View Full Version : Age of Ruin IC: Where demons dwell

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2007-06-07, 09:33 AM
Ugh... you groan in pain. Last you remember, you were being burnt by unholy black fire.

You raise your head and look around.
There are several people here.
A tall, dark-skinned, white-haired man, Hern. He's lying unconscious on the ground, badly burnt, even as you watch, they seem to be fading.
Another tall man, a Davethran, red eyes and tattoos down his neck. Khorik. He too has burns, but not as bad.
A boy, 16 or 17, raises his head woozily. Sumner. On his head is stamped a sunburst, and black lines intertwined with red suns run up his arms and legs, and his skin is in places blistered red from the fire.
A thin Zhan, red eyes and 6 fingers. Kaleff. His burns aren't that bad.
A bulky, but short man, covered in tattoos of dragons, lies sprawled on the ground. You recognise him as the man who charged across the room in the Bronze Cauldron.
Just behind him is an extraordinarily beautiful woman, a Davethran by the looks of it. Her slightly ophidian eyes hint at noble birth.
She's also completely naked.
In fact, you're all naked.

At this point, you notice that there's far more strange things going on than a lack of clothes. You are sitting on bones. A whole plain of bones, no sand or stone, just bones. Human bones.
The sky is a dark, brooding red, or at least the flashes of it you can see behind black clouds are.
Looking around, you see that far away, there is an ocean. A red ocean.
In the opposite direction, there are distant mountains.
About 200 foot away from you, there is a road, running from the direction of the sea to the direction of the mountains.

2007-06-07, 10:14 AM

By all the power of the dragons, that HURT. Draven, can you hear me? I could use some of your lovin an healin right about now.

Raising her head slowly to prevent the contents from spilling out, Ismal raises herself up onto her elbows to see where she is. Something pokes her in the ribs.

It's a rib.

It has friends.

And why aren't her sturdy travel clothes protecting...right. Because she's naked. Oh, but there's Lamb. Come here, sweetheart! The small greenish-black snake unwinds itself from around a skull and slips silently and gently up to wrap around her left arm.

Glancing around, Ismal is relieved to see Draven lying nearby. Less pleased to see four of their new acquaintances from the bar. ESPECIALLY not pleased to see the man who seemed to have brought all of this on all of them.

Right. Focus. Protection, shelter, information. Emotions later.

Rising to her knees, Ismal crawls carefully over more bones towards the dragon warrior. So beautiful, even amidst all of this. And, seemingly, none of the important parts seemed to have burnt up in the fire. She touches his shoulder lightly and murmurs in his ear.

Draven. Draven! Are you there?

Focus. Protection, shelter, information. Right. Crap. What can I even do without the focuses for my spells?

2007-06-07, 10:50 AM
Khorik pushes himself up, wincing as what feels like sharp stick press into the burnt flesh of his hands. He opens his red eyes with a small groan. As soon as those eyes register the new surroundings, however, Khorik quickly rolls to his feet. He has trouble finding his balance on the precarious footing, but he remains standing.

Where am...where is the....what is...

Khorik's hands instinctually reach for the sword on his back. It's not hanging over his shoulder. In fact, he's not wearing his armor. Or any other clothing for that matter. This is when he notices the others.

"What happened? Please, please tell me one of you knows what's going on."

Khorik is a formidable looking man. With his large, muscular form, his shaved head, his black tattoos, and his piercing inhuman red eyes, he is normally pretty intimidating. His look of confusion and helplessness, however, makes him appear pretty pathetic at the moment.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-07, 11:20 AM
Sumner Kesh
Sitting up slowly, the young boy's eyes are a little unfocused, but his gray eyes soon sharpen and he reaches instinctively towards his hip.
And finds nothing. Looking around, Sumner notes the ossified landscape with a sense of detached horror. Wincing as the motion places pressure on his various blisters, Sumner reaches down and strategically places a skull across his lap and surveys once more the others around him.
He deflates visibly, his chin now resting upon the first few hairs of manhood upon his chest. Even in such a huddled pose, the muscles on the young boy's arms and legs and chest are quite prominent, speaking of an intensive regimen of training or excercise.
"Dead again," he says, to no one in particular. "And worse this time than before."

Noting Khorik's inquiry, Sumner responds slowly. "I think we're dead."

2007-06-07, 11:30 AM
Draven's heavily muscular form tensed as he heard Ismal's thoughts penetrate his. Her voice opened his eyes, and the first thing he said was, "Are you ok?"

He looked around for a brief moment, then, seeing the others, he quickly jumped to his feet, instinctivley raising his shield.... or rather, his arm where you'd expect a shield. Just then he noticed that they were all naked. His scrotum shrank slightly with the realization. Any burns and wounds on himself and ismal instantly closed and healed themselves as he pushed himself in front of her protectively, a green mist encircling their naked forms as his fists clenched. He wasn't a tall man at 5'6", but with 210 pounds of rippling tattood muscle, he looked like a man you didn't want to tangle with. Only his kind green eyes revealed that his defensiveness was driven by a different emotion than agression.

Don't worry Ismal - I don't need spell components or items to protect us; my power comes from within.

"That's it - I've had enough of this insanity. Someone's going to start talking, or I'm going to get VERY angry."

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-07, 11:33 AM
Raising his head, Sumner regards the raging bulky man with a glum gaze.
"Well, it seems time is the only thing we have right now. We may as well use it for talking. What do you want to know?"

2007-06-07, 11:33 AM
Draven looked at the boy, still angry, but more confused.

"If we were dead, we wouldn't have still been wounded, would we?"

I hope that death-shaman doesn't come along and eat my soul, otherwise I'm afraid I'll be trapped in his scruffy body for eternity...

2007-06-07, 11:35 AM
"Let's start with the basics. Who are you all, why did you come to the cauldron, and how do we get back?"

2007-06-07, 11:39 AM
You notice that the burns on Hern have stopped fading. He is still unconscious.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-07, 11:45 AM
Passing a hand across his own tattooed skull, Sumner reaches down and picks up a femur, absently.
"I, as you might have heard earlier, am Sumner Kesh, son of Daxthran Kesh. I came to the cauldron in search of allies; people I had met ten years before on a misson." He shakes his head, and turns the bone over in his hands. Sighing, the young boy puts the bone back down. "It did not end well. Zere's hopes were dashed, and he left us then to the streams of chaos. We were scattered, and the world changed."

"As for getting back," he continues, "I have no idea. We are in a different world, now. My goal," the youth says, shifting a little, "Is to find my sword. And some clothing."

He meets the man's green-eyed gaze. "Now. Who are you?"

2007-06-07, 12:25 PM
Khorik looks around with horror at the amazing bleakness of his surroundings. His eyes fall on Hern. Khorik walks over to him, balancing as best he can on the piled bones. He appears to lack all modesty concerning his naked state. Khorik quickly checks to see if Hern is breathing tries to understand the extent of his injuries.

"I'm all for introductions but we have a very badly hurt man over here. Do any of you have any skills in healing?"

2007-06-07, 12:26 PM
Draven shrugged slightly.

"The world changes. Nothing can stop that. My name is Draven Kheldravan. This is Ismal. We came to the cauldron in search of someone, someone who had long since been absent from Ralm. Perhaps you know Orin Stillwater?"

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-07, 12:27 PM
Sumner Kesh
The youth snorts.
"Which one?"

2007-06-07, 12:28 PM
Draven looked at the other tattooed man and then at the wounded man, suspiciously.

"I do. ...but isn't it his fault we're here?"

2007-06-07, 12:36 PM
Draven raised an eyebrow at Sumner.

"The one who went missing from Ralm ten yeas ago."

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-07, 12:40 PM
Sumner Kesh
The teenager nods. "Yes, I knew him. I was on that same mission." Looking over to the other naked warrior, Sumner calls. "Khorik! Is it your Hern, or the other?"

2007-06-07, 12:47 PM
"'knew'? As in past-tense? Is he dead or something?"

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-07, 12:51 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner shakes his head. "Does it really matter? I admire your courage, standing as you are naked on a carpet of human bones." He glances at the black and crimson sky above for emphasis. "But are there not more immediate concerns?"

Hmm... Sumner thinks. Only Milli's age has been changed this time, it seems.

2007-06-07, 01:06 PM
Draven shrugged.

"You said it yourself - we have nothing but time. Besides, where can we go? What can we do? We have nothing, literally. Even if we were to find a shop to buy clothes, food, and armor, we have no money."

Draven walked closer to the dying white-haired man, holding Ismal by the hand and keeping her close. The green mist surrounding them shifted slightly and changed to a healing white, surrounding Hern as well.

changing aura from energy shield to vigor, and extending to Hern for 1 round, healing 2 HP. Just enough to wake him up.

As the man's eyes began to flicker, Draven placed one of his feet on his neck, ready to kill him instantly if he tries anything. The white healing mist vanished from Hern, and shifted back to green again, still surrounding Draven and Ismal.

"Even if it is the wrong Hern, we can ask him how to get out of here before we kill him again."

2007-06-07, 03:23 PM
Edit: Double-post. Sorry

2007-06-07, 03:25 PM
Khorik looks up at Draven.

"He's badly burnt so it is not easy to tell but this is not the Demon Knight. These burns here and here are from acid. We fought a wyrm that vomited acid before we met up with you and he was burnt by it. The explosion was probably too much for his body to take."

Watching as Draven heals his old companion, Khorik continues speaking.

"My name is Khorik of the Nulliop family. I, like some others here, am a man out of time. Actually, another world if I understand it correctly. Magic, likely similar in power to the kind that brought us here, transported me and some of my companions, including Hern here. We were involved in some kind of power struggle between the archmages and a supposed heir to the Empire. It got messy, as things like this tend to. Needless to say, the pawns were the ones to suffer."

Khorik stands up, grateful to see Hern beginning to stir.

"Anyway, we're in a bad situation. Despite the unreal feel of this place, I am still capable of feeling pain. That probably means we can feel hunger and thirst, as well. We should make for the road and see what we can find. I'd prefer to go towards ocean than towards the mountains. Oceans, even red ones. may mean some kind of port town or other other sign of civilization. It's not much to go on but what do we really have?"

Khorik searches around the ground for a femur to use as a makeshift club.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-07, 03:40 PM
Sumner Kesh
Abandoning for the moment his grinning groin guard, Sumner sets the skull aside and stands. His jaw is set as he approaches the other warriors, moving carefully to avoid treading on pointy bones with his unprotected feet. "And what civilization will there be, in this land of human bones scattered on the plains, and oceans red as blood? Let us take a road, but let us not be too optomistic about what we may find."

2007-06-07, 04:09 PM

Ismal stands proudly beside Draven. While she is certainly worse for the wear after recent events, her long dark hair, pale skin and long, lean figure bely her years...whatever they might be. She makes no effort to cover her nakedness as she stands. Sharp teeth poke briefly out as she smiles grimly at Sumner's comment.

I think you're right, young man. I'm only accustomed to such excesses in decor in art. The reality of a plain covered with bones is somewhat more...discomfiting. And dusty.

It seems that all of us are pawns in this game, and I do not like the feeling.

She reaches down to select a long and strong-looking rib. Whether as a knife of sorts, or merely something to hold in this vast emptiness, it's hard to tell.

And, just so I'm clear...Khorik, you are from some other world, a sidestep from our own. And Sumner, you are from our world, in fact were on the same mission as Orin, but were displaced somehow. If you don't mind me asking, how long has it been for you since that first mission. Because unless you were a very precocious ten year old at the time...

2007-06-07, 04:14 PM
The temperature is surprisingly warm, considering you are naked. Unpleasantly warm, actually... the air seems stuffy and dense.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-07, 04:23 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner, too, reaches into the pile of bones, looking for an unbroken strain of vertebrae to use as a flexible club or a lash. He looks for another to loop around his waist, if possible.

"Ah, but Khorik and Hern were both with us." Sumner straightens up, fixing his gaze on the horizon instead of the nude beauty in front of him. "Ten years ago it was...but only a few weeks have passed for us." He shakes his head. "But would you listen to the ramblings of a dead man, no matter his age? You said your name was Milli, I think; You too have been youthened by death."

2007-06-07, 05:41 PM
Draven nodded at Khorik's explanation.

"True. Were he the other Hern, he'd have his guts hanging out, amongst other wounds. It looks like we're all stuck in this mess together, I guess."

switching to the vigor draconic aura again, this time for everyone, granting healing up to 50% of total hit points, 2hp at a time per round (fast healing)

The white healing mists now surrounded everyone. Draven took his foot off of Hern's neck before bending over to pick up a femur and a skull as a club and a shield, but made no effort to hide his nakedness. He looked at the beautiful Ismal by his side.

"Well, in any case, we'd best head to the road and try to find food and shelter. I can heal us to a certain extent, and even somewhat beyond that, but I cannot work miracles. Let's hope there's more to this world than bone."

2007-06-07, 08:22 PM
Hern groans, and stands, but slowly, as he is expecting a lot of pain, which mysteriously never rears its ugly head. Hern takes in his surroundings quickly head slowly turning from right to left. It isn't until he completes a full revolution that he notices everyone else's lack of clothing, and then his own.

"DAMN IT TO HELL!" he screams, reverting to his native Mokai tongue. He smashes his fist into a skull at his feet, sending shards of bone in all directions. His armor had become like a second skin to him, never leaving his person for more than a few hours, and even then, it was never more farther than a room away. And now it was gone, years of planning, work, memories, sweat, and blood, just gone, in his sleep.

He looks up at the others, eyes still filled with anger.

"Who healed me?"

In his anger, he forgets to use a more common tongue, and still speaks in Mokai.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-07, 08:27 PM
Sumner Kesh
Answering in halting Mokai, the youth answers,
"We did. Do you know where we are?"

2007-06-07, 08:37 PM
Draven's eyes narrowed at Hern's outburst.

That's gratitude for you...

"I healed you. ...but if you prefer being injured, I'm sure I can arrange it."

changing draconic aura to energy shield again, focusing on himself and Ismal.

2007-06-07, 09:33 PM
Hern shakes his head a bit, and some calm returns to his face.

"Then thank you. I can only hope I receive the chance to return the favor."

He turns and begins walking down the road.

"As to where we are? I have no idea, I don't intend to care until whomever has sent me here has suffered the full consequences of his mistake."

He doesn't seem to care if anyone follows him or not.

2007-06-07, 11:46 PM
"Hey, no sweat," Draven said with a shrug, heading towards the road himself.

As they walked, he looked at Khorik, remembering the fight with his double.

If these guys are our new allies, I hope he's tougher than the Khorik from our world.

2007-06-08, 01:53 AM

Agreed. Although, to be fair, it was six on three in that fight. And this one seems to have considerably more control than Thousand-Man-Killer did.

I'm a bit more concerned with that Mokai fellow, Hern. Even if he's not the, er, dead one, he seems to have the same explosive temper. Stick close, all right? Until we find our stuff, or replace it, I can't use most of my spells.

2007-06-08, 02:59 AM
Draven nodded slightly to Ismal, wrapping an arm around her as they walked.

Hey, you don't have to twist my arm.

switching draconic aura to senses, +2 on listen, spot and ini for all of us

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-08, 06:45 AM
Sumner Kesh
Holding his primeval weapon, Sumner trails behind the others, seemingly lost in thought.

2007-06-08, 07:21 AM
Khorik looks for some kind of acknowledgement from Hern, considering they are the last two from their original group. As the Mokai warrior walks off, Khorik looks to the others with a shrug.

"The Mokai...what can you do?" he says lamely. As they begin walking, he falls back next to Sumner. Khorik scans the horizon for any activity.

2007-06-08, 07:57 AM
You walk to the road. It's quite painful to walk over skeletons in bare feet, but you eventually reach the road. It appears to be made of some extremely dark stone, obsidian perhaps. It isn't comfortable to walk on, but at least it's flat.

2007-06-08, 11:19 PM

Ismal is content to let Draven describe himself as he wishes. Taken for a moment with the irony of him chatting with a man he killed yesterday, she focuses in on the young man from Davethra. Since nothing was getting in the way, she took a moment to examine his tattoos.

Learning what she could from them of his family and place within society. (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1093103)

Not breaking her gaze at the young warrior, Ismal speaks simply. How long has it been for you since you have seen the cities of home?

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-08, 11:31 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner looks up towards the horizon, acutely aware of Ismal's gaze.
"Home? Home was Zardis. Home was sixty years ago. I've walked the world for over fifty years now, But I lived perhaps fifteen of them." His eyes take on a faraway look, and for a moment he looks far older.

2007-06-08, 11:37 PM

Sixty years ago? So you...you saw the Empire. In the final flush of its glory. You saw Zardis.

She holds a hand to her mouth, containing a deep wound.

What...was it like?

2007-06-08, 11:38 PM
Kaleff Nefud

Where are you, Imshaeroth? Lying on his back, the Zhan stares at the alien sky, waiting. This isn't what happens when you die. Imshaeroth, where are you? Guide us to our reward. Confused, the man remains silently lying atop the jumble of bones, the murmur of voices seeming distant and detached from his existence. Only the crunch of feet on bone stirs him from his reviere. Seeing the others departing, he seems content to watch them, his hand reflexively going to his throat a panic overcomes him and his fingers close on empty air. Feet shifting unsteadily on bone, the Zhan shuffels into a jog after the others. "Hern, Hern, what is this place? This isn't Imshaeroth's realm." Voice more desperate than he would have liked, bone fragments skitter as Kaleff's feet stutter to a walk even with Hern and Khoric.

2007-06-08, 11:40 PM
Draven gave Sumner a confused look.

"You're dead? Yet you walk... what fell magic is this?"

2007-06-08, 11:52 PM

I think he's talking about some of this travelling through time. It could be that he's simply been displaced forward. Although...I suppose he could have died and been resurrected. He doesn't look like a zombie, anyway.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-08, 11:56 PM
The youth shakes his head, lost once more in memory.
"Glorious, for an oath-sworn of the last Zere. The hall of blades, the still academy...Glorious." Something like a smile appears on Sumner's face as he walks on through the hellish landscape.
"But then...it ended. Gothul fell. Zardis fell. Zere fell. Dubter fell. That," he says, looking over at the green-eyed man "was my life. It ended with them."

Sumner turns his head abruptly, and notes the Zhan's presence with a slight narrowing of the eyes.

2007-06-09, 12:32 AM
"I told you, I don't know where we are. Why would I?"

2007-06-09, 06:48 AM
You walk on down the road, for several hours. The light doesn't seem to change at all. Neither does the plain of bones. You've noticed however, that while it is mostly human bones, there are bones of other roughly humanoid creatures, but with horns, tails, wings, some larger than men, some smaller.
You see a small hut about half a mile away at the side of the road.

2007-06-09, 10:01 AM
Khorik notices the hut and points in its direction.

"Well...there's something. Might not be a good thing, but it's something."

Khorik's pace increases, despite the discomfort of the hard, black rock under his feet.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-09, 10:50 AM
as he walks, Sumner looks for loose flakes or shards of the black stone and begins wedging them between the joints of the vertebrae on one end, adding flint-like spikes to the makeshift weapon. He nods in agreement with Khorik, and matches his pace.

2007-06-09, 11:03 AM
Draven will look for a larger skull to use as a shield - preferably something with big nasty looking horns.

2007-06-09, 11:45 AM

Ismal is also happy to move towards the hut - change is hope, after all.

The "last" Zere. So I take it you feel no loyalty to his son, the pretender?

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-09, 12:04 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner shakes his head.
"I met Azakan Zere, once. Had he accepted my service..."
His eyes harden as he continues across the hard stone road.
The tall youth lets the sentence hang in the air, unfinished.
"Ravan is no emperor."

2007-06-09, 12:40 PM

The Davethran glances forward at Draven.

This is no callow youth, Draven, whatever his looks. I hope he can be made an ally. And...we've already seen what that Hern can do.

She nods slightly at Sumner's words.

I believe...we agree on something. Ravan is a dog, snapping at the heels of his betters in the hopes of tripping them up.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-09, 01:18 PM
Sumner Kesh
The tattooed warrior loops the vertebrae column around his own waist in a crude belt. It doesn't look very stable there. Sumner glances at the naked Ismal.
"Sometime soon, you'll need to tell me why an insignificant one such as myself is worthy of so much curiosity. Curiosity enough to warrant disguise, and such curiosity that endures even here."
Apparently expecting the worst from the cottage up ahead, Sumner shifts in a series of fluid movements apparently meant to limber the muscles in his arms and chest, heedless of the strain placed upon the angry-looking blisters and burns across his tattooed skin.

2007-06-09, 03:34 PM

The older woman smiles a bit. Mature, but still a boy.

You need to decide whether you are insignificant or not, Sumner. You were not the reason for my disguise back at the tavern. As for my interest in you now...well, you are a time traveller from an era my parents have spoken of with a certain reverance. I am more than curious.

Besides, the six of us are, for all we know, stranded for an indefinite time in an extraplanar wasteland. It seemed sensible to get to know those that Draven and I are with.

Have I offended in some way?

She glances down at her long, slender form, and over at Sumner. Not actually flirting - just curious.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-09, 07:20 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner tilts his head to one side, as a particular section of bones along the side of the road catches his eye. Stopping, he squats down and rummages down a little, dislodging a horned skull and a few odd femurs. He comes up holding what looks like a gigantic spinal column, easily fifteen feet in total length. It narrows down considerably at one end, and it is this end that the young warrior regard with particular grim interest.
"Demon bones. I once saw a wizard summon demons that had long arching scorpion tails. This is one." He seems to be turning this information over in his mind. "I cannot decide if that is a hopeful or an ominous sign."
Rising from the pile, he addresses the slim noble once more, something like a smile on his face
"Believe me, my lady, You'd find yourself hard-pressed to offend me with words; You may be taking me too seriously."

2007-06-09, 08:23 PM

Her smile broadens.

That, sir, has always been my failing.

She glances over at the long tail and murmurs.

Scorpions don't have bones.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-09, 08:46 PM
The youth sighs. "Believe or disbelieve as you will; I think the proof will be soon in coming."
Sumner strides on, nude and gloomy, the ossified belt hanging loosely about his hips.

2007-06-09, 11:28 PM
Hern ignores the others' conversations, and stubbornly stays at the front of the group. He doesn't bother examining any of the bones, nor does he pick any up any to defend himself with, knowing that he would be better off with his own hands. Years ago, he had made sure that he was able defend himself in all situations, even while unarmed.

In the back of his mind, he was recalling the construction of his old armor, so he would be ready to make himself a new suit when the opportunity. He also had a few new ideas, ways to make it even more imposing and terrifying. First and foremost of the things people remembered about heroes was their image; something that was hard to uphold in the nude.

2007-06-10, 07:05 AM
You walk on towards the hut. As you get nearer, several armed humans run out. You're not close enough to see their faces yet, but they're spread across the road in fighting stances.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-10, 08:22 AM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner crosses his arms and stares at the armed men filtering out of the hut. He makes no motion for the bones at his belt, however.

2007-06-10, 11:45 AM

Ismal stops, drops her rib bone, and spreads her hands to her sides. The Davethran's voice is low and harsh, pitched to reach her companions only.

We are not really prepared for a full battle. Anyone capable of surviving in this kind of environment is unlikely to be affected by the simple spells I have at my disposal. May I suggest a parlay?

2007-06-10, 02:23 PM
Draven also spoke in a low voice, the bones in his hands still gripped tightly, but calmly at his sides.

"Agreed. Let's approach calmly and see if we can communicate peacefully. If not, I'll make sure that any of them who attacks us suffers for it."

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-10, 08:12 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner's fists clench.
"That may not work. These are the barbarians of the north, the Kumari. They hate any who are not of their kind, especially Davethrans. They are also...inventive when it comes to treatment of prisoners."

2007-06-10, 08:27 PM

She pauses to consider, and stops moving forward.

These men are living in, as far as we can tell, hell. Do we really think nationality is going to be their major consideration?

Well, if need be, we can try to take one out. I might be able to convert one of them to our side in the process, though.

And get your mind out of the gutter, saucy man.

She smiles.

2007-06-10, 09:11 PM
Khorik moves slowly, getting comfortable with the weight of his makeshift bone club. Despite the grim setting, he has a slight grin on his face.

"Wouldn't it be funny to be blown away to whatever plane or world we're on...and then to be killed by some random ruffians. I'm all for talking. If I'm going to die naked, I'd prefer different circumstances."

The large warrior moves near Sumner, ready to follow his lead.

2007-06-10, 10:28 PM
Draven gripped his bone weapon and shield in anticipation of a battle.

"Don't look so worried - for each blow they land on us, they will be scalded by acid - even without armor or spell components, my power is a force to be reckoned with."

I'm afraid my mind is elsewhere occupied at the moment my dear. ...but the sight of you as the gods intended is always welcome to my eyes.

2007-06-10, 10:52 PM

And you as well. "My power is a force to be reckoned with." I'll say.

Her voice is cold and dispassionate as she evaluates their potential opponents.

If we can get a lot closer, I can try to control one of them. Or, if you're intent on violence, I can reach them with some spells from here, and force them to come to us.

2007-06-10, 10:56 PM
Draven blushed ever so slightly before speaking.

"That's not a bad idea. I can target one from a distance as well, but perhaps it would be best to attempt a parlay before we jump into a fight. There could be more of them, and they could just be frightened of us and worried we'll attack them."

2007-06-10, 11:13 PM
Kaleff Nefud

Hesitating a moment after Hern's gruff response, Kaleff seems to see the environment for the first time. Calling up his arcane powers, he is about to cast a spell as the alien looking men come into view. Cutting his motions short, Kaleff's posture straightens and he takes on an aire of confidence, drifting out and to the rear, putting himself in a flanking position.

2007-06-11, 04:02 AM
You stride closer, and can now see that the men wear jerkins of some pale leather, and are armed with a collection of savage looking weapons. All 5 of them have beards, and they're quite stocky and hairy.
One speaks to you, in a joking sort of voice, and the others laugh.
They wait, as if expecting some sort of answer. A couple give the dark-skinned Hern and red-eyed Kaleff odd looks. They all ogle Ismal.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-11, 09:46 AM
Sumner Kesh
"I'm inclined to kill them," he says, from the corner of his mouth. His gray eyes blaze, although it's difficult to tell if from excitement or hatred.

2007-06-11, 09:50 AM
Khorik steps forward from his group, doing his best to appear menacing without being outright hostile. Despite his lack of clothing or proper weapon, he attempts to look confident.

"Do you understand me? We are in need of help and would appreciate any aid you could give us."

Khorik speaks calmly, yet his grip on his bone club is tight and his body language shows he is ready for action.

2007-06-11, 09:56 AM
"I wonder what you could possibly be laughing at." Hern shrugs. "May as well try to find some common ground, language-wise."

"I suppose Mokai is out of the question. Davethran would be ideal, since we all know it. The only other languages I know are Draconic and Darven, but I haven't used them in years."

With each statement, we uses the dialect he's speaking of, and watches closely for any recognition by the kumari men.

2007-06-11, 10:05 AM
The men look at Hern blankly, but when he speaks in Draconic, a couple of them perk up. The tallest one gestures to a shorter, balding one, who steps forward and speaks slowly in bad, halting Draconic, which luckily you all understand, even with his atrocious accent.

You say Dragon speak?

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-11, 11:17 AM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner lifts his eyebrows and replies in draconic.
"We do. Who are you, and can you tell us where we are?"

2007-06-11, 11:20 AM
He peers at Sumner, evidently not entirely understanding what he said.
He points at Ismal. You leave lady, go away, if not we kill you very much. He waves his rather brutal-looking axe enthusiastically. The others raise their weapons threateningly.

2007-06-11, 11:57 AM
Draven chuckled lightly at the mention of leaving Ismal, wisps of acidic mist escaping his mouth as he spoke.

"You fools. We speak the language of dragons. I can call upon their power. We don't need clothing or weapons or armor to destroy you. You will tell us what we want to know, or I will show you that power in full force."

intimidate[roll0], readying action - breath weapon on the biggest toughest looking one.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-11, 12:03 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner shakes his head.
"Ismal, that magic you spoke of...I think you should use it now, before they charge. And they will charge. Be ready, everyone." Sumner adjusts his stance, preparing himself for the clash, spreading his hands empty hands wide.

(OOC: Full defensive stance. AC 17)

2007-06-11, 01:10 PM
The man looks scared, and turns his head slightly to say something to the biggest man. The man chuckles, as do his followers, and gestures at Draven with his huge sword. It's an odd design, as are all the other blades they carry, perfectly straight rather than having the slight curve that you find on Davethran blades.
The short man turns back to Draven.
You lie, you just die so no clothes. We have weapons, we strong, we they-who-dwell-in-ice-mountains. You are they-who-slave-to-Gothul. We kill you, take woman. If you live, you give woman.

2007-06-11, 01:16 PM
Draven shrugged nonchalantly.

"Don't say I didn't warn him."

Line of Acid on the big dude, [roll0] reflex DC17 for half - [roll1] rounds until Draven can use it again.

2007-06-11, 01:24 PM
Draven vomits forward a line of viscous acid at the leader. He screams as the acid burns into his skin.

2007-06-11, 05:59 PM

Thanks for wanting to keep me around.

Cued by Draven's intake of breath, Ismal tenses and starts casting a spell, directed at the biggest man who hasn't just had acid spit on him.

Casting Charm Person (DC 16 will save).

If the save is made, she will simply retreat 30'.

If the save is unsuccessful, she will wave and immediately send a telepathic message to the man she's charmed:

Hello! I'm so happy to have met such a virile and bearded man - not like these little ones with me. But I don't want to be shared with your friends. If they were knocked out, the two of us could have SUCH fun together.

2007-06-11, 07:14 PM
Hern winces a bit in sympathy for the Kumari man, having suffered similar burns not long ago. Then he puts one foot behind him, and flexes his arms, and smiles wickedly at the rest of them, inviting a challenge.

2007-06-11, 10:54 PM
Khorik surges forward at the first signs of hostilities, his unbalanced bone club raised high. With the cool and dispassionate bearing of a professional, Khorik attempts to fell the closest opponent before he can respond.

2007-06-12, 10:21 AM
A thick-bodied, yellow-haired man is the first to react, charging Draven and smashing into the warrior's belly with his giant club.

This however, leads the leader undefended, and Khorik runs at him, cracking the Kumari's head open with a mighty swing of the demonic femur he holds. The man slumps dead on the floor.
Seeing his leader dead, the short man who was translating swings his axe, slashing into Khorik's unprotected back.

2007-06-13, 02:58 AM
Kaleff mutters and touches Hern, an invisible force appearing around the dark-skinned warrior.

With his large spear, one man attacks Khorik, but he dodges nimbly to the side.
Next, the man with the longsword, held in both hands, slashes at Hern, drawing blood but not seriously injuring him.

Ismal casts some spell, looking at the man with the spear attacking Khorik. He blinks, and pauses in shock as he hears her telepathic message. Whether the charm has worked is impossible to tell immediately.

2007-06-13, 09:52 AM
Moving a mere five feet, Sumner closes with the man holding the giant club. Crouching down, the youth leans back and kicks out a tattooed leg, sweeping it sideways into the back of the blonde man's knees, but the man stays upright.
Using the pushoff for momentum, Sumner springs back to his feet, the demon vertebrae now in his hands as if by magic. He lashes out with the bones, but the man neatly side-steps. Sumner whips the bone around again, connecting with the man's arm.

2007-06-13, 08:35 PM

Ismal's voice appears in Khorik and Draven's minds.

The spear-holder, attacking Khorik may now be friendly to us. I'll let you know as soon as I can.

2007-06-14, 08:50 AM
Hern jumps on the man with the longsword, grabbing his arms so he can't move.
The short man with the axe slashes at Khorik once again, drawing blood but not seriously injuring him.
The man with the huge club whips it around and smashes it with phenomenal strength into Sumner's chest, with a solid crunch as bones break.

2007-06-14, 08:23 PM
Draven's drops the bones he was holding and tries to grab the huge club, but the man swings it away, around, and smashes it into Draven's chest. He yelps as acidic mist burns him.
The man with the spear yells something you don't understand, and stabs the man with the maul in the back, impaling him. The man splutters blood, and then collapses, sliding off the spear into the ground.
The man with sword wriggles free of Hern's grasp.

2007-06-15, 06:32 AM
Khorik attacks the man with the axe twice, but he sidesteps the first attack and the second bounces off the metal studs on his leather jerkin.
Ismal mutters, waves her hands, and 4 bolts of energy slam into the man with the axe, sending him staggering back. The rest of you hear a telepathic message in your head:
The spear-man thinks he gets me afterwards. Kill him last.
Still wheezing from the blow to his ribs, Sumner wipes a trickle of blood from his mouth. The rough texture of the club and the forcefulness of the blow were not kind to the blisters and bruises and burns the youth had already sustained.
Far from fazing him, however, Sumner's eyes burn with an unnerving gleam as he reaches down and recovers the gigantic club from the ground, hefting its weight with almost a smile on his face.
His expression slips a little as the mental message enters his skull, but then his eyes narrow.
Still silent, Sumner steps forward and drives the club as hard as he can at the spearman's head. Ducking and weaving, the blow hits the man's shoulder, but still leaves his with blood spurting out of his shoulder, with bits of bone sticking out.

2007-06-15, 09:11 AM
Hern smashes the sword-wielding man in the face, then jabs him sharply with his elbow.
There are only 3 enemies left, the axeman who has been badly wounded by Ismal's magic, the spear wielding man whose shoulder was smashed by Sumner, and the swordsman who has taken only a couple of punches.

2007-06-16, 08:39 AM
The axeman swings at Khorik, but once again he only does a light flesh wound. He yelps as a spray of acid splashes him.
Khorik swings his bone weapon at the man with incredible strength, but he ducks both attacks.
The tall man with the spear jabs it through Sumner's left shoulder, and the young man screams in pain. With his crushed rips, burn scars, and now pierced shoulder, it's a wonder he's still standing.
The swordsman stabs at Hern's belly, but the dark-skinned warrior manages to step back a bit so the blow is not too serious.
Ismal screams some arcane syllables, and bolts of magical power shoot out from her outstretched hand and smash into the spearman, throwing him backwards, ripping his weapon out of Sumner. The Kumari's bruised and battered body collapses on the ground, very dead.

2007-06-16, 07:27 PM
Draven grabs the translator's arm, and wrestles the axe from his grip, so he is now holding it.

2007-06-17, 12:49 PM
(in Draconic)

"I told you we were powerful, fool! Give up now and we might let you live!"

2007-06-17, 02:20 PM
"Or at least die a bit more peacefully!"

2007-06-17, 03:06 PM
Biting back another cry of pain, Sumner clasps a hand over the bloody wound in his shoulder for just a moment, but then straightens up. It's hard to say what drives the boy back to battle, his crimson blood as bright as the fresh-looking tattoos that over his arms and legs.
As he raises the club, blood pumps from his shoulder as he forces through the pain and kicks his legs into a full-tilt charge at the longsword-wielding Kumari, abandoning caution as he leaps forward and drives the gigantic club just below the barbarian's rib cage, caving in a huge bloody bruise. But the man keeps standing, operating on sheer rage.

2007-06-17, 04:45 PM
Hern grabs the swordsman, and the translator, devoid of a weapon, pegs it down the road towards the sea. Sumner spins around and crashes his huge club into the man's head, smashing out his brains. The headless corpse flies backwards onto the ground.
The swordsman drops his sword and starts screaming something, which none of you understand. He stops struggling against Hern's armlock.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-17, 10:22 PM
Sumner Kesh
As the Kumari tumbles to the ground headless, Sumner lets the gory club droop to the ground, and then leans heavily against it. Whatever cocktail of adrenaline had kept him fighting has now run its course. His naked chest heaves as he takes labored breaths, Wincing with each one. The youth sinks to his knees, and clamps his hand back over the gouge clear through his shoulder, gasping as he applies pressure to his own broken ribs.

Blood runs in crimson streams down his chest and back, and several blisters on his skin have been scraped open and raw by the club which he still grasps in one hand.

He makes no reply to Khorik's inquiry.

2007-06-17, 11:23 PM
Khorik picks up the greatsword that the leader was wielding, glad to have his hands on a proper weapon again. He quickly surveys his surroundings, making sure there is no other sign of danger.

"Is everyone alright?" he says, seeing some of his companions in a bloodier state than they were a few moments before.

Khorik flips over the body of the man he killed, checking to see what other belongings he had.

"These men were not the help I was looking for, but they have solved our clothing and weapon problem, I suppose."

Khorik searches the man efficiently and with little emotion, displaying some experience with this kind of thing.

2007-06-18, 02:42 AM
Draven nodded the OK to Ismal beckoning for her to rejoin the group, and the acidic green mist surrounding everyone vanished, replaced by a healing white mist. He turned to Sumner.

"You're tough, and a helluva warrior - but you nearly got yourself killed back there. Next time you're that badly wounded, fall back with Ismal and let me take the punnishment - I'll gladly heal you after battle, but doing so in the thick of it is wasteful and dangerous. I can only heal you - I can't bring you back from the dead."

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-18, 08:04 AM
Sumner Kesh
With effort, Sumner lifts his head and meets Draven's gaze.
"Yes," he says, with a damp cough. "I owe you an apology, I think; That," he gestures weakly with a tilt of the club, "lacked...discipline. Under better circumstances," another cough, "You'll find me more cool-headed."
The youth lets his head droop again, but he freezes stock still as his gaze falls on his own arm. Even as he watches, a patch of burned and blistered skin begins to close up and heal. He lifts his head once more to look at Draven, with astonishment in his eyes, this time.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-18, 09:22 AM
But then he shakes his head.
"Let that pass, for now. We're not quite done here." Sumner winces and draws himself to his feet once more. The worst of the bleeding has already stopped.
The youth hoists the grim club once more and begins walking slowly and purposefully towards the held swordsman, a grim look on his face.

2007-06-18, 09:25 AM
The man looks pretty terrified, and is saying something in his unknown language, presumably Kumari. He isn't struggling against Hern's hold.

2007-06-18, 11:14 AM
Draven walked over to the terified man.

"If we let him go, he'll just bring others after us." He frowned. "But killing him after he surrendered would be a terrible thing to do. I say we strip him down, tie him up, hands and neck, and bring him with as our prisoner." He shrugged. "Too bad the one who spoke Draconic didn't do the same."

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-18, 11:21 AM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner halts his advance for a moment.
"And then what? Suppose we take him along, gagged and bound; he will be only a burden on us, and worse, a treacherous burden. We cannot communicate, so he cannot even provide information. And if we bring him? I don't know where we'll end up, but in this landscape, I would guess it's no place to bring a helpless man." Sumner straightens up fully, and glances at Draven. "If you'll lend me that axe, I can at least do him the mercy of making it quick and painless. It's more than he would grant us, were our positions reversed." He shrugs. "If not, then I'll use the club. Or the spear. We do him no mercy by taking him prisoner."

2007-06-18, 12:19 PM
Draven bristled. "Then we heal him and let him go. There's no honor in killing a helpless pathetic wretch like this. Perhaps we leave him tied up to a large skull or two - that'll buy us enough time to get away, and if no-one comes to free him, he'll be able to drag his raggedy ass back to wherever he lives, albeit very slowly becasue of the weight of the skull. We won't have dishonorable blood on our hands, we'll have had plenty of time to get away, we'll still have all their things, and we won't have the burden of dragging him along."

Draven tossed the axe on the ground.

"You can take this piece of junk either way, I've never been any good with one - I need a mace or a club to be effective." He picked his shield-skull back up and walked over to the dead man with the spear picking it up with shrug. "This might do, I guess... though it's awfully flimsy."

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-18, 01:21 PM
Sumner Kesh
The youth rolls his shoulders, checking the pain in his ribs and chest, now slowly receding.
"I believe I know something of honor," Sumner says, mildly. "and if you think he has a chance in this world alone and with nothing but bones, then so be it. If you can find some rope, then bind him." Sumner tosses the club to the ground.
"This weapon may be more to your liking; I prefer to fight with an edge." Sumner stoops and gathers up the axe.
"Now. I'm going to search for some clothes. Do with the prisoner whatever your Ne'sha demands."
So saying, Sumner swivels and strides towards the shack, searching inside for clothing or anything else of interest.

2007-06-18, 02:03 PM
The stout yet handsome warrior picked up the club with a grin.

"I believe it'll do, thanks. Let me know if you spot any rope in that hutt, or anything else of interest." He scratched the stubble growing on his face and balding head. "Ismal, do you have the ability to make this man sleep for a period of time?"

2007-06-18, 02:22 PM
"There are more simple ways to do that than magic. Observe."

Hern wraps his arm around the man's throat, choking him until he stops struggling, then releases him, not bothering to let him down softly.

"Thirty seconds unconscious, sixty seconds dead."

2007-06-18, 02:23 PM
The man struggles, but for some reason he appears to have lost all his strength.
He slumps to the ground, his face blue and his tongue protruding.

You hear the sound of soft laughter.

2007-06-18, 02:35 PM
Draven, upon hearing the sound of laughter raises the club and pops his neck by moving his head from side-to-side. He moves closer to Ismal, protectively. "Great. Just what we need - more trouble."

2007-06-18, 02:50 PM
Hern bends slowly to pick up the fallen longsword, and swing it a bit to test it's weight.

"So? You just going to sit there and laugh, or state your business? I recommend the latter, if only because I just hate not getting the joke."

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-18, 02:52 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner halts at the threshhold of the hut, and turns, axe gripped lightly in his hands as he scans the ossified landscape, searching for the source of the sound.

2007-06-18, 03:14 PM
It appears to be coming from all around you... then it ceases.

A voice, cruel as murder, speaks from the air.
"How you mortals amuse me. Killing people for the clothes on their back? Haven't seen that for a while. You don't look like Kumari, you look Davethran. Has no-one told you, foolish mortals, Gothul is dead. The God-Emperor of the Kumari killed him. Unless you are followers of the Primeval One, the First of our Fathers?"

2007-06-18, 04:15 PM
Draven looked around uneasily.

"We killed them because they attacked us, not because we wanted their clothes. I am no follower of the dead-god, nor am I Davethran. I am of the Dragon Clans - I worship their power, and the grace of the goddess Cilnara. Who are you? Why are we here? What do you want from us?"

2007-06-18, 04:25 PM
Fool! The voice shouts with the rage of a volcano, and the very road you stand on shakes. What are you talking about? You think your lies will trick me? You are obviously Davethran, you are the right colour, and you have the tattoos of a warrior.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-18, 04:29 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner rests his hands on the haft of the axe.
"He is dragon clan," he remarks lightly, "His tattoos are wrong."

2007-06-18, 04:33 PM
Don't taunt me, mortal, for I am more powerful than you can imagine!

2007-06-18, 04:38 PM
Draven rolled his eyes, and shot Sumner a glance.

"No, my tattoos are RIGHT, right for the Dragon-Clans. Very different from the Davethran's as you can see. Mine help me channel the power of the Dragons. Anyhow, if you're so powerful, you're probably smarte enough to have figured that out already anyways. What is it you want?"

2007-06-18, 04:43 PM
I want to know what you are doing in my realm. The voice speaks slower, quieter... more snake-like, smarmy.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-18, 04:45 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner tilts his head to one side.
"A good question. We could better answer it if we knew where your realm is."

2007-06-18, 04:49 PM
"Well, my guess is that some magic attached to my twin sent us here upon his death, perhaps in the hopes that this harsh environment and our lack of, well, everything, would be our end. A rather effective tactic, especially since its activation seems to have revolved around a giant explosion of fire.

"Of course, if you'd rather us not be here, I'm sure noone would mind if you sent us back."

2007-06-18, 05:02 PM
So, you were sent here by a fiery explosion? The voice laughs again, a truly evil sound. This is Goramesh, the realm of demons. Obviously you worshipped demons, or sold your souls, or worshipped the cast-out Gods, though I doubt that as you are not Kumari. The fire killed you and sent your souls here. You are currently in the realm of Malkediz, greatest of the rulers of Goramesh.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-18, 05:12 PM
Sumner Kesh
"So. What happens now? We are here, but we would leave. I worshipped no demons, and Gothul is dead; We strayed too close to one of Bazaal's who ended himself."

2007-06-18, 05:40 PM
Khorik looks up from his attempts to remove the dead man's clothes upon hearing the voice. He listens, once again moving into a defensive stance with his straight greatsword.

"Wait...but that doesn't make sense. We showed up here with wounds from before the explosion. I'm not...um...spiritual or anything but why would my soul have a bruise from getting hit by a table?"

Khorik's eyes seem to be a deep crimson as they glance around looking for a source for the voice.

2007-06-18, 06:17 PM
Hmmm... sounds like you were cursed by a powerful follower of Bazal, and his deathfire sucked your souls into Goramesh. You can't go back, you're dead. It is impossible for dead souls to return from Goramesh.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-18, 06:25 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner weighs the voice's words, carefully.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-18, 06:42 PM
Finally, he speaks.
"Where do those who die here go?"

2007-06-18, 07:29 PM
Draven laughed.

"Dead? I've survived much worse than that. I was bathed in the blood of a Red dragon when I was a child - I'm more resistant to fire than others. No, these burns were minor. I don't think we're dead - I think we were transported here somehow. I hear tales of powerful wizards that summon demons through vile magics... if they can be summoned from this place, so can we."

2007-06-19, 05:38 AM
Those who die here sleep until the Day of Evil's Awakening, when they arise and fight once more.
The voice chuckles mockingly. It seems you still hold some hope of leaving this place. When you have given up this false hope, come to my city, at the end of this road, by the sea, and serve me.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-19, 06:31 AM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner shakes his head, making no reply.

2007-06-19, 08:26 AM
Khorik shakes his head as well.

"I don't believe it. We're being manipulated into making a deal based on lies."

Khorik continues removing the leader's belongings, checking to see what fits as he goes.

"We might as well check out this city, though. We'll need food and water soon and it might be our best bet. Unless you found something in the hut?"

Khorik looks at his new sword with skepticism.

"I need to get back to where we came from. The blade and armor of my family lies under a pile of debris, waiting for any vagabond to claim them. This is the second time in a very short time that some foul magic has taken me from my responsibilites."

2007-06-19, 08:43 AM
You search the bodies of the men, and the hut. Each man wears a leather jerkin studded with metal strips, to strengthen its protection. There is the huge sword that Khorik has picked up, the huge wooden club that Draven holds, and the battleaxe Sumner wields. On the floor lie a longsword and spear. The men also wear shirts and trousers, however, there are only 5 of them, so unless you do some cutting and tailoring, one of you will continue to be naked.
Searching inside the hut, you find some money, 17 iron coins stamped with the head of a horned and bearded devil, marked "Malkediz, Aszeran", and 15 iron coins stamped with a crowned helmet, marked "Anarazel, Varesh, Cadralan".

2007-06-19, 04:09 PM
Hern already took the longsword, by the way.

At the voices last statement, Hern frowns. I serve no man or being but myself.

"Why would we stay here? There is nothing to aid us here. I go to the city, but not to serve that thing."

He takes a suit of armor for himself, and begins walking down the path.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-19, 04:30 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner's jaw clenches as Khorik mentions his ancestral blade. The youth dons a set of not too bloody studded leather armor, adjusting the straps and laces to fit his tall frame better. He seems a bit more at ease with something on his body besides sweat and blood, even if the cut of the armor is less than modest for a man otherwise nude. Frowning, he dons a set of trousers and picks up a few of the coins, examining them.
"Hmm..." he says. "Barbarian coins. These ones come from the kingdom of the North, where the Kumai have their lands. These others..." He turns them over and shakes his head. "I don't recognize. But Bazaal's lands..." He looks around at the bones and stone and angry red sky. "Yes. I think we are there."
He straightens up, and picks up the battleaxe
"But this is not where I should be. I'll not accept this as my fate, not when there's yet a man I could call Emperor in the world."
The boy hefts his axe and slips a few of the coins into his pocket. Unlike Hern, however, he seems to be waiting for the others to take what they want.

2007-06-19, 09:59 PM
Khorik dons the trousers and leather jerkin of the leader, doing his best to ignore the specks of blood from their former owner's crushed skull. He throws aside the leader's shirt.

"Maybe if we wear the armor without shirts, we can fashion the extra shirts into some kind of makeshift loincloth for the one going without."

2007-06-20, 07:28 PM

Taking his time searching the nearest body for a small blade, Kaleff slips on a pair of trousers and suit of leather armor, not attempting to wipe any of the gore from it.

Stopping his progress and looking upwards as the demonic voice addresses them, Kaleff responds, "I serve no demon, but the true master of death. It was I who slew your vassal, delivering him to my lord, Imshaeroth. You cannot hold me in your false death, only the Watcher may collect my soul. As far as hope, I have none. My fate is sealed, and my time will come when the Grey One has ordained comes to pass. I will gladly stand before you, but not to serve."

Picking up any remaining weapon, or dagger should he have found one, Kaleff will head down the trail, abreast of Hern.

2007-06-20, 10:56 PM

The Davethran sorcerer had been uncharacteristically quiet in the aftermath of battle, and the conversation with the unseen voice. Draven's fiery manner and stout presence were significant comforts in these uncertain times.

Well done, Draven. You spoke strongly and well, although I have to admit, I am not so very optimistic about our ability to free ourselves from this place. Perhaps in time, as our powers grow...

In the hut, she claims the smallest of the sets of shirts and trousers, since Hern seems content to continue naked. If no one else wants the spear, she will take it, along with the leftover iron coins. She does, however, scrounge among the scant furnishings of the hut for anything she might be able to use to complete her spells.

Search +3 to find anything to use as spell components. Specifically, she's looking for sticky substances, bits of fuzz that might substitute for a pinch of wool, and any roots and herbs. Assuming that there are no foods there.

As well, she will cast mending to get a reasonably whole suit of clothes for herself, and for Draven if he chooses to wear some.

Heading down the road with the others, she is lost in thought for a while before she speaks.

The language barrier we faced may not need to be a concern. I should be able to speak with other people we meet, given an opportunity.

Hitching up her makeshift outfit, she sighs and thinks of the elegant clothes in her closet. Ah well. If this is indeed the beginning of a potential lifetime in hell, this was certainly an appropriate start.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-21, 01:03 PM
Sumner Kesh
the youth grunts at Ismal's comment. "That will be useful indeed." He walks on in silence for a moment. "I would ask; what brought a dragon-man and a noble of Old Davethra to Halgarth in search of Orin Stillwater?"

2007-06-22, 08:42 AM

Ismal smiles as she considers the question.

While much has changed in the Empire, I suspect that more is still familiar. What has always motivated such activity? Politics and commerce. There are people in Ralm interested in having Orin return. I have known the Stillwaters only slightly, and bear them no ill will otherwise.

I'll turn the question around and ask - what is your connection with the Stillwater scion? Is it my understanding that you have actually met him? What's he like?

2007-06-22, 08:50 AM
Having looted everything you want from the Kumari and their hut, you continue down the obsidian road towards the coast. It looks like it'll take about a day of walking to get there, though it is hard to judge the distance, as things far away seem to waver as if seen through a haze of heat.

2007-06-22, 09:42 AM
"You mean Orin? Me and Khorik traveled with him for a while, and I don't remember him doing anything worthy of such curiosity, unless you count his numerous monologues. He's just a bard."

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-22, 10:01 AM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner thinks about the question.
"In person? I did not know him long enough to know his character, but I would say that he was...conflicted. He was growing to like the adventuring life, I think, but he questioned his own courage and motives constantly. And he liked to talk." The youth looks at the axe he carries.
"You search for him because of the ritual, do you not?"

2007-06-22, 12:15 PM
Draven glanced at Ismal, raising an eyebrow before looking back at Sumner.

"What ritual? We were told that he was desperately needed back in Ralm because he was the heir to a hereditary title of archmage and that there was none else to fill it."

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-22, 12:21 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner laughs. "Yes. And didn't that seem odd to you? That anyone in Old Davethra would search out someone else to fulfill the role of an archmage? If that were all, then some regent would be appointed by whichever archmage could set up a puppet the fastest. No, Stillwater was needed for a ritual." Sumner runs a hand across his tattooed and shaven skull.
"It is a ritual, from what I have been told, for the summoning of an army of demons into the world. I think they meant to end with one swift strike the civil war and the power struggle. However," he continues, "I remember well the days of Gothul; I fight to restore the empire without the foul taint of his kind. Orin, however, was more motivated by an unwillingness to participate in the ritual. I think he might also yet fear the wrath of Ralm's Archmage."

2007-06-22, 12:28 PM
Draven sighed. "It figures, I suppose. I thought that guy was slimy. ...demons you say? You dont' happen to know which demons do you? Because if we could find them and just hang out with them until they find Orin, that could be our ticket home."

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-22, 12:34 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner gazes hard at the dragon man, as if trying to determine if he was being flippant. But then he shakes his head.
"I think they will be a long time finding him. If you were their agents, then it will be long before they send a group to where he is now. Incidentally," he taps a finger on the haft of the axe. "Now that you have died in your employer's service, do you still serve him?"

2007-06-22, 12:49 PM

Ismal's snake eyes get hard and narrow at the description of the ritual.

What you say certainly squares with my limited experience with Desha Kul. He's one of the Za'vid, and unfortunately seems quite enthusiastic about his work. If Govan has hatched some short-sighted plot to use demons on a large scale, it's not hard to picture Desha's involvement.

Our...association with the Kul was brief. I can't speak for Draven, but I would consider it more of a bargain than an employment. Certainly nothing that I would consider a...long-term commitment.

She glances around the desolate landscape.

Besides, I still hold to the belief that if there's an afterlife awaiting me, it will have better decor than this. I would suggest that it's just as likely that the blast transported us to this plane without being dead, as it is that we were somehow killed but still kept together rather than going on to...whatever might have awaited us individually.

And, Draven, I don't know much about the afterlife, but I'm fairly sure that devils and demons aren't necessarily hanging out together. If we're on some infernal plane, we'd be looking for quite some time before we found the appropriate demons. Unless, of course, they're using "demons" in a more generic sense.

2007-06-22, 12:50 PM
Draven shrugged, but narrowed his eyes at Sumner's fingers tapping the haft. "I don't suppose I really serve anyone. That was just a job. Were I even in a position to complete it, I'm not so sure I would, knowing what I do now. Even though I have no real reason to trust you, I don't think you have any real reason to lie. The guy who hired me, on the other hand, I'm sure had a variety of reasons for lying. What do you know about Gar'zeth Spellwright?"

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-22, 01:07 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner looks thoughtful. "Nothing. However, if he is Gareth Spellwright, as the other Hern claimed, then I think I understand something about him. Listen carefully; this may help address some of your confusion." he takes a deep breath.
"There were nine of us, that day, as we entered the broken city of Mokar in the company of Azakan Zere. We entered a vault hidden at the other end of a tunnel through raw chaos, and there stood an amulet that..." Here Sumner looks a little uncertain. "Divided time? I don't understand how it worked, but there were...two worlds, I think, running side-by-side, each with its own Sumner Kesh, Gareth Spellwright, Orin Stillwater and the rest. Then, Kaleff over there," he nods to the Zhan "Shattered the amulet even as Azakan held it in his hand. It would have made him emperor." Sumner's jaw tightens a little at that as he glares at Kaleff's back. he continues, "Azakan abandoned us and trapped us in the vault, which then collapsed. When that happened, the two times were sundered, and those of us who were in the tunnel now have our counterparts wandering about in this world. I gather that the Empire never fell, in the other world, although Gothul was cast down. I wish I could have seen it, before the world was destroyed."

2007-06-22, 01:20 PM
"That amulet wouldn't have made Azakan the Emperor. It would have made him a tyrant. That man was broken, torn apart by his own life. That kind of power would have twisted him even further."

"And Azakan told us how the amulet worked. There are different timelines, most failing branches off of what I assume was our original time, but it may be that our time was one of those failing branches itself. The amulet could forge paths between those timelines, and let the user walk between them with whatever he wanted to take with him."

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-22, 02:24 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner shakes his head. "I don't expect you to like the idea, but it was a very real hope to me. Khorik too, perhaps. Azakan may have become a tyrant or a benevolent emperor, but that scarely matters." The youth waves a hand in the air, dismissively. "What matters is that an emperor exists and rules the Empire. Good or bad, the continuity is the important thing." Sumner nods to himself. "Although I have come to realize that the Empire cannot base its power upon demons and devils who have no goal but evil."

2007-06-22, 11:35 PM
Khorik nods.

"After the Empire's fall, my family was scattered. My mother was forced into the role of...camp follower. I ended up as a soldier and brigand, taking orders from men whom had disrespected my mother the night before. I became a thief, thug...killer. I was born with the blood of destiny but I had to settle for a life on horrible dishonor."

The Davathran looks at Sumner with an anguished look.

"You've forgotten more about our way of life than I've ever known. My mother never spoke of the old times and my father died...was killed, before I was born. Azakan may have been imperfect but he seemed to aspire to be different. He could have given Hillinda and I a chance at redemption."

Khorik tugs slightly at his ill-fitting armor as they walk.

"But even all that feels eons ago. I'd settle with getting home and seeing her again."

2007-06-23, 04:52 AM
Hern snorts.

"Imperfect? Wow. You men really are desperate, aren't you?"

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-23, 09:50 AM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner shrugs.
"As I said. I don't expect you to like it. Our Ne'sha is of no importance to you, and yours, it seems, is that of gold."

2007-06-23, 01:14 PM
As you carry on walking down the road, you can see that a rider is galloping towards you, though he is still quite far away.

2007-06-23, 02:48 PM
Hern shakes his head.

"Gold holds no sway over me, it is just a minor side effect of my travels. I wish for glory; to be a legend, forever remembered by all. I want the mere mention of my name to shake entire armies to their bones. In legends, men become immortal, and I wish to stand among the chosen few who already have them."

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-23, 02:58 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner shakes his head again. "Not just gold as wealth; gold as in glory. Your Ne'Sha, then, is like a whirlpool. Have you no other ambitions?"
he squints, and peers ahead.
"A rider approaching." Sumner appears to be thinking hard.

2007-06-23, 09:47 PM

Nodding to Ismal, Kaleff breaks his silence, "I agree with the lady, we cannot be dead. That demonic blast must have bumped us out of our current plane or time. Again." About to say more, Kaleff is distracted by the conversation behind him, feeling Sumner's gaze boring into him, biting his tongue and abstaining from the futile effort of correcting the man's multitude of erronious statements. Looking out ahead, Kaleff tries to get a better view of the rider approaching them.

2007-06-24, 04:16 AM
As the rider comes closer, he slows down, evidently seeing you as well. He's still quite far from you, but seems to be wearing black and riding some sort of big lizard.

2007-06-24, 11:58 AM
Draven had been walking quietly for some time, his hand by his sternum where a small golden amulet used to rest. Seeing the rider approaching from a distance, he turned to Ismal, and spoke to her in thought.

Ismal. I still don't believe that we are dead, but if so many have thought that we are, that must mean that this is a place where people go when they die, and it's possible that we shall meet people we knew in life before they passed. There was one I knew, one I... loved, long, long ago, and when she died, a part of me died with her. Seeing her again would be... painful to say the least, as I've spent many years and many thousands of miles wandering, trying to put her behind me. But I want you to know that I do truly care for you... And whatever happens here in this awful place, I always will.

2007-06-24, 03:25 PM
Khorik watches the rider approach, shielding his eyes from the red sun with his hand. His new blade lies flat on his shoulder, balanced by his left hand holding the pommel. Khorik grins darkly as the mounted figure approaches.

"Well...we have another opportunity to be diplomatic, it would seem. I hope if goes better than last time."

Khorik steps out from the group to the right, moving in a wide arc to distance prevent everyone from bunching up.

2007-06-26, 09:38 AM
The rider slows as he gets near you, and finally stops about 15 foot in front of you. He is riding some sort of big 4-legged lizard, of a dark-reddish hue. The man himself has the beige skintone of the Mal Hong, the other race besides the Kumari who inhabit the north-western continent. He wears short black robes and trousers, and has a silver scabbard with a sword hanging at his side. He holds up his hand to show you some sort of brand, it looks like a rune of some sort.
Greetings, travellers, he says in badly accented Davethran. I see you are Davethran. Don't see many of your type here. If you're working for Bazal, then you're far from his land. His tone seems to carry an underlying threat when he says this. Or are you followers of Gothul? If you're looking for a new Demon-God, my own master will soon be gaining divinity,

2007-06-26, 01:14 PM

At Draven's kind thoughts, Ismal colours slightly, and looks away before responding. Her thoughts come haltingly.

I believe that anyone who earned such words from you would be a strong and worthy woman. For your sake, I hope we do not meet, but I will greet her with honour and respect if we do.

And I have come to...care for you as well. There are few enough men who can be kind, and who can be strong. To find one who can be both...

Ismal takes a deep breath and raises her arm that doesn't have a spear in it.

Greetings to you, sir. We are relative new-comers to this land, and have not yet cast our lots in with any power. Perhaps you could tell us more of this new Demon-God of yours?

2007-06-26, 01:29 PM
Hern glares at the rider, and continues walking forward.

Why is everyone so obsessed with following someone stronger than them? Noone thinks for themselves here.

"I seek no allegiance, and I carry none with me. My friends can decide for themselves, but I have already. Let me pass."

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-26, 01:39 PM
Sumner merely watches to see the rider's reaction to Ismal's hailing.

2007-06-26, 02:10 PM

Glaring at Hern for a moment, she sends a thought to Khorik and Sumner.

Your friend's not much of a team player, is he? Is he usually like this?

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-26, 02:29 PM
Sumner Kesh
Almost experimentally, Sumner's somewhat high-pitched voice replies.
I did not know him. We spoke perhaps twice. More to the point, it sounds as if there's war brewing in hell.

2007-06-26, 03:45 PM
Draven gritted his teeth as Hern spoke rudely to the rider, and waited for the man's response to Ismal's well-chosen words.

2007-06-26, 05:10 PM
The man shrugs, smiling slightly at Hern's words. You'll find that Goramesh is not an easy place to live in without a master, unless of course you are a Devil-King or something. Or a god. But we are not in Anarazel's territory, so I have no authority to force you to follow him. He shuffles his lizard to the side of the road slightly, to let Hern pass. Then he leans back slightly, peering at the group curiously. So, you are Davethrans, yet you claim not to follow Gothul or Bazal. Why should I believe you? If you did not venerate some sort of Demon-God or regular fiend, you wouldn't be here.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-26, 05:56 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner coughs. "No, it is that we shouldn't be here. One of Bazal's followers exploded himself in black flame and carried us here with him."

2007-06-26, 06:40 PM
The man leans forward, cradling his chin with his hand. Interesting... what gods did you follow in life?

2007-06-26, 06:47 PM
Draven stiffened a little at the notion of being dead.

"Well first of all, I don't think we're actually dead. Like he said, we're here because some little punk decided to take us with him. The blast wasn't powerful enough to kill us though, I've survived far worse. Second of all, I'm not Davethran, I'm of the Dragon Clans - they're Davethran though. Third, I'm a follower of the lady Cilnara, not of Demons. Are there any free cities here? Or is everything controlled by one demon lord or another?"

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-26, 07:02 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner shakes his head at the rider's question.
"None. I have rules and duties enough without them."

2007-06-26, 09:13 PM

Ismal smiles. Any conversation in which swords aren't immediately drawn is a good conversation today.

Like some of the others, my relationship with the gods is complicated. However, of course, I'd like to hear more about this Anarazel, and your position in his or her realm. How else are we to make informed choices?

2007-06-27, 09:57 AM
The man looks shocked. You're alive, like me? Well, I didn't expect that. And you certainly haven't been here long if you don't even know the political structure of this place. He leans forward, smiling slyly. I suppose if you're alive you'd be wanting to get back to Sakara?

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-27, 10:53 AM
The youth nods, but he keeps his gaze on the northerner's face, trying to determine his intent and sincerity.

2007-06-27, 03:25 PM

Ismal's smile broadens in recognition...of what was to come.

Let me guess. You're about to tell me you know how to get back, but it's going to cost us?

2007-06-27, 03:52 PM
Kaleff Nefud

Straightening as the new comer inquires after their faith, Kaleff's hand instinctively reaches to his bare chest, "I serve only Imshaeroth, Master of Death. As to how or why we were sent here, I do not know. Perhaps the Grey Watcher intends for us to be his avatars in this realm."

2007-06-27, 04:57 PM
You've hit the nail on the head, lady. He smiles, a slightly disconcerting sight. Although, with the exception of Ismal who saw one in the market in Ralm once, none of you have ever met a Mal Hong before. It's rather hard to read his face, the flat, angular features could conceal anything.
My almighty master, the Devil-King Anarazel, as well as ruling the demonic realm of Varesh, he gestures towards the mountains behind you, also rules the country of Cadralan, my homeland. About 8 years ago, not long after he became King, he had a great portal constructed between Sakara and Goramesh, specifically his own lands, to allow his Fiendish armies to travel to Cadralan to bolster his human armies. If you're not dead, you could use the portal to get back to the mortal realm. Of course, we won't let you use it for free.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-27, 05:00 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner thinks for a moment, trying to place the country of Cadralan in his mental map of the world.
"What, then, is the price of passage?"

2007-06-27, 05:22 PM
The man rubs his chin. I'm not sure. Money would be no good, as you don't have any. Service probably. I'm guessing since you've got a religious fanatic in your midst, he says pointing at Kaleff, you wouldn't be interested in permanent service... his eyes light up, and he grins an evil grin. Actually, I've just thought of something, a little service that we need someone who doesn't serve Anarazel to do for us. Of course, I'm not in charge of the portal, but I could take you to see my superior. He chuckles. Hey six-fingers, you know that Anarazel met Imshaeroth once? Imshaeroth rewarded him for killing one of Imshaeroth's enemies. He laughs again. Someone I think you'd all know, being Davethrans. You guys ought to be worship Anarazel for what he did for you! And apparently, the Elder God broke the Seal of Destiny of one of his friends, which created a parallel dimension, our dimension, and the old one was destroyed ten years ago. Only Anarazel and a few others escaped it, and came here to take over the places they ruled in the other world. You know, in the last ten years most of the rulers of Osira have actually been assassinated and replaced by their duplicates from the old timestream. Bet you didn't know that! He sighs. Although since you guys probably don't even know who rules Osira, I doubt any of you care. And you probably don't even believe this crazy story. Hey, I don't believe it. He sighs again, and looks at the brand on his hand. His earlier mirth seems to have been replaced by melancholy.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-27, 05:31 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner's face takes on a solid, stony cast, but his tone is quite civil as he asks
"A point of curiosity; who ruled in Old Davethra in this other dimension that was destroyed?"

2007-06-27, 05:45 PM
The man snorts. You're assuming that it isn't all the ravings of Anarazel's demonic mind. He claims that he used to be a human, and not just any. He claims that he used to be Thalgor Darkblood, God-Emperor of the Kumari, you know, the one that killed Gothul. I mean, pick anyone to claim you used to be, and you choose a God, who is still alive in the Kumari God's home today?
He sighs again, and spits on the brand on his hand. I have no idea who is supposed to have ruled Davethra in this alternate-world fantasy of his. You'd have to ask one of his high priestesses, they talk to him regularly about this kind of thing. And getting anywhere near them is not a good idea, especially for someone who doesn't believe his crazy stories.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-27, 06:10 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner tilts his head to one side.
"I take it, then, that you follow him because he is powerful, and for no other reason?"

2007-06-27, 07:43 PM
Khorik ponders silently during the conversation. He grew up worshiping the bottle and the blade more than anything. Though he has attempted to emulate the Davathrans of old, he never put much thought into the divine. Even abstract ideas such as personal honor never really crossed his mind until speaking to Sumner. His mind wanders until he hears the theory of multiple versions from different dimensions.

"An interesting tale, this Anarazel tells. I'd be interested in hearing more, both of his story and how we can be of service. No offense, but this land brings me little comfort and I think I prefer my own, no matter what time we end up in."

2007-06-27, 08:03 PM
Draven regarded the man on the horse suspiciously.

"Just what is this 'job'? And how do we know your supervisor will send us home if we do it? Besides, how do we know someone else isn't already on it? Shouldn't we meet with him first?"

2007-06-28, 09:14 AM
Yeah, yeah, I'll take you to meet him. The job I'm thinking about is in Osira, in the city-state of Ziggurat to be precise, so he'll have to let you back through. He sighs. And in answer to your question, boy, he says to Sumner, I follow him because he rules our country and kills any who opposes him. He snorts derisively. Which is a lot better than the Sorcerers who used to rule us, who'd just kill people for fun.

2007-06-28, 04:13 PM

Ismal completes the man's thoughts in Draven's head.

And still do, from time to time.

Who do we have to thank for this guidance, o living man in hell? What is your name, and your role in this great machine?

2007-06-28, 05:31 PM
My name is Veja Kel, replies the man, and I'm an emissary, you know, I go and visit other rulers on Anarazel's behalf to carry them messages. Which is better than grubbing in the mud like my father and his father and so onback to when the Sorcerers first conquered our land.

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-28, 06:44 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner nods, warily. But his mind is turning over the man's statement about his loyalties. Sumner follows behind Veja Kel, and asks "Is it far?"

2007-06-29, 09:44 AM
On foot, it'll take about a day, the man replies. His lizard-like mount peers stupidly at the Davethran boy. Will you come then?

The Great Skenardo
2007-06-29, 10:44 AM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner glances at his companions, his grey eyes reserved.
Straightening up, the youth returns his gaze to Veja Kel.
"Yes, I will follow." He shoulders the gory battleaxe and hikes up the 'acquired' trousers, preparing to follow the mounted man.

2007-06-29, 12:11 PM
Draven shrugged.

"Why not?" After all, what have we got to lose?

2007-06-29, 06:34 PM

I'm guessing that 'Our values, our lives and our immortal souls' is not the answer you're looking for, right?

Very well. Someone has to keep you lot out of trouble.

Ismal steps up next to Draven.

2007-06-29, 07:12 PM
Kaleff Nefud

Ignoring the antagonistic tone of demon's vassal, Kaleff nodds reasonably. "I have no problem working toward your lord's purpose, if it coincides with that of the Grey One. I would gladly be the instrument to send souls to him for judgement, if it is their time they must go, if not, nothing can harm them." Shrugging Kaleff bows his head slightly, "I will also see your master, if for no other reason than to meet another who has looked upon the face of Imshaeroth and been spared." Again, his hand goes to the hollow of his throat, grasping only air once again.

2007-06-30, 07:10 AM
The man looks at him, like you'd look at a talking dog or a flying pig, something strange. Right, he says slowly, okay. But I'm just taking you to see my boss, not Anarazel himself. He'd probably kill you for fun.

2007-06-30, 11:53 AM
Khorik steps up near Veja.

"Would you or your boss be able to supply us with some equipment? We entered this realm with nothing and, if we're expected to accomplish some task, we need equipment that matches our abilities. Can this be provided?"

2007-06-30, 12:02 PM
Draven nodded, thinking.

We will have to be very careful about what we agree to do in this place... But I think sabotaging one demon to help another is a bit like killing to save a life. They sorta cancel each other out.

2007-06-30, 12:45 PM
The man glances at Hern, and chuckles. If you have any money you can buy stuff from the market outside the city.

2007-07-01, 10:17 AM

The sorcerer smiles.

What kind of market is there in Hell - bakers and butchers rubbing shoulders with necromancers and sellers of souls?

Or do you need bakers - do you eat, Veja?

2007-07-01, 10:44 AM
He shakes his head. Living humans don't need to eat in Goramesh, neither do dead ones. The Demons eat though.

2007-07-02, 10:26 AM
Hern walks off down the road, not looking back, but the rest of you start to head back towards the mountains following Veja Kul. Thankfully you have shoes now, so the obsidian is not so hard on your feet, though you'd prefer if you had shoes which actually fit properly now.
Veja has his mount travel at a slow walk so you can keep up with it. It truly is a strange beast, like some giant lizard, but without spines, and with extremely powerful muscles in its thighs, indicators that it could run at great speed if necessary. The skin is reddish, but more purple on the underbelly, and the eyes are large and black, burnished mirrors that reflect your visages in oddly distorting ways.

The Great Skenardo
2007-07-02, 10:51 AM
Sumner Kesh
Walking a silence for a time, Sumner appears to be brooding deep in thought. The effect is somewhat incongruous with his youth.

After some minutes, however, the young warrior clears his throat and addresses the group's erstwhile guide,
"Tell me, does your master have any connection or dealings with Ravan Zere of Davethra?"

2007-07-02, 11:13 AM
Who? Veja shakes his head, then pauses. Oh, wait, I know who you mean. Not as far as I know. I doubt it though, Ravan hasn't got anything Anarazel wants that he'd be willing to give.

2007-07-03, 09:17 AM
You carry on down the road towards the mountains. You walk for about 6 hours, passing several small guard towers. Veja waves the brand on his hand and they let you pass. Eventually Veja calls a halt outside a small abandoned hut. You don't need to eat here, but we will need to sleep. You can see, nestled at the bottom of the now not-so-distant mountains, something that might be a town, though it's still very far away,

The Great Skenardo
2007-07-03, 10:04 AM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner nods and takes a few minutes to take a closer look at the terrain, pacing around the abandoned hut, and a little ways around the perimeter of the road.
(OOC: Everything still made of obsidian here?)

2007-07-03, 04:29 PM
The terrain hasn't changed much, the flat obsidian road still going through a great plain of bones, both human and demonic.

2007-07-03, 08:07 PM
Draven nodded, walking into the hut and leaning his huge club against a wall.

"Well, I've slept in worse."

He looked at Ismal.

I don't think I've been homesick ever before in my life, but right now, I've gotta say - I miss your appartment in Ralm.

2007-07-03, 08:56 PM

Ismal nods slightly.

Mmm. Warm bed. Cold drinks. Servants. Yup. Sounds pretty good right now.

2007-07-03, 09:13 PM
Draven raised an eyebrow at Ismal.


The Great Skenardo
2007-07-03, 10:16 PM
Frowning, Sumner squats by the side of the road and digs through the bones, trying to see how deep they reach. He grunts as he shifts heavier demon skulls and strange horns and vertebrae, the muscles on his arms bulging out, making the tattoos flow around them.

2007-07-03, 10:18 PM

Or at least the illusion of it. That's right! I remember how uncomfortable you were the first time we made love in front of my maid.

2007-07-03, 10:38 PM

Looking down on the town, Kaleff shifts the ill-fitting armor so that it rests more comfortably. Too bad we can't do without rest here, too. Its convienent not to have to worry about food, but that doesn't give us much more time, but skipping sleep would give us more travel time, shorten our stay here. Wrinkleing his nose he follows the guide on down, Then again, I'm glad I don't have to choke down what passes for food around here.

2007-07-04, 06:17 AM
Sumner digs and digs, and about 4 ft down he finds dark red soil.

Meanwhile, Veja ties up his steed outside the hut, and goes in.
Following him, Kaleff finds that the inside of the hut are 4 rough beds, all slightly rotten.

The Great Skenardo
2007-07-04, 08:22 AM
Sumner Kesh
Straightening up, Sumner takes a pinch of the red soil between two fingers and looks at it, thoughtfully. After a time however, he straightens up and dusts off his hands.
Well...I'll say one thing; Moving around is much easier now.
With that idle thought, the warrior wanders back to the hut. He takes a seat, cross-legged, on the stone floor and reflexively reaches for his waist...but his hand encounters nothing. For just a moment, the youth's face twists in agony, but just as quickly, it's gone. Instead, Sumner holds the battleaxe across his lap and examines it with the discerning eye of a seasoned warrior.
It lacked...finesse, but it had raw power enough to be a good weapon. Sumner tests its weight with his hands for a moment, but then sets the notched blade aside. Leaning against the frame of the hut, and still in his plundered armor, Sumner closes his eyes.

2007-07-04, 05:16 PM

Slipping hesitantly into the hut, Ismal takes the largest of the beds, leaning her spear up against the wall beside. She does a cursory inspection of the room before settling into the bed. She scootches over to leave room for Draven.

2007-07-04, 10:06 PM

Breifly glancing around the room, Kaleff takes quick stock of his surroundings. Going up to the nearest empty bed, the Zhan sets a foot on it, rocking it, to make sure it wouldn't collapse on him in the night. Reasonably satisfied, he quickly strips off his armor, tossing it toward a corner. About to settle as best as he can into bed, Kaleff hesitates, then lays down and waits for sleep. Take me tonight if you will, Dread Lord, and send me where you will. If not, guide me, tomorro, that your purpose is done.

2007-07-05, 07:25 AM
Khorik walks into the hut and sits down on a bed. He lays the strange, straight-bladed greatsword on it and works on unstrapping his armor.

"It's been a strange day. Maybe this will all make more sense after a night of sleep, though I doubt it. I could use some sleep now but I'll be happy to take second watch."

Khorik slides the bundled armor under his head to use as a makeshift pillow, then closes his eyes.

The Great Skenardo
2007-07-05, 08:06 AM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner grunts acknowledgement, and then climbs back to his feet, apparently content to take first watch. He paces to the ramshackle frame of the hut's door, and then leans against it, looking up at the crimson clouds above, and then down to the valley of dry bones, quietly bleaching in the sanguine light, where he waits and watches for a time.
Meeting the Colonel had been making him think, moreso than he liked to admit, even to himself. Holding up a hand unblemished by age, the tattooed youth turns it this way and that. At about this age...there had been another hellish landscape, hadn't there? All flames and smoke and crushed rubble, and the stench of scorched flesh.
But apparently, And Sumner's jaw clenches at the thought, there had been a world where there was an Empire once more. A world which he himself didn't belong to, and which now was no more.
And, a new voice said, who was to blame for that? Azakan had been a Zere, and with the amulet he would have ruled, if it was as powerful as was said. But...
Sumner's hands clench on the haft of the battleaxe.
It had been the Zhan, hadn't it? He'd broken the amulet, or at least that was what the Elder Hern had said, and the other Gareth seemed to believe it.
Turning slowly, Sumner looks back inside the hut, the arterial glow from the landscape shining off of his deep-set gray eyes in a worrying fashion as he stares at the reclining shadowy figure. He takes a few steps forward, still grasping the axe. It could be easily done, and possibly his soul would not have far to travel afterwards.
Sumner stands silently for a few lengthy seconds, the air thick with menace as he watches the Zhan's sleeping form.
The young warrior lifts the axe...but then lowers it again.


Turning on his heel, Sumner walks back to the threshold of the hut and turns the axe over in his fingers. There was a brutality and simplicity about this weapon which was...dangerously attractive.

2007-07-05, 08:26 AM
Strange sounds and whispers assail Sumner as he watches, but when he gets up to look, he finds nothing. At times, he is sure there is something just out of sight... but turning, it seems as if it is still just out of his field of vision.
Eventually, tired, Sumner wakes up Khorik, lying down on the newly vacated bed as the, now older, warrior takes up the watch. Khorik too seems to sense something... wrong... in the air. But what is it? He cannot say. There is something intangible, some great evil which hangs in the air, a presence.
But nothing is visible.
Khorik in turn wakes up Hern, who wanders fitfully around the outside of the hut. The skulls on the plain seem to be watching him. He could swear that when he looks away, the bones move.
After several nervous hours, he wakens Kaleff, who sits outside. Kaleff tries to meditate, to feel the peace of Imshaeroth. He feels nothing. He just cannot get the right frame of mind somehow.
Finally, 8 hours after the first of you went to bed, you all get up. You are physically refreshed, no fatigue dulls your senses, but you don't feel refreshed.
Ismal meditates for quarter of an hour, feeling the power of her bloodline infusing her, the mana leaping about her being ready to jump out and alter reality to her whim. Kaleff sits down to get out his spellbook and refresh his own spells... but of course, he doesn't have it. Every day, for years, he has read the book every morning, and now it's gone. The full weight of all that's happened, how much his life has changed, comes crashing down on him. Once he was just an agent in his father's clan, committing petty thefts and extortions with the aid of his magic. Yet since then he's been killed, met a God, met the heir to the Empire, destroyed a powerful artefact and in doing so defeated that heir, been flung ten years forward in time, jumped off an airship to escape a dragon, exploded, and then sent to the realm of demons.

Veja yawns as he gets out of bed. I hate sleeping in Goramesh.
He walks outside, and kneels down facing towards the mountains. He starts to chant.
Anarazel, Anarazel, greatest of Gods, greatest of Kings!
In your mercy we dwell, in your fire we are cleansed! Anarazel, Anarazel!
All praise to the greatest in all the lands! Master of Devils, Anarazel!
Slayer of Emperors, Slayer of Gods, Anarazel! Conqueror of Empires, Anarazel!
Most holy Anarazel, we worship you! Anarazel!
Anarazel, turn not your burning power upon us, but against our enemies! Anarazel!
Destroy the Khadothi, our ancient foes! Anarazel!
Save us from the Sorcerers, the tyrants who ruled us! Anarazel!
Defeat the Kumari, who would enslave us once more! Anarazel!
Save us from the worship of the false Gods of the Elves! Anarazel!
As you slayed Gothul, save us from all demons, Anarazel!
Anarazel, we pledge you our lives, our souls, our hearts! Anarazel!
He stands up, and rubs his back. Damn cramp. He goes and unties his steed.
Are you guys all ready now?

The Great Skenardo
2007-07-05, 08:55 AM
Sumner Kesh
Rising silently from his bed, Sumner turns to Veja as he prepares to go.
"Why do you hate sleeping here?" he asks, but he seems to know the answer already.

2007-07-05, 09:06 AM
The man shrugs. You don't feel better afterwards, for once. Also, I get nightmares here sometimes.

2007-07-05, 11:33 AM
Draven finally rises out of bed, hearing Veja speaking with Sumner. He has a hollow look in his eyes.

"Nighmares. You don't say."

You ok, Ismal?

The Great Skenardo
2007-07-05, 11:35 AM
Sumner Kesh
The youth looks thoughtful.
"Not a nightmare, as such. I could not prevent his death, but to see him in person, and to know that I could have been of service. That is...heartening, I think." Sumner clears his throat. "I wonder if someone would be willing to exchange weapons with me? I'm not comfortable using this axe. A sword would be far better."

2007-07-05, 11:47 AM

Standing up, Kaleff places his hands on the small of his back, arching his spine while pushing with his hands. Receiving a few pops, he grunts satisfaction, stretching his limbs and continuing to contort his back for a few moments more. Looking at the armor still slouching in the corner where he had left it, Kaleff leaves it, feeling more limber without it. Exiting the hut, the Zhan clears his throat and spits, lip curling up in disgust. Approaching as Sumner posits the question, Kaleff approaches them men, but keeps his attention out on the waste.

At the mention of nightmares, the man half-turns, before returning his attention back to the desert in front of him, "With these beds its no wonder you loathe it so, they seem almost to be designed to cause pain. But these dreams... do they come from this place? Or are they as they are in our realm, simply our weary mind's inventions... or at times communications from the gods?"

Those were the words of the note. Azakan's note, nothing more.

2007-07-05, 01:37 PM
The nightmares? Veja shrugs. I assume they're sent by malicious demons. Though I have heard the Priests of Magus claim that dreams and nightmares are not messages at all, but the product of our own fears. He gestures around. This is a pretty scary place after all. He gives his reptilian mount a rub behind the ears. I suppose the Gods might send messages too, but only four Gods live in this realm, and none of them are particularly pleasant. There is Bazal of course, the father of Demons, but he has been asleep for millennia, if he ever existed at all outside of legend. Baphomet is completely insane, so he wouldn't send you messages that made any sense. Morthos lives here as well, though a long way from where we are. He might send dreams to try and convince people to join him, but I doubt it. And then there is Lord Havok, but I doubt he'd bother sending you dreams at all. He just kills things.
He slaps his head and grins ruefully. You know, I just realised you probably don't know who any of these are. I mean, except for Bazal, they're all Kumari Gods, and you've probably never met a Kumari in your life. He shrugs. The Kumari Gods tend to ignore non-Kumari anyway, so that's another reason they'd probably not contact you.

2007-07-05, 02:19 PM
Khorik looks troubled as the rest speak about their dreams. He rubs the top of his bald head, the stubble from several days of neglect starting to make itself apparent. His eyes gleam, almost glowing as they reflect the red sun.
Khorik looks to Sumner as he complains about his axe.

"Sorry. My skill lies with a sword. Always have. I've never considered using anything but a two-handed blade, as my father did."

His gaze grows distant, before his eyes settle on Draven.

"It's funny. I've never even considered using a scythe."

Khorik shakes his head and grins darkly.

"Oh well. Just a dream, after all."

Khorik begins donning his armor, glancing briefly at Draven once more before looking away.

2007-07-05, 03:39 PM

Ismal wakes looking fresh - well, as fresh as someone who's in hell, sleeping on a rotting bed in the clothes of a man she just helped kill, and who is deprived of even the barest rudiments of MAKE-UP can look.

Her meditation is troubled, though, and Draven's question is spot on.

Not really. A nightmare about choices. About attractive choices, perhaps, but choices nonetheless. You?

Disregarding Veja's comment about being protected from sorcerers, she casually casts a simple enchantment, to remove the dust of this infernal road from herself. With a wave of her hand, she also sweeps the dust from Draven as well.

2007-07-05, 05:11 PM
Veja climbs back onto his horse, and you all start following him down the raod, towards the city in the mountains, and hopefully the way home...

The Great Skenardo
2007-07-05, 06:16 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner remains oddly quiet as he walks, although his face flickers in irritation every now and again, apparently without cause.

2007-07-05, 08:54 PM
Draven nodded to Ismal. "Thanks." I had a nightmare too... about failure. There were friends and enemies from long ago.... and, you. I can certainly say that's not a dream I ever want to have again. I want to get back home more than ever.

He looked over at Korik as they walked, finally speaking with a sigh.

"I think I can guess what your dream was about. ...your double, yes? Nhulliop? I remember he used a scythe when I fought him. You saw his death then, I guess. If that's true then you must have also seen that it wasn't me who killed him. I never intended for him to die... but we had a job to do, and he was in our way. Still, I think his death was unnecessary, and you should know, if I could have stopped it, I woulda."

2007-07-05, 11:23 PM
Khorik nods as Draven speaks, not meeting the other man's eyes but staring into the distance.

"Hmmm...so these dreams contain truth, then."

Khorik looks to Draven.

"Oh, have no concern of anger on my part. You did not kill me, but an imposter from another world. If my dream is true, he took my place ten years ago. He pretended to be me. Gathered acclaim for himself as a captain of Ravan Zere. He...seduced a woman I love. A woman I'm not worthy to look upon much less lie with. You have a woman you care for. You can imagine how that would make you feel?"

Khorik's eyes flash red.

"No, I do not hold this false Nhulliop's death against you or the Mokai woman. I do, however, want to discover what he did in my name."

The warrior examines the edge of his blade, then lays the flat against his shoulder casually.

"How did you come to meet this Khorik Nhulliop. Under what circumstances did he stand against you?"

2007-07-05, 11:41 PM

Plucking at a bit of the laces from Draven's armour, Ismal utters a few quick syllables, and is briefly encased in light. After the initial flash, it seems to coalesce into armour that resembles the traditional uniform of the Davethran warrior caste, complete with gleaming helm. Until that too fades from view.

I too would not wish for any repetition of my dream. I'm sorry if yours was especially painful. Was she...?

Not wishing to intrude further, Ismal picks up the thread of Draven's conversation with the warrior Khorik.

He was being employed as a guard, perhaps a guard captain, by a pretender to the throne. We did not speak long, but he seemed to me a callow man, a shallow thinker - an imperfect copy of someone who also strikes me as an honourable man.

2007-07-06, 11:38 AM
Veja turns and looks at Khorik. An imposter from another world? You mean, some denizen of another plane took your place, making itself look like you? How could you have angered such a spirit for it to do that?

The Great Skenardo
2007-07-06, 12:00 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner remains silent, but his face reveals a thunderstorm of emotion, ranging from contemplative to shocked to irritation to anger. His lips move silently in some fierce internal debate.

2007-07-06, 12:56 PM
Khorik shrugs.

"I don't know. I assume the dream was real because Draven verifies some of the events. In it, Hillinda...she's the woman I mentioned before. Hillinda mentioned how much I had changed since returing from my mission for Archmage Xan. But I never did return. That's when this 'other me' took over while I was thrown ten years into the future. At least, as best as I understand it."

Khorik eyes drop as he continues speaking.

"As for what I've done to deserve this fate? Plenty. I was raised from childhood in the worst kind of mercenary army. Plunderers and murderers, everyone of them. I was drunk on wine, women, and slaughter. It wasn't until a few years ago I attempted to emulate the traditions of my past. Of my blood. And that...well, that has been a pale imitation of Davethran culture. I wear the armor and sword of my ancestry and I look the part but I feel like a fraud. Like a child wearing a costume. I'm no Davathran noble. In fact, it sounds like this 'false Khorik' did a better job than I did of being a true soldier."

Khorik stops, a look of shame crossing his face.

"Forgive me. I have a lot on my mind."

2007-07-06, 01:32 PM
Veja stares at the warrior, uncomprehendingly, while his mount pads on, its dull gaze scanning the road.
By the horns of Anarazel, what are you talking about, being thrown ten years into the future? Did you piss off some Chronomancers or something?

2007-07-06, 02:59 PM

Hesitating as Veja initially demands an explanation, Kaleff finally speaks. "We're not entirely sure what we did, that is, we are still unsure of the secondary reprecussions of what we- I, through the blessing and guidance of the Grey Watcher, accomplished. I believe you know Azakan, from our realm, it was he, before his mind had been wiped, who had made a push to reunite the Dark Empire of Gothul. He was attempting to use an artifact, and amulet, to bring in others from a paralell timeline to our time, to reassert Gothul's influence. I had been commanded by the Lord of Death himself to stop Azakan at all cost, so as he held the amulet within its resting place, a pseudo-plane of its own, I destroyed it," lips drawn back almost into a snarl the Zhan pauses for a moment, slowing his breathing to its normal pace, then shrugging continues, "The next thing we know we have been thrown ten years in the future, several of us with our appearance, or ages, apparently changed. It was only later we found out that a duplicate set of those present in the chamber had been brought from that other timeline." Halting a moment, a quizzical expression crosses Kaleff's face, and he turns to Sumner, momentarily forgetting the tension between them, "Does this mean there is another Azakan loose in our world as well?"

The Great Skenardo
2007-07-06, 03:16 PM
Sumner Kesh
Still apparently deep in thought, Sumner has apparently missed the entirety of the recent conversation. As he walks, his face takes on a distinctly pensive cast, and his hands tighten about the wrapped leather grip of the axe as he stares straight ahead, lips moving silently.

2007-07-06, 03:36 PM
Veja shakes his head. No, I don't know who this Azakan is. Was he a priest of Gothul or something? He blinks. Wait a minute. Did you say alternate timeline? And that duplicates of you have come across? Are you saying Anarazel's crazy stories are true?

2007-07-06, 03:51 PM

Frowning at Sumner's silence, the Zhan slowly rememebers the seed of their discord, and eases away from him a little bit. Turning back to their guide he nodds vigerously, "They certainly are true, though there shouldn't be anymore crossover now that the amulet has been destroyed."

2007-07-06, 03:56 PM
I see... Veja seems to be deep in thought, tapping his chin.

The Great Skenardo
2007-07-06, 04:04 PM
Sumner Kesh
Sumner shakes his head, as if coming out of a deep sleep, and looks around, a little bewildered. He turns his attention to the discussion at hand, apparently trying to work out what he's missed.

2007-07-06, 04:37 PM
Draven nodded again to Ismal.

Yes. Crys'tel was her name. She was there. So was her killer. They told me I failed to protect her. That I'll fail to protect you. ...but I think they're wrong. There was nothing I could do to help Crys'tel, I did my best. And I'm a force to be reckoned with now - if anyone wanted to hurt you, I'd die to stop them.

A few moments later, he spoke to Khorik again, a pained look on his face.

"Its worse, Khorik, and I hate to tell you this - just thinking about it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. He married her. ...had an amulet with her image in it around his neck. As for how we met him... well, we were trying to cross through their territory to get to the inn so we could track down Orin. He tried to stop us. They called him 'Captain', and someone else called him the 'thousand man slayer'. ...but from what I've seen, you're a better warrior than he, and a more honorable man by far."

2007-07-06, 05:32 PM

I...for once, the glib sayings don't seem to make much sense, Draven. I, I trust you more than anyone I have ever met, aside from my parents. And perhaps...well.

Perhaps that was the heart of my dream. Two men, one offering me everything else I could desire, and the other devotion and love. And what would I have chosen, given time?

Let's see to it that no one's dying to protect each other. Dying for something is easy. Let's get to work living for something. Many somethings, perhaps. I know that the empire holds no special fascination for you, free one, but in my grandparents' time, it was a kind of beacon for hope, stability, a kind of shield against the worst excesses of the archmagi. A bad emperor is worse than none at all, I agree, but a good one could herald a new golden age.

The Great Skenardo
2007-07-06, 06:01 PM
Sumner Kesh
Breaking his long silence, Sumner clears his throat.
" I have a question for you all. Or rather," he looks at Veja "Everyone whom it concerns." He pauses, then asks. "Who should be emperor? What sort of person?"

2007-07-06, 06:15 PM

The noblewoman smiles, and her reptilian eyes narrow further, but with recognition, not malice.

My family has spent more than one night around the fire discussing just that, mister Sumner. It is a fair and a valuable question.

I put forward no candidate, of course. It is my feeling that it should be someone for whom the position is not all - that it remains sublimated in a love of the empire, and in a love of the people. Strength, certainly, but with hope and vision. Vigor, wit...and a vision that knits past to future, and that can unite the nobles and archmagi behind the emperor.

She glances at the others, and especially back at Sumner, soliciting further comment.

The Great Skenardo
2007-07-06, 06:32 PM
Sumner Digests the comment, and then adds to the question. "So, then. Imagine a bad emperor. One who oppresses the people and feeds them to demons. Is he then to be overthrown by his subjects so that a "Good" emperor may take his place?"

2007-07-06, 07:05 PM
Draven walked quietly, Ismal's thoughts echoing in his mind.

I'll gladly live for freedom - and to help those oppressed by the powerful and the greedy. I understand your love for what the empire once was. Our clans would be weak and powerless without the elders - without the head, the body dies. Perhaps that's why our world is as buried in excrement as it is. then again, it could be buried in bones like this one. Power is a difficult thing, Ismal. It's more attractive than anything in existence, but it's dangerous. I don't think I want to know what you chose.

"The problem with rulers is that the only ones who try for the job are the ones that should never achieve it. Power attracts the coruptable. Where I am from, every man and woman in the clans silently writes the name of whom they want to lead the clan on a stone, then places the stone in a basket. There is no campaigning - it's all silent... Everyone knows everyone else, and certainly well enough to know who should lead and who should never be given such power. The top four end up on the council of elders, for a period of four years, and we vote every two. The elders then elect a chief from their members, and in the event of a tie, the clan decides as a whole. My father was on the council, though he never aspired to it, and seeing the difficulty and seriousness of that responsibility for him, I understand why he was the right man for the job."

He thought for a minute longer about Sumner's last statement.

"If a leader is so awful that he's sacrificing his own people for his own selfish ends, it is the DUTY of the people to overthrow him."