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Aesir: Revelations

 
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Han-shan
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:59 pm    Post subject: Aesir: Revelations Reply with quote

Post 'em here, whenever you're ready. Anybody who can't wait to get started can post now, even though Turn 1 deadline won't be for a little while yet.

And this thread will not have any posts other than Revelations. So if anyone joins the game somewhere down the line, nobody will ever have to go searching through the Game thread to find it.
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I climb the road to Cold Mountain,
The road to Cold Mountain that never ends.
- Han-shan

We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.
- Robert Frost

Today was a good day. - Ice Cube


Last edited by Han-shan on Sat Dec 10, 2011 12:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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She dug her knife into the tough coral, releasing the large clam from its cement imprisonment.. Placing it into her bag, she began to ascend...

Bubbles flowed from her nostrils as she broke the surface, spitting the salty ocean from her mouth. Today, she dove deeper than she ever had before and made a considerable catch for her efforts. Gasping for breath, she swam to shore.

Nadia took long, strong strokes, wishing she could hold her breath longer. No one in the village could outdistance her underwater. She had become a practiced diver, sometimes spending all day diving for clams. She was from a family of fishermen and her lean muscles showed years of active swimming.

Reaching the shore, she began to walk through the waves. She felt more at home in the water and always felt a little pang of regret everytime she hid the beach. She walked up the dunes, looking at the boys climbing up the palm trees and releasing the yellow fruit that grew from them. Their skin was brown from the sun and their hair black.

Nadia sat in the sand and untied her net sack, opened it, and dug through the clams to find the largest one. Prying it open with her short knife, she beheld a pearl. She had found many such things inside clams and had adorned her short tunic with them. The women of the village made jewelry from the round pearls and ground the odd-shaped ones into a dust that they mixed with the kohl from the mountains and used for cosmetics.

She put the pearl aside and sucked up the mussel inside the clam. Delicious! She loved to eat them right out of the ocean with the sea salt still strong upon them. The rest would be baked in the pit along with the pig. The preparations for the wedding were well underway for this evening and Nadia wished her sister a lifetime of happiness. She would take this shell that was perfectly formed, pink and pearl inside and along with the pearls she saved, would make the crown that would adorn her sister's head for her sister's wedding garment. But not now...

Now, she reclined on her elbows in the sand, digging her toes into its grainy warmth and stared out to sea. The wind whipped her dark hair around her face, curling it around her neck and her eyes took on the green color of the sea. Nadia could hear the musicians practicing on their steel drums for the party after the ceremony and she could hear the villlagers rustling about in preparation for the event.

Looking out to sea, Nadia watched the waves break upon the sand, the mid-morning sun shining through the crests. She saw the dolphins churning the ocean just off shore. Then, she saw a fish...coral in color...yet....pearl... Sitting up and straining to see, Nadia peered closer at the waves. She heard a laugh....

Nadia!" Her mother broke her focus. Nadia turned and saw her mother waving impatiently at her. "We must prepare! We have only until the sun touches the sea until the wedding!" Her mother often became anxious at times like these.

"Coming, Mama!" Nadia replied and then turned back to the sea. She looked again but could not see..........THERE!

It was the most colorful fish Nadia had ever seen. It was as large as a dolphin. Its tail was pink - or was it coral? - and it was surfing in the waves alongside the other dolphins. Nadai could not tear her eyes away from this fish and watched with awe as it broke the crest of the wave. It was a woman - no - it was a fish.

The woman was smiling and laughing and the dolphins were laughing along with her. They played together within the waves and Nadia watched how they took pleasure in their sport. The dolphins jumped around her, raced with her, pulled her through the water. They surrounded her and protected her - as if she was their queen.

Nadia was hypnotized and wanted to join them. She began to walk towards the water. The thunderous sound of the waves crashing upon the sand deafened the activity of the village behind her. All she could hear was the laughter of the woman and the dolphins.

The water felt warmer against her ankles, calves, thighs, hips, waist as she walked deeper into the water - the currents pulling her this way and that. She began to swim towards the woman. The woman stopped her play and looked at Nadia as if noticing her for the first time.

Nadia reached the woman and treaded water while the woman regarded her with a smile.

Before Nadia could speak, Diana pulled her underwater, followed by a host of dolphins as escort. Down past the coral reef, and deeper and deeper they went - far beyond where Nadia had been before and she began to panic. The air in her lungs was giving away and she began to struggle against Diana's grip. Diana stopped swimming and calmed Nadia. She took Nadia's face in her hands and touched her mouth to Nadia's and breathed divine air into her lungs.

Nadia was filled with the oxygen of the gods. Diana smiled and began to swim again.

The sea was beautiful. Colors abounded and fish of all shapes and sizes came to pay homage to the goddess of the Sea. Sunlight dappled the currents as they swam past ancient rocks and bottomless valleys.

The ocean was vast yet Nadia did not need air. The dolphins swam close to her and let her ride upon their backs and Diana taught Nadia how to speak to the whales. She discovered the diversity of the sea. She discovered how intelligent an octopus was. She found the secret of Aristotoles Lantern. She saw mermaid's purses hanging upon forests of seaweed. She marveled at it all.

They came upon a clearing surrounded by a mountain of coral reef. The blues and greens and oranges and yellows were vibrant and the reef was alive with activity. The woman whirled around in the water while Nadia watched, creating a vortex of currents. Fish from all around swam close to touch the woman, swimming and dancing around her. The dolphins created a circle around the reef and beyond, Nadia could see the larger whales beyond the ring.

Paying homage to their queen, the sea life became calm and reverent to the woman and she blessed them all with her smile and acknowledgement.

Entranced, Nadia could only watch. Then the woman again looked at her and approached her.

"Hello, Nadia," the woman said. "I am Diana, goddess of the Sea, and I am happy that you answered my call. Come with me now for you have been chosen to be my right hand on Narie."

The schools of fish came closer to Nadia, playing and swimming around her, surrounding her in color. Diana took her by the hand again and they swam away, throughout the sea.

But, it was over too quickly. Nadia recognized where she was. Diana had delivered her home.

Back above water, Nadia pleaded, "No! I want to stay with you!"

"You will be with me - more than you know," Diana replied. "Go. Tell your family. Tell your friends. Tell them that the goddess of the Sea has arrived. All life comes from the sea and the goddess will make wonderful things happen for them. Go now."

Nadia watched breathlessly as Diana and her entourage swam away from the shore. The sun was setting and the wedding was about to begin. But the wedding now would not be between her sister and her chosen. It was between a goddess and her people.
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Lliannon Aine
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The child danced to the music of the wind aloft among the Trees. Her bronze hair unfurled and fanned out about her feet as she twirled and swayed in the tiny clearing. She was deep within the forest, far from Alfheim, at least half a day’s walk away. But, the music by the Moss Stone was glorious, and she was drawn far in just to dance. Her dreams, always full of this place, led her here. Birds watched from their nests. Small forest creatures gathered at the edge of the Trees. The Moss Stone gleamed green, bright in the high day sun. The child danced around it, her eyes closed tight, and she saw all.

The wind went still, and a cloud passed over. She opened her eyes and all went dark. She put forth her tiny hand and felt for the Moss Stone. One step, another step, cautiously she moved forward until her hand fell on the Stone’s wetness. She climbed up on it and sat.

“Do you fear the darkness, Child?” A soft voice asked.

“No.” she answered. “It is what I know.”

“It is not all you know. I have watched you, I have led you, I have given you the sight of dreams. Do you know me?”

The child’s forehead furrowed in a frown, her hair circled her pale beautiful face. “I know I should, you are always with me. It is you that makes the colors so bright. Do you also make the music?”

“No Child, the winds do not belong to me. Only the dreams are mine. And in them I live. Close yourself to the blindness and you shall see me.”

The child closed her eyes tight, and the forest burst forth in all its grand brilliance. She smiled and gazed about. All was still, the winds had gone. She heard then a crackle of twigs, soft footfalls on the forest floor. She turned her face toward them and saw a tall woman walking barefoot among the Trees. She slid off the Moss Stone and stood watching the woman approach. The child was awestruck, she gaped open mouthed. The woman appeared to be like her, but then she wasn’t. She shimmered and color swirled about her long remnant so no true color could be discerned. Her hair was sleek, white and draped down to her feet, like the child’s did. An iridescent ring of color encircled her head, and her eyes were clear white-blue and sparkled with starshine.

The child fell instantly to her knees. “Are you a fairy queen?” She asked, her voice small and trembling.

The woman smiled then, and the child thought she was even more beautiful.

“What is your name?”

The child replied, “I do not have one. My grandfather calls me “girl”, and the other villagers call me “banshee girl”. They fear me, and do not like me. “

The woman nodded. “And your parents are dead?”

“Yes. They died during a storm. A Tree fell on them. My grandfather says it is because I was their curse.”

The woman frowned then, and the child was suddenly very afraid. The woman moved close to the child and drew her up to her feet, then lifted her gently into a warm embrace. “You need not fear me, Child, for I am the one who gives you your dream sight. It is I who leads you here to dance, it is I who shelters you from the darkness, and it is I who will name you.”

The child smiled then. “Ah, you are a fairy queen!” She exclaimed joyously.

The woman laughed then, a clear crystal sound, unlike anything the child had ever heard before. “No, sweet child. I am most certainly not a fairy. I am a Goddess. And I have chosen you.”

“Uh…uhh…uh Goddess?” The child stammered.

“I am Lliannon Aine, the Goddess of Dreams. And you, sweet child, are Ari’Cree. You are to be my daughter, my voice, my seer. You will teach those of Alfheim to know me. And they will.

Ari’Cree opened her eyes then, and darkness fell over her. She felt the roughness of her bed linens with her hands. She sat up, breathing hard, turned her head from side to side. She heard then the resonating rhythm of her grandfather’s snoring. She moved to the edge of her bed and put her feet on the cold dirt floor. She made her way over to her grandfather and tapped his shoulder. His snoring stopped and he grumbled.

“Grandfather.” She said in a voice loud and full. “I wish to tell you my name.”

The sound of her grandfather’s voice came out of the darkness. “Go back to sleep, girl.”

“No. I wish to tell you my name.”

“You have no name.”

“I have a name. Ari’Cree. Our Goddess, Lliannon Aine, gave it to me. And you cannot take it. Lest she fill your mind with nightmares.”
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Elder Council sat quietly, listening to the appeal of the young man before them. Their expressions were greedy, eyeing the bride price the young, strong, and proud fisherman had offered for the maiden of his physical desire. The girl’s parents smiled happily; as they witnessed that their daughter was highly prized.

But the young, beautiful maiden sat besides them, eyes wide with fear.

Leandrea had known Jharvik all her life. He excelled in physical contests, and did not hesitate to demean those who did not. He had a cruel streak to him, and many of their age mates turned to him as leader for hunting parties and both ocean and river expeditions. Not because of his savvy in regards to planning and executing those plans; no, but because they feared his retribution if they did not.

Or so Leandrea believed.

Meanwhile, Leandrea was a gentle soul. She would go out of her way to comfort the latest victim of Jharvik’s abuse, and generally refused to associate with him if she could. All of which caused Jharvik to desire her even more. So he worked and saved, and acquired a bride price offering not seen in the village in living memory.

Yes, this is what Leandrea believed.

“It is agreed!” The Talking Stick was pounded on the floor and Leandrea’s parents stood, opening their arms to embrace their new future son-in-law. Jharvik scorned them, reaching past them towards Leandrea, to make his claim in front of the assembly. Grabbing her forearm fiercely, he pulled her close to him, yanked her head up by a lock of her hair and kissed her, savagely. The assembly cheered.

No one saw Leandrea cringe. No one cared. The deal was done; sealed by the kiss, the Talking Stick and the greed of the Elder Council.

Leandrea would swear that this was so.

***

The month of Search was drawing to a close. It was the custom in Avaritia for a betrothed couple to leave the safety of their homes for a month prior to their wedding day and each go their own way on a quest. The shamans taught in days long ago it was supposed to be a spirit quest, but no one now knew what that entailed. Like most everything in their lives, this relic of ancient days gone by was adhered to by stricture, with no understanding of why it was done. All that mattered was the appearance that all was adhered to. That and coin.

Leandrea had welcomed the month of Search. As her wedding day drew nearer, she had become wan and thin, and she regarded the idea of being free on her own for a month as a blessing. She decided to try and abide by the custom as fully as she could, and set out in Search of…something. She had no idea for what she searched, but she wandered further and further afield, hoping to know what it was when she came across it.

Eventually, having found nothing, she turned for home.

***

The sun was setting as Leandrea approached the confluence of the river and the sea. In the distance she could just begin to make out the fires and the huts that comprised Avaritia, but her village was still a day’s journey away. Stopping for the night she made camp, and had a merry little fire going with which she began to prepare her evening meal. As the rabbit she had stoned with her sling earlier roasted over the flames, she sat still gazing at the flickering light.

Blink.

She rubbed her eyes and returned to gazing in to the flames.

Blink. Blink.

This time she blinked back. But the two eyes within the flames remained the same.
Eyes limned by the light of the fire, the irises crimson and heart shaped while the pupils were golden beams of light shining back at her.

As Leandrea continued to stare, a form took shape around the eyes and soon an old crone stepped from the flames and sat down next to her. She was dressed in a nondescript hood and robe, and she clutched a burning brand as her walking stick to support herself. Leandrea had jumped up to assist her, but the crone waved her off. As she sat down she looked at Leandrea and wheezed through her gap-toothed smile, “And what would it have cost me for your help, young lady?” Taken aback, Leandrea answered, “Why, nothing wizened one.”

The crone looked more intensely at her. “Yet you come from Avaritia? Rumor has it one is charged for everything there. That Loving kindness and brotherly Love have been forgotten in Avaritia, indeed across all the world.” Her eyes narrowed as she studied the maiden before her.

Leandrea looked down and blushed at the words of the crone. “I admit there is truth in those words, Grandmother,” she replied, thinking upon what the crone said. Then bringing her head up, she gasped as she looked at the new stranger next to her. For the crone was gone, replaced by a woman her mother’s age smiling tenderly at her. Her hood and robe, and her burning brand remained the same, so Leandrea had no doubt she was addressing the same…creature. Yet her fear of addressing a woman who not only had heart-shaped irises and materialized in flames, but apparently also changed her appearance at will remained at bay. She felt drawn to the woman, and wished to hear her out.

The woman asked in a gentle voice, “Do you believe that is all there is to existence then? To compete against friend and neighbor, always struggling to have more than they? Is that the true measure of one’s worth?”

“Oh no, Mother!” Leandrea cried out with all her heart. “But my people seem to live by that code and no other.” Then she fell to her knees as the woman besides her blurred and shaped-shifted as she gazed directly at her, recoiling in fear as Jharvik reached out to touch her chin, gently lifting her head to gaze into her eyes with his heart-shaped iris ones.

Shhh…,” he said, with more tenderness than she had ever heard in his voice in her life. “For once, listen to your heart…”

She looked down upon an Avaritia of five years ago and saw herself and Jharvik at their lessons with their other age mates. Well…she was at her lessons, as well as most of her fellows. But Jharvik sat still. Sat still and glanced her way, a wistful expression upon his face. One she had never noticed before.

When break came her past self went into the sun with the others. But she saw herself as aloof; cold to her age mates and an icicle to Jharvik. She knew herself to be better than them all and would not lower herself to their standards. Her future self gasped in pain at her attitude; she tried to look away. And looked straight into the crimson eyes next to her, filled with…what? What was that reflected in his eyes? “Love…,” he whispered back. “The Love Jharvik has felt for you all his life, but is unable to show you in Avaritia,” he said, as he leaned towards her and ever so gently kissed her lips. Breaking away, he concluded, “Sometimes…

“Sometimes, all that is needed is a change in perception,” as he looked at her with one brow raised.


Leandrea’s awareness snapped back to the present, and as it did so Jharvik was gone, replaced by a maiden of an age close to hers. Yet the crimson iris heart-shaped eyes of the wizened crone still gazed at her. “Leandrea,” she said, gazing intensely at her with emotion, emotion other than the fear and greed Leandrea had felt throughout her life. “Leandrea, return to Ahava.”

“Return to where?” Leandrea asked.

“Ahava,” the maiden replied. “What was formerly known as Avaritia. For feelings of Loving kindness and charity, familial Love and romance will replace greed and avarice with the dawn. Ahava’s people will be confused. Guide them. Tell them the g-ddess Agapé has come. That She Loves them, as She Loves all the people of Narie.

“Speak to them of reflecting my Love for them back at each other. And to generate their own in addition to what I send them. For Love is never ending, as you all will learn. The more you give, the less chance you will have of never receiving it in return.”

As she stepped back in to the flames, Agapé’s visage shifted between the grandmother/mother/Jharvik/maiden faces that had spoken with Leandrea, each gazing at her with those same eyes that had stared out of the flames to start. The eyes remained steady as the forms around them faded, then with a final whisper, the last Leandrea heard as the eyes also faded from view was, “I Love you, Leandrea. Always.

***

Leandrea arose long before the dawn with joy in her heart. As the light of a new day, a new day!, shone upon her village she broke into a run, anxious to begin her new life’s work for her g-ddess.

and to open her own eyes and heart to the truth of Jharvik, at last.
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Light of the world, shine on me
Love is the answer
Shine on us all, set us free
Love is the answer

And when you feel afraid, love one another
When you've lost your way, love one another
When you're all alone, love one another
When you're far from home, love one another
When you're down and out, love one another
All your hopes run out, love one another
When you need a friend, love one another
When you're near the end, love one another
We got to love one another
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gimbutas wandered, alone in the night, again. So many times the elders would tell him not to, that strange and mysterious creatures in the dark would devour him. But he burned to see these creatures…to see the stars…he wondered what they were. Were they truly the hearth-fires of the dead? And while everyone else was content to know that when the season turned, the rivers would overflow with fish, Gimbutas always asked why. Tea from the bark of a willow tree would soothe a headache, this everyone knew. But only Gimbutas would ask why. Countless times as a child, his curiosity had gotten him tasked with the most thankless, most undesirable chores. He was not a desirable marriage prospect, as he did not do anything very well, always digressing when something made him think. Yet the village had not, did not, would not exile him. For in his musings, his strange musings, he would betimes find a way to do better. He was tolerated, barely. He did not mind the lack of discourse…he far preferred to be alone with his thoughts. His thoughts of the stars this night ran a familiar course, save that he spoke them aloud…giving actual voice to them being the key to open the door….a door his whole life had been spent searching for, while being ignorant of it’s very existence…”I wonder what they see from up there? What wonders do they learn from up on high? Would that I, too, might see as they see, know what they know….”. And with these words spoken, nothing would ever be same.

A voice, deep, mysterious, yet with tones that spoke of infinite depths of wisdom to share replied to his questions. “All the wonders of this world are known to me, for I am guardian of all Knowledge, I am He Who Is Wisdom. To know, to learn, to share, would you take up my charge? Would you go forth, carrying Knowledge within you, bringing Wisdom to those who will listen? Will you stand against those who deny learning, who laud ignorance? Would you teach how crops might grow better, how rot might be held at bay, that long winters need not mean death? Would you give a better life to those who will listen to My Knowledge in Your Words?”

To finally KNOW…and to be not tormented for the knowing nor the seeking, to be heeded, to be able to help in the way he had always wished. Gimbutas kneeled, and proclaimed, “Oh most magnificent one, I will take up your cause” but he was halted by that Voice, tinged now with a note of disappointment. “Gimbutas, my Most Favored One, you need not kneel before me. I seek not your abasement. Stand before me, proud of what you are. Animals crawl, but Men can think and stand upright. Your mind elevates you above animals; stand tall before Me, always. My worship is ever to be thus, an exultation of Man and My Gifts unto Him, not groveling denigration of the spirit. Thus speaks Serloth, Keeper of all Lore”

Standing shakily, in a tone of wonder Gimbutas thanked his unseen benefactor, “Lord, my apologies. I will go forth, standing tall, boldly bringing the light of your Knowledge. The words of Serloth Lorekeeper shall be heard by all, for I will spread them unto the uttermost lands of this world.”

“Read, then, these words” as a slew of characters appeared, instantly framed within his campfire. “Exalted Lorekeeper, I cannot read. Few who are not Elders are given such learning”. “I say again, read” And as Gimbutas bent his gaze upon the figures, face burning in admitting his shameful ignorance before his God, the figures became not mere squiggles, but meaning burned into his mind. And his understanding grew. How to avoid pestilence, how to keep wounds from festering, preserving food, the making of metals, all these things and more exploded into his mind, as he feverishly tried to comprehend the incalculable vistas of learning his thoughts now touched.

“Go now My Prophet, and bring forth the Light of Knowledge into the dark night of ignorance”. And as he was bade, so Gimbutas did, racing back to the village, heart bursting with joy even as his mind was bursting with new ideas, new thoughts…

............................…with Knowledge.

Knowledge….from his memories of the Elders, their words, he could now see why they were as they are. And his knowledge encompassed how to choose the right words that would speak to their secret hearts, those hearts now revealed by Serloth’s Gift and grace. Knowledge…..the village feared the well would soon run dry, but now he knew how to find a better site, and better ways to dig a well. So many things to do to make their lives better, and he knew them all.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another dawn awaited Critz and already he could see all he had to do, it wouldn,t have minded so much if the crazy old shamen wasnt always on his case as he had been of late.
What with having to travel to the nearby woods at any God given time to collect any number of varities of herbs and plants most of which were becoming harder to find as he had been collecting to so much of late he had nearly cleared the wood of them all.
Why did the Shamen need so many of late he could not understand but that was his orders and Critz swollen ear was still a keen reminder of what the old fool could do to you with you gave him backchat.
He woke from his day dreaming quickly as he could here his master bellowing a summons to him to go to his hut, why he choose to live in hut with all the currency he had taken from the villagers for simply remedies he did not understand he could have easily have built and lived in a grand stone house. Maybe one day he will get a little payback for all the mistreatment he had suffered over the years at the Shamens hand. But unfortunately Critz could not see that happening any time soon.

With a slump in his shoulders he plodded over to the hut entrance and pulled back the hide covered door and was greated by a thick plume of smoke he first reaction of course was to keel over as most of the smoke filtered down his neck and left him breatless immediately he was greated with a six foot boot into the stomach.

The Shamen :" Get up Boy , what you doing on the ground can you not take a little bit of smoke? You would think after all the years you have served me you have at least have had the common sense to not enter my door without warning but then you were always a bit dim witted, no wonder I was the only one that would take you in when your parents died. And my God if there was any Gods they wouldn,t take pity on you either. Now get up you fool and see to my needs."

Critz: "Yes Master , (cough!) as you command".

Uneasily Critz lifted himself off the ground , his stomach still felt like lurching what with the smoke and the impact of the boot, but he wouldn,t give in bye getting sick , it probably have led to more punishement.
He walked into the hut thankfully the smoke had dissapted somewhat and he could breat in some air at least.

The Shamen as always sat on his assortment of rugs and cushions which he no doubt had received from some of the gullable villagers in exchange for a spell to protect their livestock or families , which Critz did not believe at all but he kept his mouth shut. Are far as he could see the villagers of Candlar were totally submissive to The Shamen and had so much respect for him you would think he was a God in their eyes.
As for Critz he could not believe that a God would be so cruel to anyone as this old fool had been to him. If there is a God I would like to meet one and see what his or hers opinion would be of the Shamen.

The Shamen :" Boy are you are day dreaming again? I taught I had knocked that bad habit out of you, well not to worry I still have time." He sneered at the boy with those pearly white teeth and then let out a monstrous laugh.
" Right have you brought me those herbs as I told you , Good now I want you to bring them down to Cleve down at the market and make sure you get a good price for them and make sure you bring back all the money here , no browsing around the market looking for stuff as you don,t deserve anything. Do I make myself clear?"

Critz: I will master , I shall be back soon"

Shamen: "Make sure that you are, I will hear if you have strayed anywhere and there will be punishment dealt, Now off with you".

Hurriedly Critz exited the Hut and headed down to the Market on his way he had to cross the stone bridge which spanned the local stream , but on his way there he saw a strange figure resting against the stone bridge. Critz knew everyone in the village as he had been doing the Shamens business for a long while now and he had dealt with all the villagers from one time or the other, but this man was definetly a stranger and going by his garb he definetly was not from around these parts.
Critz continued down towards the bridge but he had uneasy feeling that he was been watched by this stranger and he tried to keep his head down so he would,t be noticed by the stranger. But somehow unbeknown to himself he felt this urge to look up and when he did all he could see was these deep blue eyes staring back at him. As if in a trance he walked directly to the stranger.

Stranger : "Well Critz at last we meet I have waited a while to see you.Has the old Shamen been keeping you busy? Well I can see that he has and that he isnt shy in laying his claim over you. Those wounds on your hands and face I can heal if you wish".

Critz: "Sir why would you offer me kindness , I do not know you and as my Master says I,m undeserved of sympathy or kindness".

Stranger:"Critz you will pay no heed to what the Shamen says to you anymore, if anyone does not deserve sympthy or kindness its him".

Critz:" But he is my master and I have always defered to him".

Stranger:" You are loyal I see Critz even to someone whom has mistreated you ,which are good qualities in a person and for that reason I have chosen you for a very inportant task".

Critz: " A task , why do you belive I am worthy of doing a task for you?

Stranger: "Apart from your loyality , I believe you have a knowledge of herbs and their uses. And other qualities that you will need to accomplish the task I will set for you".
I wish for you to serve me from now on , and I promise to treat you better than your old master".

Critz : "But who are you and what are you? I would laugh to think that the Gods have at last answered my prayers and have come to my aid".

stranger: "Why Critz I have come and answered your prayers , that is why I,m here because of your prayers because I am a God and you are and will be my voice among the people of this village and beyond".

Critz:" But do you have a name? And what message do you want me spread?"

Stranger" My name in the old tongue you will not understand but in your tongue it is Alcifer and as for the message it will be off Healing the hurts that the peoples of this village and all of these lands have suffered for way to long now" " I will tell you more soon for now go to the east side of the river I have created a dwelling for you there , it will be your new home and yours alone, now go and I will return shortly with more information".

And suddenly the God or whatever he was vanished.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The winds were mostly calm today, but when a stray gust picked up this time and blew back the hood of Ganan's travel-worn cloak, exposing his bald pate to the callous afternoon sun, he did not bother to replace it. He was within sight of the main gate of Crow's Fort, and as custom demanded, he did not want to appear before the gate guards with his visage concealed. With feigned rancor he said to his mount, “Gods curse the events that leave an old man like myself presenting himself to his future lord ('I hope', he added to himself) with a bare pate.”

The mare had heard much the same the last fortnight, and paid the words little heed. When Ganan promised that a bucket of oats and a good rub-down awaited her soon, however, her ears seemed to perk up. Ganan told himself that it was just his addled mind playing tricks on him when he thought he noticed her gait pick up, carrying them past the cleared edge of the forest and into the cool shadows of the fort's wall.

The guard standing to one side of the main gate had been watching Ganan approach. When he was within earshot, the man called to him, “Good morrow, Elder. What business brings you to Crow's Fort?”

Raising his right hand to show that he heard and acknowledged their call but was waiting until he could get close enough to reply without shouting, Ganan continued forward until he was several paces from the guard. “Good morrow, lads. I am Ganan, Gardener of Harvat Hold until the late Lord Derrent's passing. Word down the river is that the commander is in need of my services. Would you send a messenger to him for me, requesting an audience?”

After a moment's consideration the guard replied, “We can do better than that, Master Ganan.” Looking to another soldier behind the gate, he said, “Patram, you still owe me for taking your watch the night before last. Watch the gate for me while I escort this man to Crow.”

“I can take him, Merrik.”

“You think I didn't think of that, Pat? I want to stretch my legs, and from what I hear, the commander might give you a chewing out on account of you being too hung over to stand your watch.”

Scratching his neck under his chain hood, Patram had to admit the man had a point. “Well, if it will save me the pint I said I'd buy, then I suppose. But don't go trying to bring up that this watch is already halfway over.”

“No worries there,” laughed Merrik. “There's still the other four you already owe me.” Turning back to Ganan, Merrik motioned for him to follow.

The walk to see the commander was a short one. Merrik pointed out the few landmarks and local businesses that had grown within the walls, all showing little or no wear as the fort had only been established a year ago. The keep itself was modest yet sturdy, and Ganan was only kept waiting a handful of minutes before he was brought to see Commander Crow.

“Come in, Master Ganan. Please, have a seat.” Crow was seated at his desk, apparently going over the reports or other papers upon it. Like the commander himself, the office was sparse but not cold. It spoke of a man who valued efficiency and spurned excess yet still had an eye for detail and that which is necessary, like a padded chair for guests such as Ganan.

“Thank you, commander. And my thanks for seeing me on such short notice.”

“Think nothing of it. Believe it or not, there's not much for the military to do here. The land here is friendly, though the loggers and trappers would probably beg to differ. So I make sure what needs to be done is done quickly.” At this, Crow looked at Ganan over steepled fingers. “Which brings me to why you are here...”

“Yes, commander. I traveled here because word has it you need a gardener. You'll find none with more experience than I.”

“I am certain you are right, Master Ganan. My man tells me you hail from Harvat Hold, and the grounds there are well known. I myself took first at lances there last year, if you remember.”

“Aye, I remember. I thought Tarl Harvat had you on that last pass, for sure. Thankfully, I've never been a gambler.”

“Betting against me is not something I would generally recommend to those seeking my employ, so that is fortunate,” smiled Crow. “But if I may ask, Master Ganan, why is it that you are not still with House Harvat? My condolences on the passing of your lord, though by all accounts, Tarl is an honorable man.

“He is, commander. Of that there is no doubt. I have known him well since he was just a lad. Unfortunately, he is of the mind that a man of my years deserves his rest, whether he want it or not. And while I was rewarded well for my years of service, the lord is just as obstinate as his father was. As stubborn as I am, even, since I decided to try my luck here rather than rest my bones by the fire for the remainder of my years.”

“He has a point,” Crow said. “What makes you think I am not of the same mind? After all, this is the frontier. Wouldn't you say that's a game for younger men?”

“No, sir, I would not,” Ganan said respectfully but with steel in his voice. “The word is that you are a shrewd judge of character. I believe you would place more value on what is inside a man's head rather than the amount of hair upon it. And my father lived two score years more than I have now, working his fields until the day he died. You'll get plenty of years from me yet, and I'll run circles around any lads you dare stand next to me.”

Commander Crow laughed. “Very well, Master Ganan. You have me convinced. I will have a clerk draw up the papers tomorrow morn. I have one condition, however – you must take on an apprentice as soon as possible. No, please don't argue. I have no desire to make you rest your bones by the fire, but as I am not a gambler either, I am not willing to bet that you will be as fortunate in your span of years as your father.” With the look of a man who considered the matter settled, he added, “You will have to find accommodations at the inn tonight and perhaps the next. But I insist you join my wife and me for supper at the next bell.”

***

After eating more than Ganan could remember since at least last Feast Day, even indulging in the proffered tobacco Crow had on hand, the old man made his way to the Lumber Inn. He noticed the full moon crowning the giant oak tree that Merrik had pointed out earlier. He wondered what had possessed those clearing the land to leave this tree standing. Perhaps they couldn't bear felling such a magnificent specimen of its kind. Or perhaps it was the same intuition that Crow had professed that lead him to send for a gardener out here at the frontier.

'You are correct, Ganan,' a voice boomed from the tree in front of him. 'I diverted the axe that would have chopped this one down, and I planted the suggestion to the these men's leader that a steward was needed.'

Where the oak had stood moments before, Ganan now saw giant doors open wide to a cathedral of green. No longer did he see the moonlight shining through the branches but stained glass showing scenes of vineyards, orchards, fields ripe before the harvest, and glades of wild flowers. Each pane appeared to be the size of a small lake, and the space of the whole cathedral was so vast that Ganan soon gave up trying to calculate it. In front of an altar draped in a blanket of green moss stood a green-cloaked figure with a crown of antlers. Though Ganan could not see the eyes within, he felt them upon him as if he was under the weight of the all the fresh soil of Narie. It brought Ganan to his knees, and he cried, “My Lord!”

Yes, Ganan. I am your Lord. I am Velt, God of the Green, and you shall be my prophet here on Narie.'

“Yes, Velt. I will serve you... I have always served you, though I knew it not until now. But surely an old man like myself...”

'Old? asked Velt. 'This oak sprang forth from the earth the same day you first drew breath. And while its rough bark may look like the wrinkled skin of a man of many years, the wood beneath is green and vibrant. Its life has only just begun, and so has yours.'

With these words, Ganan felt the years fall at his feet like a discarded robe or the leaves of autumn. He knew them to be true, just as he knew that it was his duty to serve Velt – to bring word of the Green Man to the people of Narie. And Ganan knew that the town that would grow outside the walls of Crow's Fort would bear his lord's name.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hard breath and the pounding of the blood in his heart were a torrent his hearing couldn't overcome. Three days and three nights of being chased by a demon in a monsters skin, and his body was nearing the point of failure. Blood streamed from countless small wounds, left from the claws he had barely dodged. Muscles cramped in his legs, and he nearly fell from exhaustion. He grasped a low branch, and stopped briefly, letting his lungs gasp much needed air. He cursed to himself softly. The mightiest of Hunters the Astorian Tribe could produce, and he had been reduced to running on end like the most frightened of rabbits. His only chance against this devilbeast was open ground. In this thick undergrowth, he had no chance.

He hurdled a large clump of bracken ferns, nearly crashing into the blackberry bushes behind it. Twisting in midair to plant his hand behind the bush, and tuck into a roll, and splayed out flat on the ground, listening for his hunter. His body was frozen still, locked into place. He had become an organ for hearing, skin almost tingling with the sound waves. So far away, it might have been an illusion of the mind; he heard large paws crossing a small stream. Crunching rocks and slapping water, each placed precisely and perfectly. Its slow walking meant it probably smelled the area. There wasn't much time before it picked up his scent again. It always did. He had tried doubling back, hiding in low riverbeds and crouching in tree branches, but each time, as if it were watching him from afar, the beast found him again. Only his years of training and healthy dose of luck kept him from Death. As it was, he still came away with numerous injuries, each making the running a little bit more exhausting. He took a deep breathe, and stood to sprint off, further towards his doom.

Yards ahead there was a break in the twilight gloom of the murky forest. Sunlight broke through, and he could hear a crashing of waves. Salt tweaked his nose, and he knew his destination was near. He put up his arms, and broke through the last barrier of small branches, squinting his eyes for the glaring sunlight he knew was coming. His feet padded through soft sand as he sprinted down the beach, stopping near the waters edge. Behind him he could hear the beast make its way gently through the brambles and thin branches. It was in no hurry. Its quarry had stopped, and the time was near.

The Hunter’s deep breathing caught in his throat as the beast walked into the open sunlight. As tall as a man, and twice as long, its two long spear-like front teeth stretched down and back, curving underneath is massive jaw. Huge legs supported the barrel chest and boulder shoulders. Knife claws flicked in and out as the sabertooth contemplated how it was going to disembowel this particular catch. He had, after all, given it a good long chase and he deserved a hunter’s death. The Hunter slowly crouched and drew his obsidian knife. A foot long, and sharp enough to cut the air itself, it had severed the lifethread of many beasts and monsters. A low growl came from the Hunters throat as he peered at the sabertooth from under his heavy brow. The two animals looked at each other, replaying a scene that hadn't occurred for millennium. As quick as the chase was long, the sabertooth leaped at the hunter jaws open and claws outstretched. He had not time to ready himself, barely time to lift his blade to the beast’s heart before....nothing. Leaping over the Hunter, the sabertooth landed lightly behind, and quickly ducked its head, standing completely still.

Swiftly spinning around in his battlecrouch, knife ready, the Hunter saw the strangest sight he had ever seen. Back turned, the Sabertooth bowed in reverence to....whatever it was that was standing there. It was hard to tell. One moment it was man with the head of an elephant, the next it was the largest bear he had ever seen. Birds, beasts, monsters and men were all given shape in this ghostly form standing on the beach. The Hunter could feel the power emanating from it, and dropped to his knees beside the sabertooth. The figure spoke to them both, and though it wasn't always in words, and mostly in growls, whistles, barks and howls, they understood him perfectly. As day fell into night, the figure told them the tale of all the Ancient animals who had once ruled this world, when it was still young. Beasts of such ferocious strength and intelligence, only the Great Catastrophe could have killed them. But not all had died. Many had lain in wait and hibernation, waiting the day when they were called back by the patron of all Animals. Mightiest of all the beasts; Uruk.

"And so has that time come, Hunter. I call you to service, first and strongest of my followers. To you falls the duty of awaking all of my Beasts. To aid your search, I have summoned a hunter like yourself. Char can be a bit touchy, so I'd be a bit careful at first. But her nose is keener than any living thing on this world, and you'll need her to hunt out the Others. Now, return to your tribe. Tell them what I have told you. I will return to you soon. Good hunt." He grew a pair of golden wings, and flew upwards, dissolving into mist and illusion.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[Note: This is mostly a rewrite of existing work (as far as the ***, after which it's mostly my own addition, and strictly inferior IMO), I make no claims to having come up with this myself, and some lines are almost cut-and-paste. It fits what I need, though, and I was planning this piece as my reveal from the beginning.]

From the Great Above she heard it, calling from the Great Below. From the Great Above the spirit heard it, calling from the Great Below. From the Great Above Inana heard it, calling from the Great Below.

The queen abandoned heaven, abandoned earth, and descended to the underworld. Inana abandoned heaven, abandoned earth, and descended to the underworld.

She placed her crown upon her brow. Her black locks she arranged on her forehead. Small beads of lapis-lazuli she placed around her neck, and two loops of larger beads she hung down across her breast. She garbed herself in her royal robe, and fastened her golden breastplate across her chest. A golden ring she placed on her finger. She held her lapis rod and line.

She travelled the road along which none return, to the dark halls of the god of death, the house where those who enter never leave. They see no sun, and feed on dust, clothed in ash and shadow.

Inana came before the outer gate of Kur, and she knocked loudly.
-Open your door, keeper of the gate, she cried Open your door, open up! I come alone and seek entry!
-And who are you? asked the gatekeeper.
-I am Inana, going to the east.
-If you are Inana going to the east, the doorman asked, why has your heart made you a traveller of the road of no return?
-From the Above, my heart has heard the call of the Great Below. This is my reason.

Then the gatekeeper opened the first gate. He said to Inana: Come, Inana, and enter. And as she entered, the crown was lifted from her head.
-What is this? asked Inana.
-Be calm, for these are the customs of the underworld. You must not speak against the rites of the underworld.

They came to the second gate, and the gatekeeper opened it. When Inana entered, the beads of lapis-lazuli were removed from her neck.
-What is this? asked Inana.
-Be calm, for these are the customs of the underworld. You must not speak against the rites of the underworld.

They came to the third gate, and the gatekeeper opened it. When Inana entered, the double loop of beads was taken from her breast.
-What is this? asked Inana.
-Be calm, for these are the customs of the underworld. You must not speak against the rites of the underworld.

They came to the fourth gate, and the gatekeeper opened it. When Inana entered, breastplate was stripped from her chest.
-What is this? asked Inana.
-Be calm, for these are the customs of the underworld. You must not speak against the rites of the underworld.

When she entered the fifth gate, the golden ring was taken from her finger.
-What is this? asked Inana.
-Be calm, for these are the customs of the underworld. You must not speak against the rites of the underworld.

When she entered the sixth gate, the lapis rod and line were taken from her hand.
-What is this? asked Inana.
-Be calm, for these are the customs of the underworld. You must not speak against the rites of the underworld.

And when she entered the seventh gate, from her body the royal robe was removed.
-What is this? asked Inana.
-Be calm, for these are the customs of the underworld. You must not speak against the rites of the underworld.

Naked and bowed low, Inana entered the throne room of Irkalla. From the throne rose the god of death, the one who had called to her. From the darkness came the judges of death, and stood around her. They looked at her with the look of death. They spoke to her the word of anger. They shouted at her with the shout of guilt.

Their judgement passed, Inana fell, and when she rose it was as a corpse, raised up in the hands of the judges of the underworld, raised to hang upon a hook.

***

For three days the corpse hung within the hall of the god of death. For three days Inana hung, and heard the whispers of the god of death. For three days she hung, until the god of death spoke aloud: Bring us the corpse hanging on the hook. And he was given the corpse hanging on the hook.

He placed upon her lips the bread that gives life, and he sprinkled on her lips the water that gives life, and placed into her hand a blade of stone. And thus Inana rose.

When Inana left the underworld, she knew no food, knew no water. She ascended through the seven gates naked and clothed in ash. And when she had ascended from the underworld, she came across a shepherd who had witnessed her passage through the gate.
-How it it that you have ascended unscathed from the underworld? he asked.
-While I was in the Great Above, Inana answered, I heard the call from the Great Below, and so I answered. I descended through the seven gates, and at each gate my belongings were stripped from me, as is the custom of the city of the dead. And in the great hall the judges of the underworld looked upon me with the look of death, and spoke to me the word of anger, and shouted at me the shout of guilt, and I was made a corpse, and hung upon a hook. And after three days the god of death spoke, and I was taken from that hook, and he fed to me the bread of life, and fed to me the water of life, and I ascended from the underworld.

-What is it that he spoke? the shepherd asked, What is it that the god of death spoke to you?
-Who has ever ascended from the underworld, has ascended unscathed from the underworld, let her provide a substitute for herself.

And Inana looked at him, and it was the look of death. She spoke to him, and it was the word of anger. She shouted at him, and it was the shout of guilt. Inana held the stone blade in her hand, and she seized his heart.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“There is a light to every shadow. You must seek the good hidden in your misfortune.” The old man, sitting cross-legged by the muddy pool smiled serenely, spouting nonsense which Teralcar could not understand. He had traveled long and far, and was this – this – the only answer he would ever get?
He stood before the sitting old man, and his left hand went instinctively to his right shoulder – to where he once had had a right arm. The loss galled him, oh it so galled him; chaos, fate, whatever one wanted to call it had robbed him of his arm, his wife, and his unborn child at the same time. Fire filled his thoughts for a moment, and he recoiled. Sharp pain, a scream… with a strangled cry he tore himself back to the here and now, just in time to see the old man settling back serenely into his meditation, having already dismissed him from his thoughts. Teralcar clenched his fist until his knuckles were white. Was this really the wise man he had been told to find? The one who would make him whole again!? Flames blazed brightly again, but this time they ignited something, a smoldering rage which suddenly sprang to life. “A light to every shadow”? “Seek the good in your misfortune”? A flash – a young woman in her twenties, with long dark hair, and black eyes that were open wide with terror as flames rampaged around her, and between her and Teralcar… smoke in the air, ash on her cheeks, and the wail…
Stunned, Teralcar realized that somehow he now was standing over the old man, who lay crumpled on the floor, unconscious, a trickle of blood flowing from his mouth. His fist, he realized, was smarting… and he took a step backwards, suddenly horrified. What have I done? He asked himself, trembling, unclenching his fist and looking at the open hand as if he could find the answer there, then turning once more his gaze upon the unconscious man. What have I become?
“YOU ARE WHAT THE WORLD HAS MADE YOU INTO.” The voice echoed, strong and yet somehow slightly sorrowful, somehow both alien and familiar. Reeling, Teralcar looked around, believing someone had seen him... he did not know whether he would be relieved or frightened by the occurrence. But there was no one.
“Who’s there?!” He cried, and his voice was shaky. He felt cold, suddenly – he realized he didn’t know how strong he had struck the old man, and old men are frail. He wanted to turn, or to run… “HEAR ME, TERALCAR.” And this time, the voice was powerful, echoing inside his own skull. “Who are you!?” He screamed, turning around quickly, trying in vain to find the mysterious invader. “Help me, or leave me alone!”
“I HAVE COME TO DO NEITHER, TERALCAR.” The voice said, with perhaps a hint of… something Teralcar could not get. A bubbling sound, and Teralcar’s gaze was drawn to the muddy pool. The water was clear, now, like blue crystal, swirling faster and faster into a vortex, a great vortex which seemed to have no end, bottomless, with streaks of white across the blue of the water, mesmerizing, vast like infinity… Screaming, Teralcar raised his hand to cover his eyes, knowing instinctively that if he gazed any longer into that vortex, he would be forever lost. “What ARE you, damn you!?” He cried, and his voice now shook not from shock, but from fear.
“I AM THE ONE WHO HEARD YOUR PLEA.” Angrily, Teralcar shouted, “I made no plea! Go away!”
“YOUR PAIN ECHOES ACROSS THE CORRIDORS OF EXISTENCE. I HEARD YOUR CALL, AND I HAVE COME.”
“Who ARE YOU?!”
“I WILL BEAR MANY NAMES. YOU WILL CALL ME SAVIOR, AND DESTROYER. IN TRUTH… I AM BUT A GUARDIAN.”
The power of the voice was such that Teralcar sank on his knees, covering his face with his hand, trying vainly to escape the being that somehow kept him frozen in place. “GET AWAY FROM ME!” He cried, soul-wrenching, crumpling on the ground in despair.
“YOU HAVE CALLED ME, TERALCAR, AND I HAVE COME. I AM IN THIS WORLD, NOW, AND I SENSE THERE IS A NEED FOR ME, AS I HAVE NEED OF YOU. I OFFER YOU A CHOICE.”
Whimpering, tears flowing from his eyes, sapped of will and overwhelmed with fear, Teralcar shook and whispered, “Whatever choice do I have!?”
The voice was surprisingly gentle as it replied, “DO NOT FEAR ME. WE ARE BOUND, YOU AND I. SPREAD MY WORD, AND KNOW ITS MEANING.” The voice hesitated, then spoke again. “I SAID I HAVE NOT COME TO HELP YOU, TERALCAR, BUT THIS IS NOT ENTIRELY TRUE. I AM HERE TO HELP ALL. I AM HERE TO GUARD YOU ALL. REALITY IS AS FRAGILE AS GLASS AND AS STRONG AS STONE. BUT KNOW THIS, MY PROPHET: FOR THOSE WHO FOLLOW CEANUSAR, REALITY IS WHAT THEY MAKE OF IT.”
Even as the last words still echoed in Teralcar’s head, everything turned to black, and then suddenly light bloomed into an explosion which blinded him. Instinctively, he raised his hand to shield his eyes – and it took him time to realize it was his right hand. He blinked, trembling and unbelieving, pinched his right arm and felt pain – blessed pain! He looked around and saw that the light that had blinded him had simply been the sun; he was not far from his home, somehow, though he remembered – distinctly remembered – the old man and his words. What were those words? Why had he gone there? There was… something he had lost…
“Dad!” The silvery laughter of his daughter delighted him as she ran bare-footed towards, him, arms outstretched to hug him. He swept her up, and it was only when she asked, “Dad, why are you crying?” that he felt tears down his cheeks. His wife beamed at him from the window, and his heart skipped a beat. Why was he crying, why did it feel as if he had not seen them in a long, long while, while he had just left the house this morning to look for firewood? And look, he had found none… but he would go again tomorrow, and the weather was getting warmer. Still holding his daughter tightly, he entered the threshold of his house.

---------------------

That night, he leaned on the windowsill and looked at the starry sky. He was happy, surely the happiest and luckiest man in the world. A beautiful and loving wife, an adorable daughter… Life had been good with him. But then… why did he feel sad, why did he feel –
His thoughts were suddenly shattered as the stars seemed to move, quickly, coalescing into a vortex of blue and white, a bottomless whirlpool… And he remembered everything. The arson, the flames, the wood pinning his arm to the ground, his pregnant wife cowering in the corner, flames raging, and the screams, the burning tears… the kitchen knife on the floor, and the blood, and the pain…
“YOU ALONE REMEMBER.” The voice – the voice which he now well remembered – spoke to him again. “Is this… is this all a dream?” Teralcar asked in a frightful whisper, fearing that all would be shattered upon waking.
“I AM NOT THE DREAMLORD.”
“Then… then what is it? They… they were dead, my little Elyne didn’t even take her first breath! What are they, spirits?! Evil spirits?!”
“I AM NOT THE SOULTAKER.” The voice seemed to be amused, now.“YOU HAVE LITTLE FAITH, TERALCAR. DID I NOT TELL YOU WHO I AM? THIS IS REALITY, NOW, AND THEIR DEATH THE DREAM. I HAVE AWAKENED YOU FROM THAT DREAM, MY PROPHET.”
“You…” Teralcar shuddered. “You brought them back to life…?”
“I AM NOT THE LIFEGIVER. NO, TERALCAR. THE FIRE NEVER WAS, AND THEREFORE THEY NEVER DIED.”
“But… but I remember it!”
“BECAUSE I WANT YOU TO. BECAUSE I WILL NOT COERCE YOU TO BE MY PROPHET. YOUR WIFE AND DAUGHTER LIVE, YOUR ARM WAS NEVER LOST. THE FIRE NEVER OCCURRED. REALITY IS NOT IMMUTABLE, ANY MORE THAN DREAMS ARE SHAPELESS.”
Stunned, Teralcar did not know what to say. He swallowed, opened his mouth, then closed it again. Finally, he whispered, “What… what do you want of me… my lord?”
“A TIME WILL COME WHEN WE SHALL STAND FACE TO FACE, AND ALL YOUR QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED. BUT FOR NOW, MY PROPHET, I WISH YOU TO SPREAD WORD OF MY COMING, AND TO HERALD MY WORK IN THE WORLD.”
“But… but why me? Surely there must be others…”
“BECAUSE WE ARE BOUND, YOU AND I. YOU CALLED ME HERE. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE YOUR STRENGTH, MY PROPHET – YOU SHALL NEED IT, AND I SHALL TEACH YOU SECRETS TO HARNESS IT. THE WORLD IS VAST, MY PROPHET, AND FRAUGHT WITH DANGERS; I HAVE COME TO SAVE IT FROM THE ENCROACHING CHAOS.”
“And… what shall I call you, lord?”
“IN THIS WORLD, I SHALL BE KNOWN AS CEANUSAR.”
Teralcar bowed his head in acknowledgement. His thoughts spun wildly, like the vortex of stars, and yet he knew without the shadow of a doubt that the voice was speaking the truth. And he felt in it a sadness he could not even conceive, a sorrow which he could not understand. But understand it or not, he felt the connection the voice spoke of. In the unnatural silence of this night, he heard the soft breathing of his wife in their bed, the turning and tossing of his little Elyne having a bad dream… and he knew what he would do. If this was reality now, and he was rejoined with them, he owed it to Ceanusar, not to those who had instead exhorted him to accept the unacceptable. That reality they had wanted him to believe in, and which he had refused. His wife, his child… they were not illusions, he knew it deep in his heart. He knew, too, that Ceanusar would not use them for blackmail: the god – he was a god – would no stoop so low. And so he knew, too, where his loyalty now lay.
He smiled, and looked at the endless vortex of stars.
“So be it, my lord.”
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lucien la Chance sat calmly on his throne, waiting for the poison to take hold of him. Visions of the past ran swiftly through his head, his insanity relentless even in the face of death. And how relentlessly it pursued him now. Flitting through his skull, the dim memories of his life beat upon his soul; his vicious rise to power, the bloody beginnings of his tyrannical rule, the tortured screams of his subjects as he murdered their families, the birth of his son, and the severance of his son’s head by his own hands. Lucien snapped forward, his memories briefly fading in the presence of the pain in his abdomen. With the poison writhing in his intestines, Lucien glanced at the many bodies around him, his eyes coming to rest on the form of his queen. Were his hands the un-doer of Scylla la Chance? wondered Lucien. Lucien found he could not remember the events of the last few moments.

The muffled sounds of battle on the parapets did little to distract Lucien from his personal hell. The revolting peasants were far too numerous for the few guards still loyal to Lucien. The cries of anarchy and revolution were increasingly audible; shouts of “death to the Necromancer King!” becoming a rallying cry as the mob pushed forward. Lucien judged with satisfaction that the poison will have already done its work before the mob enters the throne room.

Lucien spat out blood, grinning at the realization that he had finally escaped. In a few moments Lucien would at last slip out of life’s cruel grasp. His attempts to control and manipulate the power of life had been his only reason to hold on to life at all. Instead of cheating life, his experimentation and magic only served to end his life. As Lucien slipped from his throne, his mental faculties began to fail, the memories and insanity began to falter, and for the first time in his long reign as king, he felt a sort of bliss.

Lucien snapped to consciousness. In horror he realized his failing faculties were restored, and the poison no longer consumed his vitality. By some horrible unknown, life had been thrust unwillingly upon him. Lucien cursed his fate, assuming his weaved magics had performed some utility after all. However as his mind cleared, Lucien gradually became aware of staggering paradoxes in his new life. He no longer drew breath. The air held no life, no qi, no prana, no spiritus vitalus for Lucien. His heart had ceased to pump life through his veins. Above all else, he felt hunger.

At once a voice sounded in Lucien’s ear, “There will be no rest for you, Lucien. With so much left undone.”

Simultaneously, the doors of the throne room were thrust open with a resounding boom. Pouring through the archway was a multitude of make-shift soldiers, peasants who had once served Lucien. They reeled at the horror in front of them.

Lucien was kneeled on the floor, draining his queen of blood. The Necromancer King had truly become an abomination, a monster inconceivable in even the darkest of nightmares. As Lucien arose, the peasants fell to the ground, powerless and overwhelmed by the dark majesty radiating from their king. Fangs bared and sword in hand, King Lucien la Chance turned to the mob gathered around him.

“Come, my subjects. Surely you intend to reap what you have sown.”
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Part III - The Rest

Last edited by Erd on Sat Nov 21, 2009 11:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sleep. I’ve been sleeping. So long. How long? And dreaming. Dreaming of my beloved husband. So full of love, my husband. So strong. So good. Such sacrifice for those he loved. And he loved me most of all. Come, my love, embrace me once more…..

I dream of a place of green grass and old forests. I dream of a great library. It’s vague. I see it in pink marble. I hear a clock. I look over and a large clock of the finest work occupies the main hall of the library. Next to the clock is a statue. A woman in blue turquoise. Yes! I remember. Hedra. Simjen.

My dreams are disturbed. I hear sounds – far away – pulling at my consciousness. No! I want to stay here in the arms of my LOVE as we gaze upon this beauty. But no. The sounds wake me. Wake me from my long sleep……

I hear…..I hear. Murmuring? I hear voices. Human voices. They speak not to me but to each other. Curious. They should be speaking to me.

The voices pull me further into consciousness. I struggle to waken. I’ve slept for so long. I open my eyes and see nothing. But, there, next to me is my beloved. He sleeps still, deep in unconsciousness. He is beautiful to behold in his perfection. I want to stare at him for all eternity but the voices distract me and I look away.

I pause to listen, silent, wondering if the voices will continue. I feel I must investigate. I must follow the voices and see where they will lead me. I look back to my husband. I kiss him. “Sleep peacefully, my love,” I say to him. “I will return momentarily.”

The voices lead me out of the darkness and there before me, I see a new land. It is beautiful and yet simple. Sparse. Yet, so open to opportunity. My eyes glow with the possibilities. My sudden excitement brings me to full consciousness.

I look at this new land closer. I see vast fields of wealth in its deep seas and rolling hills. I see abundance in the skies. I smell the richness of earth.

I hear the humans of this land call it Aesir.

I travel through the cities unseen to human eyes, walking into houses and sitting with the humans. I listen to their thoughts and words, reveling in sounds of their voices.

Through their villages, I look over their marketplaces, the goods they are selling. I touch the softness of lamb’s wool. I delight in the colors of the apples. I savor the scent of spices and herbs. I giggle at the site of children playing and laughing.

Oh, how I wish Bhakti could see this!

And then, I see him. Or, rather, he sees me! I know his name immediately. Richard. He stares at me behind his table of wares. I walk toward his stall, holding his gaze in mine. He stutters, unable to voice his thoughts at the sight of a goddess. “My lady,” he says. I smile and break my gaze to peruse his goods.

He quickly grabs a goblet and fills it with wine and offers it to me. I take the goblet from his shaking hand and take a sip – it is of the finest quality I have ever tasted. I smile my pleasure at him as he stammers the story of the wine – made from grapes grown in the warmest climate to the east and crushed by the feet of virgins. I laugh a little at this ham-handed sales pitch. Richard only stares at me, mouth agog.

He has silks on his table. They are brightly colored and soft, made with gold thread. His products are of the highest quality and displayed well. He has perfumes and oils and kohl in artistic glass bottles. Rare ivory and furniture. Luxury goods including gold jewelry with precious stones. He has large men working for him who would cut off the hand of any vagabond who would try to steal the merchandise.

A particular ring catches my eye.

It is a gold ring with a large sapphire in the center. Quite unique. It matches my eyes.

Richard comes around the table and takes the ring from me. He holds my hand and places the ring on my finger.

“My lady, forgive my boldness. I am not worthy of your grace and beauty. Please accept this ring as a sign of my devotion. I am but a humble merchant. But, I know you. I know who you are.”

I look at him, flattered that I hadn’t been forgotten.

“And who am I?”

“You are the goddess.”

“Then, Richard, pack your goods and come with me. I will teach you to be my voice.”

Richard shouted orders to his dumb struck henchmen and quickly packed his goods as I walked away through the marketplace and out of town. He followed me, his eyes never off my back.

**************************************

Those in the marketplace looked questioningly at Richard as he rushed out of town. The villagers stirred as he passed them. They were quite convinced he had gone mad. They had seen him in the marketplace without one customer all day. No one had even approached his stall. His goods were nice but they were far too expensive for them. Suddenly, he had packed his goods and abruptly left.

He had been talking to the air.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pubwa Gnome-friend was on his last leg of life; he had been dropped in the tundra by his fellow merchants taking the trip out to the remote towns that lay at its heart. He had absolutely no chance of survival and at best, thought he would live for a couple hours more. Trying to make it to some source of warmth he trudged along; only the will to survive keeping him going. Then he couldn't go any further collapsing in the freezing powder that marked this region. Just as the corners of his vision went black he felt a source of warmth coming from under the thin layer of ice, he didn't know where he got the energy but he dug with all his might trying desperately to reach his last hope.

Finally when he had all but given up he grasped a thin piece of Elders iron wood and his vision went black. Little did Pubwa know he had been saved by Gananna the god of music and that thin piece of mystic wood was a magically crafted flute. that night a well dressed gnome came to him in a dream explaining that he had been watching him for a period of time and that he had chosen him for his profit to seek out his will on Narie. the next morning Pubwa woke up on the worm stone of the tundra a circle of snow had been melted around him keeping him alive, he knew then and there that he had not just had a silly dream and that he had to pass on the word of Gananna who he would serve now and forever.
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