The Island of Thain
A Neverwinter Nights Persistent World
| Home | FAQ | Forum | News |

 

Welcome
Username:

Password:


Remember me

[ ]
[ ]
Chatbox
You must be logged in to post comments on this site - please either log in or if you are not registered click here to signup


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.



Forums
The Island of Thain :: Forums :: Thain :: In Character Discussion
 
<< Previous thread | Next thread >>
Omnes Contra Sortes - Against All Odds
Moderators: The Site Master, Squidget, Bonesly, Cuchuwyn, Ogreman007, Vaedryan, Inq_Damocles, Just Miggen, Falkala, jewwe, scratch_flannigan, Tuckerr99, Warlord Kro, Oberon, ChaoticDrow, Alanonas
Author Post
Corlupi
04:39:09 AM 12/13/18
Awooo

Registered Member #2942
Joined: 10:48:33 AM 11/27/12
Location: Denmark
Posts: 2749
[ image disabled ]


Mine is the shield that is hoisted not in self-preservation,
but in the defense of those who cannot defend themselves.
I am the necessary sacrifice so that life may thrive,
even when threatened.

My shield is not made from steel or wood,
nor is it round or rectangular.
Mine is forged, sustained and empowered by faith,
and as long as it is, it will never shatter!

- Celestial Knight Proverb


T
here was a time, not very long ago, when I thought peace would find Thain. The Celestial Temple had finally been rebuilt, the gateway between our realm and the realm of our celestial brethren re-established. Our Lord Draxus was returned to us from the Abyss, the instrument that had caused his suffering, the sword Eteruna, banished. The Kinswar, too, had ended, the five commanding dragon-kin put to the sword and their fell stronghold, Fort Crater, destroyed. And so, at long last, for all its terrors and insistence to embroil all corners of the island, the Great War was ebbing away. Or so we thought. I should have been wiser. Bellum nunquam cessat, as they say. War never ends, not truly. As long as men wield blades and as long as their hearts let in darkness, war never ends.

And the Great War, certainly, has not ended. I sit and write this on some desolate slope in the Northlands, having been brought here by the Bloodstar Tribe chieftain, Ralzok. I had learned the Bloodwinged had resurfaced, and that he was calling his monstrous kin to his banner. When I learned of this, I forsook prudence and instead acquitted myself with bold confidence, striding toward the gates of Raven's Watch to challenge the beast to single combat. I found him. I challenged him. I had thought that he, despite all his savagery, was a man of honour. But he had none. A coward to the bone, he waited until his flock, other dragonkin as well as the drow Kallista and the she-devil from Iron City, Melphaecto, came to his side. Brother Sollis and I fought bravely, but we were overwhelmed. I left Sollis with our apothecaries and returned to the field of battle, rallying Empyrean Templars and Celestial Knight Errants to my banner, and we stood proud and defiant. But again we were overwhelmed. I would have perished were it not for Ralzok who took my broken body from under the Bloodwinged's claws. I may perish yet.

But I will not perish without a fight. Thain will not. We will not suffer another Kinswar, nor will we stand idly by whilst the face of evil leers at peace and justice. A moment before, on this frozen slope in the Northlands, I felt never so alone and outnumbered. But I am not alone. You are not alone. Thain is not alone. We have each other, we have the Light, and in the Light we shall find deliverance and justice. Against all odds, we shall prevail!

[ Edited 04:42:07 AM 12/13/18 ]

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
Back to top
Website
Corlupi
03:39:40 AM 12/16/18
Awooo

Registered Member #2942
Joined: 10:48:33 AM 11/27/12
Location: Denmark
Posts: 2749
I was taught to always acquit myself with honour; to temper my words and deeds with it, to uphold it even when my enemies do not, and to inspire it even when the world has nothing but mockery to offer in return. And justice, that noble virtue that all men adhere to in thought but seldom enforce with deed, where art thou now? "Who are you to enforce it, Cassia," Logan, a metallic paladin, asked. "You, who sentence men on the battlefield without court or trial. You, who adjudicate conflict with conflict. You, who resolves injustice with force." Had he not arrogantly walked away, and walked away on the eve our temple was sacked, I would have responded thus: "Nay, Logan, I, Cassia Aurelia, am not a neutral arbitrator of justice, nor can I always await sentence from an unbiased court. And what court, pray tell, is unbiased when those it is meant to sentence spit at it, deny it and refuse it? And what meaning does a court have in a context of war? What meaning does it have when rather than sentence men who are fallible of conscience, it sentences beasts who have no conscience at all?" No, there will be no trial by court for the Bloodwinged. There will be no further offers toward honourable duel, because he has no honour. As I watch the sacred grounds of the celestial temple burn in his fires and the fires of his fell associates, as I watch, appalled, at the stacked corpses of innocent pilgrims, I am reminded that in this war there will be no leniency, no civil trial and no honourable battle. But there will be justice. Justice for the unjustly wronged. Justice for the dishonourably slain. Justice for all those who pray for it when the Bloodwinged makes his march, but receive none.

Until now. This I vow.

[ image disabled ]


[ Edited 03:41:53 AM 12/16/18 ]

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
Back to top
Website
Corlupi
10:11:17 AM 12/17/18
Awooo

Registered Member #2942
Joined: 10:48:33 AM 11/27/12
Location: Denmark
Posts: 2749
The wind on Titania's face, a cool wind. Drops of rain. The scent of pine and ash and storm in her nostrils. Even after several centuries spent in the mortal world, sensations like these never ceased to amaze her. Above, lightning. Soon after it thunder. In the light Titania sees the silhouette of the Sop Icktleaph, the Great Door, the portal from which her kind emerged on Thain millennia ago. The sky above the Celestial Temple is full of stars, full of constellations. The Centaur. The Woman Warrior. The Dragon of Dawn. The Firbolg. And almost just above the southern horizon, Faeraula, the Lightning Bolt. Ribbons of actual lightning manifest on the southern hemisphere, perhaps urged by Faeraula. Along with the growing wind, the sky darkens from the west. The clouds, coming in waves, spill across Hammersong Mountain and crawl down toward the temple like a phantom serpent, extinguishing the constellations in turn. The Centaur goes out, the Woman Warrior goes out, then the Dragon of Dawn and the Firbolg. The Crown, which shines brightest and longest, goes out. A portentous omen, Titania thinks.

A buzzing in her ears. A flash and brilliant brightness. Sop Icktleaph opens and from a rift between planes a figure steps through. It walks toward Titania until the two are nearly touching, but not quite. Somewhere in the distance a bellow of thunder echoes with a long-drawn-out clang.

"Thou hast procured what I asked for?"

"Aye, Lady. I have. And thou, I again ask, art certain that this will not fall into the wrong hands?"

"It shall not."

"The one to receive this gift, they are aware of what it does?"

"Nay, they are not. 'Tis better that way. One could say 'twill be an unexpected surprise for them."

"So be it."

"So be it."

"Fare thee well, then, Titania, daughter of Ashtaga."

"And thee, Amrelual."

The line of the horizon is lit up by another short-lived arc of lightning. Thunder rolls with a dull rumble. The wind abruptly intensifies, blowing dust and dry leaves into Titania's eyes. Certainly a portentous omen.


[ Edited 11:46:58 AM 12/17/18 ]

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
Back to top
Website
Corlupi
06:53:40 AM 12/18/18
Awooo

Registered Member #2942
Joined: 10:48:33 AM 11/27/12
Location: Denmark
Posts: 2749
Kallista D'Mora wrote ...

[...]

I remember...some of the battle in the woods. The battle that began this particular day. The memories are a mess. I try to piece them together and it is like fixing a piece of shattered glass. I recall how she challenged me, the fervor in her eyes as she sought my death.

I know that I won. Though it was a nearer thing than I care to admit. I expended the last of my magic. I heard her scream. And then the screaming stopped.

Strangely, I think about her still. My enemy.

I should be pleased that Cassia Aurelia is very likely dead. She has been nothing but a troublesome thorn in my side these past months. She led the celestial knights, an order that would see every one of my kin burned to ash if they could. An order that would see the mortal races saved by winged self-righteous do-gooders, instead of our own kin.

And yet…I am not pleased. Not entirely. There is nothing in me like the satisfaction I felt at Telr’kena’s fall. My feelings are strangely mixed upon the matter.

Ilythiiri do not waste our time with talk of honor or nobility. We respect our enemies by claiming victory over them with every cruel tactic we can muster. We do not look back at the broken bodies behind us. The better to kill the ones who lie ahead.

And yet, I never had an opponent quite like her. She was tenacious, deadly, and unshakeable in her cause. She was creative and clever and bold. Where Telr’kena hid behind her soldiers and handmaidens, Cassia never feared to face me. To challenge me. Even when she stood alone.

What does it mean, to be a worthy enemy? I am not certain. But she was one.

Wherever she is now…

I hope that she is suffering more than I am.

*


[ image disabled ]


On frozen, perilous slopes they fought. From frozen, perilous slopes she fell into an abyss of darkness.

The place was tenebrous, baleful and dark. Cassia writhed on the ground, horrified. Those who say paladins do not feel fear often have no conception of what fear can be. Paladins fear no mortal challenge and will stare any enemy in the eye with bold valour, but fear can be more than an oppressive foe or staring death in the eye. Fear can also be the realisation that you have failed, that you have relinquished hope or that hope has relinquished you. And Cassia felt fear, both in the literal and metaphorical sense. After a long time of drifting in what felt like soft limbo, she felt her body pressed against something painfully hard, jagged and unyielding as rock. The impression of hardness was so astonishing and unpleasant that she could only do so much to keep her teeth from chattering. The second shock, the metaphorical one, was supplied by the smell. Cassia groaned and covered her mouth and nose with her hand. Or she would have had she been able to lift her hand. She felt her eyes filling with tears and her throat constricting. All around rose a sour, acrid, thick and glutinous stench, so powerful it felt viscous, a smell so rancid and overwhelming it was impossible to define, but not quite. It was - Cassia was certain - the stench of decay, a corpselike reek of final degradation and degeneration, the odour of disintegration and destruction. She rolled over in a nauseous reflex she was unable to control. What she smelled was her own death.

She remembered. On frozen, perilous slopes they fought. From frozen, perilous slopes she fell into an abyss of darkness, struck by impossibly ruinous magic that Kallista had called forth in an act of wrath and desperation. She remembered being flung into a fiery maelstrom like were she no more than a rag doll tossed into a powerful wind. She remembered screaming, her own and Kallista's, and she remembered, perhaps for the first time, feeling fear. Then she fell. She plummeted. Down and down until darkness surged all around her, welcoming her with a soft caress that, she knew, was deceitful and not to be trusted. When the fall came, when flesh and bone and armour hit the cold, hard ground, the pain was so brutal she would have preferred a thousand deaths by the end of a sword. But death did not come. She could not feel her legs from the pelvis down, nor could she feel her arms and hands. She knew, in some dark corner of her mind, that her body was broken apart and that it was decaying. She was alive because Titania willed her to be alive, but for how long? She was drifting in and out of consciousness. Stars and constellations and memories flooded her mind. A young girl with a stick, thrashing a scarecrow with gleeful mirth. A young girl praying before an altar. A young girl listening to echoes of whispers between a defiant parent and men with grim armour and grim faces. Cold, hard hands snatching at a child's nightshirt; cold, hard hands carrying the child through endless halls flanked with statues of gods and devas and angels. The child grows. She wears a grim armour and a grim face. Under a banner so radiant it rivals the glow of the sun, grim men and grim women march to battle. The visions fade and dissolve.

All around was the night, the dark and filthy night, muffled by the sticky and reeking tatters of darkness. Cassia glanced upwards, but there was nothing above her, only an abyss. She closed her eyes. She waited. For someone to find her. For death to find her. Against all odds, she hoped it would not be the latter.



[ Edited 01:53:36 PM 12/19/18 ]

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
Back to top
Website
Corlupi
05:50:02 AM 12/31/18
Awooo

Registered Member #2942
Joined: 10:48:33 AM 11/27/12
Location: Denmark
Posts: 2749
After a quarter of an hour of strenuous marching uphill and choking on dust, the yells of the knights and templars ceased and the Empyrean Siverwing Regiment spread out in a line. Young Squire Krestin, gasping and gulping in air through his mouth like a fish, saw a woman strutting imperiously before the front. There was not a hint of doubt or hesitation in that woman's strangely glowing eyes. Was she aware they were about to be attacked by an impossibly strong enemy? The woman herself was accoutred in golden armour, enamelled in silver strips and adorned with, to Krestin, unintelligible runes.

"Why are you here?"

The row of Empyrean knights, templars and cadets answered with a rumbling growl like the distant thunder smashing upon cliffs and shores of Port Galena.

"I cannot hear you! The Heavens cannot hear you," the woman noted, spinning on her gilded heel to face the front. "That means you are anxious. Good! Only a fool would dare face Vaurinus and his legion with a heart and spirit at peace. But I have good news for you, men and women of the Aurora. Tonight, Andarus watches you. Tonight, Draxus watches you. And they watch over you."

The rows of soldiers muttered again. The woman in golden armour, after walking to the end of the line, turned around and spoke on, rapping her sword against her plated shin.

"You stuffed yourselves with dust and with fear, infantry, marching up these slopes. Up until now, instead of glory and victory in the name of the light, you were beaten, broken and humiliated by those who have come to plunder our island of all that is good and just. And even today, when a great battle is upon us, you stand there and waver, wondering if it will not be the same. For how can you, men of flesh and blood, hope to stand against a foe that knows no pain or surrender? Well, but again I say, I have good news for you! The honour of defending the celestial temple has fallen to you, valiant men and women of the Aurora, and defend it we shall! When our foe is upon us, you will remember that you do not defend rock and stone, nor do you simply defend yourselves or one another. You defend an idea! A virtue! And that virtue, brothers and sisters of the light, is hope! They may defeat us on these slopes today; they may shove us and drown us in the bogs by this lake, and they may set fire to our holy grounds, but they will never, not today and not for eternity, take away that which emboldens our heart and gives it fire! They will never defeat our hope!"

This time the Empyreans roared with one, great voice that they were. Krestin also roared. And much to his surprise, behind them, other men roared too, only these were powerful, beasty roars, and the men behind them were not men at all, but bipedal bears in shining armour.

"Good!" The woman up front bellowed. "Hold firm! Hold strong! Tonight, against all odds, whether in victory or in Afterlife, we shall know Andarus!"

Krestin found himself in the second rank. He dug his heel into the wet dirt and gripped his sword with a trembling hand, sweaty from fear. Beside him someone was muttering indistinctly, repeating various words over and over, mainly concerning his spouse and children. Krestin was young and had not yet married, but he did have a sweetheart back in Hamley and he would have given up a lot to see her again, just once, to tell her that he cared for her more than he let on and that he was sorry for having been reticent about it. Most importantly, he would have thanked her for the few, but wonderful moments they had shared. Krestin's reverie was dispelled when from a distance the still soft but growing thud of plated boots could be heard. It sounded like hooves of heavily armoured mounts, but Krestin knew that was not the case. It was monstrous men with wings, thrice as large as Krestin, on the march. The ground began to shudder. Blades began to glint like sparks in a cloud of dust. The woman in golden armour was shouting orders, but Krestin could not hear what she was saying anymore. He wanted to run. By the gods he was ashamed to admit it, and doubly shamed when he saw that the man standing beside the golden woman was a squire no older than Krestin. Nathaniel. He even knew him. And Nathaniel was not shaken. Krestin looked back. The large bears at the rear were already forming precise and impregnable ranks, their radiant swords held high. The ground trembled more distinctly and powerfully, and Krestin thought it was an earthquake that would tear open the earth and swallow him whole. "Carletta," repeated the muttering man next to him. "My dear Carletta..." The thud of iron boots intensified. Krestin wanted to lick his lips, but he couldn't. His tongue had gone stiff. His tongue stopped behaving normally, it had stiffened strangely and was dry as bone. As was his mouth. How queer, Krestin thought, because it was raining. The thud of iron boots intensified...

"Hold firm!" Roared the woman in golden armour. "Hold strong!"

Empyreans roared. Celestial bears roared. Krestin also roared. If everyone was he might as well too. Rain, dirt and grit sprayed into his face. Somewhere someone yelled like demons. Nobody told Krestin they were real demons. Krestin leaned onto his left leg like they had taught him at the barracks, buried his head into his shoulders and shut his eyes.

*


When Cassia found the young cadet on the ground in the aftermath of their terrible defeat, she leaned to touch his cheek and close his eyes. There was a twitch and a jerk as the young man coughed and groaned. His fingers were feverishly clutching at something, a white moonflower stained with his blood. His mouth was trembling, lips flapping uncontrollably to give voice to desperate words. The last words that Krestin would ever speak. Cassia leaned in closer. "Emilia... please... give... Emilia... Hamley..." The young cadet's body went limp as suddenly as it had jerked to life. Cassia held and squeezed his bloodied hand a long time, the same hand that was clutching the moonflower. And she wept. Emilia, a young maid from Hamley who had volunteered to defend the temple, had died on the slope just above Krestin, not three feet away.


[ Edited 05:55:59 AM 12/31/18 ]

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
Back to top
Website
Corlupi
10:30:50 AM 01/01/19
Awooo

Registered Member #2942
Joined: 10:48:33 AM 11/27/12
Location: Denmark
Posts: 2749
A woman was talking to her reflection in the surface of a quiet lake tucked in a gorge below the Celestial Temple. There was barely a ripple on the turquoise water. An outside observer would perhaps think it strange that a woman should be talking with herself in such a fashion. But we are all different from each other, and we all pass our time in different ways. No, what was truly strange at play here was not that the woman was talking to herself, but, rather, that she seemed to have thought that she was talking to someone else; that it was not her own reflection in the lake staring back at her, but someone else's. Something else's. That someone or something else, had one cared to inquire with the woman about it, was a bear. Not a bear the likes of which one might encounter in a forest, on a mountain or trudging across the desolate glacier. This was a different bear. This bear had distinctly anthropomorphic features, its face able to express emotion much like the face of any human. And it could talk. Or, well, the woman thought it could. Someone observing from the outside would have simply seen and heard the same woman, beside the lake as well as reflected in its waters.

"It is no longer enough that you reside within me, Titania. I need to become you."

"Thou dost harbour queer notions, Cassia. Thou canst become me more than a tree can become stone. I am immortal and thou art not. 'Tis a fundamental difference."

"'Tis not what I meant, Titania. Rather, I need to become what you embody. Justice. But more than that. I need to become a certain kind of justice."

"Thou already art, Cassia. Thou dost sit on the Seat of Justice, appointed such by Kynnonen's own spirit."

"It is not enough. I am not enough."

"Oh? And thou thinkest I am different? That I pursue justice differently than dost thou?"

"I know that you are, Titania. You are a celestial avenger. Vindicas, non? You avenge! You understand that justice cannot always be pursued naively; that it cannot always come by a fair and merciful hand. You understand that the pursuit of justice often demands blood, and that to shirk from this to show mercy where mercy is not due, the consequences can be dire. The massacre at the Celestial Temple, that was one such consequence, its toll paid in blood, hundred innocent men and women dying because I, Cassia Aurelia, would not listen to reason. They warned me. Dachus. Sethus. They warned me not to take the drow captive. That I had to drive my blade through the back of her neck and mete out the only sort of justice Kallista deserved. But I did not. And now I and no-one else is to blame for what happened."

"Such words and thoughts ill become thee, Cassia Aurelia Candidus, daughter of Hadrian. Self-pity and self-loathing are not thy domain. Thou art not to blame. Vaurin is. Melphaecto is. Rhandum is. Halla is. Spyder is. The man who lied to you to talk to Sollis is. The gnolls are."

"But mine was the hand that moved them. Mine was the mercy that beckoned them to come and attack. Mine was the mistake to think that Kallista could be swayed from her path."

"Perhaps so."

"I will not make those mistakes again!"

"Careful, child, that thou dost not confuse justice with vengeance. Such is a dark path to walk."

"Not vengeance. Retribution. There is a difference, albeit the line is blurred."

"'Tis. Thou thinkest that thou dost know to recognise the one from the other?"

"I can."

"Then thou hast no need of me for thou dost already know thy path."

"I do."

"So be it, Cassia Aurelia Candidus. Together we shall avenge, and avenge true."

"Nevermore shall I stain my armour with the blood of innocent men and women, men and women I condemned with my mercy."

"Then do not rinse it. Do not rinse thy armour, nor thy shield or helmet. Let the metal absorb the blood. Let the stains serve as a reminder unto thy enemies, but most importantly unto thyself, that justice, when falsely administered or not administered at all, exacts a steep toll."

"This I will never forget. And I will come for them. All of them. One by one."

"Go then, Red Cassia. Take us to them!!"


[ Edited 10:41:31 AM 01/01/19 ]

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
Back to top
Website
Corlupi
08:00:27 AM 01/07/19
Awooo

Registered Member #2942
Joined: 10:48:33 AM 11/27/12
Location: Denmark
Posts: 2749
Corvinus ran. It was hardly the first time. He had spent half his life running away from things. Mostly his debts. First his debts as a husband to his wife, then, later, his debts to his children as their father. Later still, when he had accrued debts from bankers and moneylenders, debts he tried to repay with pilfered reliquaries from the temple, Corvinus ran away from the Inquisition. But he had never run like this. He ran as though hell yawned at his back. Funny, he thought, because it literally did. The ground shook again. Light flared in the night, at the corner of Corvinus's eye, and he flinched. A moment later came the thunderous boom, so loud it made his ears ring. Fire shot up above the buildings to his right, mad arms of it, reaching out and scattering liquid flame across the boulevard. A piece of stone the size of a man's head thudded into the road just in front of him, bounced across his path and smashed through a wall in a cloud of dust. Smaller stones rained down, pinging and rattling. Corvinus ran on, heedless. If catapult fire plunged from the heavens and ripped him to specks that could never be found, there was nothing he could do. Precious few would mourn him. His wife certainly wouldn't. Nor his children. Maybe his mistress, but only because he paid her well. No, nobody would give a damn about Corvinus, one little drip in an ocean of tragedy. He could only hope Azuul had chosen him for saving, even if he knew cheaters and lawbreakers were chosen to roast above Azuul's hellfires. Still, he knew he did not want to die. He reeled to a stop against a wall, caught by a sudden coughing fit, his chest raw from breathing smoke. From days of breathing smoke. "Red Cassia and the Celestial Knights have taken the Pass," someone had said days before. "They are coming here!" Corvinus had laughed. Who in their right mind would mount an assault on Iron City? The Iron Walls have stood for centuries, black and impregnable. Another blast hit a street ominously nearby. Maybe not so impregnable. The Empyreans had been cannonading the city for days. Corvinus's eyes ran with tears. From the fire. From the dust. From the fear. From everything. He looked back the way he had come. Iron City was segmented into several districts, one district looming above the other as if built on a terrace. Lower City, Upper City and the Royal Palace. Separating the districts was height and walls. The walls of Upper City were staunch and hard, but like its underprivileged populace, Lower City had underprivileged walls, its broken battlements cutting out black against the fire. Men struggled there, tiny figures lit red. Most men would die in Lower City, Corvinus among them. He scuttled down a rubbish-strewn side street, tripped on a fallen beam and skinned his knees, staggered to the corner, one hand up as a feeble shield against the heat of a burning building, flames crackling, smoke roiling skywards into the night. Fire, fire everywhere. I have seen hell, and I have mastered it. That's what they preach, the Hellknights. They haven't seen shit, Corvinus thought. True hell is a city under siege.

Corvinus saw figures crowding about a door, a man swinging an axe, the sound of wood splintering. Had Empyrean troops somehow broken through the Iron Wall already? Or looters taking their chance to snatch something while there was something still to snatch? Corvinus supposed he could hardly blame them. He'd snatched plenty in his time, and never really out of necessity. Well, not entirely true. It was strictly necessary for him to pay the upkeep of his whores. A man had nature-given urges. He scurried on, keeping low, torn sleeve across his mouth. That sleeve had once belonged to an expensive jacket, but now it was as frayed and filthy as a beggar's rags, stained with ash and dirt and blood, his own and that of those he had tried to help. Those he had failed to help. Or chosen not to. But well, it was every man and woman for themselves, wasn't it? He knew that was a lie. Iron City was built on discipline and order, and Corvinus was likely the only coward for miles. He looked around. All around him houses were blackened shells, bare beams showing like the ribs of carcasses, trees scorched stumps, heaps of rubble spilt across cracked roadways. He hurried on. Fire raged all across the city, but no more fell from the sky. That only made Corvinus more fearful. When the fire stopped falling, the soldiers came. Would Red Cassia and the Celestial Knights come, accompanied by scores of empyrean crusaders? Maybe the Ashen Knights, too, Azuul have mercy, or even Draxus Ultimax? It was their city once, someone had told Corvinus, and now they'd come to reclaim it with fire and blood. Smoke settled on the streets like a whore's suffocating blanket.

'Help me,' came a hissing voice. 'Help me.' A man lay in the rubble beside him. Corvinus had almost stepped on him as he ran past. A fragment from an empyrean bomb had struck him, or perhaps from a burning building. His neck was scorched and blistered, some of his hair burned away. His shoulder was a ruin, arm twisted behind him. He could not tell what was torn cloth and what torn flesh. Corvinus retched. The man smelled like cooking meat. His throat clicked with every breath and something bubbled in his chest. Corvinus retched again. Not out of pity for the man, but because he knew he would sooner or later look the part. The man's eyes were wide and dark in his black-spattered face. 'Shit shit shit,' cried Corvinus. He did not know where to begin. There was nowhere to begin. Where was the promised help? Where was the Kinsarmy?

*

Elsewhere...

[ image disabled ]


[ Edited 08:03:40 AM 01/07/19 ]

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
Back to top
Website
Corlupi
06:56:29 AM 01/08/19
Awooo

Registered Member #2942
Joined: 10:48:33 AM 11/27/12
Location: Denmark
Posts: 2749
The following letter awaits certain individuals at their desk. Knight-Captain Corbin Du'Vall would find one waiting for him, as would Lord Bargus Telmoran and Lord Rittermark. Lady Deidra would find the letter on her desk too, and so would Queen Yu'syu. Narade Danicel'fer and the Elder Council of Feywood would receive the letter. Lady Arianna would receive the letter. The King of Hammersong, the Mayor of Sandburrow, the Circle of the Grove, the Keepers of Thain and the Bloodstar Tribe would receive the letter. It is written in a cursive script, the handwriting swift but elegant enough.

Honourable Sir or Lady,

I write to you in an hour of need on behalf of the Celestial Knights Order and the Empyrean Aurora Crusade. If the news has not yet reached you, the Hellknights have been pushed out of the Pass of Ashes. In an especially valiant effort, Lady Darienne has pushed our advance further, to the very gates of Iron City. As I write this letter to you, Empyrean trebuchets are laying siege to the Iron Walls. Nonetheless, even with the presence of our celestial allies, it is becoming apparent to us that victory will not come without contribution from our Kreis Alliance allies.

Perhaps you are reading this letter with hesitation and reservation. Perhaps you have heard about the several recent atrocities committed to slander my name, thinking that I may have had a hand in this. If you require proof to the contrary, then, Sir or Lady, you need only inquire about my alibi with any one Empyrean knight serving with me here at the front, outside the Iron Gate. I have not left it since our siege began. This is the desperate work of our enemy. They are afraid. They know, as we know, that the battle for Iron City is the one battle that will end all other battles; that the Great War will be decided right here, on this very battlefield whence I write this letter.

And so I beseech you, Sir or Lady, I beseech our allies from Steinkreis, from Greenvale, from Feywood, from Hammersong, from Sanburrow and from the Northlands to come to our aid. Help us reclaim the City of Light and deliver a devastating blow to the greatest ally of Dragon's Watch. Help us end the Great War and deliver Thain from its vice of terror.

Lucem sequimur,
We who follow the Light,
Cassia Aurelia Candidus, Celestial Knight


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
Back to top
Website
Corlupi
10:54:05 AM 01/13/19
Awooo

Registered Member #2942
Joined: 10:48:33 AM 11/27/12
Location: Denmark
Posts: 2749
A jolt, the squelch of mud, a violent collision with the ground. The sound of someone's harrowing wheezes and squeals. The pounding of demonic hooves flashed past. Bloodied claws and swords. Shouting. The ground was on fire, a roaring red wall of flame. Silhouetted before it, a figure towered over the flaming landscape, enormous. His flaming wings eclipsed a crimson sky. The creature stared down at her. Cassia saw his eyes gleaming through the sockets of a horned skull. She saw the fire reflected in the broad blade of the sword held in his lowered hand. The creature looked at her. Cassia was unable to move. Everywhere under and around her feverish arms reached to wrap around her waist and hold her down. She was locked in place.

Alone, weak, helpless in a sea flame. "I can't move, can't force a sound from my constricted throat." A veteran paladin, she never knew mortal fear in life, but now she was paralysed with it: a terrible fear which turned her entrails inside out, which deafened Cassia to the screams of the anguished souls that surrounded her.The only thing which existed, which counted, which still had any meaning, was fear. Fear embodied in the figure of a hulking demon with a skull-like visage. The demon – or maybe the skull – roared terrifyingly, cruelly, triumphantly. Perhaps he laughed.

"Andarus, Draxus, avail me!" The demon's eyes blazed through the sockets of his skull. His flaming wings veiled everything.

Cassia looked at Gorrath, and she saw a cataclysm.


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
Back to top
Website
Corlupi
12:29:27 PM 01/24/19
Awooo

Registered Member #2942
Joined: 10:48:33 AM 11/27/12
Location: Denmark
Posts: 2749
Old Colonel Bennars, stooping, was cleaning pondweed from a duck trap. Reeds blown by the wind rustled. He had no armour and no sword by his side. His countenance, usually stern and unflinching as carved granite, was placid and smiling. He waved to Cassia and beckoned her closer, but even if the lake and Bennars seemed less than two dozen feet away, she could not get any closer. The smiling old man with his duck traps and a fishing rod propped against his leg somehow always kept at a distance. Behind Bennars Cassia saw golden hills, bare and rounded, sticking up from the grass like the bent back of a slumbering giant. A huge sun mounted the hill and bathed it in a wreath of glittering copper. Two figures stood on the hill. A man and a woman. The wind yanked and tugged the woman's ashen hair. The man was holding her hand and smiling. Cassia vaguely remembered their faces, remembered their names. Krestin and Emilia, the two young empyrean squires who fell during a grave battle at the celestial temple, now finally reunited. They too waved at Cassia, inviting her to join them at the crest of the hill. Cassia took a step up, then another and another, but like before when she meant to walk over to Bennars she got no closer to her destination. The hill kept at a distance. Below the hill, by a small lake, Bennars stooped and cleaned a duck trap. But he's dead, Cassia thought clear-headedly. As are Kristin and Emelia. Does that mean that in the Great Beyond spirits go about fishing and cleaning duck traps? Was Cassia dead too? Or was she dreaming?

A noise like thunder. Bennars straightened up. The sky suddenly burned with the glow of fires behind his back. Thousands of men marched across the plain. Waves of empyrean knights in white cloaks clashed against men accoutred in spiked armour, their helmets shaped like the faces of leering devils. The Great War. The battle lifted like a fog, leaving behind only the smiling old man, his fishing rod and his duck traps. Behind his back was a hill, but now a different hill, a plateau, a rocky plain, and on it an impossible stair extending into impossible heights. Into the very clouds. And beyond the clouds there was a shimmering gate, white and luminous. The old man smiled, took a step up the stair, waved to Cassia, then disappeared. His fishing rod and his duck traps disappeared with him. Krestin and Emilia, still holding hands, gave a final wave before they, too, disappeared up the stair. Cassia followed hesitantly, wary that her steps would bring her no closer to the great stair. But they did. She reached the stair and even managed to climb a few steps.

"Now is not your time." Someone's voice said. Someone familiar. Dachus?

The voice was vague and scrambled and Cassia heard it only that once. She took another few steps up the stair.

"Thou art not destined for that stair just yet, Cassia." Titania's voice, as clear as the bells ringing somewhere above the clouds, by the white gate.

"Come back to us, Cassia." Nathaniel. "These sandwiches won't eat themselves." Gringen. She looked back, confused, but there was no-one by the stair, on the hill or on the plains stretching below the hill. In that instant she thought about descending the great stair, and in that instant everything changed. Another staircase formed under her feet, a staircase with three landings. In principio finis, in fine principium. In the beginning is the end, in the end is the beginning. Fire blazed across a plain at the bottom. Burning bodies. Lady Darienne sounded a horn and drew her blade, rallying brother- and sister-knights to her banner. Steps leading downwards. I have to descend, Cassia thought. I must. Fire and blood, fire and blood everywhere. The stairs were totally covered in fire and blood, and flames licked at Cassia's boots. But there was no other way. No other way. One more step...

Cassia Aurelia's Journal wrote ...

I am told that Lady Titania, Sir Dachus, Squire Nathanius and Sir Gringus somehow found my soul in the Great Beyond and restored it to my body. I am told they found my soul on a crest of a tall hill. I am told that prior to my soul being spirited away to the Great Beyond, it was tortured and held captive in the Abyss for nearly a year, but that somehow, by some impossible miracle, it endured. Finally I am told that all of this was made possible by one celestial who broke a sacred code to come to the aid of a mortal woman, choosing to inhabit her body until such a time that my own soul was returned to me. Titania, daughter of Ashtaga, one to whom I owe my life and more.

My body has changed. When my soul was taken and when Titania chose to fill the void that was left in my body with her own soul, she filled it out completely and absolutely! It greatly taxes as feeble a vessel as a human body to accommodate a celestial soul, and Titania was inside mine for nearly a year. She awakened it like I never could, permeating every pore of my body with celestial aether. When Titania left my body and my own soul was returned to it, it struggled to fill out the same spaces that Titania had. It craved more than I could give, more than I could fill out. And so, in an act of desperate compensation, my soul paid back in years what it could not fill out. I aged prematurely. I was thirty-three when my soul was taken. Now I look the part of a woman in her late forties. Another "blessing" to thank Kallista for.

But I am not disheartened. I am not broken or crestfallen. I am humbled and grateful that I have been returned to this life, and I will honour Titania's sacrifice with all that I am. As I write this entry, I often think back on the great white stair and what might have been had I ascended it. Would I have known peace like Bennars, Kriestin and Emilia? Mayhap so. But mayhap not. My time in this realm is not over. There is so much to do, so much to repair, and there are so very few men left to do hold up the torch. I will hold up mine! Against all odds, come what may, I will hold that torch high until the light of Andarus once more shines on Thain!


[ image disabled ]

** End of Story **


[ Edited 12:33:48 PM 01/24/19 ]

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
Back to top
Website
 

Jump:     Back to top

Powered by e107 Forum System


Connect to us with 93.184.199.24 or thain.no-ip.org
Online
Guests: 15, Members: 2 ...
scratch_flannigan viewing forum.php
Falkala viewing forum.php

most ever online: 155
(Members: 0, Guests: 155) on 07:15:05 AM 12/11/16

Members: 1874
Newest member: Bingo

Now Playing
1. Torthoril
2. Iskaria Corvimar
3. Lily Afein
4. Garrik Brennan
5. Dele Ondre Blackle
6. Deayn
7. Felicity
8. Tulduil
Render time: 0.1361 sec, 0.0092 of that for queries. DB queries: 28.