A Fantasy RP created by MsFicwriter
PART ONE: THE FATAL CALLING
The rumbling sound was not what haunted Per'dra Eyrir as she slept. It was the roar that came afterward, long and painful, as loud as one of her little brother's shouts that had been directed straight into her ear! However, young Ralthen was gone now, as was the roaring. It had only been an illusion, borne of her recurring nightmare. She'd had it again this moonless night, and she sighed. I'm as soaked as if I wet the bed, Per'dra thought ruefully, except with sweat instead of that smellier liquid! Speaking of which... She pulled a crude porcelain pot from beneath her bed and used it, spilling the contents out of the side window when she finished. No one was around this time of night, save drunkards and stray animals. Maybe my nightmares have a purpose. Perhaps if I didn't have them, I wouldn't be awake enough to know that I... Per'dra smiled and shook her head.
"That's not the reason," she murmured to herself as she went back to bed. These terrible dreams were different. In fact, they weren't so terrible until she heard the roar. Per'dra had always been scared of sudden loud noises. It was a trait of which Ralthen had taken gleeful advantage, until a fever had taken him at the age of six. Not even the slums' herbalists had known what to do. If we would have been richer, we could have afforded to donate to a real priest for his or her services. However, we'd always had to choose bread or healing if something like that happened! Father chose bread for us over a cure for Ralthen, and now... She remembered his white-blonde hair, always a-tangle! When he hadn't been trying to scare her, Per'dra's brother had been trying to make her laugh, play with her, or hug her (his favorite one of all)!
Don't cry, weakling! Listen for the rumble, and the roar won't frighten you. However, she knew this self-recrimination wouldn't help. What was making that noise, that phantom sound that not only roused her from deep sleep, but made her remember it for days afterward? Per'dra prayed that it wouldn't come again as slumber's tendrils curled around her once more, warm and soft.
A man clad in a black cloak stood inside of an ancient stone complex - built atop a mountain overlooking the scenery of the grasslands. Another man walked inside, albeit injured - very. The cloaked man slammed his fist into the stone next to him, and turned around to face the other man.
"You've got to be kidding me.", the cloaked Purge Officer said to the other man, glaring at him with fire in his eyes.
"He distracted me! He would have killed me if I didn't run away!", the other man replied, in a shaking voice.
"You were distracted? Would you be distracted if someone were to jingle bells in front of you too? Who falls for that? All I'm hearing is excuses.", the Officer replied, hollowly.
"You never dueled Tael! You have no idea how easily he could defeat you.", the other man said, his voice raising.
"You've gotten yourself beaten by quite possibly the most overrated warrior in all the lands. You're payment is impossible now, and leaves it up to me.", He paused, getting more annoyed with the man, "I should've expected as much for enlisting the help of mercenaries, and humans at that! What the h*ll was I thinking? Sazhen Almighty, all of you have been worthless!", he said, ridiculing the man even further.
"I've gotten closer to killing him than any of the others!", the mercenary snapped back.
"But not close enough.", the Officer replied, "Your usefulness has ended. I'll find someone else."
With that, he plunged his knife into the man's chest, effectively killing him.
He turned around and stared outside, disgusted.
How fast can you run, Tegan? No one leaves the Shadow Academy! The parting words of Tegan Diral's mentor continued to haunt her, even after five years. She had always tried to the right thing, but there was no denying her true calling. She was an assassin, whether she liked it or not. True, she had little choice in joining the Shadow Academy, but they only took her because they saw her aptitude for the art of killing.
It didn't take long for her to realise that they could train her, but they couldn't indoctrinate her. She still was willing to kill the despot, or the crime lord, or the corrupt politician with ease, and for all her superiors knew, the same held true for her less deserving targets. For all they knew.
When she learned of the Shadow Academy's involvement with the Purge, she knew her typical secret defiance wouldn't be enough. There was only one real option:flee.
Her mentor had been true to his word, and there had been attempts made to bring her back, and after the tenth failed attempt, they got the message.
Three years... Has it really been that long?
Emi thought to herself as she stared to the wall of the corner of the cantina which at this time of night seemed very empty. People were not really going out of their homes with patrols from the purge all over the place. She had her bangs hanging down the side of her scarred face, only the side that had no scarring was visible to people.
A middle-aged woman came over to her.
"What can I get you traveller?", the woman asked.
"Eh?", Emi looked up only slightly and then back to her lap. "A g-glass of w-water please".
The woman laughed a little and brought her hand to her waist.
"Water's for horses dear", she said and paused when she could tell that the young woman in front of her seemed to shiver a little. "I know just what to get you, it my own recipe, I'll be right back."
The woman then left her alone. Emi kept her eyes on her lap, occasionally looking up to watch the door or anyone approaching her, but so far, there wasn't anything suspicious.
The woman then came back with a large mug and set it down in front of her, by the looks of it, the liquid was hot.
"Be careful when you drink it, it's very hot, it's a tea mixture I make for me husband. I hope you like it, it doesn't have any alcohol in it, so you'll be fine, and it'll keep you warm", the woman said.
Emi looked up a bit and gave the woman an earnest, however small smile.
"T-thank... you", Emi said and the woman smiled before going away back to tend to some drunkards she kicked out.
Emi then took the mug and started blowing on it so it would cool down. The night air was indeed cold and the woman probably mistook Emi's quivering because of her shyness for her being cold. But anyways, the woman seemed to have made the right decision, as Emi took a little drink of the mug and then couldn't stop herself from drinking a little more and more.
The night was as calm as it ever was. The occasional cool winds blew ever so softly, enough to make one shiver a bit no doubt. A large figure shook off these minor basic urges. He was clad in mainly black armor which almost made him hid to see at this time. The few red parts which were clearly an aesthetic choice helped make the armor a bit more visible. The armor covered him from head to toe, giving no indication of who was inside of it. Not even the helmet gave him away. Someone who got close enough to him would think he was a walking set of armor.
Vakarr, this walking armor, was heading towards the local tavern. There weren't many people this time of night, which was a good time for him to get a drink. He assumed there would be a few at this tavern, but they unlike the rest of the common folk might be interesting. If there was one thing Vakarr couldn't stand, it was the inhabitants of this world.
Vakarr like most people had a dream he was trying to pursue. His dream was quite different from most people though. While some dreamed of honor or glory, Vakarr dreamed of power. He wanted to rule this world and shape it in an image he wish existed. He had been planning this for some time, but hadn't done anything too drastic. Only a fool would do something like that, and Vakarr was no fool. He needed to takeover when the time was right, when the current power was weak enough...but one thing stood in his way.
This "Purge" was a threat to everyone, Vakarr included. They saw everyone as evil and that evil needed to be destroyed. If they saw the average person as evil...well then that went triple for Vakarr in their eyes. He wanted to to get rid of the Purge so that he could continue to pursue his dream. No one seemed brave enough to want to do this however, and he certainly wasn't going to go by himself.
A small sigh escaped him as he stepped into the small building. Out of the corner of his eye he spotted a woman taking care of a few individuals who were clearly far too drunk. Vakarr rolled his eyes in disgust at their need to get to such a state in the first place. Vakarr took a few more steps before stopping to eye the people up. Most of the people seemed to be drunk already, only making Vakarr regret his decision to come here. As he turned his head to the left however, one individual caught his eye.
A cloaked figure stood out from the others. Vakarr eyed the figure and guessed the figure was a woman based on the hair he could see and figure in general. That's not what caught his eye though, it was what she was holding. It was a cup...but she was blowing into it. This mystery drink she had was far different from the average drink a local drunkard would order. Different was a welcoming gift to Vakarr. He slowly made his way over to her and sat down.
"Pardon me madam, but could I inquire as to what exactly you have there?" Vakarr's deep voice asked in a polite tone.
Well, this certainly isn't as easy as I thought it would be, the knight thought as the weapons of his opponets slammed into his armor and knocked him back a few steps.
Valron managed to catch himself before he hit the ground and brought his broadsword around and caught one of his opponets across the chest and was about to bring the sword back to strike at the opponet behind him when he felt a sudden pain in his head as his second opponet cracked him over the head with his battle-axe. He muttered under his breath as he quickly turned around and cut through the wooden hilt of the weapon, sending the business end of the axe to the floor.
"Tell me," Valron said in a mocking cheerful voice. "With your friend dead and your weapon in pieces what do you expect to do? I will let you go under one condition: You tell me where I can find a member of the purge who is higher up then a foot solder. Someone who actually knows something of value."
The man said nothing and valron sighed. He didn't enjoy killing but he was a man of his word. He brought his sword down directly on the man's heart and quickly ended his life.
Perhaps someone at the tavern may know something. He thought as he wiped the blood off the sword and began to slowly walk towards the nearby town. He had found these two by asking around the tavern earlier this week and for all he knew...perhaps someone could directly him to more members of the purge.
A calm night wasn't a wolves best friend. There was no loud winds to rustle noise from leaves of the forest, no splashing from the heavy rain clouds and no thunderous storm cloud to echo across the valley. Nothing to cover up the sounds of seven set's of wolf paws hitting the ground as the pack raced through the forest as fast as their bodies could take them. Their noise was no doubt scaring potential pray for mile around them. But that didn't matter. The stomachs of the wolves were full and they weren't out hunting. They were simply running as far away as they could get from the purge (or the 'all-devourers' as the wolves had called taken to calling it). They knew it would come a time, if it hadn't come already, that not even nature would be spared from the all-devourers' hunger.
They stopped when they reached a clearing. They circled the pack leader who had an elevated position upon a smal stone to bask in the moonlight and looked upon the one wolf whose pitch black colour didn't match his greyish tone or the brown fur that the others of the pack wore. 'This is far as you go, interloper, as we agreed,', The grey wolf barked. Follow the path of the moonlight and you'll arrive at the the place you seek. Now give us what you promised and be gone. You may run and hunt well, like a true wolf, but I can still smell what you are. The smell disturbs all of us. If you hadn't hunted as well you did we would have killed you along ago and left your flesh to the bugs.
The pitch black wolf let out a small growl and barked 'Fine, but if you betrayal me you wouldn't live enough to feel regret. I have no problem turning you into a coat.' Neither the words of alpha-male and the interloper had any truth behind them. It was merely the customs and the way of the wolves. The wolves believed the aggressive talk helped showed the pack one's fighting spirit and strength. When he's finished speaking the pitch black wolf swiftly transformed into a black smoke which was blown away with a gust of wind to reveal a tall brown haired, blue eyed man. The man known simply as Rhys Shadow withdraw a necklace of fangs and threw it to the wolf who caught in his jaw. The necklace had certain significance to the wolves and the pack leader hoped to give it to the Prince of Wolves to raise his standing in the wolf community.
True to their words the pack left Rhys alone. They barked something and though Rhy's lost his connection to the wolves he assumed it was a rude goodbye. Soon they disappeared into the surrounding forest and Rhys was left to travel in the direction of the moon. It took an hour of walking but eventually he reached another clearing. He had seen the bright lights of the tavern before had seen the tavern itself and by the time he'd approach he found himself longing for the warmth of it's fireplace. The clothes he wore now didn't provide the heat he got from his wolf-form. As he entered he was thankful to find the place somewhat empty. The shape shifting mage had lost his sense of time whilst running with the wolves and was a bit worried he'd arrived at this place too late to claim a bed somewhere, but felt save since talking to the barmaid he was happy to learn he wasn't too late to claim a beer.
Until he realized why the gods who shaped dreams sent him here he planned to drink himself jolly and try some place to sleep. He didn't feel like spending another night as a wolf in order to get a warm night sleep.
Tegan casually walked into the tavern, wearing basic street clothes over her form-fitting leather outfit, along with a hood to hide her face. While she enjoyed the freedoms afforded her by leaving the Shadow Academy, she still had to be careful not to be spotted by anyone who might be one of their agents.
Careful not to draw attention to herself, she approached the bar, and ordered a glass of locally brewed wine. As she was about to take a sip, she noticed the two half-elves with a mug of the bartender's tea mixture. Out of desire for a decent conversation, she approached them, and said, "I've had that stuff before. It's a non-alcoholic tea mix the bartender originally came up with for her husband. It's particularly good if you've got a hangover."
Pulling up a seat, she added, "I'm Tegan, by the way."
The largest tavern in the slums of the vast city of Paryer, Sazhen's overarching capital, was aptly named the Drunkard's Haven. Not only was it a safe place for those who planned to drown themselves in rivers of alcohol, but in these dark times, it was also a refuge from the Purge. Armored patrols marched through the streets daily, sending most of the slum-dwellers indoors if they had no urgent business to do. The Purge soldiers were searching, first and foremost, for those who were obvious troublemakers: thieves, beggars, vandals, and prostitutes. Even while the rest of the citizens of Paryer slumbered, these militant men and women were searching for prey. When spotted, these aforementioned miscreants were either killed (as in the case of the thieves and vandals) or arrested (as in the case of the beggars and prostitutes). Usually, this would not be anything out of the ordinary: weren't those sorts of people taken into custody every day by Paryer's regular Watchmen? However, the Purge's soldiers were not regular Watchmen by any means. Everyone in Paryer, rich and poor, knew this and lived in terror.
Against the Purge, the Watchmen were helpless. Many were already slain.
What happened to those who were captured by the soldiers of the Purge? No one knew--or, at least, no one knew who had survived being seized...
That was why Per'dra Raliry watched her every step as she ventured out into the night. So far, the Purge hadn't targeted mere drunkards for elimination, but who knew what new steps they might take to combat "evil", "vice" and "wickedness" in the filthy slums of this city? With sly bitterness, the bard and duelist smirked at the fact that the Purge hadn't killed very many wealthy people yet. Their crap stinks just as much as ours does, she mused.
After dozing in fits and starts, Per'dra had decided to get dressed in her worn leather armor and head for the Drunkard's Haven. She wasn't going to get falling-down drunk, slobbering and collapsing in her own vomit. She simply wanted something to help her sleep, and get rid of the nightmares once and for all. No more roaring. No more growing unease. No Ralthen-poor boy!
When she entered, she saw that the tavern was already near to bursting!
"Rough night?" She caught the forty-five-year-old barmaid's eye and winked. Meara was an old favorite of hers: she knew all about Per'dra's dreams.
Meara gazed wearily at the crowd and beckoned Per'dra over. "Join the club! This place is open all hours of the day, especially with those butchers marching around." Clearly, the barmaid was no supporter of the Purge. "What can I fetch for ye, Lass Raliry? White wine? Red? Honey mead?"
Per'dra shook her head. "I had the nightmare again. That means I need something stronger--if you please..." Trailing off, she sat down on a stool.
Tael was walking through the streets of the city, clad in his armor and blades. He was attacked by the Purge again, and this time they nearly succeeded. He decided to walk into Drunkard's Haven, a local cantina that just-so-happened to be the largest tavern in the city. As he walked inside, he glanced around the place. It was nearly empty, aside from a group at the bar, and a few drunks wandering around. He sat into a stool at the bar.
"Barmaid, can you get me some tea, please?", asked Tael. He wasn't one much for beer or alcohol. He loved tea, which seemed to conflict with his warrior background. In fact, many things do.
(Guessing there's no post order going)
Rhys' finger tapped the bar gently for a nice length of time. Rhys had dreamed of the wolfs, the moon and this building. He wanted to know why. Rhys' dreams were no longer the patchwork of random thought it use to be. No, he had travelled into the swamps and had eaten the magic fruit. By right his mind was connected to the gods and spirits. The finger tapping was a meditation technique taught in the College from which he was born and raised.
The tapping sent a calm feeling to take over Rhys' body and he had a choice of his sense he wanted to enhance. He choose hearing and a black tattoo on his forearm turned into bright shade of white. A couple in the corner was talking about a fight he had witnessed, another group was discussing someone's affair with the local priest and something about tea (Rhys was surprised they had tea here, and even more surprised a fully armoured man who had wondered inside took a deep interest in it).
Finally he heard something that caught his interest. A woman, who was sitting on the other side of the bar from him was complaining that "[she] had the nightmare again". Rhys' smiled slightly. This could be what he was looking for. Good thing too, he was too tired to put up with the fate's usual long winded way of doing things. De-constructing what she said made him feel even more sure she was important. She said "again" which meant nightmares were a big problem for her and the usual elixir remedy wasn't doing it right for her. But more importantly she called it "the nightmare" with a clear emphasis on the word "the" meaning this was a sole nightmare she was being haunted by. So either she was touched by destiny or suffering some sort of psychological problem, either way he hoped he could help.
He moved across the room and sat by the woman who'd he later known as Per'dra. "Evening, my name is Rhys Shadow, mage extraordinaire. I hope you don't mind me intruding but you said you were suffering from a nightmare. Don't know if it's custom here to tell complete strangers your problems, I know a few towns where you don't even need to say hello before you get peoples life story, but I reckon I can help you with your nightmare problem, free of charge. I have some expertise when it comes to dreams," Rhys' offered. He jokingly wondered to himself if she'd realize he hadn't spent a lot of time with actual people. He wasn't great with social knowledge but he realized he'd probably come off as a busy-body or just plain weird. He found wolves were much easier to talk too than people. "If you don't mind, of course."
"Comin' right up, me good sir," Meara answered as she poured a mug of hot tea for Tael. Before delivering it over to him, however, the tavern wench slipped something bitter into a pewter wineglass for Per'dra that wasn't wine at all. It was absinthe, straight.
"Essence of wormwood," she nearly whispered while giving the bard's hand a slight touch. She handed the cup over as if it contained a magic liquid. "It clears the memory."
Per'dra took a sip, and then coughed! It was exceedingly strong, but she could already feel her recollection of the nightmare slipping away. Perfect... Then she noticed someone, a brown-haired, blue-eyed man, speaking to her. Even seconds after she'd finished taking her first sip of the absinthe, her power of comprehension was not as sharp as it had been. "Oh? I...suppose you could help me with this one, but it's not your usual nightmare, milord." Smiling sheepishly, she continued, "A roar paralyzes me."
"A paralyzing roar," Rhys replied whilst thinking but of no use.
"Maybe it's something from your childhood. I mean a lot of traumatizing things roar. Bears, Pumas, Dragons, hell I've seen see a tree roar once. Any of those form a part in your childhood?" Rhys said, smiling at the memory of the roaring tree. He could smile at the idea now. At the time the fun was spoilt by the tree's attempt to eat him. Rhys hoped by focusing on the idea this nightmare of hers was born through a bad experience as a child he'd be able to determine through the process of elimination whether or not her dream meant something. If not I could atleast say I made a friend, he joked to himself.
He took a quick break in order to signal for a refill. A good old fashion wolf hunt did bring out the thirst in a man. "Sorry, I don't understand. Probably a mixture of tiredness, booze and me being a little bit stupid. A roar in a dream doesn't really - how did you put it? - make the dream unusual."
Per'dra realized that she wasn't being of much help to this suddenly helpful mage. Refraining from taking another sip of absinthe until she was sure she could recall the nightmare fully, she lay the pewter cup on the bar counter and said:
"Perhaps not. My nightmare is always the same: I can never see who or what is roaring, because it's pitch-dark. My nightmare begins with a low, rumbling sound, like that of thunder. That's not what scares me, even though it probably should. The rumbling always comes before the roar. It makes me relaxed, and all the more unprepared for the sudden sound. It's actually a cross between a roar and a screech, louder than anything I've ever heard in my entire life. It makes me freeze in fear under the mussed covers of my bed, because I'm terrified."
She closed her eyes. "My little brother Ralthen, before he died, used to pretend he was telling me a secret and then shout in my ear. However, this roar is nothing like his. It's simply magnificent, and no matter what, it wakes me up."
Rhys fought back a frown. He wasn't sure what he hoped to learn from this conversation but a strange roar didn't really help. He hoped she dreamed of a strange lake with a cottage where an old Wyrm hold a sign saying 'come find me'. He wanted to help her but the more he heard the more he figured her nightmare was just some repressed memory she had with her brother. He might be able to help her, he only knew one healing spell and whilst it worked wonders on wounds, infections and poisons he wasn't sure if it could be used to help heal her mind.
"If you don't mind me asking - tell me if you do - but what happened to your brother? Maybe it has something to do with that. I apologize if I'm being intrusive. I've been in a state what you guess could call close to loneliness, if you call it that, since the Purge visited my part of world," Rhys said, hoping that by adding a little personal information about himself she'd feel a bit more comfortable. He wasn't sure if it would work or just make him seem creepy.
The bard winced. The Purge was known neither for its mercy nor its subtlety. "I'm grieved," she replied, because she was more than simply sorry. Every time the soldiers clad in amber armor, made their patrols, someone was sure to die. "My brother wasn't taken by the Purge. He contracted a deadly fever when he was six. We--couldn't donate enough money for the services of a priest. All we could do was have the herbalists keep applying cool poultices to his chest to try and bring it down. They didn't..." She took another sip of absinthe. "Maybe my nightmares are of my brother screaming in my ear: 'Why didn't you save me? Why couldn't you have convinced Father to find me a cure instead of going without a few meals?' Still, I don't think that's it."
Perhaps due to the strong essence of wormwood floating through her veins, Per'dra gave a sudden start. "Eyes. Two of them, green as emeralds, and glowing softly. They're looking straight at me, and the rumbling's starting..."
Before she knew it, a man was sitting at her table. She moved her eyes from her lap to the man and back to her lap as quickly as an arrow shot.
"Pardon me madam, but could I inquire as to what exactly you have there?", he inquired.
"Eh?", she said in what could be perceived as a shriek, high pitched, but very low volume. "I... I..."
Before she could answer though, another person sat at the table and answered the man's question.
"I've had that stuff before. It's a non-alcoholic tea mix the bartender originally came up with for her husband. It's particularly good if you've got a hangover."
She was glad her part of that conversation was over, but it didn't take long for her to be in another, this time, it was the woman who had started it.
"I'm Tegan, by the way."
Emi moved her eyes towards her as she had done with the man and then back to her lap. She had a very good memory and somehow with such quick peeks, she was able to register the face of the person and the voice of whoever spoke. It was part of her training, but she wasn't accustomed to crowds, especially not crowds seeking her attention. She wasn't very good with people, then again people for the most part had been awful towards her in her past, especially after the fire. All of these things had caused her to seclude herself and isolate herself, she had become so distant from others that she had no idea how to interact with them, and in her timidness and shyness, she sometimes shielded herself from everyone around her pulling herself deep into her own world. But she knew she had to resist for now, it was only two people. She started to shiver only slightly
"E-Emi...", she muttered in what was almost a whisper, it was so quiet, it almost was drowned out by the small amount of sound in the tavern.
But even after saying her name, her eyes remained glued to her lap.
A thin, spindly hand reached out from the Bard's other side, taking the memory extirpating elixir from her very grasp as she were about to take another sip of the concoction.
Perched on the other stool next to Per'dra was a tall, lanky figure, menacing her with ambient-violet eyes that emanated a haze of ethereal brume from underneath a terrifying mask, plumage of an unknown sort sprouting from the top of the wooden facade, cascading down the back of the figure, only making the image of the being more primeval; hidden within the roughage of the headdress, one could distinguish two slender ears protruding from behind the mask, nearly camouflaged by the feathers surrounding them. Instead of sitting, he was perched on the bar stool, balancing neatly on the balls of his feet, almost as if he were on a tree branch, stalking from above.
If this was not enough to wake one from a stupor, then nothing would.
He sniffed the mixture, stirring the brew around as he held it clasped in both hands, muttering strange, inaudible words to himself. Lifting the mask he wore ever-so-slightly, he sipped the drink, hissing almost immediately as he swallowed what little bit he did.
"Várlókëyulmë! [Wormwood! - General translation]" Was the phrase one heard when he'd hissed at the drink. He threw the drink, pewter glass and all, out the nearest open window, the faint sound of the container shattering outside could be heard, even through the din of the people in the tavern.
If one had trouble identifying him before, they could certainly do so now from hearing the words he uttered. He was Elven, but what kind was still hard to say.
The Elf returned his attention back towards the pair, the woman seeming ready to flee for her very life. Laying one hand on her shoulder quickly, the Elf hissed out the words, "Áva rucë! [Fear Not!/Don't worry! - Literal translation]"
He then put his other hand to the side of her face speaking softly this time, "Nyérinqua'er.... [Sorrowful One.... - General translation]"
"...I ask you, stay, speak to me. I will search out this dream," he said to her in the common tongue this time, his voice soothing and calm.
((Not as good of an intro as I would've liked, but whatever! Per'dra's got dream issues, and who else has magical dominion over dreams!? :D ))
All Per'dra Raliry could reply was something like "Aubuh-buh..." She'd been so startled by the Elf's sudden appearance, and removal of her absinthe, that it took her sixty full seconds to realize he wasn't a beverage-induced hallucination!
As for the barmaid, Meara, she suddenly glared at the newest visitor to the Drunkard's Haven. "Hey! Ye're going to have to pay for that, and I gave my friend that expensive drink as a special treat to get rid of 'er nightmares!" Truth be told, Meara was as terrified of the Elf as her tale-spinning friend seemed to be. As a tavern-keeper, she'd had to learn the not-so-subtle art of intimidation. Throwing inebriated idiots out on their rears was a skill she'd perfected at the tender age of twelve, learning the trade from her father. However, there was as much chance of her doing that to the Elf as there was of her hair growing in red instead of gray! Rooted to her spot behind the bar-counter, she waited tensely to see what either customer would do next.
Per'dra closed her eyes and took another deep breath. "I really wish you wouldn't have thrown my absinthe out the window," she told the Elf. "However, if I'm ever going to remember exactly what the roar sounds like, I have to concentrate." After a few moments, she continued: "Waiting. Someone is either waiting for me, or for someone else. However, I'm not ready. What I'm doing in the nightmare is hanging in space, unable to move in the utter blackness. It's like I've been condemned to the Great Void, but for what crime? I can do nothing but stand there--float there?--and try and listen to what the rumbling means. It's not thunder. If it were, I would dream of rain."
Tael looked up and saw more people within the group. He decided to study them. An elven, a walking set of armor, a mage, a woman who had dream troubles, a dark elf, and the shy woman - Emi. According to him, she looked beautiful. Dark blue hair went down the one side of her face, her skin tone was rather pale, and she had a slender figure. What portion of her face that was visible, was extremely beautiful. Then he heard the bard speak about her dream.
"Waiting. Someone is either waiting for me, or for someone else. However, I'm not ready. What I'm doing in the nightmare is hanging in space, unable to move in the utter blackness. It's like I've been condemned to the Great Void, but for what crime? I can do nothing but stand there--float there?--and try and listen to what the rumbling means. It's not thunder. If it were, I would dream of rain."
Tael paused. The dream sounded cryptic. Rumbling, hanging, floating? Using some logic in this, he decided to speak up for the first time.
"Maybe it's the rumbling of some creature, such as a wyrm? And condemned to a crime, you say? Have you done any major sins in your life, or made an accumulation of many minor sins? Are you an evil person? Not that I think that you are - of course; you seem to be a nice person. Did you associate yourself with a cult, such as the Purge?"
Vakarr had to lean in slightly as he tried to hear her response. Though she couldn’t see it, a grin had found its way onto his face. He couldn’t help but be slightly amused as she tried to speak to him. He believed it had something to do with his armor, as it did add to the intimidation factor. If this were a battle he’d be enjoying every second of this. He loved to strike fear in the heart of his enemies.
He then heard another answer his question for him. He gave a slight nod in approval at the drink choice and held in a sigh he wanted to let out. Right away he guessed this newcomer was simply a nosy human with nothing better to do. Humans were known for that sort of thing…being annoying to Vakarr at least. To his surprise he found a dark elf joining them. At least they were a bit more interesting than humans.
"I'm Tegan, by the way."
Vakarr soon pouted which was luckily hidden by his helmet. Emi gave Tegan a quiet like response, similar to what she tried to say to him earlier. So maybe he wasn’t as scary as he thought, as she was just as shy with Tegan.
“You may call me Vakarr,” he said as if she should be privileged to get a name from him.
He looked back to Emi who was currently looking down at her lap. The grin appeared on his face once more as he was amused by her once more. As of now she was the most interesting person to talk to, simply because she seemed very anti-social. Not that he had a problem with that.
“Now now my dear, no need to be so quiet. I assure you I don’t bite…that hard,” Vakarr said before chuckling.
"BA, HA-HA-HA!" The exclamation was out of Per'dra's mouth before she could stop it. Slapping her right hand over her lips tightly, she bowed her head. "I'm sorry," she said after a moment. "The idea of associating myself with the Purge is so disgusting that it's almost laughable! No, I have not done so, and if I ever do, I hope someone kills me before I can do the same to someone else."
Clearing her throat, she explained, "As for sins, the only major one I can think of is 'forgetting' to pay for certain items I couldn't afford. I've filched meals from time to time, although it's been at least five years since I had to do that..." A pause. "When I'm in the void, however, the darkness of my terrible dream, I feel like I'm hanging there for a sin of omission, not of commission. A creature, you say?" she mused. "Perhaps, but why would I be dreaming of a Wyrm? I've never seen one. Aren't those great beasts simply myths anyway?"
((BTW: You can't see my character's hair!!! It's hidden under his mask and headdress!))
As the middle-aged woman barked at the Elf, he hissed menacingly from under his mask, his gaze shifting to her, his eyes flashed brighter, uttering a single word, "Dîn! [Silence! - Literal translation]"
The woman seemed to shut up, her eyes growing wider. Whether by her own volition, or not, she remained quiet.
"I really wish you wouldn't have thrown my absinthe out the window. However, if I'm ever going to remember exactly what the roar sounds like, I have to concentrate.......Waiting. Someone is either waiting for me, or for someone else. However, I'm not ready. What I'm doing in the nightmare is hanging in space, unable to move in the utter blackness. It's like I've been condemned to the Great Void, but for what crime? I can do nothing but stand there--float there?--and try and listen to what the rumbling means. It's not thunder. If it were, I would dream of rain." The woman uttered as she concentrated, the Elf's eyes grew brighter, the fog pouring out and floating up steadily, when suddenly their concentration was cut short by a very rude man from across the room.
He felt so strongly in using 'silence' on him, that he could barely hold back, after a short time he turned his masked face in the man's direction, "Quiet, dreg, lest you conjure a Dreambrand's wrath!" He used the world's term for his title to make it known to others what he was, rather than confuse their simple minds with his people's term.
But before anything further could be said the woman whose face he clasped with one hand began to laugh loudly, mentioning her disdain for the Purge, and commenting on her dreams.
The Elf pulled her gaze back towards his forcibly, "Please! If you truly wish to know, then focus! Eyes on me! Or I will leave you to play twenty questions with the interloper and any others who find this amusing!"
The Elf's disdain for people was quite evident, but apparently the woman had drawn out his softer side, if not for the sake of some purpose of his own.
Per'dra nodded, startled again. She sensed that this particular Elf did not suffer fools, and if she made a conversational misstep, she would be classified as one! Closing her eyes, she continued explaining her ever-present nightmare:
"While the rumbling is going on, I'm not frightened at all. I'm completely at peace when I'm trying to hear it, and forget that I'm trapped in a place where there is no light. Only space, which is far more terrifying. The sound ululates in waves, becoming louder and then softer, as if something is trying to talk to me. However, I don't seem to be paying all that much attention because I don't know what's causing it! Instead, I simply relax and smile, like a person with a body but no mind. Do you know those poor fools, 'village idiots', who grin at you without understanding why? So I am in the nightmare, my lips splayed wide, and a hee-hee-hee escapes my lips." That was a part that the bard KNEW she hadn't remembered before. "Why does the rumbling make me feel so happy? I should realize that awful roar comes next, but I never learn this in the dream."
"While the rumbling is going on, I'm not frightened at all. I'm completely at peace when I'm trying to hear it, and forget that I'm trapped in a place where there is no light. Only space, which is far more terrifying. The sound ululates in waves, becoming louder and then softer, as if something is trying to talk to me. However, I don't seem to be paying all that much attention because I don't know what's causing it! Instead, I simply relax and smile, like a person with a body but no mind. Do you know those poor fools, 'village idiots', who grin at you without understanding why? So I am in the nightmare, my lips splayed wide, and a hee-hee-hee escapes my lips." The Elf nodded as he listened, his gaze connected to her own, his eyes beginning to glow brighter once more, the fog increasing, flowing upwards like the smoke from a chimney. "Why does the rumbling make me feel so happy? I should realize that awful roar comes next, but I never learn this in the dream."
The Elf moved the hand on her face upwards slightly: the thumb being placed under her right eye, and the hand held across the upper part of that side of her face. His other hand released her shoulder, moving up to the other side of her face: the thumb held under her lower lip, the hand held across the jawline up to the ear.
"Good Nyérinqua'er. Now, we will see this dream for what it is," the Elf's eyes fluttered as he seemed to concentrate, then they snapped open, the brightness of his violet eyes like the sharp dagger-like appearance of the stars of the night sky, apparent in ones' own face.
"Ólafúmë [Sleep & Dream - General translation] my dear, ólafúmë Nyérinqua'er," he soothed to her quietly, tenderly, like he were lulling a child to sleep. Though she would not literally sleep, she would enter the state of her dreams, and he would be there, his power making the unclear evident, his presence recording what she could not, so that when they returned he could let her see what she would not remember from what would happen in the dream......
((Have at it Ficwriter, just remember, my guy is in the dream this time, though obscure from her lest she looks behind herself, etc.))
"Hhhh-hh-hh-hah-hhh-hhh... A long, slow breath escaped Per'dra's lips.
Silence. Emptiness. The rumbling of which the Bard had spoken began, although this time there was a different quality to it: desperation. Now that the Elf's mind was present within Per'dra's consciousness, at least in regards to her nightmare, it was an easy task to translate the sounds:
"I'm trapped here. Help me! The Spine of Sazhen' is a place that you can see, and the place which I guard, but my soul is fading from my body. You are the only one, young girl, whose heart is almost purely attuned to those of Wyrms, though you do not believe we exist. The first creation of the Ultimate, the One who guides us, was Sazhen' itself. I am V'toryv, the second creation.
"When Sazhen' was formed, it was rock and ice. The Ultimate created it this way so there would be water, and thus life. However, in order for the seed of life to be planted, I was sent to breathe fire upon the surface of this world. Once, at the dawn of time, I was a thousandfold the size of Sazhen'. However, as the Ultimate created more children--you humans, elves, dwarves, and other mortal souls--I asked for my soul to be placed in a much smaller vessel. At first, the Ultimate refused, saying that his other children had strong wills and might choose to slay me. However, I said I would take the risk. I am encased in this crystalline shell, and it holds me well. I wished to visit ye who perish in the blink of an eye, who wither like the grass and do not last for millennia.
"For the first hundred years of Sazhen's existence, I bred my offspring, Wyrmkind, and younger mortals such as yourselves lived in peace with us. However, hunger soon overtook them--hunger for power, for riches, and for our sacred blood. That is what this army called 'the Purge' covets. As my children die, I weaken, and if I myself perish, Sazhen will be no more.
"I reside within its Spine. Listen! If you do not find me first, this 'Purge' will. They're ravenous for blood, and they will not stop until they have mine. Look for the mountains that no one can climb, to be seen in darkness' time..."
The crystalline form of V'toryv convulsed in pain, letting out a mighty roar. At the same time, Per'dra's eyes grew wide, and she slumped on her barstool.
The Elf saw it all, heard it all, he was within her dream, he finally understood - the inkling that had swept over him the day he'd decided to 'hunt' the Purge for the sake of preventing a greater end than that of his kind.
His disdain grew within him though, he questioned the great Wyrm, why she had decided to descend to the world of mortal-kind only to spend it with those whose lives ended so quickly, and whose greed destroyed not only her offspring, but his own kind: Man. He had questions for the great Wyrm, questions he would have to ask when next this woman found herself in the throws of a demi-deity induced dream.....Or nightmare as the woman had called it, lest those dreams be lingering messages, then he would have to question the great Wyrm directly, when the time came.
At the end, when the roar came he did not release Per'dra from the state of waking dreams immediately, but instead turned her floating figure around. Within the dream she was still very much conscious, though like in a dream she was unaware of his presence, or hers, until he made himself known, did she notice what was occurring.
He wore no mask here, and his features were plain to see, his crystalline hair flowed in a breeze that neither of them felt, his opalescent eyes were normal here, his figure was not so gaunt, his clothes not so primitive, his skin khaki, not taupe. In dreams he was what his people used to be, a powerful race of intermingled Elven bloodlines, forged into a single astonishing race: 'The Bejeweled Folk'.
He spoke in his people's old tongue, but in the place of her dreams, she knew what he was saying, even if it didn't sound like anything she could understand, much like what had happened with the great Wyrm mere moments ago. "You will not remember what has happened here, when you look around, you will find that it seems like you were daydreaming about your, 'nightmare', you will remember it as you always have. I will tell you Sorrowful One, what has transcended here must not be taken lightly by anyone!"
He continued, "I will come with you, and I know of one other who will help, for she would follow me anyways." He paused, rolling his beautiful eyes and shaking his head.
"You will need help. Find it. If ever you need council on your dreams, I will be there. When you become aware, I will induce the memory of the dream upon you. Now..." He reached out, seizing her head in his hands the same way he had when he'd put her into this state of waking dreams.
".....Awake...." An echo in her ears from reality came through, but heard in her dream, ".....And Be."
"Cuivaengië [Awake & Be - General translation]."
In the real world it seemed like mere seconds, but when he spoke the words that broke the silence, he almost seemed to be thrown from the stool which he was perched on.
"Attëa! One greater than the Third!" He nearly shouted as he came to his senses, a short slender figure rushing to his side and helping him up, the figure being that of a young Dwarven maiden, though she looked nothing like any common Dwarven maiden, that was for sure; her brows wrinkled in worry, but she said nothing.
The Elf hissed at her as he got back up on the stool and waited for the woman's eyes to focus back on reality so that he could induce her mind with the memory of what had happened, the Dwarf standing next to the Elf perched on his stool staring at the woman curiously, waiting to see what else happened.
Meara, the old barmaid, had finally summoned enough courage to move from her place behind the counter and scuttle around to her young friend's side. "Lass? Lass! Are you all right?" She thought about slapping the Bard's rosy cheeks. However, Meara dared not in front of the Elf and the Dwarven maiden who had suddenly appeared at his side. If she tried to bring Per'dra out of her glassy-eyed trance that way, it wouldn't bode well for her. Who would go to a tavern where the barkeep routinely slapped his or her patrons around?
"I'm all right, Meara," the Bard cried. "I was simply having a daydream about my awful nightmare, fueled by that absinthe, I bet!" She winked at the older woman, concealing the truth from her. "I found out that I was dreaming about dragons. A dragon, as a matter of fact. Where could my mind have gone, to imagine such outrageous beasts?" She grinned at those around her, wondering whom she could trust with such knowledge besides the Elf. "Maybe my poor little brother was a dragon, roaring hello. Who in Sazhen' knows?"
"I certainly don't, my dear lady," Meara answered, shaking her head. "You've had enough alcohol for tonight, I daresay. Won't you go on home to bed?"
"Not yet. I--this tavern is so warm, and my quarters in the slums aren't."
The Elf didn't understand how the barmaid had released herself from his spell of illusion to be silent, but if she hadn't been by whatever fluke, he would have surely forgotten her and she would be the world's most intimidating mute barmaid.
He watched, half-bemused by her concern for the other woman, waiting for her to end her fretting to merely shove her aside with one hand, hissing at her to warn her from any retaliation, or words.
"Not yet. I--this tavern is so warm, and my quarters in the slums aren't." The Bard said in final response to the barmaid.
"And it is good that you aren't. Come," he said softly, placing his hands once more on her face, brushing aside her hair, the Dwarf rolling her eyes.
"Rîn! [Remembrance - Literal translation]" He spoke, his eyes flashing brightly, the fog transforming into a guttering spurt of ethereal violet fire, dancing from his eyes, then they were normal, his eyes no longer violet, nor spewing fog and sparks. He released her face.
She would remember everything, even what he had said to her, though simply because he had spoken in his ancient tongue did not mean she had any understanding of it simply because she knew what he had said, it was hard to explain, but regardless of the language, she would know.
"Do you recall?" He spoke quietly, pointing slowly to one of his now normal, opalescent eyes, that peered out through the mask, though these eyes were dimmer and crueler than the eyes she had seen in her dream, they were the same beautiful amber-green, dual-shaded eyes.
Of course she would, but he wanted to make absolutely certain that she remembered, everything, from her vision, to the words he'd spoken.
Per'dra's voice had frequently been compared to music, which was only natural given her occupation. Right now, however, its tempo was a bit off. No musician was ever perfect, whether the notes came from his or her instruments or vocal cords. As she gazed into the Elf's eyes, she heard her words emerge with a quavering, tremulous fear. Blinking, she murmured:
"In my nightmares, a dragon has been calling out to me: V'toryv, the Second of Creation. She is the Great Wyrm who first breathed life into Sazhen' at the command of the Ultimate. Right now, her soul is becoming trapped in the Void, where the condemned find no peace. The Purge seeks her blood, and the blood of her scaled children, in order to increase their power. She guards the Spine of Sazhen' with her very life. If I don't find V'toryv before the Purge does, all is lost. If she perishes, this entire world shall collapse upon itself."
Blinking, she continued: "As for you...you are ageless and magnificent. If I have any more dreams--any more communication from V'toryv--you can help."
((I fixed it. :xp: And was I, 'the rude man from across the room', even though I'm sitting close by?))
Tael looked to his side to hear a laugh from the woman, commenting on the dream and the Purge. He then heard the Elven speak, and he assumed he was speaking to him.
"Quiet, dreg, lest you conjure a Dreambrand's wrath!"
"Of course. I apologize, as it was not my intention to be rude.", Tael replied, with a small smile.
It was true, he did not wish to cause problems, or be rude to these newcomers. A few seconds later, he saw the bard and elven 'awake' from their dream, though he was unable to hear what they were discussing about it.
"May I ask what happened?", he said - somewhat-quietly - not wishing to be as rude and blunt as he was before.
He sipped on his tea.
The Bard took this opportunity to smile with relief. Truth be told, she had been visibly shaken, not only by the revelation of her nightmare, but by the Elf and his mysterious way of entering others' dreams. Turning to Tael, she replied:
"I've finally discovered what's been haunting me all these nights, via the aid of my newest acquaintance." She gestured toward the Elf. "That's what happened. It seems a dragon has been present in my dreams: the last Wyrm that exists." How much should I tell him about what I really learned? The Purge may not have chosen this tavern as its next target to burn--as they've been doing with houses of ill repute and other slum buildings--but what if their spies are here? "That dragon was causing the soundless roar that always woke me up. You know how it is in dreams: what's louder than thunder to you can't be heard by anyone else." She rolled her eyes. "It's a good thing I'm alone. If I'd had a husband beside me these past few weeks, he might as well have moved out due to all my thrashing about while he's trying to sleep, and kicking off the covers!"
The door to the tavern opened quietly as Valron pushed his way through and headed straight for a man who was quietly sitting at a table all by himself. Valron didn't give the man a chance to move before he sat down at the table and grabbed his arm. He lifted the viewer of his helmet and stared at the man with anger very much evident in his eyes.
"Two more common solders Velor." He said in a quiet voice that didn't disguise his anger. "You assured me that these two knew something. That they were higher ups in the organization and they would have information. Once again you were wrong."
"I-It's not my fault good knight!" Velor said nervously. "I was assured by a reliable source that they were higher ups and that they would have the information you sought! Please...don't hurt me!"
Valron slowly pulled his sword off his back and pointed the blade directly at the other man's throat. "I want information Velor. I want to meet this so called source of yours and talk to him personally."
As Tael continued to sip on his tea, he listened intently on the bard's words, understanding if she didn't tell him everything. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a knight harassing another man. Out of good conscience, he walked towards the two men, leaving his tea on the counter. He walked towards the knight, not angry at him, but out of a desire to figure out why he has the other man at sword-point.
"What's going on here?", he said, in a non-angered tone.
((*Sword-point - our equivalent of gun-point.))
Tegan had seen this sort of behaviour before, particularly in a target who was innocent, or otherwise didn't deserve to die. She must have had some serious emotional scars, and the insensitive half-Drow wasn't helping. Tegan pulled him away before he could make things worse.
"Vakarr, you're not helping." She said to him. Then, turning to Emi, she lowered her hood and said "It's okay, you have nothing to fear from us."
Look at me, the compassionate assassin. She thought to herself, fully aware of the contradiction.
“Now now my dear, no need to be so quiet. I assure you I don’t bite…that hard,”
Emi's shivering was becoming more noticeable. She was a reaver, an assassin, but she operated in the shadows, away from everyone and mostly in the cover of night to hide from crowds or people. It seemed a good fit for an occupation. Given her scars and the treatment she needed for her skin was costly, assassin work paid well enough for this. So, whenever she was around people, her emotions would run wild, not to mention the physical trauma caused by years of insults, beatings, and just general teasing.
"I... I ...", she lowered her head even more...closing her eyes, visibly shivering even more. She suddenly opened her eyes when she heard Tegan speak.
"Vakarr, you're not helping." She took the man away from the table, she relaxed a bit, anyone could tell as she wasn't shivering as much. Then the woman spoke again.
"It's okay, you have nothing to fear from us."
Emi glanced from her lap to Tegan's face, her expression softened a bit.
"O-okay", Emi managed to mutter. She was intently listening to what was going on around her, but mostly because the Elf and the Bard woman were being really loud, and given the fact that there was mostly no one around except a few drunk people in a table close to the exit, it was easy to listen.
"I am... not so good... with... people", Emi said in the same almost whisper volume she had been replying before.
"What's going on here?"
Valron turned to look at the man who had walked over to their table and then turned back to look at Velor. He narrowed his eyes as the man's eyes widened in fear as the sword edged a little bit closer to his throat. "Nothing much." He said casually.
I-I assure you that I know nothing!" Velor whispered in fear as the sword actually touched his throat without breaking the skin.
Valron smiled. "If that's true then why does it seem that whenever I get information from you I always end up fighting these foot solders? And they always seem ready for me no matter how quietly I approach them?"
"Blind luck on their part?" Velor said in a voice filled with fear.
"Wrong." Valron said "I suspect that you are somehow affiliated with the purge. And I think you've been trying to get me killed."
This actually drew a laugh from Tael.
"Is this a normal day for you, holding a man at sword-point?", he asked, slightly chuckling.
He saw the other man widen his eyes in fear, as the sword touched his throat.
"If that's true then why does it seem that whenever I get information from you I always end up fighting these foot solders? And they always seem ready for me no matter how quietly I approach them?"
"I assure you, I do not know this man.", he said, gesturing his hand. "And I'm no footsoldier.", he added.
"I suspect that you are somehow affiliated with the Purge. And I think you've been trying to get me killed."
Tael widened his eyes at this, instinctively drawing both of his swords. He kept them firmly in his hands, keeping them at his sides.
"This man is affiliated with the Purge?", asked Tael, in a firm voice. If he was, then he deserved death.
I knew it! Per'dra thought to herself, a wave of panic overcoming her. It was only a matter of time before those soldiers got here. That's why it's all the more important to kill this man--if, indeed, he is a spy. She strode up to the one who was being held at sword-point, slowly and carefully, revealing the very peak of her absent bodice. No one else except the victim (spy?) could see it.
"Tell me: If you don't seem to value your life very much, how much would you value a last tumble with the most popular bard in the slums of Paryer?" Then she smiled eerily. "Oh. I forgot. You Purge scum value purity so much in women that you'd sooner pluck out your own eyes than look at what I showed you ever-so-briefly. Isn't that right?" The man's face was as white and pasty as bread dough that contained too much water. "At least then, you won't be able to see any blood when we kill you. I've always thought that your marching ilk were blind..."
Vakarr stared at Tegan in silence. The elf was indeed bold, he'd give her that. He looked over to a skirmish he heard and saw a human pointing his sword at another. He watched as another human walked over to try to stop this from going on. Vakarr snorted as he looked at the three. Humans, they were such revolting creatures in his mind. They were selfish and greedy, and any nobility they showed was only to make them look better. He turned his attention back to Tegan and Emi, chuckling slightly.
"Not so good with socializing? Don't worry my dear, you're not alone." Vakarr said. That was as close to nice as he'd get for now.
Vakarr looked back to see how the skirmish was going. He heard one word that stuck out from the rest...Purge. Now that he was listening more intently, he picked up that the one man being held at sword-point might be a Purge spy. He watched as a human female walked over and began taunting this captured man. Vakarr looked to Emi and Tegan.
"Its quite a bold claim they're making over there," Vakarr said.
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