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scratch_flannigan
12:39:23 PM 01/19/20
Nature Night begins in about 1.5 hours from the time of this post. That will be 2pm CST (GMT -6).

Please check page 1 of the Nature Night: Phase 4 thread to see the map to the Wild Grove where we meet !

I will be on as Malam. Please shoot a tell to me with any questions.

Glognar
02:57:28 AM 01/19/20
Not sure if my original account was #14 or #33, it's early '04 regardless, but we had a forum on the BioWare site before this one so say I joined Thain late '03... Damn 16 years. Turned 34 in December. 😎🍻 Cheers Thain Family!

scratch_flannigan
11:53:50 PM 01/18/20
Looks like 33 to 47 for me!

C_McG
09:47:54 PM 01/18/20
Oh, just passed by 14 year mark. That would be 30 -> 44 for me.

dontyouknow
08:49:54 PM 01/18/20
25 then, 38 now for me.

Izral
02:07:57 PM 01/18/20
16 > 31 for me.

Zhymm
01:40:53 PM 01/18/20
Young whipper/snappers ... my profile says I joined this forum in 2004 (over 15 years ago). I was a spry 53 YO.

Jandari
01:28:03 PM 01/18/20
35-46

Dogbert
01:12:24 PM 01/18/20
15->31 here!

Jandari
01:11:33 PM 01/18/20
when i started, i mean.



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Instaurare Omnia in Lux -- Restore All Things to the Light
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Vaedryan
10:55:12 PM 07/16/18


Registered Member #345
Joined: 08:28:49 PM 11/24/04
Posts: 1893
Zorlamon’s Window of the Planes — An Interlude


Still previously...

Aeryth had returned to the Tower battered and beaten, feeling every step she had taken through that Hellish plane, particularly the last few as she faced, ineffectively and therefore quite briefly, the Bloodwinged.

She awoke in the Temple, surely a sign that Andarus had preserved them all from the demonic hordes. But she soon after received word from Gaylon, son of Eloril, that Lord Ashtaga would not be returning, his essence trapped now with Eteruna’s within the Drow’s blade. What had been a hard day, darkened further.

What would become of the Celestials in the war, with their general now stolen from them, Aeryth wondered. Who would rise to lead them?... Surely someone must. She did not have an answer to that question, not yet.

Exhausted, Aeryth had ascended the stairs within the Tower to its baths. Climbing in, she let the warmth of its rose-scented waters soak into her, washing the grime and blood from her body while allowing its radiating heat to slowly purge the grief she felt: an emotion, she knew, that she could not afford to let others see in her, not with the morale among elements of the alliance already on the brink.

She looked around the room. Candlelight kissed, just barely, the upper reaches of the ceiling, painting no more than a hint of their marbled-arches and pristine color. Serene, rejuvenating... and alone. Very alone.

No Draxus. No Ashtaga. A changed Cassia. And a rift-poisoned Chaska. More alone now than she had been in a long while.

Aeryth shook her head, trying to shed the loss she felt. She cupped the warm waters in her hands, bending to let them run over her face. The warmth over her eyes was soothing, and helped begin to lift her spirits. She let out an extended breath, then allowed the water to run from her as she climbed from the bath. Wallowing in these thoughts will lead nowhere, she chided herself.

Aeryth dressed in the silence of the chamber, searching her thoughts for what must be done next. Failing to arrive at an obvious answer, she descended the stairs, praying an answer would come to her. As she did, Oryllian’s last words to her echoed once more.

You must do what you can.



[ Edited 09:06:16 AM 07/17/18 ]

________________

Aeryth Elowyn: Celestial Knight of Andarus. Empathetic and determined pursuer of lore and keeper of the Light.

Her portrait. Her origin...ish. Her tune… or maybe it’s this one.

Primary threads: Restore All Things to the Light, An Echo of Light, The Book of Unfinished Tales, Where the Shores Sing

Seran: A survivor. Veteran sell sword and tactician whose moral fiber has been forged in different fires than most.
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Vaedryan
11:30:12 AM 07/17/18


Registered Member #345
Joined: 08:28:49 PM 11/24/04
Posts: 1893
Zorlamon’s Window of the Planes – A Thread through Time (part 2 of 4)


…Still previously

Aeryth descended to the landing near the Obelisk of Light. She paused there a moment, angling her head toward its height where an orb hovered and glowed brilliantly like the sun it was meant to symbolize. She breathed deeply basking in its radiance, as she felt the full force of her conviction, and ability to endure return. She exhaled, renewed by the sense of serenity she felt here. “You must do what you can,” Aeryth said, repeating Oryllian’s words under her breath as an oath to do exactly that.

But the serenity of the moment did not last.

“Do what you can. Do what you can!,” squarked Brother Henry from his perch on the far side of the Table of Tenets, his cawed mimicry piercing the brief reverie.

Damn that parrot for his hearing, Aeryth thought, not really meaning a word of it. Brother Henry, despite his apparent love to pester and taunt her, held a warm place in her heart. How many hours had they spent together, Aeryth poring over the details of one obscure manuscript or another while Brother Henry begged for attention from his perch?

Aeryth smiled despite herself, and made her way to the bird on other side of the Tower. As she approached him, Brother Henry cocked his head so he could regard her with his left eye. His head then swiveled about so he could regard her with his right.

[ image disabled ]


“Crackers!” Brother Henry squarked as he impatiently side-stepped along his perch. Aeryth stood in front of the bird, stunned by its endearing impertinence. How long had it been since she had a moment’s peace, only for it to be interrupted by…

“Crackers,” Brother Henry repeated, apparently wishing that Aeryth would be less parrot-dense. He then bobbed his head in the odd way of parrots, but doing so to seemingly point out the small dish of treats resting on the table beside his perch.

Aeryth shook her head, “No Brother Henry, not ri—“

“Crackers!,” the bird cut her off to demand a treat once more. “Do what you can,” he added, using her own words against her. “Crackers!”

Aeryth shook her head. The horrid creature would be the end of her sanity if she did not love it so much. “A cracker, then,” she said, knowing this would continue until she conceded.

“But just one.” She had to draw the line somewhere.

“Cracker!” Brother Henry called again, now more of a victory cry than demand.

Aeryth leaned past the chair toward the bowl of treats on the table to deliver on her promise. She picked a single cracker from the bowl but, due to the awkward reach to retrieve it, she managed to topple a half-organized stack of parchments with the effort. She quickly bent to collect them.

“Cracker,” Brother Henry called, side-stepping across his perch, unhappy with the delay. But Aeryth hardly heard him now, her full attention drawn to the parchment she had retrieved from the floor. She stood slowly, eyes fixed on the ancient parchment, as her right hand extended the treat reflexively toward Brother Henry on his perch.

She half-felt Brother Henry peck the cracker greedily from her palm as she stared at the title written on the first sheet of parchment. In impeccably elegant elven script, it read: “Inventory of Provisions and Supplies for the Queen’s Army under the Command of Kynnonnen Faldric.” She had acquired the ledger months ago, many months… more than a year past, when searching for clues related to the Fehrien’s legacy. But as she looked on it now, memories of the vision atop the gatekeeper’s dais flooded back. Zorlamon.

She glanced from the ledger to the table where a copy of Loremaster Darius’ “Great Book of Thain” rested on the far corner, where she had left it following her discussion with Seth some weeks ago. The cracker delivered and forgotten, Aeryth quickly settled into her chair.

What were the odds, she wondered, that these two footnotes in history, as obscure as they were, should find themselves together here, no more than two meters distant; and now, when they may be needed most. She looked to Brother Henry atop his perch where he stared back with his right-eye. The parrot bobbed its headed, but remained uncommonly silent. Aeryth looked from the bird to the ledger and book before her, then back. Could he… did he?

She dismissed the thought before finishing it. It did not matter. What mattered was the ray of hope that the Light had sent her way.

She wasted no time, pouring herself into the pages before her with the meticulous rigor of one trained to find what she was looking for.

[ image disabled ]


[ image disabled ]



[ Edited 06:12:36 PM 07/20/18 ]

________________

Aeryth Elowyn: Celestial Knight of Andarus. Empathetic and determined pursuer of lore and keeper of the Light.

Her portrait. Her origin...ish. Her tune… or maybe it’s this one.

Primary threads: Restore All Things to the Light, An Echo of Light, The Book of Unfinished Tales, Where the Shores Sing

Seran: A survivor. Veteran sell sword and tactician whose moral fiber has been forged in different fires than most.
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Vaedryan
06:12:15 PM 07/20/18


Registered Member #345
Joined: 08:28:49 PM 11/24/04
Posts: 1893
Zorlamon’s Window of the Planes — A Thread through Time (part 3 of 4)


Still previously...

Zorlamon’s spyglass... Zorlaman’s window... The anomaly in spelling, and a different object associated with the name in each of the references—with the origin of those references separated by more than a century, not to mention their relative obscurity—it is little wonder the connection had never been made.

If, of course, there was a connection at all.

Do not roll the parchment before the ink dries, Aeryth warned herself. There was still considerable work to be done to determine whether a connection existed, and if so, what its relation to current events might be.

Finding those answers, Aeryth realized, would be akin to seeking an oasis in a vast and unexplored desert. It was there, somewhere, but the direction to travel was uncertain, and the risk that you might lose yourself in the search was real.

Feldarian and Zorlamon... (or was it “Zorlaman”, she wondered)... two names and the fact that the references both predated the First Cataclysm. That, Aeryth realized, was all she had to go on. Perhaps it would be enough...

Given the age of the references, one possibility stood out above all others to begin her search: Greenvale. After all, if you plan to scour the desert, you have to begin somewhere.

________________

Aeryth Elowyn: Celestial Knight of Andarus. Empathetic and determined pursuer of lore and keeper of the Light.

Her portrait. Her origin...ish. Her tune… or maybe it’s this one.

Primary threads: Restore All Things to the Light, An Echo of Light, The Book of Unfinished Tales, Where the Shores Sing

Seran: A survivor. Veteran sell sword and tactician whose moral fiber has been forged in different fires than most.
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Vaedryan
12:55:24 AM 07/21/18


Registered Member #345
Joined: 08:28:49 PM 11/24/04
Posts: 1893
Zorlamon’s Window of the Planes—A Thread through Time (part 4 of 4)


Still previously... (for a final time!)

Aeryth searched through the library of the Mystics once more. She had been led there by Elaena, one of Greenvale’s preeminent scholars. Any one of the city, Elaena had suggested, who had been tasked with “rift-watching”, if such a thing had ever been done, would almost certainly have been a member of the prestigious Order of Mystics. Fortunately, from the time of the Order’s origins dating back to the time of the Old Gods, the Order had exhaustively chronicled the achievements of each mystic in a twenty-eight volume collection, the "Roster of Greenvale Mystics".

Each mystic's brief biography ranged in length from two sentences, for a mystic of lesser renown (the first sentence indicating the date and occasion of the mystic’s induction, and the second noting the date and nature of the mystic’s death), to dozens of pages for the Order’s more heralded members. The “Roster of Greenvale Mystics” was a promising lead for so early in the hunt. But, as the fates would have it, its promise would not be so easily fulfilled.

While each volume included the names and deeds of each member of the Mystic’s order who served while the volume was “open”, the collection was incomplete. Volumes I to XI, the tomes that included all of the mystics up to and through the First Cataclysm, were missing. If Zorlamon and Feldarian had indeed been mystics, their entries would be included in the lost volumes.

But, Aeryth wondered, were the missing volumes truly lost, or had they simply migrated from the ruins of the city with the population of their time?

Uncertain of the answer, she travelled north.


~@~ ~@~ ~@~ ~@~ ~@~ ~@~ ~@~



As the author of the unabashedly titled “Great Book of Thain”, Loremaster Darius had been a treasure trove of knowledge. It was always better to speak with the primary source of a work, than those who, like herself, had come by it second-hand.

“Hmmm,” Loremaster Darius pondered the question, though Aeryth, having known him for decades now, surmised he already had the answer in hand.

“Where did I come across that little bit of history,” he said, referring to the footnote related to Feldarian and Zorlaman’s window.

“Let me see,” he turned to the shelves behind him, then placed his finger on the spine of one of the tomes. “Was it from Horadotus’ masterwork on the potentials for apocalypse?”

“No. No,” he continued on. “And it wasn’t Myriana’s treatise on the Curses of the Abyssal Realms,” he said, running the finger along a second spine. “Of course not, no... that would be far too ancient a work... by a full century or two. Hmmm?” Darius turned to regard Aeryth to test whether or not she agreed.

Six actually, Aeryth thought, more than half a millennia. But rather than correct Darius, she remained impassive, learning long ago to let the Loremaster entertain himself with his pedantry. Though it may take time, he would arrive to the answer sooner or later. And he would do so sooner if you did not allow him to turn the process into an academic’s version of bloodsport.

Realizing his former pupil was not going to be so easily goaded, Darius continued on. “Yes, well, of course it would be too early a work.”

He took a few paces more along the shelf, then paused. “Ah hah!,” he declared. “Here it is: the simply... and ambiguously titled ‘Threats from Afar’ by Koranius Voritum.”

“Let me see, now where was that reference to Feldarian,” Darius said as he took the tome from the shelf and began to thumb through the pages. The Loremaster, hunched over ancient book, was so familiar with its contents that he seemed to cue more on the look and flow of each page rather than by actually reading its text.

“Here it is,” he said, proudly stabbing a finger toward a footnote on the open page.

Referring to a passage in the main body of text above, the footnote read: These observations come from Feldarian’s extensive rift-watching through Zorlamon’s window.

Aeryth read the footnote twice through. “It is identical to the note in your tome,” she said. “Except for the spelling of Zorlamon.”

Loremaster Darius blanched noticeably, prompting Aeryth to quickly add. “I am sure it is an error in transcription from your original text,” she said, trying to reassure her former mentor. “Scribes today are not what they were in times past.”

That seemed to assuage any harm done to Darius’ pride, as he nodded in agreement.

And so ended the mystery of Zorlamon and Zorlaman, but the footnote was, nonetheless, a disappointment, offering nothing more to follow toward the spyglass or window.

Where to now, Aeryth thought as she closed the tome. The answer, she realized, was somewhat obvious. There was just one last and best hope.

Aeryth travelled south once more.


~@~ ~@~ ~@~ ~@~ ~@~ ~@~ ~@~



“We do not have volumes of the `Roster’ here,” Tomas had said as he looked through an assortment of keys. He pulled a plain, rusted key from the group. “But perhaps there is something in the deep archives.”

It did not take Aeryth long in the musty room buried beneath the Great Library to realize that `deep archives’ was a librarian’s code for `disorganized mess’. But, she conceded, they were deep... being far below the library at large... and they were archives, at least insomuch as they contained piles-upon-piles and crates-upon-crates of unsorted texts.

Aeryth had spent, she thought, nearly a full day in the cavernous room beneath the Great Library. It was difficult to say due to the absence of windows, but however long it had been, it was sufficient only for her to look through an insignificant fraction of the texts stored within the place. There seemed to be no order to how crates and piles had been placed there. One pile alone may contain texts from a half dozen disjoint periods and cover wholly unrelated topics.

Aeryth looked around, feeling the hopelessness of her task. It would take her months... years more than likely, to sift through all of the work collected here. And there was no guarantee that the missing volumes of the “Roster of the Mystics” could even be found within the mess. With a war raging just beyond the city’s walls, that was time she could not afford to take. She looked around the room a final time, resigned that this was one mystery that would persist for years to come, ages perhaps.

It was then that she saw it: a crate, stacked upon three others, about thirty meters distant.

But this crate, with the yellow-greenish hue to its wooden grains, was different from the others. Only one tree produced wood of that color; Biloba, a species nearly extinct today that had thrived during Greenvale’s peak, and had been used in all manner of construction. It was, in fact, the wood that had originally prompted Greenvale’s name due to the hue of the buildings constructed with it—buildings that had burned to ash long ago.

Aeryth waded through the unsorted piles of tomes and loose parchment toward the crate, her hopes reignited.

Once there, Aeryth began picking through the crate’s contents... and there she found them. The missing volumes of the “Roster of Mystics” rested near the bottom of the crate, tucked away neatly, just as they must have remained for ages, possibly since the chaos and ruin of Greenvale and Vongottstein during the First Cataclysm.

Aeryth settled in, climbing to sit on a crate nearby to scan through the volumes. Then, in Volume VIII, she finally found what she had been looking for—Feldarian’s entry in the Roster of Mystics—and it did not disappoint. Aeryth rested the “Roster” on her lap, stunned by the realization.

Zorlamon’s window was not lost... not in the least.

It had simply been forgotten.

[ image disabled ]



[ Edited 09:29:39 AM 07/21/18 ]

________________

Aeryth Elowyn: Celestial Knight of Andarus. Empathetic and determined pursuer of lore and keeper of the Light.

Her portrait. Her origin...ish. Her tune… or maybe it’s this one.

Primary threads: Restore All Things to the Light, An Echo of Light, The Book of Unfinished Tales, Where the Shores Sing

Seran: A survivor. Veteran sell sword and tactician whose moral fiber has been forged in different fires than most.
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Inq_Damocles
11:59:56 AM 07/21/18


Registered Member #396
Joined: 11:35:42 PM 01/09/05
Posts: 519
As the door crack opens, the frigid northern air flows in like a tidal wave. Whatever vestiges of warmth were kindled within the confines of the carriage are crushed as the icy grip of the North surrounds me and the other passagers of the caravan. As I step down from the doorway, the snow crunches softly beneath my feet. I am surrounded by the bustle of the workers as they unload cargo, a few give me a respectful nod, whether due to the Keeper's colors or my own reputation I do not know. Still others give me cold looks, as frigid as the cold winds buffetting the encampment. Most, however, appear fixed on their work ignoring the passengers as we collect ourselves.

After checking my gear, I set out along the snow covered path to the village, the other passengers content to wait for the wind to die down before making their way there. The biting gusts cut through my furs as I forge on. Silence surrounds me, save for the constant howl of the wind. Few things survive in this frigid wastes, those that do know better than to brave such weather as this. The solitude leaves me to ponder the events of the last few weaks. On news of the war, and recent personal defeats. My mind turns to the cargo I carry and I stop to check its contents, making sure they are still safe and whole. I open the wooden box and carefully unwrap the velvet cloth surrounding a pristine blue-purple crystal and two delicate clear lenses. Satisfied with their condition, I carefully pack them away again and continue on.

Eventually, I see lights head. They resolve into glowing lamps, carefully maintained by troops clad in deep blue armor. As I finally reach the gates, I give the watchmen a nod though their gaze remains fixed on the horizon and whatever threats lie within the white hills. Moving through the village, I pass seemingly unnoticed. The hardy folk who live here have little time for pleasantries, the harsh land gives few moments of reprieve better spent at home with family than small talk outsiders.

Finally coming to the merchant hall, I slip in through the door. I unravel the layers of furs enveloping me, the heat from the nearby forge and the various fires and braziers inside provide a comforting warmth. Climbing the stairs. I make my way to a small, well lit room. A number of displays adorn the walls and the counter in the back, each filled with the bright twinkle of fine jewelery. As I reach the counter, a figure emerges from the back room. Mya regards me with a smile, "Welcome!". I return his greeting with a respectful nod and unpack the wooden box, showing Mya its contents as well as that of a large silver cylinder. His eyes regard me caustiously as the fel light of a splinter of riftstone lights the room. "I have need of your services, Mya. Needless to say it will be dangerous work, but you are the best jeweler on the island. I can provide you with whatever you need, and compensate you well for your assistance." Watching closely for his reaction, I push the box toward him...

You Are 80% Evil

[ image disabled ]

You are very evil. And you're too evil to care.
Those who love you probably also fear you. A lot.
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Corlupi
10:54:04 AM 07/25/18
Awooo

Registered Member #2942
Joined: 10:48:33 AM 11/27/12
Location: Denmark
Posts: 2749
Unum Corpus, Duo Animarum -- One Body, Two Souls

Part I.

She woke to the startling realisation that her form had undergone a metamorphosis and become Cassia Aurelia.

She lay flat on her back on the bed, looking at the ceiling. It took time for her eyes to adjust to the lack of light. The ceiling seemed to be a common, bland sort one might find anywhere. Once, it had been painted white, but years of dust and dirt had given it the colour of spoiled milk. It had no ornament, no defining characteristic. No motifs, no message. It fulfilled its structural role but aspired to nothing further. The ceiling did not reveal where she was, or who she was other that her name was now Cassia Aurelia. This she instinctively knew.

There was a tall window on one side of the room, to her left, but its curtain had been removed and thick boards nailed across the frame. An inch or so of space had been left between the horizontal boards, whether on purpose or not was not clear; rays of morning sun shone through, casting a row of bright parallel lines on the floor. Why was the window barricaded in such a rough fashion? Was a major storm or tornado in the offing? Or was it to keep someone from getting in? Or to prevent someone (perhaps this Cassia Aurelia) from getting out?

Still on her back, she slowly turned her head and examined the rest of the room. She could see no furniture, apart from the bed on which she lay. No chest of drawers, no desk, no chair. No painting, clock, or mirror on the walls. No lamp or light. Nor could she make out any rug or carpet on the floor. Just bare wood. The walls were covered with wallpaper of a crumbled design, so old and faded that in the weak light it was next to impossible to make out what the design was. A shield and sword were propped against the wall to her right, opposite the window. The room had perhaps once served as a bedroom. Yet now all vestiges of human life had been stripped away. The only thing that remained was the solitary bed in the center. And it had no bedding. No sheets, no pillow. Just an ancient mattress. The room was stripped of meaning, as was her waking in the room.

Cassia had no idea where she was, or what she should do. All she knew was that she was now a human whose name was Cassia Aurelia. And how did she know that? Perhaps someone had whispered it in her ear while she lay sleeping? Or perhaps it was the faded tattoo on her left bicep. Cassia Aurelia Candidus, Centurion, Templarii Imperialis Telboreum. But who had she been before she became Cassia Aurelia? What had she been?

The moment she began contemplating that question, however, an ache swirled up in her head. The pain grew thicker and denser as it moved to another part of her brain, buzzing all the way. Cassia decided to stop thinking. Trying to think anything through at this point was too great an ordeal. In any case, she had to learn how to move her body. She couldn't lie there staring up at the ceiling forever. As a first step, she tried to move her fingers. There were ten of them, long things affixed to her two hands. Each was equipped with a number of joints, which made synchronising their movements very complicated. To make matters worse, her body felt numb, as though it were immersed in a sticky, heavy liquid, so that it was difficult to send strength to her extremities. Nevertheless, after repeated attempts and failures, by closing her eyes and focussing her mind she was able to bring her fingers more under control. Little by little, she was learning how to make them work together. As her fingers became operational, the numbness that had enveloped her body withdrew. In its place, like a dark and ominous mount revealed by a receding fog, came an excruciating pain.

It took Cassia some time to realise that the pain was hunger. This ravenous desire for food was new to her, or at least she had no memory of experiencing anything like it. It was as if she had not had a bite to eat for a week. As if the center of her body were now a cavernous void. Her bones creaked; her muscles clenched; her organs twitched. Unable to withstand the pain any longer, Cassia put her elbows on the mattress and, bit by bit, pushed herself up. Her spine emitted several low and sickening cracks in the process. By Ashtaga, Cassia thought, how long have I been lying here? She did not know, or could not recall, who or what Ashtaga was. It had come like a natural exclamation, evoking the name. She needed to fill the gnawing void with sustenance. Food.

Her body protested each move. But she struggled through, marshalling her strength, until, at last, she managed to sit up. Cassia looked down in dismay at herbnaked body. How ill-formed it was! Worse than ill-formed. It possessed no means of self-defense. Smooth white skin with fragile blue blood vessels visible through it; a soft, unprotected belly; gangly arms and legs (without claws!); a scrawny, breakable neck; an enormous, misshapen head with a tangle of pale hair on its crown; two absurd ears, jutting out like a pair of conifer cones. Was this thing really her? Could a body so preposterous, so easy to destroy (no fur for protection, no powerful jaw with sharp fangs), survive in the world? Why hadn't she been turned into a bear? A bear would have made sense. More sense, anyway, than this human being, Cassia Aurelia. She didn't know why a bear would have made more sense, but it just would. There was something familiar about it.

Steeling herself, she lowered her legs over the edge of the bed until the soles of her feet touched the floor. The unexpected cold of the bare wood made her gasp. After several failed attempts that sent her crashing to the floor, at last she was able to balance on her two feet. She stood there, bruised and sore, one hand clutching the frame of the bed for support. Now what?

Now what!?

[ Edited 11:12:45 AM 07/25/18 ]

Renneleth Margaladhon: Huntmaster. Hope-Bringer.
Renneleth's Stories: Fatus Conexi, An Sestainell, Feywars, Elfmeet, An Seste, Rusvantan, Parma Tel'Quessir, Agarwoth, Perya Anta, Perya Heledh

Cassia Aurelia: The Red Woman. Fireblood.
Cassia's Stories: Fatus Conexi, Nunquam non Paratus, Ludi Gladiatorius, Codex Caelestis, Instaurare Omnia in Lux, Deus Vult, Omnes Contra Sortes, Sanguis Mundi, Ne Plus Ultra

"To run with the wolf was to run in the shadows, the dark ray of life, survival and instinct. A fierceness that was both proud and lonely, a tearing, a howling, a hunger and thirst. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst. A strength that would die fighting, kicking, screaming, that wouldn't stop until the last breath had been wrung from its body. The will to take one's place in the world. To say 'I am here.' To say 'I am.'"

― O. R. Melling, The Book of Dreams
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Corlupi
06:50:31 AM 09/26/18
Awooo

Registered Member #2942
Joined: 10:48:33 AM 11/27/12
Location: Denmark
Posts: 2749
Unum Corpus, Duo Animarum -- One Body, Two Souls

Part II.

She woke to the startling realisation that her form had undergone a metamorphosis and become Titaina.

She lay flat on her back on the bed, looking at the ceiling. It took time for her eyes to adjust to the lack of light. The ceiling seemed to be a common, bland sort one might find anywhere. Once, it had been painted white, but years of dust and dirt had given it the colour of spoiled milk. It had no ornament, no defining characteristic. No motifs, no message. It fulfilled its structural role but aspired to nothing further. The ceiling did not reveal where she was, or who she was other that her name was now Titaina. This she instinctively knew.

There was a strange, octangular window on one side of the room, to her left. It was nailed shut. The job had been briskly and poorly administered as if someone was told to "nail this window shut within thirty seconds." Because the job was attended to with such poor precision, slivers of light crept between most of the boards. Titaina blinked as rays of morning sun shone through, casting a row of bright parallel lines on her face. Why was the window barricaded? Was something dangerous lurking outside, or was a storm gathering and headed this way? Or was it to keep someone from getting in? Or to prevent someone (perhaps this Titaina) from getting out?

She cast her glance about the room. It was a strange room, stripped of meaning, as was her waking in it. Titaina had no idea where she was, or what she should do. All she knew was that she was now a strange creature whose name was Titaina. And how did she know that? By Sol and the Twelve, what was truly happening here? Why was she in this room, why was her name suddenly Titaina, and who had put her here? She vaguely remembered a woman with dark skin and white hair, but the memory was fragmented and simmering at the fringes of her consciousness.

The moment she began thinking about the woman with the dark skin and white hair, an ache swirled up in her head. The pain grew thicker and denser as it moved to another part of her brain, buzzing all the way. Titaina put two fingers on each of her temples and tried to rub the pain away. It did not help. Finally she decided to stop thinking. Trying to think anything through at this point was too great an ordeal. In any case, she had to learn how to move her body. She had many questions that needed answering, and she could not very well be lying on this strange bed in this strange room all day. As a first step, she tried to move her fingers. Where were her fingers? There were three of them, strange furry things affixed to her wrist. Each was equipped with a sharp claws the size of daggers, which made synchronising their movements very complicated. To make matters worse, her body felt numb, as though it were immersed in a sticky, heavy liquid, so that it was difficult to send strength to her extremities. Nevertheless, after repeated attempts and failures, by closing her eyes and focussing her mind she was able to bring her strange hands more under control. Little by little, she was learning how to make them work together. As her fingers became operational, the numbness that had enveloped her body withdrew. In its place, like a dark and ominous mount revealed by a receding fog, came an excruciating pain.

It took Titaina some time to realise that the pain was hunger. But it was a strange hunger. She had no desire or need for food. She required a different sort of sustenance. She felt like an alien stranded on a strange world where all crops were strange and inedible. By Mars's fire, she felt as if the center of her body were now a cavernous void. Her bones creaked; her muscles clenched; her organs twitched. She needed sustenance, but what kind of sustenance? Unable to withstand the pain any longer, Titaina put her elbows on the mattress and, bit by bit, pushed herself up. Her spine emitted several low and sickening cracks in the process.

Her body protested each move. But she struggled through, marshalling her strength, until, at last, she managed to sit up. She leaned her strange hand on the wall for support and realized in utter shock that the stone started to crumble under her weight. So were the floorboards. Titaina looked down in dismay at her naked body. How ill-formed it was! Worse than ill-formed. Fur covered every inch of her limbs! Her hands and feet she now no longer recoginsed as such. They were paws! Was this thing really her? Could a body so preposterous, so inhuman, be tolerated in the world? Why hadn't she been turned into a human? A human would have made sense. More sense, anyway, than this ill-begotten creature, Titaina, eldest daughter to Ashtaga.

A lone mirror stood in a darkened corner of the room. Titaina beheld her reflection and roared. She was a bear, albeit a pibed. Now what?

Now what!?

Renneleth Margaladhon: Huntmaster. Hope-Bringer.
Renneleth's Stories: Fatus Conexi, An Sestainell, Feywars, Elfmeet, An Seste, Rusvantan, Parma Tel'Quessir, Agarwoth, Perya Anta, Perya Heledh

Cassia Aurelia: The Red Woman. Fireblood.
Cassia's Stories: Fatus Conexi, Nunquam non Paratus, Ludi Gladiatorius, Codex Caelestis, Instaurare Omnia in Lux, Deus Vult, Omnes Contra Sortes, Sanguis Mundi, Ne Plus Ultra

"To run with the wolf was to run in the shadows, the dark ray of life, survival and instinct. A fierceness that was both proud and lonely, a tearing, a howling, a hunger and thirst. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst. A strength that would die fighting, kicking, screaming, that wouldn't stop until the last breath had been wrung from its body. The will to take one's place in the world. To say 'I am here.' To say 'I am.'"

― O. R. Melling, The Book of Dreams
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Corlupi
09:30:18 AM 10/11/18
Awooo

Registered Member #2942
Joined: 10:48:33 AM 11/27/12
Location: Denmark
Posts: 2749
Paenitentia -- Repentance

The Port Galena docks were virtually deserted. Not long ago, it seemed to Cassia, they were brimming with a mass of workers, sailors, soldiers, merchants, and customers that made the port's narrow plank bridges nearly unnavigable. Now a dull quiet had settled over the area, a distinct contrast to the once bustle of commerce. Making certain no one was watching - a pointless exercise, in truth, given that the only company present were a duo of shrieking gulls - Cassia reached into her satchel for a pinch of laudspier. Her headache eased and the pain in her ankles receded. Ever since her merging with the celestial Titaina her body, small and lithe as it was, suffered tremendously each time bone and muscle changed to assume a form twice Cassia's size. She watched a gray sky reflect off the water, thinking back to the day she had, back in the Imperium, stood on the docks of Caville with five thousand templars, preparing to board a troop ship to the savage islands of northern Telan. Her uniform had looked very prim and shining, and her galea helm had glittered in the sun. She had looked the part of a celestial. She felt the same, too. Angelic. Divine. Untouchable. Beyond reproach. But not everyone did. Standing beside her then, battered hands on a battered sword, was the legion's centurion, standing out in a crowd of thousands simply on account of the look on his face. It was one Cassia would see often during the war on the faces of men who killed other men, the look of someone who survived by ensuring that someone else did not. It tends to settle like wet plaster, grafting itself permanently to the skin. Guilt. Many years after Cassia would come to know that this was a mask that, once donned, could never to shed unless the torment became too much and she put steel to her wrist some cold night.

Now, on the distant island of Thain, many years and many miles apart from when she stood on the docks of Caville, she felt the same as the centurion did. Her eyes gazed across the bay toward Greenvale, toward purgatory. Under Kallista's influence she had murdered enough elves to fill a graveyard. She did not recall any of it, but her hand had held the sword that delivered the final cut. One ponderous step at a time, she set out toward the City of Elisara, the longest journey of her life.

Renneleth Margaladhon: Huntmaster. Hope-Bringer.
Renneleth's Stories: Fatus Conexi, An Sestainell, Feywars, Elfmeet, An Seste, Rusvantan, Parma Tel'Quessir, Agarwoth, Perya Anta, Perya Heledh

Cassia Aurelia: The Red Woman. Fireblood.
Cassia's Stories: Fatus Conexi, Nunquam non Paratus, Ludi Gladiatorius, Codex Caelestis, Instaurare Omnia in Lux, Deus Vult, Omnes Contra Sortes, Sanguis Mundi, Ne Plus Ultra

"To run with the wolf was to run in the shadows, the dark ray of life, survival and instinct. A fierceness that was both proud and lonely, a tearing, a howling, a hunger and thirst. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst. A strength that would die fighting, kicking, screaming, that wouldn't stop until the last breath had been wrung from its body. The will to take one's place in the world. To say 'I am here.' To say 'I am.'"

― O. R. Melling, The Book of Dreams
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Corlupi
05:58:17 AM 10/14/18
Awooo

Registered Member #2942
Joined: 10:48:33 AM 11/27/12
Location: Denmark
Posts: 2749
Iustitia, Semper Necesse Est -- Necessary Justice

Memoirs of Celestial Knight Cassia Aurelia Candidus of Telborea wrote ...

Hic est dius ultimus… [translated] this is the last day when the Celestial Knights of Thain, appointed with the sacred duty to ensure peace, justice and the perseverance of light, remain indifferent in the Great War. Last night, under my command, the Celestial Knights set up an outpost at the ambiguous border that seperates Hamley from the lands under Nayritha of the Watch's domain. The outpost was intended as a relieve to the farmlands of Hamley and the hundreds of farmers who toil day and night; Empyreans and Celestials standing watch side by side to ensure the blood-red curtain of war does not spill to embroil innocent civilians. The outpost endured less than a day. From the shadows agents of Poisonwood struck without mercy, hesitation or preamble. Were it not for the actions of a neutral party, they would have taken their war further west, toward the fields of Hamley.

There is a lesson in this, an important reminder of the transformation Man undergoes when steel grates against steel. In truth, it is not so much a transformation as it is a reversion to Man's true state: animalism and cruelty. War abides by no rules or civility, and war abides by no sense of mercy. When it comes, when Mors raises his grim blade, there is seldom hope for respite or compromise until it is too late; those intent to weather it out more often than not come to acknowledge that by the time the storm of death has passed, there is nothing left to come back to. And so, having been reminded of this lesson, I now now the Celestial Knights can no longer remain indifferent in the midst of the Great War's barbarity. In war as well as peace, we must be vigilant and decisive in our conduct to ensure that the seeds of evil do not take root. And if they have already taken root, we must come together to banish the evil before it festers. In this one purpose, we must never waver or relent.



To Lord Regent Bargus Telmoran, General Rittermark and Ashen Captain Corbin Duvall,
To Queen Yu'syu and Lady Deidra of the Sheltering Wing,
To the Elder Council of Feywood and Narade Danicel'fer,
To Colonel Darienne of the Celestial Knights, Protector of Hamley, and Lord Dace Sontan, Celestial Knight and Grand Keeper,
To Eluvial, Headmaster of the School of Magic
To the Brave Peoples of Sandburrow,
To King Greathammer of Hammersong and Master Steward Galberk Hagero,
To Cuchuwynus and the Druids of the Grove,
To Lady Aeryth Elowyn, First Among the Celestial Knights,
To Chief Ralzok Snagason of the Bloodstar Clan,

The hour grows late and yet the Great War has not abated. Some of us may think we revel in it, in the promise of glory in battle, but glory is delivered through honour, and there is no honour in this war. No absolution. No deliverance. Unseen hands command unseen strings, and we, the puppets, execute death without question, thinking one victory at a time is one step nearer to closure. Perhaps you thought the same as we of the Celestial Knights Council; that the war would come to a natural conclusion when the erring factions were worn down by attrition. It has been years. Where is the promised closure and the definite victory? We see it not. Meanwhile men and women give their lives every day to fuel a war that does not seem to eb toward an end.

...unless we deliver that end. The Great War takes its roots in Fort Crater. Under layers of rock and mortar our enemies scheme and toil to manufacture monstrosities. We ask of you now, all of you willing to hear, to meet with the Celestial Knights in the Radiant Tower. Together, united, we must attempt one final battle to end all other battles. Fort Crater must fall.

Cassia Aurelia Candidus of the Celestial Knights & Lady Titaina of the Celestial Host


[OOC] Date and Time: A tentative proposition would be Friday October 26, roughly 20:00 GMT +1.

[ Edited 06:19:32 AM 10/14/18 ]

Renneleth Margaladhon: Huntmaster. Hope-Bringer.
Renneleth's Stories: Fatus Conexi, An Sestainell, Feywars, Elfmeet, An Seste, Rusvantan, Parma Tel'Quessir, Agarwoth, Perya Anta, Perya Heledh

Cassia Aurelia: The Red Woman. Fireblood.
Cassia's Stories: Fatus Conexi, Nunquam non Paratus, Ludi Gladiatorius, Codex Caelestis, Instaurare Omnia in Lux, Deus Vult, Omnes Contra Sortes, Sanguis Mundi, Ne Plus Ultra

"To run with the wolf was to run in the shadows, the dark ray of life, survival and instinct. A fierceness that was both proud and lonely, a tearing, a howling, a hunger and thirst. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst. A strength that would die fighting, kicking, screaming, that wouldn't stop until the last breath had been wrung from its body. The will to take one's place in the world. To say 'I am here.' To say 'I am.'"

― O. R. Melling, The Book of Dreams
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