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Pantheon - The Third Age - Game Thread
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Xar
Pantheon AllFather

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 6:59 pm    Post subject: Pantheon - The Third Age - Game Thread Reply with quote

In the end, the gods of old left, and the world was forsaken. So the ancient tomes say, though some believe that the gods sacrificed themselves for us. The truth is lost, but in the end there were no more gods. The people were left to themselves in a world broken by anger and threatened by the unknown, scarred by malice and evil; slowly, with the passing of an Age, they made this new, unfamiliar world into their home. Moonbridges spanned the Abyss, and majestic drakes were used to ride the winds by those who could afford it. It was truly a time of wonder, and yet danger was never far, for the Abyss was not quiet - something lurked in it, and from time to time hellish creatures would rise to smash the Icewalls and wreak havoc, before they could be thrown back into the gap that generated them. And mortals looked up to the sky and said, "Come back, for we have kept the faith and held the bargain!"; and from the empty sky, as it has always been and always will be, there came voices in answer...

PANTHEON STATISTICS

Anaya, the Grey Goddess, Goddess of Divination STATUS UNKNOWN
Court and House: Unaligned Aether
Divine Rank 9
Major Domain: Fate
Minor Domains: None
Number of Followers: 250,388 (Houka)
Contentment: 5
Holy Symbol: A grey eye.
Dogma: When you reach a crossroad
Fate is the path you choose to walk
And Fate is the path down which you are thrust/
Fate is as permanent as the earth itself
Yet as fleeting as the winds that scour its surface
Like the waters Fate may both nourish and destroy
And as the flame its gifts are both warmth or pain/
Through Fate may all things be heard, by those who have an ear to hear
And through Fate may all things be seen, by those that have an eye to see
And through Fate may all things be known, by those whose mind is open to such knowledge/
Yet Fate will not provide light that you may find your way in the darkness
Nor will Fate provide darkness that you may not be blinded by the light
For Fate is a child of the shadow, the narrow edge where light and darkness meet/
And along that edge
Between night and day
Life and death
Good and evil
Fall the feet of Fate in its eternal dance/
Some of what was, and is, and yet may be
May be gleaned by those who would follow in the wake of Fate
Seeking to learn its steps
Contact Information: thegreygoddess(AT)gmail(DOT)com or [url=kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/privmsg.php?mode=post&u=3058]PM Anaya[/url]

Arcadia, the Goddess of Love
Court and House: Unaligned Aether
Divine Rank 6
Major Domain: Love
Minor Domains: -
Number of Followers: 29,290 (Humans)
Contentment: 9
Holy Symbol: Ruby heart.
Dogma: Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. There is no fear in love; for perfect love cast out fear.
Contact Information: calais(AT)yahoo(DOT)com and [url=kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/privmsg.php?mode=post&u=2943]PM Arcadia[/url]

Argothoth, The Ancient One, Master of the Living, God of Death
Court and House: Unaligned Earth
Divine Rank 6
Major Domain: Death
Minor Domains: -
Number of Followers: 30,443 (Shardspawned undead)
Contentment: 4
Holy Symbol: A shield of bone with a skull.
Dogma: Death is the threshold through which life eternal is reached. Saving Eiran is the main reason for existing. Embrace Death as the best means towards this goal.
Contact Information: mephiston(DOT)eldorian(AT)gmail(DOT)com and [url=kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/privmsg.php?mode=post&u=2068]PM Argothoth[/url]

Bel, the Great God, The Great Lord, Walker of the True Path STATUS UNKNOWN
Court and House: Sunrise Water
Divine Rank 6 CRISIS OF THE FAITH
Major Domain: Peace
Minor Domains: Oblivion
Number of Followers: 80,259 (Fallen Ones)
Contentment: 9
Holy Symbol: Winged sun disk
Dogma: The only true path is that of peace. Violence is an abomination; there can be no true peace until all violence is ended. The world shall come to know this truth.
Contact Information: TheGreatGodBel(AT)gmail(DOT)com or [url=kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/privmsg.php?mode=post&u=2944]PM Bel[/url]

Brid, the Outcast
Court and House: Sunrise Water
Divine Rank 10
Major Domain: Outcasts
Minor Domains: None
Number of Followers: 418,357 (Humans)
Contentment: 8
Holy Symbol: An X
Dogma: You are more important than your community. If a community has an issue with you, that is their problem, not yours.
Contact Information: [url=kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/privmsg.php?mode=post&u=2684]PM Brid[/url]

Koel, The Timeless One, The Patient Passage
Court and House: Sunset Aether
Divine Rank 8
Major Domain: Time
Minor Domains: None
Number of Followers: 219,541 (Weredolphs)
Contentment: 10
Holy Symbol: What amounts to a plus sign with arrows at each directional tip and a circle around the middle.
Dogma: You are when, if not soon or then?
There is an age for all hap, but only just that.
Let's savor this impermanence, Eiran,
For not even the gods themselves...
Well, the only certainty is time's patient passage forward.
Contact Information: [url=kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/privmsg.php?mode=post&u=3260]PM Koel[/url]

Madadeva, Lord of Desire, Unholy Thirst, the Dark Lord of the Shadow Sea, God of Desire, Decadence and Mutation
Court and House: Sunset Aether
Divine Rank 6
Major Domain: Desire
Minor Domains: Decadence, Mutation
Number of Followers: 121,199 (Humans)
Contentment: 3
Holy Symbol: ?
Dogma: Desire gives meaning to existence. And through Me you will find the path to all your desires! Rejoice in the gift of Decadence that I have bestowed upon you! And through Me any of your desires is but a transition to the next. Through Me, the best of you will achieve Desire's Endl!!
Contact Information: devaguhya(AT)yahoo(DOT)com and [url=kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/privmsg.php?mode=post&u=2946]PM Madadeva[/url]

Mirificus Casus, Lord of Adventurers
Court and House: Sunrise Fire
Divine Rank 7
Major Domain: Adventurers
Minor Domains: -
Number of Followers: 37,089 (Various)
Contentment: 2
Holy Symbol: Silver three dimensional compass rose encircled by a jade ring.
Dogma: "Adventurers, ho!
Follow me to gain strength and power
with which to quest after excitement and wealth,
without unintentionally damaging others existence
or the peace you will find when you come to your rest."
Contact Information: [url=kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/privmsg.php?mode=post&u=4088]PM Marificus Casus[/url]

Moxinomal, Mox, the Mischievous Jester, Patron of Madness STATUS UNKNOWN
Court and House: Unaligned Fire
Divine Rank 8
Major Domain: Madness
Minor Domains: Nightmares, Fear
Number of Followers: 148,824 (Humans)
Contentment: 10
Holy Symbol: A half-black, half-red jester's mask with four twisting spires.
Dogma: "Madness is not the end of civility. It is the beginning of true enlightenment. When you finally hear the voices inside you, that is when you can truly let your life begin."
Contact Information: Moxinomal(AT)gmail(DOT)com

The Numen, Whisperers of Lore, Secret-Keepers, the Fractured Ones, the Manymind
Court and House: Sunset Aether
Divine Rank 6
Major Domain: Knowledge
Minor Domains: Undeath
Number of Followers: 42,522 (Vangoryth)
Contentment: 9
Holy Symbol: Seven scrolls arranged in a heptagon.
Dogma: We are knowledge. The only knowledge is contained within the minds of mortals and gods alike; the Manymind is the key to that knowledge. We are many and we are one. Seek us, and you shall find the knowledge that eludes you.
Contact Information: [url=kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/privmsg.php?mode=post&u=4099]PM The Numen[/url]

O-gon-cho, the Flickering Flame, the Mother of Healing
Court and House: Sunrise Fire
Divine Rank 9
Major Domain: Light
Minor Domains: Healing, Birth
Number of Followers: 264,567 (Centaurs)
Contentment: 2
Holy Symbol: A dragon's egg containing a fiery cosmos that also is a draconic embryo.
Dogma: Where Will and Freedom meet, seek the Heart of the Flame. For Will and Freedom bring the Heart of the Flame to Light.
Contact Information: heartoftheflame(AT)gmail(DOT)com and [url=kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/privmsg.php?mode=post&u=2707]PM O-gon-cho[/url]

Simjen, The Smith, God of Fire and the Forge
Court and House: Unaligned Fire
Divine Rank 8
Major Domain: Fire
Minor Domains: Metals
Number of Followers: 86,234 (Dwarrows)
Contentment: 10
Holy Symbol: A burning anvil.
Dogma: The followers of Simjen strive to create and improve, both within and without, with the power of the purifying flame and the might of their arms and their minds.
Contact Information: simjen.the.smith(AT)gmail(DOT)com and [kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/privmsg.php?mode=post&u=2448]PM Simjen[/url]

uKulwa, God of War
Court and House: Unaligned Fire
Divine Rank 11
Major Domain: War
Minor Domains: None
Number of Followers: 904,402 (Humans)
Contentment: 10
Holy Symbol: Crossed Assegais, on a field, Leopard skin.
Dogma: All life is a struggle, and all struggle is War.
Contact Information: ukulwa(AT)gmail(DOT)com and [url=kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/privmsg.php?mode=post&u=2956]PM uKulwa[/url]

The Unknowable, The Greatest Mystery, The Ultimate Enigma, Shaper of Chaos
Court and House: Sunrise Fire
Divine Rank 6
Major Domain: Magic
Minor Domains: Chaos
Number of Followers: 28,865 (Humans)
Contentment: 6
Holy Symbol: A complicated black swirl.
Dogma: Master the ways of your won soul and learn yourself; master yourself and learn the magic within; master the magic within and learn the magic without; master the magic without and transcend all that is.
Contact Information: [url=kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/privmsg.php?mode=post&u=4074]PM the Unknowable[/url]

Zephyr, the Verdant Lord
Court and House: Unaligned Earth
Divine Rank 9
Major Domain: Forests
Minor Domains: Nature, Insects
Number of Followers: 527,060 (Tree Elders)
Contentment: 10
Holy Symbol: A golden tree on a green field.
Dogma: The Forests are all! They are a realm - a world - unto themselves. The Life concentrated within them is massive. The Wisdom of the Trees is sublime. They are the source of Healing. They are Silence, and Contemplation. They are the All.
Contact Information: sonofbhaktiandjove(AT)hotmail(DOT)com and [url=kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/privmsg.php?mode=post&u=3109]PM Zephyr[/url]


COURTS
Sunrise Court DR: 6
Sunset Court DR: 1


EIRAN'S YEAR
Winter: Month 1, Month 2, Month 3
Spring: Month 4, Month 5, Month 6
Summer: Month 7, Month 8, Month 9
Autumn: Month 10, Month 11, Month 12


Last edited by Xar on Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:27 am; edited 66 times in total
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God of Forests. Son of Bhakti and Jove.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the entry on Tree Elders, in the Encyclopedia Silva:
Quote:
Tree Elders are a peace-loving race of stout tree-like beings resembling old stumps, blessed with tremendous affinity for forests and jungles. They are also largely unknown to the world's inhabitants, and are usually thought to be the stuff of fairy-tale by those who have heard the term Tree Elder. However, they do exist. Their absence on the world scene is due to the simple fact that they are profoundly unlike nearly every other race. Physically, they are immobile. Traveling to other lands is an impossibility. Of even greater importance is the fact that, mentally and emotionally, Tree Elders are vastly more akin to trees than to any other living thing. Communication is never less than extremely difficult, and often impossible. How does one talk to a tree? And what would a tree say to, say, a human? After, "Please don't chop me down," there is little that interests both species enough to bother continuing the conversation.



[Note: The following is translated from the language of the Tree Elders. The speech of trees cannot be translated perfectly into any other language, nor can the few languages that can get a glimpse of it get more than a glimpse. Therefore, any translation must be, as the saying goes, taken with a grain of salt. The depth of the translator's knowledge of the Tree Elders is as unknowable as the Tree Elders themselves are. How does one interpret the mood of individual trees? Playful? Somber? Angry?]

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

Deep in the heart of Vor-ta-vor, the 20-ish-looking man was sneaking up on the stump. True, he was doing a superb job of it; completely silent, perfect balance, full control... Still, it was a stump. And yet, when he was within a couple arms-lengths, the stump said, "Hello, Zephyr."

The young man put on a very staged look of disappointment, and said, "Oh, Father, I thought I had you that time!" Then, he started laughing.

Zephyr always called individual Tree Elders Father, and Azver had long since stopped trying to talk him out of it. Despite the origin of the Tree Elders, it was far from accurate. "It is not merely extremely difficult to sneak up on a Tree Elder in a Forest; it is outright impossible. Even for you. If I searched, I could feel your presence anywhere in Vor-ta-vor. After all this time, why do you not understand this?!"

"After all this time, why do you not understand how much fun it is to pull your... uh, root?" Zephyr countered, laughing again.

"And is that why you have chosen to visit me today?" asked the Elder.

With a look of resigned sadness, Zephyr very quietly answered, "No."

His tone made Azver take notice. "What is it?"

"Things are, uh, changing. Very soon."

"Vor-ta-vor has whispered of great changes, but I have not been able to learn anything specific. Do you know more?"

"Yes," Zephyr said, with a small smile. "The Interdiction is ending. The gods are returning."

The Elder thought for long seconds. "And this is not root-pulling?"

"No. I feel it, in my soul. After all, my parents..." he trailed off.

"Very well. Things will change. Possibly considerably. We will be as the Trees in a storm; bending under the force of the wind until we learn how to stand fast."

Zephyr smiled. "You are wise, as always, Father."

"So what troubles you, Eldest?"

"When the gods return, I'll be leaving you. Sort of."

"'Sort of.'" Azver echoed. "How so?"

"I'll be joining them. I'm going to Ascend."

If a Tree Elder could show surprise, Azver's would be visible a league away. "You are going to become a god?!? How do you intend to do this?!"

"With the help of this," Zephyr said, reaching into his pouch. He pulled out a rather large chunk of a gem. It was obviously a fragment of what must have been a very large gem. It was also the most unusual color - red and blue, with a clear division of the colors. As though two pieces of the different colors, each with a flat surface, had been stuck together at the flat surfaces. But the joining was flawless beyond words, so it truly looked like a single stone.

"What is that!" gasped the Elder. "Though I could not before, I now feel its power quite clearly!"

"I was masking its power because I wanted to get this far without it. It's a piece of the Herzwald."

If a stump could topple over in surprise... "The Herzwald?!? The mythological gem..." he began.

"Tree Elders are mythological creatures," Zephyr interrupted, with a grin.

"Fair enough. But... The Herzwald?!?"

"Yes. You know it's true. You can feel its power. How could you not, Father?"

Azver sighed again, but admitted, "I cannot deny its power."

"I may be the son of gods, but I didn't feel the end of the Interdiction approaching until I found this fragment. And I learned something else."

"How to Ascend."

"How to Ascend." Zephyr took a couple slow breaths. "I can absorb this fragment. It will turn to dust, and blow away. But the might that its creator put into it, the unimaginable power my father channeled through it during an extraordinary battle, and the power his Prohpet channeled through it when it was shattered... Well, even this fragment retains enough power. It will merge with my soul, and raise me to godhood."

"I understand." Azver paused. "And what will you do, once you have become a god?"

"Ah, my young friend, what will we do!" Zephyr smiled broadly.

"We?"

"Father, I need you. There's no way a god can do everything that needs to be done. There are many things that are absolutely necessary, but do not require divine power to accomplish. And I'll need someone to tell my followers my will. I need a Prophet, Azver (You didn't think I knew your name, did you! Very Happy), and there's nobody I know or trust as much as you." He stopped talking, looking patiently at the Tree Elder.

Eventually, Azver's branches shook in what Zephyr knew to be an agreement.

"I knew I could count on you! Here's what we'll do..." And Zephyr talked long about his vision for the Forests.

After Zephyr was done speaking, Azver was silent for a time, pondering all that he had been told. Finally, he spoke. "Zephyr?"

"Hmm?"

"When you are god to the Tree Elders, and I your Prophet, do you think you will continue to call me Father?"
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O-gon-cho
G-ddess of Ego and Angst *sigh*


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the end of the Second Age

O-gon-cho remains manifested next to Raucous' side as the dragons all depart for their own weyrs and homes. Turning to him she addresses him solemnly.

"Raucous…"

"My Lady."

"I have no choice in the matter, I must go with the rest of the Pantheon. So I asked the L-rd and Lady of Life for a blessing to enable you to stay forever with me. I have attempted a lot these previous weeks, an entire season in fact, and am unsure of what power I hold within myself.. If my own remaining power is still strong enough to grant this to you, do you wish this? Or do you wish to remain behind with Taleyah?"

"Taleyah is dear to me My Lady, but you and I are one. Where you go, I go, if you desire me with you."

"Then let us fly together one last time over the lands of Sirocco and Immeril, to set it in our minds until the Interdiction ends."


And as the Sun rises upon the dunes surrounding the oasis of O-gon-cho's hatching, she and Raucous fly off, eventually both vanishing into thin air as O-gon-cho releases her manifestation and returns to her realm.
********************************************************************

Raucous stretches and looks around him. His Lady is off again, taking advantage of the freedom to wander bestowed by the interdiction on them both. He wonders what strange and curious tales of people she will regale him with when she returns. He long ago tired of observing others without getting involved in their affairs, but his Lady had an insatiable curiosity. He himself longs for Eiran, and the comfort and familiarity of weyr and kin. Shaking his head, he resigns himself to accepting that going home is still far off and he settles in meditation Senex taught him millennia ago as he awaits O-gon-cho’s return.

He feels her even before her telepathic birdsong reaches him. Her excitement is palpable, more so than usual upon the return from a journey. These must have been truly fascinating subjects to observe; his Lady hasn’t been this aquiver in years.

Slowly he returns from his meditative state, and upon opening his eyes O-gon-cho’s lilting tones penetrate his awareness.

Raucous, do you hear them? Is it real? I’ve dreamed for so long of the call…”

My Lady, calm down. You’re too excited and are not making sense. Hear what? What call?

Then you are not hearing it? Perhaps it is because of who it is. Listen…”

And suddenly Raucous hears the sound he had only heard once before, at the Hatching of his beloved. The birdsong of the golden birds of O-gon-cho’s maternal line. It is faint, oh so faint, but it calls to her, willing her to return to the oasis of her hatching…
****************************************************************

The clouds parted, and the star and moon light came streaming down upon the herd of Centaurs cantering in the Shylan desert. They were far from their home within the trees near Zendra, but they were guided always by their visions. At the head of the herd, Leier felt the primal pull of the streaming white light, but he had disciplined himself through years of esoteric practices to only allow the mystic power of the light to draw his soul up tempting trails when he chose the time, not when chance allowed the light to cross his path. But he knew not all in the herd had this discipline, especially the foals. Casting a glance over his shoulders, he saw that it was as he suspected: the colts and fillies had stopped stock still about 500 yards back, facing due East, and were staring mesmerized up at the night sky, some of them already sejant. The white light fell streaming on their withers and barrels, causing their varied-colored coats to glimmer and shine.

Whistling shrilly to stop the herd, Leier instructed the stallions to set camp, and asked the mares to gather firewood. Knowing the strength of the enchantment of the light on the foals, he well suspected that travel for the night was done. Better to continue the lessons on self-discipline with the young when the lessons would be most effective, while the light tempted them astray. As the stallions and mares fell into their nightly routine, Leier trotted back towards the foals.

Approaching the foals with purposeful clatter, Leier noticed nearly every foal shake off the majority of the spell upon them as they became aware of him. The older colts and fillies wore sheepish grins; they had already been taught practices to prevent them from being mesmerized unawares and they were embarrassed to be caught indulging their senses. Leier knew he would not have to worry about that class for awhile. For some of the younger ones, this was a first experience. The mists generally covered the night sky, and such an event was a rare occurrence. If it held, once camp was set and the evening meal consumed, a communal Light Journey would most likely be held, instead of the nightly rest. Perhaps the light would help them in reaching a consensus on their final destination.

Nickering softly to the younger foals, he set them off towards the night’s camp. Then he noticed Etsiä, one of the older fillies, still looking up towards the Moon. Her chestnut coat gleamed, and her raven hair streamed down her back, lightly caressing her withers. Leier approached reverently; Etsiä’s beauty blossomed radiantly as she matured and her intellect and playful demeanor towards him gave him hope of a reciprocating interest.

As he approached, he was taken slightly aback. Etsiä was not still entranced by the star or moonlight, but was gazing intently at a single moonbeam shaft that highlighted some dunes of the desert miles off in the distance. Barely nodding, she acknowledged his presence and then asked softly, “Did you see them as well?”

“See to whom? Your fellow foals? Of course. They are headed off to camp. As should we…”

Etsiä shook her head ever so slightly. “No,” she whispered. “Not see to them. Did you see them? The two beings of light which rode this moonbeam down to where it touches the dunes?”

Leier’s eyes opened wide. He has seen nothing, and so far no one else had mentioned anything of the sort. “Etsiä… What did you see?”

Reluctantly breaking her gaze from the moonbeam, Etsiä turned her emerald green eyes to gaze directly into Leier’s soft brown ones. He knew by her action that she intended to speak Truth to him, and knew her response meant she did not expect to be believed.

“I was cantering with my group when the clouds broke apart and the light streams capered enticingly among us. Like the others, I too stopped and allowed my senses to leave me, to ride the beams and follow the myriad paths of motes and specks; of possibilities and dreams.

“Then suddenly I brusquely returned to myself, yet my eyes were trained on yonder beam. A mote was at the very farthest point along it, then it grew bigger and split into two separate motes. These motes became distinct shapes; one a huge bird of flame, the other…”

She stopped. She kept the gaze of Truth trained upon Leier, but he could tell even she doubted what she was about to say.

“…the other was a huge bronze dragon,” she whispered, awed herself at what she believed she had seen. “As they approached the surface, he brought forth his own burst of flame from his mouth. And then they disappeared, beyond those dunes there…

“You didn’t see them?” she asked hesitantly, her gaze breaking and worry clouding the clarity of the emerald.

Leier listened, his heart beating louder and stronger as her tale went on. His own teachings had included ancient myths of the long gone deities of the past. Eiran had been without deities for centuries, perhaps millennia, ever since the second shattering of the world. Even so, hidden within those myths was the occasional mention of a G-ddess of Light, who loved the race of dragons and ascended one to be her prophet. He would need to go into a deep trance to recall those tales from his apprenticeship; yet he felt sure Etsiä would have never heard them which reinforced the impact of her Truth-telling to him.

Instinctively, without a thought of possibly scaring her off, he reached out and drew her into an embrace. Although unseen to his eyes, her trembling was intense. He tightened his embrace, and she drew closer, laying her raven covered head upon his chest and closing her emerald orbs. They stood that way for a time, and her trembling slowly stilled. Eventually she brought her head up and again gazed at him, this time in a totally different way then before. “Thank you,” she whispered.
**************************************************************

The water tumbled softly among the rocks of the grotto, and as Raucous rubbed his hide along some of the larger rocks, he came to realize just how much sensory deprivation he had endured over the centuries. He hadn’t known that one spot along his left wing joint had itched liked that! He knew the mantle of mortality was once more being draped upon him, and he welcomed it as the gift he had come to learn it was.

The sound of sand skittering drew his attention. Though minute in volume among the expected sounds of the creatures which lived within his Lady’s oasis, the unexpectedness of the sound drew his attention. It had come from the far side of the dunes beyond the limits of the oasis, and he guessed that whatever had caused it had done so in error. The reptilian creases of his mouth turned up ever so slightly at the corners; barely 24 hours had passed since he and his Lady had returned to Eiran, and already his life’s work was once again upon him.

With a sigh, he regretfully pushed himself away from the rock face. His hide will be seen to later, perhaps with some purified rendered and scented oil to smear upon it after it was thoroughly cleansed. Wading deeper into the azure waters of the lagoon, he settled himself to await the appearance of those who approached.
******************************************************************

Leier stopped suddenly. He glanced over his shoulder towards Etsiä and saw the chagrined look on her face. Her misstep most likely gave their approach away, but he had doubt that they would have been unexpected even if all had gone perfectly. He tossed her a reassuring smile, and continued climbing up the dunes.

It was a second, cloudless night. Such was unheard of since the descent of the mists, and the previous night’s communal Light Journey of the adults of the herd had revealed one thing: Etsiä had to follow the guidance of what was shown to her. The two of them spent the day in counsel with the Council of Elders, and it was decided only the two of them would leave the herd to investigate what lay beyond the dunes. The herd would set a more permanent camp, but they would only wait a week if he and Etsiä did not return sooner. Then, if the skies did not remain clear at night, they would return their gaze to the light of their camp fires and see what guidance could be derived from there.

One more hoof upon the sands, and he would crest the dunes. Leier waited for Etsiä to catch up, her young age and inexperience was hindering her attempts at stealth. She was still chagrined about her slip earlier, and her eyes showed a deep set determination to keep up with him. Good, the more firm minded mares the herd had, the happier he was.

Drawing even with Leier, Etsiä looked toward him for further guidance. With a brief nod, he crested the dune with her by his side. And both stopped in amazement at the sight that greeted them.

An oasis, lush and green, sparkling as motes of star and moonlight danced among the trees and were reflected off the small waterfall in a rocky grotto and on the surface of the lagoon in it’s middle. But their attention was drawn to the bronze dragon sitting in the lagoon, gazing calmly upon them with what looked like a twinkle in his eyes.

“Hail and well met, the two of you. I am Raucous, prophet of the Lady O-gon-cho, The Flickering Flame and Mistress of Light. Come partake of the hospitality my Lady’s oasis has to offer.”

Leier gave a little jerk of his head at the mention of the names and Raucous raised his eyebrows.

“My l-rd Dragon,” Leier began, “both names are familiar to me. But they are from legends, so old I would need to spend a day, possibly two, recalling the stories I was told to remember all I have heard regarding them. The return of the G-ddess will be accepted. But…are you now a g-d as well? How is it you are still alive to return with your Mistress?”

Raucous opened his mouth to answer…

“No, he is not a g-d,” Etsiä proclaimed. Her eyes were slightly glazed and she spoke from deep within herself. Leier stared at her with worry; he had never seen her, nor anyone else not on a Light Journey, look like that. He started to reach towards her, but Raucous stopped him.

Hold. She has an affinity for the Heart of the Flame. My presence here has brought this upon her. She will need to learn additional measures for resisting the pull of Light if I am to remain among your people for awhile. But I can see she is a quick learner, and this will do her no harm.”

“He is not a g-d, but he has known immortality,” Etsiä continued. “That has ended, and he is among the mortal again.” Raucous bowed his head in acknowledgement at her words. “He will know great sadness and loneliness, but will find joy and purpose among the herds and others of Eiran. We have only to welcome him among us.”

Her eyes slowly clearing, Etsiä turned to Raucous with a hopeful smile on her face.

“You will stay with us, l-rd Dragon? You will teach me of seeing truth within the myriad paths of star and moonlight, and within the flames of the fire? You will spread hope and knowledge of this G-ddess of Light within the herds?”

Raucous gazed at her solemnly, and as a smile slowly spread along his visage, a concentration of white Light shone at his side. The motes of Light dancing in the trees swirled down next to him upon the surface of the lagoon, and coalesced into the form of a human woman, radiant with a golden Light of her own and bathed in the silver-white aura of the motes of star and moonlight. Her blonde hair sparkled with additional motes of Light, and her gaze upon them was pleased.

You have welcomed my prophet with your words, and have offered a place for him among you. This pleases me, and your kind will be blessed for your generosity.

The song of birds carried her words to them. But it was heard only in their minds, their ears heard naught.

Leier turned to the wondrous vision and asked, “Are you O-gon-cho? Why are you silent except within the mind? Are you not also the G-ddess of Music?”

O-gon-cho’s eyes flashed briefly at the question. “There were many stipulations upon the deities of Eiran who chose to return after the AllFather’s interdiction. Most decided to forego returning; I did not. In so doing, I released my domains of Music, Air, and patronage of Dragon-kind. Yet of Light I remain Mistress. And it will remain so.

Reaching out towards a moon beam, O-gon-cho gathered a gleaming mound of silver-white motes into her hand. Working quickly, she fashioned it into a silver chain-linked veil, from with a small stone dangled from the front. Even Raucous caught his breath. The stone was a miniature replica of the Egg of Dragons Fire, which was last seen in a wooden crate sent with her emissaries to Sanctuary all those years ago. Even in miniature, the glowing stone showed a slowly revolving fiery cosmos, shaped like a draconic embryo.

As she leaned forward, she smiled gently while she draped the veil on the crown of Etsiä’s raven hair, positioning it so the stone dangled gently between her arched eyebrows.

Looking at Leier, her hands burst into flame. Leier saw something golden shining within them. O-gon-cho reached into the flame and drew out a golden circlet, resplendent with the muted colors of the rising sun dancing along its surface. With hands of fire, she set the circlet upon Leier’s brow.

With the acceptance of these gifts, you two shall be known as the first of my new followers. Raucous is prophet, to him you must turn for guidance when necessary.

Turning to Raucous, she addressed him so only he heard her.

Beloved, I do not forget you in parting. I bestow upon you the ability to ride the winds at the speed of Light. You will need to be in many places at once. This gift will help you in that need.

Go with the Centaurs. They have been without divine guidance for too long. Instruct them in the ways of reading the Light, and prepare them for the full receding of the mists. A new Pantheon arises and I must make myself known among them.

We will be together again soon. And for you, I am only a thought away.

Smiling softly at Raucous, her birdsong again addressed the two centaurs as she turned back towards them. She floated to the top of the grotto and pronounced to them:

I am O-gon-cho, The Flickering Flame! All who embrace me shall be blessed with the abundance of Light.

Her white aura shifted to red and the gold of her essence combined with the red into flames. Before them now stood a phoenix of flame, burning bright with fire and Light. She soared up into the air and then vanished from view.

Turning towards the two dumbfounded centaurs, Raucous gave a wry chuckle. “She always did know how to make an exit.”
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Escalus patted down the earth with his hands and stood up to review his handiwork. It had taken him little time to build his cottage. He worked with stone better than most and had chosen the best rocks from the quarry for his home. It was large for a cottage but it suited his needs. A bedroom, lavatory, kitchen and living room plus another work room in which Escalus could work his stone. He had chosen this stone because it had a warm, black color and sparkled as if it had absorbed the rays of the sun and maintained the warmth. It would work well during the winter months for Escalus made windows that could close up and keep the cold out.

He was considered a handsome Nhruuk – very tall, strong, and muscular with copper skin and white blonde hair that reached to his waist. His clear blue eyes the color of the sky could see things in the earth that his human cousins could not see, a powerful, hooked nose, and prominent cheekbones. His face appeared to be carved of granite from a master artist – smooth yet jagged. Escalus however did not have a mate, preferring to maintain his service to the earth. Many members of his community reprimanded him for this since the Nhruuk were not a proliferate race. Yet, Escalus could see no other choice for him. The earth – of which he was so strongly related – called to him to be one with it.

He owned acreage as far as the eye could see and it was covered with crops - wheat, grapes, olive and citrus trees. He had grown up tilling the soil and benefiting off of the fruitful earth and loved the smell of loam and fresh earth. He slowly turned, taking in all of the scenery. The soil was rich and black, covered with grass – green and lush and fragrant. All manner of trees were visible, pines and poplars, wide leafed trees that turned red and gold in autumn and lush green and yellow in the spring and summer. As he turned around, his sight took him from his fields to the mountains yonder of his lands. The mountains looked purple from where he stood and he could see that the caps were topped with snow. Turning full circle, Escalus Pullo then looked over the great canyon that he had built his home near. From the mountains to Escalus Pullo’s valley, to the canyon appeared as steps made for some giant golem of old.

Ancient the canyon was and carved when Eiran was newly born. It was beautiful beyond compare. The red rocks glowed and were dappled with the warm black rock that glittered in the sunset and when Escalus stood on the precipice, he could see clear to the floor of the canyon. He had used this same stone to build his home and the very rock itself seemed to empower him. Being a creature of both stone and flesh, the stone beckoned to his earthen self and Escalus would always feel a surge of power being near it.

He walked down the hill pausing here to reposition a rock and stopping there to build the bank higher. As he had many times before, Escalus walked over to the edge of the canyon and looked over.

Gazing to the floor of the canyon, seeking out any activity from the animals that lived there, Escalus suddenly did not feel well. He didn’t know if it was the heat of the day or the height of the cliff but suddenly, he felt the world begin to spin. He broke out in a cold sweat and could not maintain his bearings. He tried to move away from the edge of the cliff but he was unabled. It was as if he was being pulled back toward the edge. He dropped to the ground in an effort to regain his composure but the spinning would not stop.

The pull became stronger. Yes, he was being dragged to the edge. The spinning would not leave and he felt as if powerful hands had grabbed him by the ankles and were dragging him to the cliff. His fingers gouged into the earth in an attempt to battle the force pulling him. Did he hear the earth cry out in pain? His feet, knees, thighs, hips were pulled over the edge. Slowly he was losing steam and he began to panic. But his struggling failed to release him and he was yanked into the air and thrown over the cliff.

Escalus cried a horrid scream, sure that he was meeting his death and that at any moment, he would feel the pain of smashing into the beloved rock below. Yet, he continued his downward spiral, never touching anything. He sharply realized that he was not falling but still being pulled by some unknown force. He had no need to breathe for he was wrapped in a warm, secure cocoon.

Deeper, deeper into darkness. Leagues passed and still he was pulled deeper.

He lost all thought, lost all connection to the world. He became one with the darkness and was filled with a joy and knowledge that something wonderful was happening. His excitement grew and he felt that his soul would explode with the awareness of the new world opening in front of him.

When he thought he could stand no more, he slowed and gently touched the sandy bottom of the canyon. He opened his eyes and the world opened up to him. The sun miraculously reached his eyes and the colors of the earth abounded in the deep canyon. He could see the earth in all its glory. The stone around him was every color – reds, golds, blues, greens, blacks, whites. The minerals within winked and twinkled like millions of stars.

Slowly, gently, a whirlpool of earth, sand, minerals, and color formed in front of Escalus and a woman began to take shape. The minerals were her garment and it sparkled and twinkled as light hit her here and there. She was brown, she was green, she was red, she was gold. She was liquid stone and solid earth. Did she have gems in her hair? She bore a large and magnificent sapphire around her neck – the Sapphire of Jove. She swirled around him in smooth, fluid movements, smiling and laughing and completely mesmerizing him. He playfully tried to catch her but she evaded him easily.

She stopped her play, took hold of his hand and lifted him in the air. They began to fly through the canyon and out over the earth itself and Escalus realized that she was showing him her earthen world, showing him the things he had never seen before. They explored great caverns and open valleys, they entered deep dark holes in the earth that held frightening creatures. They flew over leagues covered in ice and caves of frozen blue earth.

The beauty was almost more than Escalus could bear and he began to weep the sand tears of the Nhruuk.

But they continued on. She showed him the earth. She showed him great deep canyons of red rock and green rolling hills covered with yellow poppies. She showed him brown deserts of sand and forests thick with trees thousands of years old. She showed him the animals of the earth and then took him deep inside the very rock.

He saw then that the earth was ever-changing – constantly altering its form and that all things sprung from the earth. The earth itself continually died and was reborn in a new form. She showed him the movement of the rocks. The earth was everywhere, on the mountain tops to the ocean floor. He understood that the mountains of fire were born in the belly of the earth. He saw imprints of long-dead animals and people in the rock, telling him the story of Eiran and he saw long lost artifacts from centuries past. He saw how the very earth itself moved and breathed, destroying and rebuilding itself in never-ending alteration.

As soon as it began, it the journey ended. Exhilarated and breathless, she returned him to his cottage on the cliffs. He touched ground and fell to his knees, panting, and laughing.

He opened his eyes and realized that she was standing above him. As he looked up, she stood in front of him, brown and red and gold and black and white. She was surrounded by sunlight.

Escalus, she said his name. He voice was the rustling of the waves on the sand and the song of the lava flow.

I am Calais, the Queen of Earth. You are to be mine. You wear your love of earth as armor about you and you shall use that love in my service. Earth is part of your blood, as I am now part of your blood.

Be my voice on earth.

Escalus Pullo could do nothing except bow his head to his mistress, swearing his fealty to her.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A scholar far ahead of his time, sat spending many hours looking at the stars at night and reading many books during the day, pondering life and its meaning to mankind. The wary shall say it is the desert that made him think as such, but has come to the conclusion that the gods of old were not the all powerful beings they once appeared to be. He has discovered the theory that in the beginning there was nothing, just empty space, void of stars or life, or time or existence.

Then in a blink of an eye, existence took place within this void, and life leapt into being. Millions of years passed, primitive creatures slowly growing into more advanced ones. Eventually these creatures wanted answers that their small brains could not provide, and thus, they invented gods to explain every small facet of existence.

This revelation that there was no after life, that gods were simply man made fantasies, makes him ecstatic. He has vowed to spread the word. He tells as many people as he can that there is nothing. Everything is temporary and that they all come from nothing. They have no need to fear a painful afterlife for everything shall revert to nothing upon death.

Yet the people laugh at him, mocking him. Many aren’t ready for the idea of life of their own, without gods and superstitions. Slowly and surely the word is starting to spread. Most aren’t ready to truly grasp the idea so many have warped it to their own means, thinking of it more in superstitious ways. Thinking of nothing as a god and that the great void would swallow all again one day.

The greedy and rich love the ideas presented. The idea that every thing was for nothing is very appealing. If there was no afterlife, then why spare money for the poor? Why try and please gods, and tithe churches when it all came to nothing upon death? The rich fell into decadence, spending all wealth of making life enjoyable whilst it lasted.

However, many still feared death, for the idea of losing everything was still a fear to those of the mortal coil. Our scholar himself started to wonder if death was necessary without an afterlife. He vowed to lead the people to a better understand of existence and death, and thus the people flocked to him, to the cause of better knowledge and understanding.

Nothing shall stop our scholar, for the only thing between mankind and its true potential is death itself. And of all the great minds of Eiran, our scholar is the greatest. If ever the boundaries of life and death were to be dimmed it is now, in the age of science and enlightenment.

To fight the true nature of the universe is to live in denial. The void is the only constant in the chaos of existence and nothing shall stand in its way.

~ The enlightenment, chapter 1, section 3.
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Rothmog
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Creeping on the earth Rothmog searched for his first creature, the one that would bring his gifts to all Eiran.
Few clouds promenade in the bright sky, and the sun was high. The great worm with many eyed tongues eventually arrived in a land, driven by a strange emanation from the aberrant creatures that dwelled there. Yekiths were the name of the strange living beings. Rothmog didn't know the true story about them, but in his opinion they were the best race for his purpose!

Suddenly he came upon a huge twine of Yekiths, twisting and squirming amongst each other for breeding. The creatures were very similar to the god himself. Four tentacles around a round mouth, a black carapace on the top of the body like a shark's dorsal fin, deformity and strange secretion were the main things the god noticed first about the creatures. He finally decided to call them "people". Yes, indeed, they will be his people... and, yes, they will be worthy, and proud, to be his people...

He crept around the twine unseen, among and between the Yekiths. He didn't want to be seen because he was deep in contemplation... thinking, choosing...

His mind reverted to his dream of gifts. How many people could he make happy? How many gifts he could bestow upon those marvelous creatures? The land itself was amazing, strange flesh structures was raising from the ground, enhancing the environment in his view
.
Oh, yes, a wonderful bone and flesh city will rise on that land, and Rothmog's chosen will live in it. They will reproduce and spread his gifts throughout Eiran, and they all will be happy!

He needed an alpha, someone to start with! But who! How many they were... which one should he choose? Suddenly he saw something, a white flash in the middle of the black twisting flesh of the creatures.

"What was that?" he thought. He went closer to the white creature which was in the middle of the Yekiths. "Oh, yes, wonderful! An albino yekith! He is so beautiful.. i will start with him! I will let him know of my munificence and my gifts! My embrace will welcome him!"
So he manifested in the middle of the yekiths, and great was the fear of those creatures for the great unclean one.

"Do not fear me, dearest among the dears." the voice of Rothmog was deep and gurgling.
"I have come to give you gifts, to give you power, to give you happiness!" he said raising several of his many hands.
"Look, my dears, we are similar in many ways! I think fate chose for us to our meet, and we must stay together! Come here, my little nieces and nephews, come into the embrace of the great Uncle Rothmog."

The worm-like creatures crawled closer to the putrid god. Many of the mortal tentacles rolled on to the divine tentacles of the god. From the mass of creatures a greater tentacle rose up with the albino yekith on it.
"What is your name, my dear nephew?" the god asked
The head with the round mouth of the albino yekith turned towards him.
"Oh- great master! What an honour! You asked my name when I was with my brothers, i'm happy to be able to reply to your question. My name is Brodel, and i'm ready to serve you, my lord!"

"ohohoho, no, my dear nephew, you don't have to serve me, we will work together, i have a vision! I want to give a lot of gifts, all around the world! And i need someone to command my mortal nephews! And you, my dear, are my favourite. You will be known among your brothers as "my son", you will be the son of Rothmog! ohohoho, I'm so happy, now I have a child!"

Tentacles squeezed Brodel, and he felt pain, but suddenly it disappeared.
Strange sensations passed through him: cold, hot, nausea, happiness and sadness.
"ohohoh, my dear son, here are all my of gifts a living being can carry!, Spread them everywhere, to everybody! You have my gifts, my blessings!
"The city of the Womb will be our capital, and we will start to build our reign from there!"

Brodel looked down at himself. Boils and pimples appeared on his body and tentacles, and then he started to cough. He found himself unable to retain his liquid and solid droppings... but he was happy, actually he had never have been so happy in his entire life!
All of the gifts his new god was able to bestow, were now in his body and his mind; he was the Chosen and he now had a mission: to carry all of the gifts his master wants to spread around the world!

"ohohoh, now my dear nephew and nieces, I must go... my realm is awaiting me... but I will speak to you with the mouth of Brodel, you must remember to listen to his words!"
The tentacles dropped the yekiths and slowly the great unclean one started to fade away...

The last thing all the yekiths heard was his happy laugh, "ohohohohooh"
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"... and I will bestow abundant gifts and blessings upon my little nieces and nephews who desire the embrace of their big Uncle Rothmog. ohohohoh"

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Madadeva
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After each Alpha, after Creation, life is called forth. As life is called, so too am I made anew. For all Life in creation sings me into being. I am a child of the cycle of Alpha and Omega. Life is required for the learning of She who is All. I am called to champion Life ... and given power by all life in Creation.

Eiran ... some have claimed the power of Life ... prior deities now gone. The AllFather, who has dominion here, now calls to a new Pantheon. Such claiming and calling summons me ... and now I am here. Brother to all deities called to form by the cycle of existence, and allowed into this reality by the AllFather.

In this cycle I am Devaguhya ... and for a time, by leave of the AllFather, I will champion life on this world.

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A cool breeze blew through Slanter’s silver hair as he reclined against the boulder near the shore of Angor lake just south of Magythe. It was a beautiful day; the deep blue sky was typical of this region. And the mountains viewed across the lake rose majestically to the heavens. Slanter thought about his life and smiled. He had lived well. His children, long grown and moved on were a joy to him. He smiled fondly as he thought of his grandchildren and two greatgrands! He had been fortunate; the AllFather had blessed him with long life. Some of his children had already been taken into the AllFather’s embrace. Soon, Slanter thought, soon it would be his turn to rest. While he loved life, he was tired. So many that he loved he had seen go to their rest. His wife had been gone fifteen years now. Most of his close companions had already passed. He missed them; perhaps he would see them when he passed beyond life. He longed for their companionship.

Slanter ran his fingers through the grass on the shore. He could feel the rich life in the ground. He loved this region, the region of his birth. Peaceful and full of life! An insect crawled onto his hand. He watched its progress with amusement. “Who is to say that I have any better claim to life than this insect?” he thought to himself. Gently he raised his hand to the boulder and let the insect travel the length of his finger and continue it’s journey on to the boulder.

He sighed. He would miss his home, but all things must end he knew. Ninety-five years was a long life. The village council was disappointed when Slanter announced his decision to return to the land of his birth. He was proud that he had been their most respected elder. He lived with a reverence for life, deep compassion and a strong sense of justice. In his early years he served in his village’s militia and took an oath whose origins were lost in antiquity: "Do not hurt where holding is enough, do not wound where hurting is enough, do not maim where wounding is enough, do not kill where maiming is enough. The greatest warrior is he that does not need to kill."

But now Slanter was ready to rest. “Life, I thank you for all the blessings you have given me. I am ready now to rest …” Slanter knew he was coming to the end; he had chosen to meet that end here. Slowly, he laid down on the ground, folded his hands across his chest, closed his eyes, and thought: “I am ready … take me …” And waited with only the sound of the gentle waves of the lake, lapping on the shore impinging on his senses.

Slanter was heard…

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An age has passed since Eiren felt deific power, and Devaguhya had heard the AllFather’s summons; a call that now welcomed those who chose to come, back to this world. Devaguhya answered the summons. He sent a respectful thought out to the AllFather; “By your leave, I answer the call. I will strengthen the reverence for Life on your world.”

Devaguhya sends his thoughts across the world. He searches for one who will be his. One who is worthy. His mind touches all races … Houka … Centaur … Dwarrow … Human … all who inhabit Eiran. Then, on the shores of a small lake, in the shadow of high mountain peak, Devaguhya notices one whose Life blazes bright, even though his end is near. The Lord of Life has not seen such goodness in many a cycle! This one will be special; among the greatest of his messengers! Devaguhya sees Slanter's deep respect for life, his compassion, and a fierce inner strength that gives his compassion power.

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Slanter felt himself drifting into his final sleep. He smiled welcoming the rest. Suddenly, an exhilaration overtook him, a thrill shuddered through his dying body. He felt himself raised erect and a soft, vibrant voice suffused his body.

“My son, your reverence for Life, your strength calls to me! I choose you!! You who have lived so well can now bring the word of Life to all who will hear. Life gives meaning to existence. Through Me you will find your meaning, affirmation, and joy! Rejoice in the gift of Life that I can bestow upon you! Through Me you will achieve Life Eternal!!”

Slanter sensed the strength of mind that held him. He knew that the Gods must have returned. He listened further to this God of Life. “You who have lived so well can be the prophet of Devaguhya, the Lord of Life! If you chose, you who have lived so well, will be mine. I pay you this respect. You have the gift of choice.” Slanter thought of the rest that he had been seeking. How could he aid the Lord of Life now, at the end of his days. “My Lord, I would give myself unto you. But how can one such as I aid you? Your power is evident. I am but a weak and tired old man. What good am I to you?"

Slanter hears an affectionate chuckle and softly, the God whispered words of power. LIFE! Slanter could feel it! Flashes of power flowed across his body! He felt himself rise further into the air. And saw his reflection in the mirror of the lake’s surface. He was amazed as years melted from his form. His muscles filled out with the strength of his youth and more. His hair darkened from silver to deepest black. He felt joyously connected to his God and filled with Life! But more, he felt he was now connected to all Life on Eiran. He could feel its vibrancy. He could feel it singing to him in his bones. The power suffused and engulfed him. The Grace of the Lord God, Devaguhya fell upon him and he was, shaking and shuddering with exhilaration, transformed.

“I give you Life Eternal! You are now AkAza first Paragon of Devaguhya! First Champion of Life!!” As AkAza’s transformation completes, he feels strong ethereal wings materialize. AkAza knows that the wings are his to summon. He sees the powerful ghostly wings reflected in the lake, and he lights to the ground on his own power. AkAza studies his transformed image in the water’s reflection. His large frame bursts with energy and Life. He smiles, deeply satisfied, and sends his thoughts to his God. “I am ready my Lord Devaguhya! We have much work to do!!”
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Revelation Of Ukulwa

Thigh-deep in the sere grass of the rolling plains of Opal, the warrior stood gazing at the hill atop which the enemy tribesmen had retreated.

The bastard son of a minor chieftain of a minor tribe, Ulwazi had lived in exile with his mother, serving as a soldier in her original tribe, until, his father dying without issue, he was called back to take command of the insignificant tribe.

Although a seasoned warrior, this was his first command and his impi had bled and killed and died, the ground around the hill muddied by their blood. And now, victory assured, he faced the bitter knowledge that it would be either costly or ignoble.

Few as they were, the other tribe occupied a defensive position that would take many lives to overrun. Or he could simply starve them out. Neither choice was palatable, and he wracked his brain for an alternative. Suddenly, as though in answer to his prayers, a shout rang out from the hilltop.

A challenge.

The traditions of his people allowed for single combat and now, as if in answer to his prayers, it was being asked. If the enemy champion triumphed, the remainder of their forces would be allowed to depart safely. If not…tradition held that they would be ransomed back to the tribe by the victor.

The warrior watched as a mighty fighter advanced from the ranks of his foes, shield held high and slender assegais ready to be hurled. As chieftain, however minor, it was Ulwazi’s right to choose the man from his own forces who would defend the honour of his tribe.

He glanced at his men, who sought to appear fierce or exhausted according to their nature, and knew in his heart that there was only one man he could ask to face this foe. Motioning his men away he stepped forward himself to answer the challenge.

Hefting the spear held in his right hand, he cocked his head as though listening to an inner voice and kicked off the protective but clumsy sandals worn by the impi before advancing upslope to do battle in the manner practiced by all tribes in the land.

His enemies first spear cast was easily dodged from too far away, and his own batted aside by the shield of the imposing warrior facing him. Suddenly he paused again, listening, and even as he guarded himself from the next spear, he was casting aside war-club and all his remaining spears but one.

While the opposing champion looked on in surprise at the sight of the enemy warrior throwing down his weapons, Ulwazi grasped his last spear firmly and snapped its long haft across his knee, less than a pace from the head, then grasping the newly shortened spear firmly, and fast and sure on his bare feet, charged directly at the champion.

Pushing the ox-hide shield to his right, he slipped it behind the rim of his opponent’s and with a vicious pull, hooked the enemy shield wide of the body. In the same instant, he slammed the shortened spear underhand into the suddenly exposed flank of his opponent, angling up from below the ribs.

IK

He threw his weight backwards against fierce resistance and, with a sucking sound, the blade ripped out of his foe’s body.

XWA

The enemy champion collapsed, blood bubbling from the terrible wound and dripping from his lips as he gasped out his life into the thirsty ground.

Ulwazi dropped to his knees in the hot red blood and gazed raptly at the sky.

Then, leaping to his feet, turned and stalked slowly up the hill toward the shocked lines of the enemy tribe, high-stepping and brandishing his bloodied spear. The lines parted as he approached the enemy chieftain, and the light of bloodlust glowed in his dark eyes.

“Serve me or die.”

His flat, emotionless voice in stark contrast with the naked rage on his face, his words turned tradition on its head. Terrified, the enemy warriors around him threw down their weapons and dropped to their knees. The chief offered up his leopard-skin headband and knelt with his men at the base of the dead tree that crowned the hill. Taking the badge of royalty from his defeated foe, he suddenly drove the shortened spear down into the chest of the kneeling King and ripped it free. A cheer arose from the impi still gathered at the base of the hill, and he raised his voice to address them.

“Children,” he cried. “Today is the beginning of a new age. Never again shall we be the scavengers, skulking around the remains of the prey of bigger beasts! Today, we become the beasts ourselves!”

The warriors cheered their king, whose bravery and cunning had gained them honourable victory.

“This hill,” he continued, “will be the site of the new capital. We will build it on this very spot, with the river on one side, and the plains on the other. We shall build it as a monument to our destiny, and it shall be named kwaBuluwayo. The Place of Slaughter!”

The warriors began drumming their spears on their ox-hide shields in approbation.

“And in its centre, where our enemy now kneels, we will raise a temple. A temple to the power that granted me victory today! A temple to the Red God! A Temple to uKulwa, the Lord of War!”

Above the drumming, the voices of his first impi rose, chanting in unison the ultimate accolade. He stood on the future site of his royal and holy city, the blood of his enemies pooling around his bare feet and the leopard-skin circlet settling on his brow, and his heart leapt in his chest as the warriors, victorious and defeated alike, roared out the royal salute:

“Bayeti!
Bayeti Inkosi!
Bayeti!”

_________________
All Things Begin and End in Strife.
------------------------------------
Msasi Haogopi Mwiba.

The Hunter Does Not Fear Thorns
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Bel
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Among the stark mountain peaks, cold dominates. It spears the flesh, slides its needles along limbs, sears with a pain far sharper than that which fire brings. To breathe is to fill the lungs with ice. At this height, nothing lives. For the living, cold is death, and the mountaintops are held pure, inviolate. And so we make our homes upon these peaks.
I have watched them, far below us. They build their homes in wood and mud and stone. They cluster together in groups, build villages into towns, towns into cities. They surround themselves with walls, towers; they gird themselves in copper, leather, iron, and they go to war with each other to destroy what they have built. Again and again, they build and destroy. Some or their cities last for centuries--others decades, years. Some are rebuilt over and over, standing in one place but ever changing.
I know the names of those that stand now, those that have stood the longest. No-Krot, No-Uk, Altrian. In the west, Oreliss, Iagonis, Womb. And the land itself--that too, the mortals have given a name. Noputae.
We do not name our homes. The halls carved from the rock of mountains, ancient beyond measure, their construction a dim memory even to the oldest of our number. These halls do not see combat. Their people do not march against one another in the name of vain glory. They are free from the imperfections of mortality. Yet this place too, the mortals in ignorance have given a name: The Eyrie. I doubt that any one of them sees the irony.
I have said that these halls do not see conflict; that is not to say that none have sought to bring it here. Every few centuries, those people below us pause their warring against one another and instead turn their faces skyward, toward these halls. Leaders rise amnog them who believe that their might is sufficient to touch us, and they send their people upon the slopes. And we stand in our halls, and we watch as they perish, and fail, and return to their homes, their frail bodies unable to survive upon the peaks.

When we are first called into the world, we arrive here nameless, and without purpose. It is put upon us to contemplate the world we have joined, and when we have been some decades within the world, to choose for ourselves a name. I was slow to name myself. I looked out from our ledges, and flew out above the lands that surround our home, and I saw the way of things among the living. In the Twisted Lands, all is conflict. Life is malformed, corrupt. I saw this, and felt pity for the mindless beasts driven to such corruption by their unnatural creation. And then I looked out upon the lands beyond, into the cities of the Yekith and the Houka, Dwarrows and Humans, all those possessed of mind and will. And I saw how they destroy themselves and each other, how they make war against all that surrounds them. Toward these people, I could feel only scorn. Possessed of the capacity for reason, they yet continued to behave in such a way: they lower themselves beneath even the beasts.
In all the world it seemed that we alone were pure. Though the ones below us would pass occasionally into enlightenment, always they descended once more into barbarism. Their nature was imperfection--they could not be redeemed. I could see no place for myself in this world of imperfection, no purpose for those such as us, and it was in bitter arrogance that I chose my epithet: ul-zakaru - unnamed. I did not realise then that such nihilism was common among us.

Existence, for those of us who have seen the imperfection in the world and deemed it irreperable, is one of seeking ways to fill the years. We are solitary beings, having no reason to form lasting partnerships, and we learn patience early in the long years that follow our calling. Though we remain together in our halls and spires, we also venture for periods to other parts of the mountains, and it is not uncommon for us to spend many years without seeing another member of our race.
I had no wish to involve myself in the world that lay beneath our mountain peaks. Could I have forgotten the existence of those lesser beings around us, I gladly would have. Instead, I find that I am drawn to watch them, time after time, as they go about their eternal cycle of growth and destruction. I sit upon the lower crags for decades at a time, filled with disgust at their weakness, yet also transfixed by it. Eventually I draw myself away, return to the halls and my own kind; I even find new pursuits to follow for a time. But always I return, again, to watch the mortals live. Individual lives are as nothing--I watch the play of societies. However long I have watched, still their actions have gained no measure of reason in my mind. I cannot fathom this nature that compels them to war--it defies reason; they defy reason.
To be capable of reason, and yet unable to heed it--it was this paradox that gripped my mind. It did not seem possible that it might be resolved, until the day the Lord came.
It began as I sat in meditation upon a clifftop, contemplating the flaw in these beings below us. Into my mind, awareness: thoughts blended into my own, knowledge, and the presence of the Great Lord. Within my thoughts he spoke, and slowly, things became clear. The Great God spoke of shepherds and the tamers of wild beasts. He spoke of reason and impulse, and how, among mortals, one may rule the other only when strictly governed. He spoke of Peace--of how the world may be brought one step closer to perfection. As sign of his will and purpose, I felt his strength flood through me, and knew in that instant that I might suffer no harm while the Lord was with me.
The presence of the Lord is within me, and all of my doubts have been erased in certainty. Thoughts I had deemed pure fantasy in the past now seem possible, with the strength of the God behind me. One soul, one whole people even, could strive to bring a world full of imperfection closer to purity and have their efforts be futile; but a god! A god who thinks as we think, who sees the flaws and knows what must be done--!
A god like this could cleanse the world.
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Si vis pacem, para bellum


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The clanging of metal upon metal rang out in the small, dim room. Sparks flew as the hammer wielded by a thick arm was brought down continuously on the glowing slab. Constant pounding brought shape to the square chunk of metal. The sharp corners rounded off until the square became a circle, the center of the disk becoming concave as the sides of the object were contorted up. Lifting the bowl to eye level, the dwarrow gave it a once over then nodded his approval. He placed the still glowing bowl in to a vat of water not far from his anvil. Steam filled the room but the dwarrow kept his solemn demeanor as the warm gas obscured his face. Moments passed as he stood, crossing his arms while watching the object cool in the water. Again nodding to himself, he fished the bowl out with his hands, bringing it close to his face and inspecting the surface.

“Perfect.” He said in a deep and gruff voice. Taking the bowl across the room to a small table, he set it gently on a stack of more bowls. The set of six sat on the back end of the table accompanied by various eating utensils with a leaf-like pattern engraved in the ends and a set of plates with a similar pattern lining the rim. “I’ll etch the bowls later” he said to himself as he removed the heavy apron from his broad, square shoulders. He was about to leave his workshop when a voice caught him off guard. “Barlin, you’re master working of metal is truly an amazing sight to behold.”

The dwarrow slowly turned back towards his workshop to see a visage of another dwarrow inspecting a fork that he had finished earlier in the week. “I-it’s just for eating…” Barlin choked out, visibly taken aback by the apparent apparition in front of him. “I have seen your other works too” the creature said to him, “they are truly amazing.” Barlin swallowed hard, “What in the name of the Abyss are you?” The ghost put down the fork and turned to the dwarrow. This made him take a step back as if he were to run for his life. “I, good Barlin, am a creature of a different plane of existence. My name is Telmag Ganoras, the Iron Father, God of Metal.” Telmag gave a curt bow to Barlin.

“If you were the God of Metal, shouldn’t you be smiting me or something for defacing that hunk of iron I made that fork out of?” This question brought a laugh to the hearty god. “No no, I believe that those who treat metal with respect have earned the right to use it how they see fit.” Telmag turned back to the dinnerware and started inspecting the design on one of the plates. After a few moments of silence of Telmag inspecting the various workings of Barlin and the dwarrow standing in the doorway of the workshop, Barlin finally broke the silence.

“So, Iron Father… it’s all right if I call you Iron Father, right?” Telmag didn’t turn to regard him, but nodded. “Okay, so, Iron Father, what are you doing in my workshop… as a ghost…?” Placing Barlin’s smithing hammer down, he turned towards the dwarrow once again. “Well for one, I am not a ghost. This is the only way I could appear before you without expending a great deal of power. Secondly, I felt obliged to inspect your blacksmithing with more of a hands on look. And third of all, I am here to make a request of you.” Barlin cocked an eyebrow at the last thing. “A request? If you were the God of Metal, couldn’t you just shape anything you needed quicker and more efficiently than I could make it?” Telmag grinned to him as he shook his head slowly. “No dear craftsman, I do not wish to commission you to make something for me. I am here on a more greater calling kind of reason.”

Telmag cleared his throat. “Barlin Mistale, I am soon going to make my presence known upon the lands of Eiran and I need someone to be my voice to the masses. You are a skilled craftsman, humble and true to those around you. Your renowned around the town of Khes as a gentleman and a dwarrow of integrity. And I wish for you to spread my word, be the First of my Iron Order and set forth the principles of all those that choose to worship the Iron Father.”

Silence. Barlin looked at Telmag with a contemplative look on his face. Moments turned to minutes as the two stood in the quiet workshop. “So let me get this straight” Barlin said, “You want me to go and spread the word of Telmag Ganoras in the town, right?” Telmag nodded. “Correct. I want you to be my prophet, my means to communicate with your world.” It was Barlin’s turn to nod. “Right right, but what is in it for me?” Ganoras brought a finger to his chin. “Well… you get the recognition of those of the land as a Chosen of a God… you get to have others marvel at your crafts, which could be more than just plates and bowls… and you get to be more chummy with me.” Telmag finished with a mirthy grin.

The last statement brought a chuckle to the dwarrow. He crossed his arms across his chest and titled his head from side to side as if he was weighing out the options in his mind. “Well Telmag, I guess you got yourself a prophet. I’ll start in the morning I suppose after I deliver that set I was making, but don’t expect me to be trotting around town screaming your blessings out of my arse right away. First, I want to have a pint.” Both of them chuckled as Barlin turned out of the workshop. He came back moments later with two stouts of ale, but when he returned all that his otherworldly visitor left was a medallion made of woven metal bands.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Momoe and Atama Talo slept fitfully beneath the bushes they had taken refuge in. The traveling weather was perfect, a blue sky and a gentle breeze coming from the Abyss, off the shore of west Thellassian. Their sandals were freshly cleaned, the bundles of fishing spears sharpened, and their bare chests open to the sky above. They listened to the wave’s crash against the western tip and the seabirds scream as they followed them above, hoping to scavenge off the remains of any kills he made for lunch.

It really was a beautiful day. Almost beautiful enough to make them forget why they were traveling north. But no matter how warm the sun, or gentle the wind, they knew their lives would never be as simple or carefree as they were but a few hours ago.

From the beginning the Talo Brothers had started out separated from their village. Their mother died giving birth to the maternal twins, and their father committed suicide soon after. They had been taken care of by a neighbor until they were old enough to fish for themselves. They were a burden upon others, and always frowned upon. Even among the children their age, they were never truly accepted. Like most children’s games, whenever the favorite to win lost to the predicted loser, it was always blamed on evil mana, or some work of the Rat God. Most accusations were taken in stride. It was simply the way of children. Scuffles were often, but never serious. However, the Talo Brothers always knew that when the children accused them of evil mana or being servants to the Rat God, they were always a little more serious. Because whenever the Brothers outraced a rival, the wind would always mold itself to their stride, while fiercely fighting their opponent. Whenever they played at find and hide in the rain, it would always mask their footsteps and no others. They grew up surrounded in strange events, and weird happenings.

So it was that the Talo brothers were outcast from the rest of their village. They lived in their own shack out near the point, far enough away that no one bothered them. They spent the days fishing, and laughing. They no longer needed the village’s charity. Storms never hit their point, and the weather was always fine. It couldn’t be denied, however, that the Talo Brothers were the strongest men in the village. Though the other men didn’t like it, they often asked for their aid, and the Brothers acquiesced. They held no ill feelings, past wanting to be left alone.

They had been working with some of the other men to cut out a large dead tree in the middle of the village. The Brothers had spent the entire previous day fishing with little luck, and were exhausted. So it was that they stopped after only a quarter hour to catch their breath. Kae, a childhood rival more often than friend, was first to softly mock the Talo Brothers weakness. He made great emphasis on the story of the marling and the kingfisher. Of the marlins weakness and slow of speed. Momoe was not stupid, he knew that he and his brother were marlin; Kae the kingfisher. But he had no patience for his cruelty. He was exhausted, and just wished to finish the job in silence. But they would not let up. Momoe had had enough. Though Atama moved to stop him, Momoe swung his small hand axe into the trunk, expecting to leave it there and walk away. But as the blade touched the wood, a great bolt of lightning struck from the sky. Thicker than the tree, and as loud as a thunderstorm in itself, the bolt shattered it into millions of shards, sharp as needles and traveling faster than an arrow. The men nearby dropped to the ground, dead, pierced by knives of wood.

Momoe looked about himself in horror, wondering how he and Atama could have missed being struck, and saw the rest of the village on fire. The bolt that struck the tree was not alone, and nearly every building in the village was aflame. Screams echoed out from the shacks and huts of the rest of the village, and Atama and Momoe moved quickly to try and save the rest of the villagers. But the fire burned too hot, too quickly. Despite their efforts, the other buildings were consumed in moments.

Silence settled into the ruins of their home, and into the Talo Brothers minds. The world went black.

When they woke, the sky was dark and clear. They shook their heads clear of sleep, and pain, and looked about them. Nearly every hut and shack was destroyed, and the bodies were many, though none were recognizable. Only one piece of wood glowed in embers; the tree they were cutting out. They stood and walked to the stump.

The bolt of lightning that had heralded the great storm, and shattered the tree, had reformed it; carved it. A great angry face now stood in the front, and glared down at them. Though the face did not move, it spoke to the Brothers.

“Do you know why I destroyed your village, little ones?” the voice asked. The Talo Brothers glanced at each other, and answered at the same time. “We don’t, Great One.” Though the wood made no movement, they could feel the glare loosen a bit. “Then I forgive your fear,” the tiki said gently “and will enlighten you. Beneath our feet is the great Earth. It is the base of the pillar upon which all live is made. Above us is the Endless Dark, where all souls go in death. It is the end of the life made upon Earth. But in between is the conduit, the Eternal Sky. It is the balance and channel of the power of life and death, Earth and the Dark. It is the eye of the paradox and the fine line we all walk in contrast. It is the mightiest source of power in our world.

Within the Sky there is a single point that that power collected from Earth and Dark can escape. I am that crack in the wall. Through me clear skies, fierce storms, drought, rains, hail; it all comes down from the crack. But all power is based upon the concepts of opposites, and the line between. I am power incarnate. You are powerless. Normally neither can exert our true potential. But in between us, there is an opportunity to use that power. Do you know why I chose you to channel my power?” Again they shook their heads.

“The night you were born, was the night of a fierce storm, was it not? It was the night of my birth as well. And of all the children born on that day, you both are enigmas, are you not? Twins but not the same; opposites, one might say. And in between the two extremes, there exists a crack for my power to be used. But you both had no drive, no ambition. You were content to sit in this village and fish and be nothing.” The tiki’s glare had returned. “But I will not be stopped. There is too much for me to do in this world, to be halted by simple contentment. In time, you may understand why I destroyed this village. But even should you never forgive me, you will never regret my choosing you; for I will give you more power than you can imagine.

Now go north, and spread word of my coming. I have much work to do in this world, and you have much power to gain.”

The brothers looked at each other, and Atama asked gently of the tiki, “What is your name, mighty one?”

The tiki smiled broadly now. “It is Tawhiri-matea. Go now.”

With his last words, a wind blew across the embers, and the tree was dark. The Talo Brothers stood, gathered up some supplies that survived the fire, and started out to the north. They felt sadness for the dead but, if truth be told, they were glad to leave this place.

They had finally found a purpose in life.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The house overlooking the harbour seemed to contradict itself. Grand enough, with a large well-maintained estate, it could easily have been the dwelling of a local nabob, or a wealthy fop with generations of inheritance to fritter away on the latest fashions and crazes. And yet the garden walls were tipped with jagged glass, and the perimeter patrolled with relentless irregularity. Visitors, though frequent, were not the local gentry or celebrity, and were looked upon with suspicion or even open hostility until their credentials were proven, when they would be reluctantly waved on, and their every move scrutinised as they approached the house. The house itself was immaculately maintained, and yet never a glimmer of light could be observed through its shuttered windows. The visitors would pass through the front doors into a darkened porchway, and emerge again within minutes to hurry away.

Enquiries at the harbour taverns would be met with nervous glances and quick changes of topic. Persistent questions would likely end with rough handling and a non-dignified exit, head first! For the owner of that property on the hill did not like noses prying into his business, and as that business supported a thriving local economy, the locals were quite happy to disoblige strangers.

Not even his own local employees, however, had ever set their eyes on the mysterious Raffa. Even his guards couldn’t say whether he had fair hair, or dark. Raffa was a recluse, he preferred his own company, and when the pay was good and the terms fair, Raffa’s eccentricities could easily be overlooked. Brusque instructions issued through a curtained portal were a small price to pay, when all was said and done.

Tonight, however, Raffa has unexpected, unwelcome, and most definitely uninvited, company. The interior of the house is pitch black. Imagine midnight on the winter solstice, in a cavern deep underground. Normal vision is simply impossible, and communication lacks the benefit of body language and facial expression. Raffa, though certainly annoyed, is intrigued because only a superbeing could penetrate his mundane and magical wards. And superbeing or not, Raffa knows that he still holds all the cards here in his own domain. An understanding is required, his curiosity requires satisfaction, before extremely violent death can be delivered.

Explain yourself, quickly and succinctly, intruder, and I may grant you a mercifully quick death!

Here is Brid.

That is not a sufficient reply. My patience has gone, prepare to draw your last breath!

Brid desires Raffa to be Brid’s prophet.

Prophet!

The gods have returned to Eiran. Brid requires Raffa as prophet.

Curse the gods! If what you say is true, then I curse you as well! The ultimate blame for my ….circumstances…… lies with the gods. If the gods have returned, then I, Raffa, denounce them and all they stand for, with their ill thought out meddling and tinkering, their breeding programs and their bleeding pogroms! If you could SEE me, supposed goddess, you would know what type of life the gods have condemned me to! You would have realised that Raffa is the least likely mortal on Eiran to fall at the feet of some overblown and underwhelming diety!

Brid sees Raffa clearly.

…….

Brid sees the self-respect that Raffa has.

You call THIS self-respect? No-one, not even myself, has looked upon my form for a score of years or more.

And yet the darkness has accomplished its goal. Raffa is proud of Raffa’s achievements. Raffa no longer loathes Raffa! Raffa’s acquaintances no longer desire to harm Raffa. Raffa has won!

So? If this is true?

There are other outcasts on this world who have not the chance to equal Raffa’s achievement. Brid would have Raffa’s assistance, for them!

What are they to me?

They are Raffa.


How dare you!

They are Brid also.


……..

Take Brid’s hand, Raffa, and come out into the light.

You’re mad.

Nevertheless, take Brid’s hand, Raffa, and help Brid help the poor ones understand what Raffa has learned: contentment is found inside, not in the eyes of others.

……….

(An appendage reaches out in the darkness)
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“Papa, tell us the story of when Unzen came to Varmor near Ermnyth.”, said the little orc.

“It’s time for sleep, little one”, said the father. “And that tale is long. But if you lie down on your mat, I shall read to you part of the story.”

“Tell of the tiger then. Grrr.”

“I will.”, said the father, as he smiled.

The father opened the small wooden chest lying on the floor of the yurt and gazed at the scrolls within. He found the right scroll, from the last scene of the play, The Calling of Varmor. As the little orc lied down on the mat, he began to read, changing his voice with the characters.


The Calling of Varmor wrote:
(Scene opens. The Sun is setting. FIRST GRAVE DIGGER, SECOND GRAVE DIGGER and THIRD GRAVE DIGGER are standing in front of a carriage. Upon the carriage lies the body of VARMOR, dressed in the samurai styled armor.)
FIRST GRAVE DIGGER - We always get stuck with the bad jobs.
SECOND GRAVE DIGGER - Yeah, everyone else is looting the town, and we have to take this stinking corpse to the dump. Maybe we should take his armor?
THIRD GRAVE DIGGER - No. The boss ordered that we throw him in as is. Besides, he fought so well, he probably has a curse on his weapons.
FIRST GRAVE DIGGER - Eye, maybe there is. Probably that’s why the boss didn’t take them.
THIRD GRAVE DIGGER - The boss is an ass!
FIRST GRAVE DIGGER - Watch what you say around here! We’re all right, but I don’t trust the others.
THIRD GRAVE DIGGER - Godless man, the boss.
SECOND GRAVE DIGGER - Well soon he’ll have to make a choice.
FIRST GRAVE DIGGER - Say what?
SECOND GRAVE DIGGER - It’s said the gods are stirring again. Everyone will have to choose. Surely you’ve noticed. Just when we were in the city….. There’s a goddess of the earth, so they say.
FIRST GRAVE DIGGER - (yawns) Yeah.
SECOND GRAVE DIGGER - Also the gods of war and the sun are stirring.
FIRST GRAVE DIGGER - Good for them.
SECOND GRAVE DIGGER - There’s god of wisdom…..
THIRD GRAVE DIGGER - That one’s sure to attract only fools!
SECOND GRAVE DIGGER - …and one of oblivion.

FIRST GRAVE DIGGER - Offers his followers a whole lot of nothing, I’d bet… Just like the boss!
(All laugh)
THIRD GRAVE DIGGER - I’ve heard of other gods as well, a god of disease….
FIRST GRAVE DIGGER - You must have taken holy vows for that god! Your breath smells like a latrine! (laugh)
THIRD GRAVE DIGGER - There's a god of life...
SECOND GRAVE DIGGER - (sarcastically) Oh, I suppose we should thank him for giving us this? Bah.
THIRD GRAVE DIGGER - A god of the clouds, and one of the seas.
FIRST GRAVE DIGGER - Waterlogged sots…
THIRD GRAVE DIGGER - There’s also a god of metals, for the dwarrows.
SECOND GRAVE DIGGER - One for the dwarrows? I can see that god’s statue. His head buried in the ground with his ass pointed towards the sky.
(laughter)
THIRD GRAVE DIGGER - There are also goddesses. One of pain….
FIRST GRAVE DIGGER - My wife follows her…
THIRD GRAVE DIGGER - And one of thieves…..
FIRST GRAVE DIGGER - She’ll have a lot of followers. But who in that temple will guard the alms!
SECOND GRAVE DIGGER - Still, there are other gods, less fearsome. More natural. There’s a god of Forests again, son of an old god. There are gods of peace of light and of outcasts and the fates.
FIRST GRAVE DIGGER - Care to flip a coin on the last one? (grins)
SECOND GRAVE DIGGER - The new god of vengeance will get you for that! (winks)
THIRD GRAVE DIGGER - (looking at the carriage) Enough. Enough talk of gods they’re all far away! We’ve got some work to finish…….
(From Offstage Left comes a growling sound)
FIRST GRAVE DIGGER - What was that?
(Growling louder)
THIRD GRAVE DIGGER - I don’t know…
(Entering from stage left is TIGER, menacingly)
TIGER - GRRRR
FIRST GRAVE DIGGER - Leave the body to the tiger, boys, lets run….
SECOND GRAVE DIGGER - Feet don’t fail me now!
THIRD GRAVE DIGGER - RUN!
(Exit, GRAVE DIGGERS stage right pursued by TIGER. Lights fade. It is night. Moonlight begins to glow. Slowly the lights rise. Stage right, a golden fire light becomes visible behind a screen . A silhouette appears. It is UNZEN)
UNZEN - Arise!…… Arise my son from the sleep of death!
VARMOR - (stirs)
UNZEN - Arise and hear my call!
VARMOR - (sits up and addresses the silhouette) What happened? I remember being hit with many arrows. Oh, the pain! I remember striding towards Blatot trying to cut him and that foul Shinzat down… But I remember no more. (pauses) Who, or what are you?
UNZEN - Varmor, my son, you are not what you were when the sun rose and you are not what you became before the sun set. I am UNZEN, god of the bridge between life and death. You, Varmor, were slain by your enemies during the last crossing of the sun. You crossed the bridge to the place of the dead along with others of your clan. Your camps dwellings were burned and your people scattered. However, by my hand, I have brought you back across the bridge, to dwell, in your body, in the land of the living.
VARMOR - Why? Why did you not leave me dead!
UNZEN - Ah, I did not bring you back to cause you pain. I had to let events take their course. I have chosen you to be the FIRST of the FIRST followers. You are the FIRST to recross the bridge between life and death. There is much for you to learn. As I have said, you are not what you were. Some urges of the flesh you no longer have as a result of the crossing of the bridge. Yet some motivations you retain.
VARMOR - What do you intend to do?
UNZEN - You must awaken your people, my chosen people, the Orcs. For they have not been forsaken in the new age. I have heard their prayers and have chosen them as well as you to fulfill what must be done now that the gods are returning to Eiren. Others as well as the Orcs will soon hear my call. The pace of change quickens.
(Enter TIGER stage left, purring)
VALMOR - I begin to understand. You will guide me?
UNZEN - Yes. Now you must go and find your clan. You must wear your mask among them, for even though you were across the bridge for only a short time, you may appear…. disconcerting to those who haven’t crossed and not learned the truth. As they come to know you they will learn and wish to cross over the bridge and return themselves. Go and tell your people! I will give you the words.
(VALMOR rises and exits stage right)
TIGER - Purr
UNZEN - You have done well, tiger! Leave these plains and return to your forest with my blessings.
(TIGER exits stage left. Light fades behind UNZEN)
THE END


As the father ended his reading, he saw the little orc was asleep. He gazed to the armor and sword glowing in the firelight on the far side of the tent and muttered, “Perhaps with your blessings, Unzen, we will also be called to return over the bridge.”
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once there was a great sage known as Maz Lo. People of all races would come from across Eiran to seek the giant's wisdom. And it came to be that one named Akhat saught the master among the fjords of northern Imray. He had what he considered the greatest question ever to be asked, one only the wisest mortal on Eiran could answer. Upon finally locating the great sage, he posed the question, "Great Maz Lo, what is a god?"

But Maz Lo would not answer, instead telling the young man, "Ask the dwarrows what a god is. When you know the answer, you may return to ask a better question."

One year later, Akhat returned. Upon seeing him, Maz Lo asked,"What is the answer?" The answer given by Akhat satisfied the giant, so he said to him, "Now you may ask your question."

"Great Maz Lo, why are there gods?"

But Maz Lo would not answer, instead telling the young man, "Ask the centuars why there are gods. When you know the answer, you may return to ask a better question."

One year later, Akhat returned. Upon seeing him, Maz Lo asked,"What is the answer?" The answer given by Akhat satisfied the giant, so he said to him, "Now you may ask your question."

"Great Maz Lo, where are the gods?"

But Maz Lo would not answer, instead telling the young man, "Ask the houka where the gods are. When you know the answer, you may return to ask a better question."

And so Akhat continued to seek out the peoples of Eiran to ask his questions, every year returning to Maz Lo only to be sent out again. On the twelfth year, Akhat asked the question, "Great Maz Lo, are you a god?"

Upon hearing this question, Maz Lo attained enlightenment
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The Great Leviathan

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2007 3:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the entry on Merfolk Biology, in the Encyclopedia Silva:
Encyclopedia Silva wrote:
The Merfolk have evolved to be natural predators and have adapted extremely well to the dangers of the seas. Even in the eggsac they must compete, often killing their eggmates for resources. It is quite common for their to be over 60 eggs in a single laying. Merfolk are more of a half-shark/half human hybrid, granting them the speed and strength of a hammerhead shark and the intelligence of a human. Like a shark, three rows of sharp and deadly teeth have developed, which will quickly be replaced if broken off or damaged. Their scales are also razor sharp, causing serious damage if used aggressively. The People of the Seas use four fins to maneuver through the water: their tail fin, a fin on their back, and two fins extending from their elbows which can be used rather effectively as weapons. The greatest weapon in their natural arsenal, however, is their ability to control electricity. Like the electric eel, Merfolk have developed electrocytes throughout their bodies, giving them a "sixth sense" and allowing for harmful, potentially lethal bursts of electricity. Merpeople have a hyper-active metabolism, enabling them to think and act fast. As a result, they find land-dwellers dull and slow-witted, and tend to lose interest in them. Merfolk have four sets of gills, enabling rapid oxygen exchange. Furthermore, the Merfolk's kidneys have evolved to allow change in their function, allowing travel between fresh and salt water.


Shard Krowe raced through the reeds, his tail fin skimming the dirt as he followed the trail of blood. Like a shark stalking his prey, Shard let the blood take over his senses, permeating his brain.

Taking a sharp turn around a boulder, he came face to face with his prey. Shard instantly recognized the merman in front of him as Malcolm Krowe, Prince #54 of the Krowe Shoal, rulers of the Sea of Dawn. This would be Shard’s eleventh sibling to die by his hands.

Malcolm’s shoulder was ripped open. Blood spewed from the wound, announcing his presence to any merfolk within a mile. Shard knew his remaining siblings would be there soon. He knew he had to act fast.

Without a thought, Shard released charged ions throughout his body, charging the electrocytes stored there. Directing the building current at Malcolm, Shard released the electricity at his brother.

Watching Malcolm’s lifeless body slump to the sea floor, Shard thought about the events leading up to this bloody competition, the important ceremony known as The Culling. He thought about his father’s death and the necessity of The Culling to ensure only the fittest of the royal children rule.

Shard’s electrocytes flared. Someone was coming. Something didn’t feel right. His instincts were telling him the threat was coming from INSIDE him. His electrocytes tingled as a strange energy flowed into his brain.

“Your siblings are dead, Shard Krowe, Prince #47.”

The synapses in Shard’s brain were firing like crazy. Was this some trick of the elders to signify his surviving The Culling?

“You and your people are my chosen, for I am Dagon, God of the Seas.”

“The merfolk have flourished and survived of their own volition. They have periled the dangers of the ocean, and have come out on top.”

“You, Shard Krowe, will rule from your father’s throne. Your city will be called Lemuria, and from it we will create a Dynasty throughout the seas…”
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2007 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Letter to the Duke, regarding the explorations of Mercuse di Montressor in the jungles of Malyth, south of the Great Range:

My Lord, I trust this letter finds you well, and that court life has not been too taxing on your Ducal genius. I enclose with this letter a summary of the curious findings I uncovered at the City of Oaxcala. I call it a city, though it barely suffices as one now. Oaxcala is largely covered in jungle, and the people live dispersed in outlying tribes, or huddled into those quarters of the city not so thoroughly overgrown.

The people are wealthy, and undoubtedly stem from long-ingrained traditions. Judging by their art and writings, their culture should be rich. Nonetheless, their civilisation appears in drastic decline, and is largely given to vice and decadence. Amongst many findings which I shall share, I uncovered a curious tale concerning an eradicated religion. This I gleaned from an old codex, which I present to you now. Certain sections are, unfortunately, illegible. Thus, I present that which I have been able to translate.

From the Codex of the Blood Serpent, 232nd revolution, compiled by Itzamna Uichkin, faithful of the Sun God:

The beasts, defilers, heretics, and demons had set themselves as gods above man. They had spurned the Temple of the Sun, and it had fallen into disrepair for generations. Upon it they heaped offal and refuse, and the weeds grew thickly.

Man forgot the way of the Sun, and neglected sacrifice to him, so that the days grew darker, and the nights became the domain of predators. The usurpers of the Sun were wicked gods of the jungle, of maize, of peace. They entrapped men’s minds as their wilderness encroached and ensnared his cities. They forbad blood sacrifice; they preached heretical and evil doctrines, commanding their followers to throw down their weapons of war and to forget the sacred pacts of blood; they dedicated their toils to beasts of the wild, and all other evil doctrines.


Decadence, sloth, indolence, and the abandonment to the all conquering demons of nature overtook civilisation. Generations passed, and the wilderness reclaimed the Temple of the Sun. Yet, amid this hideous decline of man, the Sun God – in his earthly incarnation – made his presence once more known. A great, blood-red serpent made the Temple of the Sun its home, and the faithful of the Sun Cult recognised their master in his new form.

They made sacrifice to it, in ways proper to the creed, bringing the idolatrous and wicked proponents of the gutter faiths to be slaughtered before the Great Serpent. They sought to appease him, to implore him to once more make the sun shine in all its glory, so that man may again grow strong, and that darkness should be cast from the cities.

But the devils who had set themselves up as gods were wily, and they sought to exterminate the Cult of the Sun for all time. They struck with fury and cruelty, murdering nigh on the entire cult, and ensnaring . . .

. . . intended a great ritual to eradicate the One God . . .


. . . one amongst their number was false . . .

. . . Colop Xutamec . . .

. . . last words and deeds ruptured the ritual . . .


. . . . The heathens could do nothing but seal the temple and eradicate all record of the Sun God.

But, now, the doom of the false gods was set in motion by their own wicked ritual. The Blood Serpent grew in power with his . . .


. . . intertwined as one. Decades withered, the sun grew darker. At last, the sun was shrouded, eclipsed. The people feared greatly. The beasts of the jungle preyed upon them mercilessly, and their crops began to wither and die. The hearts of men despaired, while their minds could scarcely grasp the secret to their salvation.

Rumours emerged that the Sun Cult had survived extermination, though the adherents of the faith had been buried under their temple, and the Temple of the Sun had been overgrown with weeds, which had all but vanished into the evil embrace of nature.


.... .... .... ....

Here the codex remains incomplete. It is my view that the writer had been discovered by the authorities of the city, or by the high priest’s of the other faiths, and that he had been murdered. The text, nonetheless, was secreted away, and I have been able to supply this partial translation.

My enquiries into the remnants of the Sun Cult met with more mute ignorance than with any sense of fear or hate. It appears that the memory of the Sun God has all but faded into oblivion. There do, however, remain some curious facts which can be gleaned from the tale. My expedition did manage to find the Temple of the Sun, and it appears to indeed be heavily overgrown – much like what is becoming of the city itself – and there appears to be attempts of deliberate defacement upon the carvings and such. Further, though no lower entrance was found, we had discovered documentary evidence in one of the other temples that the Cult of the Sun God were indeed sealed below the temple. If so, it seems likely they would have long died out. If by some chance they have survived below the surface, one can scarcely imagine what they would be like now.

Finally, upon returning to the region some months later, a local tribe told me of calamities at the city in the jungle. They said that a pillar of light had descended upon the altar of the Temple of the Sun, and that old codices of instruction were being uncovered upon the temple. There were other rumours, most likely fearful and unfounded, that tribes nearest to the city were being raided for captives, and that sacrifices were being made.

Therefore, my lord, I counsel that the whole region be avoided. There is little of value in the jungle, and it is too hazardous to be able to sustain any reliable trade links. I do not put much currency to the tales of sacrifice, but the people of the city – though once obviously a mighty civilisation – now appear backward and decadent.

Ever your faithful servant,

Mercuse di Montressor, Scholar.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MacLaomainn slogged through the bog of the yard with his head down, cold rain pelting against his shoulders in huge soaking drops.

"Ho! Mark!" the guard called down from the window above the gate as he approached.

He sat the pails down and raised an arm, palm open to display the tattoo.

"Is it you ven, Mac?"

"Aye," he answered, blinking the rain from his eyes, "who else would it be? Open up."

He waited as the guard came down to let him in.

"Well yeh don have to get testy, Mac." Arhnold tsked like an old woman, opening the Gatehouse door.

"I haffto ask. Brid's Breath, Mac," he sneered and waved his hand in front of his face, "you smell like sour mash and vomit. I got ten kinds of Black Abyss froom Doongal last time I let anyone in wiffout askin for vuh mark."

"Aye."

"Vere's a ship comin round vuh Point vis week headed for Alemanff. We had one of vem message birds yesterday, come from up North. Took'vuh message straight up to Warder's Office. Nice and cozy up vere, it is. Got him a new cook, I reckon. Some harlot outa Ghalali whot killed her husband and bairns I heard, but who's ta say. Still, hard place vis, for yer wee wooman, no matter whot she done."

"Don't follow me around Arhnold."

The guard continued his mindless chatter from the front room while MacLaomainn went past the stairs to the privy in the back to swap out the buckets. The stench swelled up when he open the door and he pulled the neck of his woolover up to cover his nose. The guardhouse was warm and felt a bit close as he put the lids on the filled pots and scoured the privy.

By the time he was finished Arnold was snoring in the other room, talked out. On the way out he paused and looked at the sleeping guard. It would be easy enough to ascend the stairs to the second floor, cross the walkway over the gate and descend the stairs on the other side of the wall. He could hit Arnold on the back of the head, truss him up, and be gone before he was missed.

He looked around the room as he had done a hundred times since his first visit on privy duty. Drink and skins in the cabinet next to the door. The knife strapped to Arhnold's hip and his pouch, though likely it was empty, some gutstring and some sort of bedroll. And boots. He'd need to take Arhnold's boots. And then the question came, like it had a hundred other times, him standin here in the gloom, thinkin of escape.
What then?
What then if he managed to get off the island?
What then if he somehow contrived to get the mark off his hand?
Where would he go?
No answer occurred to him.
There was no new world to go to.
That's why he was here. On this penal island,
stuck out in the Nocturnal Sea, between ice walls and the Black Abyss.

He he put his hand inside his coat and pulled out the flask, pulled the cork out and took a long drink. The fiery sour mash burned his throat.
Then he took his buckets and himself out the door into the night, making sure to slam it hard enough to wake Arhnold.
Later, in his cell he dreamed he was walking on the moor with a blackbird sitting on his shoulder, singing.

I am made of the things in the hearts of humans, but i am not love.
I crave intimacy, but i am not desire.
I wound and leave no mark yet all who know me are scarred.

Oh shut up bird, you'll scare him half out of his mind.

You like this one then, mommy?

Yes, he looks good.

He's already half out of his mind with drink, mommy, shouldn't we
look around a little bit more? He doesn't seem very redeemable.

No, bird, he's the one. I smell it on him.

That's fermented worts, mommy. He drinks it.

Whatever it is, it smells like a prison. And stop calling me that.

Well you don't like goddess and you don't like m'lady, and you don't like
mistress, and you don't like your majesty or your grace, so how then,
oh rock of ages, shall i call you?

Call me Warden, bird, and go do your job. I don't pay you to prattle bad
poetry to the man.

You don't pay me at all Warden.

Remind me to give you a raise then.


MacLaomainn woke at with his face on the stone floor of his cell. He tried to lift his head and grimaced. First Bell was ringing in the yard and he knew he had to get up but his stomach lurched and he stayed where he was until it passed. He decided to stay right where he was till Fourth Bell. The pails would be heavier but his stomach would be better able to handle it by Fourth Bell.

Wake up camran, the Warden needs her piss pot emptied.

"Wha..?" MacLaomainn lifted his head and looked in the direction of the voice but he saw no there. He blinked and tried to focus on the barred window above his bed while his stomach lurched again.

Up here, camran, in the window. You don't even turn your heads and still the soily lot of you can't see what's in front of your beaks.

There was a blackbird sitting on the window ledge. He shook his head and pushed himself up to see better. No one there. Just a bird.

"Birds don't talk. I must be still drunk." he said, eyeing the twitchy creature.

I'm not talking with my beak, you stupid camran. This is my mistress' voice you hear. She of The Rock, Redeemer of the Convicted. an Carraig, The Warden.

MacLaomainn looked around his squalid cell. Someone must be making a joke of him.

This is no joke, camran. You're marked. We will talk with you again when you've cleaned yourself up. You're the first link in The Chain, MacLaomainn and luckier than you've any right to be, so pay attention from here on out. There will be others. Look for the signs, if you can see past your bent beak. And stay off the worts.

The bird flew off the sill and out into the grey morning.

MacLaomainn got up, dragged himself to the basin and stuck his face in the cold water. He washed and vomited in the bucket and washed again. By Fourth Bell he'd convinced himself the bird had been a dream he'd had just before waking.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2007 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greetings to all deities! The Third Age of Eiran is upon us! I pray to the Allfather that we find better answers to our questions than those who came before us.

It is true that I did not inherit the domain of Love from my father. However, that only means I cannot manipulate the Love in others, not that I do not want the world to be ruled by Love. Particularly the Forests! Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2007 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahhhh brother Zephyr... new gods are so chatty! *chuckles*

Welcome newly ascended, your forests team with life and I am pleased with their song! I look forward to helping all on Eiran celebrate Life!!
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2007 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Devaguhya wrote:
Ahhhh brother Zephyr... new gods are so chatty! *chuckles*
And when did you last visit Eiran? Mr. Green

Devaguhya wrote:
Welcome newly ascended, your forests team with life and I am pleased with their song! I look forward to helping all on Eiran celebrate Life!!
As you say, the Forests are strong with Life. My strength will be your strength. It is my hope that you and I will have a very good relationship! Very Happy
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