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Mirror Image (Maxim Based / Closed)

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2005 4:39 pm
by Yip
OOC note: this RP functions to introduce a website for the Maxim game. Please let the background unfold before using the environment to post in. Thank you and enjoy, all criticism welcome. /OOC

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

* * *[/center]

Do you remember your first childhood exploration? A reconnaissance expedition into unfamiliar and probably hostile territory, consisting of the neighbour’s vast back garden or maybe even the church graveyard, for the more daring type. The simple thrill of walking unspoilt ground, or at least, that is what you imagine; to share the adventure with one of your peers, or go on alone when they fail you. Do you remember when you skipped a heart’s beat as rustling leaves disturbed night’s peace; when a mouse showed up, blinking up to you with its tiny marble eyes; or perhaps you almost scared the living daylights out of yourself when you sneezed because of the layers of dust in an abandoned house and prayed that none of the inhabiting ghosts whould notice... someone is about to find out how it is...

He held his breath. A crow left a treetop and lazily swept his wings into the coming twilight. Wind disturbed the last leaves in the trees, who fought the cycle of autumn with much bravery but without much success and as Yip peered up a few of them circled down to him. He caught one midair and turned to show his newly acquired treasure to his companion, but found out that she hadn’t left her spot and was now several tens of feet behind him. He dropped the leave instantly and hustled back to Britt, the baker’s daughter. She stood there trembling and it wasn’t because of the cold. “Why don’t you come along, silly girl? That was just a bird, we’re not even halfway yet!” But Britt just stood there looking very upset inwards but trying not to show it outwards and now that Yip could examine her more closely in the fading sunlight, he saw a large wet spot a little below her belly, spreading towards her legs. He tried to hold his laughter, but chuckled anyway. “Go home, silly, this is not for little girls, find your dolls and go play with them.” To mark his words he turned around with an elegant twist, like a knight parading for his captain, and marched off. When he looked over his shoulder, he saw a shadow hurrying down the hill, he just managed to catch the sniffing sound she made as well. His faithful pet, the rat Crumbs, climbed up to his shoulder and too watched the girl running home. Yip stroked the rat lovingly for a moment. He was not the boy who pitied little girls for not daring to come and check out ruins and abandoned castles, he had always been helpful to his little sister, catching her when she stumbled over rocks in the main street or saving her from rude farm lads, but the sight of Britt speeding back to her warm fireplace, her mum and her dad, brought a smile to his face: he knew he was the brave one here, with noble deeds to fulfill this very night and with renewed vigour he followed his course, upwards.

If Yip would have looked behind him a little longer, he would have seen his home village preparing for the night. Britt, hurrying to her parental home, was greeted by the happy lighting of torches and lanterns, a small comfort for the slightly panicking girl. She came down from Marhillen’s closest hill, which marked the northern edge of the small town. Marhillen, its name from both the marches in the north which used to be an inner sea long ago and the surrounding area of glowing countryside which stretched away to east and west and south, existed only to indicate the crossing of a traderoute coming from the east, cutting through the town on its way to the ocean in the west, and one of the bigger roads from the south, ending at the passing traderoute because of the swamps ahead. Here the human merchants from the east met with the small Elven convoys from the nearby woods, as well as bypassing Drobens who commuted between the mountain areas in south and east and the lonely Borderpeak in the west.

Marhillen’s civilians prided themselves on their willingness to listen and tolerance towards ‘the other’, be they of other race or faith. Nevertheless, when Elementals, Goblins or even the more Vampiric persons passed through the town, which occasionally did happen, they would act with a fair amount of reserve, for people with claws, fangs, pointy teeth, not to mention tails or simply a fiery, airy, watery, or earthly personality were entitled to a healthy amount of suspicion. Fortunately, the town of profiting small-businessmen and artisans had lived fairly unspoilt through the chaotic times of lately, though the number of families passing by looking for new residences had not gone unnoticed. The citizens prayed to their Foret for good fortune as they had always done, even now the town’s priest had gone mad in agony during one of the services, as he felt the absence of a greater being for the first time.

All of this ment little to young Yip, who had mainly cared for his father’s stories when the family set down in the evening around the fireplace. His father, as he always proudly told his friends, was the owner of a secret recipe for the best beer in the whole world, and although the author considers a long forgotten Sidhe dynasty far superior in brewing “the people’s gold”, what Andrick Cornwater created in an old farm a little southwest of Marhillen was definately the best available in a radius of fifty miles, which is further away than most of the citizens of the village had even been. In his line of business, he heard a lot of good tales, though he restricted himself to the, shall we say, purer and happier stories to pass on to his son. Yip had not yet heard of terminology like “lust, decay, slaughter” and similar words and showed little interest in getting to know any of these, while showing a supreme talent in remembering the more heroic, epic, romantic or simply funny narratives. And many of these had somehow evolved around the place he was heading to.

PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2005 3:10 pm
by Yip
Remember Yip? Alone with his rat in the accumulating darkness, on the hill north of Marhillen? That’s where we return to now...

On and on he walked. Leaves crumbled beneath his feet while they lost their reds, browns and golden hues and became variable shades of grays. The trees around him became dark shadows, dancing slowly on the cool night’s breeze. As he ascended with a steadfast tread, he replayed a story in his mind, one of his all-time-favourites...

The cries of Rhett ran down the hill just as he was doing himself. Several people looked up, it was far from common behaviour for the sensible lumberjack, who lived up the southern slope of the northern hills because he did not believe the ghost stories telling of lost souls hauntings the northern swamps. He simply worked the woods which covered the hills in plenty and every evening after his work he climbed the highest top to enjoy the view of the swamps bathing in the last rays from Intop.

The man’s heavy body crashed through the shrubs and plunged into the townsquare, his arms flailing about and looking back over his shoulder constantly. He carried no axe.
This may seem insignificant to you son, but I told you stories of dutiful knights carrying their swords with them to bed. Rhett was like that, dutiful, he believed what he did was right and he for that to do properly he needed a sharp axe and he always kept an eye on it! And somehow he had left it uphill!One of the tavernmaids, who had just cleaned the frontwindows, dropped her bucket with water on the spot and ran over to the crying man. Others came closer while the maid tried to comfort the poor lumberjack, but it took her several hugs and comforting strokes before Rhett started to talk sense.

“They build a cas’le up there, ye know, with walls and with towers and with everything. There it is, it’s right at the top, bordering the hill, overlooking the swamp. Yesterday there was nothing there, them bogs looked pale and watery like every evening and now I pass the last trees and I can’t see a thing because there’s suddenly a complete fort up there. I tell you there’s... there’s magicks at work here, who can build a darn cas’le in one day I ask ye?”

He had always felt a little pity for Rhett the lumberjack, who had been scared by the sudden appearance of a building, which shouldn’t be there at all. “Still,” Yip said to Crumbs, “why be afraid of something you haven’t seen before? Why dread the unknown? It might turn out to be a good thing after all, not?” He knew it was easy to say that, he knew the end of the story. He knew that a few dozen armed townsmen had gone up the hill in the night, carrying pitchforks and torches and rusty swords and axes, to challenge this unknown power, or perhaps to challenge their own fear for this newcomer. Yet they had been recieved in peace, with an open gate and welcoming faces, and shown to a grand hall where they had met the Keeper of the Court as the man had referred to himself. And from that day on they had lived with a new power center in the village, which sometimes brought strange faces into town, but mostly provided the people with a new Court to supply and profits to be made.

But it was all a long time ago, lad. When Rhett dropped there before the Bragging Bard and was helped up by one of the maids, my great great grandfather’s grandfather was delivering a new stock of Marhillen’s Finest to the tavern. His son must have been of your age and saw Rhett crying in Townsquare from the –bok- of the cart. Hah, a funny sight that must have been. But like you, he didn’t know the secret recipe for the beer yet. His father had smiled knowingly and Yip had started begging his father for the one and only family secret, but as usual his father had only taunted the boy and in the end picked him by the legs and carried him up to bed. Hop, in bed you go son. You won’t learn it tonight, nor tomorrow... dream of it then, that one day you may supply a Court, if there ever comes one.

And a long time ago it was, for now the Court of Marhillen was simply a ruin, but Rhett had died long ago, just as his father’s great great grandfather’s grandfather had done, and his son, and his son... no one lived up the hills any more. “Silly people, all of ‘em” Yip thought. “Believing that there was something like ghosts at all.” But until now he had not dared to go uphill. Oh, he had wandered the borders of them swamps, he might have ventured a mile or so into them, but always coming around the hills, never over them. Never, ‘till now. Hah, you wouldn’t find him crashing down like Rhett the lumberjack, or like Britt had just done. But his courageous thought were cut short when he passed the last trees and came out into the open: the ruins of the Court loomed over him in the clear light of the crescending moons.

PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 3:47 pm
by Yip
He had to fight the urge to hide, but Crumbs felt the uncertainty of his master and instantly plunged into Yip’s shirt again. It was not necesserily because the building had that ‘creepy look’, it was the stature of it all, the impression of greatness on the pure boy’s soul, which made him almost conceal himself behind a big trunk. Almost, for the boy remained steadfast, though thrembling a little and holding his breath. Gazing around in awe he looked at the ruins, comforting the rat under his clothes.

The outer wall was falling apart everywhere. At a pace of perhaps one step per century, the forest was gaining terrain on this former Court, but it was gaining. Mosses and even trees were gathering between the stones, breaking a way through the structure here and there. Not far from Yip’s position there was a large gap in the walls, filled with the debree: the gateway to the inner courtyard had lost both upper structure and doors. With that it had also lost its hospitable looks and splendour of old. All that was left looked jagged, uneven, sharp, hostile.
The structures behind the walls were largely hidden from sight. The stories told of three towers reaching to the skies, but only one top showed above the walls, broken and jagged like the walls beneath it. All in all, it was a strange mix in sight, as it is with all ruins: the decay of the architecture combined with the lively plants and mosses covering it.

With a heavy sigh he started to breath normally again. Crumbs felt his master relaxing and peeked out of the boy’s collar, its head going left to right, snout up in the air. Just as Yip planned to move closer and perhaps, if he dared, to take a look at the courtyard, it happened.

The air suddenly felt heavy, pressing down upon boy and rat alike. Wind swept through the trees with an unusual urge and every object near them seemed to emit a dull light. With a giant’s leap Yip was behind a tree. He heard the wind howling through the leaves, then it stopped abruptly. At the same moment both Soma and Numi faded away behind a passing cloud and for a second he thought all his senses had gone mute. The air was full of expectation and he could only think of one word: “Magick”. Then an incredibly high note pierced through the silence. A ray of bright light erupted from the inner court and sprang up to the heavens, like inversed lightning, and a single blink of an eye the whole environment bathed in its light. Next, there was silence, and darkness. The heavy air faded instantly.

Numi reappeared from behind the cloud, almost doubting wether it would dare to show Maxim what had happened just moments ago. Moments later, Soma followed its smaller brother and brought its blue light down upon the lands, searching the boy who had climbed up to the Court. It took him a while, but then he found him: behind a big trunk, face-down, arms covering his head. The two moons blinked at eachother knowingly and continued their course through the firmament, affirming that the night wasn’t finished for Yip just yet. It took several minutes for Yip to collect his courage and dignity. Then he lifted his face, slowly, got to his knees, stood, his back still towards the hilltop. He breathed once, twice, turned... and opened his eyes.

Magick indeed. Where the ruins of the architecture had been, there was a full featured castle proudly defying all common sense of any child, but greatly appealing at its curiosity. Magick indeed.

The walls stood two man high, looking like solid rock, pouring solid black shadows over the surrounding forest, built to stop a small army if necessary. Three high towers formed tall shadows rising up from the inner court. Torches were lit at every top, like beacons in the night. A fourth tower barely made it above the walls, centered between the other three, also lit by small points of fire. The gateway, first a mere gap between other rocky structures, was now like a big mouth gaping. The massive doors were swung open invitingly, torches at every side to point the way inside. Cobblestones covered the earth from the courtyard on down the hill, disappearing between the trees. Nature’s century long work had been dismissed within the blink of an eye.

“Crumbs, would you look at that? This is... just wow, amazing. My father would never believe me when I told this to him. Could you bite me somewhere, to check I’m not dreaming? Crumbs. Crumbs?” Yip promptly realised he wasn’t feeling his pet anywhere and searched his clothes, checked his shoulders, his feet. His gaze swept from tree to tree, then was led up with the road towards the doors. There, a small form sat on the cobblestones, apparently waiting for him to see it. “Crumbs!” he yelled, but the rat sped inside without hesitating anymore. Without thinking Yip followed, inside.

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2005 3:43 pm
by Desiderius
In the meanwhile, a few thousand miles north, the night before...

A family of rabbits was enjoying a feast upon a local farm field under the guardiance of Soma and Numi, lighting their meal. By a small twist of fate the farmer had decided to leash his dog close to his chickens this night after an unfortunate event involving a slaughtered hen the night before, leaving his crops unattended. Father and mother rabbit took care of a few carrots and the children, four in total, feasted upon some cabbage. The youngest, just a few steps seperated from the others was happily enjoying its meal, when a magic portal almost split the poor animal in halves. It dodged away as soon as it noticed the portal appearing, which took a considerable amount of time. Too much time. While the rabbit family hurried towards another field stadia away, the portal finally took its supposed height and width and out fell two shapes. The portal collapsed instantly behind them, leaving the crops with two human forms instead of six rabbits. In the distance, near the farm, the dog howled in warning, feeling the magick in the air.

Slowly, one of the forms stood. The moonlight reflected on his mud-stained white cloak and black face. Pointy ears marked his elven heritage and as if he became aware of this fact that instant, he lifted his hood to cover any other of his facial details, while looking around trying to recognize where he had appeared. The other looked more human, but did not seem inclined to move a muscle any time soon. In fact, the brownhaired man remained still, as if in stasis. Only his clothes, brown and green like a huntsman, moved a little in the wind. A sigh escaped from the lips of the cloaked man and with considerable effort he lifted the human up to his hip and half lifting, half dragging, he moved from the field to the trail and continued to the farm, which although not immediately invisible was clearly marked by the dogs howls still echoing through the night.

Ten minutes later the two came back heading over the trail, one gasping for breath under his hood, one still hanging lifeless in the others arms. When they came upon the place of their entrance, the hooded person dropped the other at the side of the road and fell down beside his companion, panting expressly, as if to demonstrate he was really making an extreme effort. He even removed the hood to make the breathing easier and for a few minutes, nothing was heard but the slowly calming breath of the black-skinned elf. In the same time, his facial expression changed from plain angry to mildly annoyed.

However, those who knew the elf better, were aware that this was an uncommon sight. Desiderius, the former chancilor of the kingdom of Andenor, assistant to Lord Daron, tireless traveler of Maxim and agent of the Court, was always in control, he was the paragon of self-restrain; he knew that even the smallest flicker of the eyes could hint at someone’s opinion, but at the moment the elf didn’t care less. He muttered under his breath: “Daron, when you wake up again we have a lot to talk about. But for now, we must rest, for I can’t even keep my own clothes clean, let alone light a fire.” He looked disapprovingly at his mud-stained cloak, then observed the clouds in the sky and prayed to the Three that there would be no rain for the rest of the night.

With his last remaining energy he pulled the body from the trail into the bushes and lay it as gently as possible on a heap of leaves. He wrapped himself in his cloak and hoped that the night would follow undisturbed. He was in no position to defend himself. He had no clue about the environment, the only useful piece of information the farmer had given him was that he was not far, meaning within a week’s horse ride, from the town of Efraat. It was a name he could at least vaguely remember from his travels. Still, it would take at least a day of carefully planned teleportation spells to come to a place he knew from memory, so that he could reach his first destination. He blinked up at the moons one last time, muttered a “Goodnight” to the lifeless body beside him and fell fast asleep.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2005 7:42 am
by Lestores Moonhair
From the diaries of Lestores Moonhair, keeper of the Court.

On Imagination and Illusion

Reading these very words is an illusion. As if words could possibly tell you what my mind, whatever that may be, has conjured up to communicate to the public. You can of course try and imagine what I tried to express with the words, but after you’ve decided what they mean, you may still doubt wether your conclusions are correct. After all, words are far from a direct link to my mind, and I must admit I’m glad they aren’t. They are merely a set of signs that we invented, invented to have a basic means to convey a message. On top of that, the mystical power given to them in daily use is far from correct, for they are vague shadows of the images that I did have in mind.

Watching the moons is an illusion. As if your eyes can tell you what Soma and Numi might look when you walk on it. You can of course try and imagine what they might look like, after having observed the moons night after night, but after you’ve decided what they look like, you may still doubt wether your conclusions are correct. After all, the moons in the sky are probably only an invention of the gods, two giant balls of light to help us navigate in the night if necessary and to let us sleep in the night if necessary. They are set at a distance so unmeasurable, that thinking of that only would make my feet ache from traveling it, and I traveled some miles myself. On top of that, the mystical power given to them in daily use is far from correct, for they are vague shadows from that which the gods created and placed in the heavens.

Loving your partner is an illusion. As if every one of your senses can tell you what that person might think of you and every other possible partner in Maxim. You can of course try and imagine what the one tried to express to you when he said “I love you”, but after you’ve decided what it means, you may still doubt wether your conclusions are correct. After all, words are far from a direct link to one’s mind, whatever pity that may be. They may have been true at the momentum of speech, invented to bind two people together for mating, but did they express a promise of never dying love, of an eternal bond? On top of that, the mystical power given to it in daily use is far from correct, for it is but a vague shadow of the bond that binds us to the eternal.

As it is with words, with the moons, with love, it is with everything. If the gods had wanted us to have full knowledge of the world around us, we would have been equal to them and could have easily disposed of them. Instead, they made us belief we created them, through the acts of Formation and Creation. We, as the scrolls of Tismad tell, “[...] had formed in our minds[...]” the images of gods. Now, with Simple Sin and Last Sin commited, we battle to keep this image alive, and we do, we do exactly that until this very day, and will probably continue to do so for some time as none of the three seems willing to die lightly and end the grandest illusion of them all.

But, if even the gods are created through our imagination, then what is real?

Everything may be an illusion. Your vision, hearing, tasting, smelling, feeling, even your most powerful sixth sense, you think that’s all that there is to know about this world? Fool! You can of course try and imagine that you live and die, pass time and distance, but after you’ve decided what it means, you may still doubt wether your conclusions are correct. After all, your senses are far from a direct link to the world, even considering whatever truth you may find in your observations. They may tell you what Suma looks like, what your father tells you, what freshly baked bread tastes like, what the aroma of your partner is, what bare skin feels like, but it will never tell you the meaning of life and death. On top of that, the mystical power given to it all in daily use may be far from correct, for what if it’s all a vague shadow...

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 9:20 am
by Desiderius
In the hall appeared a cloaked figure. His cloak and hood were a spotless white, blending in nicely with his surroundings. Over his left shoulder, he held the lifeless body of a human. For a moment, it seemed everything went silent as the hood moved from left to right, taking note of every detail. The large hall was covered with a thin layer of ice, floor, walls and roof alike. Under the ice there was natural rock. The person’s breath made cloads that lazily floated through the air and played with the icicles hanging from the ceiling. In two opposite sides of the hall there were portals cut out of the stone, leading to corridors. From one of the corridors light poured into the hall, endlessly reflected by the ice on the walls. Then, a loud sigh was heard, the body was dropped and the hooded sat beside it on the floor. Desiderius had finally arrived at his destination.

Arriving here hadn’t been easy. Waking up he had found everything the same as the night before: he and Daron still lost somewhere in Maxim. With small distance covering spells, carefully measuring they wouldn’t end up in trees or hills, he had made his way over the landscape of northern Maxim. After a morning of about a hundred carefully planned spells he left off worn out upon a hill overseeing the nearby countryside.

He had taken some rest while carefully observing the land for a point he recognized. When he rose to his feet to continue the journey, still without a decent plan, the sun reflected in a river miles ahead north, and Desiderius remembered a river three days south of Efraat. Within an hour they reached the river, fifteen minutes later they stood upon the road leading to the gates of Efraat. He decided that his efforts had been so large that he could pamper himself a little. Instead of giving his last energy to reaching their destination, he conjured a hiding place for Daron’s body beneath a few oaks twenty paces from the road and cleaned his clothes with a simple spell, then walked inside the city walls.

The Flaming Forge was renowned for its dwarven stout, but less known was its robust goat steak, as it was originally created above dwarven forge fire. Few dared try dwarven recipes, but the traveling Court agent had found it too tempting not try and it was quite exquisite for his taste. Trying it the first time had had another reason, but he’d rather not think of that. It had been a rash act of revolt, only worthy of a fool, trying something his boss despised, simply because his boss despised it. This time he had chosen it simply because his conjured version of the food was not as good as the manually cooked and roasted one and he was in the mood to celebrate: after a bad start they were now coming about again.

Two hours before sunset he greeted the guards at the city gate and walked towards Daron, almost humming refreshed as he was, though he was really bad at music. The sound which escaped from his lips would scare away even bees, whoes droning sound wasn’t exactly stroking the ear. Entering the hideout, he prepared the final teleportation spell, and after half an hour of preparation, they were transported to Echo Peak.

The isle of Maxim has a rich landscape. There are seashores which are continuously attacked by storms and beaches bathing in sunlight nearly the whole year. Forest, jungle, desert, mountain ranges, everything is present. Now, a little east of the centre of the isle is a mountain range which is rumoured to have a dwarven civilisation inhabiting it. Though Desiderius had never encountered any of the small, strong folk there, he had discovered large complexes of rooms and hallways, most of them interconnected. A few were isolated from the rest and some of these had magical properties. He had noted them in his logs and had carried, but to one of the complexes he had returned more often. At the base of one of the higher mountains, there was entrance to an inner construction, which led on and on towards the top of the vast rock. The construction was exactly mirrored: there was a great hall at the bottom and one at the top, the stairs leading up and down were their exact mirror images. The top hall has the strange ability that you can hear echos of conversations from all over the isle, if you know the location were the words are spoken or the person speaking very well. The process of actually hearing the echos was a little more complex and had required some study before he understood its concept, but it had been a helpful feature in his historical work.

He had transported to the hall at the bottom of the mountain, the upper chambers were shielded from magic and impossible to enter with his magical means. He knew that ascending in the mountain would take him an hour or two at least, for he had to go this way on foot. He hoped no other traveler would be present in the Echo Chamber, he had seen signs of other using this place before, even seen them leaving. Enfin, there would be little he could about that. Besides, he guessed that most of them would be magicians like himself and wouldn’t risk hostile actions in an environment where magic was unreachable. But first, he had one other thing to do. Gathering his strength, he lifted the body and carried it towards one of the portals. After a few moments he felt the draught coming from outside. When they came outside, his hood was blown off immediately and he shielded his eyes from the wind with his free arm. Looking about, he noticed a large rock formation nearby and half bend over he waded through wind and snow, still carrying Daron with him. Coming to the rock, he touched the ice covering it and mumbled a few words, pressing hard against the thin icy layer. From his hand, the rock formed a small cave, just large enough for the body to fit in. He heaved the man inside and sealed the rock back as if he had been molding with clay. Looking satisfied with the result he headed back inside.

“Nature will keep him for a while” he thought. He was quite certain that the combination of climate and magic would conserve Daron’s body for at least a week or so. He hoped he wouldn’t need any longer to find the man’s spirit, but he was quite positive that this location would be a great aid to his aim and with that in mind he hurried into the entrance hall, carefully hustling over the icy floor and started ascending through the mountain.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2005 11:59 am
by Yip
“Crumbs, you bloody rat, where are you?”

In the beginning, following his pet had been easy. The courtyard had been well lit by the moons and he was quick enough to see where the rat had been heading to. It had crossed the yard in a straight line towards a small door in the opposite wall and disappeared underneath it. He had sped after it, found the door open and had entered a dark hallway. When his eyes had gotten used to the new surroundings, he had seen moonbeams falling inside though barred windows, leaving patterns of light on the floor. That’s were he had last seen Crumbs: at the end of the hallway, just passing a corner in the moonlight. Since then he had been wandering through the Court, at first still trying to keep up with the rat, but in the end mainly trying to find a way, for example to an exit. He had been constantly cursing under his breath, for his rat to be so careless to just run away when he got the chance. Perhaps he was cursing himself for ever entering this ruin in the first place.

Well, ruin... At the moment Yip was more concerned with his rat than with the sudden dramatical chance of appearance of the ruin. He hadn’t noticed the ancient words inscribed above the entrance gate, “Gnoti Seauton” and “Panta Rhei”, translated into common as ‘Know yourself’ and ‘Everything flows”, nor the fine woodwork of the gatedoors, decorated with geometrical patterns: triangles, circles. After passing through the dark hallway, he had come to chambers lit with candles, or even torches, like those who had lit the towers outside. The courtyard, if he had inspected it a little better, were adorned with a few stable buildings, which were filled with fresh hay for horses, and a well with fresh water at the bottom and an unbroken rope holding the basket. Every floor looked recently swept, if he would have passed left instead of right on a particular split, he would have found freshly baked bread in the oven of the bakery, in short, everything seemed particularly wellkept, if not recently created, cleaned and polished.

But it all didn’t affect the boy, who was only looking for his rat or a way out. He had passed so many windows looking outside, so many barred doors, so may chambers, leading to other corridors and rooms, again leading to halls and storage room. And somehow, all the chambers he passed through seemed to look over the courtyard, although he was quite sure he had left ground level hours ago. Through those windows, the moonlight fell into all the rooms, creating an eery atmosphere, the rays of light reflecting on all the polished marble or wellkept wood. It seemed that he was running around in circles without ever coming to the door again.

[center]* * *[/center]

He crossed another doorstep and plunged towards the windows on his right. Gazing through the frames he saw the door on the otherside of the yard. His heart sank into his boots. “I was really sure the door was right ahead when I past the gallery on that sight, why is it over there again?” Falling to his knees, he started a soft sobbing. He remained sitting like that for minutes, till he felt his knees hurting. With some effort he pulled himself around and leaned with his back against the wall, pulling his arms around his legs, his chin on top of that. Over his head, the moonlight poured into the room and for the first he observed his surroundings, through his watery eyes.

The hall was richly decorated: the tiles on the floor were a white and black marble, forming a huge oversized chess board, but this was the simplest of decoration. The walls were made of light wooden panels, covered in tapestries picturing all kinds of events. The panels contained engravings of nature’s finest, including lushly blossoming flowers and plants and the occasional exotic animal. In wonder the boy rose from his huddled position. He wiped the tears from his eyes and started to wander along the walls. His fingers followed the lines of the flowers as if he was drawing them himself. He felt the edges of the tapestries, but always in a hurry, trying to hide it. He was sure he was not allowed to touch anything, but everything was so beautiful he felt the urge to caress all the splendour. In awe he looked at predator standing in full glory over a captured deer, half hidden by a tapestry depicting some epic battle of huge forces. He noticed that there were large numbers of wolves fighting on one side, some of the knights riding them, some of the knights actually being lupi. On the other side the warriors were clothed in red and led by a sorceress with emerald eyes, holding a flaming jewel over her head. Another tapestry depicted an ancient dragon flying in from over the sea to a large island. The island had one part in particular enlarged, were a tall tower topped a huge mountain. The tower seemed carved from the very fabrics of hell, a black spire clawing up from the earth. The contrast with the rose garden surrounding the structure couldn’t have been bigger. His gaze swept towards the next tapestry, when he heard the shuffling of tiny feet in one of the corners. He twisted around and noticed an opening in the wall he hadn’t seen before, a heavy stone staircase twisted upwards on the other side. The sound of feet pattering spiraled up.

“Crumbs, is that you?” With renewed vigour he chased the sound and run up, forgetting all the wonders of the chamber behind him instantly.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 6:15 am
by Yip
Up, up, up. He took the stairs with two at the time now. He passed torches and windows, arrow holes, but only the sound of small feet ahead mattered to him. He stumbled, missed a stone by a toe-width and fell face first on the stairs, his head bumping into the wall viciously, but he rose immediately, continuing his way. A small stream of blood crossed his left cheek from hair to chin and mixed with the sweat of the running child.

The end of the staircase came suddenly. He was in a hallway, lit by four torches, one on each side, fastened to the wall at great height. Five doors came upon this hall, two on each side and one right ahead of Yip. The doors looked heavy, plated with iron bars and decoration upon dark wood, but all were opened just a little, except the door right ahead. The torchlight crossed the hallway into each of the four open rooms.

Yip stood silent for a moment and listened intently. The rat feet had stopped running as soon as he had entered this hallway, there was nothing but the sound of flames burning that disturbed the peace. “I will find you, bloody rat” he whispered and made for the first room on the left. He pushed the door with all his might, but it wasn’t until he braced his feet against the doorstep that he was able to push it open at least far enough for him to slip through. He squeezed through the tiny space, lost his balance, and rolled into the room. As soon as he passed the door, a dull light appeared in the room, instantly rising to greater intensity. As soon as he rose to his feet again, there was sufficient light to observe his surroundings.

The room he had just entered was about the size of his parents bedroom. There was a bed near the far side of the room, made for one human. A large desk dominated the left wall, made of wood without any ornamentations, the chair was of the same simple design. The desk had a few stacks of paper neatly ordered on top of it, the small drawers beneath it had keyholes and as Yip tried, were all locked. Beside this there was a wardrobe next to the door, the room kept no other furniture. Windows in two of the sides showed the dark night outside. And all this bathed in an eery blue light. Though there was no source of light inside the room, one object shone a little brighter than the others: a small picture of a woman, hanging over at the wall above the desk. Curiously Yip jumped up the chair, hopped over to the desk and pressed his nose against the picture of the woman. She shone with bright blue light and she stood proudly erect, holding a lawbook in one hand and pointing mightily with the other to something outside the picture, her face stern and strong. Yip felt fascinated for a moment but lost interest as his rat wasn’t here. He squeezed into the hallway again and crossed it towards the room opposite.

This time the door opened a little easier and he walked past the doorstep, a light starting to shine immediately. It was quite similar to what had happened in the other room, only the light wasn’t blue but of a golden hue. This room was even simpler decorated. There stood a wooden basket of sorts in one corner and there was a tiny window right opposite of the door, but there was nothing else in the room. “At least I’m sure that Crumbs ain’t here.” He said out loud and was about to turn away, when he noticed one other object in the room, again emitting just a little more light than the rest of the room. It was next to the door; a picture on the wall. He wasn’t able to see it, but quickly pulled the basket over here, turned it over and jumped on top of it, balancing for a moment then gazing up at the drawing. There was a young man lounging upon a bed, his body laying upon several softly looking cushions. His face was marked by a a wide grin, it seemed that he was enjoying a show of sorts, looking out of the drawing just pass the spectator, his hand fingering a dagger. By his feet was a chest filled with gold bars and jewellery, a trumpet and a lire lying on one side; pens, paper and paintings on the other. Again Yip felt the picture pulling at him, but he resisted, hopped off the basket, checked the almost empty room one final time and left for the next. He remained on the right side of the hallway and made for the next room.

Again a heavy door, but he forced it open though this one seemed even heavier than the first and he had to push thrice before he felt the heavy wood moving aside just enough. Here the light went on in red, as if the whole room was made of the glowing ashes of a campfire. The room was larger than the other two, but the ceiling seemed not as high. It made the room look out of proportions, the width and depth not matching the height. He jumped towards the ceiling and missed it by a few inches: it was definately a low ceiling. This room was filled with all sorts of furniture. There was a large bathtub in one corner, made of copper or something similar. There were two beds: one about the size of his parents bed, one he would have made for a dog or a cat; it was really very small. They were both decorated with carvings, the large bed with feline motives, the small one with butterflies and other small winged insects. There was a huge mirror on one of the walls, but the most impressive part was just outside of the room: a huge balcony dominating the wall right ahead. You could see the size of it through the large glass wall, which had doors made in it. He tried to reach the balcony to enjoy the view, but the doors were firmly locked and he could not look down from this position, the balcony was even bigger than the room itself and made gazing down impossible. Gazing at the contrast compared to the other rooms he noticed one thing similar: there was a drawing lighting up next to the mirror. It was fitted right at the height of his eyes and he walked towards it. There was some sort of lord sitting upon a heavy dark throne. His face looked scarred by flames of war and beside the stern face, there was well... something of anger, of hatred in his looks. He seemed to gaze upwards, all his emotions focused in that direction. Again Yip was drawn, again he resisted, again he found no rat, again he made for the next room. Crossing the hallway, he went over to the fourth open room opposite of the last.

Getting used to the weight of the doors, he braced himself again and opened the fourth door. Light sprang up, a grass-green glow filled the room. This one looked a little like the first. There was a desk and chair, a bed, a wardrobe. Still, here it was all... a bit more decorated. The bed had cupper mountings in vine motives, the desk and chair had their legs carved into treetrunks, the sides decorated with plants and leaves. There was a small mirror next to the bed with a small table and chest under it. And of course, there was a picture, above the bed. Yip looked a moment underneath the bed, but he was now quickly giving up on finding his rat, as he heard or saw nothing for minutes. Then he jumped upon the bed and was drawn to a picture for the fourth time. This time there was a woman like in the first picture, her hair brown like the wood of oaktrees. She sat upon a fallen tree in the midst of a forest. A dove rested on her outstreched arm, other animals set by her feet or flew over her head. Still, it wasn’t only a peaceful picture. In the background you could notice a tidal wave about to crush a coast village and a volcano spouting flame threatingly. Yip admired the beauty of the picture, barely noticing the other events in the background, then pulled himself away and sighed. He squeezed pass the door and stood in the hallway. He turned to the fifth door and pressed his ears against it. His heart leaped up as he heart the now familiar feet running around in the room, but he thought he heard something else as well. Yes, there was a voice talking inside. He pressed his ears even more against the wood and tried to listen to what was said.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 2:42 pm
by Dolana
“Oh, the guy’s really wealthy... good” She let her eyes sweep past the contents of the room, while keeping at the least the corner of her eye on her host, at the same time resisting to grin mischievously: they only come to the entrance hall of the mansion, but she knew already that she had made a good choice this evening. The stuff would be hard to loose, maybe she would even contact the Family to get rid of it, but it would pay off... definately.

Her prey this evening was a cartographer of sorts. He seemed to collect historical objects, some she faintly recognized from her days with Desiderius and the Court. There was a heraldry mark of a Baatorian Legion, she didn’t have to look twice to know which number it would be. Then there was this map by a certain Jon O’Thicket which marked the positions of guilds eras ago. 'A natural choice for a cartographer' she thought, though she knew that the original was somewhere in the stashes of Master Moonhair, but she wouldn’t let her host know of any of her thought on these. To him, she was just a lovely lady he had happened to meet in one of the better taverns of Ran’Kur, and she had been willing to his shy flirtations. Boy, in a way he was gorgeous, for a human at least. His hair was graying, true, but the way he walked, such an air of domination, of both knowledge and power. She was distracted for a moment, a shield covered in dragon marks caught her eye. “Legendary Dragon Guard? Perhaps Dragons of Eternal Darkness?” she mused, “that was some time ago, gosh this guy has a lot.”

Just then she noticed her host was gone. “Blast! Here I am dreaming around all these memorials of the distant past while there’s so much to get here in the near future” What had been his name? She would call out to him and he would be back in the blink of an eye. “David, Draven,” she knew she was almost there “Drafin, Drafas, yeah that’s it, Drafas Tristin, royal cartographer and historian with an attitude, at your service m’lady” She imitated his ridiculous accent in her mind, which she started to recognise from the higher circles of society in town. Glad the people from the Family were mostly if not all from the streets: they talked like shit, but it was rough and honest. “Oh Drafas, young man, where are you, do you always leave your guests to admire your collection on their own?” She fingered a statue in the centre of the hall while enjoying the mockery she had put in her words. He would melt away within seconds. This would be a fun night.

She was caught by surprise when the response came from behind her. “Sorry I kept you so long... Dolana.” “He knows my name, this can’t be” She smiled an innocent smile and kept her face without emotion while she turned around to face her host. The second surprise was that he just finished bolting and locking the door and pointed a large iron pole at her. “Now this is getting disturbing” the shapeshifter mused, for Dolana was one of that kind. “Here I am making a good profit this evening, turns out my host has eyes and ears everywhere... and good ones too.”

“Drafas, I don’t know what you mean and what are you doing with that pole, is that your ultimate collector’s item? Handmade by The Prophet himself, or forged by the dwarven smithies of Inverness.”
“Silence, scum. You just betrayed yourself by mentioning one of the earliest alliances of the late goddess Angelique. There are few who remember, let alone believe the most ancient tomes of knowledge contained on this isle. There are even fewer who care to look into those, and there are only a handful who have the means to do so. Yet the Court is not alone in its quest for knowledge of the past and though you vanished ages ago, we have remained.”

Dolana was now dumbstruck. “There is someone actually remembering and even caring about one of my former employers? That must have been one hell of a good employer, because their are few guilds who have witnessed the dawning of the Court so long ago.” She searched her memory for any event that could spark a candle to shed some light on the appearance of this freaking cartographer now pointing at her with the one material she couldn’t stand, that was more than lethal to her. She didn’t know of any Order or alliance that had made it its goal in life to exterminate the agents of the Court and when the Court had disappeared she had simply looked for a new one. Apparently the guy in front of her didn’t know all of it, she was far from any vital importance to whatever goal he was chasing. And his accent was really starting to get on her nerves.

“Look, the Court, as you noted so cleverly, disappeared before you were born. I have little if not nothing to do with that anymore. With that put aside, could you carefully mark the pointy stick in your hand at something else than my throat, it would ease my nerves which at this point are really faling me. She tried to repress her mixed feelings of anger at this night spoiled and the fear of getting hurt by the man in front of her, but she noticed that the pitch of the last sentence had been rising to rapidly at the end and her breathing was far from controlled anymore.
“Shifter, you’re not the only in disguise... when was the last time you saw one of the ancients? They are still here you know, the original inhabitants of this godswarmed isle, and I be one of them. And you, you were an Agent of the Court, and you have something I want. Where is your Stone?

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 9:45 am
by Desiderius
Panting he arrived at the top of the stairs and, relieved by the sight ahead of him, he stopped dead in his tracks and, leaning against a doorpost, started to recover his breath, while observing the hall. A faint smile appeared at his face, now visible because the hood had since long been hanging on his back, while climbing the stairs: indeed he had arrived at Echo Hall.

The light of Intop was focused below a gap in the southeast wall of the grand chamber. It came from a hole opposite of the other, in the northwest wall, these being the only openings inside this space, beside the northern entrance where Desiderius stood. The holes had apparently been created to mark the hours of the day, for as Intop was setting just now its light entered, and the same happened when light dawned in the southeast. "Well, that wasn't so bad. It must have taken me about an hour and a half to reach this place, judging from the sunlight. All in all, it seem I'm not thát out of shape." mused the dark-skinned elf. The centre of the floor was not visible because of a small cavity there, but Desiderius knew there was a seating stone located at the bottom of this hollow. That was the spot he was heading for, but he wouldn't go there before he was both physically and mentally up to the task. Alike all the room, chambers and hall in this mountain, everything was covered and topped by thin layers of ice, and so was this hall. This somehow always appealed to the elf, because it made all the rooms bathe in a blue light, the colour of his patroness. Now and then, he bent over and brought his hands to his hip to make the breathing go more easier and after a few minutes, he rose to his full length and purposefully started to head for the centre of the hall.

As soon as stepped inside, echoes started to reach his ears. With each step he took towards the centre, they became more evident and increased in intensity, but he was used to this effect now and focused his mind on his goal and strode onwards. Step by step he went on until he reached the edge of the cavity. Here the intensity of the sound reached a new peek and instinctively he brought his hands to his ears to cover them, but he forced them down, knowing it wouldn't be of any use. Instead, he circled the hole once, twice, to get accustomed to these levels of sound input and to continue his right state of mind. There was only one way down to the centre, a narrow stairway made oppositely of the entrance into the room and when he reached this point for the third time he turned towards the stairs and started descending.

It was as if he had challenged the Echo Hall with these bold steps, for as soon as he lowered his feet, the echoes started to increase in pitch, to double their volume, every conversation uttered on the isle tried to reach his ears, get his attention, but he forced them out. With every step, the chaotic swarm of echoes outside his mind thickened, but the calm inside his mind increased, as if he was the eye of the storm, where the wind died down to a light breeze. On and on he went, each step taking more effort to make, each time making a longer pauze before he continued, but continue he did. Finally, he reached the plateau on which the seating stone was build. The chaos around him made a last effort to stop him, he almost felt the sound physically tearing at his robe, his face, but he strode on. Then, he sat down.

He remembered the first time he had come to this point. It had taken him years before he had dared to venture down the stairs, let alone reach the seat in the middle and when he in the end sat down he hadn't known what to do. Then, as if it the most normal thing in the world, he heard his mother talking. He hadn't seen her for months and now he heard her voice as clear as crystal, as if he was sitting right beside her at their favourite terrace high upon Grinsley, gaurdian of the southern mountain range and believed eldest of all the peaks of that particular range. But instead, he heard her talking to her class, the elven youngsters replying eagerly to the questions she uttered with her now frail voice and tears welled up in his eyes. He had sat there for hours, hypnotised by this familiar voice which continued to sound until she went to sleep. Exhausted he had left the hall and stumbling had descended to the exit level. It had taken him some time after that before he had dared to return, but then it had all been much easier and he started to make greater use of the effects of the hall, acquiring the skill to profit from the messages it brought.

Unlike that first time, there was now almost complete silence as soon as he sat down. It took him another fifteen to twenty minutes to shut off even the most minor of sounds, but then he came to the proper state of mind. His mind was blank, the ideal state to start his search for information in. Carefully, he made a small opening in the mental shell he had created around himself. He probed the chaos of sound outside with his mind until he had found what he had been looking for: the location of his home. It took some time, but then he heard his mother speaking and for a few seconds he enjoyed her voice, as if she was telling a bedtime story just for him, an elven myth of sorts. In this particular case she was doing the dishes and singing an old tune, but he did not care for her music. As long as he could hear her voice, which had become a ritual since that first time, it was fine with him. He let go of her sound and started to probe for other familiar places. In the chaos outside he discovered the location of his academy bedroom, where a few students where discussing a historical topic, his favourite tavern in Ran'Kur, where the patrons where starting with their diners, the town of Marhillen, where a mother was calling out for her child in distress. So he lazily browsed past all of the places and persons he was well acquainted to, when suddenly two events caught his attention at the same time. He heard the voice of one his former colleagues, talking to a person she should never have been talking to in that soothing, loving sort of way, and a very familiar voice, one he had thought he would never hear again, in the dead centre of the Court, mumbling some arcane words. Startled, he almost lost his concentration. Then, without his hesitation, he rose from his chair and made for the exit. As soon as he had left the room, he started running as he had rarely done before and made for the level where he could use his magicks again. "Swift like an eagle I should fly from this mountain, but there is no other way. And why does everything happen all at once." But he knew the answer, as well as any other being. "Fatum Est". He sped down like the wind.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 10:57 am
by Lestores Moonhair
From the Diaries of Lestores Moonhair, keeper of the Court

On the Divine Triangle

Since the days of Formation, the number 3 is considered sacred by many philosophers and theologists. Three was the number of groups involved in birthing the gods, three was the number of gods springing forth from the faith of their followers, three was the number of gods battling in the skies after the Last Sin. This, however, hasn't been the case for all time, for there were ages before the Formation, unbeknownst to the public, but well recorded by the sages of old.

There were days when there were four of the Divine [note: some scholars think that because of this, the groups at the formation weren't three groups of four, but rather four groups of three, but seeing they lacked the power to create four gods divided in small units as they were, they reassembled in larger groups of four.] instead of our present three. However, it is generally agreed that the age of four gods was one of great unbalance and differed in all facets from ages having three Deities. With this as premise in mind, I think we can speak of a Divine Triangle, a sort of law among the Divine that three entities hold the best chances when battling each other for domination to actually win the isle for them. Wether or not this eternal battle is ended by an ultimate victory is not important, for as we've seen throughout the ages there are always times when the other two step back up to their victor and break their chains to continue the fight. On top of that, as can be noted from all what was mentioned above, the set of Gods is not a constant, on the contrary, it seems as variable as the climates of Maxim are, changing by the whim of the winds, although at a pace of one set of Gods per many an age: so far the Court has recorded four sets, and there might be more to come or more to uncover from the past.

But let us first elaborate on the Divine Triangle. Why does three make the ultimate number, the perfect balance? Why wouldn't the Divine battle each other in pairs, or in quadrants? When two antagonists face each other, you have the ultimate battle between good and evil. Two flags to follow, no compromise, no neutral stands, just a simple pro or con. This however would easily spoil the fun, and though we may laugh bitterly about it, it can't be any different from the fact that besides their strive for self-preservation they also enjoy their fighting. On a more serious note, when one of the two has a better agenda to suit his followers, the other will be easily vanquished, leaving the first as victor. This would seemingly have ended our troubles eons ago, but it would only result in a different set of Gods, for the struggle is in the nature of Maxim itself, it would not tolerate that easy a victory.

With four Deities battling for supremacy, alliances would be forged with ease. They would consider attacking one on one to harmful, for it would make them vulnerable to the remaining two contestants. Result: Two alliance each consisting of two Divine fighting till only one alliance remains, and at this point we arrive at the situation described above.

Nay, only three Gods make a balance of endless struggle possible, and that is how this isle desires it. Of course, every once in a while two Gods would ally, for only with their powers combined could take on their powerful opponent, but as soon as their combined goal was met, they would continue war amongst each other, the third in the meanwhile readying himself for a quick combat. And so, the Three continue endlessly, the circle of life bringing one on top after the other, but not once does any of them prevail ultimately, definately, exterminating his two opponents and whiping them from the face of this isle: it is apparently impossible.

This makes the Triangle, besides Divine, noting the nature of the Three in the heavens, also Eternal. Just as I write this, the Prophet has announced that the Gods have left him, but already I can see the signs of a new group of Three forming. Wether those are Foret, Isonia and Darden reborn or indeed the fifth set of Gods, time can only tell, but I'm quite positive that the balance of three remains. Is it not so, that geometrical triangle is considered the strongest of all when in used in architectural designs and construction? With this in mind, I will no longer need for four agents, as I used to have. It be a relic of the old age of Four Gods, but as I am now convinced of the natural balance of the Three, one will be superfluous. Already I can feel his power waning, he will never make it back here, nor will he see the dawn of a fifth age.

I'm terribly curious after the way the isle will endure this new change: it has endured many, but it seems as if its power is declining. I might even see the day that my archive is the only artifact left, but I certainly hope that this day will be postponed for long, for I haven't see half enough to loose my interest in this place. I may even add my little effort in preserving some of the spirit of this isle, may I can even pass on some of the power left to us from previous generations. Oh, my pride is definately growing over my head, but think of it, if a new Inverness or Baatorian Legion would arise, when the Nine or the Outcasts would rise fromt heir ashes. One might only hope.

PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 12:47 pm
by Drimortantes
'The hot water of a bath tub, one of the few pleasures in life I really can't resist.' The tavern owner hadn't been surprised by his odd appearance: he had used the establishment before and had asked for the usual suite and service, meaning the largest sitting room of the tavern, combined with a decent bathing room and bedroom and a hot bath ready within half an hour. As usual, he had allowed Melinde to use this service first, he was very keen on treating his servants well, on top of that he found the idea of male and female bathing together, even if one is a manticore and the other one a sprite, a most barbaric concept and had left those few cultures on the isle where this was a common practice or where lovers tended to enjoy bathing together alone ever since, along with the vulgarity of it all. No, 'bathing is to be enjoyed alone, perhaps with a good friend or two, but it clears the mind of daily worries and soothes the aching body after a long day of travelling', just as they had done today. He was quite satisfied with their accomplishment: they had rediscovered the name of a leader of an ancient alliance in some of the more dusty places in the local library and could now follow this lead to more information concerning this particular alliance. 'But that' so thought the Manticore historian 'is for tomorrow, now there's only me and the hot water' and he slid back in a more comfortable position after have risen for the small train of thought. His eyes closing, he dozed off a little.

In the bedroom, Melinde was combing her hair, while humming a little song. It was one of her characteristics that was especially approved of by her master, and while it had been a habit to occasionally hum a song to herself, it had developed into an almost inseperable part of her. You would find the sprite, but before that you would here a soft melody, as if was brought to you from a distant land on the west wind, it was always there. In her spare time, if Dree allowed her any, she would run to the local library or bard, fetch from her miniature backpack a small note book, an equally small sized goose feather and ink and copy music on the fly, as they were singing it to her or while she read from old scriptures. But besides being quite a good musician and a skilled storyteller on top of that, she had a way with languages that was rarely encountered. It has to be said that the manticore himself was a master of etiquette, folklore and history, and he knew how to behave himself at almost every court or inn, easily comforting the locals from his strange appearance, but he had needed a servant with a knack for the written and spoken word and languages in general, not to mention someone who could actually recieve the gifts in able hands instead of his lion's paws. It was now decades ago, but when Drimortantes Avatrièl had first visited the sprites in the forests south of the Tower of Inverness, she had been impressed by the creature, by the very sight of him. She had never known that such a being existed, let alone that the raw power that somehow showed from this lion-pawed, eagle-winged, human-faced had been only a minor trait of this well-learned individual. That had been the end of her days, tending the gardens of the surrounding villages. Since then, there had only been travelling, translating, humming, it had been quite an adventure all in all. That such a small creature like herself could live to see the wonders of Maxim, it was still beyond here. And for that, she silently thanked her master every day, and she knew that Dree was aware of it.

She finished the combing and gingerly placed the blond hairs that remained in the device in the appropiate bin. She knew that her master required a tidy room and she would see to this wish as best as she could. Then she flew over to her own bed, of course build appropiate to her size and sat down softly, her legs crossed in front of her. Then she took the upper left part of her hair, carefully divided it into three strands and started braiding them together. She did the same with the upper right part, making sure that both braids had the ends unfinished. Just as she was about to make the two into one braid at the back of her head, she noticed an annoying buzzing sound disturbing the fine harmonics of her own melody. She dropped her hair abruptly, spoiling her delicate work so far and searched for the source of the noise. Pinpointing it with her ears, she discovered it came from the bathroom. 'That's peculiar she thought, what on Maxim would he be doing while bathing producing that kind of sound? It's one of the few minutes each day he isn't talking to himself, me or any bypasser. She now noticed that a second sound joined in with the buzz of the first. It was like the soft purring of a very large cat and she immediately recognized it as the typical racket produced by Dree asleep.

Root and Twig, she mumbled to herself as she descended to the floor, disturbing his daily bath is like an act of heresy, but I must know what the other buzz is.. Her tiny feet touched the floor and she sneaked up to the door of the bathing room. Thank the Mother for landlords who treat their buildings well she thought as the door opened without a single creak. Tiptoeing over the tiles, she reached the heap of belongings of her master. Among them was a small square amulet he wore around his neck all the time. Every corner of the stone had a small riverstone set into it, each one with a different colour. In the centre was something like a crystal, a little larger than the other four. She noticed a green and a red stone looking rather dull, but two others, a blue and a yellow one, glowed as if they had tiny gnome torches inside. First a blue stone would light up, then the edge from the the yellow one to the blue one would show a sparkle moving from the yellow to the blue one, then the yellow one would glow up. This pattern repeated itself every few seconds. In the meanwhile, the stone continued to produce the annoying low buzz. Melinde had been in the service of the manticore for quite some time now, but she had never known the stone was actually a device of some sorts and she was determined that her master should know about this.

Not caring for secrecy anymore, she lifted herself of the ground, holding the for her rather large stone by the cord, her wings fluttering behind her and called out to her master, her eyes still focused on the stone. "Milord, Milord, I think you should see this." She noticed that now that as she lifted the stone by the cord, the corner with the red stone hung up. But her attention was drawn by the splashing of water in front of her. She was taken aback by the sight: there was her master, his paws on the edge of the tub, his face a mixture of irritation, surprise and... fear, an emotion she had rarely seen on his face. He held out his right paw and she immediately brought his amulet to him, but before she could deliver it he snatched it from her grasp. She thought she saw the red stone glow for a moment, but then her attention was drawn to the centre crystal, which now seemed to emit some light as well. When she turned her face to him again, she saw his complexion was composed again, now set with determination.

"Melinde, towels, quickly, we leave this instant. Oh and Melinde..." "Yes Milord?" "Do something about that hair of yours."

PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 1:46 pm
by Dolana
"My Stone?" She could not help but gasp. 'This guy knows way too much. Where did he acquire all this knowledge, it's bloody insane.' Her hands grasped the edges of the pedestal behind her, trembling. 'Get a grip on yourself woman, think, buy yourself some time. At any cost.' But the man in front of her seemed so surprisingly sure of himself, so in control of the whole situation, and she had met few people who had seen more than one shapeshifter in their life, let alone anyone who had fought with more than one, but this one really seemed to know what he was talking about.

Okay, you want to see my Stone? Her right hand went to her throat, at the same time her clothes seemed to turn in to something fluid, while her left hand disappeared behind her back. Bit by bit her right hand moved towards a cord at her neck that was now showing as the line of her dress lowered by some weird way, revealing the first centimeters of rosy breasts. The man in front of her still held the pole pointed at her throat, but made sure that there was enough room for her to reach inside her dress. She also noticed that his gaze had swept over her flesh appearing but that he tried to ignore this. Seconds passed as the decollete showed more and more flesh and her moved closer and closer to the leather line that disappeared there. She smiled. 'This should do it' Her right hand reached the cord and with a single quick snatch broke it, then she pulled the cord up, patiently, her smile broadening. "Here it is, Sidhe, take it." Just as the first corner of the stone showed over her dressline, she pulled with all her might through her left hand at the statue behind her and ran for cover.

The effect was not exactly as she had intended. As she hid for a second behind the column in the centre of the hall, she saw the statue crashing at the spot where Drafas had stood moments before, but the fall was just too slow to surprise him and he ducked away safely. 'Too bad' the shiftress thought and while changing into more comfortable clothes for her escape plan she ran up the stairs that led on into the house, while holding stone firmly grasped in her right hand. She thought her headstart was quite sufficient, but as she reached the top of the stairs and made for the nearest door, she felt something flying just over her head. She fell to the floor instantly and with a quick gaze up saw the iron stick having come to a stop in the door, the iron still trembling from the force of the throw. 'A pity of the woodwork' she thought, but this definately had been intended for my back. All this took her less than the blink of an eye to think and already she crawled to the door beside this one, opening it with an extended arm. She heard her assailer leaping up the stairs and was just inside the door when she heard him reaching the top.

'I must get out of here, but what by His lute was the magic word.' Dolana sped along the hallway she had just entered, now dressed in black shirt, breeches and boots. She ran along paintings and sculptures, but her eyes were now focused on the stone she held in her hand.'Think, for Leto's sake think!'. She was a little ahead of him, she reached the door at the end of the hallway just as she heard the first one opening behind her. She looked back, saw Drafas smiling with sticks in each hand and rapidly jumping forward. Instanly closing the door behind her she looked about. Another grand hall build in a square, with stairs on each side leading down and doors in pairs in each wall. She choose the doors at instinct on the right and was about to run off immediately when she heard wood splintering behind her and felt her burning pain in her left shoulder. She screamed in agony and fell forward on the marble tiles, instinctively clasping her right hand with the stone to the wound on her back. It was at that moment that she felt her body turning weightless like a feather on the wind. Then, she lost consciousness.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 1:43 pm
by Desiderius
"Desi? So it was you..." She sighed softly, her breathing quick and short. "You were... just too late."

"Don't worry" he mumbled as he kneeled beside her, "I think I was right on time, this shapeshifter isn't dead just yet."

He had no idea in what state he would find her, he just hoped he would be on time to save her from her encounter with one of his lifelong nemeses. Running down, all his thoughts were bend on her, but he could not lift a hair by magical means until he reached the lower hall of Echo Mountain. As soon as he had arrived there after an hour of continuous running and hustling he had called her to him with his Stone. It was a very simple artefact: it was a four way transporter, with a fifth way in the centre where you could return to at all times. It had been the easiest way for the Court agents to stay in touch with each other, though naturally or artificially created dampening fields like here at the upper Echo Hall spoiled the use of the device. At least she arrived, and not her assailant, otherwise he had not only acquired a very useful magical tool, but as well access to a location of extreme usefulness. But no time to ponder alternate futures, he had a wounded woman lying at his knees.

He put the Court amulet back under his robes, so that it wouldn't interfere with the job ahead of him. Carefully he lifted her right hand from her shoulder and put it back on the ice. She had passed out again after waking up to say a few words to him. 'It must have been the change of temperature that woke her up for a few moments, no one likes to appear uncalled in a ice hall like this.' he thought as he started to strip her shirt from the wound that had been covered by her hand. He had seen the amulet grasped in the hand and was glad she had apparently held onto it with her life, it had saved her now. Beneath the black cloth burned flesh appeared, with in its centre a deep cut, round, with sore edges surrounding it: it still bled occasionally, the warm blood not directly freezing in the cold. He looked at the wound with disgust and was glad he rarely had to deal with this kind of thing. He knew some minor healing magic but seldomly used it: plot and espionage were more like his tactics. With a sigh he started the first magical syllables, moving his hands just above her flesh and within a few seconds the sore edges started to look a little more natural, the infectious character of the wound slowly vanished, new flesh closing off the bleeding. With a minute he had done all he could: the wound was far from fully healed, but at least the bleeding had stopped now and the infection, probably caused by the iron weapon of her attacker which was the perfect weapon to harm any shifter, was gone.

He dropped back on his knees beside her and thought hard. This was only the first of the two things he had to take care off. He hadn't seen Dolana in years, and now that she needed him, even to save her life as it turned out, he had to return to the isle as well. For a moment he wondered by she hadn't used the Stone herself, but he dismissed that again. She had left the service of the Court even before their master had left. Probably she had forgotten she possessed the Stone at all. Now, the second case. Their master was active again, showing interest in the isle after decades of silence on his part. Doubtless he would contact them all soon, to enquire if they were still interested in a position at the Court. He fetched his Stone again from his robe with his right hand and let it dangle in the air in front of his face. The design with four riverstones at the corners, a crystal at the centre, looked simple, but it like that with all business around the Court. The device was horribly complicated to fabricate, but it looked like a simple amulet. The library at the Court looked like an intricate maze of bookcases, but if you knew how to see through the illusion it was all rather simple. But nothing was what it seemed, nothing was. "If he would call for me, would I come back to him. I wonder" Just as he spoke the words out loud unconsciously, two riverstones started to glow softly again. He quickly stalled the swinging of the stone with his other hand and looked. From the red corner to the blue corner, a sparkle flowed around the edges. "Speaking of the devil, fate is really working full swing tonight" he jumped to his feet and steadied himself on the ice. Beside him, a manticore appeared, with a sprite on its back.

PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 7:28 am
by Yip
It seemed there were people from the past stirring everywhere, and they all had to do something with the Court. But little cared Yip for these people or their business. He had even forgotten about his mother, who by now was talking to the captain of the guard to report her missing son, the captain who was completely indifferent to the case of this desperate mother and advised her to talk the other children of the village to get more information and afterwards, if she still hadn't found him, she could come back to him, but he had more pressing matters at his mind just now. And so did Yip, who was hoping he was finally close to recovering his pet. He continued to listen, his ears pressed to the dark wood and slowly his ears got accustomed to the dimmed sound on the other side of the door. "A tiny quadruped. We haven't seen your kind here since Desiderius abandoned his collection of rats, and that was really years ago. Maybe your great great grandfather was set free here in the nearby hills and you finally found your way back home. Or maybe your owner is listening at my door and wishes to come in now, to retrieve you and take you safely home with him." Now Yip didn't understand a thing about kwadroupets or whatever they were, but that last sentence he understood.

He leapt back from the door in surprised and, sinking to his knees, observed it with great curiosity. He didn't see any gaps or holes in the door, there wasn't even a keyhole. The crack of the door was barely to be noticed and no light passed through into the hall from there. He was thinking that the person in the other room must have had very good ears to know that there was someone eavesdropping, but how on Maxim could this person have known that it was the master of the rat that it saw there? He was really clueless on this and held his breath as long as he could to make sure he wouldn't make a sound, but the door in front of him didn't open, nor did he hear footsteps coming towards him. He was about to doubt wether he had heard anything at all, when the door suddenly moved. Without so much as a creak it opened towards him, showing a completely dark room across the threshold. It was really as if the world ended right there, such was the blackness Yip saw. He rubbed his eyes: even the light of the torches didn't seem to penetrate the darkness, its radiance simply stopped there. Then there was the sound of small feet pattering closer and out of the black gab a rat appeared. It first sniffed the air as if testing the quality then noticed the boy in front of it and darted off towards it.

Yip held his hand to the ground and the rat immediately climbed up to his shoulder and nibbled his ear gently. The boy grinned slowly and petted the animal. "Oh there you are, you naughty little thing, there you are, oh stop it that tickles. You frightened your master running of like that you know that? Don't you ever do that again, no never again." He continued to stroke the animal and carressed it with its cheek, still sitting on the floor. "Why did you run off you stupid little thing, why? Oh my, I think mum won't be happy with me, I'm sure it's already past bedtime. But at least I've found you back. Oh Crumbs." He felt that the animal suddenly stood still and he looked down upon it. The rat was again sniffing the air, its whiskers erect. Then it jumped off the boy's shoulder and walked back to the door it'd came from. Hey Crumbs, wait a minute, you can't... but the rat had already gone again. Just as the rat walked back again, he noticed that the darkness ahead of him was fading a little. He now saw the bluegrey marble stones just past the threshold, the torchlight shining in naturally. In the room, he saw something reflecting the light. He jumped to his feet and followed his pet.

When he arrived at the threshold he first bowed his head inside the room, but besides the small area past the sill he could distinguish little inside. Still, there was this reflection ahead of him that he couldn't help but notice and he felt he was drawn towards it. He stepped inside the room and as he did , somehow the light accompagnied him. He did another step forwards, and another, and the light continued to follow him. He came closer to the reflection in the room and now saw a very large mirror blocking his way. Crumbs was right in front of the mirror and was pressing its snout against the surface. Yip had never seen anything like this. He had seen his mother using a small piece of glass when she was combing her hair, but it had been about the size of the smith's hands, but not larger. But this mirror spanned the whole room, from the floor to the ceiling above him. When he came closer, he saw his own image in the mirror. He started at the sight of his own face. There was blood all over his left cheek and he quickly brought a hand up, but the blood had dried long ago and was no longer running freely. Then he happily looked at his rat who was still there, now trying to scratch its mirror image, frightened as it was by another rat just like him, also trying to fight back. He was about to pick it up and gingerly lift it to his shoulder, when he saw his image changing.

He grew older, taller. He clasped his arms around him in fright, but the image no longer followed his movements. He grew a small moustache, his clothes changed into something a little richer, a full beard replaced the moustache, strokes of grey suddenly showed at his temples. Then a woman appeared at his sight and a little later children. But suddenly all was gone: for a moment the mirror was the same void as the doorway had been before Crumbs entered the second time. Then, three figures appeared at the same time: on the left was a woman clothed in a richly decorated gown, a crown adorned her brown locks. She had an air of royalty around her, her chin held high with pride. In the middle was man also dressed in fine clothes, though without crown or other signs of royalty. His red suit was topped with a golden necklace. He held one hand thoughtful at his chin, the other supporting the former arm. The figure on the right was dressed in colours ranging from yellow to gold to orange. His clothes were not even close in richness to the other two, but his face looked kinder, of funnier Yip thought. It was as if a smile was playing along the lips of this one, as if he had just performed a very good prank on someone. A hat with a long feather completed his image.

Then the images faded away again. There was a moment of complete darkness, even the light around Yip disappeared and startled the young boy, but slowly the light returned in the complete room: the mirror had vanished and the room was now visible in full glory. It was a study of sorts, with bookcases lining the round form of the room. In the centre there was a desk, a heavy wooden desk of simple design, comparable with the one he had seen in the first room. Only this one was grander, it was heavier, it was vast. On top were stumps of candles, papers, books, a lot of those, and some crystals. And behind the desk was a man. His hair was as white a thing as Yip had ever seen and he was dressed in a long blue robe. As Crumbs jumped on the desk and recieved a stroke from the man, he spoke to Yip: "I hope I didn't scare you boy? I didn't mean to.

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 8:02 am
by Drimortantes
"Well Desiderius, how good it is to see you." Oh there was some mockery in his voice. The elf and he had never got along really well, but there was a shared respect for eachother, which had only grown over the years. So, as he spoke to Desiderius he even bowed his head, which he seldomly did for anyone, but his gaze never left the elf. In the meanwhile he was surprised to find himself in hall of ice, and he felt some of the last waterdrops instantly freezing in his fur. "It must have been... over fourty years since we've last met and I believe I preferred that environment far over this one. Where by the Scarred Lord are we in Maxim, and where is the rest of our group?" He noticed a body at the feet of Desi, which answered part of his question as he recognised Dolana in one of her favourite disguises. "Now where would Daron be?" he wondered. "Our favourite human, always up to fight for his cause, never mind how erroneous the cause usually was."

She felt that her master continued to observe the room. "An ice hall?" she thought, "where are the days that we visited festivals at the coast, those cities had perfect climates, quite unlike this." She had fastened her hair in a hurry and was well aware that it could have been done much better, but she had guessed right that for this once, her master had favoured speed over the looks. She wondered what these new people would bring to them, obviously they were familiar to her master, she thought he even recognised the body lying at the elfs feet. But, she was hurt! Without asking permission she left her master's back and flew over to the body. "Good sir, permission to tend to her wounds? I think I could be of service here"

She could almost feel her master's burning eyes in her back, for such insolence, but the sight of a wounded always brought up this urge, which was what she suspected something racial or 'genetic', if she had known the word. Without waiting for an answer her little fingers started to probe the wound, softly doing their work.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2005 8:01 am
by Dolana
Somewhere up in the clouds of her unconscious mind, she became aware of... something.

"What... ouch my back. Where am, who are you? Drafas... no, Desideri... who... show yourself!" Her vision was blurry at best. She felt afloat, but was quite unsure about what exactly her current state was. But through the fog that seemed to cloud her eyes she noticed a cloaked and hooded figure approaching. His head was hidden, if he had any, for the space under hid hood seemed definite void, so pitchblack it was.

"Dolana sweetheart, did you forget about me? You may not be one of the immortal, but you live long enough that you know the value of information, especially from the past, for it might haunt you because you happen to be around so long. There is, I hope at least, only one person who can so easily enter your mind, even when you happen to have fallen unconscious. And it is not because we were lovers, for they say that lovers can look eachother in the eye and know eachothers mind, but it isn't like that, not with us."

"You? ... ... of course. Do you still have need for me? I thought you had abandoned this world long ago, chosen exile in a world where no escape is from. We are stuck here, but you, you made a shelter for yourself and left us h..." "Nonono, you chose to stay, don't forget that Daron and Desiderius came with me gorgeous, you chose to live on and spent your days among the rest of the populus. But you are right, though I wouldn't have chosen the word abandon, because you can't abandon Maxim, as you said so bluntly, "we're stuck here". I lingered on, sometimes I was even wandering around a bit. But most of the time I was hidden, minding my own business. Now, I won't hide anymore."

"So old man, and you expect us to come back, just like that. After decades of silence you think we can just go on where we have left. We have changed, the world has... is changing and, maybe against all odds, even you have changed."

The hooded figure brought an arm draped in his dark cloak up to the void that was his face and made a thinking pose."I... change? I think it's inevitable. Perhaps that's why I have chosen to show up again. But it'll be the final time you know... my last trick."

She looked stunned. "Don't you take me for a fool old man, you're an ancient just like the one I met this day, you're part of this place, you won't..." Then her expression changed and she stared at the figure before her. Was he really toying around with her?

"Perhaps you've finally figured out what I've been trying to do all these years... it ain't finished, but I can't keep it secret anymore, not when the world is changing like this. But we'll meet one more time, in the flesh so to say. However, I think you're about to recieve a wake up call... see you soon darling."

The fog closed around her and the figure vanished in the thick clouds. Then she suddenly felt that she was falling, falling like a brick. The clouds parted, below her was a mountain range, heading for her at an astonishing speed, within the blink of an eye the miniature landscape was larger than life, she felt herself passing through rock and stone, then there was darkness... and... light, white as ice...

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 5:02 am
by Desiderius
"He hasn't changed a bit." Desiderius couldn't help but chuckle on the inside, if the situation hadn't been so serious, perhaps he would even have a shown a mildly amused grin on his face, but he wouldn't now. The manticore was still his pompous self, though his servant had changed: he was used to at least two fairies and perhaps a kobold of sorts to form the retinue of the beast, but perhaps his riches were almost exhausted. He supposed that a sprite was also very useful, especially... yes as if she had read his mind she dismounted from Dri's back and walked to the shifter at his feet, and started doing what Sprite's are good at: healing. His heart leapt up: she would survive now, definately. He was about to hug the small creature when he thought about the proper etiquette for the situation and decided that it was definately smarter to address the master of the two first. He made a small bow for the manticore, but his eyes never left the creature, he would show neither fear nor humility.

"Master Drimortantes. It is over fourty years ago, quite some time, even to us elves and manticores, isn't it. So it happens that we're all together again, here in... Echo Hall." He straigthened himself and extended his arms to welcome him to this location of ice and rock. "I was just doing some research here when... how shall I put it... well when all sorts of things started to happen at once, events that I thought I would never see in my lifetime. Don't you agree that Lestores is back among us? He must be, these" and he took the amulet from his clothes and held it up "never fail us, don't they?"

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 7:05 am
by Drimortantes
The sprite shivered as she did her job. Within a few moments she had manipulated the flesh in healing itself, a few minutes now and the body would regenerate itself completely. She pressed her small hands on the forehead of the lady and was about to wake her up by a small massage, when she heard her master behind her. "Thank you Melinde, that will be all." She hesitated, then removed her hands, folded them together in a most humble way, stood and flew towards the manticore without looking to the elf or the lady she had just treated. She dared not look Dree in the eyes and stood a few peds off behind him, leaving the big people with their business.

In the meanwhile the manticore turned to Desiderius. "I must agree with you, I also noticed the crystal lighting up for a moment. But you still haven't answered my question completely. I'm quite sure that my servant has treated Dolana so well that we'll soon be joined by her, but where's Daron? We might as well go to the Court together if we are to go there in the first place. But I think we have little options don't we? He will track us anyhow, and we can always be summoned by these amulets, which indeed never failed us. Do you suggest we wait for Daron, or shall we go at once? Because if we have to visit Marhillen again, we better get over with it, there's no use in tarrying here. He sighed, he had really enjoyed the bath, even Marhillen would be better than this discomforting coldness, quite a nuisance.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 3:20 pm
by Lestores Moonhair
'We're nearing the end of this play. The Three have returned unexpectedly, my agents have come together, my work is done here. Let's get it over with then.' He felt he was growing old. Not that he was feeling actually feeling he was dying, far from it. It was more like... a longing for something else, something so completely different that he would forget this isle, this Maxim instantly and feel no regrets for leaving, not ever. He wondered if such a thing was possible. To turn his memory of this place into a void, complete oblivion, overpowered by the freshness of something new. He would find out, he would... soon.

Still, his old mind was up to its usual tricks and that's why he had a visitor, perhaps the youngest ever to come to the Court out of free will. His pet had been easily persuaded to enter and the youngster had come running after it so instinctively, he was almost doubting wether the boy's mother had ever warned him for this place. He knew most of the village women did warn their sons, and daughters too for that matter, not to climb the hills to the ruins. As if he was the grandest danger near Marhillen. When would people finally understand that they were their own greatest enemy? 'If I saw the dawn of that day, I might even consider staying here' he thought. But that was too unlikely to happen. 'Now focus, the boy is staring at you'. His senses kicked into his wandering thoughts and he spoke quickly: "I hope I didn't scare you boy? I didn't mean to."

He noticed the boy's gaze wandering over his desk, eyes full of wonder at the sheer number of scrolls, papers, candle stumps. Then, the boy's eyes remained on the animal resting under his palm, then looked him straight into the eyes. 'Children, the strangest of creatures. They look right into the depth of your eyes, fearless. There's only purpose, goal, no other feeling is clouding their actions. Such purity. I hope my actions won't scare the living daylights out of this youngster, it would a shame of his eyes.' "I see, you want your pet back. Please, don't hesitate, come here and take it. What's his name anyway boy. And your own name for that matter? But let me introduce myself first. I am Lestores, Lestores Moonhair."

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 4:55 pm
by Yip
It was all happening far too fast for the child. The illusions that had shown in the mirror, the mirror that in the end appeared to be far from real as well, the adult standing in front of him with snow white hair, the number of books lining the bookcases showing an absolute wealth he could hardly imagine. His father had taught him about the value of books, and although most of the stories his father told by him by heart, sometimes he grabbed one of the few books they had and read it to him. Those were even more special occasions, because his father took out his glasses, put on a stern and wise face and read to him in a low solemn voice. It was, all in all, quite overwhelming, and he hardly knew how to respond to the questions of the white haired man.

"Erm, well then, erm greetings good sir mister Moonhair," he tried to remain still but his noticed his body was swaying left to right in an unnerved way, "that is Crumbs you're holding there, and I am Yippodocus Cornwater, but most people call me Yip. You can call me Yip as well, if you like to that is, because I'm not sure wether you like that or not and have you lived here all your life, but because my mum always told me that there was no one living up here that it was just ruined walls and then I came up here and poof all went into a shining castle and I haven't even seen any knight and..." He suddenly realised he was talking out loud to a complete stranger and shocked by his own behaviour clasped his hands in front of his mouth. The rat, who had been observing his master from under the loving strokes of the white haired man, catapulted towards Yip and with a single leap crossed the space seperating the desk from the boy and dove straight into his shirt and remained there. Yip looked up over his hands and said with muffled sounds: "I'm sorry sir, I mean master Moonhair, but I sometimes talk too much. It's all so strange. But I like it that you have so many books, do you like stories as well?"

PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 9:48 am
by Desiderius
"There's no use waiting for Daron, master manticore, he's quite out of his mind at the moment... literally." He eyed the manticore sharply and let his words sink in for a moment, before he continued. "Daron was tired of the life in our self-created shelter, as safe as we were from the outside world, so lonely he became as well. But, something went wrong when he tried to turn back to the isle... terribly wrong that is. I was performing the return ritual myself, and I still don't know what caused his spirit to seperate from his body. All I do know, is that his body was left behind. This all happened now one night before, and I took upon me, ever how much I hated to return here, the task of finding his spirit here, before his body dies without it. I've stored safely outside in the ice, I hope the combined efforts of natural and magical powers will keep it for a while." He sighed, then looked about, his gazing looking through the ice walls over the alnds that streched out beyond. "On the other hand, I've missed wandering through the hills and valleys of the continent, I missed the peeks and volcanoes as much as the beaches and lakes. But, like Daron, how much though I hate to admit it. I missed the people. It's the citizens of this isle that make it worth coming back, every time."

His wandering flow of his mind was disturbed by muffled grumps and a gasping breath from beneath him. As he looked down, he saw Dolana regaining her consciousness. He swept his cloak aside and with a flowing motion dropped to his knees and extended his hand to help her up, in the meanwhile addressing the manticore. "I suppose we're complete now, aren't we? If you don't mind, I'd like to ask Dolana permission before we transport ourselves in, it seems she has had one surprise too many already today, I wouldn't want to cause any more inconvenience for her if unnecessary."

PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 11:37 am
by Dolana
"Don't worry about it Desi. I will come along." She was all to conscious of the fact what she had just witnessed in her dream, or fever, or illusion, whatever it was. Above all, she knew whom she had seen, and she wasn't too happy with it. 'No, that's not entirely true, I'm unsettled by it, but not unhappy, I had not expected this, that's all.' Perhaps seeing him in the flesh would provide a decent basis for a new opinion on Lestores Moonhair, Keeper of the Court of Marhillen. But besides the unsettling feeling after seeing him in her dream, there was an urge to see him: it was simply curiosity. She looked up at Desi, then she closed her eyes and sighed heavily.

"I'm glad you can't look into my mind right know, it would be such a mess you'd witness. But I'll share a secret with you all, a small part of my mind. While I passed out, master Moonhair visited me. That's enough for me to want to come along." She looked up again and took the offered hand. As she straightened herself, she felt her body aching, but it was a different kind of pain than she was used to. Her body was now telling her that it had just been damaged, but that it would be alright soon, instead of crying out that she should rest. "Desi, was it you who treated me? It feels better than I'm used to, with all due respect of course, but you were never a specialist!"

PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 6:28 pm
by Drimortantes
"Splendid! Well, that's settled then, shall we?" He removed one of his great paws from the ice floor and took the amulet from his neck, then walked forward to the others. If they were to transport together, physical contact was necessary, how much though he hated that part. Nevertheless, it was mandatory and he thought it all the better to arrive together. In the meanwhile, he thought it a good thing to keep his cheer up. He had heard the comment from Dolana, and he was to make sure that he would recieve credit for that.

"My dearest shifter, I'm glad you approve of the work of my assistant, though I must admit that Desi did provide a first aid to your wounds. May I introduce Melinde to you? She's my latest assistant and quite good at her work." He pointed a free paw at the sprite who had retreated to his back, ready for the teleportation. "Still, a pity that Daron can't come along, but well, it's a dangerous job, playing cross-country at this isle..." His words echoed away in the large hall as the party faded to another spot.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 6:35 pm
by Desiderius
The four of them formed a small circle. An elf, a shifter, a manticore and a sprite riding the animal, it was an odd party that teleported away from Echo Mountain. 'I'm clueless to the fact wether I'll see Daron again or not. It seems one person is not too upset by his absence. Dolana has not shown yet wether or not she's caring for him. I don't know. The four of us were always a unity of sorts, like the four gods were in our Golden Age. But they faded away and were replaced, and today Foret, Darden and Isonia rule, though none of us four is aligned to them.'

As soon as their artefacts were activated, he felt the chilling disappear from his feet. For a moment, all was light and dark at the same time, then he felt solid ground again. If all was well, they would arrive right before his doorstep. 'What will we find beyond it?' he dared to think, as the world materialised around them again.