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  #1  
Unread 8th of July, 2008, 06:28
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The Barrier Peaks, CY 610, late Autumn (Malak)

The air is cold, colder that it had been yesterday. The southern pass is all that is open now, as you prepare for your winter. Your home, modest even in a hamlet, a coarse hunter's shack, had been provisioned weeks past. Now it is the waiting time, the time where wraiths do not roam, where even necromancers sleep. Youth, however, never sleeps.

You smelled them a fortnight past, following a poor map along the first slopes that dare to call themselves mountains. A band united, but for what purpose you could not know. You did not know these youth, did not know their hearts. The tests would come, and they would flee or continue. And continue they did, for your tests proved their worth, and your cold bones, which you had thought might just know start feeling the pains of time, warmed.

It wasn't that the task became any less important. It wasn't as if the spirt of Ambrose was going to leave. These youths venture to the spire to the north and defeat it's new resident, which would allow you to take that next step, to follow the will of Obad-Hai, to bring the sorcerer of Nerull, Loric, to his end.

Gavin, a young, heartstrong man, broad of shoulder if not of mind, sits by Gisele, a quiet priestess of Fharlanghn, who sits across from you, by the fire pit. She looks to you, then to the fading edge of the Barrier Peaks and sighs.

What will you do, Malek? Surely your task is far from over. Where will you begin your travel?

The youth bringing forth more fuel for the pit, Ansom, a respected tracker (as he had seen you once during your tests), smiles and lets a laugh escape his lips, but he does not interrupt. He sits and listens, along with the remainder of his companions, those to which sleep would not come on this quiet night.

Gisele smiles at Ansom, but then bids you answer.

Please, Guardian. Every road has a beginning. Where is yours?
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Our son won't stop doing math, honey!

Not in my house mister!!! You can differentiate all you want with your little hoodlum friends, but in here it's wild guesses and rounding errors!

Last edited by Chris Chandler; 8th of July, 2008 at 15:02.
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Unread 9th of July, 2008, 08:31
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Malak takes another log from the stack and places it strategically in the fire pit, breathes deeply of the scent, and smiles to himself as he leans back against the rock which has for so long been the substitute for a chair in which to recline.

Children, oh the wonders and woes of such curiosity! Has it been so long that I have lost my youth here in these forsaken peaks? Still, in these bright eyes, once again I do find hope...


He shakes his head, rousing himself from the thoughts, smiling as if to comfort her, or maybe himself. Long have I guarded the Chalice, my young priestess. And I will grant you the story of that beginning. But first, he turns to Gavin, I must see it for my own eyes. Draw your sword, Paladin, and permit me examine the blade.

Gavin startles momentarily. Then, exchanging glances with Giselle, draws his weapon and, cradling it, passes it across the firepit to Malak. With great care, and even a sense of honor, he takes it, resting it in his lap, and then caressing the blade. Even as his fingers touch the metal, a figure takes begins to form against the brilliant silver background. A Rose, blossoming into vibrant translucent amber at the base, just before the hilt.

Malak's shoulders shake, and the tears begin to run down his face freely. Oh, Ambrose how I regret that I failed you so many years ago! And how many times I will beg your forgiveness! And yet, even in death you have been my constant companion for long years now. How tired you must be, and yet the thought of parting company with you fills me anew with grief.

A faint chuckling stirs in Malak's mind, And so does a Paladin's silver weapon finally lay the mighty Malak low? How many times have I to tell you, you did not fail me! By Pelor's might, we did NOT fail! Malak, my brother, do you not see it? All these long years, you and I have remained alone to guard the Chalice. And now these younglings have come, bringing with them Pelor's blessing for you to release this duty to them.

And tired? Think you not that I relish once more the thought of being joined once more in the fight against evil? This Gavin's heart rings TRUE, Malak! Pelor be praised, he and his companions will be equal to the task! They may succeed where we have fallen. By all that is holy, Malak, show them the Chalice that they may take your place!

Still weeping, Malak shakes his head, Not yet, my friend. Go with them as they complete their task. It will be a final test. Return to me with them, once they have done so, and I will take them to the Chalice.

Malak, you're a stubborn old bastard. But,
and the voice in Malak's mind softens, I suppose that stubbornness has saved us more than once. Fine then, I will go with them to the Spire. Once we have returned, then you can take them to the Chalice. And then, my old friend, we will have our teary good-bye. In the meantime, dammit, don't dishearten the children! By the Gods! Bless them and me both with the warmth of your smile and a tale well told!

Blinking away his tears, he looks up meeting eyes with Gavin. So it is true! Ambrose goes with you, now into battle. Take care, young paladin, for you now carry with you the soul of my dearest friend. And his judgment I do trust, and so do I name you Gavin Trueheart. Purposefully, but with a clear sense of reluctance, he hands the blade back to Gavin.

Turning once more to Giselle, he nods, Rouse your companions, and I will tell you the tale, and then you will know of the Chalice.
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Unread 12th of July, 2008, 04:56
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Gisele stands, smiles, and moves toward the pavilion tent braced near the cliff side, in a short moment, the shuffling figures of the rest of her companions file out: The plodding form of Renkis, a locksmith and scout from the Iron Hills; the sublimely graceful silhouette of Louisa, a Flanish druid and follower of old Beory; the rank and file step of Bernard, an old mercenary from Furyondy, and the padding of Tu'atha, the panther who claimed Louisa as her cub. They had all retired, but only Renkis had acutally fallen asleep.

We were 'bout to come out, just restin' a might bit, er, sir.

The Guardian is going to tell us of the Chalice, Louisa.

I would like to hear of that, yes.

Gavin, of course, cannot really speak right now. In fact, tears are, indeed, running down his cheeks, but his smile eases his companions. He nods for you to continue.
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Our son won't stop doing math, honey!

Not in my house mister!!! You can differentiate all you want with your little hoodlum friends, but in here it's wild guesses and rounding errors!

Last edited by Chris Chandler; 12th of July, 2008 at 13:32.
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Unread 13th of July, 2008, 04:01
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For the next hour, Malak regailed his guests with the collection of stories which told his tale. The young ones shook their head in dismay at the annihilation of his tribe at the hands of the Brotherhood, laughed with him at the antics of Rasputin - the mad monk, and nodded in kindred comraderie as he recounted their first encounters with the curse which still taints the Barrier Peaks.

Gavin wept with Malak as he recounted the events leading to the death of Ambrose, and Gisele watched with a sort of haunted admiration as he recounted the subsequent years of protecting the Chalice from wave after wave of undead, explorers, and mad necromancers.

So long you have guarded these peaks, Guardian. And we have seen the evil that resides here, but can the Chalice really be so great a thing? Why not just remove it to a safer place?

Malak shakes his head and chuckles, his deep baritone voice resonating in the small confines of the shack, I suppose it is time then that I tell you of the Chalice. But you must understand this, I will not take you to it until you have passed your final test. Ambrose and I have agreed. You must finish your quest to the Spire. Once you have completed that task I will show you the path - and even then, only to those willing to bind themselves to its defense.

Malak scans the room, reading both the looks of shock and apprehension as comprehension dawns in their faces.

Settling in, and stoking the fire briefly, Malak begins again, In truth, we do not fully understand the nature or properties of the Chalice. What we do know is that it all began long ago, before the Suel fled the remnants of their kingdom in the wake of the Rain of Colourless Fire. Before they arrived, as we all know, the Flanaess was largely unpopulated except for scattered enclaves of the Flan, here he nods towards Louisa, the Flan were the scattered remains of an ancient powerful empire known as the Ur-Flan.

Several in the group nod, reflecting their understanding of basic history.

As best we can tell, this region was the stronghold of a cult of powerful Ur-Flan necromancers. Over the years I have uncovered some of their artifacts, but by and large the region was picked over. You see, when the Suel came, most of them passed through the Hellfurnaces, but it seems that some came here.

Again, the details are incomplete, but we know this - they were ritualists, and they either overcame the Ur-Flan here, or joined with them. In any event, the results were devastating. Over a thousand years later, you are still witnesses to the after-effects. The ground itself seems to give birth to undead of all kinds, and the region seems to call somehow to those who would seek to delve into the necromantic arts.

Worse, there lies within these peaks locked a power which few have been able to tap, but those who have succeeded have unleashed a fell evil that we had once thought an anomaly - Undead who retain the powers and abilities of the living creature from which they were formed. You have faced some of these, and I am certain you will face more as you approach the Spire.

The blanched faces in the room confirmed what he already knew of their journey. Undead who normally retained no function from their previous life instead manifested skills and abilities from their former lives which gave them a fell and evil power.

We don't know how, but there was a backlash. Perhaps it was the intervention of a well-meaning Deity, perhaps it was summoned forth by an opponent, perhaps it was the byproduct of some fell necromantic magic - but the Chalice was formed.

It is not an item, Gisele, but a place. A pool of pure distilled positive energy with properties that even Ambrose and I have been unable to fully fathom. It simultaneously attracts the evil formed within the region, and destroys all evil that comes into contact with it.

It is for this reason that Loric had captured the children, to steal their innocence to cover himself and so gain access to the Chalice. Malak shakes his head regretfully, We were unable to prevent him from doing so.

What happened?

You know the madmen you encountered? The group nods. They are men and women who came into the Chalice, but who were not worthy. They could not bear the strain of the change and so lost their minds in the transformation. You will remember that they were quite powerful, but you overcame them due to their madness.

Loric....I do not know. I was there, opposing him, but he eluded my shot and entered the pool. Then, he simply dissappeared. I do not know if the Chalice destroyed him or if he had found a way to cover himself with the blood of slaughtered children.

The horror of such an idea causes Louisa to turn slightly green. Malak shakes his head as well.

As for me, I cannot fully explain it, but I became much more powerful. Ambrose as well. By the time we entered the Chalice, the others in our party had gone for help. We never saw them again. Ambrose and I were left to defend it, realizing that if anyone with the wrong motivations were able to enter and withstand it, they would wreak a havoc upon the peoples of the Flanaess that we could not allow.

So, my children. There is much unknown about the Chalice, but if you intend to enter it, you must first prove your worth in this final test - and then you must bind yourself to its defense until such a time as you are relieved of that duty.

As for me...of recent I have been visited by the Shalm in my dreams. When you return from the Spire, I will take you to the Chalice, and then I will enter it again myself. Beyond that I do not know.

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Unread 16th of July, 2008, 01:55
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The group of young headstrong sits quietly as you finish your tale. They look to one another and to you in turn, all slowly absorbing just what they will have to do in order to reach the chalice.

Gavin, too, looks to each of his comrades, and when each nods assent, he smiles.

Guardian, we shall prove ourselves worthy of this charge. We shall travel to the Spire on the morrow and purge the evil there. We shall return to you, and relieve you of your duty.

Most of the rest of the group is looking down at the ground. Louisa though, is looking up, to the starts, and she starts a soft song of worship, in the old Flanish tongue, a beautiful melody, tinged with sadness. Gisele matches with a countermelody, higher and in Oeridian, a counterpoint translation of Louisa's lyric. Renkis produces a set of pipes and follows along with Louisa, slow and sad.

The group will continue with a few more songs and then retire.
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Our son won't stop doing math, honey!

Not in my house mister!!! You can differentiate all you want with your little hoodlum friends, but in here it's wild guesses and rounding errors!
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Unread 16th of July, 2008, 08:02
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As the group sings, Malak allows himself the pleasure of relaxing and listening - something that has been foreign for him for the last 13 years. And so, despite 13 years of life on the edge,for once he lets his guard down and drifts off to sleep.
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Unread 17th of July, 2008, 13:19
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You've never been one for long sleep, and this morning it is no different, but, to your amazement, the youths have awoken earlier. You hear the remnants of the song still in your waking mind and you see the letter, left by Gisele -

Guardian:

Today we travel to the Spire to prove our worth. We shall return to you in good stead, to take the mantle from your weary shoulders. Rest, for I have foreseen that your journey shall not be straight nor brief.

The blessings of yours to ours,

Gisele
Knowing that even the round trip from here to the Spire and back may take a week, what is it that you would care to do to prepare for your departure?
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Our son won't stop doing math, honey!

Not in my house mister!!! You can differentiate all you want with your little hoodlum friends, but in here it's wild guesses and rounding errors!
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Unread 19th of July, 2008, 11:03
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Malak puts the note down and steps outside of the hut, scanning his surroundings as if by reflex. The air is chill indeed, but the sun has broken through the clouds and warms him - an omen perhaps.

What now, then? No dreams in the night, nothing. Only the deepest slumber I've had since I can remember entering these mountains!

He shakes his head to clear the cobwebs a bit more, then turns once more into his hut to make a quick breakfast, and then meditate in prayer for over an hour - praying to the Shalm on behalf of these young ones, and seeking guidance.

As the day waxes on, Malak picks up his bow and falls quickly into his routine. By now the intelligent undead know to stay away from this part of the mountains, but many of the mindless ones have a tendency to wander to these parts. Donning his War Quiver, he trots outside and follows a familiar but almost invisible path towards the slopes below. Loping along, he allows his mind to wander, as he often has, but this time his thoughts have more focus.

Either they will return, or they will not. Malak frowns, If they do not, then Ambrose is lost, and I am truly alone. I would call him foolish for it, but....he HAS always had a sort of preternatural wisdom...

Malak lopes on along the ridge line, pausing here and there to peer down into the ravines and valleys. In many places the recent disruption caused by the Children is still evident, and many other places which they have NOT visited yet remain dormant. At one such point, Malak turns to leave when the thought strikes him, They will not know of this place...or many like it! I only discovered them on my hunting forays, and it would have been...quite a boon to have known where are the more common places for them to rise, and where it is safe to gather food. I am no cartographer, but nonetheless, I will have to prepare for them a map to pass on the fruits of my experience.

By mid-afternoon, he has slain and skinned a young mountain goat. The meat he sets over a fire to cook, some to eat and some to jerk, while he stretches and scrapes the skin then sets it on a rudimentary frame to tan. Malak sets the frame next to the fire, and leans back to relax and enjoy the fresh cooked goat. From his vantage point, he can look down into several valleys and ravines, and so he chews his goat thoughtfully, scanning them while he eats.

As if on cue, the clouds pass over the sun, and then Malak sees a dark moving shadow emerge in one of the valleys below. He narrows his eyes and peers down into the valley, determining what it is that has appeared. As he studies it, his frown deepens. Wraith, and an old one too...

Without a second thought for the fire or the map skin, Malak grabs his bow, Jess, and jumps off the cliff, transforming into a small black bat as he falls. Quickly he flutters down to the valley floor to the area where he last saw the wraith. Landing, he transforms once more, but this time into the form of a massive black furred bear, and begins prowling.
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Unread 21st of July, 2008, 13:15
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The hunt goes well, leaving you tired and wrought, but in the way of triumph, not fatigue. The wraiths, for it was a covey, sought to ensnare you, but they were unable to overcome the power of the bear. Sleep is still and dreamless under a starless sky.

By the fifth day the skin is ready for use. For five days you have hunted, eaten, and slept along, without the steadying hand of Ambrose at the corner of your dreams. The shuffle of the walking dead does not cease, but it as if the windswept mountains are keeping them at bay.

Something
has happened, and those cursed to be among the living seem to find a time for rest, for just a moment. Is this the eye of the storm, or something more severe, you cannot tell, but as the sixth day approaches, and your map finishes drying, you see the youth, a bit more careworn, certainly pushed to their limits, return from spire.

All are accounted for, though all need much rest, but you will notice, as you silently escort them through the pass to the Chalice, that they walk much like you did at the beginning of the week, exhausted and triumphant.
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Our son won't stop doing math, honey!

Not in my house mister!!! You can differentiate all you want with your little hoodlum friends, but in here it's wild guesses and rounding errors!
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Unread 21st of July, 2008, 13:49
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As Malak leads them to the Chalice, he studies each of the youth, memorizing their features, their names, and the stories they have shared with them. Silently he commits himself to pray to the Shalm for their strength and well being until his days on Oerth are finished and his appointed rest should come.

The path is winding and broken, Malak picks his way through it nimbly without pausing to break his stride. After a while, he catches himself and silently chides himself for the additional test. No, they've earned a bit of rest. And they will need it in the days to come. There is no need to try them any more. And so he leads them onward, at a slower, kinder pace, allowing his determination and focus to dissolve into relaxation and acceptance.

I told you so, ya wookie! the voice of Ambrose breaks the silence of Malak's mind. Malak stops in his tracks and roars with laughter at the jibe, and turns to the youth.

Let us pause to rest, we are about half-way and there will be plenty of light for your return. He nods to Ansom and flashes his teeth gaily, And even if the dark should come, I trust the eyes of your ranger. Come, sit, and I will share you with some of the tales I did NOT share on our last eve together. Perhaps a few that Ambrose would rue to hear me share? Again he flashes a bright grin at the youth and then realizes the change in his own temperament: Joy has returned to his heart.
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Unread 22nd of July, 2008, 02:09
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As the group gathers around, Malak instructs Ansom to prepare a fire, then brings out several strips of fresh meat from his backpack, and sets them to roasting. As the group lunches, he regales them with tales from their adventures and mis-adventures, being careful to include several rather embarrassing moments that Ambrose would certainly omit in the years to come. Malak's relaxed demeanor is contagious and soon, despite their weariness, the group's demeanor changes to something a bit more jovial.

As the meal is finished, Malak reaches once more into his haversack and withdraws the map he has spent the last week preparing, The first years here were, to be frank, somewhat difficult. The area is quite vast, and there is much to be known. Some places are safer for hunting and gathering than others, and some places spawn the undead at a near constant rate. Looking back, it would have been helpful if Ambrose and I had known these things in advance.

Leaning over, he hands the map to Gisele, In this last week, I have sought to impart as much wisdom and guidance as I can in the form of a simple map. I am no magical cartographer, but this should serve you in good stead. When we arrive at the Chalice, I do not know what will befall any of you, or myself, so I will tell you now of the things to come. And for the next hour, Malak briefs the youth on the details of the Chalice and the haunted, tainted grounds of the Barrier Peaks.

The sun is well past its zenith when Malak finally finishes answering questions and gestures for the party to gear up and move on. A few short hours later, they enter a narrow winding ravine, barely wide enough for each of them to enter. An hour later they emerge onto a precipice dominated by a large glowing pool.
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Unread 22nd of July, 2008, 12:46
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As you complete your description you see Gisele and Renkis scouring the map, muttering softly to each other about known landmarks, smiling at the treasure before them.

There are plenty of questions, to be sure, though all are answered appropriately and to each curious soul's satisfaction. The group is not only still eager to reach the Chalice, but they are now ready.

You emerge onto the precipice and the group immediately spreads out, each in a state of awe that could only be described as euphoria. As a group they begin a soft hymn to Beory, then Fharlanghn, then Pelor, all interwoven and distant as a coming rainfall. The youths begin to dance, Renkis pulling out his pipes for melody. After their song, breathless, full of joyous tears, they run toward you and stop. Gisele, still panting a bit, walks forward, tears streaming from her face.

Guardian. Your stewards are here, here with the spirit of your friend. What shall you have of us 'fore your road takes you from us?
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Our son won't stop doing math, honey!

Not in my house mister!!! You can differentiate all you want with your little hoodlum friends, but in here it's wild guesses and rounding errors!
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Unread 22nd of July, 2008, 13:13
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Malak shakes his head. I am afraid there is one last test you must face, the test for which I have been seeking to prepare you. Each of you must enter the Chalice and then return to me. If you are whole of mind and heart, you may live and take from me the mantle of stewardship. If you fail this test, here he furrows his brow, and nocks an arrow on his bow. After a brief pause, he glances up to Gavin, I would ask you do me the boon of leaving your Sword behind as you enter. Then return to me and I will gladly give it back. Then you must stand beside me to judge whether each of your comrades has retained their minds, and slay those who have not.
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Unread 23rd of July, 2008, 12:54
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All of the youth look to you with a cross between mild apprehension and hope. Gavin strides forth, nods and unsheathes Ambrose, handing the sword, grip first, to you.

Thank you.

He strides toward the pool and, without hesitation, steps in. He returns immediately thereafter, wet, a little wide-eyed, and crying.

I... I never knew. I just never knew. I am ready, Guardian. My blade, please.

Gisele smiles and almost hops into the pool when it comes her time. She keeps her woolen dress on as she slowly enters the pool. She too returns immediately, and, too is wet. She, however, is beaming.

I envy you your journey, Guardian, but the road I just took is worth my time spent in your stead.

It takes Ansom a moment to work up to going into the Chalice.

I - it doesn't hurt, eh? Right, let's go then, and I'll see you shortly.

He does, indeed return quickly enough, and, smiling he says to you -

I... I think I can see you now, Guardian.

Renkis takes a moment to take his valuables and sets them aside, including his weapons. He then trips out of his jerkin and breeches, and takes off his hiking boots. He smiles toward Louisa and then runs, jumping into the Chalice.

By Moradin's chipped axe this ought to chill the boooones!


Louisa fights to maintain her own composure and smiles, but does not laugh.

The dwarven locksmith returns happy and hale, wet, and soggy.

I don't think I'll ever be any cleaner, Missy!


Louisa takes that as her turn, and removes her winter cloak, but nothing else. She actually dives in, in a practiced fashion, and returns, smiling, and crying just a bit.

My goodness Renkis, I didn't think it possible.

Renkis nods, as he continues to dress.

Bernard is last, handing over spear, shield, and bow to Renkis. He ties his long hair back into a horsetail and steps in. He emerges out of the pool as quickly as the others, but his eyes are wide, alien. He looks toward Gavin and laughs loudly.

They - you know that they are everywhere? They are beneath us know, feasting on maggots at the spine of the world. They are at the top of the Barrier, their bones like flutes on the wind. They... They... Aiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeee!!!

He trundles out of the Chalice slow, then picks up speed. He is laughing, but hot tears run down his face, and he turns to head out into the mountain.
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Our son won't stop doing math, honey!

Not in my house mister!!! You can differentiate all you want with your little hoodlum friends, but in here it's wild guesses and rounding errors!
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Unread 23rd of July, 2008, 13:33
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Malak furrows his brow as Bernard first emerges, and winces as he makes the mental connection. With a roar, he transforms into the part-man/part bear and brings his bow to bear. Drawing back on Bessy, he mutters under his breath,Miséricorde! then sets his feet and lets loose a flight of five arrows. Even as he looses the fifth arrow, he turns his head to the others and barks, You must do your duty, no matter how it grieves you!




[Transform to Hybrid, Hunter's Mercy, 5 Arrows (Rapid Shot): +35/+35/+30/+25/+20 Damage: 3d6+20/2d6 fire/1 Con/1 SR]

Last edited by MadDogMaddux; 24th of July, 2008 at 08:50.
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Unread 25th of July, 2008, 08:18
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The group looks on as their broken companion is cut down by your storm of hunter's shafts. He writhes and screeches, and in the sharp cold of the morning, he steams with heat. His heart bursts and he lies still at last.

Both Louisa and Gisele, who are both nearly bawling, run to Bernard's hot corpse and join hands, praying.

Gavin falls to a knee and begins to pray, as well.

Renkis and Ansom simple look at you sadly, not saying anything.

Louisa, finishing her Flanish prayer curses loudly, and hits Bernard in the bloody chest and she falls over him sobbing! Gisele, also crying, moves past Ansom and Renkis and toward you.

We understand our duty, guardian, it's just... I... They were betrothed. I fear for Louisa's road now, for it shall be dark.

She places a hand on your furred forearm and sighs. She looks back at Renkis and nods. He shakes his head sadly and moves toward Louisa. After a few soft words, she looks up, shakes her head, then concedes to nod. Her travelling robes are now bloodstained, as are you hands and face. Renkins motions to wipe her bloody brow, but she turns her head. She steps away moving toward you. Renkis touches the nearby ground, and Bernard slowly sinks into the stone, forever part of the mountain.

Louisa moves toward you and embraces you, still crying.

Beory's favor over you guardian.

Her tone is flat, and she turns and allows Gisele to walk her over toward Ansom. Renkis finds an appropriate stone, and, after muttering a few more words, places a rune upon it. He places this runestone atop the ground where Bernard fell.
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Our son won't stop doing math, honey!

Not in my house mister!!! You can differentiate all you want with your little hoodlum friends, but in here it's wild guesses and rounding errors!
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Unread 25th of July, 2008, 09:08
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As Louisa steps away, Malak collapses to the ground, his bow clattering to the ground beside him. Wordlessly he shudders and heaves deep mournful tears of his own, which soak the fur on his face and run down his chest. Powerlessly, he raises out an arm towards her, longing to comfort but yet realizing that HE is the source of her pain. And so for many minutes he simply weeps, mourning the loss of such bright hope and warmth, mourning the loss of a young life cut too short. And in that moment, 13 years of grief and suffering wash over him as if an endless deluge. 13 years of unbroken nightmare, 13 years of exhausting vigilance, 10 years of solitude and guilt.

It is too much for the great bear/man and he all but collapses into the aching hole of grief into which he has fallen. Where is the hope we embraced so recently? And where is the joy? Was it an utter lie? Cannot the Gods extend but one mote of grace to the hope of youth? Why? Damnit! Why must these things be so cruel, so cold!


Finally looking up, he shakes his head, still shuddering, and reaches out to Louisa, speaking through his tears, F....Forgive me...I beg you!...or slay me. I ask one or the other, please....
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Unread 28th of July, 2008, 22:58
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Louisa cannot look to you, but she speaks -

There is nothing to forgive, Guardian. You did what was necessary. I shall mourn, and I am angry, true, but... there cannot be life without pain. Beory teaches this to all women, and sometimes to men as well. Go in peace, Guardian.
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Our son won't stop doing math, honey!

Not in my house mister!!! You can differentiate all you want with your little hoodlum friends, but in here it's wild guesses and rounding errors!
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Unread 29th of July, 2008, 00:42
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For many minutes, Malak does not move, and there is nothing but silence on the plateau. Finally he stands and turns to Gavin, and nods.

This is not the fond farewell I had hoped for, Ambrose, but it seems our lives are fated to be tainted by doom.

Aye, wookie. Nontheless, go with Pelor's blessing. Er....where'll you be going?

That I know not, only that I am to enter the Chalice once more.

Be well, Malak. You have been a worthy friend to me. P'raps we'll share a flaggon together some day.

Ambrose, I love you like a brother. I will miss you, and cherish your memory always.

Bah, shuttup you sentimental old goat! Yer just walkin' into a lake! Who knows, maybe nothin' will happen. Now GO!


Thank you, Gavin. He turns to Gisele and the others, And thank you each. May the Blessing of the Shalm be upon you.

Steeling himself, Malak turns and, picking up Bessie, wades into the Chalice.
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Unread 30th of July, 2008, 05:31
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Louisa and Gisele begin singing a old Oeridian hymn, a blessing of Obad-Hai, though neither seemed to revere the Shalm, and Renkis pipes you toward the Chalice. Ansom notches an arrow and aims it to arc far over the cliff face, following your own path. The arrow flies, sparking a bit as it catches the cold air and falls out of sight.

May your path be as the arrow; though you may not know the path, let it be true.

You put foot to the Chalice and step in and the darkness takes you.


You are standing in a field of wheat, your mother behind you. You can see a summer storm approaching, the sky black in the distance.

Come away dear, this is no time to be out. Your father will return from the hunt 'morrow's eve.
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Our son won't stop doing math, honey!

Not in my house mister!!! You can differentiate all you want with your little hoodlum friends, but in here it's wild guesses and rounding errors!
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Unread 30th of July, 2008, 14:35
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Malak turns to see his mother, "Mama?" he shakes his head, "No! He's not coming back!" With that, Malak turns to run into the field.
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Unread 30th of July, 2008, 23:41
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You run in the wheat for what seems an eternity for a young child. The wheat is so tall that once you near the center, you can no longer see. Your mother patient watches from her vantage as you run haphazardly through the field. Even through your fear and tears you keep looking back at your mother.

Suddenly her serene face is twisted in concern. She runs toward you and shifts into the loping form of a great bear and pounds toward you. You do not know what is happening, and then you feel and hear the rapid thunder of something rushing through the wheat, invisible to you.
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Our son won't stop doing math, honey!

Not in my house mister!!! You can differentiate all you want with your little hoodlum friends, but in here it's wild guesses and rounding errors!
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Unread 31st of July, 2008, 06:57
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Malak too transforms into the form of a bear, albeit a Cub, and while he senses the something, all he can think of is his father, and so he continues to run.
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Unread 31st of July, 2008, 08:15
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Your mother quickly overtakes you and stands directly in front of you, planting her feet into the ground and leaning forward. Before you even have the option of skirting around her something enormous crashes into her, causing her to tumble past you and stop in a head. She has two large wounds in her side, but she immediately starts up and stands on her hind legs, roaring.

You see the towering form of a huge boar before you, gore and blood dripping from it's tusks. It's eyes are red with rage and it sees you, but also your mother. It grunts so loudly that the ground shakes near you, and it shakes its head madly back and forth. It starts forth again, and your mother follows suit.
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Our son won't stop doing math, honey!

Not in my house mister!!! You can differentiate all you want with your little hoodlum friends, but in here it's wild guesses and rounding errors!
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Unread 31st of July, 2008, 08:19
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Malak squeals in fright, but then seeing the blood dripping from his mother's wounds, steels himself and he too charges the Boar, unwilling to allow her to face the creature alone.
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