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Old Tue, 20th Oct '09, 9:06pm   #1
Dalamar Maximus
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Default Orsraun Mountains

His boots sunk through the hard packed snow, crunching heavily and loud. He pulled his heavy green winter cloak closer around his chest as wind ripped past him, biting his exposed forehead and cheeks. The front of his scarf was wet and frozen from his breathing, but it allowed him to take deep breaths without icy pain.

Malar scanned the mountain tops, the rose high and mighty through the sky. His prey was hidden up there, in the desolate cold of Orsraun Mountains. He looked back at his trail, long and straight, a dark line through the blazzing white. He rolled his shoulders under his light pack, the lack of food was beginning to become a problem.
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Old Wed, 21st Oct '09, 7:30pm   #2
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He crouched in the small cave, the smokeless fire flicked and danced in the high mountain wind. Malar crouched in the shadows away from the fire, inexperienced travelers sleep beside the fire, they never live long enough to become experienced. In the shadows Malar isn't affected by fire blindness, while anyone entering the cave would be temporarily blinded.

Malar pulled down his hood, the cave was now warm enough to leave his shaved head bare. Intricate tattoos ran up from underneath his clasp and leathers, up his neck, across his face and on top his head. Weaves of blue lines, and curves covered the left side of his neck face and head, while his right side was bare except for three cirlcular dots underneath his eye.

Malar eased his long knife out of the sheath under his cloak on his back, and laid it on the sandy ground beside him. The trap was set, the dummy was sleeping by the fire, now the waiting was the challenge ahead. Waiting for the prey to come to the hunter.
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Old Wed, 21st Oct '09, 11:57pm   #3
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The wind whislted outside, its screams of protest filled the cave, echoing of stone and sand. Malar crouched in the shadows, his knife cleched firmly in his right hand, he was taunt; ready to spring. Sounds other than screams of wind were coming from outside, shuffling feet and muttered words were heard by Malar's keen ears. He pushed himself against the stone wall, blending into the darkness.

A bent figure crept through the passage, it stopped suddenly when it the sleeping dummy. Minutes passed while the figured stood still watching the dummy for movement. As the minutes tiked by, Malar crouched without moving, silent and still as death.

The figure reacted suddenly as if it heard a loud noise and leapt out of the cave into the winter mountain chill. Malar reacted a split sceond later and dove, but was able to grab the fleeing creature. He landed mid roll on the sand and set off chasing it outside into the wind. Outside the darkness was overwhelming, Malar relied on his hearing to follow the frenzied steps of his prey. Rocks scattered and fell as the figured lept up a cliff, with amazing agility. Malar was an experienced climber, but the creature crawled up the wall like an insect. Malar turned away in disgust, and reentered the cave. The prey got away, but there will be more chances, if he's patient.

Malar left the dummy there, and laid down in the shadows. He fell asleep with his knife beside his hand. He'd sleep easy tonight.
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Old Thu, 22nd Oct '09, 1:03am   #4
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Light spilled from the mouth of the cave, down the frozen mountainside, highlighting the hazy sleet that had begun to fall. The icy wind plastered Vaa'iyl's silver-white hair against his forehead - violet sunlight could be seen far in the distance, shining through the jagged peaks of the Orsraun Mountains.

The wispy elf wondered who and what was waiting in that far off cave - hoping it was his old friend. He best act quickly. The night is fading, and the morning eagerly awaits. Silent as a candle's flame, the moon skinned half-breed leapt from the cliffside, snow and sleet swirling in his wake. His arms spread like a seasoned hawk, riding the gusts and currents of the wind with ease. If seen from the ground, one would not think this creature more than a shadow - a trick of the mind, at most. Precisely what Vaa'iyl was hoping for.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Garumph snorted at the indignance of the goblin whelp.

"What you think? You leader? Stupid shnurtz. Garumph leader. Garumph leader since Kurzikat die." The fur-covered orc adjusted his wolf helmet and cleared his throat regally, "That it. Garumph leader. You, not. Got it?" With a swipe of an axe, the whelp's head flew through the twisting air and landed with a dull thud, not ten feet away. Garumph spat in the direction of the severed head as the decapitated body crumpled to the ground, staining the fresh snow and emanating steam from the dripping neck. A deep growl sounded from Garumph - the equivalent of a chuckle to this grand orc.

Looking at this fearless leader, some may see a disgusting, overbearing monstrosity coupled with some terrible dental disfigurements and a roughly cut wolf's head on his head - but to Vaa'iyl, this was a beautiful specimen of a determined soul. A strong soul that would provide enough power to feed the elf's ever-growing hunger.

"Any of you vermin like to challenge Garumph? End up like this borschlut." He paused, "Questions? Comments? Concerns?" The wind seemed to whistle even louder at this point, framing the silence coming from the remaining mixture of orcs, goblins and hobgoblins. "Good. Keep moving."

Luckily for this orc, the axe he held happened to belong to Gramen Burnhound - the Turmish sellsword known for his fire-bending magicks and flame-enchanted weapons - felled by a certain band of creatures who were now on their way through the mountains. With this axe, he could swipe through the snow and clear a path in a matter of seconds - and on top of that, the melted snow quickly froze and was covered over with the falling snow - leaving a treacherous trail for anyone following this barbarian and his party on foot. Follwing in the air, however, they had no protection but the dim eyes in their skulls. Eyes watched from above, preparing to strike.

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Old Thu, 22nd Oct '09, 4:25am   #5
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Malar woke as tendrils of rising sun shone into the cave. He stood up easily, and tended to the embers of his fire. After a bit of work he revived the fire, enjoying the menial tasks that he had long since done. He searched through his small pack and took out a woolen tuque, and put it on his chilly scalp. He smiled when he felt the snug warmness on his head, he remembered when she made it for him.

"You're much too bald to be running about in the cold and the frost." She told him sternly, he failed to mention that he had already lived for more than a millennium, that would have gained him nothing but a roll of her beautiful hazel eyes. He was glad that she made him the hat, it was the only memento he had of her. He imagined that it still held her smell of clean and green pine nettles.

As he fried a small pan of tasty bacon, and heated up some hard bread he let his mind wander. He hadn't seen Maria in nine years, he wondered what she was doing at this very moment. She would be outside Longsaddle tending to some early household chore on the Emmert Ranch. He wondered if she had a man in her life, did she have children, what were their names, he wondered. He imagined himself being the father and Maria his lovely wife, but theirs is a classic tragedy. A mortal and an immortal in love, is a tragedy from the very start.

A loud noise roused him from his reverie and he jumped outside to investigate. A large goat was startled and bounded away, leaping gracefully down the rocky hill. Malar sighed and beheld the beauty of the Sun rising over the mountain peaks. Sizzling bacon lured him back into the cave.

Well fed and content, Malar scanned the cliff his prey had climbed the night before. It was a tall looming cliff face, but climbable. After a short climb with a risky leap in which he only grabbed hold with two fingers, he made it to the top in fine form. Movement caught his eye from the valley below him which made him smile, white hair was flashing down below. The temptation to leap off the cliff and plummet the 400 or so feet and join in on the fun was there, but self-control held him in check. He scanned the rough earth, and returned to the hunt, slowly he followed the trail. There was no rush.
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Old Fri, 23rd Oct '09, 12:53am   #6
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Malar ran with his head down, watching the ground below him. A broken twig here, a depression there; it all pointed him in the right direction. His prey was far ahead, it must not have stopped during the night. Malar grinned to him self, he was making better time than his prey, he'd catch it when it stopped for the night.

He stopped for his hourly break, sitting down on a worn stone he gulped from his leather bound canteen. The cool spring breeze ripped across the barren plateau and caught his cloak uncovering his intricate leather armour. It gleamed dark brown, the woven interlacing ribbons of tempered steel and leather had saved his life many times. Scars were still visible on it's glossy surface even after countless hours of polishing, it was his pride that he wore at times.

He hummed a quiet tune as he munched on the remaining bit of goat jerky he had left. A falcon cried over head, hunting some unfortunate soul. Malar smiled, he always respected the bird of prey, they were the perfect hunters.
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Old Fri, 23rd Oct '09, 4:24am   #7
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With blood smearing his face and coating his alabaster skin, Vaa'iyl stood amongst the freshly felled bodies of the orcs and goblins lead by the late Garumph. The Sun had risen above the peaks by a hair, telling the slight elf that it was still early morning. He looked down at his feet, where Garumph's beady black eyes bore back into his own silver pair. My dear Garumph. If only I'd have reached you before you reached young Burnhound. A shame, really. He would've had a lovely soul. Hm.. might try and find that body later.

Unsheathing his slender hands from the spider-silk gloves that carried them, Vaa'iyl tenderly slid the cold Elven steel back into its leather-bound home. The cool air consumed the fingers and then the entire hand, hungrily eating up all that was left of their previous warmth. He looked thoughtfully down at his hands - white scars covered his palm and the underside of his fingers. Strange runes and glyphs could be seen faintly around the edges of these glowing scars - looking almost like a child had scratched them out with a crayon or pencil. Similar scars could be seen peeking out from beneath his blackened sleeves and just under his chin, covered up by his thick scarlet scarf.

Vaa'iyl closed his eyes took a deep breath of the icy morning air. He kneeled and picked up the severed head. His hands quivered as he slowly made eye contact with the dark, glazed eyes. As soon as the connection was made, Garumph's eyes sprung to life, glowing an eerie yellow.

"WHO DARES?! RRUURRGGHHHH! GARUMPH KILL YOU! GARUMPH KILL ALL!" Vaa'iyl looked down and waited a moment as the re-animated head came to realize what had happened. The creature blinked as his shining eyes focused on the blood-spattered elf. "You.. You the white hair elf who come from the sky. You did this to Garumph.. YOU KILLED GARUMPH!" A slight smirk was the elf's only response. "RARRGGHH! AND NOW YOU HAVE .. YOU HAVE.. AUDACITY! YES, AUDACITY TO TAKE ME FROM AFTER-LIFE!"

"Well love, I am simply reaping the benefits of my assiduous efforts - ahem - after all, killing you was not the most painless of ventures."

"Errmm, well.. What you plan with Garumph? You EAT Garumph?! Gurschnotz! Kuzzuk!" Effort was clearly put into trying to move, though the magic that held him was too strong to break.

"Not exactly. I am what the simple folk call an ardulien.. a soul-stealer. Mind you, I've been called several things - much worse I might add!" No chuckle from the stony face. "Alright.. well in essence, I am a... vampire, of sorts. Except, I am living and breathing. I take the souls of those I kill. And I've killed you.. Therefore..." He paused a moment, letting the severed head go through its tedious mind process.

"YOU TAKE GARUMPH'S SOUL!? NO! GARUMPH HONORABLE ORC. GARUMPH HAVE AFTERLIFE."

"Ughh, enough. Föllinkara." The light went from the severed head, and Vaa'iyl dropped his hands to his side - the orc suspended in front of him. Adjusting his feet, the celestial being started muttering the incantation that he had heard so many times before - asking in the Old Tongue permission from Mystra to steal this being's soul. (Mind you, with Mystra being long dead, the spell is now unneeded - Vaa'iyl though, refuses to let his devotion to Mystra waver and stubbornly continues performing the spell.)

Suddenly, a blinding flash of pain hit Vaa'iyl, and the scars on his body began to burn with an undying fire. The elf's screams echoed through the mountain range, scaring a circling flock of vultures away from the scene. The floating orc head fell to the ground, and the small frame of Vaa'iyl crumpled into the blood-stained snow. The echo subsided, and a cool wind whistled over the mountainside. Snow began to fall, and the bodies looked as though they had been sprinkled with powdered sugar by some unknown baker-god.

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Old Fri, 23rd Oct '09, 5:35am   #8
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The Sun was beginning to hide behind the high peaks when Malar caught his first look at the creature. Standing on the top of a steep slope, his silhouette was starkly visible against the snow white caps beyond. His dark eyes soon spotted a dark shape staggering into the coniferous forest in the valley several hundred feet below. Malar smirked, noted where the shape entered the wood and resumed his pace; a light jog in which he would never tire. He only took breaks merely for enjoyment and for snacks.

The slope was covered in loose rocks and pebbles that slipped from underneath his feet, yet Malar never lost balance or composure. His body moved with the sliding rocks, using their momentum to make his jog the speed of a run. The forest was black when he entered, the sky was still light but no sun beams could reach the low valley. Snow lay heavy between trees, but under the heavy boughs of spruce, pin and hemlock the grass was still green. Light footsteps struck out North West 100 yards past the tree line, so light that they didn't break through the frozen crust atop the snow. Malar cursed, he couldn't move as fast on snow, he was lithe and thin but still he sunk half a foot every step.

He paused and sighed, what if I just...... No. I promised myself I would not resort to it anymore. Malar pulled his heavy cloak closer to his chest and trudged after the trail, the sound of falling water could be roaring in the distance. He pulled out his long pipe, lighting it with by smacking his wrists together, a construction he had made just for that reason. He had made compartments in his bracers to hold flint in his left wrist and steel in his right. By striking his wrists together, he can light his pipe without searching through is pack. He puffed away on his pipe, contently walking through the dark forest. While the creature ahead ran frantically, its frail shoulders were slumped over and his head drooped. It tripped over a root, falling heavily. It lay slumped on the cold snow breathing heavy, sobs breaking in between breaths. After many minutes it dragged it's pitifully thin body towards the nearest tree, hiding himself underneath a large, snow covered pine bough. It collapsed into a ball and cried quietly as it shivered in the frozen grass. Malar's humming could be heard far off down the trail coming closer.
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Old Sun, 25th Oct '09, 1:36am   #9
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Vaa'iyl.. Vaa'iyl.. Awaken. Do not sleep. Do not let the sleep take you...

Lights swirled overhead, and the sensation that he was falling was ever-present in Vaa'iyl's subconcious. The smooth timbre of the man's voice was familiar - much like his own, but warmer - stronger. The words reverberated inside of him, calming and soothing. Images of warmth and safety flashed on his eyelids, awakening his slumbering senses and giving his body renewed strength and vitality.

... Little boy.. Why do you sleep? I told you not to. Vaa'iyl. Awaken. Now. When the only escape seems to be slumber, and the Light leaves you, let my power guide you...

A gasp seized the elf, causing him to inhale the powder-like snow, sending him spluttering and shaking uncontrollably. The warm images that were present vanished like chalk from a blackboard - gone, but the remnants still visible. Black shapes appeared in his vision, like burnholes from the Sun itself, which was now high in the sky - midday had arrived. The scars stretching from breastbone to hip seared as if they were freshly cut and the intricate runes surrounding them burned with a dull throb of pain. The snow's icy fingers returned to hold the twitching creature down, his blood moving like molasses.

A cry escaped from the lips of Vaa'iyl as he slowly sat up - his bones and mucles feeling as though they were made from adamantite, pulling him back into the snow. The soul escaped. The realization was so gripping that the words were forced from his tongue as if they were an incantation. The ardulien felt an empty space inside - the soul not only had vanished, but had taken pieces of other consumed souls with it, draining him on all levels. He sighed.

Powerless. A gnat. A gnat is what I remain. Drained of worldy power. His mind raced around the weaknesses that were now apparent, prioritizing and making a feeble attempt at focusing his thoughts. I had thought the Light had left me.. but, was it not his voice? Was that he, saving me - everything he once hated and feared? He stared blankly ahead, lost and alone. Abandoning any attempt to figure out what had happened, he pulled out his flint and tinder and looked around for any branches sticking out of the crisp snow. After casting a few clairvoiyant spells, Vaa'iyl pulled a tree from its roots not ten miles away, one of the simplest spells he could manage in his current state. He figured he'd need all the energy he could save, as he would have to rely on his celestial blood to keep him alive during the night.

Fluunayzi giranse reruinath lijeuniul raniDalamar.. Fluunayzi giranse reruinath lijeuniul raniDalamar! He hoped his old friend would hear his call.. a little extra power, as a favor. The elf hoped that calling him by his true name would act as a magical summons for his former companion's attention.
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Old Sun, 25th Oct '09, 4:21pm   #10
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He was free! Finally, after an eternity of hell trapped in the pit with other poor souls denied their eternal reward for so long. He had almost given up hope, yet his task enabled him to hold onto self when so many others had been lost, submerged into the entity of their slayer and captor.

Recently, a new soul, full of anger and indignation at losing the just deserved afterlife, had joined them. He had been drawn to its anger, and together with his burning desire to fulfill his mission, they had escaped when the way appeared out of the darkness.

Now he was floating freely above a windy mountaintop, yet it was not his lovely home. This mountain did not smoke, and was not covered with lush jungle, but with ice and snow.

Abruptly he realized he no longer knew his own name. He had been so proud of it, almost as proud as winning his wife, and their children. What were their names? He ought to know. How could he forget that? Yet he did know something. He had been given a task, and he had completed it.

His people had been dying from a strange disease that the New Ones had brought from across the sea. Nothing the priests could do helped. He had traveled across the sea and searched the mainland for a cure. He had finally found it, hidden in the roots of a lowly weed. Joyously he had rushed towards his island home, hoping he would not be too late to save his wife, his family, and his people.

One of the New Ones had shared his fire for a night, the day before he was going to embark on a boat for his homeland. He remembered the beautiful face and the charming ways of the New One, and though he could not remember his own name, he could not forget the name the New One had gone by: Renic. Nor could he forget the pain of the dagger in his back as he slept, nor the greater pain of knowing that his wife, his family, and his people would perish without the cure that he had found, that was only a week’s journey away.

Nor could he forget the INJUSTICE of being imprisoned within that dark creature. One of the first among thousands, perhaps millions, to be sacrificed so that this vile thing could exist in what it pretended was a life.

He did not know where he was, but it was clear he was somewhere on the mainland. He rose into the heavens and sped towards the rising sun.

Sometime later he came to the ocean. Awhile after that he saw his island, but it was different. Smoke no longer rose from the central mountain. A new, smaller island to the west had a smoking mountain on it. Yet he knew where to find his wife, just on the north side of the central mountain.

He would be so happy to see her. Yet she was not there. Nor was his home, or anything else but overgrown jungle. Had it been so long? The priests of the Law Giver would know.

He quickly flew to the Temple of Law, but it was also gone, or almost. Three massive pillars still stood in the overgrowth. He went to the place where the Law Giver had stood, again he found nothing.

“I have returned!” he cried out. “I have found a cure! We are saved!” The afternoon rain started. Birds called. But the Law Giver did not respond.

He finally began to comprehend how long he must have been gone. His people were no more, the Law Giver was gone with them. It was so unfair!

“I demand JUSTICE! It is not fair!” he sobbed. One of the pillars shook itself, and became the tall, shining form of Justice. It stood before him in its flowing robes, its massive sword ready to administer justice in any form necessary.

Justice inclined its head to him. “Has the Law been broken?”

“YES!” he shouted. “I have been grievously wronged by an evil New One. His name is Renic! I demand that you find him and that you”

“Darling!” came a lovely call from a voice he hadn’t heard in far too long.

He turned and saw his wife coming through the jungle.

“Honey!” he ran to her embrace. “I found the cure! We could have been saved, but I was delayed, and now it’s too late!”

“Hush, dear. Don’t worry. It doesn’t matter any more. All that matters is that you are home.” She crooned.

“I said I would come back,” he told her.

“I said I would wait for you,” she replied.

They embraced again, and he was finally at peace.

Justice watched them rise into the sky. It had been ages since he had been called. The Law Giver no longer called him to council. In fact, he could no longer feel the presence of the Law Giver at all. But he could feel the compulsion to follow one of the people’s just demands. He must find this Renic.

It wasn’t hard to track the path of the aggrieved soul. It had left so much anger and resentment in its path. Justice spread his wings and took to the sky.

Sometime later he spotted his quarry. It was, as the soul had said, one of the New Ones, though it had obviously seen many better days. It was lying on the ground, high on a cold mountain side.

Justice landed next to it and drew his sword.

“I have found you, prepare to face justice for your crimes,” he declared.
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Old Sun, 25th Oct '09, 7:03pm   #11
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Malar stopped, he heard the cry. He felt the plea for help, it rattled his very soul. Yet, his quarry was so close, he could smell it's tears. He could feel the fear that flowed from it, merely above a hill two hundred paces away he knew it lay shivering. But the fear of his friend, the hurt he felt was too powerful. With a curse he turned and ran, he ran with such speed that he blinked in and out of existence. He covered miles in minutes, his cloak pulled at his throat, and his hood was thrown back, revealing his bald head. His tattoos, usually a dull blue became darker and more pronounced.

Within ten minutes of the call Malar stood on the cliff overlooking the valley where Vaa'iyl lay below. Without stopping for a second Malar leaped off the precipice, hurtling himself down the hundreds of feet. The wind stung his eyes, but he could still see his friend and a being holding a sword stood above him.

Malar crashed into the ground, with the force of a comet. The impact created a crater, sending earth and rubble flying. A shock-wave rippled out from the blast in all directions, moving incredibly fast. Yet, Malar was faster, he led the shock wave that he created. Flashing like a beacon, he dove into the sword wielder carrying it fifteen feet to where they exploded into the mountain side. Dust covered the area like a thick fog, nothing could be seen, only brown.
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Old Sun, 25th Oct '09, 8:34pm   #12
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The image of the winged giant burned into Vaa'iyl's eyes, remaining even after he had vanished. Strength came to his senses and it felt as if hands that had been covering his senses were lifted, and all sounds, sights, tastes and feelings were sharpened and heightened. Dalamar had heard his call.

The renewed being jumped to his feet, drawing il'Navar, his trusted Elven scimitar, it's cool edges glinting in the sunlight. Looking to the cloud of smoke, he braced himself for the dust to clear and to reveal his newest foe and his oldest friend.
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Old Sun, 25th Oct '09, 11:39pm   #13
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It had also been ages since Justice faced combat, and his reflexes did prove somewhat rusty. He would never have let a New One toss him into a cliff like that in the old times.

He threw the new New One off of him, out of the rubble filled dust cloud. He then pulled his leg out of some boulders, flapped his wings to rid them of smaller rocks, and walked out of the dust cloud.

He could see the first New One, this Renic, and the other one as well. Renic looked a bit better than when Justice had first seen him, and the other one had definite power in him. It would be wise to call upon the Power of the Law Giver.

He put his massive sword in a guard position and raised his other hand.

"I am Justice, the Right Hand of the Law Giver!" he thundered. "You, Renic, have wronged one of the Law Giver's people. Face your retribution!"

He opened himself to be a channel of the Power of his god, to smite the offender. But nothing happened. There was no connection to the Law Giver.

Justice did not know what to do. It was an impossible situation, that was none-the-less true.
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Old Mon, 26th Oct '09, 12:29am   #14
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Malar landed on his feet after being tossed, sliding on his soles to a stop. He crouched to more clearly register his opponent, he grinned and drew his small blade. He'd fought demi-gods and the such before, he was the Darkness, he could have been a god. When the being raised his arms, Malar expected something magical, and so did the being. Malar was quicker to recover from the shock, and he was on him like a burst of a match.

He leaped back, after landing several blows. His tattoos glowed bright blue, his eyes gleamed of blood, and his pupils were the dark of the Abyss. He turned to his old friend, who was standing on his feet, quite stable. I hope you are well, but what have you done now? I haven't used magic in nine years, Vaa'iyl. I intended to honour my vow.
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Old Mon, 26th Oct '09, 5:46pm   #15
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Justice took a few paces back. He felt no pain, but he did recognize that the other New Ones' blade had damaged his corporal body, and that his opponent was quicker than he.

He was still perplexed by the Law Giver's absence, but maybe that meant that the Law Giver did not want to punish the first New One. In fact, the aggrieved soul that had called for Justice had only said, "I demand that you find him and that". In that case, Justice had fulfilled his duty. Maybe the soul had already forgiven the New One's offenses. That was a bit odd, but it was the only explanation that Justice could understand.

He sheathed his sword and addressed the New One. "You have been forgiven. Take care that you do not incure any more infractions of the laws against the Law Giver's people, or you will face Justice."

He spread his wings to take off, but in doing so he discovered that his attacker had severed two tendons in his left wing, and he could not fly. He went to draw on the Law Giver's healing power, but again, it was not there.

He pretended not to be as concerned as he was as he turned away from the New Ones and started walking down the mountain.
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Old Mon, 26th Oct '09, 6:41pm   #16
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Malar stood stunned, and extremely perplexed. He turned to Vaa'iyl expecting maybe an explanation, but he merely shrugged his shoulders. He realized his was still tense, and gripping his knife. As he eased it back smoothly into it's home, his tattoos returned to their pale blue.

"Well old friend, you certainly do get yourself mixed up with odd people." Malar placed his tuque atop his head, and brushed off his cloak. "Law Giver? That sounds oddly familiar, maybe a lesser god perhaps?"

Vaa'iyl's face was still pale, but he stood confidently now. Malar walked towards him, placing his hand on his forehead. You lost souls! Here I am no longer a collector of such things, I have a tasty human cleric for you. A pale wisp of teal smoke eased itself from Malar open mouth, it floated listlessly into Vaa'iyl. His eyes flashed, and he shuddered with satisfaction. It's taking a toll on you old friend, it's a deadly addiction.

Malar sighed, and glanced back up the cliff. It would be a long climb up, and by that time he'd be a full two days behind. Oh well, might as stay here for the night. I'll gather wood, you get a shelter. It feels like snow's on it's way.

The winged Justice was still in view, walking away, his wings bunched behind him.
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Old Tue, 27th Oct '09, 1:59am   #17
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Vaa'iyl stood, his eyes staring, unblinkingly at the shrinking figure of the winged one. A perplexed expression stained his face, and his friend stood near him - bringing about terrible and magnificent memories to the forefront of his concious mind. He could feel his addiction relaxing, and his Pulse returning to its normal rate. The Pulse inside of him was much different than that of his birth - The Pulse was unlike any other humanoid creature. It was quite slow.. one beat per day, if that. The magic that had consumed the elf took control of his regular heart's duties, and much of his body along with it.

"Yeah, sorry. I'll get on that." Vaa'iyl snatched his belongings from the jagged snow and resheathed il'Navar, adjusting his belt and letting his cowl claim his head. He watched his old friend move - slower and more calculated, like wisdom had consumed the old bean. It gave him joy to see him - and even more that the Darkness had used magic. A sick pleasure, really.

From his pack the elf took a yeti-skin blanket - woven from the thick fur of the Icewind Dale type. It was, of course, magically enhanced to stretch to any size - at a quick glance, it looked like it would cover no more than the slender fellow himself. Grabbing some of the orcs spears, he quickly constructed a slim pup tent, allowing he and his companion to sleep and eat comfortably.

"All finished, mate." He called over the wind and snow, and under his breath he added, "I.. Thank you. I am ever gracious, my old friend. Malar.. Come, so we might embrace like days of old!" Vaa'iyl sat down in front of the tent, munching on a piece of chewy bread - freshly conjured from his hand. He then roused a hot bowl of Malar's favorite stew - a recipe Vaa'iyl had invented himself - and waited for the dark one to return.
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Old Tue, 27th Oct '09, 8:35am   #18
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Light was painful. Glaring, reflected from the snow as world came back to her numbed mind, barking of pain. Noma covered her eyes, shrinking away from the sight. Glittering, a thousand suns danced on the broken ice. Shadow. She craved the dark. The hollow. Numbness. She rolled away, huddling against the broken root bark of a crooked tree, in a small shelter she dug up for herself. Her head ached. She sought sleep but it too had abandoned her, so she woke. Waited.

How long has it been? The sun was high over the trees, mockingly bright. Hollow sun, with no heat to it. The Dawn must have passed. Sadness.

Noma slowly licked her lips, parched and dry. Cold bit them, but the pain was almost sweet. It was sharp and alive - new. Her old ache fled before it. Hid.

In a hole next to her, there were wet ashes - pitiful remains of a long dead fire. She looked at her hands. One was burned. Nothing could warm them. Fire bit, just like the cold did.

She tried to remember, sitting up and rubbing her cloak, stiffened with cold. Last night had been worse then usual.

There was the light, far away. There was crying on the wind. It woke the Ache and even now it throbbed in her chest again. Was there no silent place left in the world?

Dried clay covered her hands. She remembered the fog creeping in the soil, as fire set it free. She remembered the touch of clay, cold and soft as she warmed it with her hands, squeezing the mist out, catching it, spinning the cords...

Noma touched her chest, where, under the worn leather and wool, the tip of her her heart grated the bone, ripping the wound open again and again, with every stroke. Reminding her. The wound on her soul ached with loss. The wound on his flesh had been death.

There was no bond anymore. No purpose. She had killed joy. Steel touching the tip of the heart, sliding, moving... the last throb of life echoing through the metal as she holds it and the heart impales itself, wishing to beat... as death comes. Laughter and tears. His laugh and her tears. End of everything. The ache. Dull, horrible loss, never sleeping, never tiring. Existing. Beating, with her treacherous heart. Stroke after stroke.

The mist-balm barely held it back. It was rough and shoddy work, cords of fog slapped together with no beauty in a jagged patch that latched to her skin, leeching the sorrow that her heart hammered to the bone. It was the weave of darkness and fear, of this lonely hole in the woods under the snow bank, of a creature tired and alone. Work of tears. At least no one could see it. She felt ashamed.

The tattered remains of a broken loyalty bled out of her soul. There was no one on the other side. She might as well be blind. What use was having Will again? She never wanted it. What good is Choosing? Why had he forced her hand?

Noma shuddered and closed her mind to those thoughts. There will be no laments. She broke off some ice from a branch and put it on her lips, letting it melt. Water was good.

Slowly, she gathered the little she owned and prepared to travel deeper into the forest. Her boots and cloak had softened enough to let her move, at least.

One final thing remained.

Nomainde Luth-Ola, the Severed, knelt by the dead fire, staring at a long, decorated bone needle stabbed in the snow.

Last night was really bad - bad enough that she had sobbed out loud and begged forgiveness from the nothing. Disgraceful. She had vowed not to give this world a single sound of grief. Not a tear. They were his and he was gone. Life had no right to them.
So, in the darkness and cold of a bad night, Noma had sat there and plucked living words from air as they escaped her lips with sobs. She stabbed them with the needle of bone, one after the other, pinning them to the snow, until she had grown tired and had lost all breath and all words. And so, she and her voice slept separately, mute, in the snow around the fire.

But now it was a new day - and her words had grown frozen around the needle of bone. And Noma loathed them and broke them hastily, shattering the iced weakness. She took only her voice back, as is the custom. It settled in her throat, shuddering. The needle of bone went into her bracer, hidden from sight.

Noma stood up. She was hungry. Her left collarbone was made of silver, a lock of hair on her right temple was spiderweb, she carried her tears on the palm of her glove and her voice in a needle of bone - but she was still human.

Noma took some dried fruit from her bag and chewed on it as she moved between the trees, without a real goal.

And then the sobbing reached her again, carried on the whispering wind.
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Old Wed, 28th Oct '09, 3:00am   #19
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Malar crawled under neath the pelt alongside his friend, and graciously excepted a steaming bowl. As he ate quietly he watched Vaa'iyl, he grimaced at his scars and the paler look of his white skin. Do they still pain you, my friend?

Everyday, constant reminders of my foolishness.

Malar smiled weakly at his life long companion, and gripped his shoulder. "It's good to see you, I've missed your cheerful disposition." He finished his stew in a large gulp that burnt his tongue and mouth. The snow outside begin to fall, large flakes that floated and spun.

Malar beat some softness into his pack, and used it as a pillow. As he lay staring at the yeti roof, he hummed a soft tune. "Do you remember the old days? I remember them like they were yesterday, how I miss the feeling of greatness and power. I was one of the most feared and respected being on Fearun, but now I am old." He paused to look his friend in the eyes. "No longer is my name whispered in the dark, my name is now Malar the Bounty Hunter. All my fame and power, even Gwyn, are gone. Which has got me thinking..." He jerked his knife suddenly out of it's sheath and laid it beside him. "Immortality is an awfully long time to live my friend."
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Old Wed, 28th Oct '09, 1:51pm   #20
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Justice was halfway down the mountain by nightfall. He had found a stream which generally went east, and he followed it. At a bend there was a large flat boulder which seemed to invite him to sit down on it, so he did. He was not physically tired, but he was in mental distress, and thought that gazing at the moon and stars would calm him as it always did.

He was wrong. It only increased his anguish. The moon was still there, of course, but it was much more scarred and pocked than it had been the last time he had gazed upon it. Clearly there had been much battle and strife in the heavens. Through the sparse clouds and light snow he could begin to make out the familiar shapes of the star people. There was the Dragon, coming out from behind the clouds, but he had been stretched out from a formidable foe to a long and scrawny beast. It was disturbing.

Justice waited impatiently for the clouds to clear so he could see with his own eyes the Law Giver's majestic form in the heavens. Snow settled on his shoulders, but he did not feel the cold, patiently waiting.

Finally the clouds blew off. There were the Law Giver's arms holding the scales and the pillars of the Law, and now his crowned head was clear ... but where was his bright shining eye? The one, all seeing eye that was always the brightest star in the sky, was simply not there at all.

Justice bounded up to the top of the boulder, "LAW GIVER! MY LORD! WHERE ARE YOU?" He thundered with panic in his voice. "IT IS I, JUSTICE YOUR FAITHFUL SERVANT! I HAVE FULFILLED A TASK, WHAT SHALL I DO NOW?"

He stood on top of the boulder, wishing he could fly to the stars for an answer, but he couldn't, so he waited patiently for one. Hoping.
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Old Thu, 29th Oct '09, 11:13am   #21
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For the rest of the day, Noma wandered aimlessly through the forest. At first, she tried to get away from the wind carrying the sobs, but then the sound stopped. As there was no need to hide anymore, she let her feet pick the path - and feet, naturally, objected to climbing, leading her steadily downwards, across a pine covered slope.

Behind her, on the snow, remained a trail of her loss. It echoed her presence, visible to all who would look. Her essence slowly bled away, as sorrow wore out her will.

The forest floor held many pockets of iced over snow, treacherously soft. Moving through it soon made Noma tired and she started to wonder if this was really the place she had been sent to find. What relief was here, aside from a frozen oblivion? Noma didn't wish to die.

She stopped to watch the sun sink in a fake fire to the west. The pale eyelid of the sky was moving, opening - soon the stars would come to watch over what was done in the day and judge the deed. What would she show for herself, to the Truth?

"I have not yet found it."

She moved again, along the bank of small pond. The ice on it was invitingly smooth and she dared a few clumsy steps, pushing herself forward in attempts to skate. If she closed her eyes and spread her arms, it was almost...

The fall hurt. She looked up from the ice, to the darkened sky where the stars feigned disinterest.

With a sigh, Noma got up to her feet. There was little point traveling further tonight.

She looked around. The pond was fed by a small stream from the west, but the ice on it where she stood was murky and thick, at least a few winters old. It probably never melted entirely.

Noma grinned bitterly. Why not? At least it would be something achieved for this aimless day.

She went and gathered firewood, lighting a bonfire on the old ice of the lake.

Looking at it, she felt warm, for the first time in many days. Maybe the cure was here indeed. Thrusting a cauldron in the flames, Noma started cooking.
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Old Thu, 29th Oct '09, 6:00pm   #22
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Justice waited as the scarred moon descended behind the mountains. No word from the Law Giver came. He tried to imagine what it could mean. Finally, he reasoned that the Law Giver must have had some terribly important mission to accomplish either here on the world, or somewhere else, and that was why his Eye was no longer in its celestial home. Maybe he would send the Herald with word or what Justice was to do.

Dawn was beginning to barely lighten the horizon over the mountains when Justice saw a shooting star coming towards him. He jumped up on the boulder, "Herald, I am here! What news of the Law Giver?" he shouted.

But the shooting star kept going right over his head and over the next ridge. The Herald must be going straight to the Law Giver. Justice started to run after the shooting star.

A few minutes later he came over the ridge, hoping he would not be too late. He wasn't, down in the valley he could see a large fire where the Herald must have landed. Justice bounded down the valley, following a frozen over stream.

Quickly he arrived at a lake with a large fire on it, but no Herald. He ran out to the fire, and quickly fell through the already melted and weakened ice. The water was freezing, but there was also no Herald under the lake. He flapped his wings and surfaced, quickly coming out on the shore.

A strange female was watching him.

"You're not the Herald!" he accused her. "What have you done with him? Where is the Law Giver?"
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Old Thu, 29th Oct '09, 9:14pm   #23
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Vaa'iyl thoughtfully scratched his neck as his gravel-voiced friend lamented about the old days. He tried to think of them.. but he couldn't. He knew they were there, but most of his memories had faded - leaving him with a fuzzy idea of his former power. He hungered to have it back.

"Ah yes.. Ellesime's death brought much anguish and pain into my life - filling the gap where there once was euphoria and joy." The elf paused, rubbing his eyes with his knuckles, yawning quietly. "Look at me. I am weary... Like a human! I am drained, Malar. I am old, too. I feel it more everyday.. and I blast those air genasi. Fools to think they could deceive me.. and a fool I am for believing."

He rolled to look at the yeti skin pelt beside him, staring at it's thick fur and all of the intricate patterns formed from the individual hairs. Vaa'iyl smiled as the hairs moved and pointed straight towards him, his hand enveloped in white flames. The use of magic had become a habit - an addiction - and had left him a vessel of magic alone. Though he was almost completely immune to most forms of magic, his flesh and muscle had decayed and become entirely magic-based, making him weak to physical attacks - something his combat prowess found particularly disheartening. This small use of magic fed his addiction and kept his blood flowing at the same pace. Malar knew of the pain, but he was not aware of the extent this problem had brought the aasimar.

"Let us not lament. Lamenting is for monks, and clerics." He waited for the familiar bark of laughter, "Let us sleep now." And at that, Vaa'iyl closed his eyes and was instantly asleep.
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Old Fri, 30th Oct '09, 1:15pm   #24
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Dawn blinded the Heaven, bringing forgiveness and Noma loved it for that. She eagerly expected the fading of the sky, wrapped up by the bonfire.

A falling star plummeted across the darkness, blazing defiance to its brethren. Noma followed it with her eyes until it vanished somewhere in the forest ahead. Another one had stepped into the Unknown, overcoming the fear that held the others clinging to the Eye. Was this their death? Noma didn't know, though some hunters would bring dead lumps, claiming them the bones of abandoned stars.

Then there was a crashing of ice and a moment later, a winged man was shouting to her from the shore, and a rift in the ice was steadily growing between them.

Water dripped from the wings of the stranger, but he didn't seem to mind the cold. Noma had never seen anyone like that. She had heard that there were winged servants of Powers, but why would one like that come to her? *He* had believed in the Powers, not her. Apologetically, she raised her hands, showing that she had no weapons, aside from a dagger at her belt.

"Law Giver? I don't know who that is. Nor do I know this Herald you speak of. I've done nothing to either of them..." *she paused* "Were you to meet this Law Giver here? No one but you had passed me, nor approached."

She hadn't spoken aloud to another being for weeks and the sound of her own voice surprised her. The bone needle resonated, sticking out of her bracer.

The ice, already weakened, was now bursting apart in patches, as the flames raged. The crack spread under the bonfire, and the pieces slid apart, dropping some of the smouldering wood into the water with a gurgling hiss. Noma found herself on a jagged ice slab, so thin that the water splashed over it whenever she leaned to the side.

Keeping her eyes on the man, Noma grabbed her bag before it slid into the lake. The ice slab heaved dangerously, leaning to one side.

"Would you mind if I crossed to the shore, there? I don't swim well." - she looked at the man and the sword he had. It was an easy matter for him to just leave her there, or attack before she gathered her footing on the other side. She hoped that there would be no need to fight.
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Old Fri, 30th Oct '09, 1:58pm   #25
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Justice looked at the small woman on the ice, and listened to her. Then he looked around the lake, and felt the absence of trace energy that the Herald would have left. He didn't even need his powers to tell that she was telling the truth.

She was an innocent, now in danger of falling into the icy waters, which he was aware was quite dangerous for a mortal, and his actions had caused the threat to her safety. He sheathed his sword, and waded out into the water. Then he gently guided the ice patch she was balancing on towards the shore. Three steps out from the shore his foot found no bottom and he sunk into a deep hole. He flapped his wings mightily to surface, and felt the already damaged tendon rip further.

Once safely on shore again, albeit with a now obviously drooping wing, he regarded the small woman. She was dressed in a totally unknown fashion to him.

"Please accept my apologies for endangering you. I was under false impressions of the situation." Then he noticed a needle on her arm.

"Do you sew? Could you sew my wing back together? I seem unable to heal it properly." He asked her eagerly. Then he remembered his manners.

"Oh, excuse me, madame. Let me properly introduce myself before I start asking personal favors of you. I am Justice, the Right Hand of the Law Giver, at your service." He bowed elegantly, the icy waters still dripping off of him gave him a somewhat absurd look.
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