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  #51  
Unread 14th of September, 2008, 13:01
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Malak chuckles briefly with Mizuki, and shrugs off his knapsack and quiver, then turns to Aros, I have slept in a makeshift shelter for the last 10 years, I will look forward to a night out of the elements. May I suggest, then, that we make our respective preparations for the night, then gather at the foot of the rope and I will share with you the story of my journey, and perhaps each of you would be willing to do the same? There are certainly far worse ways of passing the time.
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  #52  
Unread 14th of September, 2008, 22:45
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"Sounds fine to me, especially since you think you have inside information." I start walking down the lee side of the dune and looking for a place to set up.
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  #53  
Unread 16th of September, 2008, 00:21
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Indeed. I would enjoy hearing your tale, and perhaps it will help me figure out just how I got here.

I settle comfortably down on the sand, resting against my pack.
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  #54  
Unread 17th of September, 2008, 01:27
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The sun goes down and the dune seems to close in on itself. You are alone, the four of you, with only the sound of the chimes clinking irregularly.
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Unread 18th of September, 2008, 11:34
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(I hope hotel computers are safe enough.)


Much like Aros, I simply turn enough to have my pack supported and sit down. Okay, whenever you're ready.
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Unread 19th of September, 2008, 05:22
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Looking back at my companions and seeing them all settled in, I turn around and come back, sitting down as well.
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Unread 19th of September, 2008, 05:55
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Sitting down next to the dangling rope, Malak nestles into the sand a bit and leans against his knapsack. In the....reality I came here from, I began life in a tribe of guardians in service to the god Obad-Hai, whom we know as the Shalm. He is the protector of the Oerth and nature herself, and the bringer of calamity upon those who would despoil her. I was trained from youth as a guardian of one of his hidden Temples.

He procedes to describe growing up in such an environment and the training one such a guardian receives, gradually leading up to the point where they were attacked.

We received word that these evil men, whom we came to know as the Scarlet Brotherhood, had made entrance to the Shalm's sacred wood, with intent to despoil the temple and take what power they could to further their cause of despotism. My clan and I moved to defend and were initially successful. He then describes vividly a series of battles fought in the woods wherein he and his clansmen fought bravely and carried the day until the arrival of an evil sorcerer.

Our clan was decimated in the ensuing confrontation. While we were trained against such dark arts, he overpowered us. The unexpected arrival of a DRAGON furthered our doom, and it was only for the ingenuity of my clan that we were able to fend the beast off. He smirks just faintly, To this day I am enamored with the many uses of a tanglefoot bag. He pauses, bowing his head, We did not slay the dragon, however, nor did we slay the Sorcerer, I am ashamed to admit. He fled before our remnant, and we were content to see to our wounded and shore up the defenses. We were fortunate for the arrival of many of the Shalm's druids and holy men to succor our need, but it was not soon enough for the better part of my clansmen. As I was young yet, they took pity on me and brought me to their temple where I was healed, then trained for some time.... Then the Shalm came to me in a vision, and sent me to pursue the Sorcerer who wrought this evil upon my clan. And with his guidance I tracked him into the Barrier Peaks of the Crystalmist mountains, where I found an ancient and sinister evil dwelling.

He proceeds to speak of a land blighted by centuries of necromantic energy, the assembling of a group of heroes to explore these lands, and their arduous journey within. He tells of Hobgoblin armies, haunted mountain villages, and a land that seems to breathe undeath. Eventually he tells of their finding Loric, the sorcerer, and of his escape through shedding the blood of innocent children to mask his own evil and thereby gain him entrance to a portal of pure good. And here, he pauses, eyes misting in reflection, Whether wise or unwise, I do not know, but we pursued him into the pool which we had come to know as the Crystal Chalice. And yet, we did not follow him. Instead we emerged from the pool again to stand by its shores. Some of us, however, had been made mad by the power, others of us seemed to grow in strength from it. It is my grief that I was forced to slay some of these my companions for the madness drove them to attack us. And those of us that survived chose to guard the Chalice unless someone of great evil should find it and bend it to their purposes.And so there I dwelt for many years, in the land of undeath.

He continues to speak of his one companion, Ambrose - a paladin of great might, who stood with him in the ensuing years until he himself fell in battle - but continued to stand beside him as a spirit yet warding away the evil. Until after many years, others arrived with a calling of their own to take the burden of guarding the Chalice. It was then that the Shalm visited me once again in my dreams and showed me that once these young ones assumed the mantle, that I was to enter the Chalice once more. Here he pauses and shakes his head,

At this point, things become confusing. I entered the Chalice and was immediately swept into a floodtide of memories so vivid it was as if I were living them again. Yet, some of these memories were DIFFERENT than I had experienced, and some were entirely new to me - but all of them MEMORIES - things which it seemed I had lived and experienced myself. Finally after what seemed a lifetime of memory and new memory, I found myself in the great hall of the Shalm himself, and he told me that he was sending me away from all that I knew to once again resume my pursuit of Loric. Malak cracks his knuckles and a grin creeps across his face, And so have I arrived here, shortly before you all. The bones which you saw me studying are the selfsame bones of a young child which Loric defiled in order to enter the Chalice. He came here, I know not when, but not recently, and so must I find him and slay him. I know not what to make of these....dreams, this other reality that I seem to have experienced - but I feel as though from those memories alone I know enough about farming to establish my own homestead if I wished. The only thing that convinces me that my life as a guardian of the Shalm is the true reality over that of a farmer is the existence of these bones which I now carry in my knapsack. This shatters all doubt for me, and so I am resolute for this purpose. I can only assume that the Shalm brought the three of you here at this time to assist me in my task - and yet from hearing what little each of you has said, I realize that this may be assuming much indeed.

At this, Malak leans back once more, and looks around the circle to the other three, awaiting some sort of reaction or response.
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  #58  
Unread 19th of September, 2008, 11:01
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I wait and listen, seeming to perk up more toward the end of the tale. After a few moments of thought I finally reply, "Okay Malak, I have a couple questions. First if the experiences were different and entirely new, how are they only memories? Second isn't it entirely possible that your experience with Obad-hai was merely another of these new experiences that weren't real, but new memories? Thirdly we are in a desert, so how can you be certain about the time the dead boy has been here?" I stop and wait, with a smile.
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Unread 19th of September, 2008, 11:45
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I listen to Malak's tale with casual, but growing interest. When mention of the sorcerer comes up I subconsciously clench my fists, unaware that I'm doing so until later, when I find little red crescents where my nails have dug into my palms.

Your story is a good one, Malak. You are quite brave, and have seen much more than your years suggest. I wish that I had been present when you confronted Loric! Things may have ended differently then. But it appears that I may still get my wish. What you said at the end strikes a chord though; it is eerily familiar to my own experiences in coming here. If the rest of you will permit me -- I quickly scan the faces of those around me for signs of approval -- I will try to explain how I came to be here, although I doubt I will be as entertaining as you.

I crack my knuckles out of old habit, barely noticing.

How will I begin? How can I explain to them what I'm not even sure of myself? I can't even tell what's real anymore and what's not. I suppose it's like my wife used to say: 'All men must start somewhere; where better but the beginning?'

The place that I come from is a land called Eberron. It consists of five main nations, and several smaller ones, all of which have been at war with each other until a few years ago. I was a Knight for the kingdom of Breland, a Captain. I can't tell you much more than that; all I remember is going on assignment to Ashtakala in the Demon Wastes, to prevent a powerful rakshasa vizier from opening a rift to the plane of madness.

There was a
(presence)
voice there, in the core of my being. It questioned me...I can't remember what about. I know that it used me for a vessel to escape that place. It was some being of great power. Even I have never seen or felt anything like it before.

There was a score of times and places after that. I can remember being a child on my father's farm, and commanding general of the Knights of Brey. There were others, but the ones that stand out the most were as a mercenary commander on Xen'Drik, waging war against giants. I was married to a beautiful Drow woman that I won in contest from a fire giant.

I describe the tent on the night before battle, and how the only consistency was Gurthang, black and deadly, still bound to me.

I'm still not sure that my memories of being a Knight are not the false ones. I have this medal, I gesture to the medal pinned to the shoulder of my cloak, but I don't remember when it was given, or why. It could be the product of the same Voice that brought me here. There are other things too. I feel different. Powerful. But something is not right in my mind, like myhead is filled with thistledown that keeps trying to blow away. It's extremely disconcerting.

What of you two?
I ask, turning my attention on the two women.
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  #60  
Unread 20th of September, 2008, 02:55
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I look between the two men, absolutely bewildered, and really unsure what to say. "Well, ... I wasn't sent on some holy mission. I was busy, caught in a battle between two evil beings, and one of them found my presence to be a nuisance and while I was distracted, banished me from his world.

I fell for a long while, until this world ... reached out and grabbed me. Swallowed, really. I saw a great mouth open, and I fell in, and now I'm here. My arrival here is simply because I was unprepared for the power Lord Godfrey had to expel me before I destroyed him.


My memories are in a straight line. There are times I don't remember much, but that is the haze of memory, not confusion as to what was reality or dreams. I wonder, is it this place that has done this to you? Or the journey here?"

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  #61  
Unread 20th of September, 2008, 05:08
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Originally Posted by LightBringer # I wait and listen, seeming to perk up more toward the end of the tale. After a few moments of thought I finally reply, "Okay Malak, I have a couple questions. First if the experiences were different and entirely new, how are they only memories? Second isn't it entirely possible that your experience with Obad-hai was merely another of these new experiences that weren't real, but new memories? Thirdly we are in a desert, so how can you be certain about the time the dead boy has been here?" I stop and wait, with a smile.
I nod, Understandable questions, all of them. As I have reflected upon the two sets of memories, there is one set with....inconsistencies in it, while the other set is consistent all the way through. Additionally, I lift the massive bow that has been laying beside me, this is certainly not the tool of a Farmer. I shake my head, No, I am certain that the life of which I have spoken is true. I concede that it is possible that the second life is also true, but considering that Obad-Hai specifically told me that the other memories are the work of HER... again he shakes his head as if reliving a memory, The woman I percieved to be my well-meaning wife disolved in memory into the face of a dragon. Possibly the self-same dragon that attacked my clansmen and I. I believe much of this second set of memories to be her doing.

I turn and draw out one of the bones, covered in runic carvings. It is worn down with age, and proffer it to OmniFrost, I have studied these bones, but you may do the same if it will settle the issue for you.
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  #62  
Unread 20th of September, 2008, 05:11
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Originally Posted by LadyGlutter # I look between the two men, absolutely bewildered, and really unsure what to say. "Well, ... I wasn't sent on some holy mission. I was busy, caught in a battle between two evil beings, and one of them found my presence to be a nuisance and while I was distracted, banished me from his world.

I fell for a long while, until this world ... reached out and grabbed me. Swallowed, really. I saw a great mouth open, and I fell in, and now I'm here. My arrival here is simply because I was unprepared for the power Lord Godfrey had to expel me before I destroyed him.


My memories are in a straight line. There are times I don't remember much, but that is the haze of memory, not confusion as to what was reality or dreams. I wonder, is it this place that has done this to you? Or the journey here?"


Malak listens intently to both Aros and then Mizuki, then turns again to Aros, Describe to me your wife, particularly.....her eyes.
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  #63  
Unread 22nd of September, 2008, 03:34
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I hold my hand up signaling for Malak to keep the bone. I do not doubt your assessment. I was simply pointing out the conditions.

I wait for the rest of the conversation to play out.
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Unread 23rd of September, 2008, 05:39
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At Malak's request, I sift through a morass of memories and images. Picking up on the details would normally not trouble me, but having several times the memories to piece together changes the task to a difficult mental exercise.

It is hard to do her justice. Myrinil was a strong, beautiful woman. She had her share of hardships; I won her from a giant named Cloyer. It was rather unexpected -- I was there to secure an artifact, not a marriage.

She was tall for a drow, and very strong willed. She knew it was likely that she would be forced to carry on without me, but she did not bemoan the fact. Her skin was dark, much blacker than yours, my friend. Her hair was silvery-white, and she had deep green eyes. I have never seen another drow with eyes like hers, although I must admit that I do not know many.


My brow furrows in concentration as I strive to recall everything about Myrinil. A strange sensation washes over me, the feeling of being intimately connected with someone that I've never met.
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Unread 23rd of September, 2008, 06:11
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Think more on her eyes, were they at all......reptillian, draconic even?
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Unread 23rd of September, 2008, 07:20
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I just continue to listen to the conversation.

'These guys are seriously obsessed. I think I was safer with the beholder.'
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Unread 23rd of September, 2008, 09:32
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I am deadly quiet, listening to every word as well. I watch my companions carefully, wide eyed.
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Unread 24th of September, 2008, 03:31
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No, they were not the cold eyes of a dragon, though they were as green as one. You could see the love and care that she held within her, as well as strong resolve.
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Unread 24th of September, 2008, 03:57
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How about the pupil? Were her pupils normal for a Drow, or more....vertical? Malak shakes his head and bursts out in laughter as the expressions on Omni and Mizuki's faces register in his mind.

Forgive us, Ladies, I am certain that you now believe us both to be out of our minds. And perhaps....to a degree....we are? He shrugs and turns once more to Aros, And forgive me if it seems I am trying to impose a thought into your mind, friend. It is just that I too have the memory of a devoted and well-meaning wife, and yet she belongs to the set of memories which the Shalm said were false - and she had Green eyes which at one point in my memory dissolved into those of a dragon.

He shakes his head, So, milady OmniFrost, you have been quite reticent to this point. I beg you, tell us your story?
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Unread 24th of September, 2008, 09:27
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I look at Malak, then Aros, then Mizuki.

"I'm afraid I have no story to tell, or at least nothing so... 'interesting'.

As so many other times in my life, I was traveling one path, and now I'm on another. Whether it is due to divine intervention, evil adversaries, or some other unseen force I know not, and really don't care. I relish things that are new, and live for now. So I look forward to this journey, and all that comes with it.

I can say with relative certainty though, that Shalm did not bring me here, and with positive certainty, is that if all you offer is your quest to kill another living being, based on your testimony alone, I may very well be traveling this journey alone, as I have done many times before."
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Unread 24th of September, 2008, 09:53
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Malak cocks an eye, You have no story to tell? You have a name and nothing more? Friend, who we are is defined by from where we have come. Surely you do not mean that you come from nowhere?
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Unread 24th of September, 2008, 11:20
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I speak up. This is annoying.

"How are you so sure she's a friend? Have you checked HER eyes? Or mine, either, for that matter? You're quite forward, aren't you? Shouldn't you at least buy her dinner or a drink first? And anyway, what's so wrong with dragons? Seems like you've only met one to me."
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Unread 24th of September, 2008, 12:00
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I raise a sardonic eyebrow in OmniFrost's direction.

Nothing interesting? So being plunged through the veil between worlds and into another reality must be commonplace for you, if you think it so mundane.


As for dragons, I must take Malak's side once more. I turn to face Mizuki so that the flickering light highlights the pocked scarring on one side of my face. A green did this, one not much bigger than a horse. It still burns me, and even the best healing magic can't remove the scarring. Dragons are treacherous beasts, the lot of them; I've never met one worth trusting. If this Loric has dragons with him, then we shall deal with them as well.
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Unread 24th of September, 2008, 14:20
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At this, Malak leans back and shakes his head, chuckling, Well, I am not certain about where you come from, but in my world, Metallic dragons are typically good, while non-metallic dragons are evil. He nods towards Aros, The dragon to which I refer was indeed....chromatic.

He turns again to Mizuki, As far as being forward, I have nothing to hide, so I speak. Therefore I generally mistrust those who make habit of guarding their speech so closely. Again he shrugs, Besides, we four have each found ourselves ripped from our realities and deposited here in this seemingly endless desert. It is my experience that travelers pass the time telling stories, if this is not agreeable to you, then you may do as you like - but be not surprised if others percieve you as unfriendly.
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Unread 24th of September, 2008, 22:13
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You have strange dragons, my friend. Where I am from, dragons are like people: they don't hold a particular morality based on the color of their hide.

Anyway, if these two refuse to talk, I'm going to bed.


With that, I begin to rise, dusting the sand off and stretching until my back pops like my knuckles so often do.
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