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Chris Chandler 6th of September, 2008 03:36

The Burnt World of Athas, Day 1: Confusion
It is hot, that much is certain. The sand, that, too, is certain. The sky is a deepening orange, as a large sun sets behind the dunes. There is enough of a wind to cause chimes to clink, and to toss the dunes to air, creating a dull red haze to fade into the burnt sky.

Even with the breeze, the air has a stale quality to it, very dusty with the smell of copper to it. There are no clouds in the sky. This is a barren land, desolate and quiet.

Confusion, certainly, is the driving force this day. Where you are is uncertain, and for some where you were is uncertain. Nothing is as you left it. Where this world is and where it will take you is beyond speculation, but you know one thing - you are here, and the only thing to it is to take that first step.

Doombot 6th of September, 2008 04:34

The hot sand around me is stifling, almost suffocating. I can feel it grinding under armor, working its way into my boots, ears, and mouth.

With a heave, I struggle to unearth myself. I can feel sand sloughing away around my shoulders, but not enough to do more than free my arms up a little more. After several minutes of monumental effort, I manage to pull free of the shifting dust.

I'm lucky. A lesser man would have been trapped.

Spitting a mouthful of sand, I curse quietly to myself, as I try to get a good look at where I am now, or at least as much a look at the blowing dust will permit me.

Fantastic. Another place I don't recognize; never even heard of. Demon Wastes this place might be -- and aptly named, at that -- but Ashtakala it ain't.

You're not home yet, soldier.

LadyGlutter 6th of September, 2008 05:12

Where is Scratch? As I dust the sand off of me, I glance around. I notice the young woman in front of me and the man with his back to me, and make mental note if I see Scratch or not. She'll be fine. Hopefully she's near though. And the man didn't see, but this one probably did. I wonder, the whole falling and landing? This should be interesting. Let's find out.

I smile sheepishly and speak to the woman I'm facing. "Hello."

LightBringer 6th of September, 2008 09:45

I begin to look around for the source of the chimes, but suddenly a woman stands in front of me.

She speaks. I immediately answer without hesitation, "Hey! Do I know you? Are you Tiska, Peluda, or someone else?"

LadyGlutter 6th of September, 2008 10:03

"Someone else I think.... I'm Mizuki. And I don't think we've met."

LightBringer 6th of September, 2008 10:17

I flash a smile, "Well Mizuki it is certainly a pleasure to meet you. I'm OmniFrost." I extend a hand as I look to each side.

Doombot 6th of September, 2008 11:37

That's an interesting name. As is yours.

I turn to face the two women as I pry my helmet off and dump out the majority of the sand.

OmniFrost doesn't sounds regional,
I intone sardonically, but perhaps Mizuki can tell me where we are...?

I'm unsure about all of this. A collage of images assaults my mind every time I try to recall how I got here. The last thing I remember doing is slaying a certain rakshasa. I miss my wife, but somehow, that feels wrong. I can't put my finger on it.

LightBringer 6th of September, 2008 12:21

I turn quickly, but in a startled fashion. Perhaps she could, but don't you think it would be polite to introduce yourself first? I look inquizically at the tall man.

LadyGlutter 6th of September, 2008 12:26

Of course I take OmniFrost's hand, but when I hear the other voice, I also turn. I grin at that, feeling a bit more at ease already, and waiting for the answer.

Doombot 6th of September, 2008 15:08

I am Aros Camlost, Captain of the Knights of Brey.

My gaze sweeps over the two women, critically examining them. I crack my knuckles, attempting to transmit an air of cool insouciance, not letting them know that I am ready to do battle at less than a moment's notice, should the need require it.

One of the women appears draped in magic. I can feel it pulsing with every heartbeat, ebbing and flowing with every breath. Almost at the same time, I can feel the faintest stirrings of hatred from Gurthang as it sleeps in its baldric on my back. The sword knows it too.

This one bears watching. She may mean well, but then, she may not. Best be prepared.

I put on what I hope is a reassuring grin as I move a few steps closer. Do either of you know where I can get a drink in this place?

LadyGlutter 7th of September, 2008 00:16

"Good to meet you as well, Aros. I hate to disappoint, but I'm not really regional. So... no, I'm not the one to ask. I've no idea where we are, much less where a drink is."

I'm still looking around, trying to make some sense of the terrain, anything, "But I'd guess our best shot at a drink and a bath," at that I turn to look at Aros again and smile, "would be towards the sound of those chimes. Doesn't that chafe? Were you actually in the sand?"

MadDogMaddux 7th of September, 2008 03:15

Malak studies the bones before him for a while, before he hears the sounds from behind him, Two new arrivals, and is that the sound of digging? Cautiously he keeps an ear and eye on those behind him, but first completes his study of the bones. After a few moments, as those new arrivals behind him begin to converse, he stands up and turns to face them.

Malak is a large man, tall and powerfully built. His black skin glistens with sweat, and the only thing covering his muscled torso and arms is a simple fabric vest of green trimmed with a faded gold. His baggy fabric pants flap in the breeze, ballooning a bit as he stands and stretches his legs. The bow in his hand seems positively too large for him.

As he faces the threesome of new arrivals, he studies them in their conversation, and then scans the empty horizon before speaking. It would seem that we are alone in this barren waste, for whatever reasons our various Gods may have summoned us. His voice is a deep, powerfull bass, but somehow brightly coloured, I am Malak, and I know why I have been summoned. He glances down to the bones, What of each of you?

[Survival to study the bones, and Spot on the new arrivals if you please? I'm at work, so don't have the numbers from my character sheet.]

Doombot 7th of September, 2008 12:11

I bite off my response to Mizuki about just how badly the sand does chafe as I spin to face this new stranger. Gurthang flashes out of it's scabbard, a long length of black steel interjecting itself between me and the others.

Damn! How did I miss him? It's mistakes like this that will get me killed.

Glancing quickly from face to face, I see none of them have drawn against me yet. That means little for the mage, but she is vulnerable to one of my talents anyway. As for the rest -- well, maybe this is an ambush, but if so, it's damn subtle.

I was not summoned here. I don't even know where here is, let alone the reason I ended up buried under several feet of sand. Enlighten me.

Chris Chandler 7th of September, 2008 12:27


Originally Posted by LadyGlutter (Post 325096)
Where is Scratch?

Mizuki, you have a good indication that Scratch is on the lee side of this dune, below you, out of sight. She is easily within earshot, however.

The chimes that you all hear - bone and clay and wood, are upon what looks to be a shepherd's crook thrust into the top of the dune, although the staff itself is gnarled and sunbleached. There are also feathers and animal teeth adorning the staff, which gives the general impression of a tribal fetish.

There are no features around this waste that stand out to you, collectively. You are standing on a dune in a desert, you see, blurred by dust and wind, other dunes. As the sun hides behind the desert you can see even less.

Malak, you see the three people stand in common discourse. You notice nothing unusual about the situation, outside of the fact that where people now greet each other there was nothing but sand and the sound of chimes bearly a breath ago. Each looks somewhat confused, in his or her own way.

The bones have been here for some time - sunbleached and sandblasted. you would expect that the winds on this dune have recently exposed these bones, though the uncanny coincidence might suggest otherwise.

MadDogMaddux 7th of September, 2008 13:27

Malak does not even blink as the man before him draws his sword, instead he flashes a wide grin, leans his head back and laughs heartily, Friend, if I meant you ill or harm, I would have inflicted it upon you whilst you yet dug yourself out from the sand. It would have been simpler by far, don't you think?

He shakes his head, shoulders shaking in mirth, No doubt you are as confused as I as to our location, but permit me to encourage you to sheathe your friend and give chance for our words to accomplish what weapons cannot.

He meets eyes with Aros, not in a challenge, but in invitation, eyes soft and brilliant. I have been here for many minutes, studying these bones. Then the two of you appeared, and shortly thereafter you, sir, dug your way to the surface. Again he crouches and gestures to the bones at his feet.

LightBringer 8th of September, 2008 04:56

I laugh, lighting up my blue eyes. My mood is obviously good, and easily compensates for any confusion. "You guys are so funny." I brush some of the white hair that has escaped the braid back. "We're obviously in the desert. Where else do you think we could be?" My smile continues as one hand reaches into the large pocket on my left thigh, and the other reaches into the large pocket on the right thigh.

I draw....... out a tin cup and a watering can.

I giggle as I pour some water out of the can into the cup. "Here you go", as I extend it out to Aros.

((OmniFrost is wearing a pair of dark brown leather, low heeled boots. A pair of tan leatherish pants that look a little worn, with a large flapped pocket on each thigh. A deep red tunic that flaps lightly in the wind, with a large worn and crack leather belt loose on her hips. She has a pair of goggles tucked into the belt, and wears a pair of black velvet gloves. Her white hair glitters with a platinum chain with gold charms entwined through her braided hair. A hairy looking brown bag hangs off the belt as well. On her back is a pack with a quiver attached to it. There does not appear to be any arrows in it, and no visible weapons on her.))

Doombot 8th of September, 2008 07:00

I accept the cup cautiously, sniffing at the liquid proffered. It seems to be nothing more than clear, cool water.

I was expecting something a little higher proof, and a shade more bitter. I doubt this place has any pale ales within spitting distance.

I welcome the cup of water, and drink it down greedily, washing the dust and errant sand from my throat. Looking on at the dark-skinned man, I reluctantly sheathe my sword and stand, arms akimbo, waiting for further explanation.

Many thanks.
I nod in OminFrost's direction.

LadyGlutter 8th of September, 2008 11:19

As the group starts to look each other over, the assumption that I'm a local doesn't hold out. My eyes match my emerald green dress of silk. The dress is elegant and simple, but definitely formal wear, complete with a bodice, and hitting about midcalf. It is not a dress for roughing it in the desert. The boots underneath are finely crafted, but simple black leather. There is a scabbard with a rapier hanging nonchalantly about my hips, and a single javelin slung on my back. There is an unconscious radiance about every aspect of me, from my bright skin, in my exquisite features, in the grace of my movements, the play of the glints of gold in my loose wavy copper hair as the wind blows it in the dying light. I am the embodiment of femininity.

I answer Malak, while watching OmniFrost and Aros with amusement. "Well, actually, as for me, I know I wasn't called here -- I was expelled from elsewhere. I think this is just where I landed."

MadDogMaddux 8th of September, 2008 13:51

Expelled? Malak furrows his brow, I came here of my own volition, and yet I was sent by The Shalm, you were Expelled? he searches the bones for a few that are the least worn and the most marked, to bring them with him. Standing once more, he meets eyes with the Captain of the Knights of Brey, I've not heard of the Knights of Brey. From where in the Flanaess do they hail?

Doombot 8th of September, 2008 22:24

They are not from Flanaess. The Knights are from Breland, one of the Five Nations.

I look over the rim of my cup at him, sizing him up.

Why is he asking me about the Knights? I'm a mercenary-general; always have been, always will be.

As this thought crosses my mind, it sends an odd shiver down my back, and I have an odd sense of duality. I have all the trappings of a Knight, from the Medal of Valor pinned on my cloak, to an air of confidence and self discipline unlike anything a common mercenary could emulate.

LadyGlutter 9th of September, 2008 01:31

They are pretty amusing, but I'd best break the news to them now, before everyone gets even more confused. My eyes are smiling as I tell the group, "I was expelled, yes, but from a different world, or maybe realm is a better term. The name of the person that did the expelling really probably would mean as little to you as it does for me to hear you speak of the Flanaess or Breland. We're probably not going to make much sense to each other if we talk in these terms. Or at least I won't understand you. If you do understand each other, I may as well tell you that you have me at an advantage."

MadDogMaddux 9th of September, 2008 02:04

Malak furrows his brow at this, Other world? You speak, perhaps, of one of the Planes? Mechanus? Elysium? Perhaps this might be The Outlands or Gehenna in which we now stand....

Doombot 9th of September, 2008 04:29

I don't know much about this place, nor how I got here, but I do know that the desert gets very cold at night. Since we're unlikely to find anything suitable for a fire, I suggest we look for a spot that offers more cover than the windward side of a shifting dune. We can discuss the wherefore's and the howto's once we're there.

As I look about from face to face to face, much of my latent suspicion melts away. It's becoming increasing clear that these folks are also out of their element, with little idea of how or why. But strange territory aside, the ease of command that comes as a result of being a
(Knight Captain)
mercenary commander begins to reassert itself. I try to urge the others towards a goal, albeit a short-term one.

I need to figure out what the hell happened. The last thing I remember is hacking apart very powerful Rakshasa, on a mission in Ashtakala for the Knights. But that doesn't jive with what I remember about being in a tent with a very sexy Drow woman...

Before we go, Malak, I would like to see those bones you spoke of.

MadDogMaddux 9th of September, 2008 04:42

Malak nods his head in assent as Aros speaks, While we have yet time before the chill sets in, assuming that this place is as any other desert, you are right that these things are better discussed in whatever camp we can prepare. He turns to go and pauses when Aros speaks up again, I have collected them in my rucksack. We will speak of them once we have made camp, and I will tell you their story.

He glances over towards the ladies, If we are to make an attempt of surviving together, perhaps a bit of disclosure is in order. I am a ranger in service to Obad-Hai and have been accustomed to making my survival in the wilderness for the entirety of my life. I would assume that each of you has a certain field of experience as well, perhaps now is the time to make that known?

Doombot 9th of September, 2008 05:17

I am no ranger, but I can get along well enough in the wilderness. I've spent more nights under the stars than under a roof, usually with no pillow softer than whatever rock is handy. When it comes to surviving, I am quite experienced at it.

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