Panatithicum - A plague upon the Isle

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Panatithicum - A plague upon the Isle

Postby Panantithicum » Wed Apr 14, 2004 3:58 pm

{OOC ~ Thank you for your patience , the thread is now open. If you have any questions please contact me, Q is in the profile (*waves* It's me, Mallya) Other than that, enjoy the scourge. /OOC}

The day is beautiful, crisp and cool but not cold. The sun shines brightly taking off any remaining winter chill. Spring is blossoming throughout the Isle and with it a new foe is rearing it’s ugly head. A disease is spreading throughout the lands. It shows no bias, affecting peasants and Lords and Ladies equally. It crosses all unspoken lines that are entrenched upon the Isle. Its name is Panantithicum.

It had spent the last half of the winter spreading silently and initially it was overlooked allowing it to become deeply ingrained before the real problem became evident. It stared innocently enough very much acting like a diverse flu. Some experienced muscle aches and pains, a hacking cough, running of the bowels and loosing of the stomach, but regardless of the course of the illness all experienced at least half a day of intense fever. The breaking of the fever signified the end of the symptoms. The real problem though was not seen until later. Once its victims had shaken off the initial effects of the disease and resumed their normal life a change took place in the very foundation of their personalities.

There were three variations of this change and it became quickly apparent the variations followed lines of faith. The followers of Foret experience berserker type insanity. All justices are forgotten and chaos reigns their life. The followers of Isonia, Goddess of Equality experience a complete and total apathy becoming indifferent to all they once held dear. Finally the followers of Darden, lovers of despair, were filled with euphoria. All was right in their world and there was no need to spread his message of woe.

Yes, things were going well for Panatithicum, with no apparent end in sight. The Isle would splinter further and eventually all would give into the inevitable and cease their struggles upon the Isle leaving it forgotten by all.
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Postby Lyssia » Wed Apr 14, 2004 4:03 pm

The sorceress frowned as she stared out over the sands, watching the heat haze rise in the distance. Looking out into the blood-red wastes she could not help but think how everything looked so…so sterile. The desert almost seemed to be the enemy of life itself, a place where death walked the lands and mere existence was a thing to be struggled for and fought over. Pleasure and comfort were not to be found among the burning sands, weaknesses were punished by nothing less than death. In the sands even the slightest weakness could prove to be fatal. The sands were barren and bare where she looked, nothing grew there, nothing survived save by the iron-will of the desert tribes. Well almost nothing.

There was something else out there, something ‘living’ if that indeed was the word to be used for it. An enemy far more stealthy and sly had made its way to Culaearien, one that the desert tribes seemed almost powerless to fight back against. Certainly no weapon could strike down the foe that they faced, no prayer of faith seemed capable of undoing the damage that it wrought. The tribes had gone into battle a hundred times or more, wading through the blood of their enemies, willing to risk everything for one chance, the faintest possibility that they could change things, that they could alter the world. Never had they backed down from a battle, it had never been their way. Sometimes the sorceress found herself wondering if backing down would be akin to killing the tribes. Certainly it seemed that they were more willing to die and give up their lives than ever be touched by the weakness of fear.

But there was nothing that they could do at the moment. The warriors stood idle, unsure how to act, desperate for an enemy to fight, any enemy at all. She knew that they would have gladly rushed into battle bare-handed against Foret and Isonia Themselves rather than suffer the inactivity. Lyssia could read it in their faces, see it in every action and gesture, they knew that their homelands were under attack and that all their training and courage would do them no good at all. How infuriating for them, to know that those they were meant to protect were being attacked and yet be unable to stop it. The Sidhe woman knew their anger, she could feel it welling up within her own heart. All her years, all her control of the Art, all her struggles and yet she was powerless to stop the onslaught of the red desert’s latest foe.

The enemy had no face, no features, no armies of men to fight against, no city or land to conquer. How do you fight a foe that you cannot even see?

It had started so simply, she had barely even registered the news that a few of the Voralphian pairings had come down sick. In itself that had not exactly been unusual, those of the Voralphian tribe were the spymasters and information gatherers of Culaearien. They travelled far and wide in the lands beyond the edges of the desert, seeking out knowledge that could be used against the heathen masses. As a result they often came into contact with the lower echelons of outsiders, contracting diseases that were unknown within the reach of the red sands. It was something that the tribe were content to put up with, they saw it as one of the burdens given to them by the Lord Darden. They had become rather proficient at dealing with sickness, keeping those infected away from others, experimenting with all manner of foul-tasting concoctions that apparently aided their patient’s recovery.

This time though…the disease had been different. All the attempts to control or cure the sickness had failed, the Voralphian’s best attempts had done little. The disease had spread beyond the territory of the Voralphian, entering the central settlement under the control of the Nibinbrethian tribe. The first cases in the settlement had not gone unnoticed, the priests of the temple had gathered as soon as news reached them. A few had glanced longingly at the prone form of the sleeping seeress upon the temple’s alter, no doubt wishing that Ebony was able to use her gifts in order to help them to understand what was happening. Lyssia had watched them talk in the temple, knowing that they would come to no other conclusion than the disease being some kind of ‘test’ from Darden. To the Sidhe woman the people of the desert were becoming easy to predict.

Or rather those unaffected by the disease were.

The physical symptoms of the disease were not overly unusual, but the final stage…Lyssia shook her head. It was one thing to deal with the tribes when they were being their usual selves, all silent and sullen, seeking pain rather than pleasure. It was quite another matter dealing with those who had been stricken down by the sickness. They were…well they seemed to be enjoying life far more than they had ever claimed to before. She had seen those who had supposedly ‘recovered’ smiling and acting as though they didn’t have a care in the world. Laughter and even raucous singing could be heard in the places where the tribes gathered, it was as though the world around her had become a twisted reflection of its normal self.

Some would have welcomed the change in the tribes, glad to see that they had finally thrown off their dark and depressing demeanour to embrace the joys of life. But the truth was that their new attitudes were disturbing, there was a ‘wrongness’ about them that made the sorceress want to slap them out of it. Every laugh that she heard, every giggle, it made her want to run, fleeing far from the desert, away from the sickness. She sometimes fancied that she could feel the disease all about her, a cloying presence in the air that was destroying the tribes far more effectively than any heathen that had come at them with steel and sorcery. It would be easy to run though, to betray Ebony’s people and leave every scrap of trust that she had managed to build up behind. But she couldn’t do that and not just because it would scatter all her pieces upon the gameboard of the isle. Not she couldn’t leave the tribes, they were valuable to her that was true, but rather because…in some small way she had to admit that she cared for them. They had taken her in when no other land in the isle would have opened its arms to her, they had given her their trust, a fact that she still found difficult to understand at times.

There has to be a way to undo this, she muttered to herself, trying not to shiver at the muffled giggling behind her. She turned her head a little, recognising Eskil, a priest of the temple approaching her, trying to maintain a composure that he had lost since the disease had dug its claws into him. What are you doing out here Eskil?

He beamed at her, his eyes dancing in delight, I’m getting some fresh air and enjoying the sunshine. I’ve spent so much of my life indoors, in a stuffy old temple that’s so badly lit it hurt my eyes to work in there. But that doesn’t matter anymore, I’m going to enjoying myself. I think I’m going to get myself a drink, he looked pleased with the idea, like a child who had just glimpsed a toy shop. And maybe some female company.

The sorceress arched one eyebrow, not a trace of a smile upon her lips. You will do no such thing Eskil, you will return to the ‘stuffy old temple’, get back to your cell and remain there until I can sort this out. She suddenly felt very old, a teacher trying to keep an unruly child in check, especially as Eskil’s smile turned into a sulk. Lyssia reached out and grabbed the priest by the arm just as he tried to run away from her, This is for your own good Eskil, though I doubt that’ll mean anything to you now. But trust me, soon you’ll be back to normal…well as normal as you get and if you realise that you’ve been drinking and…not acting as befits a priest of Culaearien I know that you’re going to regret these actions.

Within her grip the priest squirmed and tried to break her hold. As she pushed him into his cell beneath the temple the human tried to kiss her, Come on, lighten up woman, the world’s not a bad place. And well we only live once so why not enjoy our life to the full.

Lyssia rolled her eyes heavenwards as she closed the door and locked it to ensure that Eskil would not be wandering off. If she had to lock up every member of the tribes…well she was going to run out of space for one thing. If this is Your idea of a joke Darden, I have to say it’s not very funny.
SO - Into darkness...
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Postby Astavia Dovanucci » Wed Apr 14, 2004 6:36 pm

Spring, summer, winter, autumn. The seasons changed marking the passage of time. Yet in Tiavain, isolated and in the middle of The Desert of Dreams (so named by the local tribes people, because of the mirages so commonly reported by any who travelled the harsh land) each day was like the last. Nothing changed. The sun still beat down. The air was still hot and dry. The seasons were not seen here and the words, spring, summer, autumn and winter were but memories for some and dreams for others.

The marking of this spring, however was being noticed. Not because of flowers peeking through melting snow, or buds bursting forth from grey-brown branches, but because of the outbreak of a strange disease, which swept through the city, leaving no district untouched.

Outbreaks of sickness were rare within Tiavain. The city's isolated locale kept it safe and the vast number of healers within the walls quickly dealt with the normal illnesses that are the scourge of any large, close-quartered populace.

This had been different.

The exact arrival of the disease could be pinpointed to a merchant's caravan. All travelling with it, had been sick, at various stages of the illness and they had immediately sought out treatment upon arrival. The healers had at first thought it nothing more than a regular fever and had treated it accordingly, but it had spread, quickly and voraciously, as if hungered for new hosts to breed in. Within a matter of days, half of the city was with fever.

Astavia had ordered the fevers treated, but no magicks to be used, for few deaths were reported from the sickness. It had been discovered that for some diseases, if the fever were left to run it's course, the victim would not fall prey to that particular disease again and it had been hoped that this would be the case with this fever also. Only time would tell.

It was not until the fever left it's victims, that the true evil of this disease was presented too late.

In it's wake this plague was leaving the citizens of the city changed and the city fell into an apathetic mood of helplessness and uselessness.

Astavia sat now, in her house of white and light, reading the healers' reports and realized that what had been thought a recovery period of lethargy after the fever left, was showing no signs of dispelling. Her hand dropped to her lap as she comtemplated the full impact of what the reports were suggesting; the fever had permanently altered the minds of those affected.

Surely that could not be true.

She rang a small engraved silver bell, which brought Mesal to her.

"I want to know more Mesal. This disease came from beyond Tiavain. What did it leave in it's wake? What is being done to combat this, besides magic? Alert the seers that I will be consulting them within the hour."
[center][glow=white]Alt of Ms Evernight 2003/2004
ISTARI D'TIAVAIN
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Postby Seska Dragonslayer » Wed Apr 14, 2004 10:24 pm

Seven hundred thirty thousand acres of prime mountain range - the sum of the area that the Knights controlled once more. Once, it had been the Reverent who made those lands safe, but they had gone now, and those who live yet did not carry that name in anything other than memory,

The Dragon looked from a window in the new keep, built on the foundation that the Isonians had left behind in their haste to destroy any trace of the people who had once inhabited these lands. The keep itself was half built, and its enclosing walls merely a foundation - but it was a start, considering that this place had been a graveyard when they had arrived - they being the remaining forces sent to drive out the pagan thieves that had occupied the land.

Three weeks had gone by. In that time, the peoples that had been found living in the woods - those that had marched on Tiavain to bring back their kidnapped mistress - had now filtered down into the villages and strongpoints. The Iseult and its Fortress were m,anned properly now, the bridge undergoing repairs. Powys - western Border Fortress and city, defended against any further incursion of the pagan. Gallione, the Eastern frontier, had been recaptured with ease, and even now the masons and architects worked to restore it to its native state. While the times were far from golden ages for the inhabitants of these mountains, the times were better now than they had been in months.

She shivered slightly at the cold, and sneezed, showering the fresh cut stonework with colorless snot and charring it with weak falme, quite involuntary. A damned cold - she had never had a cold, or much any other illness since her birth so long before, but there is always a first time for everything, as the humans say, and so she took it in stride. They had returned home with their mistress, and that was all that really mattered. She was safe now. It was a shame she could not say she was unharmed. Grimacing, she turned away from the window and the greyish white landscape it showed, and the snowstorm and trees and obscured mountains, and walked down one of the corridors that had been completed in the weeks of their absence and return.

The Lady had been silent for a long time now. The Dragon was worried, of course - her gaurdianship had become more than a mere task of safe keeping, for she now had learned to love the child as a friend, closer than any other inhabitant of the Island of Maxim that she had met. And it grieved her that she had failed in her duty, if only temporarily, because she knew from experience the harm that had been done. The Lady would not speak of it - but the Dragon knew. The Dragon had been there, her and another Tiavain witch who valued life over anything else. He had been there too...but for the time being, it was of little concern. Her primary concern was for her mistress, and for the wellbeing of the lands. The lands sailed onwards on the new winds of rebirth...but her Mistress had faltered, fallen, and retreated to within the confines of her own head.

And she was worried. Very worried, because she knew, of course first hand, the pain she was in. But she could only imagine what it had been like to have been taken forcefully in such a way....

She turned her thoughts from that, for it brought unpleasent memories for herself. There was a realm to run, and the reports had allready come in this morning from posts out beyond the heart of the Knights. She walked to the office that had been built for her, and entered it, shivering slightly. She shut the door and stoked the firewood in its hearth, trying to bring some comfort to her allready torturous day.

She sat behind the pine desk, and leaf through the reports, mostly written by people who were very unused to writing anything at all. A tribe of thieves taken trying to cross the Marsh Road that was the only way around Iseult, and she could only laugh at the folly of trying to take that road for any reason. They found most of them buried up to their neck in the icy cold swamp, splattered with reeking black mud, and those that were free and trying to rescue their bogged down mates were slaughtered from a distance, and the others left to drift gently below the surface and drown. A minor matter - she leafed through more reports, mostly scouts caught or enemy raiding parties being turned back at the border fortresses or behind the lines. She read the last report, and sighed. It seemed like this nasty little cold she had was going around - the priests at Downsdale, a little village several miles off the main road into the mountains, had closed its little rutted road to travel in an attempt to keep the demons that caused the illness from getting out and possessing people from other communities. Only a couple deaths there, but even still...

She rubbed her head, and looked up. The fire had burned down low, and her breath had begun to hang in the air with each breath. The thatch above must not have been very thick, either that, or it was terribly cold outside. Winter would last another month or so still, while the villages and fortresses at the base of the mountains enjoyed the less severe chill of spring even now.

The door creaked, and the Dragon looked towards it. The Lady stood there, her face and arms as pale as the stonework she stood next to. Her eyes were still rimmed red from tears - the Dragon knew she cried sometimes at night, but there was nothing she could do to ease the suffering. She merely stood there, staff in one hand, her blind eyes open and unseeing. " Milady? " She said, quietly and softly, and Seska seemed to stir as if from a dream.

"Wheres....my sword? I can't seem to find it....did he take it?" She asked, and took a couple shaky steps into the room, stumbled slightly, and then stopped. Sweat was beaded on her forehead. "So hot in here....where's m' sword? M' so dizzy - I need it, Celes....so hot..." She muttered, barely above a whisper. The Dragon stood, and as she did, her Mistress began to shed her linen shift, and managed to get it over her head just as she tried to walk forward some more, and ended up stumbling, tripping on her own legs and sprawling on the hard stone floor. She lay there, mumbling about how hot it was, she was, and then doubled over into a ball as she coughed violently. The Dragon wasted little time - Seska had eaten very little in the last few weaks, and was never healthy to begin with. She was by her Mistress side, and gently lifted her from, the ground, which was when she realized just how hot her mistress was. She was burning, as if her bones were on fire, her flesh aflame. Unseeing though they were, her eyes were wild, and as soon as she was off of the floor she began murmuring again, telling the dragon how hot it was, muttering about not being able to find her staff or sword - senseless things.

A cold. Right, thats what this was, the Dragon thought as she rushed down the labrynthian halls to the Ladies own chambers, laying her to her bed and covering her in blankets.

The Panatithicum had arrived in Ivalice.
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Postby Masanomi » Thu Apr 15, 2004 11:24 am

The sept drift silently through the benighted tunnels of the Dark Below. Masanomi's spear is gripped tightly in his hand as they patrol, gliding silently through the caves, searching for problems. Searching for intruders. The enemies of the Officium are legion, the threat of war, everpresent.

Invaders are not the only threat, of course, just one among many. The scouts are alert for any sign of disturbance, be it cave-in, Dweller activity or armed attack. Any sign of change. Any sign of something unusual ... and the fur on the back of Masanomi's neck rises as he remembers standing in at the Ghost Falls, staring into the strange blue-rimmed eyes of the Shadowborn, as the Herald of Dawn looked regarded the sept with that unnerving, unnatural calm. "Anything strange", indeed... and the Shadowborn was most definately strange.

So far, though, the scouts have encountered nothing unusual. Are unlikely to, now, as they turn away and begin their trip back towards the sanctuary of the Isle itself. While the Anub-Re do not, cannot, really "claim" the tunnels of the endless night, they patrol them to the best of their abilities. The closer to the Isle one gets, the safer the tunnels are. Well ... usually. The Ghost Falls would be an exception, of course, lying relatively close to the Isle itself, albeit somewhat higher. That is something Masanomi has never quite gotten over. Surface-dwellers seem to think in two dimensions. Their maps, their realms, are so ... flat. Oh, they might have "hills" and "mountains" and "valleys", but so much of the Sunlit Lands is limited to the two-dimensional surface of the land itself. Not like the endless night of the Dark Below, the caves and tunnels climbing and falling through the rock, one atop the other. The maps in the scroll at Masanomi's belt are considerably more complex than those a surface-dweller might expect - were the surface-dweller capable of reading them in the near-total darkness of the caves. Not dark to an Anub-Re, of course, Masanomi's eyes are well-adapted to the faint luminescence that the ever-present algae the Anub-Re call "Darden's Shroud" provides. Not dark to those strange eyes of the Shadowborn. Masanomi has often wondered ... would it have been dark to the Herald, before his fall into shadow? Before he was changed?

Most of the surface-dwellers who enter the tunnels are heathens, entering in times of war, blades in hand, seeking to conquer the endless night. Most of them seem completely incapable of seeing in the dark, bringing flaming torches to illuminate their paths. Of course, that leaves them trying to stare into the darkness, and the flickering fire of the torches only serves to draw attention to their location.

Masanomi grins fiercely at that thought. Without their torches, the invaders are almost invariably blind. Easy prey for those who fight them, who need not the fire of torch to see by. Since the appearance of the Herald and the ascent of the Anub-Re to the Sunlit Lands, there have been many who have sought to storm the caves. Those among the Anub-Re who favour the scout's bow have had ample practice at shooting for the heathens carrying the torches.

~~~

The cavern opens around the sept as the scouts enter the cave. It is vast. The Causeway stretches out into the mist that veils the lake. On the far side of the Causeway lies the Isle of Mist. Home. The scouts quicken their pace slightly. The Causeway stretches a mile and a half out across the lake before it reaches the shore of the Isle.

Masanomi is slightly surprised, as the sept stride across the neat, hexagonal paving slabs. The Causeway seems deserted. There seems to be no-one travelling along it's length, in either direction. This is somewhat unusual - the lands of the Officium are, for the present, at peace, the damages of the last war repaired. The economy is thriving. In the time it takes to cross the length of the causeway, the hulking scout would expect to see at least someone else...

The fortifications at the Causeway's end loom out of the thinning mist that never quite reaches the shores of the Isle. They are massive, built to be as near to impregnable as a race of stoneworkers can manage.

The gates themselves are closed.

But ... the gates are never sealed, save in times of war...

Are we at war? Has the glory of battle come to these caves without our knowledge? Surely not, surely we would have seen some sign as we patrolled.

What in Darden's name is happening?


A voice from atop the battlements hails the scouts.

Hold, scout-leader! The Isle is sealed. Remain where you are until the priesthood instruct you otherwise

The priesthood? Not the war-leaders?

Masanomi's thoughts are a whirl. Something is clearly very, very wrong.
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Postby KyAlur Klaw » Thu Apr 15, 2004 10:44 pm

Black candles burned low melted stumps of wax slowly spreading across the table. The robed figure in the dimly lit room hardly noticed though. In fact he barely moved except to move his slender hand slowly turning the page of the large tome he was engrossed in. Laughter echo through the silence penetrating his sanctuary and the figure stirred at last, orange runes could be seen flashing in the candle light as the robe swirled over his form. He mumbled under his breath wondering what his father’s demons were up to now. It could only be something truly evil judging from the laughter. He got up a deep purple hand closing around the heavy iron staff rested beside him against the table. The shaft was intricately etched with glyphs and demonic visages, and topped with a twisted demonic hand its claws grasping a large translucent ruby. He stood, standing closer to seven feet then six his long silver hair flowing over the back of his dark robes as he moved to the door. He opened it a corridor of light spilling to the room to clearly display his features. It could be said he was handsome as he almost resembled an elf the tips of slightly pointed ears poking out from behind their curtain of sliver. His skin a deep shade of purple but it was his eyes that betrayed he was no elf. They were orbs of bright blue, deep and pupil-less, with the slightest hint of a swirl, somewhat like his fathers.

He walked out into the hallway the sound the butt of his staff made hitting the floor echo throughout it. There they were the two noise makers, a pair of demons and they were… they were dancing! KyAlur blinked several times trying to understand what he was seeing here. The two demons were dancing and playing like little children as they moved towards him. As they skipped past one of them actually hug him giggling like a little girl. KyAlur stiffened at the touch a slight rage flowing through him. Whatever these demons thought they were up to it wasn’t about to fool the young mage. He felt the boil of his blood for his other half his Sidhe half the natural magical energies of the race flowed within mixing with that of demons. Before he knew what he was doing the demon had been blown off him with a magic gust of wind. It laid on the ground looking up at him questioningly. It actually looked like its feelings were hurt, something was desperately wrong here. No matter how much he disliked the idea he needed to find his father. How he despised the demon. The demon that had made his childhood so hard just because he had embraced his Sidhe side more then his demon, becoming a full mage instead of the warrior wizard his father had dreamt of.

He made his way through Venorik’s tower searching for the demon lord, his father. Demons were attacking strangely everywhere waving to him, calling out friendly greetings and generally have a good time all over the tower and without even hurting any. What in the name of Darden was going on here? Maybe he shouldn’t have spent so much time locked in his study for days on end. Little did he know this was the only thing that had saved him from Panatithicum. The sickness had spread through Venorik’s lands silently for the demons had shown no physical symptoms of the sickness it had just twisted their minds. At last he reached the throne room pushing the doors open his claw-like nails running across the blackened wood. There he sat on his onyx throne, Venorik, his father and he appeared frozen his crimson eyes weren’t even swirling; they were dim and glazed over. For when the sickness had attack the demon it had attempted to change the very fiber of his being, it had attempted to turn him against chaos itself. So he had been frozen in a state of almost unlife until some kind of cure could be found. KyAlur waved a hand in front of his father’s eyes. No reaction, he ran his fingers affectionately over his staff as he thought. He could kill his father right now. KyAlur smiled coldly as the thought ran through his mind. However, deep down in his eyes something tugged at him; the little piece of the true KyAlur that had survived all his father’s harsh words. The piece that still loved his father and wouldn’t let him kill him in cold blood. KyAlur sighed audibly knowing he wouldn’t be killing his father, not when he was helpless like this anyways.

Something strange was going on the Sniden as he liked to call himself thought. He could feel chaos spreading across the islands. Not that that was necessarily a bad thing in KyAlur’s eyes. Who to turn to though? He didn’t really know anyone he had spend way too much days alone within the tower walls studying at his art. He had heard rumors of a Sidhe who lived in a desert though what desert he couldn’t say and there was always the City of Mages KyAlur had always wanted to visit there. So many possible roads ahead of him, KyAlur started back to his study to prepare and try to decide what path was the best to take.
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Postby Terra Hikyaru » Fri Apr 16, 2004 12:00 am

The world was still locked in the ice of winter. Perhaps, in many other places, people would be alarmed by the oddity of weather such as this, but in the cold Mountains of Mist, as the peoples whom inhabited them often refered to them as, the winter lasted late, and started early. The high peaks that leapt into the forbidden heights of heaven about them were capped in blowing snow, appearing as a white mist from below, when they were not blocked by the clouds. Tall, rocky peaks, that had existed on this island for far longer than any had walked upon the world, or at least, perhaps this was the case. Nothing on the Isle was normal, by any means. Magic can change so much.

But why, oh why, could it not simply dispell a simple cold?

She trudged up the icy road between Iseult Canyon and its accompanying fortress, and Ivalice, shivering back against the cold. There were others with her, warriors on patrol at the various waypoints of the mountain peoples' homelands. There were always such roving bands, but during this time of the year, they were kept small. The Knights did not fear the pagan or anyone else, for that matter, when the night temperature dropped so low that oft you could hear tree trunks exploding as their sap froze in their trunks. Early in the spring, as it was, it was common - the great leafed trees began to rouse themselves from their winter long slumber, and quite often the younger trees would revive themselves too soon - sometimes, even the ancient trees would.

And that was the nature of this land. Nevertheless, given the harshness of the enviroment that anyone would have to deal with to cross the mountains, people still did it, and there was always a hardy band of villains trying to stir up mischief somewhere. Her, and the twenty odd men and women that traveled with her, were meant to deter even that little bit, until after the first real thaw, when much larger movements of troops would occure, in anticipation of the first of the years raiders.

She sneezed again, and wiped her leaking nose on her sleeve. The problem of course was that in order to make sure other people weren't themselves braving the elements to try to get the leg up on yourself, that meant you yourself had to endure the same shit. She hated it. It was allright during the summertime, when the air temperature was warm and dare she say even hot during the day and only cold at night - during fall, winter, and spring however....

Shivering, she pointed over the next climb. "Just about to a nice warm hearth and some good food now, ya'll. Probably only a half hour more marching through this white shit..." She cursed the snow more vehemently under her breath, coughing, then sneezing, and then coughing some more. There were echoing coughs and sniffles behind them.

The cargo they carried was really not information as to the rest of the nations situation, but something quite a bit more insidious. Add to the fact that the retched thing had allready arrived in Ivalice....that amde matters only worse. The trekked on, none of them realizing quite the import of a growing problem, and certainly, not realising how it related to them. Or what was to come, for that matter.
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Postby Seska Dragonslayer » Fri Apr 16, 2004 1:29 am

The Sands. Eternal. Everlasting. Infinite - they stretched far and wide ahead of her. She was familiar with this dream, familiar with its nightmarish landscape and its nightmarish portents....

The Citadel was gone. That was all she knew, all she noticed. The sands stretched forever, but the malignant presence that ever pervaded here - had vanished. The sands were level, smooth, for an immeasurable distance....but where she recalled the Citadel to stand, in her dreams, was a vast expanse of eternal nothingness.

In the black Sand at her feet, a silver mask lay, featureless - the mask belonging the Kneeler, the unnamed menace that greeted her at each visit before her visit into the palace, to the throne, and the darkness that sat upon it.

Gone.


Cold. It was cold....so very cold. She could think very few words, for it hurt to think, it hurt to breath, and it hurt to move. But it was so very cold, even though the weight of blankets on her told that she should be as cozy and warm as if she were laying atop a fire. So cold. She stirred in the blankets, groaned in pain of aching muscles, wanted to cry from the pain in her chest. She shivered, then coughed violently....coughed, and coughed, and coughed until she wished it would end. And when she finally stopped, she lay very still gasping for a breath that would not come.

I have driven her away. The nameless is gone...

It was a ghostly voice, and it came from everywhere. It was soft, and could have easily been mistaken for a gust of wind through the thatch roof overhead....the wind....sounded surreal and dangerous. The girl, swathed in her blankets that were allready sodden with her sweat, shivered violently. Part was in cold, part was in fear. She turned on her side with great difficulty, her eyes tightly closed against the pain that assailed her.

I'll enjoy your flesh more than you ever could imagine, girl....so do me a favor, and be quiet. It'll only hurt the first time....and then you'll love it. I can see it in you - you like the violence, you like the pain, the violation. You want me to do this to you, and even if you didn't,...well, I'd still do it. Spread your legs, you little harlot.....if you ever had a name, it is now mud and I am going to lay in you and bury myself to my neck in your flesh....

She moaned. It wasn't of passion, which burned in her body now for a fleeting second, but of sorrow and hatred and fear. And pain. Such pain. It numbed everything else, it took her thoughts away, her breath, her life. She was mired in it, and never, ever would she forget this intense pain. She turned under the blankets restlessly, feeling the thin linen shift cling to her body wetly, slide across her freezing flesh as if it were some oil. It bothered her. Everything bothered her now.

The window pane rattled in its frame. You're nothing but a plaything to be used and thrown away... it said to her. You're just a toy. A toy with no name and no future, and rapidly being left without a past. And now....now you're a slut, a whore with no morals....

"Its....nae t....true....."

That was a voice. A real one, but as she tossed again to her other side, struggling to breath, she realised it was her own. So distant, so far away....everything was.....

She coughed again. She felt the slimy warmth of whatever it was she coughed up spatter onto her chin and press against her forehead as she rolled into it restlessly. It was warm for a fleeting second, and then ice the next. All the while, she did not stop shivering, her teeth chattering to add to her labored breathing. She wanted to scream, wanted to cry out, but could not find the breath or the strength to, at first. She slid one numb arm out of the blankets, into the darkness that was the eternal night of her existence, and feebly searched the side of her pallet for her staff, for anything that could tie her to home, or something that could anchor her in her growing confusion. Her fingers brushed wood that was hot as fire, and she gripped it tightly, a lifeline of some sort. She felt it grow cold in her hands, and finally opened her eyes.

Blindness gave way to light. She could see.....and it frightened her, for true sight was something she had never had before. She had variations of it....but never this, never this.

You are an enemy to everything I am, and so pathetically weak that I now own you and everything you produce....and that will be quite a lot, since you are such a whore! Came the ghost voice again. It was edged with anger.

"M'....not a who...re....I didn't...have a choice..." She rasped into the comforting darkness of her closed eyes. She felt, as if from a great distance, something as cold as the mountains themselves pressed against her forehead, and she jerked away from, it, hissing in pain and groaning in agony, coughing and sputtering over the exertion. "You...had your....wa...w...way with me.....what else do ya...you want?" She gurgled back, breaking into a further fit of coughing over the excersise of her voice. "Hush now, milady....be quiet, you are very sick..." Came an answering voice. It was much more distant - she wondered briefly who spoke, but the thoughts became muddled quickly, lost and without direction.

I had my way with you and you wanted it....you practically begged me to take you to my bed so that I could strip you of that thing you humans like to call 'virginity'....such a foolish concept. Breed like rabbits, and I shall help you at that, though you crave to have men inside of- It droned on, in the background, beyond the crackling of a fire that sounded distant and at the same time sharper than it should have. She heard water splashing ina basin - a million miles away and at the same time right in her face. The ice came again, and she groaned, and sobbed a bit, mumbling indistinct things, trying to pull away from the cold.

"Is there nothing we can do for her, Vicious? Surely we could take her to the temple and pray-"

"Nothing, milady. God has abandoned us in this - he has striken the entire village....we have a few dead bodies to deal with. Its not that that God has forsaken us in....he has robbed the believers of their faith, and without it, the healing power of the priesthood is simply unable to do anything..."

She heard some else sniff, and then sneeze, and sniff again. "We cannot lose her, High Priest....I cannot go through that, and neither could our people....it would be the end-"

"Milady, it may be the end anyway. It hasn't slowed in the least, no matter what we try. In its wake it leaves men and women touched by anger that I have never before seen. In Powys, they have allready set half the city aflame, and are running in the streets killing each other.....and we do not know why. Its this disease...and there is nothing we can do to stop it..."

The girl lay in her swimming thoughts, and heard the words. They wanted to kill her....whoever it was that stood in the realm of sight so close. The idea arrived in her mind suddenly, and with it the ice turned to fire - she was on fire and the cried out weakly against the heat, She heard something scuff on stone, and felt the stinging ice touch her forehead, subdueing the flames for a few moments before it too burned like hot coals. She opened her eyes, glazed by fever, and stared wildly into the face that was bent over her. "Milady...can you hear me?" Asked a voice from the distance. She stared into the face of a man she hated.....her body ached more, her most precious of personal bits ached with the terrible pain of her violation, and in half a second she picked the staff she had gripped off the ground and hammered it into the side of that face. She heard it thump on the ground beside the bed, heard something break as she struggled weakly against the restraining blankets, and slithered and slipped out of her wet bed onto the icy flagstones of the floor. She lay there for a moment, listening to curses of pain, and then struggled weakly and unsteadily to her feet.

"Milady...what,...why?" Asked a voice calmly. She opened her eyes but her sight had gone again. The voices hadn't.

She staggered forward towards the breath of fresh air, her own breath rattling in her throat as she gasped and huffed and wheezed for air....and all the while the voices went on.

Pointless. Useless. A toy. A plaything for men, a whore, a nothing. Dust in the wind. They chanted these things and things of the like, chanted them insidiously and hatefully, and she felt the tears coming on, felt them run down her blood smeared cheeks to dangle on her chin before dropping onto the cold flagstones beneath her bare feet.

"No.....n...o....leave me alone....." She pleaded to them, but the voices continued on, getting louder and more insistent with each weakening step. Her mind finally stopped working at all, and she missed her next step, falling in slow motion to the floor, where she shook and cried to herself, letting hot tears mix with fever fueled sweat, until the aching exaustion overwhelmed her small body once more, and she drifted off into a black sleep filled with nightmares.
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And when the men on the chess board get up and tell you where to go.
And you've just had some kinda mushroom, and your mind is moving low.
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Postby Kankakee » Fri Apr 16, 2004 5:21 am

Blessed sleep. It had been too long since the woman had enjoyed a full night of sleep. Her connection to the Orb had been long and arduous. Her connection to it, and through it-her connection with all the people of her land, had at least solidified her mastery of the psionic arcanum. With each passing moment of contact, her expanse and focus were quickly becoming second nature. Her ties were strengthing as she was just now beginning to harness power away from the Orb. Her subjects work together in harmony, furthering everyone's objectives.

But tonight she sleeps. Familiar guardians quiety patrol her massive budoir. Only a few candles remain lit. The slow metronome of her breathing is the only sound in the room.

A small knock on her door causes a low hissing from the familiars.

Coming out of a deep sleep, Kankakee rubs a sleep-swollen eye and lets her vision focus.

Damn what is it. I need this respite...

"What is it."

A voice through the door says,"My Queen...foul magics are afoot. We are besieged. We are losing our voices."

This is madness. What did he say?

She quickly scrys the page's mind. It is as he says. We are losing minds and voices. She closes her eyes and reaches out to encompass as great a distance as she is able. She is instantly aware that minds are darkening at the Southern edge of the kingdom. They are just vanishing.

Again madness. By the one true god I have never seen such. This is beyond me. I must ask Ithilius

Wrapping a heavy robe about herself, she runs from her room and winds her way up a hidden stairway to the Orb chamber. During times of peace, the Orb usually shines with a tremondous white light. Tonight, visable tenticles of black can be clearly seen swirling within. Her fingers make contact...

Father, reality is suspended and madness has taken root in our collective.

Yes child. I am aware of this occurance. Unfortunately, this seems even beyond my power to handle. Almighty Foret seems unable to give us the ability to stop this anomally. This means that we are powerless to stop it. Your task now is to keep your subjects from panicking. We must stay ahead of the occurance. Hopefully it will eventually pass from these lands.

Yes. We will hunker down and pray to Foret for deliverance.


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Postby Nether » Fri Apr 16, 2004 9:21 pm

Nether viewed the wall of visions as he usually did. It had become a vital part of keeping his sanity as he drifted through the void. His icy breath frosting the area around him. His icy orbs swirled slighty then pulsed with curiosity as he watched the going ons of the upper plane.

Fore some reason the images were switching more quickly than usual, to the point that they began to blur. The swirling mass of images slowly turned into a blinding light. Shielding his eyes, Nether looked upon the light as a small tear began to appear. A cold smile graced the young demon's lips as he realised what was happening. Somthing was causing the void to tear, opening a way back to the upper plane.

Adjusting to the light Nether moved towards the tear, his white robes slightly dragging the ground. Surly this wasn't happening, how could somthing rip open the fabric of the Abyss? Surly this was the doing of the gods. Pushing all these thoughts aside, all that mattered to the young demon was that the oppurtunity to escape his prison.

Face to face with the ano mally, Nether could feel a cool breeze hit his face. The scent of salt water filled his nostrals, as the sound of crashing waves thundered in his ears. It only took a matter of seconds for him to slip through the gap, and as suddenly as he was bannished to the Abyss Nether found himself home once more.
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Postby Eskil » Tue Apr 20, 2004 10:16 am

Eskil lay on the stone floor of his priest's cell and looked up at the ceiling, he had never taken the time to just lay there and look. It was rather pretty in a way, the way the stone had patterns traced across it, he could spend a long time following those patterns. Except he didn't want to, he wanted to be out and about in the settlement itself, he wanted to...have fun. It seemed almost like a strange concept to his mind, but the sickness had taken too much out of him to fight against the idea that 'having fun' was unnatural to him.

He was a priest of Darden, more than that he was the Nillai priest, the one charged with overseeing the final rest of all her brethren in the priesthood. His days usually consisted of saying prayers for those who had already departed or offering sacrifices in their honour to please Darden. When death came to one of the priesthood, he was the one who prepared the body and ensured that it was dealt with properly, ushering the soul onwards to its final judgement before the Lord. It was a task that he used to be happy with...well perhaps not happy, satisfied, yes that was a better choice of words, he had been satisfied with the way his life had been. Though in all honesty I can't remember why, seems like a very boring life now that I think back on it. And how morbid, I've spent more of my life with the dead rather than the living, he muttered to himself.

The priest sprang to his feet and rushed to the door to the cell, rattling it with all his strength but not finding it budge one inch. Damnable woman, he cried out, though he doubted that the Sidhe would be within earshot. I want out of here, I want some fun.

What did you say Father Eskil?

The voice made him jump and then tiptoe to the door itself, pressing his ear against it, Who's there?

It's Noral Father, you remember me don't you? I brought you the news that Father Ethan had returned many moons ago. You were under the temple, you told me not to step off the path. Noral...yes Eskil remembered him, a novice in the temple, a trifle loud for Eskil's tastes, but perhaps a blessing in disguise. After all the novice wasn't the Sidhe woman, the novice had been brought up to obey the priests of the temple no matter what. Eskil grinned to himself, perhaps there was a chance that he could get out of the cell and find some fun no matter what the old witch wanted. He clapped both hands over his mouth to stop himself from giggling, no need for the boy to know that anything was wrong.

He cleared his throat before speaking, Of course I remember you boy. Now be a good thing and open the door, the Advisor locked me in here, I think she may be sickening as others have already. Oh it was so easy to lie, he'd never tried that before, a new experience, a most enjoyable one. Maybe he would find some other things to lie about later on, he would have to practise that new game.

The Sidhe is ill?, the boy sounded uncertain, uncertain but nearer the door. It didn't take much more cajolling to get him to open the door, indeed before Eskil really knew what was happening he found himself free once more. The priest bounded through the door, a wide grin on his face and a definite spring in his stride. Ha, so much for the Sidhe's plans to keep him contained, he would escape any cell, break down any door to go out into the world and have fun. No witch was going to deny him that, he had spent long enough being dull and boring, it was time to enjoy himself before someone got him killed in the almost continuous wars of faith. Father Eskil?

The Nillai priest turned his grin on the young boy, Nothing to worry about boy nothing at all. The sun's shining, the birds are singing and Darden's in heaven...or at least I resume all that's true, I don't particularly care right now. He grabbed the boy's arm and started a quick pace out of the temple, lowering his voice to an exaggerated whisper, Come on let's get out of here before the witch comes back. There's got to be some fun in this place and I intend to find it before you and me die of old age...or boredom, whichever comes first.
[center]If Faith we humans do profess,
As if it is our true belief,
Then death perhaps we all should bless,
Our loved ones went to God's relief.
[/center]
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Postby CrimsonWolf » Wed Apr 21, 2004 5:43 pm

The room at the Inn was small, cramped and dingy, furnished with nothing more than a broken chair, a small table, and the bed. The mattress on the bed was cheap, lumpy, stuffed with old straw.

The man laying on the mattress was curled into a foetal ball, muscles taut, skin sheened with sweat. Dark hair, streaked with grey, hung in sweat-matted tangles. The fever burned brightly in the man, the disease-racked frame radiating heat. The man's face was contorted in pain, distorting the crimson wolfshead tattoo on the man's cheek.

He lay curled on the bed, dreaming fever dreams, formless, inchoate hallucinations, occasionally taking form, yet form without discernible reason.

Swirling clouds of gas in an endless void of light...

A child's voice, "Mother?"...

Burning flames leaping in the darkness, twisting suddenly into a demonic visage roaring in unholy fury...

Falling endlessly ...

The dog stares in wonder as the ink-black stain of her shadow pads noiselessly away from her...

The sound of rain, and wind in the trees...

The fish float through the mist, their bulging eyes glowing, their scales gleaming a deep blood-red.

A sudden taste of iron...

The ice forms a five-pointed star around the ball, so vast in its size, before the ball plunges so terribly far down...

The sunlight shines, reflecting off the wet flints that line the beach. The scene dissolves into formless, shifting light...

The clouds race across the sky...

Three children wander through the towering trees, gazing in awe at the branches high overhead, stretching towards the sky
...


Eventually, the fever that wracked the nameless wanderer's body began to recede. Flesh no longer radiated heat, skin no longer gleamed with sweat. Muscles began to relax, ragged breathing began to calm.

An observer might have thought that the disease had run its course.
[center]Smiling in their faces
While filling up the hole
So many dirty little places
In your filthy little worn out broken down see through soul
[/center]
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Postby Celes the Ancient » Wed Apr 21, 2004 8:39 pm

She groaned, and stirred finally. Her head ached, but then again, everything else did too. She groaned some more, and slowly rolled over onto her back, laying out too look at the ceiling, staring at the straws that comrpised the thatch roof. She coughed, and then struggled to sit upright.

Her kind were not known for their vulnerability to illness, and this, apart from her experience as a whelp with the Breath, was the worst she had ever felt in her life. She shuddered at the memory of that horrific disease. It killed probably one out of every five of the young at Home, slaying them with its insane fevers, flooding of the lungs, and many other rather nasty effects. She had been down with it for a month and a half, and had survived only because her family had been important enough to warrant the attentions of the healers. This seemed somehow worse, and she couldn't put her finger on why.

There seemed to be something important missing, she thought, as she stared tiredly at the wall through the doorway. A foot and the leg attached to it lay on the floor outside, which did not seem to connect with anything in her mind at the moment. She shivered, struggled to her feet, and shivered some more, her teeth chattering together. Sh looked at the floor, at the leg, an thoughts seemed to finally catch up to her eyes. She walked swiftly, stiffly to the doorway, and found that the leg belonged to one of the military personel, his head bleeding rather nastily from a gash on the forehead and a broken nose. The Dragon made a mental attempt at running up to a conclusion, and remembered vaguely something else. The Lady.

Her Mistress had been taken by some madness - and the last thing she could remember was being struck a stinging blow to the head. But the lady was not in her bed, where she belonged - she was out and about. She walked even more quickly now, passing by others who had been struck by her maddened mistress as she went. It was then that she heard the banging, which was muted by stone elsewhere. It was rythmic - and it came from the gates. She slowed, puzzled, and went to a window in a room coming off the main passage.

A mob was at the gates, but it was not a mob of heathen trying to gain entry to the governmental seat of Ivalice and the Knights - but a mob of her own countrymen and women. They were beating at the gate with a makeshift ram - for whatever purpose she did not know. What she did notice was a lot of them were ill. They were fighting among themsleves as much as against the gates, and the village beyond was aflame, orange flames dancing against the quickly gathering gloom of dusk. The smoke rising was like the smokestakes of hades open to the world. They were angry, but she did not know about what. Utter chaos. She choked off a fit of coughing, and turned and resumed her search for the Lady of the keep.

She hadn't stepped through the door for but half a second, and the familiar staff struck the ground where she had been. The Dragon turned, too slowly, and saw her Mistress there, panting and puffing for breath, her usually pale skin tinged slightly bluish. Too late, because the staff arced from the floor, feebly striking the dragon high in her chest. She grunted, stumbled backwards a few steps, and caught her ladies next swing easily.

"Milady! Milady...snap out of it!" She shouted at Seska, but her blind glazed eyes didn't even flinch at the command. Her chin and linen shift were smeared with vile greenish slime, spattered with blood. Even from sveral feet away, she could hear the breath gurgle and rasp in the childs chest. She stood there, struggling weakly to take her staff back, dribbling the repulsive slime from her lip. "Gi' i' ba.....back....dir'y....m'ne..." She croaked weakly, shuddering and shivering. She stepped forward to get a better grip on the staff, and instead found her hands slipping from it. Her eyes, wild with fever, opened wider as she fell, and the Dragon leapt in close to catch her before she hit the floor.

The child was hot. even cold as the Dragon herself felt, the child was hot, burning with a fever unlike anything she had ever known the more mortal races to be able to live through. It was like cradling fire in her arms. She shivered conculsively in her arms, and coughed weakly. Each breath was more pained, more difficult than the previous.

"Hush now, milady....let us get you back into your bed..." She whispered, and lifted the seemingly weightless body up, and carried her back down the hall. She hadn't gone far when the child began to choke, her whole body tensing as she struggled vainly to draw breath. The Dragon stopped - didn't know what to do. Was there anything she really could do? Was the thought that crept into her mind, but she was too distraught to pay it any heed, nor wonder why she would think that. She coughed, and coughed, and coughed, gasped and convulsed in her arms, and then went still. "[solor=silver]No...[/color]" Was all she could whisper to herself, and then she ran. "Someone get a priest! Someone get a man of God in here now!" She cried out as she ran, running back to the Lady's chamber, carrying her lifeless body with.
[center]The words you say, never seem to live up to the ones inside your head.
The lives we make, never seem to get us anywhere but dead.
[/center]
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Postby Kiyomori » Fri Apr 23, 2004 7:30 am

Hold, scout-leader! The Isle is sealed. Remain where you are until the priesthood instruct you otherwise.

Kiyomori's heart skips a beat. That the Isle is sealed is a shock. That it is sealed against even returning scouts is more so. And that the sealing is in the hands of the priests, and not by orders of the fólkhagi, is deeply troubling.

What is it that the priesthood seeks to keep out? Do they even seek to do that? What if they seek to keep something within?

The sept-leader's face remains impassive. He cannot afford to show weakness, he cannot afford to surrender to his fear. As the most senior of the Isle's scouts, Kiyo knows he must stand ready to face whatever problem has prompted this. He cannot, at this time, allow himself to think about the fact that the Isle is sealed, and that his sept are on the other side of the gates to Mishiko.

The sept settle down to wait. Scouts are good at waiting. At least the scouts aren't particularly tired. Half a day's patrol through the caves of the endless night is little more than light exercise and Kiyomori's sept have completed one of the shorter patrol routes. The longest patrols take several days to traverse the caverns and tunnels, sleeping curled in bedrolls, taking turns to stand watch.

Eventually, a robed figure leans over the battlements overhead. Nariaki. So, not just the priesthood, then, but Toshiro's heir-apparent, the next High Priest himself. Kiyomori mentally re-evaluates the gravity of the situation. For this to involve Nariaki makes it more serious than the sept-leader had initially assumed.

My apologies for this, sept-leader. We have a problem.

There is a sickness that stalks the Sunlit Lands, Kiyomori. It stalks even the red sands of Culaearien. A delegation from the Isle returned early, bearing urgent word of the sickness that afflicts our neighbours. It would seem that it is not just a physical sickness, but a mental one as well, the final stages of the disease warping the personality of the afflicted.

The delegation has been placed under quarantine until such time as we can be certain that they do not carry this disease with them. Furthermore, we are placing the Isle, and it's domains, under quarantine also. That is why the gates are shut. If the sickness has not reached the Isle of Mists yet, then it will not be permitted to do so. If it has, it will not be permitted to leave. Rather than send out anyone already under quarantine, we shall be taking advantage of the fact that your patrol is currently outside the gates.

I hope you're feeling energetic, Kiyomori, you've got quite a bit of travelling to do. Every settlement and encampment north-west of the Isle is your responsibility. I want you to get to them and tell them what's happening. Tell them to barricade themselves in and stay where they are. Oh, and don't approach anybody you meet on your trip. The further away you stay, the less likely you are to catch something. We're working on the assumption that we are disease-free at the moment. We'd like to keep it that way.

We have no idea how widespread this illness is amongst the Sunlit Lands, but ... if the lands of the Officium are ravaged by this sickness, would that not be the ideal time for a heathen alliance to strike? Our oaths of loyalty to the Onyx Temple compel this course of action, Kiyomori. We must remove ourselves from the reaches of this unseen foe. We must protect our strength, that our allies might call upon it in time of need.


Nariaki pitches a large sack over the battlements.

That should be enough food and water to keep you going. The quicker you start, the quicker you'll get back - and if you haven't come down with anything nasty by the time you make it back here, we'll assume you're disease free. Darden willing, the Isle will be, too, and we'll be able to let you back in. Until then, may the Demon watch over you and may you have no cause to sip from His bowl.
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Postby Barlog » Sat Apr 24, 2004 6:13 am

:: Barlog moved through Maxim alone beneath the surface of the earth. He had left his mistress and master in the tent in the desert and set out to learn about the source of the recent strange occurances in Maxim. ::

:: Feeling himself coming upon a Darden city, Barlog willed himself up from the ground. The earth elemental's body pushed itself up from within the earth, breaking the surface like a newly sprouted sapling. He looked around slowly. The roads seemed deserted. He shook the dirt from his plain brown robes and kneeled down at the spot he'd risen. Barlog put his hands flat on the ground and thank the earth for it's care during his passing once again. His thanks said Barlog filled the cracks and holes of his exit in with with dirt and patted the ground solid again. ::

:: Standing up again he made his way to the city gates where he stopped by soliders of Darden. It had been so long since the Fides ruled this world that his face was no longer recognized as friend or foe. When asked what his business was in their city, Barlog explained he'd been sent out to learn about the so called ooze. The soliders told him what little they could, that it devoured entire buildings and left great patches of black in its wake. ::

:: The soliders also warned him a great affliction had settled upon many in their city. The explained the fevers and other symptoms but that it was unrelated to the ooze itself or so it seemed. Barlog thanked them for the information and turned back away from the infected city. He didn't need to be infected himself on top of everything else. ::

:: Far down the path from the city gates once again, the elemental laid down on the ground and sank into the cool welcoming earth to continue his quest at whatever cities laid further to the east. ::
In the fields the bodies burning as the war machine keeps turning.
Death and hatred to mankind poisoning their brainwashed minds.
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Postby Mallya' » Sun Apr 25, 2004 8:49 am

Mallya isn’t feeling like herself. Actually it had all started yesterday afternoon. Mallya doesn’t sleep often and when she does it’s not for long and never in an unsecured place. Yes, she was paranoid, it was the only way to survive on the Isle and it had served her well thus far. But yesterday she’d had the overwhelming urge to nap in a field of wildflowers. Not only did she think it was a good idea she was exhausted. Beyond exhaustion really, even when she had entered the void she hadn’t felt as tired as she did yesterday afternoon. So she had fallen into an unnatural sleep. It had been beyond sleep though, it was almost as if she were comatose. She’d slept through the afternoon, all night long, and had not awakened until just now and the sun was well into the sky. It was not quite midday but it was damn close.

She still does not feel rested, but she’s well enough to get up, through sheer force of will. She stretches, yawning and slowly makes her way to her feet. Her body feels cramped and her muscles are sore as if she’s fought a great battle and yet it has been months since she has participated in any thing resembling a real skirmish. The flowers around her are incredibly beautiful and she bends down to pick one from the ground. She sniffs the fragrant flower and smiles. Her energy is returning, speared on by the beauty of the day. Birds sing the praises of the day their voices filling the world with joy. Mallya purses her lips together and attempts a whistle herself. Soundless air escapes her lips and so she twists her forked tongue around and tries again. It’s close to a real whistle, but just barely. She continues her whistling attempts, twisting her tongue this way and that until finally a high pitched note escapes her lips. She laughs out loud and claps her hands in delight. She’s done it! She’s whistled!

She looks down to see that she has crushed the poor beautiful flower in her long taloned hands, and frowns. Poor flower, it hadn’t done anything to her and here she’d gone and crushed. Fortunately she’s still surrounded by the beautiful little creations. She reaches down running her hands over them, enjoying the texture of petals under her calloused hands. It is indeed a glorious day! Far to incredible to spend it all alone. She must go find some friends to play with. She stretches her wings and takes to the air, practicing her whistling all the while. Yes some friends to play with would be entirely appropriate today, now to find those friends.

She soars in the sky, dipping and twirling, as she searches for someone to play with.
It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.
Sanctum Officium 1am GMT 27/3/04 Forever remembered
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Postby CrimsonWolf » Sun Apr 25, 2004 6:17 pm

Sweat-stained and gaunt-faced, the nameless wanderer descended the stairs into the inn's main room. The fever's passage had taken a toll on the Wolf, a toll who's price was to be seen in the drawn features, the residual pain in those strange red eyes, the slow, careful passage as he made his way down the rickety stairs. A toll that made itself know in more subtle ways, in the gnawing hunger in the wanderer's stomach.

And in still other, more insidious ways.

The main room of the Inn was a moderately large affair, dotted with tables. Alcoves at the side walls offered accommodation to those wishing some measure of privacy with their drinking. The main portion of the room, though, was filled with people, mostly burley workers slaking their thirst at the end of the day. The sun had already set as the tattooed man entered the room, and many of the inn's patrons had been patronising the tavern for several hours. A good number of the tavern's patrons were already drunk. The majority of the rest were playing catch-up with considerable enthusiasm. Such is the way of tavern crowds in the seedier areas of towns, such as the one the nameless wanderer had found himself in.

As the wanderer crossed the floor towards the bar, one of the more drunken patrons staggered into him.

Hey! Watch where you're goin'! The man's voice was a drunken slur. His fists balled in aggression as he spoke. You should watch your step, stranger. We don't like strangers 'round these parts.

The wanderer's reaction was not one which would have been expected by those who knew the man. Those strange, vertically-slitted red eyes narrowed, lips drew back in a fierce snarl, distorting the crimson tattoo on the wanderer's cheek and a clenched fist lashed out, smashing the drunken patron in the stomach. The blow sent the man staggering back, doubled over in pain, clutching at his midsection. The nameless wanderer stepped forward, driving a knee up into the man's face.

Don't talk to me like that.

The injured patron's friends knocked the table flying in their drunken haste as they leapt to the defence of their comrade. The first one to reach the wolf-tattooed man was met with a brutal elbow to the face. The second staggered back as the wanderer buried another fist in the man's gut. Seeing an opening, the third lunged forward, shoulder-charging the wanderer. The impact sent both men flying backwards into another table, sending taverns of cheap ale flying. The group sitting at the table, as deep in their cups as the first patron's friends, leapt to their feet at this outrage, laying into the first group with drunken enthusiasm.

The nameless wanderer slammed into the table. Rolling across the scarred wooden surface, he came up swinging at his assailant, hand clutching a battered metal tankard. The tankard smashed into the face of the patron, who staggered backwards, spitting teeth.

Around them, the tavern erupted into violence. Tavern brawls, in this dingy tavern in a run-down part of the town, were not unknown, and the regulars piled in with enthusiasm, if not with real malice. The fringes of the fight were almost good-natured in the violence.

Unlike the snarling figure at the centre of the storm. The tattooed man, his strange, predator's eyes burning in fury, lashed out in a berserk rage at anyone within reach, seemingly heedless of his own defences. Unlike the majority of the patrons, with their good-natured pummelling, the wanderer's attacks were savage. Headbutts, elbows, gouges, strikes with anything that came to hand, be it tankards or splintered furniture, the wanderer seemed hell-bent on inflicting as much damage on as many people as was humanly possible, in the shortest amount of time.

The realisation that the snarling man with the wolfshead tattoo was more than just another drunken brawler was slow to sink in amongst the drunken patrons. Once it did, they began to attempt his removal from the fight. The first attempts at subduing the nameless wanderer left those who'd tried left the attemptees lying groaning on the floor, one clutching his genitals, the other bleeding profusely from a broken nose. Eventually, a group of patrons managed to grab the wanderer - by now battered and bruised in his own right, bleeding from several flesh-wounds - and bundle him out of the door, taking the opportunity to get in a number of blows as they did so.

The tattooed man landed in the street outside the tavern with a bone-jarring impact that drove the wind from his lungs. He lay still for a few minutes, wheezing and gasping as he fought to regain his breath.

The fires of rage faded from his strange, animal eyes.

Struggling to his feet, the wanderer regarded the tavern he had been so enthusiastically ejected from. His belongings were still in his room. Despite the growing sense of apathy he felt, the wanderer realised that the abandonment of certain items amongst those belongings would be a very poor choice indeed.

So, how to regain them? Returning to the room through the Inn was out of the question. The tavern brawl continued with unabated vigour, and in his present battered, bleeding state, the wanderer was in no fit state to use magic. A simple glamour would have sufficed, to convince the onlookers that he posed no threat, but to sustain it would have taken more concentration than he was capable of, and the consequences of such a glamour failing in the midst of the brawl would have been dire indeed.

If not through the Inn, then, how? There really was only one other way. Staggering slightly around the building, the wanderer sought the rear of the structure. Yes, it should be simple enough to scale the back wall and gain access to the roof. Had he not been battered and bruised, it would have been simple, almost child's play.

Fighting down the urge to simply lie down and not bother, the wanderer grasped the drainpipe and began to scale the building. One hand-grip at a time, one toe-hold after another, knowing full-well that were he to stop now, he would not be able to muster the will to continue, the nameless one scaled the exterior of the inn, making full, if somewhat slow and painful use of the loose brickwork, the drainpipe and the window-ledges. Eventually, he scrambled onto the roof. The skylight was still propped subtly ajar - he'd meant to close it before descending in search of food, but had opted not to. The room was stuffy and smelt of stale sweat. Prying it open, he dropped through, landing with a thud and a wince as bruised legs protested the impact. The pack was where the wanderer had left it. Quickly, the wanderer pulled his weatherbeaten cloak around him and donned the pack. Kicking a chair across the room towards the skylight, he scrambled back out of the room, ignoring the sounds of chaos from below.

Getting back down from the roof proved something more of a challenge ... until he spotted the inn's midden-heap in the yard below. It would offer a soft landing, at the cost of him stinking beyond belief until he could find somewhere to clean up. With an apathetic shrug at the consequences, the wanderer lowered himself over the gutter, dropping feet-first into the garbage.

Shortly after, the battered, smelly figure of the wanderer stumbled out of the town, heading ... well, somewhere. He really was beyond caring as to where.
[center]Smiling in their faces
While filling up the hole
So many dirty little places
In your filthy little worn out broken down see through soul
[/center]
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Postby Eskil » Wed Apr 28, 2004 7:59 am

The priest ran out into the sunlight beyond the temple, laughing as he did so, the Novice Noral followed closely at his heels, uncertain of the change in character that was being demonstrated. Eskil took in a deep breath of fresh air and laughed loudly as he let it out, Oh yes that feels good, much better than being locked up in some dark stone cell underneath the temple. I don't know why that woman thought anything was wrong with me, I've not felt this good since...well I don't recall that I've ever felt this good. Almost feels as though...as though I'm so light that I could fly if I wanted do.

He stood there with his hands on his hips, looking about the empty space that formed the centre of the settlement. The sun beat down upon his too pale flesh; priests of the temple rarely left its safety during the day, to Eskil moonlight had become more natural than sunlight. He remembered that sunlight used to hurt if he stayed out in it too long, his skin was not used to withstanding the heat or the light. That would have to change without a doubt, he wanted to spend as much time outside in the sun as he could manage, he never wanted to be inside while Intop shone. Although his skin prickled with the touch of the sun's light he was determined not to go inside again.

Not unless it looked like people were having fun inside of course.

Noral?, he beckoned the uncertain young boy over, grinning broadly. It felt so good to smile, everything felt good, the air in his lungs, the sun overhead, the world was awash with colour and potential, he wanted to see everything, experience everything. Eskil wondered if his earlier illness had been some kind of blessing in disguise, he had never felt so alive since he had risen from his sick bed. It was as if the disease that had plagued him and so many others in Culaearien had lifted a veil from his eyes, showing him everything that he had been missing out on. He had wasted so much of his life and now that he realised that he didn't intend to waste anymore on prayers or worrying about the dead.

After all why worry about the dead? It seemed silly really anyway, just shove them in the ground or on the fire and be done with it. Why worry about praying for them or sacrificing things to Darden just so that the souls of the dead could rest easily? The dead were dead and would stay that way, the living had to enjoy what time they had, enjoy everything, touch, taste, smell, sense everything. Otherwise they would waste their lives as surely as the dead had. Yes Father?, the boy's words broke into his train of thought.

He drew the boy closer, Where can I have fun in this desert? Come on you must know somewhere where there is fun to be had. Don't we have a tavern or something? A place where I can drink and sing rowdy songs...oh and meet women, yes I think I'd like to do that. Women were something else that he had never experienced, knowledge of them was not forbidden to the priesthood but still he had always felt so shy about them. Now he just wanted to find one and see what was so interesting about them, he wanted to know what it felt like to kiss and hold one, after all he had heard that it was rather enjoyable.

There's a traveller's inn where the merchants and traders stay, I don't think it's a tavern like outsiders have. I know that Novice Werak said that he went past there earlier and there was all sorts of music coming out of there though, very different to how it normally is.

Perfect, let's go, you may be young but you're never too young to start experiencing life. It's taken me all this time to realise that there's more to life than prayers and pain, there's pleasure and fun, all the things that we deny ourselves in service to Darden. Well no more denial I say, let's go gorge ourselves on all the naughty things that we're supposed to resist. If Darden doesn't like it...well He can come down here and tell me Himself.
[center]If Faith we humans do profess,
As if it is our true belief,
Then death perhaps we all should bless,
Our loved ones went to God's relief.
[/center]
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Postby Vicious Zakiel » Thu Apr 29, 2004 3:50 pm

He stalked through the courtyard and into the enterance of the not quite so grand Keep, minding the people who occupied it with open contempt. In times of war, he could find solice in the fact that those same beings would fight alongside him without a word spoken about the Belief, but with nothing other than an angry mob at the gates to occupy them, they regarded him icily. Icily was perhaps the best way to approach Vicious, Blood Priest of the Nameless. An avant follower of God, no less, but one regarded as strange and unkind in his practice of religion.

Or maybe it was simply the fact that once, long ago, he had been a Priest of Darden. No one knew why he had switched to the Faith Truest, only that he had done so. Never the less, he had been pagan once, and many still saw him as pagan, a wolf in sheeps clothing, waiting for the right time to strike. He didn't care. He could pick any of their number to be tied to his sacrificial altars so that he may practice his bloody art. They knew it. And that was why he still lived.

"Hurry, milord, hurry....the Dragon said it was urgent in ways that couldnae be fathomed..." Said the messenger sent to retrieve a priest of the cloth. He ignored him, and continued down the passages that led to the chamber where the cooling body of the Keeps' Lady lay.

And arrived there, to witness a Dragon with tears coursing down her face and a pathetic, horrible look of helplessness on her face. The priest sighed aloud. "Is she here?" To which he got a response of a nod. He sighed again, and approached the bed. He spoke words to the Dragon, and then turned and left, leaving an astonished looking lady behind.
[center]Magic? A mystical force?
Hardly. The ability to bend reality to suit one's own ends...
That, my friend, is the power of God.
[/center]
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Postby Lyssia » Mon May 10, 2004 6:50 am

The sorceress had headed south, towards the territory held by those known as the Voralphian, towards where the disease had first gained a foothold in the lands of Culaearien. She had known that there would be no answer to the riddle of the disease to be found in the central settlement. No, the heart of the problem did not lay there, it was elsewhere, possibly outside even the borders of the red desert itself. But the only way to find the answer was to follow its trail backwards, back through the sickened tribes, back to where it had first began. Back to the heart of the problem. Tending to the symptoms rather than the disease itself would not stop the 'attack' that the desert found itself under. In fact it seemed that focusing on the symptoms rather than the sickness might have been the very thing that had led them to their current situation.

It had been the Voralphian who had first shown signs of being unwell. So the trail led back from the settlement to the people of the Voralphian tribe. And it also meant than the next piece of the puzzle had to be within their care, whether they knew it or not. It seemed like only a faint hope that she was pinning her trust on, one that might all too easily leave her disappointed and empty-handed. But what other way was open to her? She had tried to work upon the sickness with her Art, but there were limits to all things, even magic. Besides it was a sickness of the mind now, not a fever or the like that any healer could set their skills against.

A low jumble of rocks away to the east of her path caught her attention. Lyssia pulled sharply on the reins of her horse, not even giving the beast a chance to catch its breath or pause. She turned its head to angle it towards the rocks, her first destination amongst the lands of the Voralphian lay over there.

The horse that she rode was a shade or two paler than her last mount, a grey mare named Pherorodwen. Poor Pherorodwen, the mare had always been so terrified of the sorceress and had never understood its own fear. It had been able to sense the darkness that was imprisoned within the sorceress's soul, it had felt the darkness far more keenly than any other. Lyssia had found that animals tended to notice it more often than any sentient creature, it was as though humans, elves and the like tended to block out any feeling of unease that the darkness within her soul evoked in them. Perhaps their sub-conscious minds pushed it away, not wishing to expose them to it, to the horror of it. But animals, they felt it, they sensed Lossandrea, the shadow soul that was bound within the Sidhe sorceress. Sensed her and feared her.

Luindil, her new mount, was no exception. He, like Pherorodwen before him, could sense the shadow soul and no doubt wished to stay as far from the Sidhe's presence as possible because of it. But he could not, he was bound in service by the sorceress's knowledge of his true name. So he obeyed her and feared that which was trapped within her. It saddened the sorceress to have to treat the horse so, but there was no other option left open to her.

They drew closer to the tumbled rocks, the stone as red as the desert sands, red as the blood that had been spilled within Culaearien so many times before. Lyssia ran her gaze over the rocks, her grey eyes seeking for any sign of something different. There, she said softly, dismounting and leading Luindil by the reins into the confusing, almost maze-like series of rocks. The path that they followed might almost have been discounted by others if there had been any others to look for it. Indeed the stones themselves looked like nothing out of the ordinary, just a mundane fall of stones and nothing more. But to those who knew what to look for there was something else, a small opening in one of the larger stones, almost an entranceway...

Lyssia led her horse to one side and into a patch of shade, hushing the beast with her words and her Art. He would not leave, not unless his life was threatened or the Sidhe woman herself commanded him to. It would hardly do for her to have found the stones and their secret, only to lose her mount. Especially when she did not believe that she would find much in the way of aid in working against the strange and unnatural euphoria that was overtaking the tribes once they recovered from the more obvious sickness.

The sorceress ducked into the opening, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the darkness.
SO - Into darkness...
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Postby Lyssia » Mon May 17, 2004 6:42 am

The cool air inside was a blessing after her ride through the stiffling heat of the red desert. Culaearien was most certainly a region of changes and extremes, going from blistering heat during the day to almost ice-cold chill at night. Maybe it was just the warmth of the daylight hours that made the night seem so cold, but whatever the truth was even she tended to find herself trying to stay warm a few hours after sun-down. Still during the day any coolness was a blessing, a rare one too. Shade and shelter were necessary things during the hours when Intop sailed across the sky, no one could survive the hottest hours without some kind of side effect. Those who weren't used to the heat of the daylight hours often came off the worst. The sorceress had seen many an invading army defeated not by the warriors of the tribes but rather by the unrelenting sun. There were places in the sands where legions of armoured Foretians or Isonians were buried, their bodies unmarked by weaponry of any sort, taken into death instead by the heat.

Lyssia's eyes adjusted slowly to the darkness, picking out only the major details of the space within at first. The longer she stood there the more details were revealed, though she was painfully aware of standing against the light of the opening. If there had been anyone withing the place who had meant to do her harm they would have had plenty of time as she waited for her eyes to adjust. There again she did not expect to be attacked, if anything standing in clear sight would be nothing more than a sign of politeness to the one who lived there.

It was a crude place, carved without great care from the stone, the marks of picks still obvious even in the dim light. She knew that the place had existed for many generations of human lives but no one had ever thought to smooth the walls, roof or floor. There again the people of the tribes rarely cared for comfort or ease, they lived lives of suffering and hardship, apparently willingly. The far end of the chamber had been carved with a specific purpose in mind. Holes had been broken into the stone, gaps of similar size that opened back into the stone itself. In some of them she could just make out rolls of parchment stacked on top of one another, the gaps purpose as storage becoming clear. It was just what she expected to find and proved that she had come to the right place even before she saw the two figures kneeling on the floor, an opened scroll before them.

The two figures looked up at her, they were dressed similarly, dark loose cloth wrapped around their bodies. The majority of their faces were covered, only their eyes and the skin around them could be seen. Black as charcoal was the skin that could be seen, as if they had been burned alive in the very fires of the sun and somehow survived. There were wrinkles of skin around their eyes, older members of their tribe, though Lyssia could not see whether they were male or female. It was always difficult to tell with those of the Voralphian tribe. They watched her cautiously though neither moved for the weapons that she knew they must have near to hand.

She bowed her head in greeting and respect, knowing that although she was advisor to Silus she was still a guest in their tribe's territory. Greetings to you Recorders-of-the-Past, she directed her words to both, knowing that each was an equal in their task. They had been charged with ensuring that the past of their tribe, every man, women and child, would not be forgotten. In the scrolls within the chamber the birth and death of each and everyone of their tribe was recorded, the past of a people set down and protected. It was a sacred duty, each tribe had a place like it somewhere in their lands, a place where the lives and names were remembered.

The two Voralphian returned the Sidhe woman's nod, rising to their feet in a liquid motion. They knew who she was, there was no need for her to introduce herself. If they had had any doubt of who she was then she knew they would have already reached for their weapons and set themselves again her. Instead they gestured her forward, further into the chamber, their movement's eerily mirroring one another, almost as though they were not two people at all but rather one. It was always that way with the Voralphian, they were pairs of people, it was almost impossible to see a single Voralphian. She knew that if she was ever to see one then she would be looking at one soon to die. It was almost as though the Voralphian could not exist with out the other of their pairing, though how true that was Lyssia did not know.

Greetings to you also Advisor.

What brings you here?

What troubles you to seek us out?

Just like their movements, the two figures words could have as easily come from one soul. She found herself wondering if they perhaps shared some kind of telepathic link, it would explain a great deal about the members of their tribe that was for certain. I have come to you for aid, for wisdom. Some time ago people of your tribe came back to the sands sickened and weak, they brought with them the disease that has now stretched its grasp across the desert. But it is no normal disease, once the body has recovered it then seems to move on and affect the mind. I need your aid, I need to know what happened to those that first became unwell. Did they die? Do they live still and what is the state of their mind? And what of the Voralphian as a whole?

Come.

Sit.

We shall tell you all we know.
SO - Into darkness...
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Postby Lyssia » Thu May 27, 2004 6:22 am

They spoke, one taking over from the other without a pause longer than that of a single soul taking a breath. The Voralphian had always puzzled the sorceress, something about them reminded her of herself, of how she used to be. She often imagined them to be a single soul split between two bodies, each knowing the other's thoughts, feelings, plans. Sharing an intimicy that no normal pairing of flesh and bone ever could. When a man and woman were wed, they were joined by faith and law, but the joining of two Voralphian seemed to go beyond that. Close as the clouds and the sky, as close as two people could get to being a single entity.

Just like it used to be with Kara and herself.

The sorceress had known what that felt like, or at least she could imagine something akin to the lifestyle of the Voralphian. So close to another to feel their joy, their delight, their pain, their death. Close enough that that death had threatened to draw her down in the dark abyss of death herself. When Kara had been killed Bede, Lyssia had tasted of death, she had touched the very edge of death, looked into that eternal afterlife and felt its pull. It would have been so very easy to just let it pull her over and die with Kara, but her own stubbornness and hatred of those who had caused Kara's death had stopped her. She remembered feeling the agony of Kara's death, remembered the pain melding with her hate and stoking fires that had never fully been quenched.

It was said that when one Voralphain of a pairing died the other would not outlive them for long. They would either seek death or simply wither away, no fighting for their own lives. The Sidhe woman could understand that, she knew what it felt like to lose the other half of your soul and no longer want to live. When Kara had died, forced to burn herself up in her own phoenix flames, the sorceress had returned to the lands of their alliance. Fury and pain had driven her onwards, not letting her wither and give up. No, they had sent her back to the Foretians that she had fought with at the time, forced her to try and open their eyes to the false faith that they had thrown themselves into. Had she really thought that she could change them? No, not really, perhaps in the end she had just hoped that her words would be taken as heresy and they would do the very thing that she could not bring herself to do.

Kill her.

But they hadn't. Her word had made some doubt, sending a few out to test their faith, to find out if it was as weak and flawed as she had claimed. Some had failed that test, one had...one had given her life but proved her faith to be strong, That had been...a disappointment to the Sidhe sorceress.

Lyssia shook away the thoughts of the past, turning her attention back to the Voralphian and the tale they told. They spoke of a pairing sent out to the west, over the mountains and the wastelands, past the dark mountains that lay beyond that. The pairing had travelled far, seeking knowledge of the heathen force that lay to the south-west, the nearest danger to the faith of Culaearien. It was a habit to keep a close eye on those who's lands encrouched too closely to those of the Officium. If they had come back with news of the heathens on the move or looking towards the desert then the warriors of the four tribes would have been mobilised and battle would have been taken to the heathens. It had just been routinue, they had not expected to find anything different to the times before, no new weaknesses, no new strengths. Though the heathens were a danger none had expected any real sign of attack from them, they had enough troubles of their own to deal with besides the people of the red desert.

The pairing had apparently returned to the desert two days later than expected. One had already been sickening and was the explanation for the delay. He had been fenerish, vomitting whenever he tried to eat or drink, Anything beyond the mere wetting of his lips would be brought back up from his stomach. The tribe had not thought much of it, they often caught sickness from travelling to heathen lands, it was one of the prices that had been paid. They had housed the pairing away from the main tribe, watching as the other fell sick and then as the fever broke on them. They were nursed back to health without any apparent further complicantions. But then others had begun to fall sick, each following a similar pattern of sickness to the first two. Disease was disease though and still the tribe hadnot thought to make much of it in their reports to the temple.

By the time the Voralphian had realised the secondary effects of the sickness it was already too late, the disease had spread to the central settlement and from there to the other tribes.
SO - Into darkness...
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Postby Demetria » Thu May 27, 2004 1:11 pm

When the sickness first struck, she had attributed it to other concerns that had caused great worry. She'd left the desert, hoping to prove to herself that she wasn't a coward and that she could still take care of herself. All her insecurities and fears had convinced her that the reason her mate had sent her away was because he was ashamed at her weakness. She had to prove to herself that she wasn't weak- so she could return to him and prove it to him as well. She'd had no clue how she was going to do this though and so she had left in the hopes that something would come to her along the way. All that came was queasiness and stomach heaving cramps. By that time she'd become fairly certain that she had bigger problems on the way and that the illness was just an informal announcement of it.

Several days had passed with her being unable to keep anything she ate in her stomach. The day she walked into the yard of the old farmhouse was the day that the fever hit. The old widowed woman who found her, took pity, and took her into her house to care for her. The woman whispered words of comfort, telling her that the illness she had, had already visited the farmhouse. It had taken the husband, but he had been feeble to begin with, Darden bless him, and she was positive that Demetria would pull through fine. She'd then began to sing a cheery song and dance around the room as she tried to keep things tidy.

That had seemed odd.

Two days later, after the fever had broken and she was able to stand on her feet again, Demetria joined her. She didn't know why- but staying to help this old woman, and keep her company, and sing and dance around the farm- felt so good, she didn't want to leave. After all. What would she do if she ran into an old sour-puss?
It's not paranoia if they really are out to get you.
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Postby Lyssia » Thu Jun 03, 2004 10:45 am

Yes it had taken too long before the tribes had realised the full effects of the disease. Long enough for the disease to spread out of the territory of the Voralphian and draw the other tribes under its curse. The Nibinbrethian tribe were almost totally under the sway of the disease, the whole of the central in their territory was a very different place. The people danced and sung, laughing out loud and drinking themselves silly just for the experience. People no longer bothered going to the temple, they had forgotten their faith as far as she could tell.

Even the priests of the temple were stricken, apparently having the time of their lives. The sorceress almost felt sad to try and deny them the joy of life but she knew that it had to be so. The disease had changed them, made them act completely unlike themselves. Although they seemed to be enjoying themselves it was the disease that caused them to be so. They had to be shaken out of the unnatural euphoria that gripped them, though how they would feel once they realised what they had done was another matter entirely. But that did not matter, any guilt they felt at their behaviour would have to be dealt with when it happened, for now she needed to concentrate on finding a cure. Who would heve thought it? she muttered to herself, almost bitterly. Who would ever have thought that I would be the one to try and get Dardenite priests back in their temple?

She hoped that Eskil remained in his cell, safely locked away from doing anything that he would later regret. The usually solemn priest would not think kindly of himself and his behaviour once he was back to his usual self. Of course that presumed that she could find some way to get him back to his usual self. Certainly part of her hoped that she could not, that there was no way to cure them. However necessary it was a cruel thing to take the obvious happiness of the people away.

Lyssia shook her head, clearing her thoughts as a small frown creased her brow. No, that wasn't right. Though it might not seem so to outsiders the people of Culaearien had been happy with their life beforehand. Outsiders might have thought them dour fanatics and nothing more, solemn and sullen people that had no concept of joy or happiness. But they would have been wrong to think so. The tribes had been happy in their own way, their lives were fulfilling and they had all that they wanted save for an isle where Darden held sway over all. The euphoria of the sickness was false, removing it would not sadden the people of the red desert, it would return them to the happiness that they had hid before, the happiness that they hid from the outsiders.

She looked away from the figures before her, knowing that their eyes were upon her anyway. So the Voralphian were lost to the false joy of the sickness. The Nibinbrethian tribe shared their condition, the so-called Guardians of Noon useless for the time being. The reports from the Alcmenelian had indicated that the majority of those who defended the eastern border were trapped by the sickness as well. Whoever remained untainted by it to the east had given little hope for the remainder of the tribe managing to keep themselves apart enough to remain healthy for much longer. The only hope lay to the west. Reports from the Himmetian had spoken of only half the tribe struck down by the disease. But the tribe had locked their family and friends away from the others, keeping them in some of the lower caves in the mountains.

And of the fifth tribe? The forgotten ones. There had been no report from them of course, of all those in the desert only Lyssia knew of their continued existance. But if the Sidhe woman guessed correctly then the people of the Mithglinian were probably safe from the disease as they had no contact with the low-land tribes. A small mercy that but still one worth remembering in the times ahead.

My thanks, the sorceress said as she stood up, bowing her head towards the Voralphian pairing. The information you have provided me with will..., would it be helpful? She had no idea what she was up against, no idea how to go about curing it. How could she say that things would get better? But as she looked at the eyes of the tribesmen the question changed...how could she not say that things would get better? I will deal with this matter, and, she paused the words necessary but still almost painful to say. And Darden willing, all will be as it was again.
SO - Into darkness...
Hlasta! Quetis Ilfirimain
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Postby CrimsonWolf » Sat Jun 05, 2004 5:19 pm

[OOC: Coming from here]

The man's face contorts in drunken rage...

... droplets of liquid sparkle in the torchlight as the man's flying body slams into a table, spilling drinks. The droplets scatter in mathematically exact geometric patterns, the light sparkling from them like rare jewels.

... the cold metal of the drainpipe, icy against the torn skin of his palms.

...dropping off the edge of the roof, falling forever...

... red fire smothered by clammy grey fog, the heat of the fire and the chill dampness of the fog each battling for supremacy.



... a sense of movement. Of a rhythmic jolting, up and down, up and down.

... warmth of sunshine on skin.

... the sound of horses' hooves.

The tattooed wanderer's eyelids fluttered as sense returned.

He appeared to be lying in an open-topped carriage, bouncing along. From his recumbant position, the nameless wanderer could see the clouds floating in a brilliant blue sky. He blinked away the blinding glare of the sun, looked around. His senses seemed almost preternaturally sharp.

Why?

Well, that was a question the wanderer was incapable of answering. The tattooed wanderer's memories seemed to be somewhat scrambled, the recent past nothing more than vague, disjointed memories. So, where was he, even if he could not reliably account for his arrival?

The carriage was plain and open-topped, although comfortable. Sitting on the driver's seat were two forms. A male form unknown to the wanderer sat beside the blonde elf driving the wagon. A figure more than familiar to the wanderer.

Good day to you, Helania. Where are we, and why am I in this wagon?
[center]Smiling in their faces
While filling up the hole
So many dirty little places
In your filthy little worn out broken down see through soul
[/center]
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