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Chronicles of Kriste
Apr 19 2012, 5:45 pm
By: Fire_Kame  

Jul 11 2012, 8:47 pm IskatuMesk Post #421

Lord of the Locker Room

Isador withheld the desire to sigh. "Perhaps it would help if we had not been interrupted by those hunters, and you had been able to teach me what you intended to teach me. My communion with water is yet rather limited."

Isador considered something. If Aedre had attempt to bring them to her mother's cavern, and instead they ended up here, did this not insinuate her mother might have had a role to play? The temple likely had more importance than he first thought. The elements were in motion, he concluded, even now. He recalled his studies in Justifar's library. Tryvali was home to high magic of some nature. The Princess had mentioned high magic as well. Could this be what he searched for?

Show them your butt, and when you do, slap it so it creates a sound akin to a chorus of screaming spider monkeys flogging a chime with cacti. Only then can you find your destiny at the tip of the shaft.

Jul 11 2012, 8:56 pm Biophysicist Post #422

Pandora lay on her cot, musing. She'd been doing a lot of that of late, hadn't she? Something about this seemed more than slightly off. There wasn't anything that by itself was terribly unexpected. Her hosts had felt odd about the plan, but sending a blind girl off into enemy territory was certainly something to feel odd about. Her escorts had felt hostile, but it wasn't uncommon for people to distrust empaths. Stronger evidence was the constant emphasis on how she should feel safe here. It seemed a bit much, and combined with the other two facts did make her feel uneasy. On the other hand, she was a girl in a camp full of soldiers. She wasn't afraid of them doing anything, as she was apparently too valuable to their plans, but it was certainly something that would make sense to comfort her about. Still, something seemed off.

But Erik didn't fit into any sort of deceitful planning. It didn't feel like he was up to anything. If anything, he felt... A bit shy? Not quite, but something like that. He wasn't quite sure how to conduct himself around her. He was too unsure to be plotting; were he plotting, she'd feel something else more. Probably. Unless the reason he was unsure was that he was plotting?

Pandora shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts. These people seemed nice enough, and for an empath that was quite a significant statement. Pryti had been quite pleasant on their trip to the market, and had helped her pick out something nice. She'd kept suggesting dresses that were both of nicer fabric and longer length than she was used to, which had honestly been a bit amusing. Pandora had relented in the end and gotten something nice, and that at least wasn't something she regretted. The same still couldn't be said of getting involved in this whole mess. She lay there for a while, tossing and turning a bit, before finally getting up and retrieving her stick and exiting the tent. Some food would be nice.

This was, of course, easier said than done. It's not like she knew her way around this camp at all, nor could read any signs that may be up. She stood outside, trying to pick up any useful smells. It didn't work, unsurprisingly. She decided to choose a random direction and ask anyone she found. That's not quite how it worked out, though. She was only a minute gone when she heard a sudden intake of breath followed by the sound of someone running, and then the feeling of this person hugging her.

"Pan!", a vaguely-familiar voice exclaimed. "I heard rumors... I can't believe it's actually you!"

By this point, Pandora had recognized the voice of her childhood friend and sometimes crush. "Jake..." She smiled a bit and nodded. "Yes, it's me. I wish we'd met again under... Less distressed circumstances."

EDIT: OOC: Kame and I did discuss this new guy previously, though I hope I didn't break any conventions with the way I introduced him.


Jul 11 2012, 9:54 pm Fire_Kame Post #423

wth is starcraft

"Alright...I will show you..." the star map faded, and Aedre appeared back at the spot she had disappeared from. "Come to me," she said serenely. "Correct your posture, there you go...alright, close your eyes, inhale....exhale..." this happened for what seemed like an eternity to Isador, "Isador, you must empty your head of thoughts. Your heart is troubled, you will never penetrate the crashing waves with such a conflicted heart. Concentrate on the void...." she said this firmly.

"We are wasting time..." he said, eyes closed as she had asked, trying his hardest to push out the thoughts that swirled around his head.

"No one will penetrate this fortress, two with the birthrights of the elementals will leave our host on the defensive until we are complete, and when we leave here we might earn more than just a birthright," she said, excitement creeping into her voice. "Come on now, Isador...remember the first time you met Water, the first time you entered my mother's resting place..." Aedre's voice faded away, replaced with the pleasantly rolling noise of the waves. Isador felt his head bob beneath the surface several times, and visualized the ocean floor. Although it would be obscured by the depth, he felt that he could see it, just beyond pitch black. He mentally sent himself down further into the depths...his pulse raising with anticipation. Aedre was ahead of him now, her streamlined body swimming much faster than he could.

His thoughts drifted suddenly back to the problems outside the temple. He tried to push them out, but his volatile nature forced them back in. They spun around his head once more. He tried to continue swimming, the meditative world he created fading quickly back into the temple. He was suddenly caught and sent spinning violently towards the bottom. He didn't resist it, and instead found the ride hurtling to the bottom to be quite enjoyable. He landed on the ground almost effortlessly, Aedre looking at him with a bemused expression. The temple was now completely submerged, and in front of Aedre stood a door. She opened it, and waved Isador in.

The room held none of the ornate structures the rest of the temple held - there were no carvings or benches or altars. "This must be how the temple changed, this type of magic is not possible without an elemental's help. Humans alone could not have constructed it." The only thing that remained the same was the ceiling above them. Most of the stars were illuminated now. "I have been further than you have, but you can tell which temples you have seen" Aedre said, pointing to a blue string of constellations that took up only a fraction of the rest of the map. "Ah, see? It's good we can gives us an idea of how far we are...See the point we have both been to? That is my mother's resting place. We're three or four days from the border of Tryvali." Isador's gaze floated elsewhere, his eyes suddenly catching the reflection of a glimmering sapphire, cemented straight into the floor. He tried to grasp it, but could not, it was too deeply embedded. Scrolled underneath it was written: Who comes to interrupt the slumber of the beasts? It may only be those of fiery disposition, of deep understanding, and iron will.

Jake sounded chagrined, "Well I think we all had hoped to be meeting on better terms than this, right?" He pulled something out of his pack and unwrapped it, placing a small chunk in Pandora's hand. "It's chocolate, eat it. Good stuff, too. I got it from my parents before I left. Most people can't openly support us, you know.....they are afraid of Tiev, and of is a difficult time we are all in." He sighed, Pandora could tell he felt uneasy about the situation. "We have war upon us, you know. It won't be for several days still before we are close enough to attack, but you can tell the men are starting to feel uneasy about it. I think our Commander is trying to make us all feel better about it, but he is still young himself. It is difficult for some of the battle hardened veterans to trust him, and he can feel it," Jake sighed. "I am surprised Erik agreed to let you join our camp. He feels that he is more at risk from you reading his mind than from our opponents. I'm not sure how Estaphon managed to talk him into it."

They walked on in silence a little ways until they reached an area that smelled thickly of smoke and soup. After a few moments of silence, Jake handed her a bowl of soup and a spoon, and helped her over to a secluded area of the camp. Pandora felt the eyes of others on them, but they seemed to exhausted to make an effort as to bothering them. "But you will help us, I know you will. And we need all the help we can get, truth be told," Jake said eagerly. Pandora reached out into his mind...he didn't seem to realize that her mission was to get captured. His only thoughts was that she was to teach them and then to leave, back into safety, away from the war. They sat for a while, Jake talking lazily about everything but the war at their doorstep for what seemed like an hour. They walked back towards her tent, taking a different route than they had taken before that seemed to laze on forever.

"Erik wishes to see you," a man interrupted them by saying. Pandora at first that he was talking to her, but realized quickly he was talking to Jake.

"I'll check on you later, I promise..." Jake said. "You should go rest before the camp look tired." He kissed her forehead gently and left with the other soldier.

Jul 11 2012, 10:44 pm IskatuMesk Post #424

Lord of the Locker Room

"Within the shadow world may secrets were left to be forgotten. Those of Gods, demons, and older yet. Frozen in the last moments of the Shadow war," Isador murmured to himself. "I would not be surprised to discover other realms are the same, though they yet harbor life. For now. Within time no one will remember that there were secrets at all."

Isador tuned his thoughts to the sapphire, trying to discern if it was an artifact or simply decoration. He tuned his essence into a stable motion, as though he were wielding a projection. The water stilled around him, and the room illuminated with his violet light.

I must not fail the mission of my father. To fall now is to forever damn the Shadow world.

Show them your butt, and when you do, slap it so it creates a sound akin to a chorus of screaming spider monkeys flogging a chime with cacti. Only then can you find your destiny at the tip of the shaft.

Jul 13 2012, 8:55 pm Fire_Kame Post #425

wth is starcraft

With an explosion of movement Serena jolted awake, the light of the room making her eyes burn and water. The familiarly formidable frame of Kardos had come crashing into the room, yelling loudly at someone, but Serena didn't see or hear any second person. He stopped when he saw she was awake and ran to her side, fatigue lined his face. "Serena! Are you alright? What happened? Where is Alaire?" Serena's eyes adjusted to the room, but her mouth was too dry to speak. Noticing her struggle, Kardos got up to get her a cup of water from a basin at the edge of the room. When he moved she realized she was not alone in the room - Athenos lay on a bed nearby. Kardos handed her the water and looked to where she was staring, his face holding a look of confusion. "I don't"

"I might be able to clear that up," the kind voice from before said from the doorway. A woman stood there in flowing white robes. She looked transparent, as if she threatened to blink out of existence at anytime. "All things that happen in the mortal realm reverberate into the other realms. Nothing happens there without it effecting the mortals' caretakers, it is our duty to watch over them - and that includes you. Both of you," she crossed her arms, staring pointedly from Serena to Kardos "you should be ashamed the way you have both been parading around this realm like it were disposable," she emanated crushing guilt on the two of them. "And the result is this," she said, waving between Serena and Athenos' bed. Athenos didn't make any movement, if it wasn't for his shallow breathing they wouldn't even be sure he's alive. "When you bound yourself you released a negative image of yourself as well - a side effect of contaminating the high magic inside Athenos with the elemental magic inside the Demon of Fire. You met both of these aspects I see, or else the ritual would not have been unbound. By all rights you both should've been killed - but the true demon ran away, and here is Athenos, alive but barely."

"This sounds like little more than an easy exploit for Father Chaos, but how would he know? How would he know of the ritual, or of the pieces? Or where they are?"

"It is true that this is a simple exploitation on Chaos' part, but those questions I cannot know. It would stand to reason that he has on his side someone that knows Athenos became Serena, or it would stand to reason that someone found the Athenos double or demon double and - 'held on to him' - as dangerous as that would have been. There are two things for certain now, though - there is still a double out there, and Chaos is searching for her too." She looked meaningfully at Serena. "If he finds the Serena double, you will perish - you cannot withstand another attack such as this."

Isador looked around himself again. The sapphire, which had been embedded deeply into the ground before, now rose out of the ground and hovered before him, shining from every facet. When he reached out to grab it, it transported him to the depths of the ocean, dark, cold, and empty, an iron tipped spear in his hands. You have come, you have shown yourself worthy...but are you capable? the water elements called out to him. There was a propulsion of tendrils beside him as a giant squid swam past, spraying ink in it's wake. Isador felt the giant beast change direction and rear back at him with crushing speed.

Pandora awoke to the sounds of many feet marching, and orders being shouted. It startled her, and caused her to dress quickly and run nearly right into Jake's arms. "Pan, where's the fire?" He said, laughing a little. "It's alright Pan, this what the camp sounds like in the morning. Here I brought you something," he handed her a warm roll and walked with her. "Erik and I talked last night after I left you - you are to train us to shield our minds from Chaos. It is a tough task ahead of you though, few see the point in it, most think we are better off fighting Tiev, as that was our original goal, what they fail to see is that Tiev is in league with Chaos...." he sighed as they continued walking. "I do love this profession, but the men around here can be dull. They don't see the big picture always, just what is on the end of their sword."

He stopped suddenly. Pandora felt a firm wooden stage beside her, which he helped her up onto. It elevated her only marginally in front of a group of men, all complaining loudly about having to attend the event so early in the morning. She felt out towards them - there were ten, maybe fifteen of them. Jake was right behind her now. Erik was apparently already there waiting, and he called those in front of her to order. "Men we have at our disposal a once in a lifetime opportunity to guard ourselves against the weapons Chaos and Tiev have against us. It is of the utmost importance that we give her our attention for the duration of her stay with us." Although he said these words he did not seem mentally convinced that Pandora would change anything. He walked up to Jake and Pandora, "the floor is your's, make it count."

Pandora cleared her throat. The men in front of her fell silent.

Jul 14 2012, 1:05 am IskatuMesk Post #426

Lord of the Locker Room

A test, Isador acknowledged. He rose the spear in the water, tuning his mind to its point and the inky darkness closing around him. The water was rich with life, this he could feel now. Beyond the liquidy embrace was a motion difficult to discern, but it was very much there. His essence tingled with anticipation, brilliantly illuminating his grip upon the weapon in his fingers. Isador focused his thoughts on the motion of the squid as it surged towards him. A titan of the depths, its skin shifting colors in a slow, deliberate manner.

As as,
To commune, to be one with the universe.

Ista ista,
The sounds of conflict, to confront thine fate.

Hasheesh nagash,
Purity in motion, the path to absolution.

The sea sung to him. A reverberating motion, not unlike the motion of the Shadow realm he had heard back at the crater with the worm. The elements were here, he concluded, awaiting the call of creation. Nay. They had always been here. Perhaps this is what Jhinheim had seen in the mortal worlds. A connection to the other worlds, hidden beneath the veins of a mortal-born illusion. Isador saw now the path before him, what he had to do to salvage his fate. His worries of the hunters, the fireborn, and the eras of bygone realms drifted away through his focus. Just as the Squid was upon him, his thoughts steeled to utter silence. His essence shimmered a brilliant sapphire, and the spear lunged forth with conviction in stride.

Show them your butt, and when you do, slap it so it creates a sound akin to a chorus of screaming spider monkeys flogging a chime with cacti. Only then can you find your destiny at the tip of the shaft.

Jul 16 2012, 8:15 pm Fire_Kame Post #427

wth is starcraft

Isador's aim was true, and his spear collided with the beast's monumental head. A shower of blue and black spurted forward, drenching Isador in the beast's life. The scenery around him faded back to the temple room, Aedre watching him expectantly. The spear was gone, as was the beast and any signs of blood or ink. Isador felt a looming power in the back of his mind, waiting for him to beckon it forward at a moment's notice.

Jul 16 2012, 8:31 pm IskatuMesk Post #428

Lord of the Locker Room

Isador studied his shadowy skin. The violet light danced, bonded, separated, bonding again as it always had. But within the world of water he had felt a momentary shift in his essence. Even more unsettling, however, was that even though he had returned to the mortal realm he could still hear the song of the elements.


It was not the song of the elements he was hearing. It was the shadow world. Isador listened intently, but couldn't make out the motion from here. His eyes turned to Aedre.

"The Shadow Realm calls to me, daughter of the elements. It sings a hymn I have never heard before. The last time it had something to say, it was something worth hearing. If our business here is concluded, I may take us there. However..." Isador pieced together his ploy in his head. "The Shadow Realm is a most dangerous place. My world... is trapped in eternal slumber. But even in sleep the hunger of the Shadows is not easily squelched. For a mortal to stride the land alone it is certain death, for the shadow sickness would draw from you your life's essence. I can suppress the shadow world's communion, but you would be unable to stray too far. Additionally... I am not sure which locale we'll end up in, stepping from this location. But I believe I know where the song comes from."

Isador's eyes shifted back to the temple walls. He was loathe to leave this locale so quickly. But the more he heard the faint rhythm beneath the waves, the more he was sure they were related. It would be a difficult concept to explain, he knew. Perhaps it would be best if he just showed her.

"Unless you desire to remain here, or have another destination in mind."

Show them your butt, and when you do, slap it so it creates a sound akin to a chorus of screaming spider monkeys flogging a chime with cacti. Only then can you find your destiny at the tip of the shaft.

Jul 16 2012, 8:55 pm Fire_Kame Post #429

wth is starcraft

"I am prepared to follow you wherever you go," Aedre said simply with a soft sigh. "It was only a matter of time before this happened, I believe."

Jul 16 2012, 9:04 pm Sacrieur Post #430

Still Napping

Cloak and dagger. She did not like this. She thought back to how Chaos overpowered her so effortlessly. She wasn't strong enough and it burned her. How hard had she trained. How far did she come just to be put back by this nonsense and trickery?

The smell of smoke. She looked down, the sheets she grasped were smoldering.

"Tell me what it is I must burn."


Jul 16 2012, 9:07 pm Biophysicist Post #431

There weren't, fortunately, as many as she'd feared. She still wasn't entirely confident about this whole thing, but it could have been worse. More people would, presumably, make this harder, and it was really something she hadn't learned that long ago herself. Oh, why hadn't she practiced more with Pryti and company instead of going dress-shopping? That would have made so much more sense. Why had she agreed to all this, anyway?

Oh, right, because of all the evil going on that needed to be stopped. She needed to calm down and do her part. Teach these people how to defend themselves against mental attack. Pryti had had her start by emptying her mind, then imagining a wall around it...

One might be inclined to think it easy to get a bunch of soldiers to clear their minds, but that's a stereotype that's not really related to reality. They had many things on their minds. It was hard to make out which was which, but most of them were thinking about domestic things. Their families and friends. And also fear. It was kind of heartbreaking. She usually blocked out other people's emotions out of habit, but here she had to intentionally probe at them to find their weak spots. If their defenses were to fall, it would start with those same thoughts of family and fear of not seeing them again.

It was all a bit overwhelming for her. There were, as far as she could make out with her hearing and mental abilities, twelve of them. And she had to keep prodding them, verbally and mentally, to get them to empty their minds.

It took some time, for these men were completely unaccustomed to empathy. But finally, she felt one mind close to her. Then another, and another. It wasn't perfect, but it was as good as could be hoped for, and Pandora had some advantages that an actual enemy would not, such as their trust. Another. It was working. It took nearly an hour until they all could defend themselves against her mental probes, but in the end she felt nothing from any of them. If the enemy had empaths or telepaths of their own, they'd have considerable difficulty prying into the minds of these twelve.

She took a deep breath. "We've done it. You've done it, that is." She smiled a bit, tentatively. The fears she'd pried into still were poignant in her own mind. "Any enemy will have quite some difficultly spying on you now. Well done."

She turned to Jake then. "Jake... This has been exhausting for them; I can tell. Relay a message for me, if you'd be so kind. Tell their commander, or whoever is in charge of such things, that it would seem prudent to me to allow these men some rest, with only minimal duties, for at least twenty-four hours."

She heard some restrained cheering, but felt nothing. Which... Was an odd feeling. But a good one.


Jul 16 2012, 9:45 pm IskatuMesk Post #432

Lord of the Locker Room

Isador studied Aedre's expressions and considered her words. He hardly knew her, and she hardly knew him. At most, she had the words of her mother to live by in these distant realms. For the Fireborn to commit to a battle in the Shadow realm only the most dire circumstances could be price enough. But for her, to no less utter his name than to follow him to the end of worlds, a physical manifestation of hell... what fueled her conviction so? Was she simply curious? Isador solemnly nodded to her.

"Ease your thoughts, your body, your communion. Close your eyes and think of the distant night, he whose stars bask us in our guiding light. As as, idragael. As as, kohashishemesh."

Shadows writhed to Isador's call. With his strength returned, Shadowstepping was once more trivial. But he had only on few occassions brought another creature into the shadow realm, and never in a non-destructive manner. To assure her travel was safe, he first opened the pathway between the stars, then formed his communal shield around it. Then, guiding her presence through the gateway, he followed into the realm of shadows.

When Aedre opened her eyes her gaze set upon monuments of marble and granite. Tremendous pillars, worn statues, pantheons of old. The air was thick and heavy, as though it were almost a liquid. They stood upon a marble roadway, worn a deep violet, spiderwebbed with obsidian vines. Isador's own eyes studied the structures for a time before he drew Excellion.

The air filled with a vibrant hum, but Isador was certain Aedre could not see the phantoms. Faces of men and smaller shadow demons, frozen in time, scattered across the buildings and pillars. Isador could feel only faint whispers from them - this was not the song he had heard.

"I have not been here before," Isador murmured, following Aedre's gaze to the mountains beyond. They were lined with archaic battlements, riddled in rows of spikes. A tremendous tower jutted outwards at an odd angle.

"Star Fortress Posopharus. A proud war machine of clan Kalkatha, second only to Star Fortress Abbadon. Mountains that could fly," Isador murmured. "They sought to bring their siege engines to this world, to rain death upon that which has no life. But this city," Isador tapped the end of Excellion on the road he stood on, "is much older yet. Before the shadow war, before the Fireborn. Its memories are distant, its song muted and dulled with time. All sense of life and energy had abandoned it before it even arrived. Perhaps... this is something Jhinheim had devoured, before the forming of the shadow realm as I know it."

Isador caught Aedre's confused glare as he turned back.

"The shadow realm has many secrets within its depths," he explained, raising Excellion to between his eyes. The lance flashed lightly, casting a sea of glittering magneta veins across the terrain around him. Faint images appeared on their surface - complicated hieroglyphs and strange, jagged scribbles. "The memories of those who yet sleep, bound by the spell of Kalkatha, fireborn. If you listen closely, perhaps you can hear their songs... it is similar to the song the water sung to me in that temple, Aedre. The shadow realm knows... but how, and why, I must discover."

Isador pointed to a great spire in the opposing mountains, across a sea of frozen jade. Writhing obsidian vines frozen in time gave it a backdrop of twisting madness.

"I have seen this structure in the songs, yet know not its purpose. Perhaps it was the birthplace of Jhinheim, he who created the Shadows. However," Isador gestured to a plain, barely in sight, beyond the city bounds, near the sea of frozen jade, "This is where the song I hear now comes from. If we reach it, perhaps it will tell us something, or grant us something. Take care, daughter of the elements. The shadows may be sleeping, but to lose yourself here is to share their fate."

Show them your butt, and when you do, slap it so it creates a sound akin to a chorus of screaming spider monkeys flogging a chime with cacti. Only then can you find your destiny at the tip of the shaft.

Jul 16 2012, 10:42 pm Fire_Kame Post #433

wth is starcraft

Kardos grabbed Serena's hand, "we must also find Alaire," he said firmly, withdrawing her hand from the bed, he grasped it tightly, fear and worry lined his eyes. "And we will take down Chaos, not just you - you are not alone here."

"Chaos cannot be defeated unless you plan on destroying the entirety of the mortal realms, the elemental realms, and the divine realms," their host said in a nearly singsong voice. "Chaos exists in every living thing - the only way to truly destroy him is to take away his tools - organic matter - and wait for him to become bored with the void this world leaves behind. We can find what it is he seeks and rob him of it - that might delay him from doing any more harm. We only need to find out what it is that he wants," she finished, looking at Athenos, still lying on the bed. "He will have to stay here if you choose to leave. I will guard him and keep him safe while you journey. I do not know how you can rebind yourself to him. You cannot do it here while Chaos is also in this realm - the contact is too dangerous now. What caused the beast before is liable to also destroy you both," she stopped and looked at Serena, as if convinced Serena would try. "I do not have much to offer you, unfortunately, but anything you find in my home is yours for the taking."

Pandora continued her training for three more groups of twelve before she herself was starting to feel tired. Jake dismissed the last group and helped her down off the podium and to the same fire she had visited the night before. "They serve a lot of soup here - all it is is boiled dried vegetables and the occasional bit of jerky," Jake said sheepishly, handing her a bowl. They sat in silence, the sun setting, bringing the coolness of night with it. Pandora felt many of the same men she had trained around her, most of them dropping their guard as they enjoyed their meal. It wasn't until she was finished that Jake continued, "We'll be packing up tonight, and heading out before dawn. I will come help you with your things and tent tonight." He stopped talking, but Pandora felt he had more to say, something he was hesitating to bring up. They got up to return to her tent when he finally blurted it out, "Erik would like you to train him, one on one. Tonight, if possible. But...Pan...if you don't want to do it it's fine, I'm sure he'll understand. He...he doesn't just wants it to be shown to him, he wants to be attacked too...he wants you to try to force your way into his mind. Pan, I tried to tell him that it was not what you did, to attack like that...but he didn't listen. Just tell me your response and I will go see him now."

"I am in your realm, m'lord," she added the last word with a little amusement, "I will do as you ask. Though it is fascinating," Aedre said to Isador, keeping near him. "The shadows should not have been able to claim this structure of the gods, but they have...I wonder what it must mean. How could they push back the high magic without destroying this world?" She didn't seem to be asking him, her eyes glazed over for a moment before she snapped back to reality. "There is a legend of a tree that sprouted in the elemental realm, shot through the mortal realm and reached the divine realm. It is said that because of this, all realms are linked in parallel. I wonder...if they were able to suppress the high magic here, what effects did it have on the other realms? And why did we not see it so plainly in the temple?"

Jul 16 2012, 10:56 pm Biophysicist Post #434

Great. More weirdness. The problem here was that empathy, for the most part, didn't work like that. Though, perhaps this explains some of Erik's fear of empaths.

"Uhm..." She was honestly a bit at a loss for words. "I'm not really sure if I can even do that. To date, I've only ever done passive empathy. I can focus on things and try to clarify them, but I've never tried to push my way into someone's head intentionally. It's like the difference between looking at a flower, and picking and studying it. If you're just looking at the flower, you can focus on part of it, or look more closely, but you can't gain any information that isn't already available. What he's asking me to do is more like picking the flower and studying it scientifically, and I don't think that's within my abilities. Please tell him this."

She heard Jake starting to walk off, so she put her hand out in a "wait" gesture. "Jake, please tell him also that I will do whatever I can do to help. If he would like me to train him as I trained his soldiers, then I will do so." She then smiled a bit. "And if he doesn't, then we can catch up with each other. It has been too long since we've seen each other."


Jul 16 2012, 10:56 pm IskatuMesk Post #435

Lord of the Locker Room

"There is much about my father I do not understand," Isador considered outloud. "Nor the element he and I are comprised of... Midnight... from which the shadows were born. This is why I seek the songs of the shadows, that I may piece together the puzzle left in my charge."

The city seemed largely untouched by the war that had encompassed the Shadow realm. The fireborn fortress in the distance behind them, shrouded in ruin and nearly shattered in half, had clearly met some kind of failure during its arrival, and met the terrain in a catastrophic crash. The sea of Jade was not without scars, either, for it had been frozen in the moment Jhinheim fell. All around them, small, primordial shadows were frozen in time, visible only to Excellion's communion. They were ancient creatures, perhaps amongst the first Shadows. Splinters of Jhinheim's essence.

After a time, Isador could make out the plain. It consisted of a great many shallow craters, surrounded in twisting forests of crystal amethyst. As they drew closer the song became louder in his thoughts. A terrible presence formed in his essence. Something awaited him there. Something vast. The air became thicker yet, the communion of the Shadows at their strongest in the regions surrounding the vast spire that reached into the limitless darkness beyond. Every time he set eyes upon it, Isador remembered that dream. The beacon of light that had came from above. Was this Kalkatha's mark upon the genetic memories of this land? Why was it so strong here?

Show them your butt, and when you do, slap it so it creates a sound akin to a chorus of screaming spider monkeys flogging a chime with cacti. Only then can you find your destiny at the tip of the shaft.

Jul 17 2012, 7:26 pm Sacrieur Post #436

Still Napping

Serena sighed, "I must go find her."

"No," sounded a familiar voice, "you will not. Has your last encounter taught you nothing?"

She looked over to see Athenos awake, weakened, but undeterred.

"So impulsive, you remind me of myself," he sighed, "The resulting clash if you did find your shadow self would tear the fabric of the realms; and, that's exactly what Chaos wants, for you to run amok aimlessly like we have been doing."

Serena's ears flattened, her former fiery pep replaced with disappointment.

"Chaos must be fought with order, isn't that right?" Athenos smirked, the question directed towards the other party in the room, "I will find your shadow self."


Jul 17 2012, 11:12 pm Fire_Kame Post #437

wth is starcraft

Pandora waited patiently in her tent until after night fell, wondering when Jake would return. "Pan?" She heard Jake ask softly from the other side of her tent. He was not alone - she could sense two other people, one of which she immediately recognized as Erik, a little more relaxed than he was before but still ever at the ready.

"I'm here, Jake!" she said smoothing her dress and beginning to walk out.

"I'm sorry Pan, but we will need to work here - is that alright?" Jake asked hesitantly.

"Oh - oh yes come on in...." Pandora said, not sure at all if the four of them would all be able to fit comfortably. Jake took her arm gently and pulled her to the back and helped her sit on what she knew was the only pillow on the room. Erik sat in front of her, the man behind him, and Jake behind her.

"I hope I find you well tonight. Thank you for allowing us to enter on such short notice," Erik said. "I have heard your training of my men has gone well - but I will require whatever it is at your disposal. Jake informs me that it is not in your practice to garner information from people by force...but we believe that those we go against will have it at their disposal. We fear they already enter our mind as we speak. You are familiar by now with Psamathe, correct? We believe that is within her powers to read the minds of those not protected...aggressively. I need stronger training than the other men, as I carry all of our secrets," he shifted anxiously, "so will we begin?"

It took a little under more than an hour to get Erik to close his mind - he seemed very resistant towards the process, but finally understood it. "Alright, time to proceed to phase two," he murmured, "Pandora please do not be shocked in what you hear - please only help me close my mind." The man behind him shuffled apprehensively. Pandora felt nothing at first, it appeared that Jake and the other man had also closed their mind from her. Suddenly, she heard gasping noises, followed by an extreme struggle and gurgling noise from Erik. His defense started to crack - panic was coming through.

"Jake what is-" Pandora asked wildly.

"It was his idea, not mine, are you paying attention?" Jake asked gently, "how is he doing."

"Oh, well...uh..." she stammered. "I can feel you again Erik, you have to close me off - you have to resist him and the world around you..." slowly, painfully, she coached him through closing his mind again. They continued at this for several more hours before Erik, drained and severely weakened, called it to an end.

"I am in your debt," Erik said genuinely though weakly to Pandora. She heard him and the other man limp out, Jake lingering behind.

"Sorry, Pan that couldn't have been easy." Jake said apologetically, "I think Erik is convinced that the other team wants our secrets, that they'll stop at nothing. There are rumors of Psamathe too, having tricked the gods as she had, and then joining Chaos....they think that she has an ace up her sleeve and no one wants to intentionally put themselves in harms way to find out. It is best to be prepared, I suppose."

Their host smiled at Athenos, "you are weak, are you not? How do you plan to leave my home in such a state? You can barely stand," she walked over to a window and looked out of it, "Order...that is a name I remember well. Yes...I believe you can bring her back...but Order sleeps. She could not overcome Chaos when he returned, I...well...Terror does not have a firm hold on this land, not yet, but it is growing. And as it grows, I fade," she looked off into the distance for a while longer before leaving the room completely.

Jul 18 2012, 12:58 am IskatuMesk Post #438

Lord of the Locker Room

Aedre and Isador crested a hull leaving the forgotten city and at the mouth of a tremendous, shallow crater. The land as far as the eye could see, stretching from the city bounds to the sea of frozen jade to the north, was ruined. Beyond the crater was a writhing ocean of crystalline amethyst, frozen in time. Although Aedre could not see them, phantoms of all nature were within this battleground. Primordial creatures, vast creatures, worms, an entire army of shadows. Somehow, despite the city being relatively untouched, this place had been a terrible battleground.

The communion was surely something she could sense, though, Isador noted. Aedre tensed significantly as they towards into the crater. The shadow world here was most scarred. Here the song was strong. A deep cello playing mournful chords in a ever faster rhythm, as if responding to Isador's every step. He rose Excellion, and tuned his communion to the song. He wished he hadn't. The impact of the memories was so potent it immediately overcame his senses, and he felt his sensations drift away as his mind was consumed by their embrace.


Blood of my blood.

Isador was walking within a great structure forged of smooth stone, faintly reminiscent of sapphire but tinged by a dark violet backlight. Its vast interior was circular, comprised of dozens of enormous rib-like extrusions, encircling a platform in the center. From the ceiling descended a great spire, reaching down to this platform. Between the platform and the central spire was an orb of utter darkness whose surface cast an aura of violet light not unlike an eclipse.


Words trickled through Isador's thoughts like water in a gentle stream. A resonating voice that spoke in scarcely a whisper. He felt it travel down his spine.

"Shadow demons are not of this world or even those distant," a new voice spoke, in haste and with concern. Isador had the passing impression it was a young god, now likely either dead or an esteemed elder. "They are elemental entities, without bone nor flesh nor thought. Their skin is in itself an enigma, a binding motion that contains their essence. That which you may compare to flesh is the light that comprises their entire essence. And this essence is without limit to how much it can devour. Whoever created them was a desparate fool, and for that we are damned."

Images flashed by Isador's thoughts. He was striding down this magnificent cathedral of stone not of his own will. He was reliving someone else's memories. Other memories, related he knew not, flooded past him as his eyes studied the immensity of the structure. He realized it was the structure he had seen in the song's words. The spire beyond the frozen sea.

"The Shadow God, Jhinheim, he who was born of midnight. Even now Jhinheim's nightmare is reaching outwards, consuming all in its path. Entire realms have been devoured, now forever a part of the shadow entity. To fight this monster is folly."

Isador's eyes drifted across angular elevations in the citadel's chamber. The sounds of battle could be heard, now. And, as he drew ever closer to the center of the structure, a deep hum that sounded into his heart. The rocks of the citadel pulsed for a brief moment, illuminating the entire structure with immensely complicated tomes, scribed in the genetic memories of the Shadow Demons. Isador felt pain course through his body as he beheld their horrible words, falling to his knees. His body writhed in an ageless silence. This place had been a battlefield. The death throes of his kin had burned themselves into this ageless monument. He felt it all. The deaths of his forefathers, and their eternal sorrow.

"Kalkatha is losing this fight," Another voice spoke, clearly a fire demon. Isador scarcely recognized it. Loha, caretaker of the Huntsmen. "Even our father's strength, and the forming of the Huntsmen, could not alone bring an end to this madness. But fear not, my brothers... I have found a new strength. A guiding light that can bring us to the doorstep of the Shadow God."

"We will have but this one chance to save our worlds. The larger the shadow world grows, the more powerful Jhinheim becomes. Soon he will be entirely unstoppable. Many of us will surely fall this hour..."

More images flashed past him as he neared the orb. He could feel that it was once vast, as vast as the cathedral itself. The birthplace of Jhinheim. The seed of his father. Silhouettes were standing, circling the room, staring down at him. Beacons of light illuminated their heads - some scaled, some horned, some alight with beautiful manes of flowing hair. The Huntsmen. They had somehow found Jhinheim. That which was everywhere at once, but nowhere. And, from above, the fiery blade of Kalkatha came down singing a ringing metallic siren, striking the path in front of Isador with a resounding crack.

Isador realized the memories had ceased. He was standing here, on this lone path. Before him was the fiery blade of Kalkatha, a memory trapped in the past. And the Huntsmen, born of fire, guided by an unseen hand, glared down at him, as if to tear him apart with their very gaze. He could feel their penetrating stare, even if they were only memories. His body felt heavy, the communion much stronger than he had thought possible. The weight of Jhinheim's memories, and those of his sons, felt overwhelming. Kalkatha's sword towered over Isador, pulsing with sinister intent, its searing edge illuminating the cathedral of stone for miles beyond.

Isador stepped around the great blade, feeling its heat sear away his essence as he did so, and stepped further towards the Midnight orb. He realized now that it was not an orb at all. At least, not a solid object. It was an essence of pure and utter darkness. That which held no body. Born of shadows, Jhinheim was the darkness.

"The Shadow demons are without number, without cause nor desire. Their hunger is their strength and their weakness," The thundering voice of Kalkatha spoke from behind. Isador turned around, witnessing the massive fire demon raise his sword to the shadows around him.

"Bound by blood," Kalkatha drew his own fiery blood with the blade from his free hand, "I bind thee domain and all thy sons to eternal slumber. That the realms of the fireborn may once again rule this universe, and that the shadows will be forgotten." Kalkatha raised his sword, and cast a searing beacon of light into the sky above. The shadows froze in motion, Kalkatha and the Huntsmen vanished, and the realm darkned to a deep violet. The sounds of battle dulled away, and the pain in Isador's thoughts numbed to darkness.

Isador turned around again. The orb of Midnight had changed. It shined with intent of its own. He stepped closer, and could see his own reflection. Was this what his father had meant? He was born of midnight...? Isador reached out, but as he touched the orb, the pain returned. The citadel flashed, brighter now. He felt his thoughts expand outwards. A thousand stars blinked in and out of existence, their lifespans but instant. He could see an image amongst the madness. Jhinheim, the father of the Shadows. His great, skeletal-like form hunched in some kind of sleep. He was surrounded by the midnight light. Its essence, like the light within Isador's own body, danced and parlayed an endless symphony. Bonding, separating, bonding, forming the essence of Jhinheim. And then, in an instant, the Shadow God was born. From his awakening cry, an eternal hunger. It pulled at Isador, tried to devour even him. Isador struggled to separate himself from the illusions, only to discover they were no illusion.

Blood of my blood, Jhinheim's terrible tongue uttered, glaring at him. Isador pulled one last time, pouring all of his strength into severing the connection. He felt himself fall back, away from the midnight orb, and collapse onto the path before it. His eyes glanced down - the orb was gone. The vision had ceased.

Immediately Isador realized something had changed. The vision had rewritten his genetic memories. The ones of what his father had said to him when he first awoke. He still remembered the first passage... but it had changed. How was this possible? He closed his eyes, and recalled the moment...

His father loomed overhead. Where there had once been much pain and sorrow there was now a great fear. But it was not the fear of his father. It was a distant fear. Whose? Kalkatha's? The then-young Gods'?

"... A shadowborn with no name. Blood of my blood. You are my brother, born of midnight eternal. With my crown you shall learn of my fall and reset the future to where it should be. The Fire Demons and the younger realms of divine providence are meek. Soon they will return to their old ways, content with the fall of my blood. But midnight, the darkness, that to which they are all bound by, cannot be destroyed without destroying themselves. They do not understand, nor care to, the primal elements of their world. So seek they would to grasp wildly at the highest bounds of godhood, to destroy that which their empires rest upon. In despair dreams thrive, but in dreams so does despair thrive. Thrive, Isador, in the dreams of the divine. Take from them the light the shadows gave. That they may fear the darkness again. Atash itash."

Isador blinked. He had returned to the crater, with Aedre glancing at him in curiosity. Excellion had illuminated more than just shadows, but entire portions of terrain were hidden from sight.

Isador stood upon what was clearly once a great battlefield, drawn to the realm outside the citadel by Excellion's memories. Twistled bramble forests of crystal magneta surrounded this terrible warzone, more vast and exotic than those he could see previously. Craters of shining sapphire glass, oceans of twisting violet spires frozen in time rising from the jade sea. In the center, a crater large enough to fit all of Astron inside. Isador could feel the energy that had been released here, frozen in time by Jhinheim's fall. His father's grave was most befitting the terror he had incited. For miles beyond the shadow realm was forever twisted by this motion, and the phantom dreams trapped between imagination and reality spoke of his struggle.

"Something is wrong," Aedre murmured. She could sense the Shadow world's communion, if even faintly, and how it was changing. Isador had little time to consider how or why. The song was more potent yet, growing in complexity. The vision was merely one of a thousand trapped here. Could it be...?

At the center of the crater he could see something glowing, and upon approaching it he could once more hear the sounds of war. Screams of fire demons as their bodies were torn free of their life essence, the humming cries of the shadow beasts as their essence frayed. As Isador drew within proximity of the object he felt something tingle within his body. Instinctively, he rose Excellion, and tried to access the object from afar.

The ground pulsed as Excellion accessed the memories soaking its tormented rock. Isador fell to his knees, hit with the full impact of the battle as though it were all around him. Hallucinations were given life, forming an orchestra of shadows and lights, fighting an eternal struggle against an unseen foe. He forced himself to his feet, his eyes settling upon a pulsing orb of darkness, surrounded by an aurora of violet light.

"You have come, Isador," a whisper resonated to him. He recognized it immediately. "Like the chimes of an earnest morning the song of change has brought you to me..."

"Jhinheim...?" Isador whispered.

"I knew my faith in you was not misplaced..."

"But you died... I saw you die. I felt your dying echo. The shadow world-"

"Fool!" The voice called out. All at once, the motion around Isador froze in time again. The ground shook lightly as the orb rose, then flashed, taking shape into the massive, bladed carapace of Jhinheim. The shadow God towered over Isador, but he seemed... diminished. As though he were not a God at all.

"Kalkatha took from me life, but what Shadow clings to life? Have you learned nothing from your forays!? Have my teachings been so abstract that you could not comprehend them? No!" The God's skin broiled with a faint, but clearly alive, violet light. Just like Isador, he bore no armor, no clothing, no organs or bones. But at the same time, he was much unlike Isador. His angular, bladed skull bore a thousand needle-thin violet teeth, and a mane of lengthy, tentacle-like hair comprised of glowing magneta that flowed with their own sense of motion. His eyes pierced into Isador, forcing him once more to his knees. Jhinheim's gaze turned to Aedre, who quickly drew her weapon, sensing danger. He gestured, and obsidian spires tore out from the ground, imprisoning her before she could react.

"I am not Jhinheim, not as he once was. But I am Jhinheim, the echo of a lost world, and you were created by he so that you may reunite with I, to rebuild the whole," Jhinheim muttered, turning his eyes back to Isador. "You know this... it is why you were drawn back to this place... is it not? Or, perhaps, you have grown in ignorance... what is this tribute you offer to me? A creature born of element and mortal essence intwined? I wonder... what value such a thing would have for a Shadow..."

"She is more valuable than you know," Isador struggled. He could feel Jhinheim's gaze boring into him. The light within his body flickered. His communion told him something was wrong. Jhinheim was not simply staring at him. He was-

"The Shadow World sleeps and yet you still breathe, why have you not-"

"A dull vessel as it would be. Perfect to wade through the caverns of the naive Gods and the engorged Fireborn. How did it feel, brother of mine, to taste the waters of purity? For so brief a life it would be, no other would ever know what you are to become. And your pet, be if of value or not in your eyes, shall join my brood all the same."

Isador spun around - Jhinheim casually strode behind him, dancing between reality and nothingness. His shadows swept across the crater, consuming the transparent images and blanketing the terrain. Aedre and her prison vanished, but Isador could still feel her presence. Jhinheim was weakened... as though he were not whole. But there was no question in Isador's mind. Jhinheim lived. He had survived both Kalkatha, the Huntsmen, and whatever war they had brought upon him.

"Life, such a fireborn concept," Jhinheim hissed. He was back in the center of the crater. The Shadow God wove his bladed hands in the air helplessly. "I need not explain to you what you are, do I? Do you hear now the strings of fate's song, weaving our future taut and boundless?"

Isador momentarily wondered what purpose such a question could possibly possess. The song he heard spoke nothing of such madness. It spoke of a world lost in eternal sorrow, a world that sought freedom and retribution. It did not speak of echoes of dead fathers, trying to cling to life. It did not speak of Midnight... not as he would word it. But it made sense to Isador. The visions, the words of Jhinheim's echo, that which he had been told upon his creation.

"I am... Midnight... I am... a Shadow God-"

"No," Jhinheim corrected. Isador could feel the shadows around him gaining life. Violet eyes peered through their depths, gazing back at him. The world around him became close, as though Jhinheim was surrounding him. Isador's gut instincts forced his communion to keep the shadows at bay. They were not what they appeared to be!

"The Gods you revere are but shadows of doubt made manifest. You are a vessel of Shadows. My vessel. You will bring me back into this world," Jhinheim's chittering laughted echoed through Isador's thoughts. "Midnight reborn anew, and so did the world weep. Surrender this immortal coil, Isador! Bring about the next shadow age!"

The shadows opened up. Tendrils of violet light shot out, rippling towards Isador like an ocean of writhing light. Jhinheim sought to devour him! To take from him his own essence!

"Never!" Isador reacted, raising Excellion, summoning his shadow shield. Jhinheim's tendrils bit into his barrier in a spray of magneta embers.

"What?! You would dare to resist me, blood of my blood? You are me!"

Isador felt himself gaining motion. Jhinheim rose from the earth, hurling him up into the air with a glowing armblade of some kind. Searing pain rippled through his body as its blade bit into him, and the shadow fonts catapulted spires of light upwards, skewering him in the air. He could feel them draining him of his strength, but the hand controlling them was still weak. He forced his way between that hand and its elements with his thoughts, splitting the shadow spires and releasing himself.

The ground melted away into utter darkness as Isador fell, throwing him into a chasm of infinite nothingness.

"Do you not hear the Shadow world's song, Isador? Of course you do. You were created for this moment... in your heart burns with lust for change, just as mine does. You hunger, just as I do, just as the shadow world itself does! You know what you must do... Come... let us destroy Kalkatha and the Gods beneath him! We shall forge the Hymn of Ruin!"

"I will destroy Kalkatha, and I will bring the shadow world to life again...," Isador sensed outwards. The darkness was an illusion. He could see between the seams of Jhinheim's mirrors. The Shadow God was, so to speak, scarcely a shadow of his former self. How he lived in destruction Isador knew not. But he did know exactly what he was created to do. "And I shall not die to do so! I am oathsworn!"

Isador sent out Phantom chains through the shadow realm, piercing the mirror's veil. The darkness ebbed away, and Isador was once again in the crater. His eyes glanced to Aedre's prison in the distance - she seemed safe, so long as Jhinheim's attention was focused on him.

"I gave you too much credit, Isador. I figured you would have seen the bigger picture. Like waves fruitlessly fighting the wind. Very well," Jhinheim lunged forward, raising his right arm. A pair of long, pulsing blades shot out from his elbow, folding outwards to his forearm, forming a single blade. Jhinheim's form leapt between shadows, closing the distance in the blink of an eye. Before Isador could react the blade pierced through his chest, raising him into the air above Jhinheim. Isador cried out as his essence tasted that of Midnight's shadow, and was drawn away. Isador reached up with both his hands, gripping Excellion, and thrusted down into Jhinheim's wrist. Jhinheim growled as the blade easily pierced his shadowy skin, but did not relent.

"Excellion is a tool, Isador. One you never had the proper mechanism to use. Allow me to demonstrate," The Shadow God muttered. He rose his free hand, and Isador felt a portion of him vanish. Excellion diminished from his grip, and reformed in Jhinheim's free hand. Its blade glistened and pulsed as it grew in size and complexity. Words in the Shadow tongue flashed across its surface. Isador could still hear them. They uttered of madness and depravity. His own. Jhinheim's crystal eyes narrowed. Isador had but one option, and forced himself out of the shadow world.

Just as Isador picked himself off the dry dirt of an open field, however, Jhinheim appeared before him, stepping through the night as though it were an invisible door. His violet light shimmered across the land, soaking the life, consuming the moonlight. Excellion swept across the ground as the Shadow God swung upwards, sending a glittering crescent of light outwards. Isador tried to evade the attack, but it came too fast, picking him off his feet and hurling him backwards. Jhinheim rose his free arm, and the blades split once more, expelling a lance of magneta across the land and into Isador as he still flew.

Isador the impact of the attack, but he felt no pain. The shadow light travelled through him, then outside of him, leaving a glittering wound. But where it had hit - Esofar's scar - his essence had been weakened anyways. He suffered no damage, impacting the ground in a heap of dust and claws.

Once more Isador picked himself up off the ground. His communion had weakened with the loss of Excellion. His essence had been drained. He could not escape...

Jhinheim's eyes lowered as Isador drew forth Starscourge's hilt from his shadowy hide. The glistening golden hilt seemed to emit its own kind of light, even in this utter darkness. The shadow God stopped in his tracks, wristblade reforming, Excellion held at arm's length to his side.

Show them your butt, and when you do, slap it so it creates a sound akin to a chorus of screaming spider monkeys flogging a chime with cacti. Only then can you find your destiny at the tip of the shaft.

Jul 18 2012, 1:04 am IskatuMesk Post #439

Lord of the Locker Room

"What's this? A bauble of the Fireborn? Do you seek to wield your foe's weapon against your own blood?"

Surely, against a Shadowborn as powerful as Jhinheim, who had struck fear in all the fire realms and those of the Gods, Starscourge would be an insignificant nuisence. But standing before Isador now was not a Shadowborn, much less the Shadow God, he reconciled. Jhinheim here was but an echo. A distant image burned into the shadow realm by his father's death, longing to return to the world through the pure blood of Isador, born of Midnight and not the shadows. His brother and son. It made sense to Isador. To consume Isador's essence would be to rejuvinate the Shadow God, and once more he would bring the war to the realms divine. He would probably win, too. But Isador would not submit. Even as Jhinheim stood before him, his precence as sorrowful and forbidding as when he first awoke, he could not throw away his own life to give that to his creator. A greater foe yet awaited - the Father of Chaos. Isador knew it was his destiny to destroy this foe. He was bound to the elements of worlds beyond, and they to him. He would not cast away this charge. Not even for Jhinheim.

Isador's mind tuned to Starscourge, and the hilt brilliantly illuminated. A shining plume of light exploded from the hilt, forming into a coherent shape - a blade of blazing flames. The air around Isador flashed into a sea of heat and dust, and the dirt set aflame. But so as the ground burned did Isador. Veins of flame wrapped across his hand, biting into his shadowy skin and into his essence. Jhinheim roared a primal howl, and charged forward. Isador waited for his thrust, then jumped upwards. For a moment, Isador was back in the shadow world, then again in the mortal realm, behind Jhinheim, who shadowstepped further yet. As Isador had anticipated. He set free a wave of blazing flame from the sword, glassing the dirt beneath it, and catching the shadows as they reformed behind him. Jhinheim's image blurred beneath the impact, twisting with a screeching explosion, and then faded away.

The attack was clearly not fatal. A pillar of violet tendrils reached out from the smoke, forming into a spear. Isador's fangs responded, forming a disc, and projecting a shadow shield. The tendrils smashed into the shield, but one got through, piercing through Isador's chest. The pain was overwhelming. Isador cried out, and tore the phantasmal appendage apart with Starscourge in a downwards slash, then swept upwards, splitting away the fangs to open way for the attack, and sending a wave of fire through the pillar. Fire and violet embers splintered across the night sky as the blade's projectile crashed into a tree with a violent explosion. Isador found it difficult to control Starscourge. He could not commune with the fire that well, and when set free it easily lost cohesion. He was wasting his energy.

Isador felt a pain in his back - Jhinheim had already moved again. Excellion's blade pierced through his chest, pinning him to the ground with a single motion.

"Your arrogance would cost you your world, Isador," Jhinheim muttered from above. "Is that the future you desire? Eternal sleep for all shadows? No. Here the last of the Shadows fight each other. Never before have Shadowborn taken arms against one another. You would damn our world to sleep forever."

"I will never surrender my world...," Isador grunted as he rose, forcing the blade further through his essence. His life was trickling away drop by drop. He reversed the blazing sword in his hand, and thrusted up as he rose. Jhinheim roared in pain as the blade caught his leg, then swung the lance, hurling Isador across the burning field. "You yourself bound me to eternal servitude for this dream!"

Isador rose, only to catch sight of a large bladed, mechanical apparatus flying towards him. The wrist blade had projected some nature of a grapple, which he narrowly avoided with a roll. Isador spun as he rose, hurling another arc of fire. Jhinheim deflected this attack aside with a shadow shield, retracting his grapple, and stepping through the shadows. Isador followed this time, tracing Jhinheim's steps through the shadow realm.

"The forefathers have returned," Jhinheim's echoing voice spoke. Isador was back at the nightfallen citadel. He didn't know how he had come this far through a single shadow step. Did Jhinheim bring him here? He sensed for Aedre's presence, but could not find her. He couldn't leave her alone in the Shadow realm for long, its devouring communion would-

"They who brought forth greedy life, hungering forever more. In their greed, they created Midnight. They created us, Isador. And so they paid for their sacrilege, and we paid for existing. In our thirst there is no bounds, Isador. This I know now. For even a hollow vessel such as you could fight so fervently for purpose. The forefathers, the firstborn, will mark the realms of Gods divine and Mortals lost with their wrath. But in the end, Shadows will endure," Jhinheim whispered, his words accented in exertion.

The blade faded from Isador's weapon. He fell to his knees, grasping his right arm. The expenditure of his energy had worn his mind thin. He could no longer wield the blade without risking severe damage. Its heat had renewed the pain in his chest, pain that he had almost forgotten amidst the lifegiving aurora of the shadow realm. Heavy footfalls sounded before him, bringing his attention to Jhinheim, towering above.

"I have seen that who you call forefather," Isador muttered as he rose to his feet. The citadel gave him strength. The Shadow World was still in a state of flux here. Somehow, the locale was not the same as the rest of the world... was he even truly here, physically? "I have seen his power."

"Power," Jhinheim laughed a chittering echo. "Shadows have no need for power. Not as Gods or Men do. You've learned this, haven't you? All your forays into magic of puppets and wisdom of fools, seeking balance to destroy Esofar of the idle throne... when the balance already lays within your hands."

"How do you know this-"

"Atash atash! Itash hanzo! Nameless, soulless brother of mine. Do you not see the path you laid before yourself, do you not see the path you gave yourself?" The great Shadow God rose his arms to the citadel heights above, empty and silent for all but his mind's words.

"Shadows are devourers, Isador. Our presence exists within all things, for within all light there is darkness eternal! I shall devour the forefathers as I devoured their bastard sons. So shall you see the fall of the Fireborn and Gods you loathe, if you would but submit!"

"I will not!" Isador denied. "Destroy me if you must, but I will never forsake my oath to the shadow realm!"

"I am the shadow realm!" Jhinheim roared. His armblade fused once more, and projectiled into Isador's chest, piercing through him and pinning him to the pathway he stood on.

"You are a lost echo of a once great man," Isador whispered under the weapon's bite. He grasped the bladed device with both hands, attuning his mind to its vibrations in the shadow world. The citadel hummed slightly to the presence of his thoughts. "But you've long lost your path!"

A pulse of violet shot through the device, peeling it from Jhinheim's wrist. The Shadow God recoiled from the feedback, drawing Excellion. Isador pulled the device out of his body, hurling it at the image of his father. Jhinheim caught the blade, but Isador had already jumped upwards, drawing Starscourge. Before he could bring the blade to life, however, Excellion lanced upwards, impaling him once again. Isador called out as the blade pierced his shadowy skin, sending a splinter of violet embers from his back.

The blade's hunger was overwhelming. He could feel the warmth of his essence trickling away from the blade. Struggled as he may, the blade shut down his movement exceedingly fast. Such was the power of the Shadow Father... he who devoured worlds. Perhaps Isador was wrong... wrong to have denied the future of his world...

"Defiance is an honorable attribute, blood of my blood," Jhinheim whispered. "The Shadows will benefit greatly from your sacrifice."

The violet light in Isador's body dimmed as his struggling ceased. Jhinheim's eyes traced the body in earnest, but he did not lower the weapon. His eyes narrowed.

A deep thump filled the air. Jhinheim's crystal eyes drifted, but the sound came from no particular source. A second thump. And then a third, louder this time. A heartbeat. Again it would sound, louder still. The ground vibrated, dust and rubble trickling across the citadel's ageless surfaces.

Isador's body began to illuminate. Not with the violet light typical of the Shadows, but a deep crimson. Rays of red poured from his shadowy skin, still shimmering, still bonding and departing.

Ista ista, hasheesh nagash.

The thumping quickened slightly. The citadel itself was emitting this sound. Its walls formed highlights, glowing veins in that without flesh. The lightless depths of its upper heights began to glow with life.

Ishta ishta ikragul.

Jhinheim could not believe his eyes. The shadow world... it was - his eyes darted back to Excellion. Isador had fallen from its edge, landing on the path before him. The broken vessel rose magneta eyes to meet his own. His skin was radiating a red mist, rays of light pouring from the motion beneath his skin.

Isador felt no warmth beneath his skin, but an infinite thirst. His did not understand this feeling, nor did he care to. Every drop of his unliving lifeblood, the essence and the shadows that bound it, flooded with a boundless yearning. The Shadow God took a step back, clearly unexpecting this reaction.

"Could it be... that you have changed?" Jhinheim gasped, his voice dampened by the thundering of the citadel's heart. The Shadow God's own light began to diminish. Isador could feel its strength withering away. Jhinheim growled, and thrust the spear for Isador's face. But as it passed his aura it faded to smoke, dismissed by his very presence. Excellion heeded only his command, not that of echoes. Isador could feel his body's motion beyond the bounds of his skin, as though his communion had shifted away from him. Nay. It was the communion of the citadel itself. Somehow -

"The Hymn of Ruin," Jhinheim concluded with strain in his voice. "You hear its words, don't you?"

Isador remained idle, unable to force his body to move. The will inside of him seemed unconscious, as though it waited for some kind of trigger.

"The first words of the Shadowsong, 'ista ista, hasheesh nagash," Jhinheim rose his arms to the air around him. It had become thick with haze, as though he were submerged in water. But it was no water. It was the Shadow realm, somehow alive around him. Isador could see the Shadow God's communion, conveyed around him by an aura of twisting mist, writhing with confusion and struggling to maintain coherency.

"The words are lost to us, Isador, but you know what it means, don't you?"

Isador's fangs manifested around him. Jagged constructs, they hovered with intent, circling his body in fluid motion, poised to strike. The water communion within him sung to the fluidic motion of the air around him. The world was humid, ripe with life that had not lived in an eternity. For but a moment, Isador saw before him a world alive unlike ever before.

"Answer me!" Jhinheim demanded. "Have you heard the words?!"

Isador barely acknowledged his father's rants. The hum of the citadel had transformed into a series of deep cello chords, flowing in a deliberate, slow motion. His eyes rose to meet Jhinheim's, and beneath the whispers and the mist all he could see was a part of himself, trapped beneath a veil of illusion. The lifeblood that belonged to him. That belonged to the Shadows. The very elements that comprised his being, his every bond and thought, willed him to strike at that moment. The fangs hurled themselves, and Isador charged forward, rolling under a sweep of Excellion as it reached out to deprive him of his feast. Rising out of his roll, Isador swept the hilt of Starscourge off the floor, and it snapped to life with a single flick of his mind's whip. The fangs tore into Jhinheim's sword arm, pulling Excellion away from him.

The air exploded into a sea of liquid orange and crimson as Starscourge curved upwards, tearing through Jhinhein's jaw and through his head. Isador withdrew the blade, dropping to the floor, and thrust his free arm into Jhinheim's stomach. Excellion clattered to the floor, and in that instant the hum stopped and the Shadow World's communion vanished. A violet shockwave exploded across the citadel stone, burning the garbled words he had seen imprinted on its surface before. This was that moment - the moment those memories had been scribed.

The Shadow God's skin felt as though it were a warm fluid, bound by loose bonds and a shattered communion. But as Isador absorbed its essence, he felt a fire pour into his veins. His own essence reacted, as though it were not simply absorbing the new energy, but bonding with it. Glowing violet tendrils emerged from his head, forming a similar mane of light, and his teeth extended, forming narrow magneta like those of Jhinheim. He felt his skin expand as his essence grew, enlarging his vessel by a modest amount, the crimson light vanishing as quickly as it had appeared. As he adjusted to the changes he realized Jhinheim had vanished. All that remained of him was a impression of shadows left on the platform in shape of his fallen body.

Isador paused - he was back in the crater again. Aedre was some distance ahead of him, her prison having crumbled. She was wild-eyed with mixed emotions, confused, even scared. But she was, as as far as he could tell, unharmed. He had protected his one last advantage, he concluded.

Isador collapsed then. The communion of the citadel faded away, taking the last of his strength with it. He curled in pain, unable to control the motions of his essence. The warmth of his lifeblood had vanished. Instead, it was replaced by a ever-closer hunger. A yearning for more of what he had tasted. A yearning for blood divine.

Isador lost consciousness, drifting into a sea of foreign memories in tongues he did not understand. The pain and exhaustion carried him into the drifting dreams of the shadow world, forever boundless, forever yearning.

Dreams of midnight,
Dreams of Chaos,
Alas, we are lost.

Forever more,
Never more,

Atas atas,
Itas atas,
Know my name.

He with no name,
He with no title,


Stars drifted past Isador in liquid motion. Nebulae, vast and beautiful. Then galaxies, until all was but color and then nothingness. He drifted beyond the reach of the realms, though not of his will. A new light took hold in the distant, beckoning to him. The midnight orb. Within it, Jhinheim's eyes pulsed a vibrant violet. Memories trickled past Isador's thoughts. Most of which he could not decipher, but some clear as day. Much became clear to Isador in this moment, especially with the words of the Father of Chaos still fresh in thought.

Midnight had been created by the firstborn races, though specifically of which escaped him. An attempt to create an element, independent of the elements distant, that could grant them control over the universe. A thirst for power infinite. But their experiments and desires were ill-fated, for as powerful as these races were, they had not the ability to create such a thing. Instead they created Midnight, bound by that hunger, influenced by their greed and thirst for growth. And in midnight Jhinheim was born - Shadow God, though he wasn't called as such at that time. Only when he had turned on the demons and young divinities, and devoured many of their kind, did they come to know him as such.

The Shadow World, born from the very existence of Jhinheim's ever-growing essence, was unlike Jhinheim himself. The elements comprising typical Shadow demons were more distant cousins of Midnight, an ever-changing elemental ecosystem that defied the understanding of the young forefathers of the Gods. Entire realms were devoured by the shadows, and Jhinheim became impossible to find himself. The Fireborn clan of Kalkatha had entered the struggle when their realm was threatened next, but they had to have had help to find Jhinheim at all...

And at the end of the war, Kalkatha had bound the echoes of Jhinheim's essence to his blood through a most demanding evocation. Through Kalkatha's essence did the Shadows sleep. But Isador did not, for he was not a true shadow. He was a nightborn, independent. Until now. Even so, the threat of the Father of Chaos seemed to plea for greater attention. Given time, Isador could defeat the Fireborn. But nether force would survive long with such an enemy at large. The possibility existed to break Kalkatha's spell without confronting him, but it would require a power beyond reason for Isador to acquire.


Isador's eyes slowly pulsed to life. He was laying upon the path within the citadel he had seen in his vision. His memories were faded... eroded, even, by his experiences. Before him laid the armblade of Jhinheim. He realized that he hadn't truly awakened. He was still asleep, still in the crater. But his mind had drifted... Isador picked himself up, painfully rubbing the shadowy tendons that had formed on his arm to heal it. He knelt down to pick up the armblade, even though it was exceptionally large for his arm. It bonded to his skin readily, accepting the distant echo of Jhinheim's essence with him. He felt its presence flood his body in the physical world. Was this what brought him back to the citadel? Like the fangs it, too, was alive with its own energy. A metal unlike that of the mortal realms, forged of the element that the Shadows had given life. The blades snapped back, forming along his elbow and aligning with his arm backwards - their neutral position. Its obsidian-like crystal body was smooth, appearing like the elongated carapace of a very large beetle, pulsing lightly with magnetic lining in exotic bladed edges. It slowly faded from sight, turning into a translucent apparation when his attention drew away. He realized that it was indeed this device that had drawn his mind back to the citadel. It felt as though it was a part of him, a limb, that had finally been returned.

Vanaroch, Crown of Shadows

Isador's body felt heavy, even in this strange projection. The taste of Jhinheim's essence had burned away much of his gathered strength. Many of his old wounds had healed with his transformation, but his essence remained thin, as if stretched too far. He needed energy... he needed something to devour. For all his journeys across the mortal realms and the shadow world he had yet to find a definitive object of power to consume. It occurred to Isador that his search for magical fonts in the mortal world had been folly. Perhaps, through communing with the other elements, he could bring back his strength. The power of water still stirred in him, even now. If he could find others...

With that, Isador's projection vanished. He was laying in the crater, Aedre motionless a distance away from him, studying the terrain, particularly the Jade sea. She did not seem too worried about the change in his vessel, nor the time he had been asleep. At least his communion had remained active, and she was safe from the shadow sickness. He tried to clear his head, sort out the things that had happened to him, the things he had seen and been told. But the exhaustion and frailty of his essence drew the most attention from his thoughts. He would need much time to recover. But time was something he no longer had. The pieces were in motion, both in this world and those beyond.

"My father rests in peace now," Isador murmured to himself, now at Aedre's side, gazing into the frozen ocean and the tremendous spire beyond. "But our battle has only just begun. Atash atash, blood of my blood. The heavens shall tremble before the shadowsong once more."

Show them your butt, and when you do, slap it so it creates a sound akin to a chorus of screaming spider monkeys flogging a chime with cacti. Only then can you find your destiny at the tip of the shaft.

Jul 18 2012, 4:44 pm Sacrieur Post #440

Still Napping

Athenos grimaced as he rose, "I do not have time for rest, Chaos must be stopped."

The pain was debilitating, but tolerable. He had experienced and fought through worse, but he must be wary not to reopen his wound. A would that was, fortunately, not made by Serena's flame, should it then heal far more slowly. His own torrent of power was held at bay, suppressed. Drawing it forward to aid his recovery would not mix pleasantly with the magic pouring from Serena.

She was powerful, even by elemental standards, but she lacked discipline and focus. It poured out of her like a furnace at full blast. The entire scenario was intriguing, her power was not affected by their splitting. It brought many questions, but he feared he already knew the answer.

"Where is Edwin?" Athenos started, coming out of his daze.

"I did not fight Edwin... Is he not still part of me?" Serena answered.

"That would not fit the pattern, flame princess," Athenos explained, "I suspect that the volatile mixture of high and elemental magic is the nature of Chaos's power. It is, as our hostess has suggested, chaos itself; the very unpredictability of the world generates his energy. But I do not believe he is as omnipotent as he would like us to believe. In any case, you should take flight and find Edwin."

"Kardos," Athenos continued, "you should seek out Alaire and have him meet up with Edwin. We must present a united front against our foe, we will be facing Chaos's army sooner than we may expect. Do not underestimate the power of a common enemy, even two warring nations will join against it."

Athenos clothed himself, laboriously. He walked over to Serena, "I shall be needing the bracelet."

"Oh, of course," she removed the glimmering stones from her wrist, admiring them one last time before handing them over.

Post has been edited 2 time(s), last time on Jul 18 2012, 5:28 pm by Sacrieur.


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[03:08 pm]
Sylph-Of-Space -- woah! nice! thank you!
[04:05 am]
O)FaRTy1billion[MM] -- the setting exists, it's just hidden in a weird place
[04:04 am]
O)FaRTy1billion[MM] -- instead change "Microtile Overlay" to "Impassable"
[04:04 am]
O)FaRTy1billion[MM] -- er, wait, idk why i was looking for height
[04:03 am]
O)FaRTy1billion[MM] -- below the minimap should be a thing that says "Overlay Settings" with a little + button in the corner, press the + to expand it, uncheck Use Defaults, then change "Tile Overlay" to "Height"
[03:57 am]
Sylph-Of-Space -- Unless I'm dum (possible)
[03:57 am]
Sylph-Of-Space -- It would be so so so nice if SCMDraft had some kind of dedicated "walkability" view for the tilesets.
[03:53 am]
Sylph-Of-Space -- :'( dont cry for me cat-gentina
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Ultraviolet -- 🔪🐈
[2024-5-19. : 12:34 pm]
NudeRaider -- curiosity kills the cat!
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