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 Post subject: Into the Shale Lands Part 2 (NC)
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 9:46 am 
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The land around her was ripped of anything resembling vegetation. It looked even more lonely that the plains Musalis had traveled for so long now. But she didn't mind. To be in this boring grey world with Drakol was much better than being in paradise without him. At least as far as she was concerned.

The problem was that Musalis began to fear she might loose him. He pushed himself too hard. They weren't really going fast, but they were going constantly. He even pushed her, because she had smaller legs, but she could stay on the limits of her powers for days. She didn't need to sleep, or eat, or drink. She didn't need to rest. He did. And if he broke down in the middle of the nowhere they were in, she would not be able to save him.

So since he didn't stop for himself, Musalis had decided to make him stop for her. She had started asking if she could pray. Soon he gave in. Musalis was grateful, and chose a little platform as the place where they would stay. She felt relief as soon as she stepped on it. For once she didn't have to concentrate on not falling down anywhere, or getting her bones split by sharp stones.

Musalis started to sing. She wasn't praying, there wouldn't be any use in it. She had failed her God, and the bible was gone. But Drakol wouldn't know the difference between a prayer and a normal song. Simply because he didn't care. Musalis watched him wander off while her voice tried to reach out over the land, and was cast back at her in a multiple and deformed echo.

"I've got no flesh, no heart
But still I can love, love you
But I don't know how to start
And I think it's starting to
show.

I just go on, move along
Wherever you might go
I'll go too. I'm not strong
But I will follow you
anywhere.

And even though I have no tears
If you should go I'll cry
Instead of tears I have fears
That you'll leave me... or die."

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 Post subject: Re: Into the Shale Lands Part 2 (NC)
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 4:12 pm 
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'The king of Teranok is a very arrogant man,' Acheron read from the small scroll he had been given on acceptance of the contract, 'and the announcement of the Foundations tournament has given us a very good chance to finally rid ourselves of this thorn in our proverbial foot.' He laughed inwardly, he found the machinations of these mortal beings so infantile and asinine. 'This contract of ours needs to be completed by the end of the tournament, mainly because the king will once again surround himself with his praetorian guard after the festivities die down. Reward negotiable.' Negotiable was not a very sweet word in his ears, but the assassin's fare had run dry of late. My god does not care about rewards and wealth, why should I?

He consigned this train of thought to the recesses of his mind and focused again on the lifeless landscape around him. No, not lifeless... he thought as his vision picked up on the small signs of life all around him. The flick of a scaled tail here, the sound of a rodent skittering away from the approaching man, and finally...

Singing?

The voice was odd, child-like in timbre, but filled with a sense of loss and sorrow. Acheron crept slowly towards the source of the sound, and found it to be a small figure in blue robes, standing on one of the few cleared areas in the dead lands around them. At first, he assumed it must be a child, though the race of it was hidden behind the azure robes. Then, the smallest hints of glowing blue immediately bid him to toss out that assumption.

Now that he was closer, he could make out exactly what the figure was singing.

"...on, move along
Wherever you might go
I'll go too. I'm not strong
But I will follow you
anywhere.

And even though I have no tears
If you should go I'll cry
Instead of tears I have fears
That you'll leave me... or die."

Such sadness... he thought as he began walking out from the small outcrop he had been leaning against. He moved slowly, not wanting to startle this unknown mourner, not wanting to seem a threat. His god was of death, but his god was far to busy reveling in the desolation that surrounded Acheron and the figure to notice what his wayward disciple did there.

"Why do you sing such a melancholy tune, little one?"

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 Post subject: Re: Into the Shale Lands Part 2 (NC)
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 8:41 pm 
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Musalis finished the song, and waited for the echos to stop. Before she started her next song, she was startled by a voice. Musalis focused in surprise. In this empty lands the last thing she had expected was to meet anybody. While she was still trying to figure out what anybody could want in a place like that, she also studied the stranger.

Not that she could see very much, he had a robe much like her own, hiding as much as possible. She had one because she was a skeleton - that could both be an advantage if unknown to an opponent, and it could be a cause of hatred from the general public. Together, that was enough reason for Musalis to hide herself. And actually, her music was the important thing about her, not her looks. She could only guess why the stranger was dressed similar, and she guessed it was to avoid sun in this barren place.

Musalis have a silent note to herself that he hadn't presented himself. Like lightning the memory of her fight against Vius flashed through her mind. Vius hadn't started by presenting himself either, and they had fought with her bible as victim. But this time things would be different. After all, the stranger hadn't insulted Drakol yet. She also noticed that his tone was almost as if he spoke to a child, 'little one'. Not that she cared, children were better than most grown-ups.

Musalis looked away from him again, and answered, her voice still filled with the same sad dreamy feelings her song had sung with:

"I sing like this because I am inspired by the surroundings I have. Here, the land is empty, and lonely. Maybe it is dreaming of being something else, in the distant future. Some king of green land, with trees and grass... but it's only a dream. So my songs become like that too. Empty, lonely and longing."

Musalis paused, and continued in her normal voice, still musical but much more happy, as if the words were smiling to the world:

"By the way, I'm Musalis. What brings you in these parts of the world were most people keep away?"

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 Post subject: Re: Into the Shale Lands Part 2 (NC)
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 9:09 pm 
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The childlike figure turned to him, seeming to study him in the accursed light. She, for that is what he had correctly guessed the figure's gender was, answered his question.

"I sing like this because I am inspired by the surroundings I have. Here, the land is empty, and lonely. Maybe it is dreaming of being something else, in the distant future. Some king of green land, with trees and grass... but it's only a dream. So my songs become like that too. Empty, lonely and longing."

Acheron smiled at this answer. Though this was not the answer a child would give, it was a very observant one. The land around was empty, desolate, and lonely, but she had gotten one thing very wrong. The dead do not dream, not dreams of happiness at least. He recalled his time in his god's murky realm, the horror that awaited those there. The sudden plunge into darkness and despair that drove many to the brink of insanity.

But not him.

"By the way, I'm Musalis. What brings you in these parts of the world were most people keep away?"

The name startled him. He was familiar with the priesthood of various gods and demons, and one of the despotic god's favorite pastimes was to brand their followers with a name that resembled their pantheon of worship. This name, he deduced, would have much to do with music, would have much to do with...

"...Ochre." He breathed, almost too silent for himself to hear.

His good eye focused on the small figure before him, reevaluating the threat this person posed. He would take no action now, but he stored the reference away for future use.

"I simply travel through these desolate lands on my way to Teranok. I have business with the king there."

He kept his distance from the figure, but began noting some odd protuberances here and there in the form of the cloak, where a natural form would create bulges and ridges, there were none, and where flesh would smooth the fabric, there was only a vague form within the cloth. Acheron kept smiling as he walked closer, finding a relatively clear area to kneel down and rest.

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 Post subject: Re: Into the Shale Lands Part 2 (NC)
PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2009 9:32 pm 
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"A king? I have never met a king.", Musalis said, "You must consider yourself lucky to actually meet one."

Musalis had only a vague idea of what a king was. Most of her knowledge about them sprang from tales, songs and legends. Kings there were either even better than knights in shining armor, or they were really evil. Either way, they sounded really interesting.

"I am traveling to...", Musalis started, but realized that Drakol hadn't told her exactly where they were headed. She knew something about the goal of their journey, it had something to do with a wizard Drakol wanted to fight. Something like that. But as long as she was together with Drakol, she didn't care where she was going.

"... somewhere, I don't know where."

Musalis felt a little awkward. Conversation was normally quite easy for her, but this time she didn't know what to say. She had little to talk about, except Drakol. And she wasn't sure she should tell the stranger about Drakol. The drow was hers, and the stranger had nothing to do with him.

It bugged her that she still had to think of him as stranger. It was so weird, and made him seem a lot more mystical than he probably was. She only needed to find a clever way of asking it without accusing him for not having told her yet.

"Well, it's nice to meet you, mister... what was your name?"

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 Post subject: Re: Into the Shale Lands Part 2 (NC)
PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2009 10:14 pm 
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"A king? I have never met a king.", the strange little figure, Musalis, said, "You must consider yourself lucky to actually meet one."

The girl was obviously not acquainted with the world as Acheron knew it, and that spoke of purity more than anything. Perhaps some orphan taken in by the priesthood of Ochre and given her name... He thought, feeling a slight kinship with this small bundle of blue cloth. He was left orphaned as well, with his master so very long ago.

"I am traveling to..."

The odd little girl paused, contemplating something.

"... somewhere, I don't know where."

Acheron found the naiveté of the girl amusing, although such innocence belied the true nature of the mystery before him. This was not some dangerous foe who needed watching, but rather some lost little girl who was trying to find her way. Even though the girl's previous answer hinted at an unnatural intelligence, he simply marked it off as the dogmatic preachings of the priests of Ochre. Even so, the girl would need help crossing the dangerous shelves and ridges of the shale lands, and as she appeared to have no clue where to go, he figured that a traveling companion wouldn't be such a bad thing.

"Well, it's nice to meet you, mister... what was your name?"

He thought, for all of a second, about this. The girl was obviously not a threat, so he figured that it wouldn't hurt to reveal his identity to this lost little child. He brought his hand up to his hood, and as he slid it back, he blinked his eye, letting it adjust to this new light.

"I never told you, little one. No matter though, my name is Acheron."

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 Post subject: Re: Into the Shale Lands Part 2 (NC)
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 10:09 pm 
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"Acheron.", Musalis said slowly, as if tasting the word, "Well, that's a nice name. And in any case much better than the names of in the parts I've been though... Sy Aaigosu or something like that was a little town called. No, wait, it was Sa Aagias. Or Sy Aaigas? Something like that, horribly difficult to either remember or say.

Musalis turned to look out over the land in the direction Drakol had gone. She could not help but start to worry a little. Running off like that, when she had intended him to get a break. Maybe he had just become tired of her nagging to stop, and didn't want to listen to her singing? She hoped that was the case, for it meant he would rest, somewhere out there where she couldn't see him.

She didn't want to think about all the bad things that could happen to Drakol, so she turned away. Unfortunately, with her magical vision that didn't change anything. Musalis sighting, and considered different options of distracting herself. Maybe she could examine some stones. But she'd see Drakol in their pattern, his eyes, his hair... Or she could try to make Acheron angry enough to fight her, that would surely hold her occupied. But... she wasn't really in fighting mood. Not without a good reason, or at least any reason.

So Musalis just decided to talk about anything. Concentrate on something meaningless.

"You know, sometimes I wonder why things are the way they are. Like this barren waste land. Why did the Stone God create it? There is no purpose I can see in such a place. It just kills people... yeah, maybe it's a weapon. Created to kill anything that dares to try to defeat it. I mean, I have nothing against rocks, no, they can be pretty and all, but there are just far too many of them together here. And there are many things like that. An ocean, for instance. All that water, stuck together in one place. I think it's be much better if the ocean gave some of that water to... the desert, for instance. There water is really needed. And there are certainly enough seas to stop the desert from being dry. And take forests. They could be much more evenly distributed, too. I mean, the plain of Argus really need trees, while some of the great forests have too many trees, so some of them have to die because they don't get enough light. It'd be much better just to carry those trees to the plains, where they have all the space they need. Don't you think so?"

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 Post subject: Re: Into the Shale Lands Part 2 (NC)
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 11:15 pm 
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The girl's innocence was refreshing to the sociopathic drow, who was used to the stark normalcy of back-stabbing and intrigue.

"This land is not so much a weapon as it is my god's perverse joy. The trees that die have lived, existed, and they can be content in that fact. Life is not really life without death, you know? Without a definite end, it is simply a collection of experiences, memories." Acheron replied, noting the fact that the girl looked off into the distance, as if looking for someone or something. He glanced in that direction. The light of day was bright in his eye, but he could make out a shape moving away into the distance, dodging and weaving between the outcroppings. "Who are we to say what will live and what will die? It is, as always, as my god wills it to be."

His god was strong here, but his arrogance wouldn't allow him to focus on his disciple, but rather the land that he had created through his own cruel whims. Acheron could feel the joy radiating from the death-god, the souls within his god-link cried out as well, ecstatic to be around such a holy, or rather, unholy place. The land itself saddened Acheron, though not in a large way. It was more akin to the sorrow he felt when he saw a beggar on the street, a depressed sort of apathy.

He wondered if he should be worried about the figure that retreated into the distance, but he again dismissed it as something erroneous to the current situation. He focused again on the child in front of him. She was anxious, she exuded it so greatly that even he was feeling it. He wondered just what would cause this young girl to feel quite this way, but he decided he wouldn't waste this poor thing's time much longer.Still, though, he had a fairly important question for the girl. As he stood, Acheron said, "I must be going, but I have a question for you. Have you seen a strange drow man pass this way? A friend of mine has business with him, and I'm supposed to inform him. He goes by the name of Drakol."

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 Post subject: Re: Into the Shale Lands Part 2 (NC)
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 8:57 pm 
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Musalis tried to figure out who the God was that Acheron spoke of. First she was pretty sure it was the God of Stone, but then he addressed more morbid themes, focusing on death. Which, given the lifeless land around them, made it pretty sure which God he was following.

Musalis found that exciting. It was the first time on her journey she had met an other priest. They could discuss theology, their gods, gods in general, prayers, bibles, ... in short, they could talk about all the things that normal people found boring. The only problem might be that the God of Death was considered evil. But Acheron didn't seem evil, did he? Maybe she had been wrong about his God, maybe it was the God of Stone after all.

She continued to ponder on this while the elf spoke again, and only listened a little; for humans you'd say they listened with a half ear, but that clearly wasn't the case in this case. Her thought were cut off by the mentioning of Drakols name. In one moment, her attention was shifted fully, and she was concentrating on the man before her. He knew about Drakol? What did he want with him? He probably had told her, but she hadn't been listening... inform, wasn't it? He wanted to inform Drakol.

Musalis was unsure what to do. Telling a stranger about Drakol seemed like a bad idea, yet preventing him from getting information that could turn out tot be vital was just as bad. And Musalis had no time to decided, Acheron was waiting for an answer.

"You could tell me the message.", she said, her voice reserved and cautious, "And I'll make sure he gets it."

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 Post subject: Re: Into the Shale Lands Part 2 (NC)
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 9:29 am 
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(Sorry about the wait, summer's a good time for miniatures I guess. On the bright side, I can afford real food now!)

"I'm afraid this is something he alone needs to hear. I may be many things, but an oath breaker I am not."

Acheron noted the hesitation in the strange little voice, and from it, discerned a good many things. The first? That this girl had indeed been traveling with, or failing that, at least following, Drakol. That fact alone made Acheron unsure of the true identity of this Musalis girl. What kind of a child follows a being who aspires for god-hood, and to a lesser extent, why would she follow a drow? The second thing he noted was that her voice took on an instant note of guarded reservation, which could have meant a myriad of things.

"You were traveling with him, weren't you?" Acheron sighed, mentally controlling his own instinct to bolt after the form that had already eluded him. "You know, he isn't the sort for a child to be following around, he's dangerous." He knew that the girl had been acquainted with the absent drow, therefore he decided to go the route of the helpful traveler rather than the assassin. He held out his hand to the little girl, who he knew couldn't be any normal little girl, and smiled warmly.

"If you are worried that I intend to do him harm, then let us catch up to him together." Acheron looked about at the sharp stones that littered the ground, his mind formulating another brilliant, albeit very risky, plan. "Here, you couldn't weigh much more than my own little sister. I carried her around all the time before I left for my studies," Acheron laughed, "and you won't have to worry about these bothersome stones either." If his plan worked, Acheron would know a great many things about this little girl before him, the least of which her weight.

He mentally braced himself for what might happen next. She just might bolt, or worse, attack him for some strange reason only the gods would know. Barring that, she just might be a fire-breathing lizard in disguise, or even the wizard himself, testing this irksome newcomer. Either way, he felt he was prepared for whatever should happen next.

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 Post subject: Re: Into the Shale Lands Part 2 (NC)
PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:43 pm 
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"I am not worried that you could harm him.", Musalis said, even though she was. She was scared of Drakol getting harmed all the time. Each second. And every possible threat added to that fear. The only thing that kept the fear balanced was her love, even though the fear came from her love... or maybe the hatred against anything capable of hurting Drakol was playing a part too. Maybe she was also just jealous of anyone except her coming close to Drakol. Actually, when she started to try to find out exactly what she felt, it was all a great mess of really strong feelings, locked up inside her. The only thing she knew for sure was that she loved Drakol.

"As I said, you probably wouldn't harm him. Simply because he wouldn't let you. Drakol is coming paranoid, and he would kill you before you'd have to chance to either hurt him or tell him your message. Therefore I suggest you reconsider, and let me take to message to him. Unlike you, I can guarantee he gets it. And I promise that I won't tell anybody else. It's not as if there is anybody else I could tell it, out here."

Musalis pointed vaguely at the land surrounding them. And regretted it at once. Acheron still thought she was a kid, and she wanted to keep it that way if possible. He had no need to know her true race. But the arm might make the make him wonder. Not because she had let it show, no, it was still hidden beneath her robe even though she pointed, but the way the robe fell revealed how thin her arm was - much thinner than any living child as high as she was.

Musalis went back to having her arm hang at her side and the robe hiding anything, while she hoped he hadn't noted her mistake. Distract him, and inner voice said. Musalis used a second to imagine the inner voice dead before she followed its advise. The last thing she could need now was a split personality with lots of inner voices.

"Nice weather today, isn't it?"

The might be the worst you could do when you wanted to lead attention away from something. Musalis was angry at herself for using something at the mental level of an orc. That stupid voice had distracted her.

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 Post subject: Re: Into the Shale Lands Part 2 (NC)
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:50 am 
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Time Out.

I claim victory.

(hopefully I can get, like, 1 gold or so from this)

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 Post subject: Re: Into the Shale Lands Part 2 (NC)
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 2:06 pm 
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Four posts short of the first page...

2 gold.

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