Story So Far
This morning, General Corphaeus, under the orders of King Antonius, assigned the young Aquean, Soreal, to assemble a team of warriors and mages to eliminate a growing band of bandits. It was after midday when the select few met as a group in a field outside of the walls of Regnatores. Their initial intention was to send a scouting party into Dark Tree Forest to gather information necessary for a coordinated assault, though their plans fell through when the scouts were ambushed by bandits as soon as they had entered the nearby woods. The rest of the group was quick to aid the scouting party and together they fought off the attackers.
With the element of surprise having been reduced substantially, the group was forced to trek deeper into the woods without a decent layout of the bandits' encampment. It was by a magnificent stroke of luck that they not only avoided another ambush, but happened to find themselves overlooking a few dozen bandits waiting to ambush any passers by. The group struck swiftly and fervently, dimishing their numbers quickly until one was left alive. They decided to use the straggler as a source of information, though the bandit was mysteriously killed by an unseen force from within before any vital information could be extracted. The only thing he had a chance to tell was that their leader was visited by a cloaked man, though none other than the leader seemed to know the man. So there the group was, standing at a previously guarded cave entrance with no knowledge of who or what may lie within, only the certainty that any threat must be eradicated.
Venturing through the narrow passageways of the cave and into an open cavern within, they were approached by the leader of the bandits along with his most elite subordinates. The battle that ensued was fought fiercely from both sides, but in the end, it was Soreal's warriors that emerged victorious. When the dust had settled, their only exit was suddenly blocked off by large boulders and the crystals embedded in the cavern walls began to throw off a blue glow. A thick cloud of smoke began to appear at the center of the room, from which a hooded mage, calling himself Kaladin, appeared. He told the band of travelers that there was rising evil, one that would rival even that of the Malumian immortals all those years before. Kaladin said the warriors were unable to be killed because they had already died. They were soldiers brought back to life by powerful necromancy, a dark art believed to be dead for countless millennia.
The mysterious mage gave the band of adventurers the tools necessary to defeat the cursed undead - strange crystals that gave of a faint, white glow. Kaladin instructed them to venture south to the town of Newbridge, where they would encounter the undead. Skeptical of the mage's intent, Soreal reluctantly agreed to travel to the town. With that, the mage disappeared in a cloud of smoke, the crystals on the walls ceased to glow, and the boulder blocking the only passageway shifted back into its former resting place. With the exit cleared, the adventurers left the cave and began the long trek to Newbridge.
After nearly a day's walk, several miles from their destination, they met with a pair of Fae that were sent with the same goal as the adventurers. With the new additions, the group continued their journey to Newbridge. It was almost sundown when they arrived, though finding nothing but smouldering remains of the town. It wasn't clear what could've caused the incident, there was no evidence to be found. After an hour of searching through ash and rubble, coming across smouldering furniture and scorched corpses, they managed to find a set of fresh tracks leading out of town. With a destination, they headed out in hopes of finding further clues as to what happened.
Shortly after the adventurers left the town to follow the lead, a sinister figure that had been watching from the shadows resurrected the corpses of the townsfolk. As the group came to a halt, having reached the end of the trail, the animated corpses that had ambled after the adventurers soon caught them by surprise. In the ensuing onslaught, the band of adventurers slayed dozens of the undead, the crystals proving their worth as they cut them down like nothing. After the dust settled, Soreal received a message by an arrow that landed near his feet. The message was sent by none other than the necromancer, toying with them; telling them of how he murdered those in the village and brought them back to life. The message taunted them further by telling them where they should go to find him. It was written that they were to head to Ironvale, across Straylight River and just south of Sophisma, and there they would begin their search. As the group pressed on, they were convenienced once more when they came across an "abandoned" two-horse carriage. The former driver of which was found dead in his seat, though it was unclear as to what killed him; the man had no visible wounds of any kind and appeared to have just dropped dead. The travelers were suspicious of their sudden turn of luck but decided to take the carriage, for better or worse.
Hours into the trip, they were nearing the edge of the woods and ultimately the Stavros Bridge - the largest arched, stone structure in all of Sophisma.
Just a few miles from the clearing before the river, the buggy was ambushed by a large band of archers, hidden and shielded by the tree line. Though the adventures tried their best to defend the wagon, it seemed that fate would not allow them to pass unscathed. The mage, Athgar, had the misfortune to take an arrow in his side and was bleeding out as the carriage barreled down the road.
As the wagon drew nearer to the bridge, five towering warriors clad in obsidian armor stood and watched atop the bridge's small stronghold, blood of the recent fighting still dripping from their clawed greaves.
The leader obsidian warriors barked orders in a strange and foreign tongue and his subordinates swiftly carried them out, tearing down the western arch of the bridge, sending half of the stone bridge into the raging waters below. Knowing the destruction would be hidden from view by the outpost, the leader scurried beneath the bridge to lie in wait with his underlings.
Soon the carriage, nearly covered in arrows, rolled onto the bridge and approached the outpost gates. Many of the passengers swifty disembarked while Drogon was doing his best to keep Athgar alive, but his efforts were proving to be futile. It seemed the mages fate was sealed, that he was to die there in the rear of that carriage when all of a sudden the stone beneath the adventurer's feet began to shake. The eastern arch of the bridge soon crumbled and fell into the river below shortly before the leader of the obsidian warriors leapt atop the bridge to make his presence known to the travelers. Before any could act, the warrior shot its chained claws into the rear of the carriage, tearing it open and reeling the wounded man inside back until he hung before it. The warriors arm emitted a dark aura as it began to drain Athgar's life and soul, the mage screaming in agony the entire time until he was turned into nothing more than a dark, withered husk of a human being. Having seen nothing of the sort before, many of the travelers were instilled with fear and awe, leaving them in a minor stupor. However, they were quickly pulled back to situation at hand when the warrior began to move for them and they made a hasty retreat into the outpost.
Once in the stronghold with the door shut and barred, they were thrown into darkness for there was no light within. Aaron had to use his limited knowledge of fire magic as a makeshift torch which revealed the corpses of the Royal Guard scattered around the outpost; most with severed limbs or holes ripped through their torsos. It was no mystery what had done this, but there was nothing to be done except try to stay alive. Without knowing that they were now trapped on the outpost that lie atop the single stone pillar in the middle of Straylight River, they pressed further into the dark, lifeless structure...
And so it begins...
Soreal cautiously walked through the silent hallway, torch in hand, careful not to mistake the dancing shadows of the flickering flame as movement in the outpost. The smell of blood and open flesh lingered in his nostrils as he led the group to the other end of the windowless fortress. The knowledge that the obsidian beast could be lurking anywhere kept him on edge, though he struggled to keep it from showing. After what he saw, there was no telling what else it could be capable of doing.
Terrus and Arborus walked side-by-side, the earth elemental keeping his hatchet at the ready as was his brother with the twin blades.
"I don' much like this, not knowin' where tha' thing is," Terrus muttered.
"Aye," Arborus agreed with a quick nod that made his mask wobble. "Nor do I."
"Watch your step," Soreal called back to the group. "There's more corpses ahead."
"Gods, how many men did this thing tear through?" Aaron asked as he stepped over a pair of severed legs, careful to avoid the pooling blood.
Malyc brought up the rear of the party, trailing by a good distance to better be able to hear footsteps coming from behind them. "Keep quiet." He ordered, straining to hear over the conversation. "We don't need to make it any easier for that thing to find us."
He knew he was at the greatest risk if the giant did manage to make it in behind them, but had enough confidence in his abilities to think he had the best chance of avoiding insta-death if it did show up. As Malyc walked, his gaze unavoidable fell upon the fallen, threatening to resurrect his worst memories of the war. He couldn't afford the distraction right now, and pushed them down. He knew they'd visit him later that night regardless: ghosts of the past have a tendency of doing that.
Rena was following after the two Fae brothers, making sure to keep alert for any kind of threat that might be ahead or behind them. She still couldn't believe that only a single creature caused this much damage. She gasped when she thought of that, and asked after gulping. "W-what if there's more than one of them?" She shook her head, not wanting to think about that kind of situation yet. It was bad enough she was still recovering her magic, having used most of it to defend the wagon, but having more of that monster from the bridge to face would be horrible. Now more than ever, she wished that she had her bow with her.
The wiry, pale Northerner trekked down the road that lead alongside the east bank of Straylight River, enjoying the cool air that accompanied the setting of the sun. He was ascending the rise of a small hill when he heard the frustrated grumblings of a man on the other side. The man came into view when Abe reached the peak and the Northerner could see he was having trouble with a small, single-horse cart. The left wheel of the cart had come loose and fallen completely off. It was lying on side of the road, next to the cart that the man was trying to raise. It was with great difficulty that the man raised the one-wheeled box to the height necessary to put the wheel back on its axle. Slowly, he reached out with his sandaled foot and dragged the wheel closer. Once he had it near, he raised it 'til it stood upright and attempted to align it with the axle. The cart began to waver as the man's strength was waning, the axle rod jittering against the side of the cart wheel. Knowing that he needed more precision to align the wheel and rod perfectly, he reached for the wheel and pressed it against the cart that had begun wobbling frantically. Before the wheel and rod could click together, the man's strength gave out and he dropped the cart and wheel, nearly crushing his foot. The cart's edge hit the compact dirt hard, causing the jars and bottles of various ointments and elixirs to rattle noisily.
"Gods damn this infernal, broken, rotted excuse for a means of transport!" The man shouted, enforcing his exclamation with a swift kick to the cart's side.
The lone Fae was resting in a small clearing in Dark Tree Forest, setting up a fire for camp as nightfall was approaching. It was a still evening, not even a breeze to rustle the leaves or a bird to chirrup its last songs before turning in for the night. It was as if the whole world around Gale felt the dark, empty feeling he had in him. He pulled up the sleeves of his cloak past his elbows and held his hands out to the stacked branches surrounded by stones. The small pile of tinder beneath the wood started to smoke shortly before catching fire. The flames licked at the dry sticks above, blackening the bark before catching it as well. The crackling of the fire eased Gale's mind a bit, it gave him something else to think about besides the almost painful thoughts of his brother. He hadn't noticed the hooded figure watching him from the fringes of the clearing, nor had he heard the figure approaching. It stopped several feet from the silent Fae, watching him for a moment before speaking up with an aged voice. "Gale Grimsever, I presume?"
The one-armed outcast had been rapidly approaching a small township near the southwest bank of Straylight River, hoping that the inn there wouldn't have any Aqueans that tended to look no further than the stump near his elbow. It was already dusk when Reganth stepped through the inn's door. The main hall was dimly lit with small candles on many of the tables. There was a table of three Aqueans that quickly hushed their conversation when they saw the newcomer. There was a few other patrons, though they paid no mind much like the innkeep that was wiping down the bar. Reganth gave the Aqueans a quick glance before putting his eyes to a booth in the bar corner, sighing before making his way over. No sooner than he sat down, he was surprised to be met with a hooded figure that looked as if he had been occupying the seat for quite some time even though it was most certainly empty just moments before.
"Ah, an outcast," said the figure. "I thought I might find you here."
"It really doesn't matter how many of them are out there. I doubt we could fight one of them, so confrontation isn't really a goal."
Having gathered, or having tried to gather his thoughts and fears, Drogon did put them back where they belonged.
"What matters is getting way out of here, and preferably not belly up down the river or on decomposing legs."
A myriad of ideas and thoughts wavered through Drogon's mind. It settled on three goals, although one of them was optional.
- Survive this situation.
- Optionally: Try to make sure the rest of the party also survived.
- Make sure that if he died, the book would be saved.
He'd rather focus on goal number one and two to begin with. The third was yet too grim.
What about freezing the water in the mortar, making it expand and become brittle?
That sure came in handy that time back in Lympha whe.....
He stopped his own train of thought.
No. That would consume too much time, take ages, be though and loud. Besides, it probably isn't moist enough anyway.
Very well then, new plan.
I could conjure a long, thin pillar of ice down to the river, and slide dow.....
NO. That was stupid on way to many levels.
"Lady and Gentlemen. Someone here has a plan? Right?"
Reganth eyed the man warily, trying to think of ways the man could have been hiding from sight, but came up with no apparent means of concealment. Even after all this time his stump moved as if to reach for his axe, an involuntary action when he grew suspicious. He sighed and leaned over carefully, his good hand now reaching for his axe that hung near his waist, just in case this man meant trouble.
"Aye.." He began slowly, glancing around to see if anyone else was troubled by this mans appearance, but soon went back to talking. "I am an outcast, that much is obvious." He said as he wiggled his stump, "but I wonder, why you are looking for me? Throw back your hood and let me see your face, so I know who I am dealing with here." His left hand grabbed his axe loosely, as he waited for the man to make a move, or reveal himself. Through his long life he could have easily made enemies, and he was not going to be taken unaware.
At the inn...
The hooded figure leaned back in his seat, the light of the candles doing very little to bring light to his face. "Who I am is not important, but what is important is that you trust me when I say there is an opportunity for you to change your life. For the better, of course. A chance to be looked upon as a hero by your peers. Other Aqueans can't look past that stump, that failure as most of them would say, and are quick to shun you. Quick to look at you as a lesser being. Worthless. But you can change that. All I ask is that you keep that axe of yours where it is and listen to what I have to say."
At the Stavros crossing...
"I believe the plan at the moment is just to make it out of this alive," Soreal said, trying to remain calm. It was becoming difficult as the group walked through the dark outpost. There really was no telling how many of those things there were, or even if there was more than one. After seeing what one of those things was capable of, it was almost frightening to think what more of them could do. The Aquean led them to what looked like a mess hall - large tables occupied much of the floorspace, there were a few sculptures nearer the walls along with a couple of weapon racks, both decorative and non. A low, short rumble could be heard and felt through the floor of the room, causing the statues and swords to rattle against their resting places.
"What was that?" Aaron asked.
"I don't like the sound of that at all," Albin silently communicated to the dwarf symbiote attatched to him.
"This might just be your mind talking," said the dwarf, Gnūrlon, feeling Albin's unease, "but this likely won't end well for any of us."
Below, near the base of the massive column that the outpost rested upon, were the five obsidian-clad warrios. They had already begun to break away the masonry, tearing large chunks of stone from the foundation and making what little of the abridged structure unstable.
Rena let out a small squeak when she felt the initial shaking, and then she quickly hurried next to the Fae brothers while saying. "This isn't good at all. Can't we at least break a hole in the wall and fly out?" She thought it was a good idea initially, but then she remembered that the others weren't exactly Fae, and wouldn't be able to fly. Chuckling, she said. "Eh heh, n-nevermind that. Let's just keep going down! If anything the shaking will be more stable if we're near the ground right?" She looked to Terrus for his thoughts and advice.
Reganth stared at the man through narrowed eyes, intently studying him and trying to gather if he was attempting to lie to him or not. He slowly took his left hand off his axe, letting it rest against the table. He started to talk quietly at first. "Apologies, I have grown mistrustful in this world. I know who I am, someone to be proud of, but I would like everyone else to know it as well. Continue, stranger, and tell me how I can achieve such lofty goals." his voice grew almost instantly, changing to a tone that could be heard throughout the common hall. "I can still take on any Aquean whelps, maybe even with my hand tied behind my back." he finished with a sneer, not ignoring the glances he got earlier from three of his former brothers. He grinned broadly at the stranger, and waited for a response.
Contemplating to leave the man to his own predicament, Abe then decided to approach him fearing his empty stomach pushing him even further. He walked through the dry earth and called out to the old man, "Need any help?", he shouted at him. Abe picked up his pace and almost saw himself running towards the man, eager to catch a glimpse of what appeared to be ointments and medicine. Perhaps he would have some pickled food, Abe hope, and approached the man with his hand stretched out.
"Need a hand?", Abe asked and waited for the man to grab his hand and stand up. The broken cart didn't look like it was in bad shape, but the man couldn't fix it on his own.
"Now that would really depend on who is asking, wouldn't it?" Gale asked the strange hooded man, and taking a seat by the eerie green flames that sprouted up from the wood Gale had collected earlier. Gale wasn't so much worried, as he was intrigued. No man, or fae had ever dared come seeking out one of the Grimsever bloodline, and yet here this old man was. Standing here with Gale's name and everything.
"Tell me why you are here, and I may yet allow you to leave this clearing with your mind and body intact." Gale said, casting a glance over at the man as his dark black wings unfurled from his back and cast a shadow on the ground behind Gale.
I would like to join this RP. Where's the sign up?
At the Stavros crossing...
"Aye, more stable'n where we're at now," Terrus said. "Though I'm certain the lowest cellar o' this outpost is far, far from the ground."
"I don't even wanna go further down," Arborus remarked. "I just wanna cross the other side o' this bridge and keep clear o' that thing."
"Well, tha's if it doesn't remove the other side."
"Yeah...we'd know if 'e did, righ'?"
"O' course, we'd certainly be feelin' it now if..." Terrus paused, the thought of what could've happened to the other side of the bridge dawning on him. "Oh dear...le's just 'ope tha' shakin' is comin' from summat else."
Little did the earth Fae know, it was indeed something else causing the shakes. It was not the crumbling of the Western Arch, but the very column the outpost rested upon being broken through by the obsidian warriors. Closer and closer, they neared the stone pillar's core and the structure became increasingly unstable. The shaking became more frequent, causing silverware to rattle off the tables in the mess hall and sending vases smashing onto the floor.
Soreal stumbled a bit as the outpost shook violently, clutching his torch in one hand and bracing himself against a table with the other. "We need to get out of here, and fast..."
At the inn...
The old man's smile was hidden by the darkness within his hood, he was glad to see that the warrior before him was so eager. "To achieve a such a goal, especially for one like yourself, would require one to perform acts of great courage, the likes of which have never been done before. But you cannot do this alone. Travel south until daybreak, then head east to the banks of Straylight River. There you will come across a small group of travelers that will be in need of some aid. They have been seeking out a great evil that grows nearer to the heart of Sophisma with each day. Join them, and you'll be on your path to glory."
Along the east bank of Straylight River
"Yes, a hand would be nice," said the old man, taking hold of the Northerner's hand and pulling himself up. "Thank you, stranger. I hope you're up for a bit of lifting, my cart is rather heavy. I'd take everything down, but it's bothersome to replace and reorganize all the bottles. I figured it would be much simpler to just raise it and put the wheen back on, but I haven't the strength to lift it and fit the wheel."
The old man surveyed the cart for a moment before shaking his head in disbelief of his own impoliteness. He then turned to the Northerner and made an exaggerated bow, one of experienced showmanship. "I'm terribly sorry, where are my manners...I am Bartholomew Porter. Pleased to meet you."
At the clearing in Dark Tree Forest...
"Please, be calm young Gale," said the hooded figure. He began walking a wide circle around the Fae until he was on the other side of the fire. "I understand where your anger is coming from, I know the source of the welling fury within you, the fuel for your burning hatred. However, turning that onto every stranger you see isn't going to bring your brother back. In fact, it's safe to say nothing of this world will. Now, I did not come here to speak of your brother's fate, but of your own. I have a proposition for you, if you'll hear it."
Gale Grimsever - Clearing in Dark Tree Forest
"You'll never speak to me of my brother again, do you understand me you old fool? You have no idea of the pain his death caused me all the years ago, of the pain it still causes. His death came long before your time. Next time you speak of him, it will be the last time you draw breath in this world." Gale said, the fire igniting with a fury and launching up nearly seven feet into the night sky before dwindling back down to a normal sized fire. Gale looked forlornly into the flames for a few minutes before casting a gaze over at the man, as if he had forgotten that he was not alone.
"Speak, say what you will and leave me to my haunted memories."
Rena squeaked and flapped her wings a few times to gain some air as the shaking became more and more violent. She didn't like this at all! Looking over to the others, she said. "That was a lot stronger than before. Why don't we start running now? That sounds like a good idea." She then got a 'good idea' and said. "Oh! What if we break a hole in the wall, but keeping the bricks intact, I could try and use what magic I have left to guide us to the ground safely!" She then muttered under her breath. 'maybe.'
Reganth looked at the man for a while, wondering if he was stupid enough to taunt him, or was actually being genuine. It would be good to have some direction again... something to strive for, other then my weapons. There was always the need to strive in his combat arts, but this was finally a test for them, and he was anxious to get going. "You know, I think I may do just that." He said cheerfully as he stood up and gathered his few belongings." I would say see you around.. But something in my gut tells me I wont be seeing you again." He said with a smile and a casual wave with his stump, as he walked out of the building.
Reganth asked around quickly to gather his bearings, and set off quickly so he could meet with the mystery mans quota. South till daybreak, and east back to Straylight river... a place he only visited occasionaly, and quickly and quietly. He knew he was bound to meet with some people this time, but he just nodded his head slightly and set out, eager to get where he was going.
At the clearing...
"Ah, as temperamental as ever I see," said the cloaked man. He held his wrinkled and gnarled hands out to the fire for warmth and chuckled softly. "In time, you'll see there's more to this life than wallowing in your own hatred. You may as well end your own if you'll not permit yourself to see anything past that which resides many years behind you. What have you in this world, if nothing other than grim reflection and self-pity? What more is in store for you, other than the cold, dark embrace of death that you draw nearer with every passing day? I offer you a grand, new purpose in life. You cannot waste your talents, your vigor, your very existence on this."
The man spread his hands, gesturing to not only the emptiness that surrounded the fire, but that which Gale had shrouded himself with. "I ask of you, travel southward until daybreak. At the bank of Straylight River, there'll be a weary group of travelers in need of aid. Go to them, join them, for there is a rising power they aim to stop. They'll need all the help they can get, and you are no exception. Please, do this and I guarantee you will not regret the decision. Just think, what would your brother want for you?"
At the Stavros crossing...
Soreal rushed to reach the end of the mess hall, desperate to get out of the outpost before they would meet what was surely coming. The Aquean made it no further than halway across the grand hall before a booming crash was heard from far below. The source of the sound was the crumbling base of the column giving way to the massive heft it was struggling to hold. The obsidian warriors had long since cleared pillar, and they now stood at the edge of the cliff that once supported the East Arch, watching as the column pivoted on its diminished base, grinding stone with every movement as it tilted. Above, in the outpost, few of the adventurers could maintain their balance as everything that was bolted down began to slide and rattle across the floor. Bookcases and shelves leaned until their contents were spilled onto the floor, shortly before falling to the hard surface themselves. The tower began to fall, turning on its side as its peak hurtled towards the water, throwing everyone and everything within into free-fall...
Gale was about to snap a retort to the old man, but found he had no words to say. What the man had stung, and Gale knew that all he had done for the past few years had been wallow in the depression that his brother's death had created, yet despite all of his pleas and his attempts at finding a way to bring his brother back, Gale had found nothing. Maybe, if this force that was to be stopped by these adventurers could be harnessed instead of destroyed, it might be enough to bring Grimm back to life. Whatever the outcome, it was worth a shot.
"Fine, I take my leave." Gale said bluntly, turning from the old man and waving his hand backwards to snuff out the bright green flames that had lit the small hollow. It was only pitch dark for a moment before Gale's wings burst forth, large black bat-like wings that were clawed at the joint. The wings themselves seemed to be made of bright green and black material, but if you were to try and touch them, your hand would pass right through them. Gale beat his great wings once and took off into the night sky, the cold that had filled the hollow leaving with him.
Rest easy my brother, soon I'll find a way to save your soul.
Rena knew by the sound of grinding rocks and the overall turbulence of the building that something bad was going to happen, but she never expected just how bad until it was happening. Being in the air to avoid the shaking, she was one of the first to smack into the wall when it finally reached freefall. Not wanting to stay immobile for long, she tried her best to push off of the wall while flapping her wings for stability. This worked to a point, but it didn't help that there were numerous objects falling towards her. Numerous HEAVY OBJECTS falling towards the pint sized Fae.
Doing the only thing she could at the moment, her body glowed with the activation of her magic as she swiped her arm in front of her, creating a gust of wind strong enough to push the heavy chests and armoirs off of a collision course with her. She had recovered only a little bit of her magic though, and stuck to flapping her wings to avoid the smaller, lighter objects. She knew this couldn't last though, and ironically it wasn't a heavy object that hit her square in the head, it was a rather large metal goblet that had enough force to hit her dead on, blacking out the small Fae and leaving her fate up to the Fates.
Malyc continued along at the back of the group, trying to listen for anything coming up behind them over the sound of the rumble of the structure. The shaking of the column made it difficult to walk, despite the years he had worked on his balance. As he pushed on, he became more and more certain that something was trying to take the tower down.
He was just about to enter the mess hall as a thunderous crash came from below, and didn't have time to take another step before the base of the column gave out. Thinking quickly, Malyc grabbed onto the edge of the doorframe, trying to keep some semblance of footing. Unfortunately, as soon as he was relatively stable, the tower rotated as it fell and he was suddenly dangling, looking at the opposite wall 30 feet below him.
A grating sound drew his attention up the hallway above him... where a large armoire careened towards Malyc. And that's how this day gets worse... He thought, as the armoire impacted the doorway, fortunately getting stuck before it could make it all the way through. That did not, however, stop the part of it that DID make it through from knocking him off his precarious perch. The armoire spilled it's contents, which fell right along with Malyc, who could do nothing as he dropped towards the ground. His collision with the opposite wall was not made any easier by the presence of several chests, recently relocated by Rena.
Stunned by several pieces of armor hitting him from the open armoire, Malyc could only watch as the continuing rotation of the tower changed just enough to let it continue falling. Ah Fate, surely you jest... He thought, wincing at what he knew was coming.
The world, once so firmly anchored in the undeniable constants that was up and down began to shift. The very concept of gravity seemed to slip, along with Drogon's grip on the ground beneath him.
Grabbing on to something that might have been floor, roof, walls of something different altogether, the Vulcan, now stunned by this phantasmagoria of dread, found himself falling weightless into the gaping abyss that was the Straylight River.
Everything became a blur of shapes as the humid air was filled with deadly missiles. Stones, armours and adventures came raining down as lethal hail.
Yet in Drogon's mind, there was one detail that stuck, that hammered for attention.
He knew what he had to do. And he hated it.
The flash-frozen cryomancer hit the river with a audible splash, witch would have been sure to draw attention hadn't it been for the fact that this entire part of the river was being bombarded with the once towering bridge.
The ice that encapsulated the incapacitated Vulcan had taken the brunt of the damage, and was now floating down a small stretch of water before it came to rest on an embankment made out of debris from above, leaving behind a thin trail of red in the unresting water.
A chunk of stone hit the cold shard with a sickening crunch, and a veil of smaller shards flew everywhere.
The ice, now a fractured crystal deep blue and fiery red shifted, and came to rest on the rivers sandy banks.
Abe was momentarily stunned at the reaction from the elderly gentleman that had bowed to him only a moment ago. He tried to speak and fumbled his words before coming back to his senses and simply blurting out his name to avoid any further embaressment, "Abe Solomon", he said.
Abe kneeled down but quicly pulled back on account og his backpack. He placed it on the grounf and grabbed the cart firmly, bringing it upwards so the traveller could screw the wheel back on. He looked up an tried to strike up a conversation as he was struggling to keep the cart in place, "So what do you have there?".
At the Stavros Crossing...
Soreal, having nothing to brace himself with save for the large wooden tables sliding across the floor's surface, tried as best he could to maintain a foothold but to little avail. Meanwhile, Arborus wrapped his arms beneath Terrus' and helped his brother's ascent, dodging much of the debris as it shifted towards the wall. This task was becoming increasingly difficult, however, when everything was in free-fall and objects were no longer sliding, but hurtling at them in great number. As the Fae were dodging airborne debris, Aaron the mage was blasting away barrels and chairs with fire until he could no longer stand, tumbling down the steepened surface and crashing onto a table that rested along the wall below. Albin was struggling to maintain control over the growth, Gnūrlon, as its survival instinct kicked in and did what it could to keep its host in one piece. He was scraping at the floor, vying for something to hold on to which turned to be a fruitless endeavor on the smooth, stone surface.
Albin, like the other flightless and less fortunate adventurers, tumbled down to the wall with the rest of the clutter in the room. However, he was unfortunate enough to have fallen just moments before a large weapon rack. A blade clattered harmlessly several feet from his head, while a dagger fell downwards towards the Dwarf host's throat. Panicking, Albin held his hands out in a desperate attempt to stop the blade, resulting in the man taking the blade through his hand. He cried out in agony, though was cut short when a much larger blade passed through a lung. Gasping for air and writhing on the wall, the remnants of the weapon rack clattered around him before being thrown once again as the tower turned.
Though Soreal was nearly killed by a falling table, he was kept relatively afterwards when the legs came to rest on either side of him. He looked up at the grimy underside of the large table as debris fell onto the other side, hoping that the sturdy wood would hold. It had, momentarily, until a large barrel of brine careened onto the tabletop, the impact reducing both objects to splinters and showering the Aquean with broken lumber. He felt his weight shift again and was sent sideways, just before a small caravan of chairs could've battered him relentlessly. He tumbled to the adjacent wall with the piles of broken furnishings and metal tableware. He rolled over a bent fork which planted itself firmly into his shoulder, though Soreal hadn't felt its sting for long as his head had collided with the base of a mahogany pedestal, knocking him unconscious.
Aaron, lying atop a table with a shattered shoulder, blasted away a chair with his one functioning arm before having the greater portion of a cabinet smash onto his torso. The mage tried to budge the heavy furnishing, but was relieved by gravity when the tower turned. It was a short-lived victory though, for when he began to fall once more, he landed sideways on the edge of heavy bench, breaking a few ribs and snapping his spine with a dull crunch, inaudible throughout the thundering of the fall.
Arborus was already having great difficulty with flying, lugging Terrus around all the while, when a chest Rena had blown away came tumbling at them. The nature elemental barely managed to clear out of its way, though this momentary distraction averted his attention from what was above.
"Arborus!!" Terrus had called out, but it was too late. When his brother had looked up, the large cast-iron pan had hit the top of Arborus's forhead, knocking him out cold. Terrus freed himself from his brother's hold and tried to slow both their descent, though it wasn't going well with his less-developed wings. Soon, a table crashed into his back and sent them both tumbling to the wall below.
The stone tower crashed into the river below, crumbling as it hit the rocky bed below and littered it with massive chunks of stone as the raging currents swept away everything that wasn't heavily weighted down. Bodies, chairs, doors - all rose to the surface as the river grew wider and wider, further down as the calm waters carried them until they came to a rest on the banks miles from the bridge...
Much further upstream...
"Well, mostly just salves, elixirs," Bartholomew said as he lifted the wheel, put it back on the axle, then made sure it was fastened properly to reduce the chance of a repeat performance. "You see, I'm a traveling doctor and I go wherever the wind takes me, helping all I can. Though the Fates have made it apparant that even I go on without the occasional helping hand. And Solomon you say? I figured just as much, you look so much like your father."
Abe helped the old man with the cart and heard his banter. The old man mentioned he peddled in salves and herbs; a somewhat respectable line of work, Abe thought to himself. He fixed the cart together with the old man and continued to listen to his tales while hoping for a tip or two from the experienced traveler.
"...you look so much like your father...", those innocent sounding words intrigued Abe to no end. If the man had known his father, then he must have been an old friend, but he doesn't remember him coming to the village.
Perhaps he's mistaken me for another, Abe thought, and turned to the man. "Solomon was his name, but are you certain we are speaking of my father?".
Malyc woke up several hours after the collapse, face down on the bank of the river. Well, I guess I ain't quite dead yet... He thought, as he tried pushing himself to his feet. Tried being the operative word there, as he was interrupted by a screaming pain in his left shoulder. That's gonna cause problems... Hope it's not broken.
Feeling gradually returned to the rest of his body, and he wasn't surprised when his shoulder wasn't the only injury he sustained. Malyc felt at least 2 broken ribs on his left side as well. Fighting through the pain, he managed to get to his feet. Well, at least I can still walk... He looked around, trying to find his bearings and possibly figure out about where he was. Well... I'm downstream of the bridge, because upstream isn't really possible... I need to find a spot to camp for the night, hopefully dry off and try to not get killed by something... With that encouraging thought, he set off to find a protected spot to make camp, and hopefully get a fire going.
Reganth had been traveling for a few hours since day break at this point, and was nearing the Straylight river. The mans promise of glory was still running through his head, driving him forward toward his goals. I hope that man wasnt leading me on.. I have yet to see anyone, and I am getting fairly close now... He thought as he tread on, and eventually, was standing at the bank of the river. He casually looked around, once toward the north, and once to the south, and he actually saw someone struggle to get up, looking wounded. He could not really tell from the distance, and the figure soon shambled inland. Reganth quickly hurried down the river,breaking into a jog, toward where the person went, intent on meeting up with him, or her.
By the time Reganth followed their footsteps inland, they were out of sight, so he followed the wet steps toward wherever they were. He soon found who he was looking for. Another Aquean, trying to start a fire with one arm, was sitting on the ground. Reganth scowled, but couldn't help but notice the lack of movement in his arm. He quickly spoke up to announce his presence. "Aquean, its easier to start a fire with two hands, trust me. Is it you who I am looking for?" He said, in a grudging tone toward the man sitting there.
Malyc was having trouble lighting the fire. With the use of only one of his arms, the steel wouldn't stay in position long enough to strike with the flint, and the tinder kept blowing around. Cursing under his breath, he was unable to hear the other Aquean approach.
"Aquean, its easier to start a fire with two hands, trust me. Is it you who I am looking for?"
"Very much so, I know." Malyc said as he stood and turned to face the other Aquean. "Unfortunately, I lack the medical skills necessary to fix it, but one must make do with what is given them. As for your question, I know nothing of any meeting to take place in this area."
He looked the other over, noting the missing arm. "An outcast, eh? Least my luck hasn't completely abandoned me..."
Gale landed with a softness not able to be achieved by humans, a small plume of sand billowing up with his landing. Enormous chunks of marble and stone lay scattered about, and wood drifted lazily in the stream. Gale wasn't quite sure what had happened, but he knew one thing for sure, a tower was now gone, either at the bottom of the river or sitting on it's banks. Such a feat amazed even him, yet how someone had managed to blow up a tower was beyond him. Gale looked around, his eyes darting back and forth between the rubble, looking for any clues as to where the survivors of this collapse were and noticed something small downstream floating in the shallows of the river.
With a flap of his wings, Gale darted up into the air, over to the partially submerged object, only to see a small Fae with bright red hair and green wings. Gale landed immediately and plucked the Fae out of the water, flapping his wings and bringing the girl over to dry land. Gale immediately brought a flame to life which ignited in his right hand with an eerie green glow. Gale threw the flames onto the sand which stayed lit, and brought the female Fae closer to the flames to try and dry her off.
"Don't die now child, you do not yet have my permission to die. Listen to my voice, and come back to the world." Gale said with a forceful edge in his voice, which cut through his usual soft tone and melodious voice that all Fae possessed.
Rena felt like her entire body was on fire as she finally returned to consciousness. She didn't know what had happened, but the last thing she remembered was being in the tower as it started to collapse. She had avoided many things, but something heavy had finally hit her hard. She had a bruise on her forehead, right where the goblet had impacted her.
"Don't die now child, you do not yet have my permission to die. Listen to my voice, and come back to the world."
She heard a voice that felt like it was coming from everywhere at once, but it could have been the heavy headache that she was suffering from. Her eyes opened and adjusted for a moment before they fell onto what looked to be a Fae. Shaking her head, which intensified her headache and caused her to wince, she said. "W-who..are you?" She tried to get up, but let out a cry of pain before setting herself back down and saying. "I-it hurts...I can't move.."
"Don't try and move, you've taken quite the fall it seems. Just lay there and rest for now until you have the strength to move." Gale said, grabbing a goblet from the ground and fetching a cup of water with it. Gale tipped the girl's head forward, putting the goblet to her lips and allowing her to take a drink before asking more questions.
"As for who I am, you will discover that soon enough. What happened to you? How did you come to have these injuries?" Gale asked, grabbing a blanket from the wreckage and placing it underneath the other Fae's neck for support to keep her head off the ground.
Rena tried to collect her thoughts as she listened to the older Fae. She definitely appreciated the drink before noticing the goblet. She stared at it a little bit before saying. "If you don't mind..c-could you throw that goblet as hard as you can?" It happened to be the exact same one that had caused her to black out, and even had a good sized dent in it from impacting her head.
Once she was able, she continued. "I-I was trying to cross the bridge when this armored something blew it up and killed one of our allies..It was like his everything was just drained into nothing." She then gasped and tried to get up once more, and finding the same pain as before, set herself back on. "M-my friends! We were in the tower together when it collapsed..H-have you seen them? W-we have to find them!"
He is injured and all that he thinks to do is start this off on the wrong foot. was all that Reganth could think as he stood in the campsite, looking toward the other Aquean. His left hand grabbed at his axe momentarily, until he decided to let it slide for once. "The man told me to meet someone here, and you halfway meet his description. Where is the rest of your group?" he said quickly before moving closer to look at the Aqueans arm.
He studied it for a short while, and then spoke up, saying "Luckily for you boy, It does not look as though you have broken anything, it is not nearly floppy enough." Reganth quickly poked around his shoulder with his left hand, probing roughly. "I believe I can fix it, if you want, though I will tell you, I will be none too gentle." he said with a broad smile, waiting for a response.
"Calm down. I will search for your friends, you need to rest." Gale said, looking once more at the cup before throwing it unceremoniously into the river, and then patting the girl on the head and standing up. Gale looked up from the girl and spread his wings, flapping once and taking off into the sky in a quick burst of speed. Gale then straitened himself out and flew off along the river, looking for any signs of survivors.
Pain shot through Drogon's body as a sledgehammer, pummelling his nervous system in perfect unison with his beating heart, which was slowly picking up speed from his cold endeavour.
Gasps of cold, damp air sneaked their way past rattling teeth and filled his lungs with sweet, free air.
He was alive. Beaten and cold, but alive.
The world grew more and more hazy as he tried to sit up, only to discover that such a movement was too complicated for his current condition. Stronger pain seemed to be emitting from his left elbow and lower left ribcage.
Twisting as best he could to his right, the mangled mage discovered that his vessel had melted and left him on what seemed to be the west shore.
Eventually, Drogon managed to drag himself towards one of the larger cluster of trees just by the river. The pain was to overwhelming to continue any further, and using the last of his strength to place himself in shelter of the wind, he lay down by a fallen tree.
The chilling night wind was biting his wet skin, and even though his robe protected him against the blunt of it, it still stung.
With two bleeding wounds, and a body so battered magic was out of the question, Drogon knew that if he would live to see the light of day, he would have overcome one of his life's longest nights.
Drogon led his usable arm inside his robe and brought out his little black book.
It was too dark to read, but he let his fingers feel the worn leather of the books exterior. He lay his ceremonial dagger next to it on the ground before him.
It was time to face this night.
Along the east bank of Straylight River
"Solomon was his name, but are you certain we are speaking of my father?"
"Yes, of course," said the old man, smiling broadly. "Believe me, I never forget a face. Especially not when it has a name tied to it. Yours even has a story to it, though it is a shame that your mother had to go before her time."
Bartholomew gazed far off across the river, silently recollecting the events of that fateful day. Suddenly, as if he'd been yanked from his daydreaming, he looked back at Abe with a look of mild concern. "Speaking of time, I almost forgot to mention...a rather curious fellow passed through here, one who didn't seem too keen on showing his face. Seemed to know a great deal about you. Said he had an urgent message he wanted me to deliver to you. He told me you were to keep traveling south, where there would be some interesting folk who will have run ashore by the time you meet them. A rather odd message, I know, but he seemed to think it urgent. Mentioned something about dark times ahead, great evil rising and whatnot. Wasn't quite sure what to make of it, but maybe the Fates will be kind to you and shed more light on the subject than I."