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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2005 4:37 pm
by Lestores Moonhair
"Wether I like stories, young man?" He laughed out for a brief moment, then regained his old composure, but the corners of his mouth remained raised in inner joy. "Aye, I do like stories, in fact, I love them. That's why I have so many books around here." He spread his arms and as he did, the whole room appeared to widen. The walls faded back and suddenly the bookcases seemed to tower all the way up to the stars, leaving the sky as a dome to top the whole space. He noticed the boy's jaw slowly starting to drop and chuckled for a moment. He had forgotten how easy people were fooled by appearances, though the youngsters like this Yip were tricked because they didn't know better, but the elder people should know better.

"Let me tell you a brief story boy. Once upon a time, a long time ago, I lived in a different world. It was a place far from here, but one thing was the same: you couldn't leave it, there was no way to cross the borders around it. We had different gods then, they were called Anegelique, Leto and Barnabas." He saw the eyes of the boy light up and nodded approvingly. "I see you've heard of them. Yes the very same. They were called exactly as the three leaders of the different factions we have now. Quite a coincedence, don't you think." His eyes now shone with pleasure, and he bowed over his desk to the boy. "I'll tell you a secret: I think they are the same. Yep, I think we still have gods, the very same we had back then at my world. Foret, Darden and Isonia may have left us, but that doesn't mean that we don't have gods anymore. Anyway, because those three are the different, I want to show the people of the isle that we've made a sort of circle. So I'm going to show them what was written before they were born, to show them what it possible within these worlds."

He now rose to his full length, no longer minding his young visitor. All that was left was himself and his grand vision. "Do you how many stories are written already? Only today, people wrote a dozen stories, but so few people notice what possibilities there are. So I have to show them, we need to point out what was done in the past so that the people of today can profit from it. Now that the first Three have returned, maybe people will understand the stories of old better. That's why I have returned... You're mother was correct, there hasn't been anybody here for a long time, but well, things do change. In fact, we're not the only two, or three if you include master Crumbs, who are here: I'm expecting a few visitors." He cleared his throat for a moment, then bellowed "Well then, Dri, Desi, Dolana, don't hesitate. Come on in, you shouldn't keep your old master waiting."

PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2005 4:50 pm
by Dolana
The room they appeared in was strangely familiar. It had been a few decades since she had been here, but it all looked exactly the same: a small hall, five doors, stairs behind them. She knew it all too well: though they had rarely been at the Court at the same, each one of the Court agents had a seperate room furnished in their own way, according to their own wishes. She had seldomly required anything else than a basket to keep her form, she hired scribed when she needed them and had barely used her 'office' while she had operated for the Court.

Odd enough, a strange feeling came over her the moment she had adjusted to the new environment. "Desi, do you feel that?" She paused, hesitatingly. She looked around the torchlit hall, but it felt more distant. "There is... power here. No... It can't be." She jumped into her own room, then dropped on her knees in reverance. "Leto be praised, oh they have returned, the old gods have returned."

PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 3:47 am
by Desiderius
Marhillen, the Inner Court. It was all exactly the same as he had remembered the place. When he had started his work for Master Moonhair, he had travelled the isle far and wide, but during the last years of his service his job had been to keep an eye on the local lord. That was the moment he had met Daron for the first time. While Desiderius was responsible for the library and its contents, Daron had been charged with protecting the buildings. Maxim was not necessarily a dangerous place in itself, but the wars which constantly swept over the lands had a tendency to destroy years of hard work within mere seconds. Exactly that happened, a few decades ago, and Marhillen had been overrun, the Court destroyed, and he had thought all was lost.

And here he was, in the apparently recently rebuild inner Court. Memories whirlwinded through his mind, but all was interrupted by Dolana's remarks. As soon as she went into her own room, the same feeling came over him as well. He walked over her doorstep and saw her sitting in front of picture, talking softly to him, then mumbling something like a prayer. Ignoring the manticore and his servant, he darted across the hall into his own chamber. The emotions that struck him were overwhelming and without hesitating he leaned over his desk and kissed the picture of Angelique on the wall.

'I should have been informed about this' he thought as he took the picture, which still radiated a soft blue light, from the wall and looked at it in reverance. 'I'm only a day or two back, and I hadn't even noticed that apparently the four have returned. But this does complicate matters, at least a little. I'm curious with what fanatism we, the four agents of the Court, will return to worshipping our particular god. I hope it won't stand in the way of cooperation. Our common goal is too important... isn't it?' This was all too much at the same time. The Court returning, now the old gods returning. What else did Fate have in stock for them? His mind had been whirlwinding, and was now using all the possible energy in an earthshocking sort of way as he recounted the agendas of the other agents. He placed the picture back on the hook, then walked back to the hall. He noticed that Drimortantes hadn't moved and he was about to ask why, when an all to familiar voice demanded them in. "Well then, Dri, Desi, Dolana, don't hesitate. Come on in, you shouldn't keep your old master waiting."

PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 5:48 pm
by Drimortantes
While his two companions had gone off to their rooms, Drimortantes had merely closed his eyes and let his senses do the work for him. When Desiderius came back to the hall, he had a few things so share with him, besides the announcement of Master Moonhair of course. "Well it seems he knows we're coming, right? After what Dolana told me, it doesn't surprise me in the least. But there's one thing that does disturb me." He paused for a moment, searching the right words to express his feelings. He was about to get emotional and he really hated that, so he tried to put it in an objective sort of way. "I don't have to visit my room to know that Barnabas is back among us as well, just like Leto and Angelique are, judging from your actions upon arriving here. The fourth person however, is not present here. And nor is Oleana, I presume."

He looked at Desiderius with a grim smile. "You know I've never been a teamplayer Desiderius, but I don't wish Daron death. Still, it seems that either Lestores has some connection to the gods, causing the absence of Daron, or that we are somehow looked to the divine entities. Neither of those two options comforts me." He know there could be dozens of other reasons why Daron wasn't here and they were, but of one thing he was sure: Oleana had not returned with the other three. 'Why only three, what's so special about having three gods? It seems we can't have a square of oppositions, we have to think in triangles apparently.'

"Perhaps he will explain to us. Though it would be the first time he would explain anything at all. But when you're summoned, you don't have much of a choice, do you?" With that he nodded to Desiderius and proudly advanced over the threshold and boomed into Master Moonhair's office: "The Guardian of the Skies salutes you, oh master Moonhair. What business brings you back amongst us?" '...and what is this boy doing here?'

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 4:41 am
by Yip
The sudden loud exclamation of the white-haired man woke him from his day dreams. He noticed that the room had shrunk back to its normal proportions: the towering bookcases were now only as high as the ceiling, which stood twice a man's height above him. No books reaching to the sky, no stars lighting up this office, everything seemed quite normal. Except for the fact that he was very sure he had seen all he described before. Just as he was starting to doubt his own senses, the call of Mister Moonhair was answered by a creature he had never seen before. Had he just ended up in some fairy tale?

He did recognise the creature. His father had told him of manticores. Strange creatures which had the body of lions, wings of an eagle, but the face of a man. Exactly this strange combination of body parts walked into the office and greeted the man. The creature radiated an air of authority and pride, although he stood not much higher than Yip, as he walked on all fours. And not only authority, but strength as well, for his paws looked as they could split his skull with a single stroke and instinctively he took a step back from it.

'But... there's someone else as well' Just now he noticed the beast was ridden by a much smaller creature. 'She has wings as well! It's a fairy!' The boy almost uttered the words out loud, but the shock still prevented him to speak. So he had ended up in a fairy tale indeed, for all kinds of legendary creatures just walked into the room like it was the most normal thing to do. Did she blink at him, or did he just pretend that himself? 'Oh, by Foret's staff, I must be dreaming.'

And maybe he was, for the hours had passed quickly as Yip had been exploring the hallways of the Court of Marhillen. Still, he kept his eyes open and was almost disappointed when two other persons entered the room, for they were quite normal. The first one was an elf. Well he had seen a dozen of those, although this one did have a black skin, which gave him an odd appearance in the white cloak he wore. The man halted next to the manticore, when the second one appeared. She was... beautiful, but there was something wrong in her appearance. He couldn't point out exactly what it was: though her beauty was stunning, something was out of place in her face.

The woman walked over to the other side of the manticore, so that the three formed a row opposite of the desk of mister Moonhair. In the meanwhile, Yip thought it best not to interfere with this grown-up business and took a few steps back and leaned back against one of the bookcases, as far away from the other as he could and whispered to his rat, who had just lifted its tiny head from his shirt"Now be silent Crumbs, I'm sure this is all none of our business and if we just keep quiet, no one will mind us."

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 5:29 am
by Desiderius
'At least one of us is not completely subdued by everything that happens.' he thought when Drimortantes crossed the threshold into Lestores office. He admired the manticore's staightforward way of handling problems. If it needed to be dealt with, he would do it without hesitation, even if he knew in advance that the consequences of actions would possibly harm him. Hesitation was apparently a word that did not fit in his dictionary. 'Well, you bet I'm hesitating' and instead of answering the call of the Keeper at once, he walked over to the second room on the left and entered.

It was exactly as Drimortantes had predicted. Here there was no extra power to be felt, no picture radiating divine light onto loyal followers. Oleana was not there anymore. 'Perhaps it was true that she was in a way Olandar reborn, and Olandar was simply not ment to survive. The siblings are simply the next generation. Things change, people change, gods change, heck, even worlds can change.' It was but too true, but he would find that out within a few weeks. 'But I can't believe this has anything to do with Daron. This is simply nothing more than pure coincidence, nothing more, nothing less.' He turned around on his heels and walked briskly out of the room. 'I will not be ordered around by the strange twists of Fate. We will see what Lestores has to say to us, but after that, there's just me and a lost Daron, and that's all that will count.'

Returning in the hall he called for Dolana. "Dolana, are you coming. We can't keep the old man waiting." He heard the woman rise in the room and knew that the she would come. 'All right then... here we go. Taking a deep breath he walked into Lestores' office. He immediately felt that the man had been playing around with some illusions or something, the air still tingled with magick, it almost made the hair in his neck rise. As he walked over to the manticore, he noticed a small boy backing away from him and blinked to see wether he was an illusion of Moonhair to somehow trick them or he was real, but he felt no extra magick emitted from him. He was puzzled by his presence, but continued with a steady pace and halted before the next, his gaze meeting the gaze of the Keeper.

"Hail Lestores Moonhair, Keeper of the Court. The Guardian of the Scrolls returns upon your arrival into the realms of Maxim. He paused a moment after this formal words, then decided there was no reason why he should not voice his doubts, concerns or whatever you would call his thoughts. "You've followed me quickly, I had not expected you here at all. I hope it wasn't just because I left something behind?"

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 5:43 am
by Dolana
Within seconds she had prayed every prayer she knew by heart. Her mind had been racing to show her love for her Lord. 'What fate brings you back? Darden was no match for you, I could not love him, I could not drink from his bowl, his followers only drowned themself in his madness and became just like him: an animal. But you, you are sophisticated, you have an ear for the weak and an eye for the artistic. Hah, you can play the lute, I imagine the parties of deities where Darden would touch an instrument after getting drunk, I'm quite positive that all the divine Lords and Ladies throw him back in the bowl he was born from, phah, filthy creature. I know, I know, he only got the bowl afterwards, he found it, used it, it's not his fault, but he should know his limits, and you know it. You know limits, although you love the same chaos as he does.'

"Dolana, are you coming. We can't keep the old man waiting."

'I will come back for you, every day.' She looked up to the picture and answered the continuous smile with one of her own. Then she rose to her feet and left the room, a warm fuzzy feeling she recognised from her young days burning inside her. She just saw the white cloak of Des disappearing into Master Moonhair's room. For a moment she thought of changing her appearance, but she knew that he would still know who she was, he hadn't visited her for naught, had he? Except of course, that her changes of form were no illusion, they were as real as water, air, earth and fire. 'What you do, that's not real, you can't trick people for ever she thought. But that was a discussion she would not start today, if it was up to her. Today, she would listen. And so she entered the office as well and walked over to stand beside her two companions.

With a smile she announced herself. "Dolana, Guardian of the Shadows, at your service. It seems you're not the only man of old stirring in the present. Just today I barely survived a very real attempt to get my amulet, and he, my handsome assassin pardon the strange combination fo words, knew all about us and the Court. You, Lestores, have some explaining to do, because old gods returning, people knowing about our work, which I was for a veeeeeeeeery long time no longer involved in and you just popping in just seems like trouble to me. I think even Leto would smile at the chaos that seems to guide our actions at the moment.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 9:45 am
by Lestores Moonhair
This was it then. The moment he had been waiting for. His three favourite mortals gathered around him, an impartial witness of the whole act, well in fact two, but he wouldn't really count the rat. The final act, his last trick, so that the memories would live on... perhaps forever.

He was about to start when doubt struck in for a moment. 'Can I really sacrifice myself? Shouldn't I live on, just like the other last members of my race? Am I not worth more alive than dead?' He had contemplated these problems constantly, ever since he had felt the return of the Three. Truth was, he couldn't change this feeling of fatigue. He had lived long enough, but he had lived with a purpose. 'And that purpose is not yet finished, that's why I have to do it, that's why I must continue' he reminded himself. 'No doubt, no fear, no regrets, just... this.' He spread his arms and looked down upon the three gathered in front of him, as he made himself grow a little by simple light effects.

"Dear friends... dear friends, yes that's what I call you now. You did well to come here, though we unfortunately miss one. I thank you for coming out of free will. You know that I would have able to summon you, but there was no need for that. Now that you are here, I can perform my last trick. But before I do, as you pointed out correctly, miss Dolana, I owe you some explanations. Let me see to that first."

"Daron was eager to leave our hide-out, because he picked up a signal I even hadn't noticed yet. He was the first of us to know that the old three had returned. Yes, even before you Master knew that Angelique, Leto and Barnabas had returned, the fellow had this strange feeling inside that forbode their return. But he was wrong in one thing. He had hoped to find Oleana upon his return, and she was the only one who hasn't returned. Wether this has caused him to loose his spirit as he traveled back to this realm of the world, I don't know. The fact remains that mind and body are now seperated for two days, and I am doubting that he will see the day his Lady returns, if that day ever comes."

"I could read from your faces that each one of you knows that his patron has returned. What form they will take is yet unknown to me, perhaps they will even walk the mortal grounds, shake hands with the commoners and nobility alike, perhaps they will fight eachother in the skies high above Maxim, I don't know. But I was fascinated by the idea that gods had returned here from another plane and shortly after Desiderius had left to look for Daron's lost spirit I followed him and reinstated the Court, physically that is. But it won't do, war will tear that countryside apart just as it did last year, and the year before that and ever back to the days of the first murder. No, for this Court to survive the future, it will have to be different."

"And that is where my guest comes into the pictures. Drimortantes, Desiderius, Dolana, I want you to meet Yippodocus Cornwater, son of the brewer of the best beer of... well perhaps of all the lands between here and Ran'Kur. Yip, you are the future of these lands, you have you're whole life before you. To you I give the book 'A Triad of Old'"
From one stack of books on his desk, he lifted the top book and placed on the corner of his desk closest to Yip. He smiled encouragingly to the boy, but did not wait for a response.

"I'm sure the boy will let you read it, but don't worry, it's empty... for now." He placed a hand on top of the remaining books of the pile and looked to the three again, his eyes full of purpose. "These books will contain the history of the worlds we lived in. You can carry them with you and show them to people, that is your task. As soon as you open a book, the illusion of a building will appear. You can walk around the building freely and explore the rooms: each building is a library of its own, each one devoted to one era of the worlds we have known and in particular to the gods who inhabited the lands. For the gods have always been the force who drove the people onwards and they are what made this place interesting to study."

"There are four books remaining, a volume for each of you. Somewhere my numbers go wrong however, because so far everything fell right into place, but it seems Daron was somehow calculated in by fate as well, but as he's really not here... well it doesn't matter, I'm sure one of you will happily take two books with you. The fifth books will contain the stories still to come. I've tried to create a spell to do this automatically, but if Yip ever needs your guidance, I suppose you will keep an eye on him, if you can spare them? You could even give him Daron's amulet, so that he would be easy to reach, I'm sorry to say that I don't have the power to create any extra."

He tried to hide his excitement, but he already noticed that he was constantly talking. But it were his last words, he should enjoy them. "I will adress one more concern of yours, miss Dolana. The order of which you speak, has always existed. Not everyone is happy to be reminded of the past, but at those moment I'd like to quote one of our famous historians: 'Wer nicht von fumf eras/Sich weiss Rechenschaft zu geben, Bleibt im Dunkeln unerfahren/Mag von Tag zu Tage leben', though I must admit I've changed a few words to make it fit to my purpose. It is only through our knowledge of the past that we can understand what happens today, though I must stress that it doesn't necessarily mean that history repeats itself, that's quite a different thing altogether. But that order will remain, though I don't know any names or faces, but Desiderius has been keeping an eye on them for sometime, perhaps he can tell you more."

"Now there's little left for me to say. I hope you've enjoyed your time with the Court, I most certainly did. I don't release you from your service, on the contrary, now that the Court is here again, I compel you to show the world what we've done here. That is your task, till the end of your days. And with that I bid you farewell."

He knew the following part would be a bit grotesque, but he was an illusionist and would die in a way his art allowed him to. He raised his arms into the air and again the bookcases towered out of the room into the open night sky, the walls seemed to fade away and for a moment the world seemed to exist of nothing but books, scrolls, sky and stars. In the centre of it all, a gargantuan image of Lestores Moonhair floated, laughing out loud as felt the power of the ancients flowing through him for the last time. Then he made the ultimate sacrifice and everything collapsed into the pile of books on the desk. Lightning crashed dramatically, thunder rumbled in the distances as book after book crashed into the pile and disappeared with a fanciful trace of sprakling dust particles behind it. Books and scrolls swirled around the room and all of them crashed into the pile of books. Then, all was silent again. The office was empty, except for four people, a rat, a desk and five books.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 10:10 am
by Desiderius
* * * Three weeks later * * *

They had buried Daron in the Court garden. It had been barely a ceremony worthy of a noble, but he knew the Lord of Andenor wouldn't have minded. He had been as much a noble as he had been a scout, a ranger, a musician. He hadn't needed the ways of the nobility to lead his life. All of them had attended the small service, Dree, Dolana, even Yip had, though he had no clue who Daron exactly was. But his father had told him a story or two about a nobleman Daron who had ruled the country a few decades ago and he was easily convinced to skip some time with his friends to visit a service in honour of a man he knew from his father's stories.

After that, each one of them had gone their seperate ways. While Dolana had decided to stay for a while, and make sure the Court would be ready for any visitor to come, arrange the necessary personel etcetera, Drimortantes and he had both decided to spend some time alone.

Every day, since that strange night at Marhillen, he had opened his book and visited the illusion created by Lestores. Everytime, he had been fascinated by the opening poem, which read 'Maxim, when will you finally face your/ Image in the mirror? When you’re able to /Recall your rich past? Then Remember!/ Read what was written: of victory and surrender,/ Of wars and faith, love and hate; I/ Reckon you will be surprised by your legacy, Maxim.' Afterwards he would wonder around in the halls of the 'Fab Four', as that was the book he had recieved. They had decided to leave two books behind with Dolana, who had been given the latter two books 'Prophets of Tonan' and 'Immortals of Tonan'. It was a fascinating construction that Lestores had concieved, though he was incredibly curious as to what reason the old Sidhe had decided to give up his life. He knew he would never find out why.

Now there remainded one questions. 'What to do?' He had sat himself somewhere along of one of Maxim's many roads as he had traveled around without a purpose, each day looking for a quiet spot to explore his library and then moving on, wandering aimlessly. Now that Daron was as much history as Lestores Moonhair, and the other history was packed in the same books that the Magister had created in his act, would he just follow his master's last will? Spread the word of history? And then there was this strange feeling of wrongness, which was trying to get his attention at the back of his mind for a few days now.

His thoughts were interrupted as he suddenly noticed that the light was fading. 'That's odd, I must have been sitting here longer than I thought' he mused and looked around him. He heard a horse galloping in the distance and before he had risen to his feet to greet a fellow traveler, a panicked horse came racing around a nearby hill and passed him by after a few seconds, riderless. It was then that he looked up at the sun, and gasped.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 10:26 am
by Dolana
'I pray for the soul of Daron, who was of course misguided by his endless faith in the Green Mother, but nevertheless was a good friend and did not deserve to die. I hope he didn't die in vane.'

'I pray for the soul of Yip, the smart young fellow, who has no idea what happened here three weeks ago but acts just like any child would do: he lives on, is happy with his present and hopes that a lot of stories will appear in them. Every time he visits me he tells me a different story, I think he has quite a talent for that. Like father, like son, I suppose.'

'I pray for the soul of Desiderius, that he will peace in his mind. I've never truely known him, but I know that he is very troubled by recent events. I hope you can show him the true light, that life is nothing without chaos, we can just hope to find our way through that chaos and live on, just like we did.'

'I pray for the soul of Drimortantes, who's perhaps the most distant of all my relations. Don't folly his pride, he's blinded by the young reincarnation of his old god, I truely think that he's going to use the library book to fool the people into following that young brat of a noble, by telling them stories of glorious battles with the Thirteenth Baatorian Legion or whatever old alliance he picks as example.'

'And lastly, I pray for my own soul. I've been so troubled by all that has happened these past weeks, I suppose much like Desi has been. I'm quite certain that something big is going to happen, something of truely great impact, but I have no clue wether it involves me, my relations, the Court, Yip, or whomever I hold dear at the moment. I want to know Milord, what is it that you have in stock for me?'

She looked up at her focus point, the picture of Leto smiling down at her. She had been so focused that she just now noticed that the picture was the only source of light in the room. At that moment, a cacophony of howling erupted from the town below the hill. She jumped to the window and heard the rustling of wings above her, but saw nothing but darkness. Agitated by the lack of light she ran over to Desi's room to get a view of the village, but all she saw was the sun darkened completely by the moon. A cry of despair erupted from her mouth uncontrolled and she sank to her knees. "What is it that you ask of us, Milord, what do you want to show us?" In shock she heard the response, a real response, but wasn't in the least comforting...

'water earth air fire... water earth air fire... water earth air fire...'

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 4:12 pm
by Drimortantes
Another two weeks later

"Could somebody please, PLEASE, stop this horrible trembling, it makes it impossible to continue my explanation."

He looked his audience in the eyes. It consisted of the local librarians, an astrologer, a few so called scientists and two members of the city council. He had hired the back room of an inn and invited these people in to see the wonders of the now 'take away' library of Marhillen. Though the innkeeper had warned him in advance that he was largely out of stock because supplies from the farmers have been running low, he had decided it was no reason to stop lecturing and started anyway. He had not yet come to the part where he would actually guide them through the halls of 'Birth of a Story', as that was the part he carried along, but his teachings on timelines, different worlds, teleportation magicks and the possibilities of illusions and information had for now been well recieved.

But there was this one person in the audience that seemed to have lost his nerve, for the table they sat around seemed to tremble constantly, making sure that his notes and the most valuable book of all continously shifted and sometimes even almost dropped from the table. There was a hand raised in his public, one of the council members he noticed.

"Yes sir?"

"Dear Master Drimortantes, I am aware of the fact that your means of travel are mainly of the aerial nature, but we, humble earth dwellers, have noticed that since a few days, the earth has been shocking constantly. It seems Maxim, the very isle, is vibrating. We are in constant contact with our neighbouring cities, but you must realise that news won't travel faster than a dove flies or a horse gallops. There are rumours that a large chasm has come to exist somewhere not too far away, around the centre of the isle."

"Is this true gentlemen?"

There was a sudden eruption of speech disturbing the so far rather dull meeting. Everyone had heard this and that, distant cousins had given reports, local militia had seen this and that, farmers blablabla, but it was all in all rather clear to Drimortantes that something was going on. And he heard about this eclipse as well, which had happened during one of the many hours he had been wandering through his library book, he had completely missed it. He tried to silence his audience and with a few extra remarks the rumour died down for the moment.

"It seems there's more going on than I thought, I'm rather surprised you have the time to listen to this lecture at all, though it is of course important information to hear. Nevertheless, I would like to cancel this meeting for now and investigates these matters myself. If someone can give me directions I'd love to hear a more exact location of the hole in the earth and then visit it myself." 'But the others need to know about this as well. I will ask Desiderius to port me in, I'm quite sure he has visited the centre of the isle himself, he's exactly that kind of person who would value that he has visited the exact centre.' "Come Melinde, we're going back to Marhillen, after we know the location of this chasm." After a detailed description and maps drawn he was airborn, his servant steady on his back. It would take at least a day to return to Marhillen flying; not everyone needed to know that there were other possibilities as well. When they had left the city behind him, he swept down to the earth and touched the medaillion.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 4:30 pm
by Dolana
"Earthquakes you say? No it doesn't surprise me at all, though I'm glad that we don't suffer earthquakes here. Those animals acting up and the farmers complaining about their crops are enough to scare the willies out of me. Heck, even Yip came talking to me a few days, saying that his father was worrying about the quality of his next brews, simply because the hop didn't have enough food to grow on. Oh and I told you about that eclipse, I can see you've heard about it too. I was just saying my daily prayers to Leto and then I got a real response, though a rather cryptic one... water earth air fire... repetitive for some time."

When Drimortantes had just ported in she had immediately let him to a cosy room where they could chat. No matter how much honour this creature held, she could see he was worried and she was as well, so they needed to talk. She was glad she had stayed behind, she, and she believed none of the others had as well, had not yet tested yet what would happen if they tried to focus on the centre crystal of their amulet. Simply because that link was gone, Lestores Moonhair was no more, and she dared not think what would happen now that he was kind of split between four books and what influence that would have on their teleportation target.

"People are starting to say funny things. They talk about the final battle of the gods, a sort of cataclysmic ultimate struggle which will result in complete domination for one of the three factions. Others say that Foret, Darden and Isonia are trying to wrestle their power back from the new come gods. I've even heard of some cults that worship the earth mother again, though they don't call her Oleana. They say the lands are ill, they need to be cured, perhaps by our blood. Oh, and of course, there are these doomsday philosophers, we even had one here in the local tavern, they're preaching the end of the world. But I say we wait for Desi to return before we do anything else, don't you agree? And he specifically reminded me not to teleport him in with force, he was not to be disturbed. I think he still has trouble with the loss of Daron and the Magister. Both were dear to him, though in completely different ways."

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 4:38 pm
by Drimortantes
The manticore looked away in the distance thoughtfully. He was normally rather objective about these kind of things, but he was now doubting wether common sense could rule all these events out. It seemed even Lestores had done his act just a little early, or perhaps it was timed perfectly. Anyhow, as a popular phrase was among young adventurers, stuff was happening, and he had no clue how to handle it.

"We have to look into a lot of things. Did you recieve this?" He showed a note to Dolana, which he had found in one of the cities he had visited. It had been casted on the table carelessly by some lord, because this kind of information was usually kept away safely from the public, otherwise you would have complete crowds visiting this library of Tonan.

You are invited to attend an exploration of signs, prophecy, and recent events at the Library of Tonan in three days' time.

New information has come to light that may interest you and the entirety of your kingdoms.

Reservations are neither required nor requested; all interested parties are invited to attend. Please refer to the map on the reverse for directions.

Respectfully yours,
Library of Tonan

"One of us should have been there, but it was dated a few weeks ago. I would really like to go there, but I'd like to investigate this crevice as well. And then there's the draught as well, and we may have to consider other information as well if Desiderius brings news. Where is he anyway?"

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 4:54 pm
by Desiderius
"Don't bury him. Burn him."

It was the second time today that he visited an ill boy and saw him dying right under his eyes. Disease was spreading. 'You would need thousands of those sprite servants like Dree has, perhaps you could slow it down a little, but my art is of little use here. There's too much to handle. As if I didn't have enough on mind.'

Ever since he had left Marhillen, his mind had been considering a thousand things. One of the more surprising things he had discovered, as that he found a renewed belief in Angelique, though he still had to get used to her being the proposed Queen of the Empire, his years in the libraries had given him quite a different mental image of the Lady. Then there was the case of Daron and Lestores, two lost relations, friends perhaps even, in such a short time. He cared more for Daron, but was still surprised by the kind of sacrifice Lestores had made. He knew he was repeating himself, but he found it so odd, so unselfish, so unlike the Keeper he was used to. 'Well the Keeper doesn't see what happens today, we may even find ourselves having nothing to write in Yip's new book.'

Travelling had kept his mind on other things, but when he had settled most of his personal affairs, worldly matters started to draw attention. It was only two days now, the some sort of disease was spreading on top of the draught, but it not bode well, not with the earthquakes which were now felt all across the isle. As for the disease, he advice everyone to burn the bodies. So far, only the weak perished, but he would not like to see what the odds of survival would be for even the healthiest of men and women when this kept up. He bode the family where he was farewell and then headed off for a quiet spot. His time of mourning was over, the isle was screaming for... whatever it was, but they would try and listen to it. The medaillion pulsed, blue to gold.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 4:59 am
by Yip
Both his parents had died from the plague. Right after they were diagnosed with the spreading disease, Dolana had brought him to the Court to stay. He had no relatives in town and travelling was now strongly discouraged because of the possibility of diseases spreading. He had cried night after night, Dolana had been very sweet for him. She had told him stories of what happened with people when they died, told him of a paradise of sorts which you could visit after you died. That he could go there as well and meet his parents again. It had comforted him, at least a little, but every night he cried himself to sleep, no matter what she tried.

There were of course happy moments as well. He was so proud to have the book. Already the first stories had appeared inside. One was rather strange and dealt with fishing and fishermen, another one told of some magical orb which was worshiped or something similar. There were only five stories inside now, but it was enough to make him feel important. He knew he was important, because these strange three people had been constantly talking about him since they had gathered for the first time after the Night of Illusions as he had called it.

All in all the past month was a story in itself. First that night, followed by many apologies to his mother by Desiderius, who had ensured her that no harm was done to her son and that he had been given a gift: a book. Well, his mother wasn't easily fooled, he thought proudly, and she suspected the book was a bribe to keep his mouth shut, but she was surprised by her son when he confessed what had happened that night without hesitation. She was even more surprised to hear what had happened according to Yip and she forbade him to speak about it to anyone at all. The following days his mother and father had visited the Court, every night after their work had been done. At first it had been only his mother, but she had forced his father to come along as well. After a week they were apparently both convinced of one thing or the other and they said that I should go there sometimes as well, and I eagerly listened to the stories of Dolana, but never saw one of the others. When I asked her where the dark-skinned elf and the manticore were, she simply responded they were travelling to hear the news of the island, and she would say no more, no matter how much I tried.

Then everything had started to happen really fast. Their had been this strange moment when Intop was completely hidden by one of the moon brothers, then there had been no rain, even his father had started to notice it, and finally earthquakes had reached this part of the countryside. And now... tears came to his eyes, again. The plague had arrived. Only a few days after it had come to Marhillen, his parents had been infected and died within a day or two. Then Dolana had taken him here and for the first time Desi and Dree, as he was allowed to call them, were here too.

That's where they were now, he was sitting aside from the other three, who had placed two chairs and a cloth close together and discussed things privately for the moment. Well for the moment... they had been talking for at least an hour now, maybe even longer, and he was getting extremely bored with the whole situation. "Come on you three, I've waited long enough, can't you tell me a story or can I play in the courtyard some more?"

Oh he had drawn their attention. As if it was planned they all turned their heads at the same time, three pair of eyes laying their gaze upon him. One by one they had risen to their feet (or paws, respectively) and had gathered around him.

* * *

A child is so easily caught up in the moment, but is it a bad thing? They can enjoy themselves to the fullest, without worrying about the consequences. So it came to be that Yip was sitting on the back of an eagle, only a few hours after the three Guardians of the Court had closed in on him. At first he had been frightened by that moment, but as soon as Dolana and Desi had started to explain to him what they were going to do, Dree remaining mostly silent, he had been jumping up and down on his chair. He was going to visit a real port city, it was going to be the trip of his lifetime. And then, there had happened more magic, because Dolana had whispered to him how they were going to travel. His eyes had widened until they were like small dishes and he hadn't believed her, but she had demonstrated on the spot what she could do, shrinking back to the form of a small rat and chasing Crumbs around the room who smelled that this was an odd rat and not to be trusted. They told him that Dree was going to see about the earthquakes and that Desi was going to another library, but he had cared little for it. He was going to Ran'Kur, and he was going on the back of an eagle. He had been given a backpack, so that he could safely store Crumbs and a few clothes and of course his book, then Dolana had said goodbye to the other two and then they litterally flew off into the night sky. His hands reached for the stars and for the moment he forgot that people perished beneath him... and that it could get even worse.

PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 2:04 pm
by Dolana
Their journey had been an easy one. The elements were in their advantage, they weren't hampered by wind or rain, though the air sometimes carried the distant stench of rotting bodies when they passed over a died out village... litterally. As soon as she had noticed that there were actually some villages which were completely abandoned by the living, she had decided to stay high up in the air. Her instincts told her that she should stay away as far as possible from this horrible disease.

She was very conscious of the boy on her back, but she didn't mind too much. Besides, he was good company, enjoying his first flight to the most and giving her his thoughts on the surrounding landscape constantly. He continuously questioned her about what he saw and so her mind was occupied as well, the sorrow of the world was lifted from her for a moment.

But when they had come to Ran'Kur, the view hadn't been pleasant. She had chosen to make her way around the city and arrive from the seaside of town, both to stay out of view and to head for their destination immediately, but as soon she came near to the port she saw that the disease was spreading here as well. There were even a few ships adrift about a mile offshore, their sails torn and only bodies on deck. The ships that were still in the harbour were heavily guarded, though there were still hundreds of people trying to reach one of the vessels.

She was heavily disappointed by this, she had hoped that the big cities wouldn't have been struck so hard, but perhaps they were even off worse than the smaller, isolated hamlets in the countryside. As she needed to rest anyway, she told Yip that she would land outside the city walls, at a safe distant from it, and they would at least wait an hour before she would decide what to do. Just when they had made themselves comfortable, she in her usual woman form, in the shadow of a leafless tree, she noticed her amulet glowing, announcing the arrival of Desi. When he appeared beside her, she immediately asked him about his small expedition.

"Tell me, Desi, what did you learn. Are the gods really leaving? And what about the disease, is it really a plague, or will it die out soon? Oh, and the library itself, did it have a worthwhile collection?"

PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 2:24 pm
by Desiderius
OOC back from here again.

When the world reappeared around him, he did not find himself in the harbour of Ran'Kur, as he had expected, or at a ship for that matter. Instead, he was outside the city walls, which he did recognise as the walls of Ran'Kur. Looking around he saw Dolana and Yip sitting close by, the first already rising to greet him, and immediately starting to ask questions.

"Tell me, Desi, what did you learn. Are the gods really leaving? And what about the disease, is it really a plague, or will it die out soon? Oh, and the library itself, did it have a worthwhile collection?"

He shook his head sadly. He could hear she still expected it to work out alright in the end, but he was very pessimistic about a 'happily ever after' after what he had heard at the Library of Tonan. Instead of answering her directly, he turned away and looked at the proud city walls.

"Let me ask you, why are you waiting here, you could have gone to the harbour quarter instantly and yet you tarry outside the walls. Isn't it right that the city is filled with the plague?"

He faced her for a moment, but only had to look into her eyes for a second to know that he was right. Of course he was right, they were facing Apocalyps after all and he did not know who would be spared by it.

"The plague isn't even the final problem. According to the books and speeches I've read and heard in the library, every element will show its wrath to the isle, in the exact order as you heard them spoken to you that night more than a month ago. We've faced water, or the lack thereof, we've felt the earth, though I'm curious what the manticore will find, the plague travels by air, so there's still fire to come, in whatever way." He looked up at the tree they were resting under and saw the dry wood. "Any fire will consume the forest now, the constant draught has made quite sure that the trees will burn in seconds."

"I don't know if taking a ship is good enough to survive, but there was a kind of consensus on the fact that everybody should leave the island as quick as possible. As far as I'm concerned, I agree wholeheartedly with them, but I think we have to consider splitting up as well, so that we have more chance to reestablish the Court when this all over or when we face another world, just as what happened to Mo'Pri. But we have to wait for Drimortantes to reach a conclusion about that. In the meanwhile I suggest we think of an alternative port to leave from. I was thinking to join the party that was gathered at the library, you could visit one of the fishermen villages to the north, while Dree makes his way over to the south. If we really need eachother, there's still this..."
He took the amulet, held it up for a moment then put it back.

"I hope our winged companion returns soon. Maybe he's got even something positive to report. I'd die for good news now."

PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 9:37 am
by Drimortantes
OOC returning from the hole in the world

"Maybe there's something wrong with the amulet?" He could imagine that the island acting up would have some effect on magical artifacts like the ones the Court agents use to transport to eachother. They had come to a logical location, for they had appeared in the skies above Ran'Kur, well at least nearby, but he couldn't see Dolana inside the city, and she was definately not up here in the air. "Don't worry sir, they're right below us." He looked down to where his servant pointed and noticed three small puppets sitting outside the city walls. "I suppose you're right. Let's go."

He flew down circling, and landed just besides Yip, who was still sitting on the ground, while the other two stood a little aside from him. He walked over to them and made a small bow with his head to them both, then quickly told them about his small expedition. He left out no details, but was done within a minute, for there was little to tell. There was gap, it was huge, there were a lot people visiting it, but there was little if nothing noteworthy inside.

"Any news from you two, have you found a ship yet Dolana? And what about the library?"

PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 9:55 am
by Desiderius
Desi looked up happily as the manticore arrived. Everything, or better said everybody came together at the right time. 'Maybe it's even the last time we'll be together, at least for a while' he added, but he didn't show his worry on the outside. To make sure this whole business would be finished soon, he said:"To put it bluntly, master manticore: we're facing the end of the world, so we better consider our options of survival"

He explained about the prophecies he had heard in the library and their explanation for all the catastrophes of last weeks, including the hole in the world. "That you've found nothing but earth is quite logical to happen. If it's only the island acting up, it might as well have come to be because of all the earthquakes, I'd split open myself if I had tremors like those. So the gap is only a result from the earth part of the prophecies, not a cause."

Next part was to make sure all of them would make it off the isle alive. "I think we have a better chance if we go on our own. We all have our own ways of survival and we've seldomly worked together as a team. The role of the agents has always been a solitarian job. I think we'd better continue this tradition now. If you all agree, I'll be off myself"

PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 1:59 pm
by Drimortantes
"All gone... I'll have to regather enough riches to lead the comfortable life I'm used to I suppose. It'll take me years to renew my resources. You have no clue how much I've stored everywhere around the isle. But there's no use in wealth when you can't enjoy it. And we have a promise to Magister Moonhair I suppose, and we have to stay true to it."

"Very well then, off you go, I'm sure you're already scheming for some sort of leadership around among that group you're going to join, I know you. But everyone his own way sounds just find to me. If you don't mind then, I'll be off."

He was about to take off south when he thought better of it and turned to his two fellow agents. He sought out their eyes, and looked deep into them. "Take care you two, and especially you Dolana, with the little one. I'll see you on the other side."

"We fly south Melinde!"
He flapped his wings with all his might and almost blew Yip aside as he soared up into the skies. Now this was quite an unexpected turn of events all in all. First this whole thing with Lestores, then the whole island going nuts overnight and now the prophecy of imminent and utter destruction. Though he himself had not witnessed the cataclysmic end of Mo'Pri, he had heard enough stories about it by the two that did survive, the Magister and Desi, and those hadn't been pretty stories.

He had two options in mind. Either he would seek out a vessel that would carry him away from the isle, or he would fly off himself and seek shelter somewhere at the rim of the world, wherever that would be. There were choices to make, but he was looking forward to it. After all, his hunger for knowledge was now aroused with a suddenness he wasn't used to. The end of the world, and he would observe, make note, and survive.

PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 2:13 pm
by Dolana
She stayed silent while Desi and Dree did what they were good at. Discussing ideas, contemplating possibilities, making decisions. 'So this is it then, this is where the Court ends, the last survivors split the legacy we gathered over centuries of watching this continent thrive and perish in cycles.'

"Goodbye Dree, see you soon." she mumbled as the manticore took off. She turned to Desi and shook her head. "You know that about a month ago I was still stalking the streets of the major cities on this isle and that I'm now feeling a terrible motherly instinct that makes for sure that I'll take care of this child? Yes, he's cute in a way, but at the moment Lestores passed that book to him, something changed insight me." She looked deep into his eyes, made sure he would understand that this was truth, pure. "He will survive this, with or without me."

"Yip lad, are you ready to fly again?"
She smiled at his enthusiastic response and took up her backpack again. "What he said... see you on the other side." Her form changed, shrunk while feathers emerged through her clothes. A moment later a powerful eagle took off with a boy waving enthousiastically waving down at the remaining elf.

She circled up high before flying over the city, heading for the smaller ports north. She knew that the plague was spreading, but there was hope, always hope that not every place on this god-forsaken isle 'Pray Leto you're here with me' was infested with it. So a second one flew off in opposite direction. The remaining elf looked after her, then disappeared into thin air.

PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 2:45 pm
by Daron

For you, Milady, I'll come to you, through void or air, water or fire, I'll come to you and you alone. Where are you...

Where is this, where's Desiderius, where am I...

Where... there! There it is, oh I can see it now, there's... I see Maxim, no... not so fast... nooooooooooo...

* * * Somewhere, a few weeks ago in the hole of the world, a soul awakened * * *

'I remember now... Marhillen, I was supposed to go there, or rather, I wished to go there. Me, a human, trying to travel back from a magical hideout to the real world, it hadn't been in years, perhaps centuries, it was hard to keep track of the time there...'

'But I'm back, I can feel the body of our Lady around me, oh fresh earth, praised be your smell after all those years of fake, magical flora and fauna... Earth? What kind of cave is this? I don't understand...'

* * * Wandering the isle, slowly regaining its memory, the soul found purpose again, even when it discovered it had no body, none at all. It even arrived at its destination, Marhillen. * * *

'Empty are your streets, empty your houses, as empty as my body is. Where have you all gone...'

Here, the bodies line the tavern wall, half rotten, half swollen, completely dead. What has happened to this place...'

* * * Only one thing left to do, uphill he went, to the Court. * * *

'Empty are the trees, the branches, leaves lie down upon your soil, almost burning in the rays of Intop. But look, through leafless trees I see the Court standing proud, its tower erect, its walls thick and hard as rock. Here I come...'

'Empty are your halls, your courtyard is abandoned. Where have you gone, proud manticore, where is my tormentor the blackskinned elf? Where have you gone, your crafty shifter, always tempting me? Where do you hide, oh moonhaired master, oh last remnant of an isle forgotten...'

* * * Up to their chambers he went, and, neglecting the agent rooms, he walked straight into the office. * * *

'Empty? Only one book remains? What happened to the library, the splendour of this Court, the treasures that prided even me, an idealistic soul? I'll read your pages then'

Maxim, when will you finally face your
Image in the mirror? When you’re able to
Recall your rich past? Then Remember!
Read what was written: of victory and surrender,
Of wars and faith, love and hate; I
Reckon you will be surprised by your legacy, Maxim.

* * * On the edge of town, the all-consuming fires reached the first houses of the village. * * *

PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 9:15 am
by Yip
The flight had been a long and a tiring one.

The first week they had done nothing but island hopping, flying from one lonely palmtree to a volcanic paradise to a beach barely a league wide, always going north, away from home, his parents, his brothers and sisters, but he was already forgetting what they'd looked like. His body grew weary, his fingers tired from holding on to Dolana's feathers. In the end, they had no choice but to seek other means of transportation, otherwise he'd simply drop into the wide sea.

They found a home upon one of the ships sailing north, which dotted the sea every now and then. It was good that the nobleman aboard had seen stranger things than eagles changing into women before, otherwise they would have surely been fed to the fish, but they were lucky enough with a small place of their own in the hold, among the throng of refugees. And now, after an unestimable time of smelling the salty breath of the sea, the air hinted at the land ahead. A new home was beckoning to them.