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  • scratch_flannigan
    scratch_flannigan  5 days ago

    Nature Night begins in about ten minutes! smile

  • scratch_flannigan
    scratch_flannigan  6 days ago

    Aha! Thanks C McG!

  • C_McG
    C_McG  6 days ago

    @Scratch
    D ampersand D

    Need to shorthand DnD or "D and D".

  • scratch_flannigan
    scratch_flannigan  1 week ago

    and...it did it again..

  • scratch_flannigan
    scratch_flannigan  1 week ago

    I don't know why that says "D&D"

    I just meant "D&D"

  • scratch_flannigan
    scratch_flannigan  1 week ago

    @ Zhymm: I am so old that when I first played D&D, elf, dwarf and halfling were considered classes. biglaugh

    @ ceeags, handover and Dyrcona:

    It's cool to see all of you back around! Roll up a character and join us! smile

    a Dyrcona: There is some weird thing in these new forums (I know thatt they look the same, but they are somehow new "behind the scenes).
    You may want to try making a new thread that is worded slightly different. It is worth a shot. special

  • Dyrcona
    Dyrcona  1 week ago

    I don't know what happened. I tried to make a new forum post, and I got a screen full of busted HTML code. When I tried again, I got a message about a duplicate post. When I look in the forum, it appears to have posted twice, but the newer one is empty.

  • ceeags
    ceeags  1 week ago

    *waves*

  • Dyrcona
    Dyrcona  1 week ago

    I had to join the nostalgia fest.

    Viva Thain!

  • Zhymm
    Zhymm  1 week ago

    Oh, scratch be a Thain greybeard. maybe even a whitebeard!


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The Island of Thain :: Forums :: In Character Discussion
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When the joke has run its course

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Shade
4:35:53 pm GMT 10/28/22
Shade Registered Member #24916 Joined: 2:58:00 pm GMT 01/23/19
Posts: 595
[ image disabled ]

Well, it had to happen at some point, didn't it?

The joke has gone old..

The mask is off..

And Shade will need to find new entertainment..
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Shade
5:11:48 pm GMT 10/29/22
Shade Registered Member #24916 Joined: 2:58:00 pm GMT 01/23/19
Posts: 595
Once upon a time..

There was a really bored fellow.
His friends had all left the island, and he had no one else to bring to his picnics.
He wandered the land looking for new friends.
Until he happened upon a fair maiden deep in despair.
He approached the maiden and asked her gently if she was alright, for she looked depressed.
The maiden was so glad for his company, she threw herself at him.
He asked her name, and if they could be friends.
Together, they travelled the land in a new quest to find the maiden's lost love.
They came upon wonderous flying creatures Shade thought the most interesting things.
They served as little guardians for a nearby cave.
They did not wish to let the two enter, but Shade asked politely if they could pass.
The snakes understood the importance of "please" that day.
They moved peacefully trough the cave, talking and singing merry songs.
At the final chamber, they stood before an ancient stone statue, where the snakes joined them.
They told them ancient stories, and even their elder joined in.
They had a great time, and made the best of friends.
When the two left, they were happier and better friends than they were before.
They both agreed they would adventure again.



(What really happened:)

Shade was bored out of his mind.
His usual meatshields, naive idiots, and general playthings weren't around anymore.
He was sliding trough shadows, wondering how the hell he is going to spend his time now.
He happened upon an unsuspecting Nicolette sitting by a cliffside.
He rose from her shadow, telling her to do a backflip, thinking she was a jumper.
Nicolette was freaked out by this weirdo that rose from her shadow and told her to jump.
He still doesn't remember her name.
They still ended up walking together for some reason.
They did come across flying snakes, and of course, Shade made a dick joke.
They did seem to be some form of guardians.
When one blocked their path, Shade grabbed Nicolette and shadowjumped past them.
They moved with care, as neither of them wanted to be poisoned, and neither of them had brought anti venom.
They were cornered in the final chamber, where shadows seeped in as well, and the two were faced with some form of grand monster
The grand monster claimed it knew who Shade was. Someone who did not belong. Someone not of this time. It was right.
They were terrified, with Shade planting Nicolette on top of Leima's statue. Not because of her safety, but because her light blocked out his own abilities.
The two had to escape, and during the encounter, Nicolette had learned too much about Shade. She thought he was from Netheril, but Shade told her the truth, that he was just an archaeologist, and that he had given great sacrifices to get his powers. She knew now that he was dangerous, and he thought she knew too much, so he wanted to kill her, but knew she could completely disarm him.
They agreed to do more adventures, not because they are friends, but because Shade needed insurance she would not end him, and she... probably needed insurance Shade wouldn't do anything bad.

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Shade
10:12:51 pm GMT 10/30/22
Shade Registered Member #24916 Joined: 2:58:00 pm GMT 01/23/19
Posts: 595
As they left the chamber behind, so did the strange voices. "How I hate strange voices..." Shade said as Nicolette fell to her knees, her white light pulsing beneath her skin. "Give me... a moment.." As they were back to a normal cave, they both saw she actually had an effect on him. Her light seemed to give him something similar to a bad sunburn. "...Yes.. Now could you turn that off? It is irritating.." Nicolette closed her eyes, breathing steadily with her head down, like she were huddled and waiting for a storm to pass. As the seconds passed, the light faded gradually from her. As it did, Shade looked down at her, considering if he should kill her right there for learning something that could cause some serious harm to him.. but at the same time, he figured earlier she has her past and has experienced some loss, which he can definitely take advantage of.. Then again, she could call for that light again, and render him powerless. In the end, he just crossed his arms and pondered, as sweat beaded Nicolette's brow. She looked up at him as light faded from her eyes. She remained silent.

He looked back at her, lacking the happy persona from before. He almost seemed like a different person. "Now this is troubling.. You heard too much, yet I cannot harm you. Hmm.." He sighed and started pacing, as Nicolette took a breath and let it out, thinking back on what she had heard, careful about keeping her breathing steady. "You aren't just interested in Netheril. You're from there." "....No. I am from Silverleaf. I spoke the truth when I told you I am an archaeologist." Nicolette almost looked disappointed at this. "Yeah, I know. It would have been so much more interesting." "You aren't elven... What are you?" "Wrong again. I spoke true on the way here, but what I left out was that I actually found the magic of the netheril. The magic they used after their fall." "The Mythallar?" "The Shadow Weave. In my naivity, I bound myself to it.. But here comes the problem.. Do you know who controls the shadow weave?" She looked up at him with a steady gaze. "No." "The Lady of Loss." She remained silent. Her gaze held steady on him, waiting. "...Shar. Dark goddess who does not let someone use her weave for free. It comes at a cost, meaning I took a shortcut, and I paid for it." She looked away from him then. A flicker of sadness crossed her face. Sympathy? "What did she do to you?" "Stop that look, it just makes this awkward.. She took my empathy, my morals.. She took practically all emotion from me with only a few remaining. After, my life became nothing but an endless search for something to entertain me.. And after two hundred years, I am sure you can imagine how hard that becomes." "Yes." "So thank you for walking with me today.. Actually having something to look forward to, that isn't some absurd joke has been... nice." Nicolette studied the strange elf, seeming to sense the danger that she was still in, so she chose her words with care. He might well have done the same, as he knew he couldn't really harm her. "We could do it again sometime." This surprised Shade, so a brow arched. "But after hearing all that, you will want something in return, wouldn't you."

With those words, she rose, tensing as she did. Channeling the light seemed to have hurt her as much as him. "What could you offer me?" "Hmm.. I do have knowledge of much old magic.. I have seen my share of Netheril ruins... even been to their shadow plane variants.. Which I really wouldn't recommend, by the way... Or.." He pat his sash. "You could have this. It was made from werewolf fur, shaved from a still living one." She looked up at him with an arched brow. "You shaved a werewolf?" "Sure did! I hired adventurers to find and pin one down. Then it started seeing the one who pinned her down as her alpha, so they ended up married. Fun, right?" She shook her head. "I know about Nimmeril's light, but not how to control it." "Hmm.." "I don't kow if it can be controlled. It's.. It's not really meant for humans." Shade stopped to cross his arms, with his head tilted. "Neither can really the shadow weave. You have to know what it wants, so what would Nimmeril want? And on that subject, who was Nimmeril?" "One of the first elves. She founded the Feywood.." "Ah, then definitely not meant for humans.. But the old elves often wanted the ones gifted their abilities to prove themselves." "The light. It's- ....a weapon, and it wants to do what weapons do." "Yes, thank you, I felt that. It seems clear who the enemy is." "Shadows. Demons. Monsters in the dark.." She looked down at her hands. "How fortunate that there are no shortage of them, and that shadows are useless around you.. Hmm..." "What?" "You said this Vangottstein you spoke of was destroyed by demons?" She nodded. "See? I paid attention." He smiled. "Now bear with me here. With elven powers always wanting its bearer to prove itself.. Perhaps what it wants, is for you to avenge the humans of old?" She thought on that, pacing a few steps. "How? Kill all the demons?" "Kill the mastermind. Which with demons.. Good luck. I have had my share of troubles with them myself.." He looked back to where they came from. "Even thought that was one of them.. Bit of a disappointment, really." Nicolette paced another step, looking down at her hands. "I don't think it's that-...purposeful. I'm not sure it understands... cities. Houses, people." "No? Ancient, strange elven power? Sounds just right to me. Never underestimate how big elves are on grand purposes. No, it understands enemies and protection. It held you safe back there. Even nullified everything I did." "It just sees darkness and light. Humans and elves have darkness in them, too. The stronger it becomes, the more it hurts to use." "Huh. I would never have thought the light would be harder to use than the dark." "Like a hungry animal, or like a flood. Imagine trying to stop rushing water with your fingers." "I have tried. It can't be done." "No it can't." "It seems counter productive, though.." "What does?" "For the light to harm its wielder the more they use it. The shadows.. Well, they just take something from you, then lets you do whatever." "What do they take? You said-...your emotions?" "Whatever it wants. Your eyes, your ability to have a child, your emotions.. Anything." "That's a terrible deal." "It's not so bad." "Yes. It is." "....fine, it is pretty damn horrible if you live for centuries." She nodded.

"I...should get back. There's someone I need to speak to in the Watch." "So..." She started to move, but turned to look at him, tilting her head. "Well, about that you heard in there..." He folded his hands and gave her his best puppy eyes. "Pwetty pwease wif sugar on top, pwease don't tell anyone?" Her brows arched at this. "I was expecting a threat." Then she smiled. "Did I make you nervous?" "Oh, what am I gonna do, send a shadow to your light?" "You don't have to worry." Her smile faded then. "She taught me to keep secrets." "She?" "She." Nicolette echoed the word and nodded. He arched a brow at this, as he crossed his arms again. His lips curled into a smile. "Now this sounds interesting.. Next time, a story for a story. Deal?" Nicolette looked once more to the south, where The Watch waited. "Until then..."
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Shade
9:28:46 pm GMT 11/05/22
Shade Registered Member #24916 Joined: 2:58:00 pm GMT 01/23/19
Posts: 595

Their first journey into the shadows Pt.1


[ image disabled ]


"You came!" Came from a delighted voice from below. Nicolette was standing, waiting outside the cave their first little trip had been to. It seemed strange that Shade would want to go back, but he seemed to be in such high spirits. Nicolette didn't seem too sure about his motivation, though, so she crossed her arms and demanded to know why, telling him that if he wants her help, he has to tell her. Shade crossed his arms too and told her he intends to cross into the shadow plane, to see what is hidden behind what they see. He told her honestly that he has no idea what they will find. It might be a lot, it might be nothing, and since she pretty much nullified his shadows, she is the perfect tool to use in such a place. Yes, Shade called her a tool. Of course, she latched onto this instantly and looked at him appraisingly, wanting to know what she would get from this. He simply told her he doesn't know yet, for he knows what is in there as well as she did. He offered to pay her there and then, or they could have the joy of finding out what happened inside there together, reminding her that there could be a lot, and there could be nothing, while suggesting there could be clues to her power.

As the two moved back in and trough the cave, they were weary of snakes. Neither of them wanted some random flying thing to fly out and bite them. Shade didn't even bring any anti venom. They made their way to a certain chamber, where Shade had seen some sort of sad reaction from Nicolette. He wasn't sure what it was, but he could tell the girl had some form of negative memory of the place. Perfect for him. As they walked, Nicolette asked him, though with some hesitation. "Does... Does that trick you used actually work? I mean, do people go into dark caves like this just because you ask?" "Well, a lot of people like adventure, so usually I would just ask them.. But this is a particular.. Well, it is a different level entirely, and adventurers would just not do." "They're all mad." "Yes they are. And I am mad... usually.. so it works out." Shade told her that adventure makes one feel alive, to which she told him that there is a difference between exploring and looking for trouble. He pointed out that they weren't looking for trouble, they were exploring a dangerous place, and asked her if she knew what the shadow plane was.

He told her that it used to be a shadow reflection of The Prime, but things change. Rulers change, and now with a new god in charge, it was merged with two other planes, and it became a twisted, dark version of reality. A child's toy could become a deadly weapon. A flower could become a poisoned, rusty needle. As he told her this, she looked to the flowers around them and shivered. Once they were in the room, he asked her if she had some connection to it, and she told him there was a war here, making him ask her right away if this is where mommy or daddy were buried. She told him she had died there, and that this is where she had woke up. How perfect! His lips curled into a smile. "So me bringing you here was really cruel, wasn't it?" She looked down at the flowers. "Yes." "Good! That is convenient for us... See, that misery.. it feeds shadows. So if I do this." He seemed to grab at the air before them as she narrowed her eyes at him, not finding the humor in it. "Oh, don't give me that look. We need those emotions to pass trough. Believe it or not, this is really hard to do!"

He then pulled the air like a blanket, and a darkness enveloped them, making everything around them go completely dark. The little visibility they had made the room seem different. Things that weren't there before, suddenly were. Nicolette shivered as the shadows changed, but she seemed to at least know the magic. She looked away from him with her fingers tightening at her sides. She thought on that moment, the pain and confusion of that battle, focusing on it, until it seemed that they were trough. Shade on the other hand seemed pretty much unaffected by anything there. His own emotional detachment likely gave him a huge advantage.

As their eyes adapted to the darkness, they saw bricked pits near the walls that were definitely there before, bringing both their curiosity. Shade even had to ask Nicolette, who was already moving for these pits, if she was sure that nothing was buried there. As she did, she heard faint whispers. "Help us... Help us..." with several red eyes looking up at her from the dark pits. "...If you plan to jump down, tell me what you see on the way down? Actually, don't jump. I might need you." "I don't." Nicolette told him as she turned her gaze from the red eyes. "Help us... Help us.." they kept pleading in the same tone. Nicolette took a deep breath, and let it out slowly, as it was not easy for her to look away. "I know they're lying, but it still isn't easy." "Lie about what?" "You don't hear them?" She blinked at him. "They- ..They want me to go get them. They're asking for help." He leaned over to peek inside, then stopped when she said this. He shadowjumped over and pulled her back firmly, making her stumble back.

"This is the shadow plane! There shouldn't be sentience here!" He hissed in a whisper. "They're alive! I hear them! What are they?" "..keep your light ready." Shade told her as he approached the pit. Seeing the red eyes, he moved back with an expressionles face. "We definitely found something interesting... That is an oubliette. You know what those are, yes?" She felt beneath her hood, as if to ensure the crown she was wearing was still there. "Yes... Mother had one." She looked back to it. "Those voices and eyes are likely victims who have been trapped here for a very, very long time." "You think.. someone's keeping them there?" "Hard to say.. but we are definitely somewhere we are not supposed to." She took a step closer, speaking normally again. "I thought they must be monsters. Creatures of the shadow, telling lies.." "Well, they might be. Hard to tell here, but they aren't harming us, so I don't really care." "If they really are trapped here..." She looked around the room. "I want to find what's trapped them." "Right here? A pit they cannot climb from. But even then, and if you get them out. What then?" "...I don't know. They could run. It's what I'd do." "..your good girl thing is adorable. Has anyone told you that?" He looked back in the pit where the voices droned on, and Nicolette seemed a little more drawn to them. She moved closer, and kneeled by the edge. "What's your name?" There was no answer. She didn't even see anything but the eyes in the darkness, repeating "Help us.." "Can you hear me? Any of you? I- ..I need to know how you came to be here." "Help us.. Help us... Help us.." "Well, if they were going to harm us, they would have done so by now.. What you are looking at, young miss, is that happens to those who spend too long in the shadow plane."

She shooked her head and looked back to the room, seeing what was right there before them before. "A sword trough a coffin..." She reached for the blade, taking the handle. "Help me get it out.[/i][/color]" He tilted his head at her. "With planks this old? Let us do the easier option. Help me here instead." They leaned for the planks, and they both pried them right open, exposing a withered husks in the finest of armor. Bright and would likely be shining, had they been in the prime. The unmistakable armor of the Celestial Knights of Andarus. "A knight... Why would a knight be buried here?" "With a sword trough it? Must have been a well hated enemy. That is symbolic, my dear. Interesting armor, though. Must have been a paladin in life." "Like a trophy?" She eyed the body, her eyes troubled. "Or to send a message. A little despair for those about to be thrown in the pits. Likely the knights of a commander or something of that nature. Evil people do that." She glanced down. "You wouldn't close the casket then. Unless.." "I could make a guess?" Nicolette reached past the destroyed planks. Her hand moved to brush the dead knight's face. "He was alive when they did it. It would be worse that way, if you couldn't see." "Probably." She sighed softly as she looked at the knight, speaking in a low voice. "Sorry.." Shade on the other hand, smiled. "Yes, nail the poor fella in his own coffin, then impale it. Yes, that sounds perfectly doable.. So! We are definitely a place not meant to be found." "Then let us find out why.."
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Shade
9:40:48 pm GMT 11/10/22
Shade Registered Member #24916 Joined: 2:58:00 pm GMT 01/23/19
Posts: 595

Their first journey into the shadows Pt.2


[ image disabled ]


As the two went trough a dark tunnel, Nicolette stopped when she saw a shadowy figure in a corner. She approached it carefully, only looking at the figure at first and tried to find some discernable mark, before reaching for it. Her hand phased trough, leaving her feeling only coldness as her hand waved trough the shadow. It had faded a long time ago, and did not even have any traits to recognize it by anymore, so she drew her hand back, and clutched it tightly in her other, as the cold feeling crept up her arm. "Is there a way to speak to them?" "It depends on how lost they are. This one... as well as those in the tomb.. They have likely been here so long their minds have long since faded, and are now mere shadows of their former selves." Nicolette moved to one knee beside the creature. "Can you hear me at all? I'm Nicolette.." "Hear them.... Hear them.. Screaming.. Always screaming.." "Oh, look. He could hear you." "Who? Who do you hear?" "Screaming... Always screaming.."

Shade went to lean on the tunnel wall with his arms crossed, as he just didn't care about the shadow, and Nicolette rose as she shook her head. "He doesn't know." "Hardly a surprise.. Or it could be guilt, which would admittedly be a horrible thing to suffer for as long as your mind lasts." "You're the one who wanted to learn about them. I'm trying to learn how they got here, and what they've done." They moved on while talking, coming into what looked like a commons room. There were dining platters and cutlery, with plates laid out. What was on them though, was nothing but dust. "If they are this faded, our best bet will be journals and such. Or anyone attuned with shadows, or powerful enough to have kept their minds." "The creatures here. They can't die?" "Hmmm.. Both yes and no. You fade. It takes a very long time, but you fade. Your body and mind fades until you are just a shadow."

And speaking of, a shadow turned its red eyes toward them. "But you are awake for it. That sounds worse than dying." "It might be? I don't know. I never tried." The shadow before them stared, which made Nicolette tense up a little. She looked back to it. "Who are you? Can you... hear me?" "Who are... Who are.." Its head moved from side to side slowly, as if cracking its neck. "Who are.. You are.. Yes... I remember.. I remember.." It lifted a finger to point at her. "Dawn of Shadows assassin.. Dawn of... Assassin..Proceed.." "The Dawn of Shadows." She looked uncertainly to Shade. "What is that?" "Heck if I know. It's an interesting name, though. A little typical, but I can't say I know of any cults with that particular name." "Proceed.. Commander... expects you.." The shadow said slowly before walking back to where it had stood, likely staring at the same spot for decades.

"Huh.." Shade smiled at Nicolette. "Either you are really, really interesting, or it thinks you are someone else." Nicolette looked uncertainly to the shadowy creature, but nodded as she began walking, approaching a darkened door first, but Shade told her not even he would venture into that darkness. If he couldn't see ahead, and even remarked on him thinking it is a bad idea, it is a really bad idea.. So they moved on. It was hard to see, so Nicolette hummed a note, creating a flicker of white light, enough to illuminate the words of a pillar she had stopped before. As she did, a shadow in the back hissed in response to the light. Its eyes moving straight for them. "Right, minimal light, please." Nicolette on the other hand, seemed more interested in the pillar before her. "They're the words of Vangottstein.." she murmured, as she read. "Ooh, now that is interesting!" "Why would it be here? So far from the old city.." "I don't know, but it is definitely interesing."

She kept reading, finding the name Zhentarus. Shade cupped his chin at the name, but it wasn't all that familiar to him. He recalled having seen the name on a helm, or some such, prompting him to think it was some sort of fashion fella. Nicolette corrected him and told him of him and Andarus, and gave him a look as if saying "seriously?". She remarked that she thought he studied things, but he simply told her that paladin orders were the least interesting thing there was to him, but now that he knows they are connected to some ancient human city that was supposedly as grand as the elven cities, he was interested again. As they walked, Nicolette tripped a trap wire. She knew, she felt it, but Shade had no idea that he had an axe falling for his head.

Nicolette's eyes widened in shock and she jumped aside as she let out a shriek. As she did, there was a flicker of light that was brighter than the last, and it surrounded the axe, bringing it to a halt, but made the shadows all around them hiss. Shade got startled by the shriek, and tried to shadowjump away, but was blocked by her light, leaving him to just look up at what made her scream. It was likely a strange thing to have someone look up at an axe that could have split their head in two, and just go "Woah.. Looks like you saved my life." As he stepped aside, she let the axe fall, and Shade lifted his hand as he muttered ancient netheril magic, spawning a wall of thich shadows behind and before them, until Nicolette's light had faded, telling her that bringing light there was like bringing a dragon to Hamley. When he told her to not worry about his light, her reaction was funny, she narrowed her eyes and told him to go first.

He didn't mind this at all. He saw much better than her, so when they came across a little stream moving between the walls, and semi blocking their way, Shade hopped across it, letting Nicolette know that there was something there. They came to what must have been living quarters, as there were bedrolls about it, and as Shade was asking Nicolette about how well humans could see in the dark, a shadow faded in beside them. "The Dawn of Shadows..." This time, it was Shade's turn to shriek. He had his back turned, and didn't hear anything move until there was a voice right by him. "Is that where we are? The Dawn of Shadows? Who are you?.." "Where we... No.. You.. You are failing to..? I can't remember.. Thinking.. so hard... You are.. Alexandra... No..? Here to see... the captain..?" Nicolette did not hesitate, and spoke to the shadow in the dialect of old Vangottstein as she nodded to the creature, though stumbled a little on her dialect. "That's right. Alexandra.." "Of course.. Alexandra.. Dawn of Shadows.. You would not fade... Fortunate.." "Where is the captain?" "Inside... praying.." "What is your name?" "My name.. I.. I do not remember.. Remembering.. so hard.. thinking.. so hard... getting harder.." Shade found this interesting enough, so he stepped forward, and the shadow looked to him. "Ah.. Syann's agents too.. Delightful.. Together we will.. Will..[/i]" Shade raised a brow to Nicolette and whispered "Isn't that..?" She closed her eyes as she drew in a breath and let it out. She nodded as she opened them. "This was an evil place. Full of evil men.." "Interesting, don't you think so?" "They worshipped Zentarus. They killed knights and humiliated them. They put people into oubliettes, and-" "The captain.." the shadow interrupted them. "The captain.. Waiting.." Nicolette looked back to the shadow. "..They ended up like this. Suffering forever." She watched the shadow as if faded back into the darkness.

She sighed and went to the pillar standing proudly in the middle of the room. Her fingers brushing over carved letters she could barely see. "There's more writing here. I can't read it without more light. Do I take the risk?" "Up to you." Shade smiled, finding it fun to watch Nicolette having to risk angry shadows, to see secrets that he could. "It is absolutely interesting.. And.." He looked to it with his head tilted. "I can't read this alphabet." There was another resonant humm and a flicker of light from Nicolette, as she brought out her light. There were hissing from all over, but Nicolette had time to see what was written. It was a large list of names. Heroes from an age past. Many crossed out, with others left intact. Shade noticed something familiar. A name Nicolette had brought up before, and he pointed to what seemed elven. "Nimmeril's second carnation." Her eyes widened at that, and her hands clasped tightly. This was absolutely interesting. For both of them. When one White Rose dies, another is born, and there they had written confirmation of a previous one. Hidden in darkness, beyond what one could see. The name was even intact, showing them this person had been alive at the time.

As they entered a new room, they found two statues in the middle of it... and two sets of yellow eyes watching them from the far end of the room.
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Shade
7:49:30 pm GMT 11/13/22
Shade Registered Member #24916 Joined: 2:58:00 pm GMT 01/23/19
Posts: 595

Their first journey into the shadows Pt.3


[ image disabled ]

"Well, this is some big, armored fella, who looks.... uhhh.. I don't know.. tyrannical?" Shade looked up at one of the statues, with Nicolette joining in by his side, squinting up as she still struggled to see in the dark. "Maybe it's Zentarus?" "Ah yes! That might be. I'll draw a picture from memory later." He didn't. He forgot just a few minutes after. Mostly because they saw something else that was pretty interesting. They had the same statue this room held in the prime. Some form of bard, only on this side, it had been impaled with several swords that were oozing darkness. Nicolette could barely see the sword shapes, but Shade could see the magic in them.. and the two figures watching them. He whispered and warned her that they had company, and that he hopes she can talk well.

Nicolette came closer to them, and there was another of the pillars before them, but she had no hopes of reading them with what appeared to be some form of knights, watching them, so she looked toward them instead. "We're here to see Captain. I'm Alexandra." The long forgotten villain glared back at her, seeming far more aware than the others. "You are not Alexandra. How did you get in here?" "She is with me." Shade spoke up in elven "Agent of Syann." "We are not expecting any of yours. State your business." A plan came to Nicolette and she stepped forward. She was hooded, so they couldn't see her ears, and color comes from light. "I'm Kallista D'Mora. Daughter of the matron of Mora'chel. She sent me to negotiate."

One of the forgotten blackguards looked to the other, who asked her. "Who is the matron of Mora'Chel?" making Nicolette narrow her eyes. Her jaw set. Her younger features did not quite resemble her mother's, yet she mirrored the edge of Kallista's voice as best as she could. "The matron Os'ina Mora! You are unaware of Mora'Chel?" "Do you take us for fools?! Os'ina Mora is but a child!!" Big oopsie.. The two did not know where in time these fellows were from. Not how long they had been there, or the last events the ones stuck in shadows were aware of. Luckily one of them turned to the other. "..we have been here a long time." Nicolette did not skip a beat, though inwardly, there was a flash of fear. "Do you think a child can't kill her own mother? How do you think any of us came into our power?" "Are you asking us to test you, supposed daughter of House Mora?!" The forgotten one said as if it was ready to crush Nicolette. The other certainly was, as he cracked his knuckles while staring down Shade. There was a flicker of hesitation in Nicolette's eyes, but there was little else to do than what her mother would say. "...Siyo. Test me."

Shade sidestepped some with his hands held up, to let the forgotten villains know that he wasn't going to fight. He had planned to shadowjump behind them, but when he saw skeletons of someone who had likely tried to do the very same, just down the hall, he quickly dropped that idea. It was too late anyway. The battle started the moment Nicolette dared the forgotten one. He was already throwing a fist toward the songstress, making her duck on reflex and slammed her shoulder into his chest, toward a little pool in the corner.. but she quickly came to realize this was no mere grunt in life. It was on the offensive, and set to strike her down. She was successful in her attack, and she sent the hulking man staggering back, falling into the pool behind him as she had planned. She could not see it, but she heard what the twisted shadow plane had to offer instead of falling water. Numerous little stabbing sounds were heard, with the forgotten one groaning in pain, as numerous needles fell from above.

He still stood back up and reached his hand out. A great sword materialized from red energy, and he rushed straight for Nicolette. Shade meanwhile smiled to the other old blackguard. "Fiesty little thing, isn't she?" But the old one did not find it amusing, and just stared him down, as Nicolette did her best to stop the rushing, much larger enemy's sword hand. She managed to grasp his hand before he could land his hit, but she was pushed back into a platform behind her, and the two were grappling for control. Her, a little songstress. Him, likely a big time villain of his time. He took every kick and attempt at hurting him in stride, and tilted his head back.. then rushed it at her in a headbutt that crushed the stone behind her. She likely had time to duck, as that would surely have split her skull open. Shade just tapped his chin as he watched Nicolette fight for her dear life. "Say, has there been any word on Nimmeril's second incarnation?" "If she wins, I will let you each have a quest-...ion..."

The old one stopped in the middle of his word, as ducking from the other one's headbutt had made Nicolette's hood fall, revealing the crown of Alikka.. Yet she took the chance she was given when both blackguards were caught offguard by the sight of her crown. She grabbed the shoulders of the one she had been fighting, and spoke in a calming, commanding tone, and her voice resonant with magic. "Sleep... Be still... Sleep.." The other one, now realizing the danger he was in, reached for Shade, who squeaked and shadow jumped away. As Nicolette's magic hit her opponent, he sank to his knees on the floor, defeated, leaving one still facing them, and with Alikka's crown visible, there was no way they wouldn't be facing him.

He too conjured a magic out of raw evil energy and rushed to strike at them. This time, Shade knew he had to fight too, so he shadow jumped right before the forgotten one's legs, and simply dropped down in an attempt at tripping it, while Nicolette kept channelling her magic. Even Shade felt its magic working on him as her magic combined with her light was aimed at the old one. "Forget.. You've won.. You don't have to suffer any longer. Forget what you've seen. Let yourself fade away.. I know you've wanted to.." The ancient one stumbled over Shade, but still held his sword ready over his head, but stopped in front of Nicolette.

"Fade..? You.. This light.. Can you really..?" "Fade.. it's over.. just forget it all happened.. You've been here so long. It can end.." He stopped dead before her. There was something in his eyes.. Even if she knew she couldn't defeat him this easy, the thought of finally finding peace spoke to him. "Shhh.. It can end.. just let go.." She reached a hand for the remaining warrior, putting herself in the sword's way, if he should strike. "..let go..."

He offered his hand to Nicolette. He had retained his sanity for so long. He had seen how his fellow cultists had faded, lost their minds and bodies alike. He had some sense of how long they had been there, even if he had lost count years ago. To remain conscious for all this time had been a curse in its own way, and he knew their lord would have come for them a long time ago. He had likely known for so many years, that they had lost, and no one would ever really come for them. This little wielder of light would be his only chance to end this misery.

She took the hand in her own, looking into the forgotten one's strange yellow eyes. She was desperate, yes. At his mercy. Yet there was power in the young woman's voice. "It's over. Andarus, Zentarus, Nimmeril.. There's nothing to fight for, now. You've won. You can stop...~" He closed his eyes as he really did surrender, and shade realized what would happen. This gave him the perfect oppurtunity to have a carrot to dange in front of Nicolette! "The second incarnation! What was their name?!" Nicolette was still gripping the hand, hesitating. It was an answer she was desperate to know, and yet, if the blackguard temembered its purpose.. If it did, it could strike in an instant. She repeated her words. "..you can forget.. You can stop.."

But the blackguard knew they had lost a long time ago. At this point, all he really wanted was a peace he had hoped his lord would bring him, but was never given, only what felt like an eternity in the darkness. He started to disintegrate as Nicolette's light ran trough him. His head tilted back and he gave a grateful look to the darkness above as his hand crumbled in Nicolette's, and disintegrated up his arm, spreading with the rest of his body following. "Mithraviel... Her name... was... Mithraviel.." Nicolette held his hand until there was nothing left to hold. The white light passed from her, into him. Even as it faded, the last thing he saw was green eyes that seemed to care. When he was only dust, she fell. Her breathing ragged. The light, once more, slowly fading from her, as the name echoed in her mind.

Shade, who had been on the ground since he flopped over to trip the blackguard, finally hopped up. "Aww, that was sweet. Giving the bad guy his rest.." "Just.." "Hm?" "...my good girl act." She repeated his words from earlier, giving Shade a merry laugh. She drew up her hood, to cover her crown once more. "So we have the name of the second carnation. That should have made this worth it, no?" "Mithraviel." She glanced down, still catching her breath. "She must have been elven, too." "It is an elven name." "And they knew her..." She seemed to process the new information, thinking it over as she caught her breath. "Yes, you tend to know your enemies. You want to know everything about them."

They made it to the inner chamber. The large, open spaced area, with a great pit, and a walkway leading up to Leima's statue. It was still there, but with swords thrust trough it. Above it, a skeletal statue of what may have been supposed to represent Zentarus. Another pillar of text beside it, holding "There will be no lord but Zentarus!" in several languages.

"This was your shrine. Where you came to pray. Captain.." Shade look around, not seeing even as much as a sign of there having been a captain there. "He should have been here. He probably faded a long time ago.. Or killed himself when they lost." She looked away with a furrowed brow. "His soldiers were stronger, in the end. They never gave up. As... as twisted, as what they believed in was." "Mmhm.. Such is strong beliefs. Though they likely didn't have any options. If they could leave, they should have done so a long time ago. So we are talking hundreds of years, trapped here?" Nicolette nodded as she shivered. "I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy, and I'm sure they'd have come close. If I still wrote songs, I'd write a song about it." Shade shrugged. "What's stopping you? Do whatever the hells you want to." Nicolette looked around. "We shouldn't stay. I don't think there's more to learn here." "Oh, we really shouldn't.. But we did learn something here." "Mithraviel..." "Indeed. Which means we have many more places to search!" "I'm glad to know her name. Maybe I can find more..."

They made their way back trough the old, forgotten lair, and Shade told her how the space between the prime and the shadows tend to be thinnest in places where there have been experiences of great loss, though what she didn't tell her was that this is where Shade's control of it is the strongest. He had yet to truly spill the details of his magic, or how he controls it. He just told her that it has to be loss, and loss is loss. That gives them a lot of places they could search for clues. As they returned to the first room that they appeared in, Nicolette looked to the oubliette's. "I couldn't help them, though.." "No one can, buuuuuuuuuut..~ You can give them peace." Nicolette hesitated. "Won't all the shadows come at us?" "Yes, but the exit is right here. So you mercy kill them while I open the metaphysical curtain, and we high-tail it back to the prime." Nicolette nodded. "And at worst, I'll make a few more enemies." "Oh, who cares, they have all lost their minds ages ago. They will be lucky if they even remember the color white."

Once more, Nicolette lowered her hood, revealing the crown. Seeming to have decided before she started speaking, she offered Shade a smile. "You'll want to shut your eyes now." Shade chuckled and closed his eyes, as he reached out and felt for where the line between worlds was the weakest. He did not see, but certainly felt the light fill the room. He felt it burning even trough his closed lids, and hear the sound of her resonant, wordless voice. It was a beautiful note that resonated and spread amond the roses, and reached into the pits. The area itself responded to the light being brought there, and they felt the very cave trembling in rage at being illuminated. For a rare time, the dark cavern of the plane of shadows was a beacon of light. A light that spread into the darkest pits, as her voice echoed. "~Take us home.~"

They heard hisses, first from the death pits where the poor good ones had been trapped for ages, as they were slowly destroyed, and their souls finally found peace, then the sounds of the shadows outside closing in around them. Shadows started to seep in trough the bricks that laid the cave lair, as her light had drawn the attention of the creeping darkness. Seeing this, Shade grabbed Nicolette and pulled her as he tore a small opening between the realms. She was hot to the touch. Hot enough to burn him, and as he pulled her back into the prime, only flickers of her light remained, the rest was left behind. He let her go at the first chance he got, and he shadowjumped away at the first chance, as he staggered around, holding his hand and cursing. She looked back at him and it took her a moment to realize his burn. "Sorry.."

He shrugged it off. "A little pain was worth the excitement.. And look a what we found! A cult shrine hidden in the shadow plane!" She rose with a hand resting on her chest. "And we saved them. Some of them. A piece of them, maybe." He held up a finger, then pointed at her. "-You- saved them. Give yourself a victory clap." She adjusted her cloak as she gave him a long look. "This was your idea, and I wouldn't have gotten anywhere near them without you. And you kept me from stepping in a hole or being eaten by a lake." "So...?" "So." She smiled, mischeviously teasing. "It seems to me that you're the real hero." This absolutely took the fun of it from Shade. Nicolette just made this weird. Even so, they both wanted to go on another adventure.
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Shade
5:45:37 pm GMT 11/18/22
Shade Registered Member #24916 Joined: 2:58:00 pm GMT 01/23/19
Posts: 595
"Come on now! One drink! Why the hell not, you think you're better?"

What a thing to hear when you enter a tavern! It was almost as if the gods wanted Shade to screw with someone. A sailor was pestering a familiar figure for a drink while grabbing her shoulder.. So what did Shade do? He snuck up on the man, grabbed his ass and told him "I'll drink with you.~" Nicolette looked up, startled by Shade's appearance. "The hell are you?!" The man whirled on the elf. "Get out of here, knife ears!"

Oh my.. The man doesn't like Shade's advances! If you were thinking Shade politely left the man to hit on his "conquest", you should probably stop reading.

He made a kissy face at the man and told him "Come on, just one drink!" "I'm having a chat with the lady here! Go kiss a damned gnoll!" Oh, this guy was making it too easy.. Shade grabbed the sailor's face, told him "Okay!" and lunged in for a kiss, making the Sailor put an arm between them, to block Shade, while trying to punch Shade with his other. "The hell?! Get off me!" "Why, you think you're better?" Shade grinned wide. "Let's be honest, buddy. No one even being near as gorgeous as me will ever look your way." "Get the hell off me! I told you!" He shouted as he threw a punch at Shade's face. Shade, unable to resist, leaned back, literally kissed the fist that was just about to land on his face, taking the hit, just for the sake of screwing with the man, while lifting a foot. As the punch landed, and Shade dropped back, the lifted leg landed right between the man's legs, hitting him in the family jewels.

"Gaaah!" The man shouted as he grabbed his groin while Nicolette watched with a smile. He stumbled back to get distance from Shade, pushing to his feet. "What the hell is wrong with you?!" "What?" Nicolette stared up at the sailor. "You don't like it when it happens to you?" Shade pushed up too. "Me? You're the one dreaming of man loving elves!" "Go to hell... both of you." He snarled and turned to walk away, making for the door. "Wait~" Shade chimed as he just.... faded from sight, telling him "See you in your next dreams, Sweetie-buns.~"

The man looked genuinely disturbed, and outright ran for the door. Nicolette watched him go, then started laughing, covering her lips with a hand. "Gods.. His face.." Shade stepped out of a shadow, holding his midsection, having a hearty laugh of his own. "Ha ha! And you KNOW this will trouble him for years!" "That was worth the last half hour." She continued to laugh. "Though I have to say.." Shade rubbed his mouth. "The man could pack a punch." "A lot of men like him do." She shook her head. "You all right?" "Oh, I'm fine. This will hurt for ten minutes, tops. Him? He will be haunted by this for years. Then at some point, he might think he actually did dream of pretty elven boys, so he will give elf men real weird looks and act even more awkward around them. It will make for a web of awkwardness that will spawn for years." Shade grinned as he folded his hands behind his head, as if resting back on something. It's the little things in life.

"Is this where elves get their reputation?!" She stared at him, then laughed. "It would explain a lot." "What reputation?" "Oh, you know. Alien, mad. The men you can barely tell apart from the women... I don't believe that, but you'd hear it a lot around here." "Well, I certainly am mad. Selective, though, mind you.~ As for telling the men from the women? Well, that is easy. You see, there are these things. Two of them, actually, called "breasts."" She waved a hand dismissively. "You don't have to tell me!" "About breasts?" "-I- can tell elves apart. Clearly men like that sailor can, too. They just like to feel superior to someone, so they go around saying elves aren't manly enough.. but what you did was more confident than he'll ever be." "I had more fun than he will ever have, too. And who cares about being manly when you can be pretty?" He chimed as he drew air lines before his eyes, drawing attention to his makeup.

"Probably." She smiled. "So what brings you here today?" "Oh right! I almost forgot... Now what was her name.." Shade pondered. "Oh yes! Mithraviel." "The second White Rose..." "Yes, I have discovered two locations that may hold information about her." This caught her attention and she sat up a little straighter, lowering her voice as if she was suddenly more careful. "What did you learn?" "A lair of a former dark guild.. Such a place would never hold secrets out in the open. They would hide them where evil would... and where does dark forces hide?" "Well." She leaned back a little, considering it. "The last place was within the shadow plane. A secret shadowed side of the Gerdamesh tomb, it could have been hidden anywhere. Except.." She shook her head. "No, not anywhere. Somewhere even dark people, monsters, can safely enter and leave. Somewhere secluded, so as not be found." "Exactly. I am thinking we cross into it again. I have two places. One is that old lair. The other, is a very cursed tomb. I tried entering, but it was a little... eh.. corpsy, so I would like to bring an actual fighter with us this time. Your boyfriend, perhaps?"

"My -boyfriend-?!" "Yeah, that... Hmm.. What did he call himself again.." Shade rubbed his chin. "Scruffy fella. Was really protective of you. Concerned about his reputation here.." "Who do you-..." Her eyes widened and she seemed to understand. "You mean Conrad?" Shade snapped his fingers. "That's the name." "It isn't like that. He's protecting me." She seemed to consider it a moment. "He owes me a favor..." "How splendid! We can have him walk in front." She hesitated. "How dangerous is it? The last place had traps, guardians. This will be worse?" "I honestly don't know. It could be as safe as it gets, or it could be pretty dangerous. With luck, everyone inside are long dead. It did look like an army had fought inside the crypt." "Conrad is the best swordsman I know. And he'll help, if I ask. But he's also.." She hesitated, looking for words. "Yes..?" "...I'd like all three of us to survive this. Not just me and you." She looked pointedly to Shade, perhaps knowing how little he cares about most people. "I don't want him walking into a deathtrap you saw coming. Because you think it's funny to watch a man die."

"Hmm..." Shade rubbed his chin in thought. "..there is this third place I have wanted to explore the shadow of.. And if he is as good as you say, it WOULD bring another layer of security.. Okay, how about this. I get to say nothing, if he will survive the trap, and it will be funny. You know. Comedic value in a dark place, and all that." She gave him a dark look. "Would you let -me- walk into a trap like that?" "..if something like a cooking pan hanging from the ceiling? Well, it is unprobable, but the chance is never zero.." "Yes. Or- I don't know. A poison dart that would just make me sick for a while." She sighed, and shook her head. "Oh no, we can't have that. I need you alive and well." "Then... I'd ask you extend him the same courtesy." She met Shade's eyes. "He's a friend." "Alright." "And I don't like seeing people get hurt." She glances to where the sailor had left. "Usually."

"No shutting up about deadly darts, or pits, or poison gas... but -IF- there is a cooking pan..?" "If there is a cooking pan, it's fine." She smiled. "You can do what you like, and I won't say a word. In that one, very specific case..." "Deal."

Oh, she shouldn't have...
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Shade
9:15:08 pm GMT 11/19/22
Shade Registered Member #24916 Joined: 2:58:00 pm GMT 01/23/19
Posts: 595
It was such a lovely day. Shade was floating trough darkness, seeing glimpses of the world above him as he floated trough darkness. It was when he saw the familiar figure of Nicolette Adair, that he changed his course and flew up and hopped up from her shadow, like an orca leaping from the ocean's surface. A majestic appearance.. that was disrupted by how damn bright the sun was. It made Shade go "Gah! Too bright!" and clenched his eyes, as he held a hand to cover the sun.

"Its your own fault! Lurking around that way." "No, it's the damn sun's fault!" The man beside her. A scruffy fella that Shade had completely forgotten he had already met was beside her. "Who's lurking?" He asked as he looked to Shade's back. "Is this man bothering you... Nicolette?" This made Shade go "Hm?" and look to the well known mercenary. "Oh, I remember you! The boyfriend~" He had the brightest of smiles. Oh, how tempted he was to screw with him some more. Especially as Conrad grimaced and said "Oh no, it's you again.[/i][/color]" Nicolette had to tell him "He's fine, Conrad." She told him with a smile. "More trouble than he's worth perhaps." It didn't really matter what Conrad said, for Shade was already striking a pose with his arms out as he said "It's me agaaaaain~"

It started to innocent. Shade appearing and acting like your average squirrel treasure. Conrad being unhappy to see him, and rightfully so, with Nicolette trying to convince the grump that Shade can take them places no one else can, and find information that could not be found elsewhere. Little did they know what was ahead.


The Crypt (?)


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It started so nice, with playful banter, and Shade shadow jumping across a pit that stood between them and the entrace to the shadows he had found. When the two told him it was way too far to jump, Shade jumped into the dark pit below, only to appear bouncing up from Conrad's shadow. He grabbed them both and leaned back into their shadows in turn, pulling them with him, as the shadow mage bent the laws of physics, and had all three drop down on the floor across the pit. Conrad shuddered at this and asked how he did that, to which Shade simply wiggled his fingers and told him it was magic. Nicolette staggered too. It was a form of travel she absolutely would never get used to.

He smiled to them and said "Now for a serious question. Do you both sense that? Right before me, do you sense it?" Nicolette stepped forward and reached out her hands for what seemed like just an average crypt wall... Oh yes, they were in a crypt. Important detail... Or not. They were not staying for long, for whatever was there, it made Nicolette uncomfortable. Whatever it was, it made a shiver run trough her shoulders. "There's something..." "Indeed. Something hidden. Close your eyes, front liner. Sense. Feel." "You want me to..?" "Yes." "Fine, but I'm warning you. I'll sense every attempt of pranking even with my eyes closed." This made Shade smirk as Conrad took a deep breath and closed his eyes. "Tempting as that is, I actually need you to feel for this." Nicolette narrowed her eyes at Shade for this. "Don't you dare." "I wasn't going to."

Conrad suddenly felt like there was a dark wind blowing past him, and with it came a strange sense of unease. It made Conrad gulp. "Is this normal?" "That depends on what you felt. Me, I feel that sense you have when you close your eyes and head for a wall. You know it is there, and you can feel it coming close. You can feel it, even if you can't see it." "Something isn't quite right. It's an ominous feeling.." Conrad kept focusing with his eyes closed as he felt a strange sadness he couldn't quite describe. "What's hidden here.." Nicolette concentrated too, closing her eyes as she reached out a hand. "How can we reach it?" "Like this." Shade reached out to grab at something perhaps only he saw, and pulled at it like there was a curtain or sheet covering their way. He reached his other hand in and started digging his way trough sheets of reality, and the more he did, the more things seemed to shift around them. It grew darker and darker, with only Nicolette's light remaining around them. They appeared to still be in the same room, but now there was a great gate before them.

Nicolette walked for it and moved to place a hand on the great gate, heedless of the dangers, for the moment. "Your light, Nicolette, it's a soothing feeling in all this... sadness.." Conrad barely said before they heard a growl from the pit behind them, followed by scratching sounds, as something was crawling up toward them. "..and a "come get me" sign." Shade moved quickly for the gate and pushed it firmly, making it creak open as something with really sharp claws was clearly climbing up. Nicolette was smiling to Conrad, but it was cut off by the sound. She looked tense over her shoulder. "Is this your magic, Dracswell? It's not funny!" Conrad struggled to maintain his focus, making Shade pull harder on the gate doors. "Get in, you idiot!" Nicolette joined with him, and once open enough, the three slipped inside, quickly closing it behind them. Safe from whatever this creature from the dark pit was.

The crypt they entered was strange.. Dark, as it should be, yet it held illumination. Purple torches burning from gloomy architectural braziers and wall torches, giving them at least some light, even though it was minimal, giving light to a grizzly scene before them. It was like they had moved into a battlefield, with two armies of skeletons littering the floor, making it hard to move without stepping on any of them. Nicolette gave a startled shriek as her feet crunched over one, and she looked down to see just how many there were of the dead. Even Conrad grimaced at the scene. "Told you. Corpsy."

"It's okay, it's okay... I've seen tombs like this a thousand.... times." Conrad still looked around warily. "You-.. you were right, Conrad.. It's a battlefield..." "It looks that way, doesn't it." Nicolette moved carefully, trying not to crush any bones as she made her way trough the corpse pile. "But do you see that?" Shade looked between the light sources. "There's a doorway up front." "So there is... I say the brave front liner goes first." This made Conrad raise a brow. "That a dare? Why don't you do it Dracswell? You probably live in this sort of places." "Don't be silly. I am an elf. I live in a tree." "I'll do it." "But do you see it, missy?" Nicolette looked to Shade with her brow furrowed. "There are... bodies. Dead. A line of them, between the flames. One torch is out." The place was as silent as a tomb.. literally at that. "Yes, torches. Do you remember what happened the last time you brought light to the shadow plane?" "Everything came for us." She looked back toward the gate they just closed. "Monsters, beasts. If there is light here, they snuff it out." "Exactly. So what does it tell you that there is light here?" "That.." Nicolette looked from one flame to another. "Something's protecting this place. Keeping the shadows out."

"Precisely. It is liveable. Or..." He looked to the bones. "Was. Now isn't that interesting?" Shade smiled between them. "Depends on how much of a lunatic one is." Conrad commented as he peered around him, clearly unsettled. "You don't think it is fascinating that someone made this place liveable?" Nicolette looked around at the bones. "Not just for one person. For many of them... Why would so many live here?" "Let's find out, shall we?" As Nicolette knelt beside one of the dead to examine it more closely, though reluctant to touch the body, Conrad looked at the pile in front of the gate. "They might have been in a hurry to get out." "I don't know. They are laid out like one side were trying to push in. Seems like an assault to me." "I know who they were." Nicolette recognized the symbol of the skeleton's armor. It was old and decayed, but she could tell. "In the days of Vongottstein, there were two orders. The blood guard, and the shadow guard." This made Shade react. He had been involved with the shadowguard in their recent... whatever it was they tried to. He was promised entertainment, and they had left him both bored, and without his shadow. He groaned as he muttered. "I really hope this was before their leader fell from grace."

"Both orders did. The blood guard used the island's fires against its greatest monsters. But the shadow guard had a different path. They tried to use the shadows for... good ends. And they later fell to madness." As they navigated trough the bones, and came to the gate, Shade stopped them, telling them "I have a bad feeling about this gate. Let's let the front liner go first, hm?" Nicolette was already reaching for the gate, but stopped, offering a reluctant nod. "Oh well, it's what I'm here for." As Conrad opened the gate and stepped in, he barely dodged a cooking pot on a string that swung for his face. Nicolette barely had time to react herself, as Shade snapped his fingers with the swing of his hand, in a "damn it" kind of way, then whistled innocently as Nicolette grasped the cooking pot to look it over.

A drop of sweat ran down Conrad's chin. "I expected a trap, but that.." He looked to Shade. "It's a bit out of place, isn't it?" "Is it? I have no idea what is past this point. I am as clueless as you." Nicolette narrowed her eyes at Shade. A nimbus of white light still hovered softly around her, and beside the dim purple flames, gave them their only source of illumination. "They must have been desperate thinking that a cooking pot would stop whatever slaughtered all these people."

Shade didn't actually lie about not knowing what was beyond that point. He spoke the truth when he told Nicolette he had barely peeked inside the "corpsy" place. He had found that there was something there. Seen that it was somewhere interesting, made a booby trap.. or rather, cooking pot trap. After all, Nicolette HAD agreed cooking pots were fine! Once in place, he left before going deeper. He too, was clueless to just what they had gotten themselves into.
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Shade
4:56:29 pm GMT 11/21/22
Shade Registered Member #24916 Joined: 2:58:00 pm GMT 01/23/19
Posts: 595

The Crypt (?) Part 2

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The temple's main area was as filled with corpses as the entrance, being an open room filled with more purple torches, and three branching paths. All three had a line of corpses laying in opposing ways, like waves of people had been battling in all three directions. There were statues at the sides, seeming to once have been of what they could have assumed was a goddess, but the features had decayed over time. There was still a dark aura surrounding it, but none of them recognized it. Nicolette even said she should have, but one who really should have known, was Shade. He just thought whoever the woman was, she was likely beautiful once.

"Shade." "Yes?" "Creatures of the darkness, like you'd find here. Shadows and shadow monsters. Do they age?" "No. Not that I know of anyway. Could be they just do so much slower. Why?" "I just thought it's strange to have torches burning, but no one to light them. Maybe someone's still here.." "It could be magic." Shade shrugged. "Continual flame isn't a very complicated spell." He told her as Nicolette searched the surroundings, as far as her light would reach, with Shade and Conrad just following along. "What a horrible job, having to re-ignite torches here. Can hardly develop yourself with the lack of feedback.."

As they went trough one of the side halls, they came to another split. One path had the corpse trail, while the other did not. They tried the body-less one first, but as they tried to go trough the hall containing only a single skeleton, Nicolette suddenly felt a sudden pain in her chest, that made her stumble back. There was a trickle of blood on her chest, but no apparent source of the injury. They decided it was best to take the other path.

"Yes, this has more corpses. Scattered around too." Nicolette Made her way carefully around the bodies, watching the shadows. "What could kill all of them? Another army?" "I don't know? Examine their corpses?" "Starvation, boredom. There are many options." As they walked along, then entered a rather ominous chamber. It was relatively large and round, with a platform in the center, with a low platform, decorated by a skill. There were blue flames coming out where the skull's teeth were, as well as its eyes. "Now this looks ominous." "What is this..?" As they entered the room, three doors along the sides dropped open, causing a girly scream from one in the group. Nicolette was startled, as the scream was not from her, while Conrad grabbed his sword handle, and Shade pretended like he didn't just shriek like a banshee. Other than the scare of doors dropping open, he was strangely at ease in the tomb.

As they went around to examine the room, Nicolette went for the platform, while Conrad secured the side rooms. He could tell the many corpses inside the small side chambers had died pressed and killed against the walls. "This one seems different from the rest." "Huh.. Well, I am not well versed in what is likely a sacrificial altar. Are you?" "What were they sacrificing? I don't see any blood.." She kept studying as Shade shrugged. "Could have faded with the years. We might need some texts or something for- wouldn't touch that?" He told her as Nicolette reached a hand out to touch the strange blue lights. The moment she did, she saw flashes from the point of view of people on their knees. They looked up to see black robed figures slitting their throats. The vision faded as they dropped to the floor and clearly died. She staggered back, as her hand passed trough the light, looking disoriented and pale at what she saw.

"See? Told you I wouldn't touch that..... and damn it, now you made me curious." Nicolette was clearly troubled by the vision, but could barely make out "Don't-" as Shade reached into the light. He stood there for a while, then just shrugged. "Your turn, front liner." "You don't have to.." "He might? It could open a secret clue?" "If the shirtless berk can do it, so can I." So macho. Such strength. Conrad reached into the light of the executioners platform. He too saw the visions of some poor people's final moments, and he too, turned pale. He staggered back. "You could do it, hm? Didn't seem to trigger anything, though." Nicolette shook her head as she moved a hand to her neck. The vision felt too real for her tastes. "What in the blazes is wrong with these people.." Conrad shook his head, as Nicolette eyed a mirror in the corner of the room. "What, never seen a torture device before?" "That felt all too real in comparison, Dracwell." "Probably their intent. Let you see many deaths before you have your own." Shade casually told him as he joined Nicolette's side by the mirror, and took out a thin piece of charcoal to redo his make-up.

They decided to leave this room and went back to the main hall, taking more and more note of the skeletons wearing different patterns to their clothes. Both wore what was once black leathers, but it became more apparent as they went on that there were two factions. "Blimey, it's dark in here." "It is?" Shade cast a cantrip with the usual weave, lighting up the area around them, allowing Nicolette to spot something at one of the dead's pockets. She took it and squinted, struggling to read in the dim light. "The tongue of old Vangottstein.." "Ooh, secret notes!" Shade bounced over to peek over her shoulder. "Stop that!" She told Shade as she squinted at the lettering, not exactly familiar with the tongue. "I'm trying to read..." "Sorry." "What's it say?" "The mirrors..." She squinted. "Blood, touch.. I think it's some sort of instruction?" "Oh, how fun! Not too sure about blood, though." "Do you bleed, Dracswell? Could give it a try." "Don't you dare."

Nicolette continued to walk, and the two followed with her. Conrad likely unnerved, and Shade smiling, as if nothing here fazed him. As they came to another split trough the opposing hallway, they came upon a library. Old, dusty, and littered with corpses. Just like the rest of it. Nicolette didn't even spend as much time looking over the books as Shade had thought. "Suppose reading is one way to kill time in a place like this. Before facing a horrifying death." Nicolette looked over the titles, but knew there was no time to read them. She still saved a book that had nearly fallen from the shelf, righting it in with the others. "..you are such a nice girl." Shade smiled to her. "It's a wizard's library. They were studying magic- Oh!" "And this is a nice place.. I could tidy it and- hm?" He followed her eyes to a mirror in the back. "The mirror. Let's try." She came up to it and brushed a finger along her chest, where she was cut earlier, gathering a drop of blood and pressed it to the mirror's surface. "Careful.." Conrad wisely advised, as when she did, an image appeared on the mirror. A black disk with a purple circle around it. The purple grew into flamed and looked almost like a purple eclipse.

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"...Uh oh." Shade said, recognizing the symbol instantly. He realized right away where they were. He realized what the mirrors were. He could only watch as a darkness flowed from the mirrors and surrounded them.
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Shade
8:47:55 am GMT 11/22/22
Shade Registered Member #24916 Joined: 2:58:00 pm GMT 01/23/19
Posts: 595

The Temple of Loss and Grief - Part 3


"What is...!" "What... What's happening?!" "Conrad?!"

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As the darkness lifted, they all stood in a forest, though calling it a battlefield would be more correct. There were elves fighting gnolls and creatures of darkness. There were dark spires all about them, and among them was another Nicolette, a tall female warrior who Conrad seemed to recognize instantly. An elf, and a halfling...cook? Nicolette was screaming for her mother to stop, but a spire burst from the ground, impaling her right before their eyes. A dark memory for sure was playing out before their very eyes. Conrad meanwhile, was distracted by something other than having Nicolette die before them. "Blast it.. You're dead, Lily!" He shouted as he drew his sword. "So is.." Shade looked between the two Nicolette's. "..you?" It is when Shade looked between them that he saw the difference. She was clad in white, like a princess of Steinkreis, shining with light to protect the elven stronghold.. until the moment hers was snuffed out.

"Damn... I have to say.. You look good in white." Shade had to comment, then looked to Conrad, unable to help himself with a bit of mockery at the man who was so firm in protecting Nicolette. "And you are horrible at your job." Nicolette stared at herself dying. She had heard the stories, but not seen it. It was all something she'd rather forget. "Something isn't quite right.. This isn't real." Conrad peered around him. "...It's real..." She kept watching the scene as it played out before them. They saw the grief on her friends and close ones faces, Lily lifting her off the spire. They even saw Kallista landing before them, and the look of horror on her face as she realized she had killed her own daughter. They saw how even Kallista let out a shriek of anguish, before vanishing before them. "It is?" Nicolette's voice was strained as she watched. She looked to Conrad with her face pale. "The last battle against mother. The battle I- ..the one I warned you away from. The battle in Feywood. It all happened, just like this."

Darkness then surrounded them once more. "She killed me." "Yes.. I should of known.. I never saw your mother ever since she went on the warpath with the Feywood elves.." As the darkness lifted again, they stood in an endless grey. The group they had just been with were talking to a grey robed figure, with a raven on its shoulder, letting the raven doing the talking for it. They saw how Lily were pleading with it, feeling more and more lost by the moment, as the raven apologised to her, telling her there is nothing they can do."And now it is just rubbing it in." Shade frowned, knowing well of the strategies used by Shar's faith. He knew it wanted to really play on Nicolette's emotions. It is why it showed her what happened outside the range of her memories, how those close to her reacted, and what they did. "I tried to stop her. But I.." Nicolette shivered as she watched the scene play out.

Shade meanwhile, was impassive as ever, even looking a little bored with the scene that played out around him. "That is one big lady, though.." "Lily. She tried to bring me back.." Shade shrugged, not knowing who the tall woman in grey robes was. He recognized a Doomguide, and lost interest then and there. They were usually too serious for him, and the few times he ever toyed with them, they always looked at him more with pity, than anger, which he usually wanted to draw. "Waaaaaait..." Shade got a huge grin as he looked to Conrad. "And you wanted to kill her! Ha ha! You wanted to kill the one trying to get her back! Oh, this is funny.." "Don't be ridiculous, Dracswell. Lily has been pestering me and the Blades for years. She's a lunatic." "Oh, I'm not judging. I just thought it was funny you'd want to kill the one trying so hard to save her."

Conrad ignored Shade and looked to Nicolette. "Yet you were the one who returned instead of Lady Kallista. How?" She looked to him, helplessly, seeming to have no answer herself. "There was... old magic. Magic I don't understand." This could have been something for Shade to look into. He loves old magic.. if only he remembered it. "It brought me back. All the humans who died." "Ooh, that is- Oh, it's happening again."

Darkness spilled forth one more. This time, it showed them Renneleth alone, stricken with grief. The look on his face, one of defeat. He stood before a pitch black darkness.. No, a darkness darker than even that again, seeming ready to step into it. "That's the bastard of an elf who shot me and almost killed Seth." Shade tilted his head at the grizzly old elf. "Hmm.. I bet he looks better angry." When Nicolette saw Renneleth as he was in the vision, she looked genuinely sick. Many emotions crossed her face. Grief, sadness, loss.. It was clear in an instant she cared deeply for the elf. "Seems he got what was coming to him. What manner of sorcery is he doing there?" Shade noticed the look on Nicolette's face. "Oh by all means, front liner.. Keep talking.~" He chimed, wanting Conrad to dig his own grave. "He-... He wanted to bring me back.. He must have asked the darkness itself..""From what?" Shade tilted his head at the strange darkness. "The void? That is not how that works. The void just takes."

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She looked away, not wanting to see the vision any longer, yet it still played out. Renneleth facing the shadows, four figures appearing around him, whispering. "..Huh.." Shade tilted his head and kept watching, finally finding one of her memories interesting enough to watch. The shadows closed in around the elf, pulling at him and his eyes, wrapping dark tendrils around his throat. He did not stop them.. And as the shadows took him, the vision faded. "Was that the void itself, Dracswell?" "Looked like it? It is not exactly something that is easy to study." "Looked pretty eldritch." "A little, yes." Shade stood for a moment as something about that didn't sound right. "...waaaait.. How in the nine hells of Baator do you know about the Eldritch?!" Conrad raised a brow. "What of it? It's just a word I've heard such things described as." "Oh."

Nicolette did not look at them, and struggled to regain her own composure. It must have been hard enough to go trough such things. Her darkest of memories. The memories of those who lost her. Their loss.. Renneleth, the man who had been like a father's sacrifice.. The incredible grief of all suffering her loss.. It would be one thing to go trough such in the company of Shade, she already knew he was emotionally distant. He had even told her straight up he doesn't feel like most do, that it was his sacrifice for the Shadow Weave... But Conrad had no excuse. He was as nonchalant about her pain as Shade was, talking about her loved ones like it didn't matter. At least Shade was commenting as if he thought her father might have been sexy. Conrad had no consideration for her feelings, either toward her friends, or that she was clearly in grief from seeing it, perhaps even making her heartache worse than Shade ever could. It made a purple light from from within her, coming from her heart. It seemed to startle her, as this was not magic she was used to, but it didn't seem to harm her. "What is this...? Why would you show this to me?" "Eeeeehhh.." Shade shrugged and quickly turned. He really didn't want to explain to her what he had unknowingly dragged her into, or that it will only get worse the deeper they go. "Don't."

"Look at this! Books! You like books, yes?" He tried to distract her, though lacked the empathy to really make a proper distraction. She rounded on him with her voice tensing up, and made a flicker of light surround him, making him freeze in place. "I said stop!" He whimpered. "You know more than you're saying. You've known from the start. Tell me why they'd make me see that." "I haven't known shit!" He answered honestly. "I swear, I didn't know until the symbol came up! Please don't light me!" "You were here! You brought us here!" "I found the place, put up that pot, then left! I didn't even enter the main area!" She was understandably furious. "I didn't know you could do that. Seems the light of Nimmeril has a good bite on him." Conrad scratched his chin. "Wait... That pot was you?!" This made Shade's lips curl into a catlike smile. "Maybe?" Nicolette kept staring at him. Her eyes were angry, hurt. The scene had left her emotional.

Conrad huffed and puffed in frustration, but regained his focus. "You may shatter the third of his name with your light now, Nicolette. No one makes a fool of Conrad Gilles." "Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait!" Shade pleaded. The light could seriously hurt him, likely also kill him. He tried to wave his hands, but was frozen in the hold of Nimmeril's light. "I swear on... Damn it! I swear on the little fun that I have, that I didn't know! I knew as much as you until you touched that mirror!" She stared at Shade. The light burned so close to him. It is a weapon, against creatures of darkness, and he is one. The effect was showing so clearly on Shade too. He was wincing, trying to twist this way and that. His teeth were clenching with him seeming to get a worse and worse sunburn. It was clearly torturing him, with the light even burning within the girl's eyes, turning them white... until it faded away, much to Shade's relief.

He hunched over the moment he could, with his hands on his knees and panting heavy, like he had just ran trough the entire island. Nicolette meanwhile let out a low, frustrated breath. "It all happened. Just like that. I tried to save Feywood. Mother killed me. And Renneleth... he gave up everything, to bring me back. His life, his honor, his people.. It's- ...why there are two, now.." She looked down at the stone. "Two White Roses.. When I died, another appeared, I wasn't supposed to come back.." "Ehh.. I would say sorry, but I know you won't believe it.. So I will tell you, that." He pointed to the burning symbol still in the mirror. "Is the symbol of Shar. We are in a fucking temple of loss and grief.." "Shar..." "Waaaait.." Shade grinned to Nicolette. "So there are two of you, and two of me! We have something in common!" He gave his most dashing smile. "So please don't fry me.~" "There aren't two of me!" "Oh.. Well, please don't fry me anyway."

They moved on and talked some more about the other White Rose, until Nicolette looked down at her hands, and the purple glow that lingered in her. "What is this magic?" "Heck if I know.. But loss is Her portfolio. You experienced it. You experienced grief. It is likely some form of approval, or something." "A test." "...." Shade got a sour look as he realized he did his makeup before a mirror earlier. Nicolette looked to Conrad. "Maybe we all have to pass. To get into the temple. Maybe.. that's how they guarded it." "....Well, it should be easy for me. What about you, front liner? Are you up for it?" "If the girl thinks it might be worth it. Then I would consider it." Shade smiled at this, the thought of getting something he can mock Conrad for. He then looked back to Nicolette. "That is what I think too, and do you know what the best part of this is?" She looked to Shade expectantly. "Somewhere in this temple, there WILL be a records room! And to top it off, no Nightbringers alive to hunt us for it!"

"Least we know what we're dealing with now. Who's shrine this ruin is and all." "Shar..." Nicolette nodded at Shade's words and looked to Conrad. "I think we should try. I want to know what this place is hiding." "Fair enough. We've come a long way here." "I got trough it. I know you can, too. But.. It's up to you." "Yes, we won't see you as any less manly."
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