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Krinn
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Azver, if we believe that Harrisbridge has recently encountered the Hydra, that seems the most useful place to go for information.

And if the Hydra has recently demolished the city, our caravan of goods would be very welcome. I can see many synergies that could come of this trip.

So, I suggest that the JWK company organize a caravan to bring goods to Harrisbridge, and that you accompany us on our route. Once there, we can decide what our next steps are.

But, I'd rather that a conflict happen far outside of our city, if we have a choice.

Once there, we'd be south of the mountains, so we could make our way to Spire Mountain later, if there's still interest. The winter won't have closed down those routes to get there. But that can all be decided anon.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know why we're talking about Harrisbridge having been attacked by the Hydra. I had heard gossip about Tether fish being seen there. Even that has not been confirmed that I'm aware of, but I don't have trouble believing it. But a Hydra attack? Where does that information come from?

If they were not attacked, then a caravan might be a wasted effort. Entirely up to you, Krinn, since you are the one putting up the money to put it together. I'm just saying I hadn't heard of need for it in Harrisbridge.

However, if you intend to go there, with or without a caravan, I'll travel with you. I'm heading downriver to try to talk to the sea god, Toke. If I run into the Hydra, maybe Toke can hear me through it. If I must try to fight the Hydra, I will. If I can talk Toke out of attacking Twinsriver, I will. If I don't run into the Hydra, I'll keep going until I reach the sea, and try to speak to Toke there.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Azver, this is why I believe the source of the gossip regarding Harrisbridge and the Tether fish needs to be found, if possible. He supposedly said he's seen grown men drop dead from foul breath of the hydra. So, perhaps he was in Harrisbridge when the hydra attacked. Perhaps he embellished his gossip.

"What harm can there be in attempting to learn more from the source?"
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the Hydra has not destroyed Harrisbridge, we can still trade goods with them. A caravan is fine, we should just take a mix of goods so we can adapt.

I will go. And I'm glad you'll join me. It'll be like old times, before all of these gods started butting in. We'll learn the truth of things, make some new friends, perhaps some coin, and Twinsriver will be the better for it, no matter the outcome.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're on, Krinn!

Laurel, why do you speak of harm in that? I'm just asking why anybody thinks Harrisbridge was attacked by the Hydra.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Several days into their journey toward Harrisbridge, searching for the Hydra...

A foul stench fills the air, suddenly warm and moving, as if a great creature were breathing on you. You hear the intake and outtake of breathing, loud and noxious, dripping with the smell of rotten fish and seaweed. Brand lifts the torch, always near him, and reveals the great and awful hydra.

It is monstrous in size with nine heads. The smell of its breath is obnoxious and you all begin to retch and vomit. It regards you for a moment, taking in your smell. It sniffs the air as if it is looking for something, as if it caught a scent it is trying to recapture. It appears to have found it and looks past you into the forest. You see intelligence in its eyes and you sense that it recognizes you as being from Twinsriver. It pulls itself up and releases a thundering roar, making the trees and ground tremble. It begins to move toward you but then the river begins to roll and boil, splashing against the banks. Rising from the water, high above the hydra, looms Toke. He holds ghostly reins to the hydra, keeping it in his control. Toke is large, muscular, his hair and beard is white and his skin is made of blue scales. He is part man, part fish with a great tail. His scales shimmer in the starlight, wet with water. His large eyes take you in, challenging you. You speak your words.

"Lord Toke. I am Azver of Twinsriver, Prophet of Li. I am also honored to be on good terms with your mother, Knowledge. In Twinsriver, she goes by the name of Marianna."

Speak not of my mother. You are not worthy to speak her name! His voice slams you to the ground.

"It was she who informed me that your goal is the destruction of Twinsriver, through your Hydra. I humbly ask for your mercy. If we have erred in some way, and insulted you, I beg of you to tell me. My hope is that our offense is not beyond repair."

Erred? Yes, Twinsriver has indeed erred. You have dared to change my water and with the power of a lesser god, yet. Even as we speak, another attempts to “bless” the water without speaking my name! I am deeply offended that you chose to take into your hands that which is not yours and to benefit only your own village without consideration to others. It was a selfish, thoughtless act to usurp my power and my being.

The hydra hisses a steamy sigh, laying you flat with its stench. It chomps at the bit, fighting the god to be released.

Twinsriver, vain and foolish as it is, must be punished so that it knows the gods powers are not to be trifled with!

He pauses as if he has just noticed the armor you are wearing. He looks at Brand and while holding Brand’s gaze, he reaches out a “hand” that seems to be made of water, grasps you by the neck of the armor and pulls you close, suspending you over the hydra, over the water.

So, your kind not only contaminated my precious water with your tricks, but you also bring with you the prophet of my rival! Your insult knows no end!

The armor you wear is alight with heat, burning but not damaging, throbbing like a heartbeat and in that moment, it burns for Brand. It is not yours to wear. It tries to break away but it cannot. It is in the grip of a powerful god.

"Lord Toke. Please. We are ignorant, and new to the power we suddenly have before us. We have all done what we did to try to protect everyone we could. Our intentions were good. We simply don't understand all the ramifications. Can you help us understand, rather than destroy us?"

If it's knowledge you want, ask my mother. That's her expertise.

"It is patience I ask for. And understanding. We meant no offense at all. We are completely surprised that we gave any. I'm frankly surprised that you noticed the existence of such small beings as us. Can you not spare such insignificant creatures? Surely there are some in Twinsriver who would worship you."

Who?

"Honestly, I have no specific people in mind. I only know who a handful of people worship. But Twinsriver is a growing town. There is great diversity. I am positive there are many who love the Sea, despite being many days from it. And Water in general is essential and revered by all. If you sent priests to us, they would be welcome, and, I'm sure, they would have success."

Toke plunges Azver into the water, shaking him around like a shark with its prey. The water rushes into Azver's nose and ears. His neck is snapped this way and that, a rag doll in Toke's grip. Several moments pass as he is thus handled and his lungs begin to burn and he begins to panic.

Suddenly, he is once again suspended above the water, sputtering and gasping for air.

Have you nothing better to offer?

"Please. My Lord. I was not expecting to meet you, much less have a conversation on such a topic. I have never thought about these things before, and cannot speak for anyone. But I pledge that I would find a prophet for you. One woman comes to mind. If you will allow, I can communicate with my people in Twinsriver from here, and have them speak with her, as well as ask around for others."

Toke shakes Azver a little and with a growl of anger and frustration, he hurls him to the ground. Duncan and Garrett come to Azver'sr aid as Toke thunders.

You simpleton! You think all I want is a mere prophet? I have prophets the world over and have no need for more!

Azver realizes that every word he utters is just making Toke angrier.

"Lord Toke, I have already admitted ignorance regarding these matters. Please tell me what you require."

I require your life.

"I was just in your hands, and could not have escaped. My life was yours. But it is still yours. I am the Guardian of Twinsriver. We could not stop you from destroying our home if we tried. If the only way to save my people is to die for them, then I will die for them."

Azver kneels on the bank of the river, below Toke's massive form.

Toke lets out a great laugh and the waters begin to swirl around him, forming a column of water around Azver. The sound of the rushing water pounds your Azver's ears as Duncan and Garrett try to take him by the arms to safety. Suddenly, they are thrust away and Azver is alone within a swirling cyclone of water. He peer up and sees Toke towering above him, his laughter ringing in Azver's ears.

Azver hears nothing but water and Toke's laughter, triumphant and unsympathetic. Toke gathers his power above his head and in his hands, a ball of water power appears, blue and cold. He plays with ball as if it was the earth itself. It spins in unison with the column surrounding Azver, drenching him in cold, wet dread.

The power is almost complete and Azver prepares himself to die. At last, Toke delivers the blow and the ball comes hutling down upon him and deals him a heafty blow.

But, death does not come.

In fact, this ball of power seemed nothing more than a bucket of water, impotent and insignificant.

Azver looks up at Toke and the look on his face is one of shock, shock enough to almost make Azver laugh. But, he quenches that impulse as he sees that the barrier to Toke's power was........

the armor.

Deep within the center of the chest plate is a red and orange fire, steaming from the water. The armor turns to liquid, melting off Azver's body and begins to form a man.

Toke watches as the armor takes the shape of a man - as large as Toke. The hydra begins to screech and pull at the reins, trying to escape the liquid metal form.

Azver begins to hear another voice, a man's voice.

You tread where you have no business, Toke.

Above Azver stands the gigantic metal body of a man.

Duncan and Garrett reappear at Azver's side and drag him away to the rest of the group. Johnson and Weatherby have emerged from their tent and the look on their faces is one of terror.

Projected from a light in Brand's chest is the liquid metal man. Brand is in a state of ecstacy, standing tall and rigid, the words issuing from his mouth.

The armor has completed its transformation and it bears the two faces of Janus. It detaches itself from Brand, releasing him. Brand colapses in a heap to his knees.

Twinsriver and its people are mine and you will do them no harm. You have overstayed your time here and have impressed no one with your theatrics.

They have insulted me and must pay the price!

They will pay for nothing, not as long as I am their patron.

Toke pauses a moment and replies. So be it.

Both gods take their places. Fire and water at war. Power begins to build and swirl around your heads. You know you will not survive this battle. Toke releases the hydra who turns and runs to the safety of the river, disappearing below its depths.

Seeing this, Weatherby comes to his senses.

"Come! Let us flee! Now! Quickly!"

With the agilitiy and speed of a young man, Weatherby rushes to the servants, pulling Johnson with him. They take Brand as Duncan and Garrett carry Azver into the forest. Marianna and the rangers appear at the edge and help the group deeper into the woods, toward safety.

They can hear the battle behind them, power exploding, water hissing. The air is full of steam as the two gods fight. The group begins to slow and finds that Marianna has set up a small campsite for the caravan.

Shell shocked, Azver sits and allows Marianna to attend to his wounds, Brand stands at the edge of the clearing, looking toward the battle, feeling every blow, making every move, as if he is the one fighting.

The fighting rages for hours that night and the group can see the light in the distance.

"Toke is weakening," Marianna says. As soon as the words are spoken, the sounds of battle begin to lessen. Within the hour, almost dawn, she speaks again.

"It is done."

Brand stops, breathless. He turns to the group and smiles. "We've won."
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Oh, It's been a hard battle, but Janus helped us with his might and will. Twinsriver is safe for the moment." He pauses for a moment "What happened here has a lot of implications, we have to discuss about it later ..."
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"For example, Toke's mother is known as Marianna in our town. How does Knowledge give birth to The Sea? And how is The Sea claiming dominion over lakes, rivers, and springs far from the sea? Is there a court of the gods we can go to, to contest Toke's claim over us, and his subsequent displeasure? Gener's actions with a spring in a landlocked town don't seem to me to be the business of a Sea God. Also Brand, does Janus claim Twinsriver as his own, exclusively? As if he were our town's patron deity?"
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So many questions, Krinn! <chuckle> Let me take a stab at them...

Perhaps Knowledge did not give birth to Sea. Perhaps the Marianna gave birth to Toke. And each gained power in a domain through one means or another.

Or maybe divine power is passed down through generations in ways that you and I don't, maybe can't, understand.

As for Toke's feelings, I guess any being can feel offended about anything. It happens all the time. But sometimes - like with Toke, or the king of a warlike society - we're forced to care about those feelings. And deal with them.

I don't think of Toke's claim on Twinsriver is any more legitimate than you do. Fortunately for us, Janus agreed with you and I. <shrug> If the gods are going to fight over us, they're going to fight over us. Toke's claim on us was going to be our death. Janus' saved us. Like Li, and like I strive to do, he protected us.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will not apologize or grovel to a creature that takes offense to the continued health of Twinsriver. If Janus will contest it, Kimer and I will do no less.

I have made plans. Even if the beast would do more than blunt its teeth against our walls, it will find its strength greatly reduced should it try to harm our village.

One thing, however... these tether fish arrived before we ever even heard of the hydra. What if they are more than simple harbingers? Considering their name, I think Krinn makes a very good point. Perhaps someone should cut this thing's tether, eliminating the purchase that allows it to bring itself upriver from the sea. I would do it myself if all my resources were not tied up in defense.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

m’Lady’s Holy month has arrived! The glade is festooned with ribbons, and mats are placed along the banks for those who wish to sit to meditate and commune with her. At sunset on the Eve of December (tonight!), the children who study in the glade spread throughout Twinsriver and the surrounding community, placing sand inside small sacks as a sturdy base for candles to be placed and lining various paths which all lead to Festival Hall. As darkness gloams, Harpers who follow Artistry walk along these paths, placing lit candles inside the sacks to gently light the way. All paths in Twinsriver lead to Festival Hall, and the luminaries shine the way.

A quarter hour before midnight, the Harpers stroll along the lit pathways; serenading the arrival of Artistry’s month and enticing villagers to follow them to the Hall.

Slippin' away, sittin' on a pillow
Waitin' for night to fall
A girl and a dream, sittin' on a pillow
This is the night to go to the celebrity ball

Celebrate!
Celebrate!
Dance to the music!!!


As the Harpers and villagers approach, the Hall is shrouded in darkness; much as it has been all these long months of construction. The luminaries lead to the darkened amphitheater, and the children and Harpers of Artistry guide the arriving villagers to seats while other Harpers join in song of praise to Aurora. As the last villager is seated precisely at midnight, the lights rise on the communal altar on the stage of the amphitheater.

Homage is paid to all the deities and ancestors of Twinsriver, showing our village’s respect for all. Once the formalities are complete, the festivities to Aurora begin! The Hall comes ablaze with light; the art galleries display their content in the most strategic and influential way; the concert halls fill with performances of music, drama, and comedy; while the kitchen staff bring out trays upon trays of delectables.

It is a good thing the Eve of The Festival of Artistry falls on a Friday, as the initial celebrations continue until dawn for those who have the stamina. As the sun rises upon Saturday, Twinsriver sleeps; only to awaken to smaller yet continual festivities as the month goes on, with the Lady’s approaching Holy Day to be the climax of it all.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Welcome, my friends! This magnificent clock you see before you is a gift from my lord, Kimer. He spoke to me in a dream last night, telling me that he wished to express his esteem for our town and the pride he feels in you all for the amazing work we have done recently. He said also that, as our star rises in the world, so too should we have a symbol. Not only our impressive walls that display our strength, but a work that shows our ingenuity, our practicality, and our perpetuity.

"Just as its bells ring clearly from bank to bank of our great rivers, let our voices ring clear throughout the land. Just as the light of its face can be seen in the dark from outside our mighty walls, let the light of our society be a beacon to all.

"Some of you may have heard rumors about something calling itself a god showing disrespect to Twinsriver, telling us that we are an affront for simply keeping ourselves strong, free from a disease that ravages our neighbors. If that's a god, it sounds like a rather petty one to me. And by what token do we know of this god—these fish that have showed up in our nets? Ugly things, and about useless as far as I can tell. A real god would make something useful, something that could be appreciated by all." Gener pauses and looks at the clock above him, gesturing with both hands. "No, I think a real god would make something like this."

At this point, Gener peer into the crowd, focusing on one of the families displaced from Harrisbridge. "And you, my new friends, you've had to leave your home behind for the threat of this demon. It is an outrage! Naturally, you seek the strength of our walls, the might of our gods who you have learned look out for their flock rather than prey upon them." Gener stoops to cup the youngest daughter's hand in his own. He changes his tone so it sounds like he's just addressing her, though in a way that carries throughout the crowd. "Well, don't be afraid, little one. I do not claim to speak for any gods other than Kimer, but I think they would agree: our gods are your gods as well. Whether you were born in Twinsriver or not, whether you are young or old, whether you are rich or just a poor chicken farmer, Kimer hears your prayers.

"I do not say that you must pray to Kimer, friends. That is a choice you must make on your own, though I know my lord will answer you if you do. But I say pray no longer to imps who threaten us. Cast their names from your mind like you were sweeping the dust from your house. Scrape them from your lips like you would mud from your boots. There is a power in our hearts, one we see everyday as its combined strength continues to beat pure and together making Twinsriver the home that we love. Give that power to a god that deserves it, one that has shown that he—or she—is looking out for your best interests. Do this, and I guarantee that we can repel any vileness that would threaten us."
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Three days have passed since the high festal day of Artistry's holy month, and still the exhausted harper toiled to be certain the wrap up festivities ran smoothly. Never had winter's dark been dispelled so effectively with joy and glee. The feasting had been luxurious; the art exhibits glorious and profitable for the artisans; the performances perfection and appropriately appreciated.

As New Year's Eve approached, and with the end of the year the culmination of Aurora's Holy Month, the harper allowed her thoughts to slowly drift on her future...
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