you doing beautiful,” he said, approaching Salesta, “Feeling better.”
“Very much,” she responded in a murmur, “but why would you put so much effort into helping me? I thought I was just a toy you played with…”
“You’re most definitely a person, Salesta,” He said moving close to her, “And while I enjoy our evenings together, you are more than that. You are a friend as well.”
What did I just say? Surprised by his own response, Arlan backed away from Salesta a bit and looked off into the distance. It’s true. I wouldn’t say I love her, but I do enjoy her company… Changing the subject, he turned and asked her if she could perform another Sending ritual for him, if she was able. She agreed and placed her palms on the side of his head and began channeling her Psionic energy.
“Mother, she may prove to be legitimate. Please provide her with housing, until I can confirm. I am on business near Draj at the moment. I will hopefully return home in a month by way of Nibenay, until then perhaps she can serve as a servant girl in the household. – Arlan"
He leaned back, wondering how this would all work out. What Roderick and the other would think of what he had done. He also wondered if it mattered to Salesta. As he thought, he recieved his response. Even in his mind, her words showed that same anger he had seens the day he was banished.
“You still have not learned. You dishonor us again. Send word when you are near, we will arrange to have you escorted.”
Have I changed? I don’t feel the same, but I’m on this crazy quest she probably would think I’m crazy for taking. I guess we’ll find out if that’s true when I see her again. At that, he confirmed if Salesta was healthy enough for more physical of activities and spent the night with her…
The second night in the Temple of the Singing Skulls…
After wandering into the chamber filled with statues, whose eerily similar appearance to the group had be noticed. He followed as Amda pulled him along and away from the group. They continued back into the passage from which the Dopplegangers emerged. “This door is a portal to our sanctuary in the ruins.” As she said that she pulled him into the portal. Bright light flooded his vision and in an instant he was in the extra-dimensional palace. As his eyes adjusted he noticed the beautiful room. It was more grand than any palace he had seen in Athas. Even the sorcerer-kings didn’t he fine marble floors, with real gold filigree and beautiful tapestries made of cloth he had never seen before. There were fountains of shimmering water and even some of sweet mead. The room was filled with soft couches, piles of pillows and beds.
Beyond the beautiful room, there were many Doppleganger women. Oddly enough arlan did not see any male Dopplergangers. As he looked at them, a few came rushing up to him. Some even changing into various beautiful women of many different races.
“Oh, he’s cute,” one asked Amda, “Where did you get him.”
“Look how rugged he is in that outfit,” one said, who Arlan later identified as Raida.
“Ignore them, come with me dear,” Nagaia said, taking his hand.
As the various women swarmed him, he began to speak, “Hello ladies. I am Arlan.” They all went silent as he spoke. “Have you not seen anyone of my kind before?”
“No,” Amda said turning to him, “We have only seen the master.”
“Who is the master?” Arlan asked.
“He takes care of us, ” Meldin murmured, kissing Arlan on the cheek.
“We are his harem,” Poine said shyly.
“But he comes so infrequently and rarely pays attention to us anymore,” Graid said.
“Well that’s a shame,” Arlan said, while smirking, “Perhaps I can try to make up for that.”
It was a long night and by the end Arlan was so drunk from the honey mead and worn out he could barely stand. After having been with most of the women, he took a short break and sat eating some grapes a few were feeding him. In a huff, Amda ran up to him.
“You must go,” she said, “The master is checking on us. He won’t take kindly to you.”
Arlan rushed to the door he had entered from, carrying his clothes with him. The various courtesans followed him, giving him kisses along the way. He stood at the precipice of the doorway, looking at the girls, trying to keep his smugness hidden. Well, I can’t change too quickly now can I? Turning to the girls once more, “Perhaps I can return one day and free you from your bonds.”
As he stepped out the door closed behind him. He heard Amda voice for a moment. “Please do so…” He tried opening the door to confront her master, but when the door opened, he simply saw a small room, empty of anything. Perhaps I will find them again and be able to help them.
He wandered back to the group and collapsed next to Roderick. As Roderick turned to him he attempted to speak, “There were more than just her, but I don’t have the energy to tell the tale…” At that he fell asleep. It had been a good night.
August 11 (2 weeks ago)
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From the room that they had locked themselves in, everybody made their preparations for the night. Argo was just about to explain the shift schedule to Artemis when he realized there was no need. With the two Eladrin keeping watch, nobody else would need to take a shift.
As the two Eladrin meditated, Argo thought about the impending collision of his past and future. Nibenay was where he had lived all of his life, until he was forced on the run. Now, he was headed straight back there. He had obtained a disguise since he had left, but it only did so much for him, he was still in danger. It was a good thing the posters of his face were inaccurate at best. In fact, the major thing they had gotten right was his hair colour. Also the ears, but that was only because he was an Eladrin…
Argo started to swear bitterly underneath his breath. Artemis was in danger as well. While his eyes were different, his hair and ears were very similar. Any overeager bounty hunter would want to turn Artemis in, and Teiralei would probably mistake him for Argo. After all, if that noble had actually paid attention to what Argo looked like, the posters would be much more accurate. As it was, now he would have to warn Artemis of the situation, which would lead to a detailed discussion of his past, a subject that Argo had been trying very hard NOT to think about for the past few days. Argo sighed, there was no point in leaving this discussion until later.
I hope he’s got a good disguise.
August 11 (2 weeks ago)
Edited August 12 (1 week ago)
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Seeing his friend with a troubled look gives Roddy pause, he worries for his friend Argo. Something must be bothering him to where I can see it, he thinks to himself. He ponders what could be on his mind, he looks his eladrin friend and is about to speak when he decides against it. Roderick’s love for this group is great and he wishes to protect them all any way he can.
Your loyalty and sense of duty are admirable warrior, I commend your honor. The way you do your best to fight to defend them is exemplary, you are a credit to my mark. Do not trouble yourself with the fates of such things, both this family and your own are blessed by my strength to defend themselves if need be. Your wife and children know how to fight and survive, your new child and grandchild will be stronger than even you. Before we are done with you, you will have no equal.
The loud boisterous voice seems to echo around him, the hairs on his arms and back of his neck stand as he is filled with a vigor he’s not felt in years. His worries assuaged he shifts to sit up with his back to the wall.
Then he feels what can only be described as a womanly shape fall into his lap and place it’s arms around his neck and snuggles close.
I don’t know why you worry so much about HER, I am all you need. I have claimed you and you I, my love is eternal and it is yours. What more out of life can you want? Do I not please you? Have I not done everything to prove my love?
Roderick feels the grip on his neck tighten as he feels himself get lightheaded, before he can react he passes out from the lack of blood flow