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  • scratch_flannigan
    scratch_flannigan  11 hours ago

    The IC posts over the Crater Lake events for Nature Night are finally finished!

  • scratch_flannigan
    scratch_flannigan  11 hours ago

    !lol

    It really was something..a bit like a can..that the Sandworms went into !

    Magic and Gnomish Technology to the rescue!

  • Vaedryan
    Vaedryan  12 hours ago

    *chuckles* Love the name of the most recent NN, Scratch!

  • scratch_flannigan
    scratch_flannigan  18 hours ago

    Nature Night will start in about 2 hours!

    Please join us in the Wild Grove in Grauer Suden.

    I will be IG as Dauken. Feel free to shoot me a tell with any questions. smile

  • AmberOfDzu
    AmberOfDzu  1 day ago

    Hi Scratch!

  • scratch_flannigan
    scratch_flannigan  2 days ago

    Amber!

  • AmberOfDzu
    AmberOfDzu  2 days ago

    *wave* @Vaerdryan grin

  • Vaedryan
    Vaedryan  3 days ago

    Omg! I spy an Avarith!!! grin

  • Jandari
    Jandari  3 days ago

    DORF night has kicked off with epic bouts of arm wrestling!

  • archgrendel
    archgrendel  3 days ago

    Payne is just jealous wink


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Recipe for Catastrophe

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Alanonas
10:23:10 pm GMT 01/28/19
Alanonas Registered Member #24078 Joined: 3:40:59 am GMT 05/14/17
Posts: 800
Recipe for Catastrophe

A Tiefling's Tale


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Alanonas
10:25:08 pm GMT 01/28/19
Alanonas Registered Member #24078 Joined: 3:40:59 am GMT 05/14/17
Posts: 800
I


"Can you use demons solely for practical purposes? Of course you can. Therein lies the danger. You can use a rack for practical purpose as well - but how long is it before you begin to enjoy the screams?"

-Excerpt from The Morals and Ethics of the Arcane

- Many years ago -


Scalding updrafts from the desert rush across the churning waters of Lake Thaylambar, growing gusts that drive the developing sandstorm across the lake. The men and women of Eltabbar hurry through the streets as the coarse sands begin to flow throughout the city. One wizened man peers down from the formidable tower that grows from the center of the city, a spire rising high above the common ilk and slaves that now flee from the biting sands.

Soon the winds begin to crawl their way to the tower's summit, rippling through the man's vibrant red robes and cooling the perspiration that rolls down his perfectly shaved head. The beads of sweat flow down his forehead, some seeming to trace the intricate tattoos that mark him as a Red Wizard.

As the winds swell, the mage speaks a single arcane syllable that causes a shimmering barrier to manifest within the tower's open window, much to the discontent of the developing storm. As the roaring gales fade in volume, the wizard hears the soft jingle of chains from behind. His attention slowly shifts from the now obscured window to the beautiful elven woman behind him.

"Master, will your guest be arriving momentarily? Shall I draw a bath for you before you meet?"

The wizard smiles to the elf, admiring the fine links of silver chains that adorn his most favored slave. One may have mistaken the woman for a visiting elven noble were it not for the fine chains. She could no doubt break free from the elegant, yet frail constraints if she so desired, but why should she? A personal slave to a Magi of the Circle is far more well off than many of the "free" peoples that wallow in the squalor to scratch a living from the lowliest of streets below.

"No, Elandria. I do not think that shall be necessary for this particular guest. You will arrange the meeting room, and ensure that the guardians are in place for the entire duration of the meeting. This particular visitor is rather...unstable."

Elandria gives a small smile as she bows, causing the fine links of the chain to jingle as she turns and descends the stairs of the lofty tower.

The wizard listens to the soft jingle as it fades down the staircase before dusting the flecks of sand from his red robes. He was not amused to be entertaining such an unusual guest, but neither could he ignore such an unusual and unconventional opportunity. He had taken great measures to ensure that his peers remained oblivious to his newfound interest until he had something to show for it.

It was a gamble. Something Red Wizards are not particularly known for. Their craft demands perfection. Absolute perfection. Depending on random chance, or god's forbid luck, could not be tolerated. Red Wizards must not guess. They must know.

Such are the thoughts that wreck havoc within the bald man's mind as they slowly pry their way into his formidable will.
His robes flutter as he turns to descend the spiral staircase that leads to the summoning room below. His hands, heavy with the numerous gold accouterments of his craft, still move in perfect synchronization as he utters the spell to bypass the complicated arcane lock that holds the otherwise unassuming door closed. The door slams shut as he steps into the dimly lit, nearly featureless room. A single surge of blue light emanates from the door as the ward courses back life. The wizard's magically enhanced eyes take note of the quartet of golem guardians that keep vigil in each corner, each lumbering giant obscured by potent illusions.

The mage steps before the geometric diagram that has been meticulously set into the smooth stone of the chamber. Intersecting lines that compose the strange symbol are filled with finely ground powered gemstones, each line then surrounded by dozens of runes and glyphs that ensure that they shall not be compromised during the calling. After checking the circle several times, the wizard rolls his sleeves up, takes a deep breath of the incensed air, and begins chanting the complicated words of the spell.

His reason and logic tries in vain to halt this madness, nearly causing the mage's concentration to buckle as he belts the final word of the incantation. With the last twisted word, the air begins to shimmer and reek of burning flesh and blood. Dark clouds of reddened mists billow from the center of the circle as the first rays of sinister carmine light begin to bathe the chamber in an ominous glow. The wizard holds his composure as he calls forth the name. A name he had hidden in shame for all these years.

"ARGITH MALENKOR! I CALL THEE FROM YOUR BANISHMENT. RISE NOW! MEET YOUR MASTER!"

A violent quake shakes the room, causing the otherwise silent sentinels in the corner to creak with a terrible metallic sound.
The rising clouds of mists soon darken as a shape begins to materialize within. The planar gate snaps shut as the otherworldly mists slither across the room, revealing the haggard figure within the circle.

The wizard's eyes scarcely recognize the thing standing before him. Once, long ago, he had known this creature to be his most promising apprentice. Now the hunched figure would hardly pass for a human, much less a Red Wizard.

Lurid red eyes peer from the abyssal mists, locking onto the wizard beyond the warded circle as a voice like shearing metal and grinding rock manifests.

"Master. It has been some time.."

The wizard's resolution holds amidst as the chilling voice of his former protegee as the words crawl over him.

"Yes. I have need of your expertise. Its practice may have proven to be your downfall, but that does not mean it shall be ours."

The creature gives a raspy laugh at the wizard's words.

"Ahh, so you too shall walk the dark road? I knew you'd not be able to resist, even after all these years..."

The wizard looks once more to the golems, before looking back to the twisted man.

"If you would seek to escape this twisted fate of yours you -will- aid me. I need you, and you need me."

The wizard's eyes lock onto the burning shreds of light that reek from the creature's eyes as its feral face contorts into a malevolent grin.

"I need a demonologist."


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Alanonas
9:35:36 pm GMT 01/29/19
Alanonas Registered Member #24078 Joined: 3:40:59 am GMT 05/14/17
Posts: 800
II


"And then there is the appalling practice of soul servitude. The kind of aberration that would drive a sentient to even consider such a pact cannot be comprehended by one of sound mind. For all intents and purposes the practitioner is sacrificing himself - what kind of lunacy is that?"

- Excerpt from The Morals and Ethics of the Arcane


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- Several Days Later -


The warm desert winds collide with the cool front from the Sunrise Mountains that lurk on the stormy horizon. The opposing fronts clash, roiling together into violent cacophony of thunder and lightning that arcs its way closer the ominous tower with each echoing boom. Purple flashes bathe the regal room with intermittent colors as they leap through the warded windows of the wizard's chamber. The bald man sits in and equally opulent chair, his hands channeling a torrent of illusory and transmutative magic before him, his eyes trained on a faded portrait of a youthful mage.

"The Abyss has not been kind to you Malenkor, nor have the demons that you have so foolishly harbored within you."

The wizened man takes one last look at the portrait of the aspirant red wizard before casting the spell upon the hulking behemoth before him. The magic floods over the tainted creature's form, slowly replacing the various demonic deformities with the foolish youth's former features. Clawed hands retract and melt away to form a pair of soft, manicured hands while the twisted horns and serpentine tail fade away into the developing human form as the powerful spell takes hold. The last of the magic creeps within the formerly disfigured creature, snuffing out the red glare of its feral eyes. The wizard rises and looks over his work with a critical eye, giving a nod of approval as he beholds the visage of his old apprentice once again.

"You have no idea Master. Sacrifices had to be made to obtain the secrets of demonkind."

The youth stretches his arms and admires his master's handiwork in the gilded mirror that adorns the opulent chamber. He runs a hand over his own bald dome and smiles before turning slowly to face the old wizard.

"You'd be surprised what one's soul may get them with the right bargain. You seek to control the Abyss then as well? A bold undertaking, even for one such as yourself."

The young mage traces a lithe finger over the ornate mirror's carved edge, following the contours of the elaborate engravings as the older man glides over the polished floors to stand before the mirror as well.

"I've seen what your little bargain has begotten you my old apprentice. I shall not suffer the same fate, for it is not my soul that shall be at stake this time."

Malenkor gives the old man a curious look.

"Do tell."

The aged mage nods with a wry smile, waving his hand before the mirror's surface. The silvery mists swirl within its placid surface, forming the image of the younger man's fiendish form once again.

"What you have discovered is remarkable, but your ineptitude and inexperience seems to have gotten the better of you. You were wise not to let the others know of your little hobby, but alas failure is failure."

The youth swallows hard, glaring at the contorted image that leers at him within the mirror.

"I may have failed, but we shall not. I will tell you what I have learned, and you will restore me back into the Circle."

The red robed man gives a solemn nod and turns his own unwavering gaze to the demonic visage within the mirror.

"Very well. Let us begin."
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Alanonas
9:21:18 pm GMT 01/30/19
Alanonas Registered Member #24078 Joined: 3:40:59 am GMT 05/14/17
Posts: 800
III


"To allow the possession of one's own body by a fiend as a means to power. Is there a concept that can be considered more mad? 'Tis bad enough to traffic with demons - but to cohabit your own form with such? The very best result is a corrupted, twisted being no longer human in mind, body or soul."

- Excerpt from The Morals and Ethics of the Arcane



- Several Weeks Later -


The soft jingle of the silver chains quiet as the elven woman stops before the door. A morbid curiosity fills her almond-shaped eyes as they rest upon the unassuming door. What was her master up to in there? For weeks she would see the elderly man vanish beyond the door, emerging only to meet with other visiting wizards and the occasional business partner. This was hardly unusual to the elf, who remembers her master's seemingly never-ending studies during his more youthful days, but now in his old age it seemed rather peculiar to the woman. Elandria checks the hallways, and seeing no other, moves closer. Her elegantly curved ears draw closer to the door, causing the powerful protective wards upon the barrier to emit a soft vibration barely noticeable to human, but her keen elven senses warn her before she makes contact. The pointed ears twitch as she begins to hear the muffled voices within...

"Tell me master, have you ever held a demonic being within you? It's rather remarkable really, more so when it is a willing possession..."

The elf nearly gasps as she listens to the strange voice. Her master was rather reclusive in his old age...who could this other strange voice belong to? She carefully adjusts her posture, leaning ever so slightly closer to the door...

"Even after the demon is expelled from the body, certain aspects of its form or nature tend to remain within the host. With this in mind I've discovered that it is possible to cultivate and select a number of the more desirable traits from certain inhabitants over the course of several possessions."

Demons? The elf's eyes widen. She had heard of such things before, knowing many of the wizards abhorred making use of such dangerous and unpredictable creatures for obvious reasons...

"And what of the host? Surely their mind would sunder under such a vile assault to their psyche, let alone their physical form. You may have been able to retain some measure of your sentience, but how can this be done without inciting pure madness I wonder? Even if we could draw these demonic traits into a solider, what purpose would it serve if they could not be controlled?"

Elandria recognizes the muffled voice of her master and listens even more closely...

"Ahh! That is the true question my old master. I suggest we try it with one not so developed. One who would have little recollection of such a traumatizing event: an infant!"

The elf gasps at the mysterious man's dark words, causing a single strand of her fine hair to touch the door. Her heart grows cold as the ward flares to life and floods over her body. The magic locks her joints and freezes her in place. Beyond the barrier she hears the frantic footsteps approaching, followed by the metallic clunk of the door's handle being pulled open...

The strange man looks over the paralyzed elf with a gleam of excitement filling his dark eyes.

"Well, well, well. Look at this! Perhaps a demonstration is in order?"

The elf sees the sinister man and her own master beyond. The old man rises, shaking his head as he looks to the terrified elf. Her unmoving eyes plead for mercy, but she pales as her master of so many years speaks.

"Sacrifices must be made indeed Malenkor. Bring her in. I do desire a demonstration."

Malenkor's face contorts into a vile grin as he pulls the elven maiden within and slams the door.


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Alanonas
9:13:43 pm GMT 02/04/19
Alanonas Registered Member #24078 Joined: 3:40:59 am GMT 05/14/17
Posts: 800
IV


"I can feel it now. The channels of the Abyss, the understanding of the aether running through my mind like the cosmic milk of the creator. I looked into the mirror this morning. What did I see? I'm different. Narrower. More slender. More Powerful. Yes, the power burns in very eyes. It burns in my veins!

...when was the last time I ate?"


- entry from the Journal of Argith Malenkor, aspirant Red Wizard.



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- Several Weeks Later -


The slaves and servants within the aged wizard's tower were nervous. Each one tries to ignore the otherworldly screeches that rile forth from the lowest reaches of the tower each night. They shuffle through the emptying halls of the structure each day, tending to their varying tasks and trying not to ponder too long on the terrible sounds. Some begin to notice that their fellows have started to disappear as the days drift by. Perhaps they were sent away? Perhaps traded to another wizard? Many contemplate these explanations, yet none dare to approach the wizard about it. Sometimes it is better not to know. After all, they know that the screams and howls that echo forth from the lower reaches of the tower are not human. No, such an insidious and terrible sound could not come from a man...could it?

---


"Damn"

The wizard shakes his head as he watches the horrifically twisted creature be wrested away by the powerful banishment spell. For a moment his eyes catch sight of that terrible plane within the planar tear as the most recent experiment is swept within. It is different view each time, this particular abyssal landscape seems to be something akin to a swamp that reeks of acidic decay. Beyond the caustic mists lurk all manner of sinister shadows and misshapen creatures. Fortunately, the planar rift seals just before the lumbering shadows within try to make their way into the material. The room falls quiet as the binding circle's magic begins to fade.

"That was unfortunate, and now we are in need of another chef it seems."

The younger man runs a hand over his bald head as he turns to his master.

"Nevertheless...it did work. The traits manifested, and it would have survived...until it was consumed by madness of course."

The sinister youth pauses and looks back to the circle.

"We are ready. I need not remind you that your peers may begin to grow suspicious. How long as it been since you've left the tower master? How long before they come for you? You will need something to show for all this madness. It is time."

The old wizard nods and settles himself into the ornate chair, eyes fixed on the smoldering circle. He nods.

"Yes. Procure an infant. We shall perform the binding tonight."

The youth gives a nod and turns towards the door, waving the complicated wards away with a single gesticulation before pausing and turning back to the old wizard.

"Any preference at all?

The wizard looks to his old apprentice and shakes his head, giving a single command.

"Keep it random."


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Alanonas
8:59:22 pm GMT 02/25/19
Alanonas Registered Member #24078 Joined: 3:40:59 am GMT 05/14/17
Posts: 800
V


"Brilliance is calculated madness."

- Thayan Proverb



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- Several Years Later -


A dozen robed figures gaze into the pit below, each draped in the vibrant red robes of the Circle Magi. Their attention is drawn to the monsters below: a hulking thing of twisted fangs and corded muscle and a slighter, more agile thing locked in a bloody exchange of tooth, claw, and blade alike.

A spray of blackend blood coats the suspended Thayan banner as the hulking abomination below twitches and crumples over, gripping the sharp blade that now grows from its chest. It is a terrible thing, the spawn of and orc and some unspeakable terror from the lower planes. The Red Wizards called them many things, but today they call this particular one a failure. The other creature darts wildly about the same bloodied pit, a smaller thing sporting a pair of short horns and flicking tail...

The aged red wizard nods to his peers, allowing a subtle breath of relief to slip past his wrinkled lips as they slowly form into a smile. Soon the other wizards are nodding their tattooed heads, some in amusement, others in begrudging approval of their fellow wizard's risque creation. Malenkor approaches his old master, allowing his own Circle Magi robes to flutter in the musty air as he congratulates the wizened man.

"Well, seems I have proven to be quite the asset indeed? I'm sure you are rather glad you decided to return me to my rightful place here now hmm?"

The corner of the old man's smile turns up at his former apprentice's words.

"I believe we both know where your "rightful" place is. Pray that I shall never have to send you back."

The old mage pauses a moment, looking to a pair of the other wizards converse. Their words are still infested with doubt of his work, each speaking softly of "random chance" as the real contributor to the fiendling's victory. His grey eyes lock onto his creation below, watching it extricate the crude weapon from the still twitching corpse of the rival abomination. His glare narrows at the two mages before turning back to Malenkor whilst uttering the words to a spell of levitation.

"I think you will always know your place Malenkor, as well as the benefits it affords you. However, our little creation needs to be reminded."

The spell takes effect and the robed man begins drifting downwards into the bloody pits, casting a venomous glance to the pair of doubtful wizards.

"Some of our peers would do well to be reminded as well. Send in more of the abominations. There will be no doubt in the brilliance of my work."


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Alanonas
9:08:47 pm GMT 02/28/19
Alanonas Registered Member #24078 Joined: 3:40:59 am GMT 05/14/17
Posts: 800
VI

"One cannot control the Abyss, one may only unleash it."

-Rhandum


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- Not So Long Ago -


Rain was a rarity in the city of Eltabbar. The cooling drops of water splash upon the dusty streets and trickle off the sandy awnings of the buildings below. The old mage looks down upon the sprawling settlement, occasionally following the trickle of rain down the ample windows of the structure. The rain blows violently against the window, nearly drowning out the chanting of his apprentice. The old man turns as the spell is completed and watches as the shimmering portal manifests in the center of the observation room.

Malenkor drops his arms and allows his rolled up sleeves to fall loose once again as the gateway stabilizes before gesturing towards the crackling gate.

"It is done Master"

The two men peer into the elliptical doorway, seeing another land, this one also rainy, yet darker. A flash of lightning from within briefly illuminates a derelict tower within a craggy pass: the tilted tower of one of their own, a study and home of a wizard known as Khalador. Neither wizard had heard much of the recent dealings of the Thayan enclave since it had been razed by the locals of that remote island known as Thain. The fact that old Khalador survived was a testament of his own capabilities. The aging wizard looks back to his apprentice, crossing his arms as he speaks.

"It has been some time since we've heard from the Khazark of Thain, perhaps they will even benefit from our little field test. The Circle is impressed, but remains skeptical about how our creation will fare in practice."

Malenkor gives a nod, eyeing the crumbling ruin of the tower within as he laughs softly.

"Well, it certainly can't make things worse for them I think, who knows, they may even find it rather valuable hmm?"

The older wizard nods, turning back to his old apprentice.

"The conditioning regiment we subjected it to seems to have countered the volatile nature of its abyssal blood for these past few years. I doubt it will ever have the willpower to resist the order of a Red Wizard or one endowed with their favor."

The man's apprentice smiles as he gazes into the stormy skies within the portal.

"You think you have mastered the power of the Abyss in earnest then have you? I for one shall be curious to see if you have."

The wizened man's glare narrows into cold slits as he regards his old apprentice.

"I know I have. I am quite confidant in my abilities, unlike one such apprentice of mine who fell victim to the madness of the Abyss."

The two men stare into each other's glare as the both storms grow in intensity.

"We shall see then....Master."

A bolt of violet lightning breaks the confrontation and the older wizard's mouth forms into a knowing grin.

"You do well to remember your place Malenkor, which reminds me...it is time that our creation meet its new masters. Bring it before me. Khalador is expecting us."

The wizard's apprentice nods and pauses a moment.

"How shall we introduce it? We've never given it a name you know."

The old red wizard's eyes never turn from the raging storm as he gives his reply.

"Any random name shall suffice Malenkor. Now go, lest we be late."

Malenkor nods and turns towards to stairwell that leads to the darkest depths of the tower's dungeons below.

"Any random name...Rhandum. Yes. That will do..."

(( Story continues in "Riftflections" ))
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