The Great Library of Palanthas

Astinus' Office

Dominating the center of this room is a massive birch desk. Legend claims this desk has supported the thousands of volumes of history Astinus has recorded. A large pot of ink, a container of sharpened quills, and a candelabra complete the desks decorations. Small windows line the room, allowing light to trickle in and gently illuminate the entire room. A comfortable couch rests against the west wall. Tapestries hang on the walls between the windows. Shelves line the walls, filled with tomes of the more recent records of heroes and villians upon the face of Krynn.

The librarian notices you aren't reading anything... Astinus hands a heavy leather-bound book to an Aesthetic standing by you. You note the spine bears the word 'Nestos' scribed in dark orange ink. As you glance down at the page you read..

From the pages of Nestos's book..


Author: Nestos Date: Wed May 6 00:35:42 2009 Subject Independent Studies His cousin was a great leader in the Conlave many ages ago. This was the reason that he felt such joy when he was initiated into the Conclave; but the excitement the young mage felt upon becoming a member was soon washed away with the realization that it can be hard to move up the ranks. A few weeks after joining the Conclave, Nestos, grew frustrated in the fact that he could not find a mage that he could apprentice under. It seemed that others never crossed his path, let alone ones that could accept him as an apprentice; but the mage cleared his head of this frustration and realized what he had to do. It is than that he decided that it would be best to teach himself what he needed until he could find a mage that would allow him to be their apprentice. So, Nestos, feeling sure of himself, set out to the library and study magic and to learn more about his cousin, determined to learn what he could about both. Author: Nestos Date: Mon Jun 1 22:43:51 2009 Subject The Apprentice, Part 1 A man in simple white robes walks absent mindedly down a hallway with his head down in a book of magic. He stops forming the words in the book with his lips for a moment as he enters a blindingly bright courtyard. He blinks quickly as his eyes adjust to the light. Looking around he spots who he is looking for, the man he apprentices under. He approaches the man in red robes, who is relaxing on a bench in the courtyard. As he walks up to his master mage, the man in the simple white robes, closes the book he is reading and stuffs it into a bag that is strapped across his chest and sits at his side. He addresses the red robed man with the respect obtained from his position. You called for me, Archmage Leodas? Yes, please sit down, Nestos. The mage in the white robes sits near the archmage, who turns to his apprentice. As Nestos sits silently, Leodas gathers himself and allows Nestos to wonder why he is here. After a few long seconds, the archmage begins to speak. You have come along well thus far. You are getting better at casting yours spells and are obtaining more powerful spells, but there is still much more you need to learn about magic among many other things in order to be ready for your test. The red robed man pauses for a second, collecting his thoughts. But some of these things you can not learn from the library here at the Towers of High Sorcery. The archmage stops again, but this time to observe his apprentice's expression, but does not receive the reaction he expects. The archmage expects his apprentice to be surprised, but he is rather expecting something to surprising. Yes, I believed that there would be some need to do studying outside of these towers, where must I go to continue my preparations for the test? As I am sure you know, the books from the tower in Palanthas were brought to the library. Yes. Well these books were both spell books and others. I want you to go to Palanthas and learn what you can from these books. As you have the contact with other high mages here at the towers, I want you to focus on the other spell books. Specifically I want you to focus on the history of this world and of the true gods. Again the red robed man stops to think about how to continue his speech when the apprentice began to speak. So you want me to just study the history of the gods and the world? This is what I want you to focus on in Palanthas as it will have more on this, but I also want you to continue your study on the history of the arcane and continue your study of your own spells and to obtain new ones. I do not want you coming back until you can get here through a portal that you can create through magic. You will find this spell in many of the books in Palanthas. Now, I will leave you to get ready as it is a long trip. Okay. I will leave right away. As the apprentice gets up to leave, the archmage goes back to relaxing in the sun. Author: Nestos Date: Thu Jun 4 06:57:06 2009 Subject The Apprentice, Part 2 A man in the simple white robes begins to make his way towards the the entrance to Wayreth Forest from the courtyard. He knows that the road to Palanthas is dangerous, especially the road through Wayreth Forest to Solace; but he knows the way like the back of his hand. He knows all the dangers and how to get pass them, whether through confrontation or avoidance. As his master mage had him practice spells that techniques that would help in this situation, the apprentice was able to bypass these dangers many times. He is so confident in making the trip to Solace safely he retrieves his spell book from his satchel and, holding it in his left hand, begins to study his spells. His feet find their proper places amongst the tree roots of the forest. He occasionally glances up to assure himself of his path. While it seems contradictory, it is on the small dark trails that he feels the most comfortable. Most things that he meets on these back road trails are beasts that easily succumb to his magic. On the main roads he has more of a chance of running into elves, humans or draconians. He worries little about elves, as he is an elf, even though he has left their culture. He is more worried about the humans because he knows that they are more easily corruptible than elves and could have been persuaded by the Queen of Darkness to serve in her dragonarmies. And if so, they are likely to kill elves on sight as their orders stand, and humans in general dislike elves and might try to kill him anyways. These two races worry him a small amount in comparison to draconians. One of his reasons for this worry is partly for the same reasons as humans; if they see him they will kill him or take him as a slave. The other reason is that if they recognize him as a magic-user, they will be able to resist his attempts of magic on them, unlike the other races. The mage, knowing these possible run-ins are common, usually covers his head with his hood upon reaching the larger roads; but as the sun felt good and he is so deep in his studies, he forgets to do so. The most common run-in he has is with the baaz draconians dressed as clerics; and it is a group of four of exactly these that appear on the road in front of him, but he fails to see them right away. The hooded figures got closer and it was not till they are about 600 feet away that he notices them. The mage quickly shoves his spell book in his satchel in an attempt to hide his skill with magic. His robes are simple white robes of his order, but since they are simple they can be easily simple traveler robes; but he saw the hooded figures too late to hide his heritage by pulling his hood over his head to hide his ears and almond shaped eyes. Author: Nestos Date: Thu Jun 4 07:07:43 2009 Subject The Apprentice, Part 2.5 He sees the creatures pace quicken as they approach him; and so he knows they recognize him as an elf. Thus he knows that he will have to confront the abominations, and that he cannot take them on heads up, so he recalls his training that he received from his master mage, Archmage Leodas. Hoping the draconians did not recognize his nook as a spell book; he reaches into a pocket in a hidden pocket and grabs a handful of sand, a spell component his master mage sent him to get as a previous quest. The mage drops his hands to his side, as he recalls and practices the inflections of the spell he is about to cast, waiting for the creatures to get closer. With confidence and pure concentration he begins to chant in the language of magic. The creatures begin to yell at him. You there, stop where you are." To the mage, the words are inaudible in his state of concentration. He raises his hand and slowly lets the sand fall from his hand as he moves it from left to right. He continues to chant the words of magic, and as he does the creatures began to fall to the ground. The first falls thirty feet away, the second twenty feet away, the third falls fifteen feet away and the fourth feels the effects only ten feet from the mage; but the fourth resists most of the effects of the spell. As the mage comes out of his trance, he notices the fourth draconian is still standing, shaking his head trying to clear it. Thanks to his training his is able to think quick enough to pull a pinch of sulfur out of a pouch on his side and, as he finishes a few words of magic, a bolt of lightning shoots out of the mages fingers. The draconian shrieks in pain as the electricity courses through its body, but the mage knows that he is not powerful enough yet for the lightning bolt to kill it. Thinking quickly, he reaches into the same pouch and pulls out a third component and throws the white powder in the direction of the closing draconian. Without waiting to see the results of the spell the mage pulls his dagger out of its sheath. Looking up, the magic-user finds that the spell did work, but the creature gets lucky and catches a slash from the tip baaz's scimitar across his cheek. Cursing himself for not following his instruction on hand to hand combat close enough. The mage jumps to one side and quietly moves around the blinded creature. What he had learned begins to come back quickly and the magic-user, now thinking like a hand to hand fighter; especially now that he has evened the odds. He waits for an opening, it presents itself as the baaz believes its prey has escaped and the mage strikes at it. He slashes at the creatures throat, making sure to withdraw the blade quickly as the corpse turns to stone. With the battle over and the adrenaline wearing off, the mage's head begins to swim in pain. Even through the pain, he knows that he must get moving quickly to not only get help but to get out of the area before the sleep spell wears off the other draconians. He quickly pulls his hood over his head and wipes of his dagger before sheathing it. The magi-user wants, badly, to cast invisibility on himself for the rest of the journey; but from the loss of energy and the pain from his injury he fears he may pass out if he tries to cast the spell. After about an hour and a half he reaches the canopy of the city of Solace. The huge Vallenwoods surround him, but he knows that if he gets to the ferry he can get to the healer in Palanthas. As he stumbles towards the ferry he removes the fare required from one of his pouches. As he gets to the dock he feels himself losing consciousness. Ah, Nestos, it has been awhile. How have y-Are you alright?! Nestos stumbles onto the ferry and manages to mutter, Palanthas, before passing out. Author: Nestos Date: Tue Jun 9 04:32:32 2009 Subject The Apprentice, Part 3 A male elf in simple white robes lies on the floor of a large room held up by pillars. A man stands, praying, over the elf. As he does so the elf sits up and the cleric helps him to a sitting position. Where am I? You are in the Great Dome in Palanthas.; and have been for some time now. How long has it been? The cleric stops and thinks for a moment. Maybe two weeks. A sailor brought you in here. You had lost quite a bit of blood from the gash in your face. I apologize, for I was able to heal you, but you were too injured, which means that scar will remain there. The mage reaches up and touches his cheek, just below his eye. He feels the six inch long, raised, scar tissue and cringes at the thought of the draconian's blade cutting through his flesh. I am grateful for my life. I can handle a little scar. The elf reaches into one of the pouches on his belt and pulls out some gold coins to give to the man that saved his life. Here, take this for your troubles. The healer pushes the elf's hand back. You being alive is payment enough for me, then, smiling, the healer added, but the next one will cost you. A smile creeps across the mage's face. Then, remembering his quest, the elf in the white robes rises to his feet, a little shaky, but manages to do it. Well, again, I thank you; but I must be off. You young mages and your quests for knowledge. Very well, but I would stay away from draconians this time. The mage looks up at the cleric with intense curiosity; and without needing to speak the mage got his answer. You talked in your sleep. As the magic-user walked out of the Great Dome he could not help but wonder, What else had I said in my sleep?. This thought quickly rushes from his brain as he is hit with a cold wind and rain as he clears the door. He pulls his hood low over his eyes to avoid the weather. The weather in Palanthas now, was much different from the weather two weeks ago on the road to Solace. This was the same weather that tempted him into walking the road without hiding his heritage, a mistake which earned him the new scar on his cheek. Now he is in Palanthas, a place he had not been since joining the Conclave. He knows the streets well, and the library was his home before the Conclave; but this time he would be researching information other than that which pertains to his cousin. Then again, he thinks, there is always time for some of that research as well. As he walks the city streets, towards the so familiar library, his head begins to clear from the several weeks of lacking consciousness. He begins to feel much better, and begins casting simple spells to make sure he was still up to par. He casts spells on himself that will help him find magic or invisible book sin the library. Entering the library is like coming home to the mage. He welcomes the aroma of all the well handled books all around him. He recalls staying late and reading all the different kinds of books stored in the library. He slowly makes his way towards where he knows the books on the history of Krynn are located. Not knowing which point in time Archmage Leodas wants him to study; he goes with his gut and picks books about the time from a couple hundred years before the Cataclysm to the present. After he finds a good number of books; and feels they are the ones that will enhance his knowledge, he begins to careful study what is written in them. Author: Nestos Date: Tue Jun 9 04:36:16 2009 Subject The Apprentice, Part 3.5 After the mage finishes these texts he begins to think about what he has read and begins to tie ideas together. Once he feels he has an idea of the world and the true gods, he begins searching for the spell that will transport him to spots all around the continent at his will. Once he gains access to the spell books, brought to the library by the mages that dwelled in the Tower of High Sorcery of Palanthas, he begins his search for the spell. While looking for this spell the mage comes across many other helpful spells and copies them to his spell book. Once he has copied these, and the spell he was sent to learn the magi-user decides to look through the other books of mages from Palanthas. His search is for any mention of his cousin. As he searches, he finds nothing but short snippets of information about how powerful she was; but then he comes across a book that is all about Cloreana, his powerful mage cousin. Knowing that he did not have the time to read it because of his duties at the towers, he made up his mind on what he will do. Making sure no one was around he slipped the book into his satchel. He retrieves his spell book at the same time and quickly looks over the spell. He begins chanting a few words of magic and a gate appears before him. He steps through the gate hoping for two things: that the gate will bring him to the right place and that there are no spells on the book making it unable to leave the library. To the mage's surprise he steps out onto the docks in Solace, exactly where he wanted. He is also surprised that the book was not trapped and that it had not exploded or caused some damage to him; but he does feel horribly sick from the new form of travel. The mage, wanting to pay his debt of gratitude to the man that got him to the healer, walks down the dock towards the ferry. The captain, speechless that the mage was alive accepted the payment and watches the mage step through a gate. As the mage steps through the gate, he is disappointed at his location. He hoped that he would land at the door to the courtyard; but rather landed further into Wayreth Forest. Deciding that it is still a victory the mage begins the trek towards the towers, as he knows his way. The only thing he wonders is, How am I going to explain this story to Archmage Leodas}x? Author: Nestos Date: Mon Aug 10 09:32:51 2009 Subject Consequences of the Test The magus sits in his new room. The furnishings are the same, simple and only what is needed, but it is located in the red tower rather than its white counterpart. As the tower he now resides in is red, so are the new robes that he wears. The change in the color that surrounds the mage is due to the events that lead to his completion of the Test of High Sorcery. The events that transpired required him to make the choice between a powerful artifact of magic and his nephew. The choice he made was the one that led him away from his white robes; he chose the artifact. While he does feel a weight from the thought of letting his nephew fall, he knows that he made the proper decision because as he looks upon the full red moon of Lunitari, he can feel it granting him power. As he does know it was the proper choice, the weight is still there. He can not help but think that, although the test was only an illusion, could some of it be true. Without realizing, the magic-user's gaze falls upon the simple wood staff leaning against the corner where the wall meets a bookcase several feet away. The silver runes on the staff shine red in the light of Lunitari. This staff allows the elf to walk with stability; for the test that the mage chose magic over his nephew, also led to the crippling of his left leg. The mage now can not fully support his weight with the leg; and, although the leg is as healed as it is going to get, there is a pain that he knows will never fully go away. This remaining affect from the test has made Nestos think that maybe more of the affects of the test may be real. This thought makes the magic-user think that maybe his choice could have left his nephew dead. It is with this thought that the mage makes up his mind. He will go to a place that he has not been in over five years. He will travel back to his home to see his family and to lift the weight from his shoulders. After making up his mind, Nestos puts his spell book, which is lying on a mat on the floor in front of him, in this satchel and throws the strap over his shoulder. Then, with a motion of his hand, the staff that has been in the corner appears in his hand. He uses the staff to rise, painfully, from the cushion he is sitting on. He then begins towards the door. Laying his hands on the door, the mage magically seals the portal. He then speaks a command and is transported to the gates of the Tower of High Sorcery. Author: Nestos Date: Tue Aug 18 23:37:23 2009 Subject On War, Bad Company and Lost Mages: A Journal Entry It has not been since I saw my nephew and lifted the weight of his illusion's death, and already I fear there is another weight closing on me. When I left the Tower of High Sorcery several months ago, the tension between mages and the rest of the population of Krynn was bad; but after leaving my family it is dangerous. I fear the tensions may boil over and possibly lead to another Lost War. This time seems different than what I have read of the Lost War though. As I recall, the mages, save for the cursing of one Tower of High Sorcery and the destruction of another tower, did not fight against there enemies except to survive. Now it seems as though the mages might be the first to strike; although I can not be sure of what I happening there. I can just see how people react to my red robes, with disdain and fear. I have been fortunate, though, in the company I unfortunately keep. While they may not like me, and I certainly do not like them, we benefit from each other; and thus a relationship of necessary trust has been formed. This group of mercenaries has found my powers in the art of magic helpful, though I am not the first that has past there way. Another mage has seemed to have fallen into there group. He has been helping them a bit, but, after a lengthy talk with him, he has decided to go to the Tower of High Sorcery for training. I can teach him what I can till we get there, but I have not been given the right to take an apprentice yet. Up to this point I have seen no need to take an apprentice; but now, with the way things are going with the rest of Krynn, I understand it is necessary to ensure that High Sorcery lives on in Krynn. Author: Nestos Date: Wed Nov 11 00:46:12 2009 Subject Consequences of Actions Yelling can be heard from the High Archmage's office. An elven voice seems to be yelling while the voice of Lynx, the head of the Red Robes seems to be keeping his head. The yelling is incoherent and soon ends as a scuffling can be heard inside of the room. Soon after the scuffling begins, it ends with a young elf flying into and shattering the door of the office. The elf lands in the hallway. Nestos tries to stand, holding a dagger in one hand he pushes up with his other, but as hard as he tries, he cannot get up from the floor; and crumples back down to the floor. It seems to him as if his energy and been sucked out. The dagger falls from his hand and he fights hard to stay conscious. As the young elf struggles on the floor, the High Archmage strides out of his office, 'GUARDS!' he yells as he steps over pieces of his door, 'ARREST THAT MAN!' Nestos again tries to get up and escape, but he cannot and three battlemages come from around the corner and pick him up. 'Take him to the dungeon, ' he says to the bguards, 'And you, ' he points to a lieutenant, ' Go and gather a Master of the White Robes and one form the black, and tell them to meet me in council chambers for a trial. Nestos whinces in pain as the guards drag him to the dungeons of the towers; but not for a second does he regret his actions. Author: Nestos Date: Wed Nov 11 01:48:10 2009 Subject A new Way of Life, Pt. 1 The mage sits in Wayreth, outside of the gates that have just been locked to him. Having been stripped of his components and magical items, traveling via arcane is out of the picture, for now; and due to the permanent injury he sustained to his leg during the test, regular travel will be hard. Luckily, the 'wise' mages of the towers had looked over one of his magical items, for he had enacted a spell to make him walk lighter before entering Lynx's office and sent his staff to wait on another dimension. With a motion of his wrist, a red, wooden staff appears in his hands. Looking at it, the banished mage seems unsatisfied; and with a though the red wood turns to grey and the silver runes to black. He than waves his staff and his main spellbook drop into the material dimension as well. Now, looking at the staff the mage grins and, after picking up his spellbook, he slowly begins his walk out of Wayreth, all the while searching for different components an putting them into the pockets of his elven clothes that he has decided will be the first to go. After finding the components he needs, the mage imagines a room that he had been in before and next to him appears a glowing door that he enters. He exits into a clothing shop and looks around. 'Sir, we are closing. You are going to have to leave, ' a man behind the desk says. 'I only need a few things.' 'You will have to come ba-, ' but the man is cut off by a lightning bolt from the renegade. While the man lies, writing on the floor, the mage collects a shirt, pants, vest, boots cloak and a satchel. He changes his clothes and walks over to where the man had been putting his earning away for the day, stepping over the man to reach it. The elf waves his staff over the bag making it disappear to another dimension. The mage then enters another magical door and brings him outside a magic shop. He enters the magic shops and sees only the red robed mage behind the counter, but knows better than to shoot now ask later in a magic shop. He approaches the counter, hoping the mage had not heard of him as a renegade. Author: Nestos Date: Wed Nov 11 01:51:43 2009 Subject A new Way of Life, Pt. 2 'How may I help you today, sir?' the mage behind the counter asks. 'I need a few things. I was attacked and all my things were taken, ' the banished mage lies, 'I need several pouches for components, several, harder to find components, couple of wands and a dagger.' The shopkeeper begins going around collecting the things his customer asked for and puts them on the table. The renegade nods at each thing that is set in front of him. 'What were you thinking for the wands?' the shopkeeper yells from the backroom. 'Maybe a lightning bolt and ma magic missile.' 'Good choices, simple but effective, ' he states as he emerges and sets the wands on the counter. 'And now the dagger. All I have is what is in the case here, ' he states as he opens the door and pulls out a cloth and lines the different daggers up on it. 'So, what order are you in?' The renegade looks up to the red robe trying to decipher where the question is coming from, but quickly gets his answer. 'So I can help you pick the right one.' 'Oh, right. I am a red robe, ' he lies again, 'but I am indifferent, as long as it is useful for many things.' 'Ah, a fellow red robe. Just come from the tower? Any news from over there?' 'I suppose and there is not really any news to speak of, ' the renegade states as he picks up a dagger with a black blade. He studies the runes on the blade and hilt, and the ruby in its pommel. 'That one there is a good one. Both for combat and for ceremonies. It is heavily imbued with magic, but is quite spendy.' The banished mage waves his staff over the counter and bag of coins appears. 'I will take this and the rest of the things you have found. You take what you think is fair, ' he tells the red robe as he begins the pouches, wands and dagger on his elven belt. 'Yes, sir, ' he stammers as he stares at the money. After the shopkeeper collected his money the renegade waves his wand over the bag, sending it to the other dimension, and exits the shop. The mage then pictures another place. This is a place he has been to only once, but had just recently dreamed of it; the dream that led him down the path to his banishment. Another door appears next to the mage and he steps through it. He appears in a dark alley and pulls his cowl low over his face before stepping out of the alley; because Nestos knows that the people of Neraka do not readily like elves. Author: Nestos Date: Tue Jan 19 02:17:20 2010 Subject Gathering Information Nestos watches the flames leap up from his fingers, the faint glow lights the room enough to show that the warehouse is completely empty save for the mage and a fidgety little cutpurse. The cutpurse is clearly uncomfortable in the presence of the mage. 'So, how much do you want for this piece of information?' the magic user states with coldness in his voice. 'And so that means?' the mage says, appearing to grow impatient. 'Um, I was thinking that maybe, um, 100 gold might be sufficient?' The mage stands from the barrel that he had been sitting on, and for the first time looks at the cutpurse. '100 gold? Let me see what you have, ' the mage says and reaches out his hand. The cutpurse puts the paper in Nestos' hand. The mage unfolds the paper and reads the contents. After finishing the paper the elf holds it in his a second, then speaking a word, the flames reappear in his hand, destroying the paper. He then looks up to the cutpurse. 'You think that this is worth 100 gold?' he says with anger in his voice, 'I will give you 50 gold for this and we will see what you get for the next piece of information.' The cutpurse nods his head nervously and pulls out several more pieces of paper. These pages are more tattered than the first, and the mage scowls at the look of the papers but takes them anyway and begins to read each page. As he does a smile creeps across his face, 'Now this is worth your 100 gold and then some.' The mage pulls out a bag of gold from his satchel and tosses it to the cutpurse. 'There is 200 gold in that, do not say I am not generous, and if you have any more information do not hesitate to call on me. I will let you know if there is anything else that I will need you for, ' Nestos says as he signals for the cutpurse to leave. Nestos looks over the tattered pages and reflects on his new life. The conclave had given him access to any spellbook that he has been written, and potions and scrolls on top of that, but there was not much money to be had living and breathing the as a conclave mage, but being the one that has the right information, that is worth a lot. He will sell the information that he paid 50 gold for and get five times the price, plus more than pay for the 150 gold he just spent for a new spell. The mage smiles as he puts the spellbook pages into his satchel. Author: Nestos Date: Sat Feb 13 08:20:23 2010 Subject The Next Time No! I will not take the Red Robes in that direction, Lynx says, in dire tones. You do not understand, the magus tries to explain but was interrupted. I think I do, 'She won't hinder magic but only make it more powerful', and I believe that that thinking is folly, and YOU should too, Nestos. Nestos rolls his eyes at the mockery of his words and says, Perhaps the order would be best served by a different High Archmage. And what? You will take it from me? the archmage says as he stands, but as he does so, Nestos unsheathes his dagger, a black blade with a blood-ruby in its pommel. He jumps across the desk, leading with the dagger. The enchanted blade pierces the magic shield Lynx had put up. Lynx eyes open wide as Nestos sticks the blade deep underneath his superior's ribcage. As Nestos yanks the blade out of the quickly expiring man in front of him warm blood flows down his hand. The young mage smiles and says Yes I will, sir, as Lynx falls back into his chair, lifeless. Nestos pushes him out of the chair and sits in the comfortable leather. He sets the dagger on the desk and leans back in the chair. He shuts his eyes and relaxes. When he opens them he is lying on the hard bed of the inn he is staying at south of Sanction, clutching his dagger. The drowsiness of sleep begins to wear off, a slight amount of disappointment fills it in; but it soon wears off and the renegade smiles as he looks down at the black blade with the runes engraved on it. The dagger he tried to kill Lynx with the first time had been weakly enchanted; this one will have no problem when it comes to a second time. Author: Nestos Date: Wed Mar 3 00:50:28 2010 Subject The Ritual The mage sits on the ground, in the middle of a rune circle, quietly chanting. The large, jet black, raven stares at the mage with its burning red eyes as it quietly quorks and murmurs to itself. As he begins to finish the ritual, the mage remembers the circumstance that had brought the raven to him. Nestos was standing outside the gates of the conclave after being released from their jails after serving his time. He chuckled to himself about all the mages that had come to his cell to "reform" him, but now he had to make it back home. The last time he had been in this situation he had prepared for it and stowed away enough components for a traveling spell; but Ciskei had descended upon him too quickly and he had only enough time to send his staff to its non-dimensional space. They allowed him to keep his dagger, but would have taken the staff if they could have gotten it; but worst of all, they had taken his components. So, the mage sat, looking into the heart of the ominous forest of Wayreth. A place that is kind to the friends of the Conclave, and a torment to those that are not. Unfortunately for Nestos, he falls into the latter. The prospect of entering the forest was not a good one, but the idea of sitting in the cell in the bottom of the towers any longer was worse. So the mage set out into the forest in hopes that the gods would lead him out. The renegade wandered for days inside the forest without food and water. He could feel himself wasting away by the minute, so he kneeled on the ground and prayed to any god that would hear him. Shortly after completing his prayer he fell to the ground, week from exhaustion. It was than that the large raven had landed in front of him. It looked at him with those red eyes. The mage could see an unusual intelligence in the creature and watched as it flapped to a low branch and quorked at him. The magic user slowly, and painfully, got to his feet and followed the raven as it hopped flapped from one branch to the other till he found himself on a road. Nestos fell to his knees and thanked which ever god had sent the raven. He held out his hand and the bird flew to it and crawled up to his shoulder. The mage than knew what this creature was to be. The mage finishes the ritual and his hand the same way he had on the road. The raven flies to his hand and again walks up his shoulder, quorking all the while. "What is your name, familiar?" The raven cocks its head, "Sitharnos," the raven replies. Author: Nestos Date: Sat Mar 20 00:13:41 2010 Subject A Betrayal, Part 1 The dark elf enters the empty warehouse and is greeted by a fidgety cutpurse. "Hey, boss," the man says, clearly nervous. "Hello, Fidget," the magus responds, "Is he ready?" "Yeah, Nestos, he is in the back." "Thank you," the magic-user says as he puts his hand on a door, opposite from where he came in, "No one is to enter until I say. Is that understood?" "Yes, boss." "Good," Nestos says, before shouldering through the door and entering the small office and closing the door behind him. He places his hand on the door and chants to himself, locking the door with magic. He then turns and looks at the room. It is a small office, probably where the foreman of the warehouse was set up before it was abandoned. Large candles burn in the corners and a table is set in the middle of the room, with a man tied to it. The man's eyes follow the mage as he makes his way towards him. "I know you know why you are here. Would you like to just admit it now and get this farce over with," Nestos asks when he reaches the table. "I have done nothing," says the gruff man. His bear is spattered with blood and his eye is beginning to close. Nestos cringes at this, no doubt it was from a struggle when his cutpurse brought him here. "You have betrayed me and sold secrets to someone else. I will have a name." "I have done no such thing. Let me go and I will find the one who has." "I know you better than you think, Ed, and your snake's tongue will not get you out of this." The mage pulls his dagger from its sheath on his belt. The blood-ruby in its pommel glows a deep red in the candle light, "Tell me what I want to know and this will be over fast. If you do not tell me now I will make you wish you had." The man's stoic mask breaks and turns to fear, "Please, to tell you is to damn my family. Nestos sets the blade down next to the man and leans on his elbow next to the man's face and grins, "And to not tell is to do the same, but if you do tell me, your family will have nothing to fear." "Please, no. I can not tell you." Oh, please, yes. You can tell me, and you will!" the dark elf exclaims. He reaches into a pouch and pulls out components to a spell. He chants quietly to himself. His hand glows an eerie shad of blue. Nestos then places his hand on the man's forehead and closes his eyes. A moment later he removes his hand and smiles as he opens his eyes. "Will you tell me or shall we begin?" The man finds a second wind of will power and states, "I will not tell you." "Very well." Nestos reaches into another pouch and pulls out some more components and begins chanting. Upon reaching the climax of his spell, the room melts away into a crowded street. Nestos and the man stand outside a small house in Sanction. "I assume you know where we are," Nestos says to the man. The gruff man lowers his head, "I do." "Good, let's go inside." "No!" the man blurts out. "Oh, yes, I told you the consequences." Author: Nestos Date: Sat Mar 20 00:18:07 2010 Subject A Betrayal, Part 2 The mage raises his hand in a fist to knock on the door. "No! Wait," the battered man blurts, "Leave my family out of this, kill me, but leave my family be." "Now I would certainly be glad to do so," the mages states, and watches as the man's frown turns to a slight smile, than says, "If only you would give me the name." The man frown again, "I can not." The mage raises his hand to knock on the door again. "Wait! You once said that you loved my family as if they were your own. Please, leave them out of it." "You are right, I did say that, and that is why I will not leave them alone," the dark elf does knock on the door this time. He turns to the man and chants quietly to himself till his open hand crackles from arcs of electricity moving from fingertip to fingertip, "I wonder who will answer the door? Your daughter or your wife?" "Please, don't," the man says in an almost resigned tone. The door swings open and a little girl, no older than ten appears in the doorway with a charming smile. A bolt of lightning arcs from the mage's hand and shoots through the young girl and sears the back wall. Her lifeless body flies back into the house. A scream can be heard as a half-elf woman comes from another room. Before she can reach the body of her dead daughter, the magic-user raises his staff and the woman freezes in her place. "Come, Edward Let us go inside." The man enters the house under the mage's will and not his own, and Nestos closes the door behind them. He turns to the woman and says, "Your husband has made a grave mistake and sold information to someone else, and now he will not give me a name." The sorrow in the half-elf's eyes turns to fear as she realizes what is about to happen. The magus walks over to the woman, takes her hand and sets it down on a nearby table. "Give me a name, Eddie," he says, calmly, as he again draws his dagger from its sheath. "I...you wouldn't," the man stammers between sobs. The elf, without thought, brings the dagger down quickly. Tears fall freely down the held woman's face as Nestos severs her index finger. "A name!" The man stares blackly at his previous boss, and the dark elf does not give him long before taking off another finger and raises his eyes to the man, who again hesitates. Then as Nestos begins to drag his blade across the third finger the man screams, "No, I will tell you." The renegade looks up to the man, "Speak it than." "Tornuc," the man states flatly. With a wave of Nestos' hand they are back in the warehouse, and the man is again strapped to the table. He continues to sob, muttering, "Why?" The mage stands over the man, "You, know? You were an excellent informer, and loyal till now, and I do have for love for your family, and that is why I will send you to the Abyss with one last payment," the magic-user says, lifting his dagger off the alter, "I will pay you with information of my own. What has just occurred was a mere illusion. Your family is fine. And further, I will do everything in my power to keep it that way. Now...give my regards to Takhisis." The mage plunges his dagger deep into the man's chest, and looks to the man's face to see the man's last act before dying, to smile slightly. The magus exits the office and turns to the nervous cutpurse and says, as he pulls a large coin purse from his satchel, "I want you to bring this to Eddi's wife. She will know what it means, and tell her I will come by to explain things," the mage grimaces as he continues, "And please tell me if she is too pissed off, I do not want to face an angry wife unprepared; and post one of your most loyal men at Eddie's house to keep them safe. Also, I want you to find out about this Tornuc. Do not do anything, just learn what you can." "Yes, boss," Fidget says as he runs out of the warehouse. Author: Nestos Date: Thu Apr 1 02:15:58 2010 Subject Stealing & Information The dark elf sits on the edge of the bed massaging his temples, thinking about all the possible repercussions to his business that may come from his actions. His dark brown, almost black, hair falls loosely across his bare shoulders. Just as he comes to his decision of what to do as damage control, he hears her stir next to him, "Good morning," she says groggily. "I have decided what must happen," the mage says, turning to the woman. Her light brown hair is pushed back her slightly pointed ears to reveal her elven heritage; but her curves reflect her human side. The hair falls into her face as she sits up and draws up a blanket to cover herself, "About what?" The elf smiles, "You know what. You are to tell no one of this. Do you understand?" "No I don't. Why mustn't people know?" "For a few reasons, sweetling, the first being that no one will work for me if they think I kill my employees to get to their wives." "But you didn't," the woman states, feigning innocence. "You and I know this, but to anyone else it will not look that way. So, you must not tell anyone, and I am sure I do not need to tell you what happens if you do," the renegade states, growing serious. The woman scans the elf's face, and after finding no joke in his statement, nods with resignation. After seeing her recognition he says, "And second, I would not want anyone to use you as leverage against me, my sweet," he says with a wry smile. The mage, after whispering a word of magic, reaches out and touches her nose. Quickly, pale, purple and green flames spread across her body. "I do like when you use magic on me," she says, wearing a broad grin. The dark elf's smile gets larger, "Good, but now I must leave. I need to take care of some business. I will be gone for some time." The mage rises slowly to his feet, favoring his lame leg, and begins to dress. "Where are you going to go?" The renegade turns to here and waves his finger back and forth while tsking her, "You know I will not tell you." "I thought maybe," she says, feigning innocence again. "You are a sly woman." The dark elf makes a motion with his hand, and his staff materializes in his hand. He reaches into a pouch and pulls out some components and chants to himself. A shimmering door appears to him and he gets ready to step through the door. "Will you come see me when you are back in town, Nestos?" "We will see," he says, wearing another wry smile, and he steps through the door to emerge in a dark alley, outside of a tavern. He walks insie and immediately spots his informant fidgeting in the corner, and makes his way towards him. The cutpurse sees Nestos and points to a corner of the bar and makes his way to the location. As the dark elf approaches, two shady men standing in the spot see him, and after nodding, slink off to another part of the bar. "Boss, what happened? You were supposed to meet me for the information last night after you met with...," the man trails off as he realizes why the mage was absent the night before, "You didn't do what I think you did?" "I suppose that depends on what you are thinking," then, with his tone growing slightly threatening, he continues, "and here is not the place for this talk; and I am sure you know to keep such things just between us?" "Of course, boss. I won't tell a soul, but I hope you will tell me what happened when the time presents itself," the man says, looking fidgeting with a gold coin in his hand. The mages grins, "Of course I will, old friend. I will need your counsel on it when I return from my journey; which reminds me, did you get the information I asked you to get?" The cutpurse hands the renegade a piece of paper, "I was able to gather most of the information you asked for." The mage opens the paper and smiles, "This will do. Thank you." to look into," he turns to leave but turns back remembering something, "Oh, and keep the guards on Naera's home." "I was planning on it," the cutpurse says with a knowing smile. Author: Nestos Date: Fri Apr 30 01:59:20 2010 Subject Dangerous Studies The magus sits at truly looking at the tome for the first time. He runs his hand across the patch work cover, naming the race that each patch of leathered skin came from to himself. He grins as he listens to the sentient book sending telepathic messages to him, calling him to read. He had been studying the history of the artifact and the stories and information he found were of grave danger, but also, unsurpassed knowledge. It is the latter that the dark elf is after, but it requires overcoming the former. He read many stories about people's failures at trying to read from the book, but he found little on the successes. The only thing he could find as a fact was that to fail the battle of wills, meant that the magical item would take one's soul to feed its own knowledge. The renegade sets his hands on the cover and closes his eyes in meditation, blocking out everything but the calls of the artifact. A few moments pass, and he opens his eyes and looks down at the book as he opens to the first page. As soon as the cover is opened, the elf gets the sensation of icy fingers grasping his soul. The sensation makes the mage uneasy, making him want to move away from the book, but he finds that he can not move his body. The icy hands grasp harder, and the voice that had been a distant call is now in his head. "Hello, Nestos. I thought you would never read the book. You have a strong will, but I am afraid I will be taking your soul anyway. I have not had a new soul to feed on in some time. Have a look." Nestos watches as a long list of names begins to appear on the page in front of him. "These are the ones that fell victim to me; these are the ones that you will be joining soon," the voice says, as it makes Nestos flip page to page until after several pages the list ends. The icy fingers constrict further and begin to rip at the mage's soul; and a pain, unimaginable, wracks his body. His eyes widen as he watches, what look like, little wisps of smoke emerge from his chest; but instead of going up, the wisps of his soul move toward Desderada Malificar. The renegade, after recovering his composure, begins to think of how to stem the outflow, and decides to try and focus on keeping his soul intact. As the pain begins to grow, the dark elf begins to lose his vision until finally a bright white light flashes in his eyes and his body collapses to the table, his face pressed against the last page of the list. Author: Nestos Date: Thu May 6 19:36:55 2010 Subject A New Start A New Start The mage becomes conscious some time after the flash of light caused him to pass out. His head seems as though it is splitting in two, and as hard as he tries, he can not open his eyes, but after some time, his eyes do open and he begins to move, but to his horror, not of his own will. He glances down at the book lying open on the table. He notices that his name is not on the list of those that had fallen victim to Desderada Malificar, but he still gets the feeling that he has not one. 'Ah, Nestos, so you were strong enough to keep yourself intact, but I am still in control of your body, I suppose I win anyways. You will lose your will and then I will have your soul; until than I must be content with just your body.' His body stands up and picks up the book and shoves it in the satchel at his side. He then proceeds to collect the rest of Nestos gear and placing it in the bag. Desderada Malificar then picks up the staff that the magus created after finishing his Test of High Sorcery. 'A magnificent staff, you do have a great skill with the arcane, it will be a pleasure to have the information once I have taken your soul.' 'I guarantee you will not have it." 'Oh I think I will my friend, but until that point, just enjoy the ride.' 'And where is it that you plan to go, with my body?' 'I plan to go back to where I have been imprisoned for all this time, to gain what knowledge I can, as a form of revenge I suppose. That is, while I still have your body to play around with. I will say this, ' the sentient being states with Nestos' mouth, 'this limp is not in the least helpful. I believe that will need to be one of the first things I will fix. Do not worry. I will be doing you a favor, think of it as a kindness that you will walk without a limp before I take your soul.' Nestos' body reaches for spell components and begins to cast a spell; the body begins to wisp away, as if made of smoke. Then, Nestos realizes that he, and Desderada Malificar, had been transported to somewhere. Once the body is fully back on the material plane, Nestos notices where he is, outside the Forest of Wayreth. Author: Nestos Date: Wed May 19 08:43:58 2010 Subject Things From Another Life The mage limps down the hallway deep bellow the black tower. He runs his fingers along the wall, and looks to the wall as if looking for something. He stops before the onyx wall, apparently this wall is like any other part of the wall; but when he touches it, sensing the sentient being, the wall dissolves, revealing a hidden room. The mage smiles and steps in. He walks to a trunk, sitting below a pedestal that should normally hold a book, but is now empty. He opens the trunk that appears to hold much more than its size would allow. He reaches in a pulls out a long black velvet robe, trimmed in golden runes. The mage smiles as if looking upon something that he had not seen in a long while. He takes off his black, runed cloak and red robe with black runes covering it; and places them in the trunk. He then dons the black robes. The mage reaches back into the trunk and pulls out a belt, laden with pouches of all sizes as well as skulls and gems of different animals and materials. He cinches it around his waist and places the old one in the trunk. He also puts the black bladed dagger in the trunk and straps a sheath to the inside of his left wrist and slides a golden dagger into it. "I must admit, you did have things for efficiency; but I personally am more into aesthetics," the mage states to himself. "I happened to like my possessions, wearing your own clothes will not help you take my soul," Nestos says to the sentient being, now controlling his body. "One step at a time, my friend," the sentient being says through Nestos mouth, "Which reminds me, I need to take care of this leg of yours if I am to be using your body. The trick is finding the right...sacrifice." The mage smoothes out his robes as he leaves the room with the trunk; and as he does, the wall rematerializes. Before walking down the hallway the mage looks at the staff grey staff with black runes and with a thought makes the staff shift colors to black with gold runes. Author: Nestos Date: Mon May 31 19:53:01 2010 Subject A New Master The mage walks down the halls of the black tower, his face seems as if it were made of stone. He expresses no emotion of any kind and brushes off people's attempts at talking with him. As he walks down the halls, the people that want to speak with him are ones that are either interested in what he did while a renegade or wants to spout a string of curses at him for being there. "Are you looking to take the test again, Nestos?" says a squat dark dwarf, as he comes out from a doorway. This being a new comment, it catches the dark elf's ear, "I may. What is it that you can do to help with that?" "I could take you as my apprentice. I do not know if you remember me, but we were apprentices together. Anyways," the dark dwarf says as he raises his hands at his sides, "I am master now and could take you on if you want." "I would like that..." "Grim, ah, Stonebiter. I would have thought you would have remembered me, eh?" "I do apologize," the dark elf says with feigned sincerity, "it has been some time since I have been here. I do not recall many things." "No worries. Tell you what. My office is on the fourth floor, if you want to meet me there tomorrow around noon we can start with your apprenticeship; and do not worry. I remember you and that you took the test already. I will go easy on you," the dark dwarf says with a smile as he wheels on his heels and makes his way towards the stares. "Well, finally someone is willing to take me on. I wish you had not caused such a trouble for me on my arrival. You sure seemed to make the wrong people angry," Nestos says, apparently to no one, "You know I once controlled the form of the leader of the black robes? It was a brilliant time. Unfortunately, human form has its draw backs...short life spans. I will say though, he was much easier to conquer than you. You still are not willing to just give up your body. Oh well, you will." The mage then continues to walk down the hall towards his room to rest. Tomorrow will be interesting. Author: Nestos Date: Sat Jul 10 22:30:23 2010 Subject Apprentice Again The dark elf walks into a dimly lit room, the only light coming from black wax candles. Two figures converse in the room; one, a relatively thin dark dwarf, sits behind a desk while the larger human sits in front of it. Upon seeing the elf cone in, the dark dwarf signals for him to take the empty seat next the human. "Hah, Nestos. Come, sit. Meet my other apprentice and your new work mate." The dark elf sits in the seat next to the human, who makes an attempt to see under the elf's cowl. "What kind of a name's Nestos? Sounds fruity, like some elf name." The dark elf draws back his cowl, revealing his heritage and smiles at the man, "You are right on with your assumption, you are not as stupid as I would have thought." "An elf?! I will not work with a good for nothing elf." "That's enough! You two will work together, or neither one if you will be taking the test," bellows the dwarf. "Nestos, this is Maxthor. He is from Tarsis and has just come to conclave for tutelage. And Maxthor, as you know, this is Nestos. He is a high elf who is now coming back to the conclave after a," the dwarf pauses, searching for the word, "for lack of a better word, vacation." The man looks at the elf, confused; but before he could speak, the dwarf picks up again. "So, now that the introductions are done, we will move to what you all must do. Your first tasks will be to visit Palanthas and retrieve a scroll from a mate there. It will require you two to work together. He will be protecting it with his life, so if you must take his life, than take it. The scroll contains a powerful spell that you two are to learn. After that, come back here and show me the results." The two apprentices continue to sit in their chairs, until the dark elf stands. "Well than, I suppose we must be going. Come Maxthor." "I am not your pet, elf." "But you will go, and work together." The human gives his master a scathing look, but follows the dark elf out the door. Author: Nestos Date: Sat Aug 28 00:37:14 2010 Subject On the Hunt The two mages, dressed in plain clothes, sit in the bar, surrounded by the sailors who have put in to the harbor in Palanthas. The human continues to drown himself in spirits, but the dark elf merely smokes a pipe and watches the third, less conspicuous mage in the corner. The third mage looks around, as if everyone were watching him, but his gaze passes over the dark elf because of a magical illusion. The two mages tracked the third to here. This shady man is who their master told them about and they discovered that the mage plans to sell the scroll in the next few days, so the two have that long to obtain it. Finally, the human turns away from his drinking long enough to mock the elf, "Oi, elf! What do you think?" He says as he nudges the dark elf, receiving a scathing look from the elf. "I do not have a problem with killing, but what you are talking about is foolishness. Killing him on the street will arouse suspicion and more than likely the guards. You are a fool for even thinking that, we need to track him to where he is staying and do it there." The human mage looks to him in disbelief, "He travels almost exclusively on other planes. How are we supposed to follow him?" The dark elf rolls his eyes and puffs on his pipe, purposely not answering for a moment. He then responds in an annoyed tone, "We use magic to enter the same plane and follow, but we need to wait till the proper moment. Which means you must stop your drinking for a moment to watch," the mage chides the other, "So, open your eyes and maybe we will get that damn scroll and I can be rid of you." "You are not the only on that will..." he starts but the elf stops him and points to show the target preparing a transportation spell. The elf then goes into a spell of his own. As the target mage disappears into another plane, the dark elf appears to decay and turn to dust, entering the ethereal plane with the other mage and follows him; soon after the human mage stumbles into the plane, nearly cutting himself in half with the spell. "Sorry. It is not my best spell." The dark elf shoots him a look telling him to be quiet and the two follow the man through the plane till they find his destination, a hotel outside of the walls of Palanthas. The two hunters come out in the hallway, looking at the door in which their target had entered. Author: Nestos Date: Sat Aug 28 01:09:08 2010 Subject The Kill Nestos pulls out some components and begins some chants and raises his hand towards the door, but is interrupted by the human mage next to him. The man grabs the dark elf's arm, "Wait. Mind if I do this one?" The human says as he pushes past the elf. The elf sneers at the human but steps back and indicates the door; and the human steps up and pulls up different components out, and after a short chant, his hands flare red and the door blows to splinters, send shards everywhere. "You have no tact, fool," the dark elf growls and quickly limps into the room. Smoke fills the room and he can hardly see anything, and he realizes that some of it is magical. He pulls out an oil, and after quickly chanting, he rubs it in his eyes. The mage, now able to see through the smoke quickly finds his prey and raises his staff towards him, and with a word, the target mage's body goes rigid and the only things of him that moves is his eyes. The human mage enters the room and dispels the magical smoke and steps up to the prey and removes the scrollcase from the mage's arm and raises his hand and chants; but this time the dark elf stops him, dropping a handful of rose petals on his head. The human fights the magic for a second, but quickly gives into the magical sleep. The dark elf waits till his fellow hunter has fallen asleep to turn to his real prey, "At last, I can get down to business, I have no need for whatever that scroll is, but I do have need of you." The elf pulls out his golden dagger and grins at the frozen mage. "This I am sure will be painful." The elf mage pulls out some odd looking components and holds them in the hand with his dagger and begins chanting. Soon the dagger begins to glow a sickly green. The dark elf then sinks the dagger into the man up to the hilt. The green glow covers the other mage's body and immediately makes him convulse. Soon the green begins to flow back, through the knife, and into the elf. Nestos' eyes roll back into his head and after a moment he removes the dagger and wipes it off on the other's robes. Nestos moves his leg around freely, apparently without any pain. He grins and then turns to the sleeping mage and sneers again. He chants some words and a dimensional door appears next to him. He hefts the human through and then, after grabbing the scrollcase, he steps through the door after him; appearing on the Glyph. Author: Nestos Date: Sun Sep 5 19:34:32 2010 Subject The Finishing of an Apprentice's Quest The dark elf slides into his master's office. The room is dark, save for a few candles lit. The dwarf is writing in his spellbook, copying the flowing words of arcane from the scroll he and the other apprentice had brought him. The other apprentice is nowhere to be seen, but the elf knows he will be arriving soon. "Sit," the dark dwarf commands, signaling to a chair in front of his desk with the feather end of his quill; his gaze does not leave the book. The elf glares angrily at the dwarf for the command, but as he was on his way to the chair anyway, he sits in it, propping his feet up on the desk and leaning his staff across the armrests. The other mage, a human, enters the room; and upon seeing the elf becomes irate, "You! You cast a sleep spell on me before I could kill that runt of a mage." The elf cranes his head around and with a grin dismisses the idea as preposterous. "I killed him. Never fear, the mage is dead," he says with sarcasm. The human glares at the other apprentice, but seeing his master writing he drops the argument and sits in the chair. The master finishes copying the spell and looks up from his work. "Well done you two. You completed my task; and quite brilliantly I must add. So, this means that you two are that much closer to taking the Test. But first, my next task: you two must learn this spell," he says, tossing the main scroll, and a copy over to them, "I expect that you will have trouble with the spell, but when you are ready, the Test will be on the other end. You may go," he says as he looks over to the human. The man departs the room with the same anger he entered with, but this time directed at the master that is keeping the elf behind. After the door is closed the elf looks up from the scroll with a look of disdain. "I will not learn this. There is no point in it." "No point in it? I would say that a spell that can kill instantly is quite useful." "Bah. What would be the point in that? The fun is in watching the victim die a slow, painful death," the elf says with an even tone. The dwarf chuckles and looks to the dark elf, "Nestos, I never knew elves had the ability to be so evil, but you are right. There is no way he will learn that spell and I doubt you could in a short period of time. I am not sure I will be able to grasp it; but you will need to at the least, copy it into your spellbook. Once you have finished this task, you will take your Test." The dark elf grins at this piece of information. "Well, I guess I better get to copying." The dark dwarf nods, "Now leave, I am going to be studying myself." The master looks down to his spellbook and is instantly absorbed in it. Nestos again sneers at the thought of being given orders, but is happy to be gone from the office. He stands up, no longer hindered by his leg, and walks out of the office, shutting the black door, and as he does he sees the gold rune glow, signifying the door has been magically locked. Author: Nestos Date: Thu Jun 4 20:59:39 2015 Subject Victory At Last

The entity in control of Nestos body had some how discovered the plan the dark elf made with his master, to take back control during the test. Since discovering this, the entity had made every effort to get around the test. Finally, his master deliverd the news that Nestos would not be retaking the test, since it was no longer a part of his punishment. Nestos saved the last of his energy, not letting this blow be the end. He waited till the moment the entity let itself enjoy the perceived victory, causing it to lower its mental defense just enough for the dark elf to gain a foothold in the fight for his body. The entity realized his opponent was not quite beat and attempted to fight back, too late. The mage stands in the middle of the courtyard of the Tower at Wayreth Forest, frozen as if a statue. Long moments pass before his eyes seem to focus more, coming out of a trance. His eyes dart around as the blank look on his replaced by a wry grin. Being back in control feels good, the dark elf thinks as he quickly heads for his room to gather his things and head back to his life in Neraka. He opens the door to his room in the tower and steps in. The door slams shut behind him, and he looks up to find one of his orders council members sitting in an overstuffed chair in the corner. Do not think you can just leave this place, the Tower is not done with you yet, the female in the black robes states with disdain, You must show yourself loyal to the order, and I am here to let you know how. You are being raised to a position that will require you to spend a considerable amount of time here. Considering your knowledge and experience, you will be required to take on apprentices. Also, in the little free time that you are able to do what you want, you must begin recruiting in those cesspools you spend your time in. The woman stands from the chair and walks to the door and opens it before continuing, This is not an offer, these are the terms for not being required to take the test again. With that the council member leaves the room, slamming the door behind her. The dark elf mage does not move for a few moments, except for a large grin that crosses his face.

Author: Nestos Date: Mon Sep 7 21:52:47 2015 Subject A Get Away

The dark elf takes his time finding an opening against the newest challengers, dodging blow after blow, his dagger in his right hand and a wand in his left. He takes a few punches and duels out a number of slashes, losing sight of the half-elf that jumped into help. He then sees what he was waiting for as the city watch floods into the tavern, using their truncheons freely. Upon seeing their entrance, Nestos quickly stows his dagger and wand in their proper places. He ten makes a passive gesture, holding his hands to the side as a member of the watch approaches him and puts manacles. Nestos assesses what he can as the watch leads the participants of the brawl out of the tavern. The original assailant lies dead on the floor, his skin drawn tight over his bones, making him look like he has been dead for years. The human still writhes on the ground holding his chest, and a number of others lie at the feet of the half-elf, broken and bloody. The mage leaves the tavern willingly, following the watch members. Once outside, the city watch lines those involved in the brawl up and begins marching them towards the dungeons. Nestos brings up the rear, followed by a final watchman. As they march down the street, the human taps the dark elf on the shoulder; and they both duck into an alley. The Highmaster holds out his hands to the man who removes the manacles. Nestos frowns at the restraints as the watchman tucks them away, "Do you know the half-elf that was arrested with me?" the dark elf asks the man, as he begins digging out a couple leather pouches from his satchel. "No, sir, I don't know who he is," the man states, looking around nervously. The mage hands over a pouch that jingles as he places it in the man's hand, "This is for you. And," he hands the man another, slightly larger pouch, "this is to get the half-elf out of the dungeons. Use whatever you need for bribes to get him out, and the rest is yours. As usual, thank you for your assistance, Francis." Francis grins and nods to Nestos, "It is always a pleasure," he says tucking the coin purses into his belt, "I will make sure he gets out quickly, but I cannot get him out till the next shift change in the morning." "That will be fine. I have to take care of a few things. You better get back to your patrol." The Highmaster watches the man scurry out of the alley, thankful he had a number of the city watch on the payroll. Nestos wonders the city for some time contemplating on why the half-elf had jumped in to help him, until he finds himself back in the White Quarter, at the very same tavern. By now, the majority of the patrons had gone, but the tavern owner stands behind the bar wiping a mug before tucking it under the bar. The dark elf walks up to the owner, holding out his hands apologetically, "I am sorry for the damages, my friend." He fishes around in his satchel once more, retrieving a sizable coin purse. Nestos drops the purse on the bar with a thud and gives the plump, red-nosed owner a mischievous grin, "I hope this has not soured our business relationship." The tavern owner looks at the bag of coins, a greedy grin on his face, W"Of course it doesn't." He grabs the bag and tucks it under the bar, then sets an intricately carved pipe onto the bar, "I expect you would like this back." The dark elf grins with delight at the man. He pulls a pouch from inside his robes and uses the contents to load the bowl of the pipe as he says, "Thank you, Ed." The mage puts his thumb over the bowl of the pipe as he walks out of the tavern, then brings it to his mouth and takes a few puffs of the now burning leaves in the pipe. Time to figure out what this half-elf is about.

Author: Nestos Date: Sat Sep 19 11:35:11 2015 Subject A Disturbance of the Arcane, pt. 1

Zhellik came in, still tugging at buckles as he stood in the doorway a moment, shaking his senses clear as his eyes began to focus. Letting the flap drop closed behind him, he picked his way through the room, hissing a -ssssssst- as he went. His voice was a loud whisper, edged with groggy annoyance, "Sir? -Nestos!- Hey..." He reached out to toss a--He wasn't sure, but it was softish--at the sleeping mage. Much better a plan than creeping in on a guy like this. The mage's eyes shot open as the object sails through the air and hit. A dagger appeared in his hand, seemingly from nowhere, but Nestos quickly noticed the half-elf at the door and stows the blade. "What is-," He began then stops himself short, feeling the arcane power still floating in the air. He continues as he stands, "What is it, Zhellik?" As he awaited an answer from the mercenary, he wasted no time in getting ready. Already dressed in his clothes, he threw on his red robe, covered in black runes that made it look the color. Having no sense of such things, Zhell gave the man a momentarily void expression. It was quickly replaced by a wry look of acceptance. Time to sound like a lunatic again, old boy. Spurs on, yeah? He tossed his hands to the sides shaking his head, looking disheveled and a bit incredulous, "I'm--I have no idea, just wake up. Something's...-Doing- something..." He could have guessed, but it would have most likely been a largely useless and smart-ass remark, considering his mood. Nestos grinned wryly at the half-elf as he pulled a jet black cloak over himself. As he did so, the underside wass revealed, showing gold interlocked runes. "I know you may think that I presume you are crazy, but I truly am interested in what brought you here. I assume it is the god that speaks to you yes?" The dark elf flicked his wrist and a charred vallenwood staff appeared in his hands. Sighing under his breath, Zhellik reached up to run his finger through his hair to get it out of his face. Head tilting, he gave a one-handed noncommital gesture. "Well...If you consider waking up with a splitting headache and a nigh uncontrollable urge to get you out of bed topped with an irrational sense of panic settling in -speaking-, then yeah. Sure." Rolling his eyes up to the sky, Zhell let his head fall back so that he could gaze heavenward. Well, there was a ceiling, though. "I feel...Uncomfortably watched. There's...A very strong sense of expectation." He drew his eyes back down, giving Nestos a tilted look, wondering silently if that made any sense at all. Nestos waited patiently as the mercenary made his first assessment of what was happening, then lets him explain more seriously what he was experiencing. He seemed to think for a moment before speaking, "It does make sense. Whatever is telling you to wake me up, I can only guess is trying to point us towards an event." The dark elf gestured to the tent flap, indicating that they should exit. "There is a considerable amount of arcane residue floating around. I would guess from a very powerful spell, that, unless I missed something, backfired." He then waited for the other to exit the tent before following him. "I do also have a feeling I might know who was casting the spell," Nestos said, knowing that unless the Highlord had someone else in the camp at his level of power, it could only be the Highlord himself.

Author: Nestos Date: Sat Sep 19 11:37:51 2015 Subject A Disturbance of the Arcane, pt. 2

Shifting into motion, pretty close to fully awake as he pulled the flap back, glancing out with a suddenly very keen eye. He would let Nestos pass with the intention of following. That made sense, sort of. Magic was an enigma to him, something best left to others, which was probably why there was a mage here. He noted a few sentries here and there, but the majority of the main camp was asleep it seemed. He spent a fair amount of time wandering the camp night and day, having met most of these men and he didn't expect any trouble. "Well...Alright then. What do we -do- about it? Can you magic up a trail or..." Something? Whatever magic does. Nestos stepped out of the tent and took his own look around the slumbering camp. He reached into a pouch with his free hand as he continued to glance around the camp. He whispered something under his breath as he rubbed whatever he pulled from the pouch between his fingers. The dark elf then reached up and rubbed his eyes with the substance. He whispered a final word and his eyes glowed golden for a brief moment then reverted back to their normal color. The mage again looked around the camp and set off in a direction, as if pulled. "Yes, I can figure out where it is coming from with magic." he said, looking back to the half-elf with a grin. They traveled through the camp, remaining quiet so to not wake the soldiers and draw attention to themselves. The silence remained as Nestos guided them through a forest, that the Silvanesti would not quite consider a forest. Nestos seemed to follow a trail that was not there, but continued to keep a look out for any of his kindred or anything else that may take the opportunity to kill them. Finally, after an hour or so of hiking, Nestos and Zhellik reached a ruin. "This is no doubt where the spell was being cast." Blade drawn and shield in hand, Zhellik took one look at the small ruined temple and gestured to Nestos. He made to move first, cautiously but without any real time for the mage to protest if he wished to do so. The main hollow of the place was plunged into darkness, only the stars and moons to light their way. He adjusted quickly, taking a careful look into the adjoining chambers as he circled. It certainly looked like something had happened here. The dust was disturbed and there were obvious signs of struggle. There wasn't much for blood but everything in the room seemed knocked outward from the platform. Satisfied, Zhellik gave a call. "It's clear, Nestos..." That is, he assumed the man waited... Nestos followed slightly behind the man, his free hand in his component pouch again. Upon entering the room in which the struggle had taken place, the dark elf pulled three orbs from a separate pouch. He whispered something else under his breath, and the orbs that had previously been laying in his hand lifted off into the air and begin orbiting each other. They also begin to glow brilliantly, one a bright white, the second a deep red, and the third seemed to drink in the light around it making the light of the others comfortable. Nestos seemed to set them in the air above his staff and started walking around the room, taking in the scene. Other than the normal signs of struggle left in the dust, the mage found a bleached white spell book that he picked up. With a concerned look on his face, Nestos turned to Zhellick, "I believe that the Highlord has been at the least captured, if not killed. I think it is time to find that commander of his."

Author: Nestos Date: Sat Sep 19 11:39:25 2015 Subject A Disturbance of the Arcane, pt. 3

Zhell grew somewhat grim, a nod coming as he took a somewhat lax stance, casting a glance towards the doorless opening, "Wonderful." That guy was so uptight he might just snap on him, were he the one to break the news. That is, if that stick settled firmly up his rear would let him catch him. Brow drawing inwards, he asked, "What in the Abyss was he doing out here? Are you going to tell him? I'd like to keep my relatively good looks..." Zhellik would've done it of course, but not without a word. Nestos smiled briefly, dissolving the concerned look on his face. He chuckled as he looked at the mercenary. He then studied the surrounding area briefly once more, "Well, he was casting something powerful, and risky. He may have come out here, worried a backlash may cause damage amongst the ranks. Or," The dark elf put on a look as if he had thought of something lucrative, "Or he was out here because he was hiding what he was doing from someone in the camp." He reaches up and scratches his head quickly before continuing, "Perhaps it would be best that we look into this ourselves...at least before we bring what we have found to the commander." The elf took another look around, then turned back to the mercenary, "See if there is anything else you can find that is out of place, or can point us to who did this, then we will leave this place." Another nod came as the man made to get a look outside, having not taken much time with it yet. Zhellik had some experience with tracking people down, of course, but there wasn't much to go on considering the slowly fading weather. He couldn't help but be somewhat relieved for a break in the rain as he came to a couple of conclusions. "This looks like one or two men. Not some sort of ambush..." Not sure what that might mean, he had to state the obvious, "Could be elves..." Nestos took another quick look inside the ruin, before collecting the three globes from above his staff. The dark elf whispered something under his breath and the light went out from the orbiting balls. They fell motionless into his hand and he ed them into the pouch he pulled them from and joins the mercenary as he made his proclamation. Nestos nodded at Zhellik with a grin, "It is definitely possible. Any idea of what direction they may have gone?" Zhellik took a moment longer, trying to make heads or tails of the scene as Nestos asked him his question. He gave a nod and a shrug, "Assuming it doesn't start storming again, I can give it my best shot. Everything seems pretty soft..." That could be beneficial, but just as equally not. A palm rubbing slowly at the fading headache, he turned to see what he could find, Gods willing...

Author: Nestos Date: Sat Sep 26 13:01:30 2015 Subject Whispers from the Darkness

The dark elf enters the temple in Neraka, escorted by the Red Dragonarmy Highlord. He wears the hood of his black robe low, hiding his face. He follows the Highlord through corridors and into the more secured areas. He waits till he sees the man no longer paying attention to him, then cuts down a different corridor, moving quickly. The Highlord has other things to worry about, better to have a look around...unsupervised. Nestos makes his way through corridors, ducking around corners or hiding in alcoves when dark clerics, or Dragonarmy soldiers appear. Somehow, he manages to get through, further into the temples than he had ever been. He moves deeper and deeper into the bowels of the temple, finding it easier than he would think to avoid contact with anyone. As he travels the corridors, he looks in the many rooms. Most are offices or living quarters for the priests that lived on the premises. He avoids the wings that held the military officers offices, not wanting to run into old acquaintances, nor make new ones. Finding nothing of consequence in these sections he continues deeper into the building, and the deeper he goes, the more oppressive it feels to him. Finally, he comes upon an archway that leads into a very poorly lit, and cavernous room. He takes a step into the room, and immediately knows what he will find inside. Thin cold tendrils begin to close around his chest, seeming to squeeze it, threatening to stop his heart. The elf pulls himself up and walks into the room. How often does one get this kind of opportunity? He stops himself in the middle of the room. The most well lit area, he finds himself standing in a circle of dim light, looking into the darkest corner of the room. Even with his elven eyes, he could not see into it. A wry grin emerges on the mages face as he looks into the darkness. He then makes a slight bow, lowering his torso slightly. He goes only as far as he feels is deserved, which is significantly less than what he probably should have. When he goes to straighten back up, he finds that he is not able to do so. Then the whispers start, brushing past his ears, telling him things he did not want to hear, and secrets that he did. The cold tendrils return, gripping his chest, but now grasping at his mind as well. Pain begins to surge through his body, pulsing in waves from his head to his toes. Nestos finds himself lowering to the floor, being pulled down to his knees. Through the pain, he finds the will to fight the urge to kneel. The pain increases the more he fights, and despite the freezing tendrils now gripping his entire body, beads of sweat begin to form on his brow. Despite all this, he continues to fight the urge, but he still finds himself losing ground. He pours all of his strength and will into combatting the grasp, pulling him to his knees. He opens his mouth to cry out, but finds his voice is gone. Just as he is about to give up, and collapse to his knees, the tendrils release their grasp. He finds himself standing again, but on shaky legs, preparing to give out at any minute. Then realization crosses his mind as he looks into the darkness once more. The grin he wore upon entry is gone, now replaced by a look of understanding. This is not what he thought he would find roaming the halls of the temple, but it is a welcome discovery. He nods slightly to the darkness, acknowledging what had happened. He wheels around on his heel then makes his way to the exit, happy to leave the room. The dark elf waits till he is near the door, to pull out a kerchief and wipe the sweat from his face. Before Nestos exits the room, he glances back over his shoulder, staring deep into the darkness again, remembering the whispers.

Author: Nestos Date: Tue Dec 15 00:49:09 2015 Subject A Matter of Faith

The dark elf has isolated himself from the Emperor's manor, and those that resided in it. He grew weary of the sycophants and the true believers. Sure, he had made his own deal with Her, but no god, in his mind, should be worshipped as these people worshipped Her. The gods were merely more powerful beings, certainly not to be trifled with, but blind faith is an absurd choice. Besides, he had business to take care of that had nothing to do with Her, well, not entirely. Nestos makes his way through the streets of Sanction, no longer dressed in his typical rune covered red robes, but rather simple pants, a dingy white shirt and vest. He wears a knitted hat that covers his pointed ears, and some soot on his face makes him look more a cutpurse than the Consular to the Emperor. He keeps his head down, avoiding eye contact, but his raven flies high above him, watching the crowd. He moves slow and deliberately into the plaza where slaves are being auctioned off to the highest bidder. He moves to a corner of the plaza where a number of barrels had been set up, no doubt a merchant's wares. He looks around, and not seeing the merchant, hops up to sit on one of the barrels, letting his feet dangle slightly. It is not long before the merchant returns, and makes a move to shoo the apparent cutpurse away. Upon seeing the man's face he stops dead, then moves to join the spymaster, {p"I do not have anything for you, boss." The dark elf does not speak for a long moment, making sure no one else was in earshot, "I know it...I have something for you." The merchant raises an eyebrow, but otherwise seems unphased, {p"How can I help?" "It would appear there is an officer in the green watch that has decided his faith is more important than the coin he has been given. He has decided to turn on The Company, and unfortunately for him, he told the wrong person. So, I will need you to take care of him." The merchant does not seem as though this is a surprise, rather something he has heard before, and nods along as the mage speaks, {p"Not a problem. I assume a message is meant to be sent?" "Yes, but only for employees. It is best that this is not public. Make it look like one of these folks did it, but leave the signs for those who need to see them," Nestos says, nodding towards a man preaching about the wrongs being perpetrated against those of the Temple of Duerghast, "Make it look like it is some sort of payback." The merchant nods slowly, {p"I think I know what you are looking for. I will make sure it gets done." The dark elf simply nods, then hops off the barrel, leaving a decent sized pouch of coins where he sat. As the merchant picks up the pouch, Nestos disappears into the crowd...there is still plenty to do before returning to the politics of the Dragonarmies.

Author: Nestos Date: Tue Mar 8 21:40:02 2016 Subject Preparations for the Cold

The Dark Queens images and words still echo in his head as the spymaster proceeds through the city of Sanction. He had watched as the sycophants had sworn their oaths, or leave to make preparations, but it was the one who had left during the visions that had his interests peaked. That, however, was not the concern at the moment, the concern was Her wishes. The white The Dark Queen's images and words still echo in his head as the spymaster proceeds through the city of Sanction. He had watched as the sycophants had sworn their oaths, or leave to make preparations, but it was the one who had left during the visions that had his interests peaked. That, however, was not the concern at the moment, the concern was Her wishes. The white dragons would indeed be an issue, but their introduction into this war would need to wait. There were still things to be handled by the dark elf. He had one more stop in the city before he would collect his gear and head to Neraka, then on to Icereach. Not much real marching, but still a trek, plus he would need to gather a small force to take Icewall Castle from the errant Highmaster. The renegade makes his way through a dark alley, entering an apparently vacant warehouse through the back entrance. The warehouse however was not empty, but filled with crates marked with an 'N', 'V', 'T' that overlap each other to look like the symbol on his signet ring. It does not take him long to find the being he was looking for, a brute of an ogre he calls, "Gorthnak". The ogre looks up at the call, his pale blue face splitting into a grin when he sees the dark elf. He stalks over to his boss, "Oi, boss. Looks like things will be pushed up." The ogre mage was far more intelligent than he looked, and Nestos placed him in charge of operations in Sanction for that reason. "They are indeed. I will be leaving tonight for Neraka to see that things are in order there before heading to the waste. I expect you will keep operations running smoothly. I want our spies constantly reporting in, considering the happenings about the city. And until I am able to setup a way of communication and travel, I want you running The Company here in Sanction." The ogre gives the elf an appreciative smile, as he towers over him, "Thank you for the honor, Nestos. I will make sure The Company runs just as well as it always has. How long do expect to be down there without communication?" The dark elf seems to ponder this a moment before looking up and responding, "Hopefully not too long...weeks I hope, but expect months. As soon as I have everything sorted in Icereach, I will return for the reports on what has transpired in the city. Make sure to keep close watch on each of the wings, and I would also like you to look into a soldier that left the meeting early. See if you can track down who he is and where he went." The ogre grunts his agreement, nodding his head, "I will make sure your agents keep a close eye on what the different wings are up to, and see if I can track this man down." "Good. Take care of yourself, Gorthnak. Changes in orders can be dangerous for groups like ours, be sure that the agents keep their heads down as much as possible. The rest of the armies will be on the lookout for spies, and so should we. Take a hard line on any who would betray us, and make an example of them...Dragonarmy or no." "Will do, boss." With that, Nestos turns on his heel and makes his way out the way he came. As he exits the building, a large raven lands on his shoulder and quorks in his ear, to which the renegade nods his head. He then begins his trek to collect his things from his rooms and prepare his departure for Neraka to gather the White Watch and make their move into the game.

Author: Nestos Date: Sat Apr 30 22:32:00 2016 Subject Back in Neraka

After closing the door behind the priestess, the dark elf digs out a piece of chalk and begins drawing arcane symbols along the frame of the door. Once complete, he concentrates on the door, speaking arcane words under his breath. Finally, he opens the door to reveal a cluttered office, not the hallway Sirene had left down. The mage steps into the office and looks over to find a man doing paperwork at the desk. He lets the door shut behind him. The sound of door latching causes the man behind the desk to look up and start at the presence of the elf. {o"Boss, I didn't expect you for some time." "I know, things have been moved up. How are you, my friend?" Nestos says with a smile for one of his first agents. {o"Better than ever." "Good. I assume The Company is moving along here in Neraka." {o"It most certainly is. The smuggling of goods has not been hit with a set back in a while, and the agents are bringing in reports frequently. I was just going through a stack now. "Good," the dark elf says with another smile to the man, "Now, I need you to send out a message to the commander of the White Watch. I want him to meet me here." The other man hops out of the chair and makes his way to the door, {o"No problem." As the man is about to exit the office into the warehouse, Nestos calls after him, "And the leader of the Prowlers." The man frowns at his boss, but nods and exits the office. It would not take long, the message would be passed to one of the kids that congregates outside the warehouse. While he waits, he takes a seat behind the desk and picks up the reports from the desk and leans back to read them. He gets through a few before there is a knock on the door. "Enter," Nestos calls out. The man that enters the office is short and stocky, with long reddish hair, and blue eyes, common to the Arktos of Ice Reach. He gives the spymaster a large smile, "Is it time for me to return home, sir?" The renegade returns the smile and nods, "Yes, it most certainly is. I want all those of the Watch loyal to me in Neraka assembled at the empty warehouse on the Inner Snake Road, prepared to march on Icewall Castle." The man chuckles a moment, "Nestos, you bought the loyalty of the majority of the White Watch long ago." The dark elf nods, "It is easy to do so when their leader sits in his castle in Icereach. Nonetheless, have them ready tomorrow at noon." "I will, sir," the man says, giving Nestos a salute before leaving out the door he had entered. Nestos goes back to reading the reports, and just as he is finishing up the final report, his elven ears hear the near silent shuffle of footsteps entering the room. Without looking up from the report, "Thank you for coming, Eliza." The footsteps stop, and the woman lets out an audible sigh of disappointment. The mage finishes the report then looks up to see who had entered the office. The woman is lithe, with short brown hair, and a scar down her cheek. Below her eye is a tattoo of two tear drops, and the mage gives a sickly grin to the two lives that those tear drops had once been. As if knowing the memory the spymaster had just thought of, the woman turns her head and walks towards the window, hiding the tattoo, "One of these days I will catch you off guard. What do you need?" "Probably," Nestos replies, "but not today. I have just returned from Sanction and have been given my orders. The time has come for me to fulfill my promise of bringing you and your sisters into the White Wing, but I will need your help to take Icewall Castle, and deal with this errant Highmaster. Are you still interested?" A sly grin crosses the woman's face, and all thoughts of those two leave her head as she faces Nestos, "We certainly are. When do we leave?" "Tomorrow...at noon. Be at the empty warehouse on the Inner Snake Road. You may..." the dark elf trails off as the door to the office swings open.

Author: Nestos Date: Wed May 18 21:53:02 2016 Subject Stepping into the Cold, pt. 1

After having selected those from the White Watch he would be taking with him, Nestos sent the rest back to continue to look after the White Wing's interests in Neraka. He looks over the fifty men of the White Watch left in the warehouse, then to the twenty or so prisoner's from the White Wing's dungeons. The dark elf then turns back to writing in spidery arcane letters on the floor in the rear of the warehouse, completing a circle of writing. He begins to check that all the marks are in the right place as Nestos waits for the assassins and the priestess. Sirene arrives about an hour early with her small bag, giving Nestos a smile once she's within sight of him. She has rested and meditated and prayed. Even if it's just for the duration of this walk, she has -confidence-, that she will not only make it through what is to come, but that she will thrive. Nestos nods to the priestess as she enters the warehouse and approaches him, "Now all we are waiting for are the Prowlers. I have briefed the Watch, but you should know that we will be traveling via magic to the edge of Icereach, west of of Icewall, just outside the Burning Ice. The men will setup camp and we will have some time before the two of us go into the Burning Ice and I will need you to create the wall of fire. Then we will make our way to the castle." Sirene nods, "I will be able to make the wall the size that you need, just tell me when." She gives a little grin. "Is anything specific needed in setting up the camp? And should I unpack my supplies at camp, or not bother as we'll be on our way soon enough?" Nestos shakes his head, "No, we will be leaving for the castle tomorrow morning. Unpack enough to get through the night and that is it. We will leave first thing, but do not expect to get much sleep at that." The mage glances at the door as Eliza slinks into the warehouse, followed by seven more females clad in black leather armor and moving just as fluid. Their leader frowns as she catches Nestos' glare, but makes her way over to the dark elf. "Reporting for duty, sir," the female states with a feigned militaristic sincerity. She then looks over to the priestess and gives her a sly grin and a wink. Nestos grins at the woman, then fishes into his bag and pulls out eight pins made of pearl and cut to look like white dragon skulls. He hands them over to Eliza with a warning, "You now truly are under my command, and not due to the coin I pay you. You will be expected to follow my orders, and if you betray me, I promise the fate of your sisters will be a welcomed fate indeed." The human frowns at the mention of the two that they had lost, but nods to Nestos, the threat clearly hitting its mark. Sirene nods and gives a quick "Understood" with his explanation, and then watches the assassins come in. Just watching with curiosity for the most part, but she does smile -slightly- when Eliza frowns and nods to the threat. Ok, she can deal with this kind of thing, just watching. Nestos watches as the leader of the Prowlers hands out the pins amongst her followers, and makes sure they all pin them on. He nods as the last receives her pin and waits for Eliza to come back, "Are your sisters ready for this?" The woman grins, her confidence clearly returned, "We have been ready." The dark elf nods once again then calls out to the commander of the White Watch, "Let us be on with it." The Arktos man calls out in a gruff voice, "ATTENTION!" And there is a loud snap as the 50 men come to attention. Nestos then turns to the others, you will want to step back...stepping back from the circle himself. Sirene does step back, giving attention to the commander for a moment, then looking to Nestos. She is ready. Ready for the cold, ready to light it up with flames soon.

Author: Nestos Date: Wed May 18 21:57:25 2016 Subject Stepping into the Cold, pt. 2

The assassins take several steps back, stopping just behind Nestos. The mage then reaches into his pouch and retrieves a large uncut diamond, nearly the size of his fist. He begins a chant, quite softly and the sigils he had drawn on the floor begin to glow, before he throws the diamond into the circle. The stone stops at chest height, perfectly in the center of the circle. The chanting gets louder, and as it does, the diamond begins to glow a bright white. At the finale of Nestos' arcane words, the diamond seems to implode and become a marble size speck of nothing, not light showing from it. When the diamond implodes and becomes nothing, everyone in the room shudders forward slightly as everything seems to get pulled towards it. Nestos then whispers a one more arcane word and the nothingness flairs and snaps open revealing a twenty foot square view onto Icereach. With the doorway open, winds begin to rush in now, causing the temperature in the warehouse to drop drastically. Sirene knows magic exists. Has seen magic be used. Has seen amazing things. But -wow-. She can't help but stare at the whole thing, eyes wide in awe. When they are seemingly at the new place, she tentatively pulls her gaze from the center, looking around a bit as if to say 'did everyone else just -see- that?' Nestos wavers on his feet a moment then looks up to Eliza, and extends his arm out inviting her to enter. The assassin looks at the doorway with the same awe as the priestess and many others in the room, but shakes it off and the eight lope there way through the doorway. They fan out, clearly taking in the area. The Arktos man, knowing what to do, and clearly excited to be returning home, orders his men forward. The renegade watches as the White Watch makes its way through the doorway, along with the prisoners being wrangled by two large hobgoblins with nasty whips. Once the last of those in the warehouse are through, Nestos looks to Sirene and extends his hand once more, "Shall we?" Sirene gives an excited grin and nod, stepping through the door and into the cold. Looking around once she's through because still. -Wow-. Nestos follows Sirene through the doorway, glancing back into the warehouse to ensure he is the last one through and that no one was watching. The air comes up and bites him harder as he steps into the snow on the other side. The mage turns to look at the warehouse one more time before whispering something under his breathe. The image of the warehouse wavers and as it does a deep whirring noise is produced. Then the doorway snaps shut into the nothingness, once more pulling those around it in before bursting into a bright flash and causing a shockwave that pushes everyone the opposite way. Nestos shivers momentarily, but pulls up the hood of his snow white cloak causing sigils underneath it to glow briefly. The dark elf no longer seems affected by the elements. He digs a second out of the satchel in his bag and hands it to the priestess, "This will help."

Author: Nestos Date: Wed May 18 21:59:02 2016 Subject Stepping into the Cold, pt. 3

Sirene has started shivering a bit before the cloak was offered, so accepts it gratefully. Putting it on, she it able to look around a bit more. Silvanost was so green, Sanction was so ashy and then red lava, the ocean is a wide open blue, and this, how is there so much white, how can so much place be so white... "Wow..." And then a grin for Nestos. "And now to set up a bit, then rest up for tomorrow?" Nestos looks around as his soldiers begin setting up a very disciplined camp, tents going up quickly and fires being started. The Prowlers were no doubt scouting in a wider pattern to search for other possible parties. The dark elf then shakes his head at Sirene, "No...tonight." Sirene ahs, and gives a nod. And another smile. She saw him sway after the teleport but if he's up for it, then she's up for it. "Alright! I will admit that I am a bit excited. Let me know when." Nestos nods and speaks in Silvanesti, "I will, but for now I must rest up and prepare myself." The elf gives the priestess a small smile, then makes his way towards an unassuming tent that the soldiers already have set up. Pulling the flap aside, he steps inside to prepare for a much more powerful spell.

Author: Nestos Date: Wed Jul 6 00:28:40 2016 Subject Commanding an Army, pt. 1

Nestos closes the tome with a cover made from the sentient races of Krynn and stuffs it into his satchel. He checks to makes sure the crystal bowl is in there as well, then pats each pouch to ensure he has all the necessary components. He then pulls the white cloak around him and steps outside of his tent. He swings his head back and forth, scanning the camp before turning to the guard at his door. "Have Thionto and his officers meet me at the command tent. Have him also bring the prisoners. Once you have informed the commander, find the priestess and bring her to the command tent." The guard nods and gives a small salute before trudging off into the snow. Nestos takes his time to walk to the command tent, but still manages to be the first one there. He slowly paces, keeping the incantations he will need fresh in his mind. Sirene is more than ready to go once she is summoned. She gets to get away from that Eliza woman, get -going- on this thing. The waiting time here has just increased her anger, and yes, let's go, let's go -now-, she will make that ring of fire, she will -do- this ritual. She doesn't even bother hiding the anger from her face when she heads to the tent, though it's clearly not directed at Nestos. Nestos does not hide the grin on his face at Sirene's frustration, "Just about." As they talk, the officers begin to file into the the tent, following by the prisoners. The dark elf looks over the prisoners, then turns to his officers. "I intend to go into the Burning Ice, and I need a volunteer to watch my back while Im there." A panicked murmur settles over the officers and the majority of prisoners look confused, except one. A runt of a sivak draconian stands from where he had been shoved to the ground, the chains around his wrists and ankles jingling, "For my freedom, I will do it." A large hobgoblins comes up behind him and shoves him to the ground. Nestos raises his eyebrow at the creature's boldness and raises his hand to stop the jailer from bringing out his whip. "Why is this draconian in fetters?" Sirene watches this all, hmming a bit. Definitely not going to -interfere- here, but huh. Her expression is settling to just the general embers of anger burning, paying attention, and if everyone else is a coward... well, she'll just see how far his bravery goes. The hobgoblin huffs then responds, "He slaughtered the rest of his clutch." The draconian begins to giggle maniacally at that, but the hobgoblin continues, "Killed them all during training, says the god of death made him do it." The draconian continues his giggling, nodding his head along with the explanation, tears of mirth rolling down face. Nestos eyes him with interest as the hobgoblin gives his description. The sivak stands again, restraining his laughter, "Still doesn't change a thing. If you release me, I will fight for you until that point. What do you say, boss?" Nestos gives the creature a grin, then looks to the hobgoblin, "Release him from his chains, and outfit him." The mage looks to the sivak, "Meet me on the northwest corner of the camp, and bring the Silvanesti." Nestos points to the elf in chains next to the sivak. "Dismissed." As everyone begins filing out of tent, the dark elf turns to Sirene, "If you are ready, let us get on with it." Sirene quirks her head slightly at the explanation. Interesting. And she has seen the Silvanesti prisoner there, but isn't quite looking at them, as the anger shows all the more for every glance there. She does let herself look as they leave though, grinning slightly. And then she turns back to Nestos, giving a firm nod. "Yes. More than ready, let's go." She makes to exit the tent as well.

Author: Nestos Date: Wed Jul 6 00:31:57 2016 Subject Commanding an Army, pt. 2

Nestos walks quietly to the northwest corner of the camp, the large camp fires giving the only light from the ground. The mage looks to the stars above, bright and twinkling, then to the large moon high in the sky. The third and only moon in the sky tonight. He pauses a moment, bathing in the light of Nuitari. He then looks down to see the sivak approaching, now in white armor, a skull painted on his face in white paint and two longswords on his back. Nestos gives a quick jerk on the rope in his hand, which causes the elf in tow to fall to his knees. "The name's Kyzzec, by the way." Nestos tosses a third white cloak to Kyzzec, "Nestos, and this is Sirene," he says indicating the priestess. Sirene gives a bow to Kyzzec. She's been great at this not being too respectful thing, but hey, she's just meeting this guy. And he's pretty cool. "Nice to meet you." She eyes the elf for a moment, then looks to Nestos to follow. Is the elf coming? They are doing a big ritual, and they have an elven prisoner... heh, alright, there is a slight smirk at that realization. Kyzzec throws the cloak on, and it seems to fit him perfectly, even accounting for his wings. Once he is set Nestos sets off into the darkness, and as he does, he retrieves three orbs from a pouch, one white, one red, and one black. He whispers a word of magic and there is a flash of light that persists from the orbs, each giving off light of their corresponding color to make one normal light brightening the surrounding landscape. The three orbs orbit each other as Nestos sets them to hover atop his charred vallenwood staff. As they walk, they hit a point where the cloaks seem to nearly stop working. The cold suddenly sinks in and the Nestos forces himself to hold back shivering. After a few miles of this, something between a moan and a snarl can be heard on the wind. Nestos straightens up quickly, a grin on his face. "Kyzzec, put the prisoner on his knees, and keep anything that may come from me as I proceed with the ritual. Sirene, kneel across from the elf." Sirene feels the cold, she does, but she is warmer than she should be, fires of vengeance being semi literal for her and all. She's not -comfortable-, but she's not freezing. And still loves watching when Nestos does cool things like those glowing orbs. But an instruction, yes. She gives Nestos a nod, and kneels as directed. Sirene will hug her arms to her while she waits for the next direction, just deal with the cold here, but she is not holding back any of that dark smirk for the prisoner. She doesn't know what exactly this ritual entails. But the guess she has makes her very happy. Kyzzec throws the elf to his knees, then sets to a sentry position, scanning into the horizon. "I don't understand why you would betray your own people for this abomination and half breed, dark elf," the Silvanesti male spits. Nestos grins at the elf as he pulls a skin of water from his satchel, "I am not betraying my people, I am just not as narrow sighted." The dark elf scans the horizon himself, then seems to find what he is looking for. Nestos pours out a small circle, big enough for the prisoner, Sirene and himself. He does not complete it however, leaving a small entrance. As the water reaches the snow on the ground it freezes leaving markings. He then pours a larger circle, again leaving a small opening. He connects the two entry points forming a path, then begins drawing sigils of ice with the water all throughout the enclosed area. When Nestos is finally done he steps into the smaller circle. He pulls out the large crystal bowl and places it between Sirene and the elf, then grasps the elf by the hair and looks to the priestess. "The wall, please."

Author: Nestos Date: Wed Jul 6 00:34:19 2016 Subject Commanding an Army, pt. 3

Sirene nods, straightening. Yes, she is a half-breed, at at this point, quite glad that people like -you- don't consider her "your people" enough that she is even betraying. She'd hate to be -belonging- to such a thing. And so, you get your wall, Nestos. Far off in the distance, a fire starts, then quickly spreads on both sides, rushing to make a wall, a circle. Sirene clutches her amulet as she concentrates, whispering words of burning it all, her eyes open and wild as the scent of ash fills the air. As the walls of flame rise up, they begin to outline figures all around them, moving towards their location. "Kyzzec, there will be one of these, one that looks like an elven general. He will try to come down this path...let him." With that said Nestos pulls the other elf's neck over the bowl, jerks the dagger from his belt, and cuts the prisoner's throat without any further ceremony. The flow of blood fills the bowl quickly, the dark elf holding his head long enough to fill the bowl then setting the body to the side. Nestos retrieves a fine brush from a pocket in his robes then takes the dead elf's place, kneeling in front of Sirene, "No matter what happens, keep that wall up and your connection with Kinthalas open. Your life truly depends on it now." Nestos dips the brush in the elf's blood then begins draw sigils on the priestess' face, a mix between elven and arcane runes. As he does so, he whispers words of magic under his breathe. Sirene expected... she's not quite sure what... but startles just a bit when Nestos starts painting the blood on her. But she will keep still, not mess up the sigils. But... there is no need to mention -her- life here, Nestos. You just gave her... Doing this, this is a direct step towards her vengeance. No, there is no way she will be dropping that wall, that connection. Not so long as she is alive and able to keep it. Keeping mostly still, the response she gives Nestos is just a wider grin, eyes still wild. Nestos continues with the sigils till her face is covered. He then pulls out holy symbol of Sargonnas from a pouch on his belt, one not too different from the one around Sirene's neck. Continuing his hushed incantation, he lowers it into the bowl, still mostly filled with blood. He then stands to find a frost wight, no more than ten feet from the outer circle. The creature was clearly an elf general centuries past, but his flesh has been twisted in undeath and his mouth is now a razor sharp maw. His hands have grown into claws, and the sword at his side has not been bared in sometime. Glowing ice blue eyes stare him down as the creature closes in. Nestos now begins to truly chant, his voice being carried on the now howling winds. As the creature comes into reach of the dark elf, the mage come down hard with his dagger, the point piercing and destroying the holy symbol submerged in blood. Nestos reaches out and places his hand on Sirene's head, then stands and reaches out and places his hand on the creature's face. Sirene is not so ok with this. Nestos just... it feels like he just -stole- that from her, from Sargonnas and you wanted an angry, vengeful priestess? You had one before, but you have one even more now. She doesn't understand what is happening, what this all means, and if it is a full betrayal or not. She can logic it out later, right now she is rage, held in place only by the warning that it is her life at stake. Sirene was warned about this heretic. Not to trust too much. And he probably has contingencies for if she were to jerk away at this moment, so here she will stay, she will be your conduit, if only to live another day to find, if he is deserving, how she might get vengeance for this. She will be your conduit, screaming out in rage, the circle of fire burning bright.

Author: Nestos Date: Wed Jul 6 00:35:56 2016 Subject Commanding an Army, pt. 4

Kyzzec watches the ritual with a giggle, then turns back to the other figures, now close enough to be made out. Clearly many races are represented in this mass of undead. He readies himself to keep them back. Nestos reaches out his hand and places it on the wight's face, chanting arcane words. Once his hand comes into contact with the undead flesh, the words come out as a gasp, but only a few more words are uttered. Nestos finishes the final words of the spell, and the bowl of blood and fragments explodes, and a rush of wind emanates from it, pushing everyone back to the ground. The burst of wind carries across the ice, sending all the undead to the ground as well and snuffing the wall of flames at its terminus. The only two remaining on their feet are the dark elf and the frost wight general. Nestos pulls his hand from its face to reveal the writing that had been painted on Sirene's face is now scarred into the wight's. He looks down to the priestess, her face now clean of blood and gives her a smirk and a shrug, but his face is hollow and gaunt. He nods to her watching her with sunken eyes, "The power is for you to use...he merely grants it." He then turns to the wight general, "Assemble your men, we are going back to camp." Sirene works her way to sitting up again, then standing, silent and taking controlled breaths. She... doesn't know how she feels about all of this, Nestos. And just nods to him, expression blank. The ritual is done, the fires are gone, and it's so cold... Hugging her arms to her chest, she quietly asks, "Will there be time to rest once we are back at camp?" By the time the priestess is back on her feet, more than twenty frost wights surround them, all with the spidery writing scarred on their face. Kyzzec having seen the ritual over and the wights posing no threat has sheathed his weapons. He giggles at the sight of the wights' obedience, "And I thought I was mad before." Nestos looks to Sirene, "Yes, first thing. Then we march on Icewall Castle." Sirene gives a small nod. "Alright. I will be sure to be ready." And she will move when you ask, and just, until they get back to the camp, she's not going to talk unless spoken to. Lost in her own thoughts. Nestos and his newly attained army make their way out of the Burning Ice, the snow of Icereach seeming warm compared to what had been endured. The mage leans heavily on his staff, and keeps to himself as well. Kyzzec scouts ahead of the group, ensuring nothing would disturb them on their return to camp. The dark elf gives a slight grin at the thought of finally completing the ritual he had been working towards for some time. Now to truly take command of the White Wing along with Icewall Castle.

Author: Nestos Date: Thu Jul 28 23:37:23 2016 Subject Taking Over, pt. 1

The Highmaster sits in the office of the White Dragonarmy Highlord going over the report from the day's earlier action. He had his best archers fire on the wannabe Highlord as his commander's parlayed with him. They could not claim his body but they reported three shafts buried deep into the elf's chest. He grins to himself, he had killed his Highlord and now the one that was sent to replace him, perhaps now they would finally give him the position. A rustling outside his door catches his attention, and he rises from his chair and walks around the desk towards the door. As he gets close, the door flies off its hinges at him, and in walks a runt of a sivak with a white skull painted on his face. The sivak steps to the side to reveal the dark elf he was informed had been killed, and the holes in his waistcoat prove the arrows hit their mark. The Highmaster does not wait for the mage and reaches for the ancient longsword at his side, the one he had taken from the Highlord when he slew him. Nestos does not give the Highmaster time to pull his sword and in a surprisingly quick and fluid motion, he pulls the black bladed dagger from his belt and closes the distance to the man. The sigils on the blade glow white hot as he buries it into the man's shoulder. The pretender lets out a blood curdling scream and falls back to lie on his desk, all thoughts of action flushed from his mind. Sirene strolls in after Nestos, here to see the fall of the pretender. She wears flowing robes of red and black, cut in a style that is wholly impractical for being in a place of winter, a condor symbol showing brightly on top. Two White Wing soldiers and the wight general come in as well with the two guards that were restrained, Eliza and her Sisters keeping guard. It was a quick operation, gating directly outside of the office, taking care of the small amount of resistance. And now to watch the fall of a Highmaster, the rise of a Highlord. The Highmaster's screams subside as he visibly forces himself to endure the searing pain in his shoulder. He once again reaches for his sword, but Nestos grabs the man's hand with his left, and wraps his right around the man's neck. As he reaches out with his right, he exposes his fingers that are black to the second knuckle, frostbitten but apparently unhindered. "You know, when I arrived here, I fully intended to let you live on as Highmaster. You clearly know your way around command, and these men respect you at least enough to stick around." The man does nothing but try in vain to wrestle himself free, but the pain is clearly crippling him. He looks up to the sivak and one of the White wing soldiers he brought along, "Hold him down." Sirene watches this all, making sure to grab hold of one of the captured guards so the soldier can do as Nestos bid. She's seen the elf do many a remarkable thing in this operation, and his words mean that he is probably going to put on a show. Implied that he no longer would keep him alive, and yet the man lives for at least a few moments. And so, she will watch. Kyzzec sheathes his two longswords and walks over to the desk with a pleased grin on his face. He takes hold of the man's arms and wrenches them down above his head. The Highmaster cries out in pain, and the sivak giggles maniacally. The other soldier does his job plainly and steps up to the man's feet and holds them down to the desk. Nestos then makes his way to the other side of the desk and looks down at the Highmaster, "You would have lived if you had not tried to kill me, but now I will give you the option of a painless death. All you need to do is tell me where I can find the commanders you sent out to parlay with me...and anyone else who may cause trouble." The Highmaster manages a chuckle, "And if I don't? You don't scare me elf."

Author: Nestos Date: Thu Jul 28 23:39:55 2016 Subject Taking Over, pt. 2

Nestos gives the man a disturbing smile as if he were pleased the man was wanting the second option, "If you do not, I will take your soul and command you to tell me." The dark elf states this as if it were just another day for him, all while wearing the same sickly grin. Sirene watches with an interested smile. Huh, she didn't know Nestos could do that. What an interesting threat She doubts that the Highmaster will tell the things to proper satisfaction so, she watches more intently, to see what taking a soul even looks like. "A bold claim, but I don't believe you," the Highmaster states, managing a pompous tone through the pain, "Plus there are others that will make sure your control never gains traction if you kill me. So, really, your best option is to keep me alive." Nestos looks at him sideways, a sickly grin on his face. "I will keep you around, but not in this state," the dark elf says as he pulls the chain of his necklace over his head. "You must pay the price for betrayal," the mage states, and for a brief moment his gaze falls on each person in the room. He then turns and watches the Highmaster's look of defiance with enjoyment as he lowers the large piece of jet onto his chest. Letting the silver chain pool up before setting the stone on top, he then reaches over and rips the dagger from the man's chest earning another cry of pain. Kyzzec giggles as the mage rips the dagger from the man, but keeps his grip so that the man cannot move a bit. The sivak watches with obvious interest as the mage begins speaking arcane words in a sort of chant. Suddenly, the man begins to convulse, and holding the man becomes a chore. This only lasts a moment before the man arches his back and opens his mouth to scream. No noise escapes, instead a black mist begins pouring out, as if his mouth were overflowing. The sivak makes a point to look at the man's face, filled with excruciating pain and complete horror. Sirene watches with interest as Nestos does the set-up with the necklace. So is this some heretic necromancer's form of holy symbol? Definitely a tool, at the least. And as the chanting leads to black mist, Sirene watches more intently, a slight smile on her face. She's pretty sure she has no interest in practicing this necromancy... But she would love to learn more about it. This is your price of betrayal, Nestos? The mist begins pooling around the chunk of jet, swirling around it as the stone begins to absorb the light surrounding it. It is sudden when the final bit of mist emerges from the man, he collapses to the table and the mist is absorbed into the stone. Nestos reaches out and picks up the necklace, and as he replaces it around his neck, quiet whispers seem to emerge from the stone set in silver. The dark elf wraps his frostbitten hand around it, then closes his eyes. A short time later he opens them to call Eliza and her Sisters into the room and gives them directions to ten men and women, then nods. The three disappear down the corridor. Nestos sits down in the chair the Highmaster had been in, "Xaerthas," he says to the frost wight general, "You can have that one." The dark elf lazily points to one of the two that had been guarding this office. The man's eyes shoot wide open as the wight approaches him, arms stretched out. The one restraining him steps aside as the wight's hands wrap around the guard's head and he quickly falls to the floor. "Sirene?" Sirene is holding the other captured guard, who is rather terrified and straining at his bindings, but tied up well enough to not be a problem. She looks to the dark elf with a slight head tilt asking a simple, "Yes?

Author: Nestos Date: Thu Jul 28 23:41:13 2016 Subject Taking Over, pt. 3

"Take command of these men, including our captive here, and lead them down to the gatehouse." The dark elf looks at the restrained man before saying, "I do not think he will be any trouble," Nestos says, pausing till he shakes head, "Plus, the soldiers here are still apart of the White Wing and now under my command. So, go ahead and set him free." He turns all his attention to the man now, "I encourage you to share what you saw here with the rest of the men. Is that understood?" The man nods his head, and the mage turns back to Sirene, "Have the gates opened for our men outside the castle. And if you run into Eliza or her Sisters and they are done, bring them with you." Sirene nods to Nestos, pulling out a dagger and cutting the guard's bindings. She instructs him to come with her, and heads out to get the gates opened. Nestos watches the group leave then reaches over and unclasps the ancient longsword from the Highmasters belt and unceremoniously dumps his body to the ground in front of the desk. He examines the blade closely, inspecting each rune that lines the sheath before pulling the blade from the scabbard. The blade itself is curved and has the appearance of being covered in ice. He inspects the sigils on the blade before returning into to its sheath and setting it on the table. He then sits at the table, slumping slightly in the chair. "I suppose I should send a report back to Sanction."

Author: Nestos Date: Mon Aug 28 16:03:33 2017 Subject The Summons

The dark elf watches as the fire consumes the missive, the light casting shadows on a face that looks like it should belong on a deadman. His skin is drawn tight over his face making his angular elven features all the more sharp, and his sunken eyes lack the glint of a living being. He lets the flames climb the page and only releases the document just before they touch the frostbitten fingertips of his right hand. He lets the ashes fall into a small stone bowl. Finally, the necromancer looks up to the courier who had delivered the message, "Find Captain Lukran and have him report to me, then get yourself some food and find a place to rest. I will be replying to this in person," he says, indicating the ash in the bowl. The messenger salute Nestos, then turns on his heel and makes his way out of the office. The elf then begins grinding the ash with a pestle and as he does, he speaks to the frost wight general in the corner of the room, "Have all your men currently in the field, withdrawn. I need all the wights here within three days." "Yes, master," the creatures says in a hollow, raspy voice. Nestos then goes back to grinding the ash down, before pouring it into a vial. As he finishes stopping the vial, an Arktos man enters the room. The man's intensity is accented by the his flame red hair and ice blue eyes. "You called for me, sir?" "Yes, Captain," the dark elf says, tucking the vial into a pouch at his side, "I will be leaving for Neraka shortly. I should only be gone a few days, but when I return I will be departing again. I am not sure how long I will be gone, but I will be taking the frost wights with me. You will be in command of the castle and the troops whilst I am gone. Have a sivak dispatched to replace each wight in the field, and continue to forge alliances with the tribes that will listen to our deal. I will be back when I am able." The tribesman nods along as the necromancer talks. Once the elf is done, he salutes him, "Yes, sir. Is there anything else?" The man seems eager to be about his job trying to convince his people to join them. "No, Lukran, thank you. Both of you get to your assignments. I will be back in a few days and I expect things to be ready," Nestos says to the two in the room. The Arktos man salutes Nestos as the messenger had and makes his way out of the office, while the frost wight takes his time departing, "My people will be ready," he says before closing the door behind him. The dark elf stands from his chair and retrieves a vallenwood staff that is propped against a bookshelf full of spellbooks. Though the staff looks scorched, the wood itself is in perfect condition. He waves the staff over a number of items on his desk, including a book bound in skin, and they disappear as the runes running down the staff glow a dull white. He then fixes the frost covered sword behind his desk to his belt, and checks that his wands are in place. As he walks over to the door, he pulls out a small piece of well used chalk. He begins drawing runes along the frame. Upon finishing the writing he inspects it to make sure that it is correct, then tucks the chalk back into its pouch. He then speaks a few words of arcane magic, and opens the door. Instead of a his two guards, and the hallway down Icewall Castle, he steps into a warehouse in the middle of Neraka. Sitting at a desk in front of him is a thin, nervous looking man pouring over reports. The man looks up, startled, "Boss! It has been awhile, welcome back."

Author: Nestos Date: Mon Sep 11 16:50:11 2017 Subject Old Information

The man looks up from his work and out the window of his office into the warehouse, where men are moving around boxes with the symbol of the Neraka Valley Trading Company. He wrings his hands as if nervous about something then looks back to the half deciphered letter on his desk. He picks up his pencil and continues glancing from the original that is covered in a spiderweb of nonsense markings, to the page he is writing on in common. He does not look up when he hears the door to his office open, seemingly engrossed in his work. Then the wave of cold washes over him, and peeking his curiosity and causing him to look up to see the mage. The dark elf stands about average when compared to the rest of his kin, but what flesh can be seen is pulled tight across his bones. The fingertips of his right hand are black as if they had been burnt, but the blue that accompanies the black points towards frostbite. The mage pulls down his cowl and gives the man a sickly grin causing the scar under his eye to look more severe. "Boss! It has been awhile, welcome back," the man says with delight in his voice. The elf's hard sunken eyes seem to grow a bit softer as he replies, "It has been too long, old friend." Nestos walks deeper into the room and as he does, the man stands up to offer the chair to his boss, "Please, finish what you are doing. I have things to do in the city, but when you are done, I want you to get me all the information we have gathered about the events near Schallsea." "Actually, I have an encoded message here that was marked urgent. I am only about halfway through decoding it though." The mage steps around the desk as the other man takes a seat in the chair. Nestos' eyes dart back and forth as he reads the message. "Damn," he mutters under his breathe, "The man went and got himself captured, and this is a week old." He then looks to the man sitting in his chair, "I want the rest of this message decoded by the time I get back." Nestos walks over to a coat hanger in the corner of the room and places his cloak and red robes on it. With a twist of his hand his staff disappears, then he pulls a stocking cap from a pocket in his robes and places it on his head to cover his ears. "I was hoping to stay a day or so, but I think I will need to leave today. Please have my usual list of components ready as well." The dark elf whispers a word of magic as his passes his hand over his face, causing it to look more youthful, but also dirty. The man watches his boss depart the room and finally the warehouse before turning his attention back to the message, intent to follow through on his boss' orders.

Author: Nestos Date: Thu Sep 14 15:16:52 2017 Subject Negotiating with a Fool

Nestos makes his way through the maze of streets with ease. He takes back roads when necessary, knowing where to go to avoid cutpurses and robbers. He does not fear the underbelly of the city, but he also does not have time for its games. He wears nothing of his normal garb, looking more like one of the cutpurses of the city than the head of a trading company. After a short period of time, he arrives at his destination, the sprawling network of stalls that is the Neraka market. As he picks his way through the stalls, he keeps his eyes open for the one he needs. A smile creeps onto his face as he finds the man he was searching for in a dark corner of the bazaar. As he approaches, the man seems to recognize him and gives a greedy grin. "Well, hello there, traveler," the silver tongued salesman says, "Can I offer you any of my wares?" Nestos takes a quick glance around before speaking, "I am in need of another of those rocks you obtained for me a few years ago. You would not happen to have one on you?" The stall owner's grin somehow grows larger, "I certainly do, sir. Step into the back and I will show you what I have." The man does not wait for the mage, instead he pushes the fabric door aside and disappears into the dark tent. The dark elf follows the man inside, wary of the his intentions. Inside he finds a number of trunks and boxes, even spying one with 'NVT' stamped on the side. The salesman begins digging through a trunk at the corner of the tent as Nestos surveys the rest of the interior. Finally, he returns with an uncut diamond the size of a fist. "I do indeed have one left, but they are so hard to comeby, you know," he says with feigned concern in his voice, "And there is now another in the city that pays me handsomely for stones like this." Nestos smirks, but otherwise looks unsurprised by the man's words, "I presume the price has risen?" "I am afraid so," the man says, the feigned concern still in his voice, "The price is now ten times what you paid last time." The mage's brow furrow at the man's price, "You do not think me a fool, do you?" "I do not, my dear Nestos, but it is how economics work." "Wrong, this is how extortion works. I will give you two times, and you will be happy about it. I can guarantee you will not be able to sell it for that to anyone else." "Well, if you don't want it, I will find another buyer," he says, then glances down at the pouches around the mage's belt, "And don't even think about trying any finger waggler tricks, I have protections now." The man tucks the diamond into a pouch and starts towards the door. A black-bladed dagger appears in the dark elf's hand, the runes running down the blade glowing red. Nestos reaches his hand around the man and covers his mouth, while at the same time, he slips the blade into the man's back and between his ribs. The salesman makes a groaning noise before slumping back into Nestos' arms. The elf sets the man down softly, then reaches into his pouch and pulls out the diamond. As he tucks it into his own pouch he whispers, "You should have taken the money, you fool." He then steps around the boxes of goods and cuts himself an exit in the rear of the tent with the same blade before sheathing it. He emerges into a small alleyway with only a cat to spot him. He slinks his way out of the alley then begins the trip back to his warehouse on the other side of town.

Author: Nestos Date: Wed Nov 8 14:31:03 2017 Subject From Thin Air, pt. 1

"High Clerist!" the seneschal shouted as he barges into the chambers, "Sir, the captain asked me to let you know we should be within sight of Schallsea shortly." Verrochio grunted in acknowledgement and went back to the roster of knights he planned on picking up from Solitude to begin the offense against the vile Dragonarmies. Growing bored of the dull task Verrochio wanders up to the main deck of 'Habbakuk's Phoenix' and begins looking around. After about ten minutes a tuft of smoke appears way off in the distance from the direction that Schallsea should be. Sounds of battle begin to fill the air in the distance, but instead of coming from where the smoke is rising, the battle seems to be erupting on the ships surrounding 'Habbakuk's Phoenix'. Figures can be seen jumping out of thin air and fighting the sailors on the other ships. Suddenly, the battle cacophony erupting from the other ships vanishes and is replaced by a quiet thrum. A black speck appears towards the bow of the ship. It seems to be pulling the ropes and sails towards it. It does this for a brief moment before exploding into a tear in space that cuts through wood, fibers, and tissue. The portal cuts through a number of sailors as it opens. A freezing gust of wind covers the ship as snow floats through. A dark elf casually steps through the portal, wand in hand and surveys the ship, his eyes fall on Verrochio and he gives the man a sickly grin. Behind him a number of undead creatures step through, though their eyes burn with an intelligent malevolence that the undead in Schallsea lack. Behind them a larger body of white wing soldiers emerges. "What in the gods is happening here?" This is certainly something Verrochio has never seen before, a sudden shock overcomes him as screams of horror can be heard from the other ships. In an instant Verrochio snaps back and calms his demeanor, "I am the High Clerist of the Knights of Solamnia! You will NOT triumph here fiend!" Pulling his sword and mace from his back Verrochio turns to a subordinate he did not initially know was there but had seen on the ship prior to the attack, "Squire! Sneak towards the back of the ship, take the rowboat and try to reach Lord Frank in Caergoth, let him know what is happening here!" Verochio then turns to the foes, mutters "Est Sularis Uth Mithas" and throws himself at the new intruders, I must buy time until reinforcements can get here. The dark elf turns to the frost wight general standing next to him, "Take any you can, kill the rest," then to the rest of his forces he commands, "You have your orders, carry them out." With that he turns his attention back to the High Clerist and levels his wand at the man. Nestos whispers a word of magic and a number of black orbs emerge from the tip of the wand and fly unerring towards their target. Verrochio knew he was already moving forward with too much momentum to attempt to dodge, quickly bringing his shield in front of him to block whatever these orbs are. Being almost successful Verrochio can feel the pulse of magic against his shield, slowing him down some but he mustn't stop. Suddenly Verrochio feels this searing pain in his leg, the muscles spasm and as he looks down and catches sight of his leg, oddly not bleeding but wounded and glowing black. Running through the pain, knowing he must close the distance or this 'thing' will have the advantage he gathers his energy and pushes off from the deck with both feet to lunge at the mage shield first.

Author: Nestos Date: Wed Nov 8 14:34:05 2017 Subject From Thin Air, pt. 2

Nestos grins wryly at the sight of one of his orbs landing, but the grin turns to a frown as the knight's lunge rises to meet him. The dark elf attempts to dodge out of the way, missing the full brunt of the brute's charge. However, the edge of the shield catches his shoulder and sends him spinning to the ground and his wand skittering off the ship to land in the sea. The mage wastes no time and leaps back to his feet, a black dagger with red runes appearing in his hand. With his other hand he reaches into a pouch at his belt and pulls out what looks like a chunk of ice. "This would be much easier if you just let me be about my work, High Clerist." Verrochio scoffs "Be about your work, please don't let me stop you!" and then utters a few words of prayer to the blue phoenix causing his flail to flash a brief blue glow. Shifting his weight off his weak leg Verrochio begins to circle watching both of the mage's hands and his mouth. "What could be so important you would die trying complete it by challenging me?" and briefly feints a step towards the mage to gauge his reaction. Nestos winces as the knight's flail flashes, but blinks the spots from his eyes quickly. As Verrochio circles Nestos, the mage remains uncomfortably calm, seeming used to the chaos around him. After the knight feints, the dark elf merely gives the man a grin. "I have no doubt you will be a challenge, but I have no plans on dying this day...nor do I have any plans on killing you, Verrochio." All his focus is directed at the man as the humans, both Solamnic and Dragonarmy, are being cut down or turned into undead around them. Verrochio continues circling as the elf talks, slowly working his way so his back is against the railing to easier glance left and right to survey the battle. It is at this point, when he can feel the railing against his back that he sees the utter horror happening on the ship, and the reason the mage did not need to actually engage him. The few knights that had come with as his detail, about a dozen or so good strong knights, were being overwhelmed by these.things. The dead are rising, not thrown about as the sea rages, no this is different. The freshly dead are rising to their feet, or ankles, or pulling themselves along with their arms. To Verrochio's left he can hear the distinct shhhhhluuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrp of a blade being retrieved from one of his knight's breast. "You did this?!" Verrochio shakes with fury as he drops his shield, wields his flail with both hands, and sets to charge the mage. Nestos casually shrugs at the knight's question and glances around before turning his attention back to him. He then tosses the chunk of ice at the man, drawing his attention to it before pulling out a hand full of grey powder from another pouch. He throws the powder high in the air as the ice sails harmlessly past Verrochio's head. With the powder in the air, the dark elf speaks a word of magic and they form into several feathered quills and launch themselves into the knight's sword arm, disappearing into his body.

Author: Nestos Date: Wed Nov 8 14:35:17 2017 Subject From Thin Air, pt. 3

Ducking to dodge whatever the ice is, Verrochio readies to push himself off and vault towards the unprotected mage, then he sees it. The large number of feathered quills rushing towards him, with no time to react he can only brace for the impact and what will very likely be his death. The quills rushing towards him, he looks around for another potential escape and there is nothing, only his death. Seconds before the quills pierce the knight's armor and through his body they turn into translucent almost ghostlike images and converge on his sword arm. Suddenly the worst pain wracks his body, seemingly coming from nowhere and everywhere at once. A pain so deep the rest of the body feels numb and paralyzed, as if his bones are being slashed while arm remains in intact. With all else forgotten the High Clerist drops his flail only focused on getting of his gauntlets off and assessing the damage. While fumbling for his gauntlet the vessel lurches and Verrochio is one again thrown against the railing, without the dexterity to move in time he is knocked breathless and thrown over the railing towards the sea. Nestos' grin widens as the knight goes over the railing, he whispers another word of magic, opening a small portal below Verrochio. The mage approaches the railing and looks over in time to see the man fall through and land on some sandy beach. He hefts the knight's flail and tosses it into the portal, and does the same with the shield before calling out, "Good luck, High Clerist." Then with a motion of his hand, the portal winks out of existence. The dark elf turns around to assess the battle, to find there is not much of one left. A few sailors that have not realized the battle is done are fighting men in Dragonarmy uniforms, but they are quickly dealt with by the now swollen ice wight ranks. Nestos nods, then turns to the commander of the White Watch, "Burn it." He takes one more look at the other ships around them, most already burning, and smiles before re-entering the portal that had brought him there.

Author: Nestos Date: Thu Nov 30 15:20:37 2017 Subject The First Piece, pt. 1

Volath walks across the deck towards the starboard bow of his ship the 'Vanderkaum'. It is a cold and rainy night, the change in season bringing turbulent seas, several crew members run past Volath performing their duties, steam rolling off their bodies. Volath pays his crew no heed, they are experienced sailors and Volath is not the kind of captain that micromanages his crew. Likely his sea-mates knew more of the intricate workings of the ship than he but Volath was a fast learner and could discuss the dailies of the ship and not seem out of place. This night though he is lost in thought, unsure of what drew him out into Zeboim's wrath (Well more of a fit than a wrath, he mused to himself). He just couldn't stand the comfort of his quarters, he felt as if watched. It was that damned cursed amulet he took from that Highlord Khariif, he was sure of it. The shadows at the edge of the lantern light begin to shudder and move, then coalesce into the shape of a humanoid. Nestos then steps out of the shadow a short distance from Volath, making no effort to hide his appearance from the Captain. The constant traveling of late has made him weary, his gaze is still sharp though, and his posture shows he is read for any response. He has information that Volath is a businessman above all, but he is also no stranger to renegade hunters, "A pleasant evening, Captain Volath." Volath blinks, taken aback by the unknown man aboard his ship. Had this been several weeks ago, Volath might have been surprised even startled but after the appearance of that damned Kender who seems to pop-up everywhere, mild surprise is all he feels. Taking a few moments to study the figure, it is easily apparent that this man in front of him is gifted in magic, though not a mage belonging to the wizards conclave. Scowling, Volath readied himself for conflict, renegades can be so unpredictable and to be aboard his ship unbeknownst to him, meant he wielded some power, "This evening is far from pleasant renegade, probably going to end up worse for you." Volaths breath steams in a light mist before him, wavering slightly and diverting around the unknown renegade. He has a forcefield around him, it would seem he is not reckless. Volath frowns and ponders how this mage knows him, he doesn't like having the underhand. Volath slowly states "I suggest that you depart my ship before my crew see you aboard, they don't take kindly to strangers and as you probably know it is my duty to dispose of all renegades." Nestos grins slightly at that, then lowers the hood of his white cloak, "As is the duty of all black robed mages, especially one with rank, but you are not at the tower." The dark elf extends his arms out, giving the sign that he does not want a fight from the other, '"I have burned enough ships in the past days, I have no want to burn another. What I want is something that you recently acquired personally." Volath snorts in sudden good humour., "I think you'd have a hard time burning this ship, my fellow caster, or should I say highlord." Volath is quick to put two and two together once viewing the wizards features. He is an elf, a dark elf, much like Volath is himself. There isn't many of them on Krynn, most elves would rather die than be banished from their homelands, before him stood one who typically resides in Icewall. "I take it back, this must be pleasant weather in comparison to what you are used too. I am going to humour you, though don't think I took your threat lightly. Why are you here and why shouldn't I present your corpse in the next conclave, or to the knights for that matter?"

Author: Nestos Date: Thu Nov 30 15:23:36 2017 Subject The First Piece, pt. 2

Nestos feigns a frown and look of concern, "I would think that main reason you would not do that is because I am willing to pay for what you have stowed away." The mage reaches into his robes and quickly pulls out a leather pouch that he removes a pipe from, then busies himself with loading it. "And yes, this is much better than the reach, but I have grown used to the cold." The dark elf holds up his right hand with a grin, showing finger tips blackened from frost bite. "Just so we are clear about what we are discussing, I would like to procure the amulet you took from my associate." Volath cannot tell if the elf in front of him is toying with him or not. "You are speaking more my language," Volath replies, his eyes on the pouch, "But why would I allow you to leave this ship just so you can bring that cursed amulet back to him. He is insane, that blasted maniacal fool and his beast almost had my ship. He would love nothing more than have revenge on me, I am sure, so why make him more powerful?" Volath clenches his fist and glares at Nestos, his temper starting to rise, "Do you take me a fool!?" Nestos does not reply to the other elf right away, instead he puts the pipe up to his lips with his thumb in the bowl. When he removes his thumb, the bowl is lit and he takes several long puffs. "The man is worse than insane, he is a sycophant for that Queen of his. I have no want for him to have the amulet...I want it for my own devices," he says, before offering the pipe to Volath, "And I can assure you, I have no want to use it against your ship either." Volath snorts in derision as he waves his hand refusing the pipe. "The only thing he is to his, your?" Volath raises that second part as a question, "Queen is a slave. Also who is to say that I don't want the amulet to myself, why would I further the cause of a Renegade?" Volath pulls his cowl further over his face as a droplet of water hits his face and rolls down towards his chin. "Tell me, why do you want it?" Nestos shrugs off the refusal then takes a few more puffs, exhaling the sickly sweet smoke. "A slave he is to...HIS Queen." The dark elf looks out to the blackness of the sea, seeming to think, "As for the amulet, unless the policies of the great tower of high sorcery have changed, I do not think your using it would be allowed. Having said that, I encourage those that serve one such as Falkore to step out." He nods his head a moment before exhaling smoke once more and looking back to Volath, "As I have stated to your High Archmage, unless the Conclave comes after me, I will not seek to harm it." Volath grabs the rail of his ship and braces as his galleon makes impact with a larger wave. Much to his satisfaction Nestos stumbles slightly, "I'll have you know, if I wanted to in that moment, you'd be dead." Turning on his heel Volath walks back towards his aft-cabin, the door barely visible in the rain growing heavier by the minute. Volath looks over his shoulder at the highlord before asking "Well are you going to drown out here and face the might of Zeboim or come inside and discuss business?" Volath doesn't wait for a reply and heads towards the warmth of his cabin. Nestos catches himself after the stumble, but only grins at the other elf's threat. He watches as the captain begins to make his way back to his cabin. After the other turns back to question whether he would be joining, Nestos spares one more glance into the darkness before following at a comfortable walk. As he makes his way to the cabin, he does not concern himself with the weather at all, and merely chuckles at Volath's final comment. Volath, reaching the refuge of his cabin, removes his cloak and hangs it from a hook behind the door to dry. He walks the length of his cabin and takes a seat at his desk, waiting for Nestos to enter. Seeing Nestos enter the room, Volath waves him over motioning to a wooden chair opposite him. "Let's talk business then, I'll entertain offers, but be aware it will not come cheap."

Author: Nestos Date: Thu Nov 30 15:26:25 2017 Subject The First Piece, pt. 3

Nestos uses the heel of his soft leather boot to knock the cherry from the pipe, then tucks it into its pouch and back into his robes. "I would be disappointed if it was not," the renegade says as he enters the cabin. He looks around the room as if studying it for danger, then whistles appreciation. "A nice little setup you have here. Certainly better than what you would have in the tower." The mage follows suit removing his cloak to hang it on a hook near the door, revealing red robes that have been so heavily stitched with black runes they appear black. He then sits himself comfortably in the chair Volath has indicated. Volath snorts, "The tower is a dreadfully boring place, one must appreciate the luxuries in life as well as the art." Volath leans back in his chair "I didn't leave the comfort and beauty of Silvanesti behind for barren grey rooms, lined with dusty books, money and luxury speaks. This is why my crew isn't mopping up the grease stains from whatever would have been left of your body for trespassing on my ship." Leaning forwards, Volath folds his hands together on the desk, "Well, let's hear your offer, undersell me and I'll be feeding you to the sharks." The mage grins at the captain's threats, then leans back and crosses his legs as Volath gets serious about business. "Well, let us hope I do not undersell you then," Nestos says with a tinge of sarcasm, "So, I assume you will accept payment in the form of diamonds, but I do not think that will keep me from the sharks alone." The dark elf reaches into his robes once more and removes a folded piece of parchment sealed in black wax. "This should suffice, and you can name a price in diamonds, keeping this information in mind." Nestos tosses the parchment nonchalantly onto the desk. Volath places the parchment aside and responds, "The diamonds will have to be enough to appease my crew. Let's say 15 per member. And now let's take a look at this..." Volath then unravels the scroll reading its contents. Re-reading the note several times over Volath then nods "This will do, this definitely will do. We have a deal." A sickly grin spreads across Nestos' face, "That is good to hear, Captain. I figured that would be of more interest to you than a bauble of a gem." The mage stands from his chair and with a flick of his wrist, a charred vallenwood staff appears in his hand. He waves it slowly over the other elf's desk causing the runes on the staff to glow white and a leather pouch to appear on the desk. "There should be enough in there for your crew, and then some." He then rests the staff on the ground and leans his weight onto it casually, waiting for the other's half of the bargain. Nodding Volath slides his hand into a hidden pocket within his robes pulling out a runed key (pretty much the only damned thing he could keep that Kender's grimy fingers off of) and rising slowly walks into his sleeping quarters. Looking at the runed chest at the foot of his bed he mutters some incantations disarming protection spells before inserting the key into the lock. Opening the chest Volath pulls out a black velvet pouch. Walking back to Nestos, Volath tosses the bag to him. "Now get off my ship." Nestos deftly catches the pouch with his frost bitten fingers, then nods to the other elf. He walks back over to the hook and retrieves his cloak. After fastening it he opens the door to leave the cabin, but turns back, "Despite the few unpleasantries, I have enjoyed this. I hope you would keep me in mind when you are in need of information to sell or buy." With that said, he turns back to the door and steps through then disappears into the shadows.

Author: Nestos Date: Sat Jan 20 11:32:37 2018 Subject Rebirth Requires Death Part II

The raven floats above the Palanthas street, each lazy flap of its wings carrying it further from its master, it's all-too-intelligent eyes scan the street below. It finally lands on the sign for an old shipping office, one that seems to have been long out of business. It twists its head in either direction before quorking to itself. Down the same street, the mage stands in an alley, cloaked by the shadows. His eyes are glazed over as if in a trance, then they suddenly gain clarity and he smiles. Nestos steps from the cover afforded by the alley and into the street and begins making his way towards the old Sable & Macbeth offices. He wears none of his dragonarmy regalia, not that he wears much of it anyway. Instead, he simply wears his red robes that are so covered in black stitched runes, making them appear black from a distance. The streets have light traffic, and most of it is sailors from out of town. The raven quorks quietly above him as he approaches the doors to the establishment. The highlord opens them without knocking, and steps into the empty offices, the floor creaking as he enters. Inside the dark and abandoned building two men, one younger and one older, bristle at the creaking boards. The younger man, fashionably dressed with jet-black hair, sweeps over the highlord with piercing green eyes and nods in acknowledgement. But the older man says nothing but growls under his breath, his slicked back grey hair catching a little of the candlelight illuminating the small office where all three stand. The standoff is tense, a palpable uneasiness thick in the air. The mage gives the pair a wry grin and takes a few steps into the building as if not recognizing the uneasiness of the two. He eyes both of them as he rolls a substance around in his fingers absentmindedly. "Gentlemen, forgive me for being late. I try to be as punctual as possible, but sometimes events are out of our control. One of my associates would have approached you about meeting, perhaps a week ago?" Nestos takes a look around the long vacant building then looks back to the pair as he tucks the substance back into a belt pouch. "Though it may not have been used for it in awhile, but this is a place of business, no?" The two men opposite the mage share a look, and the older mutters to the younger "Good gods, he's an educated man is he?" The younger man holds up a hand, dismissing his associate's jibe, and addresses the mage. "You are correct, this is the newly reopen office of the Sable-Macbeth Company." Sorin smirks and gestures to the barren room, "No apology necessary, we've only been taking inventory while we waited." The older man frowns and shifts his weight, causing an awkward creak to accent the bare room. Sorin, the younger man, winks at Nestos. "Now, what brings you to my humble place of business?" Nestos takes in the interaction between the two, then smiles, turning his attention to Sorin. "Business of course. Do you mind if I smoke?" the magic user asks, as he pulls out his smoking pouch and begins loading ground green leaves into the pipe within. He does not wait for a response before lighting the packed pipe by merely placing his thumb in the bowl and removing it. A sickly sweet odor fills the air as he then nonchalantly replies to the older, "The Tower does indeed do some amount of educating." Turning his attention back to the younger, his tone becomes more serious, "I understand you are trying to get your family's company back up and running...I would like to help." The wry grin returns to his face.

Author: Nestos Date: Sat Jan 20 11:45:57 2018 Subject Rebirth Requires Death Part IV

Sorin squints, frowns and brings his fingertips together on his lips. He pauses for a moment before speaking again. "It isn't often I'm proposed anything on the right side of the law these days, but I have a sinking feeling that your interpretation of "illicit" doesn't sit well with any magistrate." But the corners of Sorin's mouth upturn ever so slightly, "Luckily, neither does mine." The older man, Kesh, chuckles grimly, as if to agree, but makes no movement or indication that he's about to leave. Sorin notices, coughs awkwardly and continues, "Ah, right. You see, whatever deal you want to concoct you can lay it out before both of us. Myhandler Mr. Reveliere requires full disclosure." Sorin drops his smile and looks intently at Nestos. "Those are the first of my terms." The dark elf gives a chuckle as he tugs on his pointed ear, "You drive a hard bargain, but if you want your man directly involved, that will have to do. However, it does mean that he is apart of the deal as well. My first term is that you two act as my contacts in this city. This does require a certain amount of loyalty, though I am not one to micromanage. I will not direct you where to go, except when I need something of you." The jovial nature in the mage's tone drop suddenly as he speaks, "It also means that it is never mentioned that I have any part in this business of yours." With of a flourish of his wrist, a charred vallenwood staff appears in his hand. As he passes it over an empty table, the runes glow a bright silver and a large leather pouch appears on the table. He then pulls out two signet rings with the letters NVT scrawled onto onyx stones and sets them beside the pouch. "The coin is for you, no matter the decision you make. Consider it a welcome home gift. As for the rings, if you do decide to join my group of...contacts, simply put on the rings. It is easy as that." The jovial tone returns to his voice, along with a wry grin, "Well, I know the way out." Then as he is at the door, he turns back briefly, "You will have twenty-four hours to decide." The two men stand in silence for a moment, the quiet between them stiff. Finally, the older man growls "The gall of the bastard, sweeping in and demanding loyalty? We don't even know his name." He spits as he turns from the table, but Sorin still says nothing, and so Kesh continues. "I'm not a common crook for sale to the highest bidder." Sorin sighs heavily, and reaches for one of the ornates rings left by the elf. "For now, we don't have many other choices my friend. I refuse to let my family's name disappear, but we'll need a way to survive until we can strike back." The signet is unnaturally cold in Sorin's hand, and he dislikes the heavy weight of the metal, it reminds him too much of the heavy feel of shackles. Kesh fiddles with his hands, his mouth contorted as he thinks. "I hope you're not signing our souls over to the devil, boy. That bloody elf cannot be trusted." Sorin laughs before retorting back, rolling the ring between his fingers. "Neither can we, old sport."

Author: Nestos Date: Mon Feb 4 16:21:16 2019 Subject Every End has its Beginning, pt. 1

The dark elf stumbles as he makes his way through the tunnel. He stops a moment to lean against the frozen wall of the ice cavern. Pulling his robe and shirt back over his shoulder, he reveals a green stone embedded just below his left shoulder. The stone is opaque with what looks like black smoke swirling around inside. Around the festering wound is flesh that is clearly necrotizing. A black substance seems to be spreading underneath his skin, using his arteries to spread. He reaches up to the wound and feels along an artery the leads to his heart, the black substance stops just short of it. He winces, but then a grim determination takes over his appearance and he begins back down the tunnel to his end. Nestos turns off the main road down a small alley towards a little shop he turned into his secret headquarters, far from the main Dragonarmy headquarters. As he makes his way down the dark alley, a woman steps out of the shadows causing the mage to stop in his tracks. The woman grins as she caresses a medallion hanging from her neck, "We have come to collect your debt, Spymaster." As she says this, two figures emerge from the shadows behind the dark elf. Sneering at the priestess, Nestos replies, "It is a shame she sent her lackeys to collect. I will have to send you back to her with a message." He reaches for a wand at his side, but before he can level it at the messenger, a fourth figure blurs out of the shadows directly in front of the mage and buries what looks like a green icicle with a swirling black mist deep into his left shoulder. Nestos growls, but grits his teeth and manages to utter the activation word through his teeth. A bolt of dark lightning erupts from the wand, sending the assassin flying into the priestess, knocking them both to the ground, but leaving the conical dagger in the dark elf's shoulder. Gritting his teeth, the mage reaches up and grasps the icicle and attempts to pull it loose. The parting jutting out from the skin glows bright then explodes into dust, leaving the remainder embedded in his shoulder. The pain from the explosion causes him to lose his grip on the wand and it clatters to the ground. He turns unsteadily towards the two assassins behind him. His look of grim determination turns to a mischievous grin. His hand falls from the dagger at his belt, instead pulling out an iron rod from a pouch. "It is a shame you chose a place so close to my headquarters." The two assassins cautiously approach the dark elf until two of the mage's own shadows emerge from the darkness behind the two. Long slender blades find their place between the ribs of either assassin. Wincing in pain, Nestos turns once more to the priestess, now on her feet and reaching for the medallion around her neck. The spymaster quickly raises the rod of iron, directing it at the cleric and with a word of the arcane, a wave of energy floods forth from the rod causing the woman to stand still just before her hand reaches the medallion. Favoring his shoulder, Nestos closes on the priestess, his mischievous grin still on his face. He reaches up and touches the medallion lightly, tracing his finger along the five headed dragon. He gently lifts the medallion over the woman's head and hefts it in his hand before depositing it in a hidden pocket within his robes. "The medallion of one of the chosen is quite a powerful spell component if one knows how to use it," the mage whispers to the woman, "Thank you for delivering it to me." A door swings open where there was none before and two large men step out with cudgels in hand. Nestos turns to them as he feels around the weapon buried in his shoulder, he winces slightly then speaks, "Take care of the dead, there is no need for their corpses to be found." The two men nod and casually begin searching the corpses before disposing of them. Nestos turns around to face the two that killed the other assassins and gives them a slight bow, "Thank you, Eliza. Would you mind bringing our guest inside?"

Author: Nestos Date: Mon Feb 4 16:24:55 2019 Subject Every End has its Beginning, pt. 2

The woman in dark clothes and mask nods, but grumbles as she and her companion grab the cleric, now more statue than anything, and begin dragging her inside the building. "And feel free to start into her. I want to know how she knows where the headquarters are and who gave the order." The grumbling turns to cackling as the two women get the priestess inside. Nestos remains outside probing the dagger in his shoulder as the two men search the corpses. He then reaches down and collects his wand before one of the men collects what the other has gathered and hands them over to the dark elf. "Here you go, boss." The mage collects the items then heads into the dark building as he sorts through it. As soon as he enters, he is greeted by the screams of the priestess as she is being tortured for information. Nestos sets the assortment of items on a table near the chair the woman is tied to. He tosses several different wing insignia aside. First a green, then a red, then a black, but no White Wing insignia. He reads through several folded pieces of paper before turning his attention to the woman on the chair. As he approaches, the cleric's eyes are drawn to the jet pendant set into silver that hangs from the mage's neck. As if on queue, whispers begin to emanate from the stone and a wicked smile crosses the dark elf's face. "I am glad that you understand your predicament," Nestos says as he stands in front of the chair to loom over the true believer, "Here is the deal though. I would rather your soul remain your own so that you may return to deliver a message for me. So, I am willing to let these lovely ladies do their work on you until you give me what information I need, or until I decide owning your soul will be worth more than sending a message." He stops for a moment, waiting for an acknowledgement before asking, "Do you understand?" The woman merely nods, a whimper escaping her lips as she does so. Nestos nods confirmation again, and a smile of satisfaction crosses his face. "Someone in the white wing would have had to tell you where this place is, and none of you are from the White Wing. So, who was it that told you? " The priestess looks at the mage with uncertainty, then resolve seems to cross her face and her lips tighten to a fine line. The spymaster frowns at this then shrugs his shoulders, "You must know, I am not a fan of these women's work, it is messy. However, if you decide you do not want to talk, I will let them continue." The priestess looks from the mage, to the black clad women, then down to her bleeding fingertips. The resolve runs from her face as she looks back up at Nestos. "Fine, fine. It was one of your Sergeants...Luthan." "Good. And who was it that gave you the order to come here?" Now, the priestess puts on a grin of her own, "She did...and I will not be the last." "Of that, I am sure," Nestos states plainly, then he leans in and whispers in her ear "Now, please take this message to your mistress, She can have it when I am done with it!" With that, he turns and walks towards the door, Eliza following him. Once at the door, he quietly tells her, "Get what information you can about what the other wings are doing and get it to the Neraka office. We can use it to fuel conflict between the Wings if we need the distraction, plus the Solamnics will no doubt pay good money for some table scraps. When she no longer has any secrets, kill her." "What do you want us to do with her body?" Eliza states with a chuckle, "Want it hung in the square as a warning?" Nestos shakes his head, then states pointedly, "No. The last thing we need is the attention of this new Empress." The mage begins writing sigils on the doorframe with chalk from a pouch as he continues, "Make sure her and the others disappear. Get them on a ship out of here and have them sunk in the Newsea. The Baroness is a zealot and we do not want that on our heels right now."

Author: Nestos Date: Mon Feb 4 16:25:38 2019 Subject Every End has its Beginning, pt. 3

After a few arcane words, the sigils on the doorframe flair and Nestos opens the door to reveal a warehouse instead of the alley outside. He turns to Eliza once more, "Find this Luthan, and determine who he has talked to and what he has said. Then bury him with the others at sea. Once that is done, mobilize our unit here, we are going back to the reach." Eliza nods then turns around and stalks back towards the table. Nestos turns and enters through the door into the warehouse. The screams follow him through the door, then cut off abruptly as the door shuts behind him.



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He states simply 'You might start with that one.. or you could take a look at the latest story..'

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Time Well Spent by Daridar, posted on Sun May 24 00:54:27 2020.

My months in the tower had been fruitful but difficult. I'd spent nearly a year there. The first six months were full o(read more)....

The Storytellers of Ansalon, The DragonLance MUD

Astinus points to the massive wall of books behind him and bids you to make a selection.


Authors: All|A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M|N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U|V|W|X|Y|Z

Astinus sighs as he recants 'We saved 839 books from Ansalon from before the great Cataclysm through today.'
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