The Great Library of Palanthas

An Aesthetic shows you to a small reading room.

Stories of Ansalon from the view of Leodas.

A little gully dwarf runs by and says 'Wordwrap Off 65 80.'
The gully continues 'Eyes hurt? Turn Color OFF!! (regular story dates)

Astinus says 'Enter the main library here to view only the author list.'
Astinus gently places a paper booklet on the table in front of you.
You note the spine bears the word 'Leodas' scribed in vibrant brown ink.


Author:    Leodas         
Date:      Sun Mar 16 03:21:36 2008
Subject     The Roaming Swindler


The wooden walls of The Roaming Swindler creaked and moaned as the entire
tavern seemed to sway in the onslaught of the storm. The salty air had
eaten away at most of the boards; it was a feat that the tavern was still
standing. Several guests occupied the tables around the fire, hoping to
stay warm and praying that the walls did not succumb. For, surely they
were on the verge. The wind swept the rain at the windows with a ferocity
that dared the bravest to leave and avoid drowning on dry ground.
 
The barkeep had both hands on the bar, leaning forward, holding a wet towel
in one hand. His eyes kept flitting towards the door, praying that no one
would open it and risk the wind tearing it from its hinges. The top of
his head glistened much like the bar he leaned upon, and his brow was
deeply furrowed. He found the smell not unusual, a mix of sawdust and rain.
It wasn't so different from when seawater mixed with the odor of sawdust.

The owner of the inn stood next to the bartender, his eyes not on the door,
but on the entire wall. Did that board just bend inward? He blinked again,
convincing himself it was an illusion. Suddenly, both of their eyes opened
wide with fear as they stared at the doorknob, not daring to blink, not 
daring to look away. It turned, ever so slightly, ever so slowly. The owner,
a portly, balding man, inhaled sharply in anticipation. The doorknob
completed its rotation and stopped. Both men held their breaths. 
 
Without a creak of warning, it was flung open. The door swung violently
around on its hinges, slamming into the wall it was connected too. The
top hinge was ripped off, and the door began whipping around wildly,
fighting to break from its bondage. Both men ducked behind the bar as the
door flew overhead and splintered into the wall behind them. The owner 
stood slowly, hands on his head, and tried to determine the cause of this 
wreckage. While the people by the fire got up from underneath the table 
and huddled closer, the wind whipped the rain in through the entrance. 
 
By this time, the bartender had risen and both men looked through the
entrance into the stormy night. The rain appeared to be coming into the
tavern in a distinct shape, outlining the figure of a person. The figure
stepped into the poorly lit tavern and waved his hand behind him. The
noise lessened and the rain seemed to hit an impermeable wall of air behind
him. "Here is a coin for your damages."
 
As he stepped forward to place the coin on the bar, the two men took note
of his crimson robes and the hood that shadowed his face. It was also noted,
both by the owner and his loyal bartender, that their newest customer was
unaffected by the elements. His robes were dry. The owner pocketed the coin
without dispute, as the man took a place in the corner, away from the fire.

Author:    Leodas         
Date:      Sun Mar 16 08:19:45 2008
Subject     The Roaming Swindler (Part Two)


As I placed the coin upon the counter, my lips murmered the faintest of
whispers. The coin would later vanish, leaving the owner with no recompense.
I was struck by an odd twinge of guilt until I saw the greed fire up in his
beady little eyes. Then, I had no regrets about leaving him to pay for a new
door. A slight nod of my head was all he required, and I retired to a table
away from the fire.
 
The awkward looking benches that were supposed to pass for seating held no
interest with me, nor did the fire. At least, not with the strangers
huddled around it. I walked over towards the window and looked out into the
darkness, watching as the myriad of rain drops struck the window pane and
made it wobble horribly.
 
The owner of the tavern slipped the coin into his pocket as he watched whom
he presumed to be some sort of wizard. His suspicions were confirmed when
the robed figure took up a spot facing the window and sat back. The owner
gasped. There was nothing behind him to catch his fall when, suddenly, a
chair materialized out of thin air to cushion the robed man's descent. Was
that a cushion?

I pulled back my hood to reveal my long black hair and pointed ears, and I
waited. And I waited. "Ah, I was afraid you'd never come. Just set it
there."
 
I motioned to the thin air in front of me. The owner looked at me with
a questioning glance, and I nodded again. He placed it in front of me and
dropped it...onto a table that materialized beneath it. He gasped and
stepped back. "There was no need to drop it, you'll mix the gravy with
the beans. What wine do you have? None? Really, no wine? Well, then bring
me a water. No water? Go outside, you'll find plenty."
 
The owner bowed slightly and returned to the bar, where he entered into a
quiet discussion with the bartender. Eventually, the barkeep threw up his 
hands in disgust and grabbed a mug from beneath the counter. He stalked over
until he was a couple of feet from the door. He edged closer to the opening,
where he could see the raindrops sliding down the invisible surface in front
of him. As he shuffled his feet forward, he took a quick glance at the robed
figure and saw him cutting the tough lamb with his knife, while looking
ahead through the window. Slowly, the bartender reached his hand towards the
door of air and passed it through. Immediately, his forearm was soaked and
he pulled it back in with a start. Looking down, only his forearm to his
hand was soaked, and the mug was filled to the brim with water. He walked
over and shakily put the glass on the wizard's table. I had a coin for him
and one for the owner. Providing he wasn't stupid enough to mix the two, his would not be the one that vanished later on. "You are a gentleman. Here's a coin for the meal, and here's a coin for your troubles." The words brought an ominous sense of foreboding to the bartender of The Roaming Swindler as he strode back towards the bar. As he wiped his wet forearm on his towel, he tried to remember if the word trouble had been pluralized or not, and he hoped there wasn't much more to come. Author: Leodas Date: Wed Mar 19 22:56:06 2008 Subject Prelude: The Roaming Swindler (Tellumaelnor) A weathered brown leaf dangled from the highest branch of an old tree. The wind whistled through the tree's branches, grappling with the weak leaf. The doomed leaf clung to the bough with all its might but to no avail. With one final gust, the wind tore it clean off and carried it into the bright afternoon sky. The wind carried its newest triumph in an unchartable path towards Palanthas. A rollercoaster of air propelled the leaf in loops and spirals as it floated over the city's walls. From below, its color could not be detected beneath the glaring sun, causing it to appear as a black shadow passing overhead. The leaf twisted its way through the markets, catching the eye of a particular kender who was trying to determine if a certain cloud looked more like a dragon or a dwarf. The kender quickly became enthralled with the leaf and raced through the market after it, often enraging vendors and filling his pockets as he bumped into them in pursuit of his newest interest. The leaf twisted and turned as it floated downward. The kender ran forward, both arms fully extended as the leaf descended towards his hands. Unfortunately, both of his eyes were on the leaf and he tripped over a burly object in the middle of the cobblestone road. He winced slightly as he got up, checking over the minor scrapes on his knees. The kender quickly got over his wounds as he remembered the leaf. It was when he looked around that he recalled why he tripped. Lying in the middle of the road was a rather thick Knight of Solamnia. Standing nearby was a man wearing red robes. The kender noticed a staff next to the man, standing on its round point without any assistance. It dawned on the kender that this man might be a wizard. Although his hood covered his head, the man felt it obvious that his eyes had rolled. With a flick of his hand and some murmured words, the kender's speaking ability was muted. The kender was completely unaware, as he rattled off his myriad of questions, until he asked why the man was ignoring him and paused. Something seemed to click and the kender grasped at his throat and his eyes bulged. "You aren't choking." The kender frowned, seemingly saddened that his attempt at dying was so transparent. He jumped to his feet, and put one hand on his hip and the opposite foot forward. He used his other hand to beckon and flail about as if he was orating some great speech, constantly referring to the unconscious knight lying in the middle of the road. The exasperated mage rolled his eyes again. "No. He is not dead. Yes, I'm sure. No, I didn't cast some powerful fake living spell on him and he is really in fact dead." The man was becoming irritated and shouted, "Silence." Then, he realized that the kender was, indeed, silent. Unfortunately, he was still gesticulating rabidly. "This Honorable, Esteemed Knight of Solamnia is on the ground, near death because you put him there. Yes, in your haste and ignorance you tripped him as he was coming out of that shop." The kender stopped gesturing and looked at the Knight apologetically. "Yes, you have put him in this state. Now, the safest place for me to revive him is in that alley over there. Drag him over there if you want him to recover fully." The small creature quickly grabbed the knight and began tugging, but could only move him in inches. The mage was content to allow the pest to suffer as his tiny arms strained at the knight's tunic. When he was finally in the alley, the kender returned. "You cannot watch me work my magic. If you ever wish to get your voice back, the only way to do so is to swim out as far as you can from Branchala Bay and wait for a sea elf to come and grant it to you." The kender gulped and took off, but the mage knew he would be waiting right around the corner, hoping to see some powerful magic that might turn him into a toad or something stupid. So, as the kender ran off, the man in the red robes whispered some incoherent words to make the kender momentarily forget about this entire scene, except for the last few seconds in which he was instructed to swim, essentially, to his death. The mage hoped his memory wouldn't return until he was drowning. Author: Leodas Date: Thu Mar 20 01:14:59 2008 Subject Prelude: The Roaming Swindler (Continued) Confident that the kender was taken care of, Leodas returned to his victim, whose unconsciousness he had so deftly pinned upon the kender. He grasped his staff with one hand and walked in a deliberate man towards the knight, as if he were bearing down upon him. On his way, he uttered a prayer to Lunitari that the kender was in the Bay of Branchala, drowning. Leodas stood ominously over the knight, who was wearing a simple tunic, leather pants, and brown riding boots. Unfortunately for the knight, he also had a brown leather bag on him that contained contents of the mage's desire. The red robed man quickly replayed the brief scene in his mind as he crouched down to ruffle through the bag. He had been going to this particular mageware shop in order to acquire information with regards to the whereabouts of certain spell components for a new spell he was learning. It was quite complex, and he knew his friend, the owner, to have known a mage who cast it in the past. As he entered the shop, he noticed a small line of one at the counter. From his attire, Leodas had no idea the man was a Knight of Solamnia, until the man turned around and the symbol of the Triumverate reflected brightly off of the broach on his chest. The mage's eye caught another, smaller glare as the Knight slipped a small object into his bag. The object seemed to light up as if it were on fire. Leodas recognized it immediately as a stolen artifact from the Conclave vault, most likely pawned by some renegade. Furious, Leodas forgot his initial business and turned to pursue the Knight. As he reached the door, he saw the Knight about to mount his horse and Leodas thrust his hand into a small pouch on his belt and grasped the crimson statuette as he whispered words of malignance geared towards the Knight. The Knight flinched as if he had been wounded, and fell to the ground, unconscious. At that precise moment, a kender sprinted past Leodas and tripped over the prone Knight, completely oblivious. The mage now had a simple cover story. As he replayed the remaining moments in his head, he overturned the bag and began pouring out its contents. His hand gripped his staff like a vise as he slammed it into the brick wall next to him. Where was it? "The kender. By Lunitari, the kender! Damn that kender!" He realized that the kender had 'borrowed' the items. The theft had most likely occurred when he had ordered the kender to drag this knight into this alley. Damn the whole situation. Still enraged, the mage slammed his staff into the Knight's knees. The wall had not damaged it, nor would the thick man's knee caps. Fortunately, the Bay of Branchala was not far, and Leodas quickly regained his composure and strode quickly towards the docks. Lunitari was surely shining her blessed Witching Light upon him as he turned the corner right before the docks and ran head first into a sopping kender. He quickly grabbed a pouch back from the kender's disappearing hand. "You!" The mage quickly grabbed ahold of the kender's shirt collar, but held him at a safe distance. "Where is that fire colored talisman that you thieved from me?" "THIEVED! I've never THIEVED anything in my life. Wait? Are you calling me a thief? If you are, I'll do to you like Uncle Trapspringer did to the bear that tried to take his pie when he was up in the Khalkist mountains camping for this...-breath-" Leodas quickly reached his other hand into the kender's pouches, searching for the artifact. He'd know it when he felt it, its enchanted heat would alert him. In the process of reaching into the kender's pouches, he had left his staff to stand freely on his own, distracting the kender. "And he was cooking a...How is that staff standing on its own, is that standing on its own? Ohh....magic. Hey, can you show me how to do that? I think I can learn, I found this really cool pouch that I think might be magic. See? It stayed dry when I was in the water. Oh, and I think I saw a sea elf cause my voice came back and I thought I saw this-" The red robed man quickly grabbed the pouch from the kender and almost immediately felt it radiating warmth. He tossed the annoyance aside and quickly pulled apart the tie strings to examine the bag. As he looked down into it, he caught the kender edging towards the pouches on his belt from the corner of his eye. He quickly pulled the strings together and held the small bag tightly in his grasp. "Now, what would you say if I told you where you could find a magic staff like mine? Because it just so happens that I know of one hidden by some goblins in the wilderness outside the city. Think of it as an adventure." The kender's eyes lit up as he reached out his hand to shake with the mage, or maybe just to touch the magic man's hand one more time, but found only a flurry of robes as the red robed man strode off in the other direction. The kender put his hands on his hips and was tempted to confront the mage on his lack of manners, but the allure of the magic staff drew him away. Author: Leodas Date: Thu Mar 20 01:35:45 2008 Subject Prelude: The Roaming Swindler (End of Prelude) As Leodas found himself once again within the mageware shop, he realized the magnitude of what silence meant, as he revelled in the lack of the kender's presence. He conjured himself a chair and sat by a small window, allowing him to see into the small bag. The sun was setting by this time, casting an eerie orange glow through the cracked panes of the weathered window. The shop itself was a classic magic shop, dusty, dark, spooky, pigs feet in jars. The works. The only real magical items were in the back of the shop, where only the experienced were allowed access. He opened the bag and poured its contents into his hand. Out fell the small fire colored talisman that had been carved into a billowing cloud. Its likeness to an actual cloud meant that it could only have been carved with the arcane. Time seemed to slow as the miniature cloud tumbled, end over end, from the bag down to Leodas's waiting palm. The sun's orange rays refracted off the smooth fiery edges and the cloud seemed to actually be on fire. This image combined with the heat it eminated and for a moment Leodas was caught on the brink of reality, staring at the warm fire burning in his palm. Then, a very small scroll, about the size of his finger, landed beside the cloud. Curious, Leodas was snapped out of his reverie as the last of the bag's contents landed in his palm. Slightly furrowing his brow, he put down the cloud and unravelled the scroll. Fine print was clearly legible on the parchment: )()()--------------------------------------------------------------()()(
More like this. The Roaming Swindler for key to Caergoth's gates. )()()--------------------------------------------------------------()()( The ashes on the floor were all the remained of the scroll. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- So ended the series of events that preluded Leodas's hunt for the stolen artifacts and the renegades who hoarded them. Author: Leodas Date: Thu Apr 3 23:55:38 2008 Subject The Roaming Swindler (Part Three) Leodas wiped the corners of his mouth with the napkin that the innkeeper had supplied him with. While he seemed to gaze through the window into the storm, he was, in reality, watching the reflections of the few customers gathered by the fire. One person, in particular, caught his eye. The man was a shady looking figure, the type that try not to appear so. Leodas observed the man for some time: as the innkeeper took away his plate, as several others went upstairs to get some rest, as the man seemed to pass out by the fire, and as the bartender and innkeeper turned in for the night. Sure that they were alone, he stood up and walked over to sit in front of the dying embers with the unconscious man. Sitting back, he gazed into the darkening fire and reached into one of his pockets to withdraw a small potion. He uncorked it and waved the potion under the man's nose, causing him to wake up with a start. As Leodas corked the potion and replaced it within a pouch, he spoke, "Good evening. I was wondering if you could tell me where the renegades are hiding? They have stolen several things that must be reclaimed." The man's eyes squinted as he looked at Leodas. "I've no idea what yer talkin about. I've half a mind to let them know you're here." Leodas seemed amused, "Too direct? Then let me rephrase myself. I will kill you- literally fry your brain and keep it for later as a spell component- if you do not tell me where 'they' are." He rose his hand threateningly and the man seemed to get the point. "It.. it..uh, just so happens that I may 'ave sold a few trinkets or two, but I don't associate with them at all. I can..uh, tell you for maybe a small price?" "Your life." "That's a good deal. Look, there's a warehouse inside Caergoth, non- descript looking. Anyways, I go there once a week to pick up trinkets and drop off a portion of my profits. Two days from now is the next pick up... So..I..uh, can I...keep my brain?" "Part of it." The man gulped as Leodas rose his hand. The man's eyes rolled back for a split second, then returned to normal. Leodas spoke softly, as he turned his attention back to the embers, "It's late. You should turn in." The man nodded and stood up. As he went upstairs in a zombie-like fashion, he murmured softly, "G'night." Author: Leodas Date: Sat Apr 5 03:05:09 2008 Subject The Roaming Swindler (Part Four) As the dawn approached, Leodas withdraws his newest artifact from a pouch. He had recovered it in Palanthas. It lit up like a fire without light, refracting red and orange and yellow...a red fire cloud, carved with the Arcane to enhance its billowy look. His fingers slowly curled around the item, its billows fitting perfectly into the grooves between his fingers. He wonders aloud if it is an enhancement of his ability to manipulate the weather, strengthening what small power he dabbled with originally. Making it rain, snow, or shine did not appeal to him, but in this particular instance, with the inn about to come down around his head, he thought it might be useful. Leodas recited the words to the simple spell once in his mind, then began to repeat them out loud. The fiery cloud glowed in his hand as he gripped it and began to near the end of his spell. When he finished the spell, the cloud, did indeed, grow warmer and brighter. A vision of the outside weather appears before his eyes and Leodas envisions, instead, a clear, partly cloudy day. As he does so, the rain battering his roof fades and a small ray of sunshine peeks through the window in his room. He gathered his belongings and departed the room that he had stayed in for the night. Somehow, The Roaming Swindler had managed to remain intact throughout the worst of the storm. As he descended the stairs, he took in the smell of the sea breeze, drifting in on the cool winds of the calm weather. He also noted the lack of a door on his way out, a tribute to his arrival the night prior. The front of the inn faced the docks and the sea, presenting Leodas with a view of calmly churning waves splashing against the docks, a thin mist crashing up and sparkling in the rising sun. He turned to his left and rounded the corner of the decaying inn and followed the cobblestone road towards Caergoth. As The Roaming Swindler became a vague silhouette in the distance, Leodas heard a shouting voice rapidly approaching behind him. He turned to find a female elf barrelling towards him on an ox wagon. The problem, however, was that the wagon wasn't off in the distance. He had a split second to react and dove out of the path of the oncoming buffoon. While dusting himself off, he turned to watch the cart gradually slow down before the gates of Caergoth. Leodas pursed his lips as he saw the female elf exhibit several herbs before the guards and then proceed inward. Retribution for her idiocy might yield two birds: revenge and spell components. Author: Leodas Date: Wed Apr 9 17:36:47 2008 Subject The Roaming Swindler (Kiyohime) As the gates closed behind the female elf, Leodas watched from afar, contemplating how to get past the guards without drawing attention to himself. While he pondered his dilemma, he began strolling through a grove of trees, aimlessly. It wasn't long before he stumbled upon a small gate with a single guard. The guard was doing a poor job of protecting the side gate; he was sound asleep. Leodas took advantage of the guard's lack of consciousness, stole the keys, opened the gate, and returned the keys. He stepped inside and locked the door behind him, finding himself in a small, dark guardhouse, with no other occupants. When he exited the small room, he found himself in a dark alley, with the door behind him blending in to look like a wall. Apparently, they did not want people being smuggled in and out through this entrance. It was hidden extremely well, and he thanked Lunitari for his good luck in finding it. He set off at a quick pace, hoping to find the female elf before she sold too many of her wares. Luck was again on his side when he found her fixing a broken spoke on an empty street. A dark shadow was suddenly cast over the female elf, and she looked up to find its source. A figure in red robes towered over her. As she was about to speak, he interrupted her, "Good day." A handful of sand struck her in the face as he spoke words she could not understand. Sputtering, she clawed the sound out of her eyes: "Hey! What was that for? Is this some kind of joke?" Leodas was furious with himself. He had misspoken the last inflection of the last syllable. While the female elf was trying to stand and confront him, he quickly threw another pinch in her face. This time, the spell worked, and she was unconscious at his feet. Leaving her there, he found his way into the wagon and found numerous herbs and components that would help him immensely: bat guano, a bulb of garlic, several slivers of carrion crawler tentacles, a bottle of ruby dust, powdered lime, carbon, and various other bottled potions, the contents of which he would determine later. He gathered it all and placed it into a small bag, which he buried deep within his robes. He returned to the unconscious figure and With a wave of his staff, she hovered up and into the ox cart. Another wave closed and sealed the flaps on both ends. A third final wave, ignited the corner of the tarp and began smoldering. By the time he had reached the end of the street, a massive cloud of smoke was climbing over the city walls, and the tarp was fully engulfed. A street guard ran up to him and got up to his face, "Hey! Did you have anything to do with this?" Leodas shook his head slowly, causing the light to reflect off his red hood in an eerie manner. The guard pushed past him as the crowd began to rush towards the burning wagon and yelled, "Then there is nothing to see here! Move along!" He bowed slightly to the guard, in a mocking fashion, and headed in the opposite direction amidst screams, cries, and smell of burning flesh. As he set off to find the location of the renegade's warehouse, he considered his slight avenged. Author: Leodas Date: Thu Apr 10 05:41:27 2008 Subject Intermission (Maraxus) As the local fire fighting force descended upon the blazing cart, a red robed figure strode away from the scene, suspiciously calm. As he was about to reach the end of the road, a solamnic knight turned the corner at a run. A woman was running away from the cart, pointing at the red robed man and yelling, "It was him!" The solamnic knight stopped in his tracks and partially withdrew his sword, confronting the mage. "You there! Did you have anything to do with this?" The mage stopped walking and stood still in front of the knight. One hand was upon his staff, and the other was hanging nonchalantly by his side. No light could penetrate the shadows cast by his hood, though his robes reflected the light in the most luminous ruby red manner. It seemed ages while the two stood there, facing each other. The woman behind the mage sobbed and, ultimately frustrated, ran back to see if she could help. As a dark cloud of smoke ascended over the town, a soft whisper escaped from the shadowy confines of the mage's hood: "No." The knight warily resheated his sword and began to brush by the mage, refusing to take his eyes off him until he was past. As he began to move quickly away from the eerie figure, he thought he heard another whisper. He turned around to find the mage still in the same position, facing away from him. "Did you say something?" "I lied." The knight withdrew his sword, "So you did have something to do with this? To prison with you!" The mage quickly spun and threw a pinch of sand in the knight's face. He was struck mid-step and fell to the ground with a clatter, his sword falling several feet from him. The mage stood over the knight and snickered quietly. He heard a familiar scream and saw the same woman come running at him, finger pointed, yelling, "It was him! I saw it this ti-" She was interrupted in the middle of her sentence as her living form became a charred corpse. The mage lowered his menacingly raised finger, pointedly annoyed with the overly dramatic woman, and returned to the task at hand. Tapping the knight with his staff, the man's body rose up and followed behind the mage as he entered a darkened warehouse. He intended to leave him in a crate with his mind temporarily befuddled but was stopped abruptly. As he lowered the knight into a crate, the mage noticed that beneath the man were several artifacts of the arcane. This was undoubtedly the warehouse used by the renegades that he was after. He quickly sealed the lid on the crate and left the warehouse to take up a room at the tavern across the street. Before leaving, however, the mage cast several spells upon the temporarily empty warehouse, hoping to catch the renegades in a few surprises that might incapacite... or kill. Author: Leodas Date: Thu Apr 10 23:08:43 2008 Subject Intermission (Maraxus) As the local fire fighting force descended upon the blazing cart, a red robed figure strode away from the scene, suspiciously calm. As he was about to reach the end of the road, a solamnic knight turned the corner at a run. A woman was running away from the cart, pointing at the red robed man and yelling, "It was him!" The solamnic knight stopped in his tracks and partially withdrew his sword, confronting the mage. "You there! Did you have anything to do with this?" The mage stopped walking and stood still in front of the knight. One hand was upon his staff, and the other was hanging nonchalantly by his side. No light could penetrate the shadows cast by his hood, though his robes reflected the light in the most luminous ruby red manner. It seemed ages while the two stood there, facing each other. The woman behind the mage sobbed and, ultimately frustrated, ran back to see if she could help. As a dark cloud of smoke ascended over the town, a soft whisper escaped from the shadowy confines of the mage's hood: "No." The knight warily resheated his sword and began to brush by the mage, refusing to take his eyes off him until he was past. As he began to move quickly away from the eerie figure, he thought he heard another whisper. He turned around to find the mage still in the same position, facing away from him. "Did you say something?" "I lied." The knight withdrew his sword, "So you did have something to do with this? To prison with you!" The mage quickly spun and threw a pinch of sand in the knight's face. He was struck mid-step and fell to the ground with a clatter, his sword falling several feet from him. The mage stood over the knight and snickered quietly. He heard a familiar scream and saw the same woman come running at him, finger pointed, yelling, "It was him! I saw it this ti-" She was interrupted in the middle of her sentence as her living form became a charred corpse. The mage lowered his menacingly raised finger, pointedly annoyed with the overly dramatic woman, and returned to the task at hand. Tapping the knight with his staff, the man's body rose up and followed behind the mage as he entered a darkened warehouse. He intended to leave him in a crate with his mind temporarily befuddled but was stopped abruptly. As he lowered the knight into a crate, the mage noticed that beneath the man were several artifacts of the arcane. This was undoubtedly the warehouse used by the renegades that he was after. He quickly sealed the lid on the crate and left the warehouse to take up a room at the tavern across the street. Before leaving, however, the mage cast several spells upon the temporarily empty warehouse, hoping to catch the renegades in a few surprises that might incapacitate... or kill. Author: Leodas Date: Sat Apr 12 01:06:38 2008 Subject Revenge (Shronius) Revenge. The red robed mage stood over the crumpled heap of metal and leather plates. His hood rested on the crest of his head, refusing to hide his face. One hand encircled a staff in his right hand, his knuckles holding it in a vise-like grip. The staff was made of cedar, bound in steel. A fist-sized garnet rested at the top, held by six steel prongs. The stone at the top illuminated the mage's enraged face in a dark red, an image that did not bode well for the man at his feet. His eyes took on a vacant stare as the reflection of the garnet glistened within them. He was replaying the previous few moments in his head. What he saw would have angered most. There was a market that was little known and well known. Residing within the outer southern district of Palanthas, the market appeared to ignorant residents as a small side alley off of the main road. To the enlightened, those who dealt with the Arcane, they knew it to be a series of shops hawking various magical wares. The wares ranged from artifacts to herbs to potions to talismans. It was within this popular, little known market that an Archmage of the Red Robes was searching for a spellbook to reveal the secrets of a spell he was attempting to create. The Archmage smiled politely as the frail old man shuffled his feet slowly towards the counter. The old man had gray hair and was hunched slightly. In his hands he held a dusty spellbook, its binding of a dark red hue. He handed it to the red robed mage, "Is this..." he inhaled and exhaled slowly, finding talking difficult, "what you're looking for?" The Archmage bowed as he took the tome from the old man's extended hands. He turned away and blew off the dust. The politeness in his smile was quickly replaced with a genuine happiness. The name on the cover read: Benavir Ninefingers The old man waited patiently, watching the joy on the Archmage's face as he held the book in his hands. Lifting his eyes from the book he replied, "This is indeed the book I have been searching for. How much?" The old man smiled sincerely, "Yours. I am...leaving...soon. No need... have I...of material objects." He was genuinely winded at the end of his speech. The Archmage put a hand on the man's shoulder and smiled. He bowed to man and spoke before leaving, "Fare well on your journey. May the gods look favorably upon you." The frail shopkeeper smiled and nodded, then slowly began shuffling his way to a chair in the corner, using the Archmage's arm for support. Once he was situated, the mage bowed again and exited the store. He nodded curtly to a silver robed, white bearded, old man who was entering as he left. As he turned to place the book within a bag too small to contain it, the hairs on the back of his neck became rigid. There was a tingle of magic in the air, coming from the inner sphere of Palanthas. As he closed the pack he left the alley and was nearly knocked backwards as a flurry of red robes flew past him, leaving a small trail of blood that disappeared around a corner. He turned to follow the path when a rock glanced off of the back of his head. The Archmage turned and raised his staff in front of him and spoke a few words. A thin shield of fire rose up around him as he spotted his assailant. A lumbering man raced towards him waving his sword, yelling something about getting that damn coward red robe. At least, he was running forwards until he saw the shield of flames erected in front of him. The opposite direction seemed to hold more allure after that. Unsure if he was angrier at being struck with a stone or of being mistaken for a lesser mage, he gave chase to the mammoth of a man. He found him around the corner, crouching and waiting to pounce. As the Archmage turned the corner, the man leaped at him, swinging his sword downward. The red robed mage raised his staff, parrying the strike away from him. With his other hand, he threw a pinch of sand into the man's face, while also spitting out an incantation. The Archmage's eyes were once again occupied as his mind returned to the present. It was an eerie scene: Lunitari full overhead, casting her light upon the two, the garnet-tipped staff reflecting it's reddish hue upon the mage's face, and the red robed figure looming over the unconscious behemoth. His sword lay next to him, broken asunder when it struck his staff. A spell came to mind as the Archmage contemplated his assailant's demise; it was a spell that he had recently taught an Apprentice. His hand snaked into a pouch and withdrew a pinch of grainy, brown sand. He sprinkled it around where the man lay and uttered the incantation. Within moments the ground turned slick. The Archmage stepped back as the grease-covered cobblestone quickly turned into a sinking pit. He was satisfied that the unconscious man would suffocate in the quicksand, or be locked in a cobblestone block, unable to escape. Either way, his victim was doomed. Bowing his head to the red moon that filled the sky behind him, the mage left the scene. He needed to return to the Tower in order to finish the final stages in the creation of his newest spell. He was filled with anticipation as he stepped into the portal that would return him to the Tower courtyard. As the shimmering gate closed behind him, a wandering apprentice caught a glimpse of a cobblestone street and a head and arm seemingly protruding from the middle of the road. As the apprentice did a double take, the gate snapped shut with an ominous finality. Author: Leodas Date: Mon May 5 01:41:14 2008 Subject Kiyohime So I was in this bar right? And there was this smoking hot elven chick lounging at the bar right? Yeah. Right. That was the vast amount of wine in my system telling me she was good looking. It was that same wine that told me to approach her so confidently. "You and me babe ain't nothing but mammals so let's do it like they do it on the Discovery channel." Right. That earned me a fair slap. "See, I'll be the whale, you be the-" Slap. Fortunately, I didn't feel either slap; my face was numb with alcohol. On the other hand, I did feel it when she grabbed me by the shoulders and kneed me rather violently. When I'd finally struggled to my feet, she was facing the bar again. Furious, I tried to cast a miniature sized flood to drench her. However, my mind and body had different ideas. I was oblivious until the words finally left my lips and the fireball seared through her and into the wall. As she lay in a smoking heap on the ground, I stumbled out into the cool night air. (Short pk, she went LD while slept and came back then went LD again. Not much work. Not a long story.) Author: Leodas Date: Tue May 27 21:33:43 2008 Subject SQ - Fool's Gold A red robed figure weaved his way between vendor's carts and the customers perusing useless trinkets. Men and women alike hawked their wares. "The scope to see the clues! A map that will lead you right to them! You need this magical shovel to unearth the treasure!" The scratchy, hoarse voices flowed past the man as he continued his walk. The ends of his robe fluttered softly in the breeze. The sun blazed down on the city of Palanthas, yet it did not feel hot. The Bay of Branchala brought on a salty, refreshing wind that made up for the lack of puffy, white clouds. Gully dwarves roamed the streets in their nearly pristine alabaster outfits, picking up trash here, eating some scraps there. The city was alive and buzzing with the recent news. Some believed it a complex rumor with credit to an anonymous genius. Others knew wholeheartedly, deep down within them that it was not just a rumor. Others, still, simply bided their time and watched and listened and waited. The man continued walking down the shiny cobblestone road, ignoring the clean, square buildings and houses that rose on either side of him. Past the halfway point of the street, the buildings and houses began to change from solely stone to an occasional sighting of wooden crafted. It was into one of these that the man turned. With a slight veering towards the left, he began walked down the left side of the street until he stood beneath a sign for a wooden inn. The sign read: The Silver Dragon Inn. He walked up the creaky wooden steps and softly pushed the door open. He felt a buzzing, vibrating motion as his hand came in contact with the door. As it swung open, he was blasted with the sounds of a completely packed inn. The bar was full, the tables were overfull, there was hardly even standing room. He caught bits and pieces of conversations as the customers tried to talk over each other: "Treasure..."

"Seals.."

"Signpost." The red robed man smiled to himself. So, they had found out the news, the rumors. That must be why they are all wearing traveling gear and comparing maps. He snickered as he walked up to the bar and took a seat as a man got up. The barkeep knew him; he nodded to the red robed man and set down a glass of fine wine in front of him. He heard one man behind him talking about how he was going to buy Palanthas with the wealth of Shinare. The man almost snorted out his wine after he heard the lumbering idiot. Why did they all think it would be so easy to find the four seals and bring them together? They were simple folk, not meant to do great things, accumulate vast sums of wealth, power, and mystical artifacts. That was for him to do. He, the Archmage of the Red. He set down a coin to pay for the wine and nodded to the barkeep. Another man behind him was talking about some clue that Shinare had passed to her followers about a signpost with a decayed town to the north. The Archmage reached into his pocket to finger a small, handwritten scroll as he turned to face the group. "Fools! You think that you can just stroll out the East Gate and you will find the buried treasure? X marks the spot? That map is useless!" He pointed to the map on the table and it bursts into flames. "Go home to your wives and children. Go back to your mundane lives. They are safer. Not one of you stands a chance against the dangers that lie ahead in your quest. Your childhood nightmares of trolls and dragons and warlocks will become a reality! And you will stand there, quaking, as they tear you limb from limb. If you even manage to make it half way to the treasure, a quarter of the way to the first seal! I will kill you myself. Within the depths of Shinare's vaults are not meant for the worthless. You would be destroyed simply by the vast power of the magical artifacts. So! I digress. Return to your hawking, to your constructing, to your carpenting. Do not forsake your own life and leave your wife a widow, your child an orphan." As he takes a breath, he realizes that the entire inn has gone silent. They are all enraptured, listening to him. He looks around the room as the men try to subtly stow away a map here, a shovel back in a bag there as they shift awkwardly in their seats, embarrassed. As the Archmage turns to leave one man in the back stands up and yells, "Screw you man! I want the treasure! I'll fight off dragons and trolls and warts or whatever!" The rest of the men stand up and start banging on the tables and loudly voicing their agreement. The red robed man looks at the calmly from within his hood and shakes his head slightly. He curses their idiocy under his breath: "Fools and their search for gold. I already found the second clue. They stand no chance of evening finding the mystical signpost." As he turns to leave, he pulls out the scroll from his pocket and reads it amidst cheers of adventure and treasure. He smiles as he walks down the creaky wooden steps, knowing the location of the next clue to one of the Seals. A bird floats on the salty breeze overhead and notices a man dressed in dark red depart a wooden inn that it knows to be good for scraps out the back. He swoops low to just above the man, looking for scraps, and sees something in his hand. Drifting a little closer, he is disappointed it is not food. He realizes it is a note with eleven scribbled words upon it. The bird floats just a little bit lower and reads the words:
.... Birds can't read. Author: Leodas Date: Tue May 27 21:41:22 2008 Subject SQ - Fool's Gold A red robed figure weaved his way between vendor's carts and the customers perusing useless trinkets. Men and women alike hawked their wares. "The scope to see the clues! A map that will lead you right to them! You need this magical shovel to unearth the treasure!" The scratchy, hoarse voices flowed past the man as he continued his walk. The ends of his robe fluttered softly in the breeze. The sun blazed down on the city of Palanthas, yet it did not feel hot. The Bay of Branchala brought on a salty, refreshing wind that made up for the lack of puffy, white clouds. Gully dwarves roamed the streets in their nearly pristine alabaster outfits, picking up trash here, eating some scraps there. The city was alive and buzzing with the recent news. Some believed it a complex rumor with credit to an anonymous genius. Others knew wholeheartedly, deep down within them that it was not just a rumor. Others, still, simply bided their time and watched and listened and waited. The man continued walking down the shiny cobblestone road, ignoring the clean, square buildings and houses that rose on either side of him. Past the halfway point of the street, the buildings and houses began to change from solely stone to an occasional sighting of wooden crafted. It was into one of these that the man turned. With a slight veering towards the left, he began walked down the left side of the street until he stood beneath a sign for a wooden inn. The sign read: The Silver Dragon Inn. He walked up the creaky wooden steps and softly pushed the door open. He felt a buzzing, vibrating motion as his hand came in contact with the door. As it swung open, he was blasted with the sounds of a completely packed inn. The bar was full, the tables were overfull, there was hardly even standing room. He caught bits and pieces of conversations as the customers tried to talk over each other: "Treasure..." "Seals.." "Signpost." The red robed man smiled to himself. So, they had found out the news, the rumors. That must be why they are all wearing traveling gear and comparing maps. He snickered as he walked up to the bar and took a seat as a man got up. The barkeep knew him; he nodded to the red robed man and set down a glass of fine wine in front of him. He heard one man behind him talking about how he was going to buy Palanthas with the wealth of Shinare. The man almost snorted out his wine after he heard the lumbering idiot. Why did they all think it would be so easy to find the four seals and bring them together? They were simple folk, not meant to do great things, accumulate vast sums of wealth, power, and mystical artifacts. That was for him to do. He, the Archmage of the Red. He set down a coin to pay for the wine and nodded to the barkeep. Another man behind him was talking about some clue that Shinare had passed to her followers about a signpost with a decayed town to the north. The Archmage reached into his pocket to finger a small, handwritten scroll as he turned to face the group. "Fools! You think that you can just stroll out the East Gate and you will find the buried treasure? X marks the spot? That map is useless!" He pointed to the map on the table and it bursts into flames. "Go home to your wives and children. Go back to your mundane lives. They are safer. Not one of you stands a chance against the dangers that lie ahead in your quest. Your childhood nightmares of trolls and dragons and warlocks will become a reality! And you will stand there, quaking, as they tear you limb from limb. If you even manage to make it half way to the treasure, a quarter of the way to the first seal! I will kill you myself. Within the depths of Shinare's vaults are not meant for the worthless. You would be destroyed simply by the vast power of the magical artifacts. So! I digress. Return to your hawking, to your constructing, to your carpenting. Do not forsake your own life and leave your wife a widow, your child an orphan." As he takes a breath, he realizes that the entire inn has gone silent. They are all enraptured, listening to him. He looks around the room as the men try to subtly stow away a map here, a shovel back in a bag there as they shift awkwardly in their seats, embarrassed. As the Archmage turns to leave one man in the back stands up and yells, "Screw you man! I want the treasure! I'll fight off dragons and trolls and warts or whatever!" The rest of the men stand up and start banging on the tables and loudly voicing their agreement. The red robed man looks at the calmly from within his hood and shakes his head slightly. He curses their idiocy under his breath: "Fools and their search for gold. I already found the second clue. They stand no chance of even finding the mystical signpost." As he turns to leave, he pulls out the scroll from his pocket and reads it amidst cheers of adventure and treasure. He smiles as he walks down the creaky wooden steps, knowing the location of the next clue to one of the Seals. A bird floats on the salty breeze overhead and notices a man dressed in dark red depart a wooden inn that it knows to be good for scraps out the back. He swoops low to just above the man, looking for scraps, and sees something in his hand. Drifting a little closer, he is disappointed it is not food. He realizes it is a note with eleven scribbled words upon it. The bird floats just a little bit lower and reads the words:
.... Birds can't read. Author: Leodas Date: Thu May 29 20:53:22 2008 Subject Test of High Sorcery: Luerk (Part I) (This is the Test of High Sorcery given to Luerk Trell. It was done on the IC Channel and has been reformatted to fit your screen.) Two eyes seem to bob up and down in the air as they glide through the Apprentice Quarters. They look, not right, not left, but straight ahead. They do not search for their destination; they know their target. A chill flows through the air about them. Other apprentices stick their heads curiously from their doors to catch a glimpse. They've heard rumors. This was how you were summoned to _the_ Test. No, everyone was different. No, they were sure this was how. Their eyes followed the bobbing eyes with intense curiosity as the slowed to a halt in front of a door at the end of the hall...Luerk Trell's. His door swung open slowly, and the eyes seemed to bow slightly, then beckon him forth. A voice echoes down the hall, eminating from...the eyes, oddly enough, "You are summoned to the Levels of Testing. Gather yourself. Follow." The apprentices begin to chatter excitedly until the eyes turn sharply towards them, appearing to stare heatedly at them each individually. Their heads slowly retreat and their doors close. Luerk sat quietly on the edge of his bed, his hands folded in his lap. He wore a bored expression, his head slightly cocked to the side. The sheets of his bed were pristine, he obviously hadn't slept there during the night. With a polite cough, Luerk stood and straightened his robes. The cheap sable cloth still felt awkward, so he straightened his belt around his waist. His eyes drifted, slowly sweeping the room. Satisfied that he lacked nothing, Luerk strode forward confidently. "It took them long enough," thought the elf to himself. "I do believe the Archmagus enjoys keeping me confined here." Finding the disembodied eyes waiting just outside the door, Luerk suffered another polite cough, as if to nudge against the spectral being. "I have been prepared. Please proceed." Luerk sighed heavily as several apprentices stole another glance. The immature students bothered Luerk to no end, as the infants were hardly a third of his age! The elf was happy to be rid of this child's dormatory. As Luerk stands and prepares to leave his room, the eyes lower their gaze in acquiescence and begin floating down the hallway they arrived through. This time, however, as they passed, the apprentice's doors all closed. Some, slower than others, hoping to get their last glimpse at the Apprentice off to take his Test. The eyes led up the stairs out into the courtyard that was, strangely, rather empty. A lone elf sat beneath a tree and nodded to Luerk as he passed. The eyes led on. They led to the South Tower of Wayreth, and into what are known as the Testing Levels. Here, they stopped and lowered their gaze once more before Luerk and slowly dissipated. Luerk breathed deep, enjoying the last of the outdoor breeze. He did not imagine that his test would consist of any adventuring. No, the Archmagus seemed more the type to thrive off breathing heavy dust. Luerk snickered at the thought. The eyes were gone now, though Luerk could still feel the prickling feeling on his skin. A momentary chill from an unfelt breeze signaled the full departure of the spector. Luerk half turned, glancing over his shoulder. His keen eyes sought the solitary elf, but nothing stirred underneath the trees. Closing his eyes, Luerk relaxed his arms and allowed himself a final stretch. An actualy breeze rushed by, whipping his hair into a momentary frenzy. The shadow of the tower played across his face, darkened one side. The other felt the warmth of the sun as the clouds allowed a single beam to escape. Luerk smiled, but not happily. He knew that this would be his last respite now. The warmth died, and the cruel clouds stole away the light. A brief flash signaled the onset of a storm. Luerk wondered if the Master of the Tower looked on from above. Perhaps the decrepit old magus stood like a dull red hawk. His fading eyes peering from the heights to watch the progress of an apprentice. Luerk smirked but shook his head. "The old windbag won't even notice I'm gone." With that, Luerk began the trek up the winding stairs of the tower. He knew the path, though he did not know why. The right steps seemed to be right in front of him, every door opened on its own. Through long never ending hallways, curved corridors filled with busts and portraits of horrible deceased magi. Across plush carpets and stone steps, Luerk never waivered in his step. Finally, he arrived at the doors of the halls he sought (via a semi-hidden door behind a tapestry no less!). Irritated, Luerk sneered and wiped the first inkling of sweat from his brow. "Curse you Leodas. I'll never walk such lengths for you again." The red robed Archmage stands behind the semi-hidden door in the room Luerk must enter as the door swings open, brushing the tapestry aside, "Welcome Apprentice. I hope you had a pleasant enough journey through the Testing Levels." He coughs slightly in a poor effort to contain a laugh. Luerk smiles, closing his eyes to hide the smoldering malice. "Of course Archmagus, I needed to stretch my legs. I was beginning to stick in the long wait. Though, I hope after our 'chat' I wont be walking for you again." "Oh no, you did not walk for me. You walked for yourself. The Testing Levels appear differently to each Apprentice, as they themselves see them. I had nothing to do with them." The Archmage's eyes glitter with mirth. Luerk replies, "Then I fear that I might have plenty more to walk in my time here." He takes a deep breath and drops the hostile attitude. "Shall we, Archmagus?" The red robed man inclines his head. "Enter." (Part I To Be Continued) Author: Leodas Date: Thu May 29 21:17:46 2008 Subject Test of High Sorcery: Luerk (Part I Continued) (Continuation of Part I) He steps to the side to allow Luerk to pass before him. Luerk easily takes the first step, not even taking a moment to ponder the consequences of his actions. The simple wooden door did very well in hiding the true nature of the testing halls. And what a hall. The grandeur of the testing halls momentarily stunned Luerk, but more because of the combinded magik aura eminating from the room. Artifacts of all sorts, placed on pedistals lined a plush carpet. Mechcanical contraptions, simple wooden sticks and even a lone tin car (rusted and bend) eminanted such concentrated auras that Luerk actually had to step aside to pass. At the end of the hall was a long wooden table, which seated three old and tired looking magi. A stick of a man stand on the right, clad in elegant white robes. He maintained a calm, but interested demaneor. He kept his extremely gnarled hands fold on the table. A plump women of sixty sat in the middle, her short flesh fingers rapidly clicking away at the table. Luerk marveled at her short stature, and wondered if her feet even touched the floor! (He couldn't see however, for an elegant cloth draped over the sides of the table, obscuring his view.) Lastly, an ugly, slobbering dog of a man lounged on the left. He lifted one leg and pushed off the table, impossibly balancing his high-backed chair. Luerk glanced at each, and bowed low before some of the most prestigious magi of the Conclave. Master Spellbinder Eldaron of the White Robes. Madam Pinkterton of the Red. And High Archmagus Jendaron of the Black. The white robed man spoke first, "Welcome Luerk." The red robed lady bowed her head. The black robed man snorted as he leaned back in his chair. The white robed man unfolded his hands and beckoned to the portal to the left of Luerk, "Enter and begin." Little did Luerk know that the portal led nowhere, but that he would simply be rendered unconscious. As Luerk leaned through the portal, a vast shimmering oval bordered with glimmering white, red, and black bands, a voice that sounded an awful lot like his Master's whispered in his head, "Good luck..." The last thought that entered Luerk's mind was this: "I guess the old bloke actually wants me to suceed." Luerk finds himself at the beginning, or the end of a stone bridge leading to nowhere. His memory of how he arrived there is vague. Around him for miles is a sea of darkness, a seemingly bottomless pit. To fall would be to die of starvation. Before him, some ways towards the other end of the bridge is a massive wall. He cannot see beyond it; he only knows that that is where he must go. A stone door is carved into the wall with no apparent handle. Luerk knows, somehow, that no amount of pushing or pulling will open it. Slightly in front of the door and to the right of it sits a small goblin, picking at the bones of a freshly killed rat. He appears to be sitting upon some stone that is slightly depressed into the bridge. Luerk stares for a moment, entranced by the goblin's pathetic picking. He shakes his head to clear his mind, as the grogginess is slow to clear. With a snort, Luerk finally comes to his sense. He sneers at the goblin, but immediately regrets opening his nostrils any farther. Luerk glances over the small goblin, searching for an insignia of the Blackwood Contingent. Finding none, Luerk assumes that the goblin is either a deserter or from a rival clan. He takes a few steps forward, attempting to get the beast's attention. The goblin remains oblivious to Luerk, continuing to pick at the almost clean bones of the rat. "Oi! You little creatin, look here." Luerk switches to the goblin tongue. (rough translation) "Where be rest of clan. You scout? I bigger than you, you follow me now." Luerk stomps angerily, his stomp echoing oddly in the vast silence. The goblin continues to remain oblivious, finally setting down the bones he finished picking clean. As he sets the rat down, though, he catches a glimpse of Luerk out of the corner of his eye and looks up curiously. Luerk faceplams, sliding his hand roughly down his face. "Apparently you're too stupid to understand your own guttural tongue. Stupid brute." Luerk mutters to the goblin. In frustration, Luerk kicks a loose stone in the beast's direction. The stone bounces off an invisible shield and rolls back to Luerk. A small glimmer refracts the light as it traces a spidery path in a sphere around the goblin. When it comes to a halt, the goblin is sitting in the same location behind a completely transparent magical shield. At the same time that the stone stops rolling, the bridge rumbles slightly. Towards the beginning, where Luerk came from, the first stones crumple and fall into the darkness. Luerk turn spins wildly on his heels, cursing as the first stone plummets into the darkness below. Wide eyed, he is stuck as a second stone shakes violently and plummets. With shaking hands, he reaches down for the stone he kicked, only barely grasping it behind his fingers. He utters an incantation in the spidery language of the arcane, "Ergona fo sdnahs eht em Evig." Luerk crushes the stone with unnatural strength. He turns to face the goblin again and sprints full tilt toward it. Gathering the dust in his hands, Luerk utters another incantation and hopes to the abyss he remembered to accent the 'e' correctly. "!Dnepsus dna dnapxe!" As he releases the crumbled stone, he leaps over the dust and claps his hands once. The dust stops immediately in mid air, expanding and hardening to form a crude bridge suspended over the goblin. Luerk lands heavily on the stony bridge, which creaks omniously. Ironically, no other stones have fallen yet but several shakes with intention. A sigh of relief escapes Luerk's mouth, but he still grips the brigde. He peers over the edge to see if the goblin is still attentive. The goblin watches Luerk above him curiously, twiddling his fingers and seemingly unaware of the crumbling bridge in front of him. Luerk boggles at the goblin's nonchalant attitude. "Too stupid to communicate or understand eminant death. Seems your stomach rules your destiny then, hmm?" Luerk makes a face at the decomposing rat underneathe him. But seeing the goblin's dinner, Luerk graps an idea. Ever so carefully, Luerk shifts so he can reach his soft moccasins. Slipping one off, he carefully holds it in his hand. "Eturb eht rof eno ot, etsat gnikcal eno rof." Luerk snickers at his handicraft, for the worn leather shoe begins to wriggle and withered, transforming into a live rat. Holding the shoe ... er rat by a lace ... er its tail, Luerk dangles the morsel just out of reach of the goblin. The goblin sees the rat and his eyes light up. However, he simply stands up to reach for the rat, remaining on the depressed stone. Several more stones fall away into the darkness at the beginning of the bridge. Luerk curses, crawling over the edge to draw the goblin closer. The shoe/rat is, as Luerk calculates, very near to where the barrier should be. The goblin jumps to grab the rat, but his hand hits the barrier. As he does this, the stone rises and the stone door opens. However, he lands back upon the stone and the door slams closed. Frustrated, Luerk attempts once more, jingling the shoerat again. However, as he does, he lifts his other hand and recites a third incantation: "Llup, ytivarg gnieb rehtona." (Part I To Be Concluded) Author: Leodas Date: Thu May 29 21:20:34 2008 Subject Test of High Sorcery: Luerk (Part I Conclusion) (Continuation of Part I) Luerk hopes the goblin will jump again, and when the brutes does...he will unleash the pent up spell in his other hand to catch the goblin in midair. The goblin appears frustrated and looks around. Obviously dull witted, he jumps once more in hopes to grab the rat. As he does this, a large group of stones fall away, closing the distance on the pair. With a growl, Luerk unleashes the spell, with forcefull grabs the goblin in mid air. The goblin makes a face, as if in pain or squealing. But Luerk sneers and flexes his arm, making the goblin writher in pain. With the goblin suspended in air, the stone rises and the stone door swings open. The bridge is crumbling faster and faster as stones begin tumbling simultaneously into the darkness. Luerk flicks his wrist, tossing the little goblin away from the depressed stone. He scrambles to his toes and springs for the door. "Annoying little bugger," he mutters. The goblin bounces off of the barrier and falls back onto the stone. The door slams closed seconds after Luerk disappears through it. The stones stop crumbling and the bridge fades away into the darkness. Luerk finds himself walking through his encampment, towards Lord Saige's tent. In the shadows of the night, he sees Deston approaching him from another direction. He awaits his right hand man's arrival. (End of Part I) Author: Leodas Date: Fri May 30 07:26:28 2008 Subject Test of High Sorcery: Luerk (Part II) (This is the second part of Luerk's Test of High Sorcery. It involves a conflict with a friend/ally.) The doorway closes narrowly behind Luerk, the corner of his robes narrowly avoiding being slice off in the magical portal as it snaps shut behind him. He instantly forgets the events with the goblin and begins to recognize his location. Luerk finds himself walking through his encampment, towards Lord Saige's tent. In the shadows of the night, he sees Deston approaching him from another direction. He awaits his right hand man's arrival. Deston, a dragonarmy colonel says, "Ah! Captain Trell, there you are. I have been looking for you." Deston takes a small parchment from his clothes and hands it over to Luerk. "Keep it hidden, Captain." Luerk shakes the momentary fog from his mind, blinking away the grog in his vision. As he trudges forward, he steals a backward glance though he is not quite sure what he is looking for. Deston stares at Luerk with wonder. Deston says, "Are you all right Captain, you seem a bit lost here..." Muttering, Luerk frees himself from the lingering feeling of vertigo, absent-mindedly brushing dust and dirt from the front of his uniform and responds, "What? Ah, yes. I'm perfectly fine." "This is information you will be glad to hear, I'm sure you will find it ... amusing." Having his subordinante address him in such a friendly mannner startled Luerk, and for some reasons he cannot quell his racing heart. "Hmm, I'm sure." Irritated, he brushes at his uniform again: "Sergeant Deston, can you explain to me why my uniform is so ill-prepared?" With a sneer, Luerk leans in close as if to reprimand his underling. However, he whispers into Deston's ears, "What is you've managed to secure? Better explain quick, I've been I've been summoned by the Highlord."' Deston looks down to the floor with a nod as he takes the reprimand then speaks in a whisper, "It is a chest, a chest of that mage, Lord Saige has it in his possessions. That mage that cursed the tower Captain...I though you might be interested to know of the spells contained there..." Luerk's eyebrow twitches slightly, hinting at his surprise, "A chest of the former Andras Rannoch? That IS curious, though I wonder what the Highlord could possibly want with objects of the arcane? I doubt he has a single tingle of magik in his blood." Luerk furrows his brow, trying to make sense of the matter. "For that matter, how did you discover this information Sergeant?" Luerk growls, rubbing his thumb against his forefinger, thinking to himself, "The Highlord should have come to me first. This is unacceptable Saige." Luerk scowls, but keeps his thoughts to himself, "We had our deal, and I've performed above expectations. This is how he repays his last remaining general?" Deston speaks softly, a whispering voice in Luerk's ear, "It seems that he didnt want this power near you..." Luerk mutters as he thinks to himself, "If he thinks he can hold som rotting chest over my head..." Deston stops whispering to Luerk as he sees other soldiers approaching. He raises his voice again and replies: "I will make sure whomever is responsible for the poorly treatment of your clothes will be penalized... And its "Colonel" now Captain Luerk..." Deston salutes Luerk as the other soldiers pass by. Luerk blinks violently, his inner focus disrupted by the Sergeant's constant yammering. He glances at the shiny new emblem smartly fixed to Deston's robes. "Careful colonel, better test your new metal before the shines gives away your position." Luerk sneers, grabbing Deston by the front of his robes, "Make the Highlord aware that his ... Loyal ... commander approaches." Luerk releases Deston with a little shove, "Go." The sergeant startles at the reaction of his superior. He imediately salutes again and walks with a hasted pace towards the Highlord's Office. Luerk gathers his uniform about him, brushing dust in vain. "That washing boy will suffer when I get my hands on him." Saige sits at his desk, staring intently at the map sprawled on the table before him. The red tacks indicate the barbarian hordes. There were a lot of red tacks. He rubbed his head to try and relieve his headache. Outside, Luerk brushes stray strands of wispy hair of out his eyes. His cruel hard eyes, fixed on the Highlord's tent, "That bastard. Does he think he'll sway Deston from me with a promotion? Pah!" He spits, "Two clerics meddling in arcane affairs. Hah." NOTE: I am not Saige, nor do I represent the real Saige. This is Luerk's Test of High Sorcery. All events and characters are fictional besides Luerk's. No animals were harmed in the making of this RP. (Part II To Be Continued) Author: Leodas Date: Fri May 30 07:31:27 2008 Subject Test of High Sorcery: Luerk (Part II Concluded) (Continuation of Part II) Arriving before the Commander, Deston knocks on the door of the Highlord. At a signal, he enters the room and announces, "Highlord Saige, I announce that your Loyal Commander approches upon your summons." He salutes Saige then waits by the door for Luerk to enter the room. Saige looks up from his frustrating map and cocks the eyebrow over his one good eye towards the entrance as he nods towards the Colonel. Luerk stomps up to the tent, but hesitates before swiping aside the flap. He takes a deep breath and relaxes, telling himself that there must be some explanation for the Highlord's actions, "Surely, my shaky attendence has affected his ability to reach me. Curse those Conclavian towers, and that blasted Archmagus." Again, Luerk attempts to breath deep. More or less calmer, Luerk brushes aside the flap to the inside, Hail Highlord Saige." He salutes respectully, and stands at attention. The Highlord smiles, almost mockingly, as he returns the salute. A ragged looking wooden chest sits behind him in the shadows of the tent, vaguely visible. "At ease. What brings you back to our camp Captain?" Luerk is genuinely caught off guard, "I .. am...uh." Luerk cocks his head, and eyes the Highlord suspiciously. "I was under the impression that I was summoned Highlord." Letting himself stand at ease, Luerk remembers the secret message held in his held in his hand. Once again, the smoldering hate ignites within Luerk. Saige chuckles and scratches at the patch covering his maligned eye in a most grotesque manner. "Summoned? Oh no, Captain, we all know you come and go as you please." Luerk catches Saige's notable emphasis on the word Captain and glares, but tries in vain to pass it off as a grim smile. "There are forces at work in this wide world that require attending to. I assure you SAIGE, that I work tirelessly to ensure our survival." The subordinate shifts, stealing a knowing glance at Deston, "But, I was informed that artifacts of interest were unearthed. Perhaps the fates saved you some effort in summoning me." Luerk smiles, but without warmth. Saige stands, menacingly, and glances quickly, almost unnoticed at Deston. "Whichever rat you get your scraps from has misinformed you in an attempt to bait me. We have uncovered no such artifacts that would be of interest..." Luerk mocks surprise, leaning forward as if he didn't hear properly. "What was that Highlord? I refrain with dealing with rats, though I must admit if you want the treacherous fiend, you can have him!" He gracefully unfolds that message given to him by Deston, and lets it flutter to the ground. "Your trust in me was misplaced Saige. Deston informed me of the chest just now, though your old age must be getting to you. My elven eyes are hard to fool. There are several new items in your collection, if I am not mistaken. Perhaps the chest placed to harmlessly behind you? Hmmm." Destons eyes widen as he realises hes being sold out. Luerk, in turn, glances at Deston, sneering at his doomed subordinate, "You wear that insignia too proudly Sergeant." The sergeant slowly widens his eyes as anger starts overcoming him. After all this time he gets fed to the shark. The Highlord laughs loudly, too loudly, mocking the two of them, "Fool. We have nothing of Andras Rannoch's. Deston is a lousy informant. I mentioned nothing to him of the chest." His eyes widen as he realizes that Luerk never mentioned anything about Rannoch, and hopes that Luerk missed the slip. Luerk snickers, a soft but menacing hissing that cuts through Saige's laughter, "Would that be Andras Rannoch, Highlord?" Luerk saturates the title with sarcasm, "The magus who committed suicide to seal the gates of the tower in Palanthas? Because, unless I am mistaken, I never mentioned the name. Or perhaps you refer to your manservant Rannoch. Or was it your mistress? The snake-toothed Rannoch?" Saige sneers as he slowly, casually, drops a hand to the mace by his side: "Deston, rat, who do you stand by? I offer you his place if you strike him down now." The Highlord knows full well that he can no longer trust Deston and must kill him eventually. The sergeant, however, shifts his eyes from one to another, greed dives into his heart at the mention of another promotion. He doesnt say a word but grabs his mace and jump towards Luerk while chanting some words. Saige's eyes light up as he grabs his mace, waiting to kill the victor of the the two. A pink mist materializes and starts surrounding Luerk slowly as Deston launches forward. Luerk sighs, disappointed that he must draw first blood. The pink outline holds only for a minute, then shutters and disappates. Reaching into his pouch, he withdraws a black powder, and tosses it into Deston's face. However, all the while he never takes his eyes off Saige. The simple flashpowder explodes, startling Deston into the reflex of covering his face. Having found his opportunity, Luerk chants into the spidery language of the arcane: "Nori otnu hself ym redner." Luerk's hands glisten as they take on the element of crude iron, his long dexterious fingers becoming sharp as knives. And with one swift movement, he plunges his four fingers three knuckles deep into Deston's chest. The sergeant's eyes grow dull for a moment as life starts slipping away from him, "You.. will... never...." Blood spills out from his mouth as all of his insides are split open by Luerk. (End of Part II) Author: Leodas Date: Fri May 30 07:36:36 2008 Subject Test of High Sorcery: Luerk (Part II Conclusion) (Continuation of Part II) Arriving before the Commander, Deston knocks on the door of the Highlord. At a signal, he enters the room and announces, "Highlord Saige, I announce that your Loyal Commander approches upon your summons." He salutes Saige then waits by the door for Luerk to enter the room. Saige looks up from his frustrating map and cocks the eyebrow over his one good eye towards the entrance as he nods towards the Colonel. Luerk stomps up to the tent, but hesitates before swiping aside the flap. He takes a deep breath and relaxes, telling himself that there must be some explanation for the Highlord's actions, "Surely, my shaky attendence has affected his ability to reach me. Curse those Conclavian towers, and that blasted Archmagus." Again, Luerk attempts to breath deep. More or less calmer, Luerk brushes aside the flap to the inside, Hail Highlord Saige." He salutes respectully, and stands at attention. The Highlord smiles, almost mockingly, as he returns the salute. A ragged looking wooden chest sits behind him in the shadows of the tent, vaguely visible. "At ease. What brings you back to our camp Captain?" Luerk is genuinely caught off guard, "I .. am...uh." Luerk cocks his head, and eyes the Highlord suspiciously. "I was under the impression that I was summoned Highlord." Letting himself stand at ease, Luerk remembers the secret message held in his held in his hand. Once again, the smoldering hate ignites within Luerk. Saige chuckles and scratches at the patch covering his maligned eye in a most grotesque manner. "Summoned? Oh no, Captain, we all know you come and go as you please." Luerk catches Saige's notable emphasis on the word Captain and glares, but tries in vain to pass it off as a grim smile. "There are forces at work in this wide world that require attending to. I assure you SAIGE, that I work tirelessly to ensure our survival." The subordinate shifts, stealing a knowing glance at Deston, "But, I was informed that artifacts of interest were unearthed. Perhaps the fates saved you some effort in summoning me." Luerk smiles, but without warmth. Saige stands, menacingly, and glances quickly, almost unnoticed at Deston. "Whichever rat you get your scraps from has misinformed you in an attempt to bait me. We have uncovered no such artifacts that would be of interest..." Luerk mocks surprise, leaning forward as if he didn't hear properly. "What was that Highlord? I refrain with dealing with rats, though I must admit if you want the treacherous fiend, you can have him!" He gracefully unfolds that message given to him by Deston, and lets it flutter to the ground. "Your trust in me was misplaced Saige. Deston informed me of the chest just now, though your old age must be getting to you. My elven eyes are hard to fool. There are several new items in your collection, if I am not mistaken. Perhaps the chest placed to harmlessly behind you? Hmmm." Destons eyes widen as he realises hes being sold out. Luerk, in turn, glances at Deston, sneering at his doomed subordinate, "You wear that insignia too proudly Sergeant." The sergeant slowly widens his eyes as anger starts overcoming him. After all this time he gets fed to the shark. The Highlord laughs loudly, too loudly, mocking the two of them, "Fool. We have nothing of Andras Rannoch's. Deston is a lousy informant. I mentioned nothing to him of the chest." His eyes widen as he realizes that Luerk never mentioned anything about Rannoch, and hopes that Luerk missed the slip. Luerk snickers, a soft but menacing hissing that cuts through Saige's laughter, "Would that be Andras Rannoch, Highlord?" Luerk saturates the title with sarcasm, "The magus who committed suicide to seal the gates of the tower in Palanthas? Because, unless I am mistaken, I never mentioned the name. Or perhaps you refer to your manservant Rannoch. Or was it your mistress? The snake-toothed Rannoch?" Saige sneers as he slowly, casually, drops a hand to the mace by his side: "Deston, rat, who do you stand by? I offer you his place if you strike him down now." The Highlord knows full well that he can no longer trust Deston and must kill him eventually. The sergeant, however, shifts his eyes from one to another, greed dives into his heart at the mention of another promotion. He doesnt say a word but grabs his mace and jump towards Luerk while chanting some words. Saige's eyes light up as he grabs his mace, waiting to kill the victor of the the two. A pink mist materializes and starts surrounding Luerk slowly as Deston launches forward. Luerk sighs, disappointed that he must draw first blood. The pink outline holds only for a minute, then shutters and disappates. Reaching into his pouch, he withdraws a black powder, and tosses it into Deston's face. However, all the while he never takes his eyes off Saige. The simple flashpowder explodes, startling Deston into the reflex of covering his face. Having found his opportunity, Luerk chants into the spidery language of the arcane: "Nori otnu hself ym redner." Luerk's hands glisten as they take on the element of crude iron, his long dexterious fingers becoming sharp as knives. And with one swift movement, he plunges his four fingers three knuckles deep into Deston's chest. The sergeant's eyes grow dull for a moment as life starts slipping away from him, "You.. will... never...." Blood spills out from his mouth as all of his insides are split open by Luerk. (End of Part II) Author: Leodas Date: Sun Jun 1 01:14:30 2008 Subject Test of High Sorcery: Luerk (Part III) (This is the third part of Luerk's Test of High Sorcery. It involves battle with a stronger foe.) Saige smiles as he watches Deston's lifeless form fall to the ground at Luerk's feet. Without waiting for words or a response from Luerk, he prays to Takhisis and throws a pinch of sand on the ground at his Captain's feet. It instantly becomes a floor of grease around him. His opponent recognizes the spell as one that the Archmagus taught him; Luerk makes a dive for solid ground before the dirt ground degenerates anymore. Saige frowns slightly as the grease turns into quicksand and then quickly encases...nothing, "Interesting." He quickly responds with another prayer to Takhisis, as darkness begins to enshroud Luerk, removing all of the air around him. Luerk is forced to his knees as the black plume forcefully expunges, consuming all the oxygen in the forceful dissapation. He coughs violently, but the fit subsides. Clutching his chest, Luerk struggles to murmur the words he wants but manages to spit them out at last, "Enots dna tsud fo stsif." A giant clawed hand explodes from the ground underneath Saige, attempting to spear the Highlord. Luerk calls out amid the exploding dirt claw: "What is it you fear about me Saige? Does the Dark Queen tremble at the thought of the her arcane son? That is why you horde Rannoch's chest, is it not?" The Highlord laughs as he sidesteps the claw, which quickly disintegrates into dirt. "Fear you? Is that what they teach you in the Towers? Are you training to be a...Tower Man? Your knowledge is nothing." Luerk sneers at the mocking Highlord, "What can I say? I am an educated man. The complete mastery of my art is what I seek, and the tomes locked in the towers are the means by which I will achieve my goals." Reachings down, Luerk grasps a handful of the finer dirt beneath him. He tosses it up into the air, chanting. "Ssalg otni dnas enif." Saige dodges the pinch of sand and grasps his medallion. A bolt of lightning stretches from his other hand towards Luerk, across the encased stone floor, but his aim is off, and it strikes the tent a good 3 feet to the right, "Your Queen's aim waivers, Highlord." The Highlord hurdles the stone encasement, swinging his mace downward towards Luerk who struggles to dodge the blow as his coughing fit returns. But he manages to avoid a blow to the head, instead taking it to the arm and into his ribs. In a rage Luerk, grasps the head of the mace and chants rapidly. From his forearm materializes several dripping black tendrils, which twist and wine up the mace, making for Saige's arm. The tentacles lock onto his arm, the suctioning causing fierce burning pain in his arm and he drops his mace. With his other hand he closes his fist and swings at Luerk's head with his fist. The blow lands square on Luerk's chin, followed by a single, popping sound. Grimacing in pain, Luerk causes an electric current to flow through the mace into Saige's body. Saige Kicks the mace away, as the tentacle begins to unravel from his arm. He sneers and steps back from Luerk. "You've managed to burn my arm. Congratulations." Luerk sneers back, "I'll have more than your arm when I'm through." The one-eyed leader grabs ahold of his talisman again and utters to Takhisis. The ground beneath Luerk begins to smolder and burn, the beginnings of a flame rising up from the ground. Thinking faster than Saige, Luerk points a single finger at his former commander. The long and elegant index finger glows briefly, then a single deadly beam of sable hued energy ignites from the tip. The beam's speed is almost instantaneous, making its way for Saige's taliman. "Pray to your queen that she sends you a new icon Highlord," Luerk says with a malignant grin. The beam of light strikes the talisman and it begins to glow and vibrate. Then, it explodes violently and throws Saige across the room, where he thuds into the chest, simultaneously breaking his left elbow and slamming his head. He struggles to his feet, slowly. He removes the cord that previously held the talisman of a five-headed dragon. "Apparently, She wishes not to aid me in this contest," he says as he pulls a dagger from his boot. While he sets the cord on the ground, he whips the dagger at Luerk. The blade wings past Luerk's face, clipping off a tiny piece of his left ear. The wound is light, and Luerk only snickers and points at Saige clinging onto the medallion. "If she wants to be held by a real man, you should toss her over to me." Luerk grabs Saige's mace (with the last bit of the tendrils still wringling and oozing) and utters the words 'Htgnerts larutannu'. With unnatural strength, Luerk hurls the mace back at Saige. The Highlord dodges the mace and picks it back up off the ground. Examining it and noticing the oozing poison from the spikes, he hurls it back at Luerk. The mace is flung harmlessly away. "If it's magic you desire Saige, praying to Her isn't going to grant it to you." Luerk inhales a deep breath, and places his clenched fist in front of his mouth. As he exhales his incantation, his breath gains in speed and loses temperature. As the last of the incantation is breathed through the clenched fist, the air increases in temperature rapidly, causing an incredible temperature change around Saige, who laughs it off, "Hah. I'm not sure about your intentions, but I am glad that you relieved me of that cold." He attempts to use Takhisis one last time as he calls up a fire around Luerk. With the last of his exhale, Luerk finally releases his clenched fist, incurring a fierce wind to blow directly at Saige, while blowing out the flames as well. Saige is blown back by Luerk and thrown, once again, into the chest, where his already broken elbow is slammed again, causing him to shout in pain, "Takhisis! Damn you!" (Part III To Be Continued) Author: Leodas Date: Sun Jun 1 01:17:04 2008 Subject Test of High Sorcery: Luerk (Part III Conclusion) (Continuation of Part III) Captain Trell stares Saige down with a smoldering hate. "Your loss of faith saddens me Saige." The Highlord growls up at Luerk, "If She will not assist me, I know the one who will, the one you aspire to follow." With his uncrippled arm, he opens the chest he is lying upon and withdraws a spellbook. Quickly, he turns to a spell that he has glimpsed over before. Luerk laughs at the feeble man before him. "What do you expect to do with that Saige? Toss it at me as well?" Saige, however, begins chanting the words to a spell more complex then any normal caster could manage. He begins softly, noting Luerk's widening eyes as he repeats himself in a rising crescendo. A darkness begins to settle in the room. Wisps of black smoke drift from the corners and from the ceiling and begin to swirl around the room, then dance amongst each other, darting back and forth as they intertwine and create a bleak darkness, eventually shrouding the room in the complete absence of light. Luerk calls out into the darkness, laughing though grimacing through the pain as he shields himself with his left side, "Congratulations Highlord. Incredible, to cast a spell that no mere novice would even dream of." The Highlord laughs mockingly as he replies, "I have studied with Nuitari longer than you have thought. Why do you think I kept Andras Rannoch's chest to myself?" "Indeed the Dark Moon must consider you one of his own apprentices. But, I'll let you in on a secret Highlord Saige," Luerk says amid grunts and gagging. He beings to stretch out his left arm. His flesh begins to sizzle, but it does not deter him. In fact, with every inch gained, Luerk seems to grow more confident. He snickers to himself, eventually growling with satisfaction. "Saige. You were granted right to wield to arcane for one reason alone. So I could take it from you." Luerk shouts his incantation to the heavens, bellowing the words to master his pain and to contain the spell. A mocking laugh can be heard echoing in the shadows as Luerk shouts his incantations. Arcane energy eminanates from Luerk, as loose magic showers from his outstretched arms. The malicious cloud shutters and groans, as if indeed a person, but streaks of light flash in the cloud, as if thunder and rain brewed inside. Luerk stares hard into the envolving cloud, looking for his foe, but all he can see are the last remains of an armored skeleton. The fast approaching cloud still threatens Luerk's life. With the arcane force that flows through his veins, Luerk reaches into the cloud of death and grabs ahold of the very arcane fibers that construct it. Painfully aware that his arm is being dissolved and he works, Luerk unravels the arcane spellwords that hold the cloud together. He hopes that he can finish in time to save his life. An arm, he thinks, is a fine substitute for death. (End of Part III) Author: Leodas Date: Tue Jun 3 22:43:22 2008 Subject Test of High Sorcery: Luerk (Conclusion) (This is the conclusion of Luerk's Test of High Sorcery.) Saige's body disintegrates, and Luerk collapses on his blackened left side. The tent, table with a map and numerous red tacks, Deston's body, Andras Rannoch's chest, and Saige's body all become wispy and fade away into nothingness. The nothingness is not black, it is not white, it is not grey. It is difficult to describe, being void of color. Luerk, alone, is colored as he floats unconsciously. His pale flesh, blackened on one side, his dark robes charred and torn. Slowly, the nothingness begins to materialize into a stone table, comfortable despite it's appearance. To the north of his head stands his Master, Archmage Leodas of the Red, upon a pedestal, looking onwards. To the south of his feet sit the three mages he first encountered prior to his Test. They sit in a semi-circle before him. They were as follows: the stick of a man in White Robes, Master Spellbinder Eldaron, the short, plump woman of the Red Robes, Madam Pinkerton, and the casual, lounging man of the Black Robes, High Archmage Jendaron. The four of them wait patiently for some time while Luerk recovers. Eventually, the magical properties of the unique table cause him to heal enough to become conscious, and his eyes begin to flutter as he struggles to open them. The room spins for a bit and appears fuzzy while he gains his bearings. Luerk lifts his left arm, which is severely blackened and burned. The flesh is almost enterly striped away, and the mucles and ligaments are exposed. Through the pain, all that Luerk can manage is a croak. His Master is the first to speak, "Congratulations, Magus. There will be time for talking later. These three were witnesses to your survival and completion of your Test of High Sorcery." The three chime in with a chorus of congratulations, nods of agreement, and several individual claps, perhaps mocking. Leodas continues: "Of course, you did not complete it unscathed, but the important part is that you are alive. Your wounds will heal to the best of their abilities. Our healers will see to them, but I am afraid you will most likely always be blackened on that left side." Luerk coughs a little more blood; droplets of scarlet being to trickle onto the table. He struggles to turn his head, but he cannot manage. His left side pains him greatly, but maybe it is for the best. The sight of such a loss now could well send him over the edge. The Archmage continues: "I will continue to be your Master...in a different sense of the word. You will no longer come to me with all of your cantrips, and your failures, and your successes. However, should you come across a rare spellbook someday, perhaps we can peruse it together." The Archmage smiles a little bit, "For now, though, rest is required. Your dreams will be pleasant, and when you awake, your wounds will be healed, but whatever pain you feel with them will be the pain they give you the rest of your life. I very much doubt there will be any physical pain, but the mental memories of your Test will be forever with you. Again, Congratulations Luerk Trell, Magus of the Black Robes." He utters a few words, and Luerk slips back into unconsciousness. The new Magus is teleported to a newer, vaster room than his previous quarters. (End of Luerk's Test of High Sorcery. The RP was fun. Thanks to Shinare for the help as Deston. Congrats to Luerk.) Author: Leodas Date: Wed Jun 4 08:36:52 2008 Subject SQ - A Step Ahead The Archmage of the Red stands upon an icy outcropping, looking down upon the continent of Ansalon. His dark red robes are caught in the icy wind as they are pulled in a frantic, almost violent motion about his body. A dark red scarf stays calmly in place across his face, from his nose down. The end of it, however, reaches out to the side. The red edge of the scarf flickers in a constant effort to pull away from the man. His bright, jungle green eyes peer out from beneath frosted eye lashes as he stands atop the black, rocky cliff, its surface covered with ice. His hands finger an object deep within his robes. The object matches his eyes in its color. He traces the inscription upon the seal with his finger, going over the wording in his mind. Beside the green seal lie two others, one blue. The other, he speculates, no one has come across in centuries. His mind wanders back to his discovery of it as he steps over the hole in the outcropping the he just previously climbed out of. From far down below, a snow leopard looks up in time to catch a glimpse of the robes vanishing from the edge of the precipice. His hands were covered in a black dirt, gritty like the soot of a flower pot. It was almost as if he was planting in the makeshift garden inside of his quarters at the Tower. He really needed to improve that part of his room; it was nice to be able to grow some of the more basic spell components. This was not work an Archmage should be doing. The tips of his nails were filled with the black dirt as he clawed his way through the tunnel. It was a deep and dark path that he had dug. So, it was really more of a tunnel of his own making rather than a pre-existing one. The dirt was moist, as water dripped down around the ceiling above him, if you could call it that. He had been digging for what seemed like an eternity, his robes were more black than red in an eery foreboding look. Fortunately, he was more concerned with the Balance than his own selfish needs. However, the reason he was on this search was for personal reasons. Then again, he did moderate both sides of the field. So, he'd allow his robes to remain black and sooty while he dug for himself. Finally, his grimy hands broke through into a space with no more dirt. He managed to break the entrance up a bit and push himself through. The Archmage landed on his back with a small thud as he fell the short distance from his tunnel to the ground. The floor he lay upon was covered with stones, almost a stone pathway. They were dark, slick with water. He stood up and began brushing himself off before he stopped with a wry grin. Half of his robes began to show red again as the water from the ground dragged away the soot. He explored the room, intrigued that he could see his surrounding vaguely. The stone floor was indeed a pathway. It was not the pathway itself, but it bordered it. The stones ended abruptly, in a cliff-like precipice before a stream that was engineered to pass through the room in a very, very straight path. The stones continued on the other side of the stream. It was not very wide. On the other side of it, the stone ground ended in another dirt wall. The stream seemed to come out of nowhere since the entire room was a circle of dirt walls. Though it did not have an entrance or an exit, the stream flowed quite visibly. The Archmage took a step, then half of another and he was at the water's edge and the source of his visibility. Within the water lay a yellow seal, almost golden as it shone its light up through the rippling surface. The light generated from the seal refracted off of the turbulent flow and emitted soft, dancing golden lights all about the room. One light caught the robed man's attention as he followed its dance around the room until it ended directly above him with a view that enraptured the man. Above the Archmage of the Red was a way out. It was a circular tunnel that rose straight up into the top of the mountain. A flurry of snow could barely be seen at the end of the tunnel as it swirled to and fro. With a smile, the man returned to the seal at the bottom of the stream. For now, he had a way out. With that in mind, he turned and murmured a small spell at his entrance. The hand made tunnel shuddered softly as the beginning began to collapse upon itself. It was an almost domino effect as the dirt resettled into its original place while the tunnel traced its path back towards the mage. When it was settled and he was sure no one else would be able to trace his path, the Archmage of Conclave returned back to the stream before him. The yellow light of the seal glimmered through the waters and darkened temporarily as the dark robed man's fingers curled around its surface and slowly withdrew it from its watery confines... Author: Leodas Date: Wed Jun 4 22:34:57 2008 Subject SQ - A Step Ahead The Archmage of the Red stood atop an icy outcropping, looking down upon the continent of Ansalon. His dark red robes were caught up in the icy wind as they were pulled in a motion about his body. A dark red scarf lies calmly across his face, covering from his nose down. The end of it, however, reached out to the side and flickered in a constant effort to pull away from the man. His bright, jungle green eyes peered out from beneath frosted eyelashes as he stood on the black, rocky cliff, its surface covered with ice. His hands fingered an object deep within his robes. The object matched his eyes in its color. The red robed man traced the inscription upon the seal with his finger, going over the wording in his mind. Beside the green seal lay two others, one blue. The other, he speculated, no one had come across in centuries. His mind slowly began to wander back to his discovery of it as he looked down the icy slopes and over the grassy plains. As he started to relive the exacavation of such a wonderful item, he stepped over a circular hole in the outcropping. A single snowflake managed to make its way into the hole. It traced a spiraling, random path down the stone carved tunnel, somehow managing not to get caught on the slick walls. It reached the bottom of the tunnel and floated out of the bottom, to land tenderly on a flowing stream. From above the red robed man, a snow leopard watched as the figure stepped over the hole, and the hole simply disappeared, replaced with an icy, black rock surface.
.... His hands were covered in a black dirt, gritty like the soot of a flower pot. It was almost as if he was back planting in the makeshift garden inside his room at the Tower. He really needed to improve that aspect of his room; it was nice to be able to grow some of the more basic spell components on his own. Returning to his task at hand he reflected dryly. This was not work an Archmage should be doing. The tips of his nails were filled with the black dirt as he clawed his way through the tunnel. It was a deep and dark path that he had dug. The tunnel was more of his own making rather than a pre-existing one. The dirt was moist, as water dripped down around the ceiling above him, if you could call it that. He had been dug for what seemed like an eternity; his robes were more black than red in an eery foreboding fashion change. He was more concerned with the Balance than his own selfish needs. The reason he was on this quest was for personal reasons. He couldn't help but laugh to himself in that dark, dirt tunnel as he decided he would allow his robes to remain black and sooty while he dug for self gain. Finally, his grimy hands broke through into a space with no more dirt. He managed to push out more dirt to open up the entrance and push himself through. The Archmage landed on with a small thud as he fell the short distance from his tunnel to the ground. The floor he lay upon was covered with stones, almost a stone walkway. They were both dark and slick with water. He stood up and began brushing himself off before he stopped with a wry grin. Half of his robes began to show red again as the water from the ground dragged away the soot. The multicolored robed man explored the room, intrigued that he could see his surroundings vaguely. The stone floor was indeed a pathway. At least, it was the ledge before a path. The circular stone floor was cut in half with a gap between the two sides of about a half an arm's length. The gulf between the two sides was filled with a very shallow stream the flowed and exited from the walls without an apparent entry or exit place. The stream simply began where the dirt wall ended. On the other side of it, the stone ground ended in another circular shape, creating two half circles divided evenly in half by the stream. Surrounding the entire room was the dirt wall, with its ceiling out of reach of the Archmage. The figure took a step, then half of another, and he was at the water's edge and the source of his visibility. Within the water lay a yellow seal, almost golden as it shone its light up through the rippling surface. The light generated from the seal refracted off of the turbulent flow and emitted soft, dancing golden lights all about the room. One light caught the robed man's attention. As he followed its dance around the room it traced a path along the dirt walls in a...sometimes spiralling, other times flickering franticly...until it disappeared directly above him. When he followed it he barely noticed its disappearing as he quickly became enraptured with the view. Above the Archmage of the Red was a way out. It was a circular tunnel that rose straight up to the top of the mountain. A flurry of snow could barely be seen at the end of the tunnel as it swirled to and fro. With a smile, the man returned to the seal at the bottom of the stream. He was able to relax; he had a way out other than that horrible crawl space. With that in mind, he turned and murmured a small spell at his entrance. The hand made tunnel shuddered softly as the beginning began to collapse upon itself. It was a domino effect as the dirt resettled into its original place while the tunnel traced its path back towards the mage. When it was finished and he was sure no one else would be able to trace his path, the Archmage of Conclave returned back to the stream before him. The yellow light of the seal glimmered through the waters and darkened temporarily as the dark robed man's fingers curled around its surface and slowly withdrew it from its watery confines...
.... Author: Leodas Date: Sat Jun 28 07:55:39 2008 Subject Opponents Past (Konan) It was a quiet day. The sun seemed frozen overhead, unwilling to move its molten glare from the poor citizens of Tarsis. Tarsis the Beautiful. Beauty wasn't quite its strength these days. The desert sands seemed to sweep through the streets in a dusty storm, thrashing the residents in heat and biting sand. Towards the south of the city there sat two once-prominent buildings: The Stormy Sea Inn and The Skull and Crossbones. They sat across from each other, each managing to help the other out. Travelers would eat at the latter and sleep in the former. Both managed to stay competitive through the bleakness of the ages. Tarsis the Bleak was a more fitting name. Two men sat at a table in The Skull and Crossbones. Both looked shady. One was an elf. His ears stuck slightly from his bland, grey hood. The other was ambiguous. His dark red robes hid all features but his face, and only the shady elf could see into the depths of the other's hood. They appeared to be deep in conversation. The elf in the grey hood reached casually into his robes and withdrew a small parchment. He concealed it in his hand, and reached across the table as if to pat the other on the arm while the parchment changed owners. It was not long before both glasses were finished, and the red robed figure stood up to leave. He inclined his head to the shady looking elf and took his leave. As he swung open the wooden door to the eatery, he was greeted with a blast of heat and sand, sweeping into his face with a burning and stinging sensation. It was, undoubtedly, most unpleasant experience. The red robed man paused at the door. While he blinked the sand out of his eyes, he took stock of a large form entering The Stormy Sea Inn. Perhaps it was the sun, playing tricks or the dust in his eyes. Then again, perhaps his elven eyes saw true. This was not an opportunity he could pass up. As one door closed, another opened. The older of the two buildings, The Stormy Sea Inn was a darker place, both in customers and actual lighting. Although it was close to midday, several men lay around the courtyard passed out. The red robe scanned the area and found the person he was looking for. He stood there for several minutes, waiting for the other to move and reveal his true nature. Not long into his wait, the large figure turned. It was him, indeed, Konan Wolfclaw. He once led the Queen's armies as a general and eventually Lord of the Night. This minotaur had also helped the Thorn Knights kill Conclave magi on several instances. It was common thought that he had long since died somewhere up around the Lords of Doom, perished with the Knights of Takhisis. The Dragonarmies and the renegades they harbored were the new threats, but here was a remnant of days gone by when Conclave did battle with the Knights of Takhisis and the Thorn Knights within them. Certainly, he was a formidable foe, or so the red robed figure thought. The tall minotaur made his way past the figure at the door, keeping his eyes down as his hooves took him out onto the dusty road. He was trying to move quickly, keep out of sight. Unfortunately for him, he had already been spotted by a dangerous opponent. Sensing something unusual, the minotaur known as Konan casually strode down the empty street before ducking down a side street. He stood with his back to a wall, waiting for someone to pass him by. Eons seemed to pass while he waited. Finally growing bored and frustrated, perhaps paranoid, he peeked his head around the corner and was hit with sand into his face. This was different from the dirty sand that rolled around through the streets. This sand was cool; it was white; it was purposefully directed. He felt the grains begin to cluster on his eyelids and pull them together. The minotaur fought the sand valiantly but eventually succumbed. The red robed figured stood next to the unconscious form of the once great Knight of Takhisis. The law of Tarsis did not worry him. He wasn't sure the law of Tarsis worried anyone. Deep enough pockets could get you out of any trouble in this town. He bent down and picked up the bag that Konan carried with him so protectively. It was much deeper than it appeared, apparently enchanted by Thorn Knights long ago. There were several long lost artifacts from the Conclave within it. They quickly exchanged from the minotaur's to the red robed figure's possession. The man, an Archmage of the Conclave, stared down from his hood at his victim. He grasped the staff at his side and raised it menacingly. After a few uttered words, the iron bound cedar staff began to glow. The garnet at the top shone, not red, buy a dull white. A few moments later, the Archmage struck his staff into the minotaur's chest. The former Lord of the Night shuddered violently for several seconds before going completely still. Removing his staff from Konan's chest, the red robed figured stood next to him once again, looking down. He inclined his head slightly, in respect to his fallen foe. A few moments later the shady elf in grey robes left The Skull and Crossbones. As he made his way through the city, he happened to glance down one of the roads and see a giant form sprawled half on the sidewalk and half in the road. He shook his head, knowingly, and continued on. Author: Leodas Date: Tue Jul 15 18:26:47 2008 Subject SQ - Final Note After resting for awhile in the Rusty Rudder Inn, I felt that the time had come for me to complete the final task of the journey. I saw a strange man in armor carrying his canoe towards the Bay of Branchala. I followed, casting a spell on myself to become invisible. Then, another, to levitate over the waves of the sea. I watched as he crashed his canoe upon the shallow reef, and I floated past. It wasn't long before I was lost amongst the waves. The seas were in chaos. I had no sense of directions, no up, no down, no left, no right. I pushed on until I saw something remarkable. There was a rocky atoll ahead of me. Without hesitation I landed upon it, feeling safe in the respite from the seas. Below me was the entrance to a lagoon. I descended the rocky outcropping into the lagoon and found myself on a ledge before the lagoon. It was filled with sharks. I frowned and looked into the murky water. As I did so, my eye caught a glimmer of gray. The final seal! I quickly took hold of the seal, and returned to the top of the atoll. I saw the solamnic approaching in the distance. He had another canoe. Furious, I uttered a few words and the dark clouds began to grow darker. Lightning began to crackle over the seas. I nodded, content and uttered a few words to return myself to the Tower of Wayreth. Author: Leodas Date: Tue Jul 15 18:40:31 2008 Subject SQ - After the Final Seal After several days of rest, I felt that the journey before me was the end. My destination was at hand. The treasure was within reach. I fingered the gray seal in my hand. On the desk next to it was the blue, the green, and the yellow. It was intriguing as I looked back upon my travels. From the nerakan forest to the glacier of icewall to the streams of the dwarven mountains and the oceans north of Palanthas. It had been a long and treacherous journey. The prize at the end was calling for me. The unknown magical artifacts. I was too anxious to wait any longer. I gathered the seals into one of my pouches and made my way to the court yard. Time was on my side, surely. There were no other travelers that could keep up with me. With a smile on my face, I stepped through a small portal and onto the plains before a foreboding tower placed high in the mountains. I had done my research, but I was surprised the treasure would be located in the Tower of Tran. As I made my way towards the entrance, I was hit by a blast of realisation. There were footprints before me! Someone had beaten me to it. Furious, I rushed to the tower and up the stairs. I saw, at the top, the same man in armor whom had been riding his canoe through the stormy seas. He was looking up at something, smiling. I could not see what held his attention, but he would not be smiling long. I reached into my pouch and pulled out a pitch and began rolling it between my fingers. He wouldn't be able to claim the treasure if he was a pile of ash on the top of the steps... Author: Leodas Date: Tue Jul 15 18:51:37 2008 Subject SQ - Reflection of Icewall As I stood upon the steps of the Tower, I noticed a small ice orb in one of the solamnic's pouches. It brought back vivid memories of my time spent in icewall. I had just finished off the minotaur known as Konan. He lay unconscious, presumed dead by myself, in a street in Tarsis. He had been a little detour on my way to the glacier. Now, though, the task was at hand. I stood at the ambiguous line where land became ice. It was not pleasant looking into the distance and seeing nothing but a vast expanse of ice and swirling winds. The ice crushed beneath my boot as I took my first step onto that expanse, and began my trek towards a tower I saw looming vaguely in the distance. My mind flashed forward as I saw an Ice Giant fall to my feet, an orb slipped from his grasp and roll before me. It flashed forward again as I lay the orb before a wounded white dragon, and again as I raced down the tunnel. I saw my hands scooping the green seal out of the ice. I remember the tunnel shuddering as I uttered words of magic and brought myself back to the Tower of Wayreth. Author: Leodas Date: Tue Jul 15 19:02:15 2008 Subject SQ - Reflections (Continued) I rolled the pitch in between my fingers, looking up at the solamnic still. My mind flashed back, and I was digging a tunnel through the sooty dirt. Again, and I was scooping the yellow seal from the flowing spring beneath the sky. Once more, and I was standing atop the rocky outcropping, looking from the icy mountain out over Ansalon. The pitch was almost ready. To be safe, I began to roll a pinch of sulfur between the fingers in my other hand. A combination of lightning and fire would be devastating. As I began this, I flashed back once more. This time, it was to the beginning of it all. I saw myself in The Silver Dragon Inn. I noticed a familiar solamnic sitting in the back of the room in this memory. I frowned as it fast forwarded to the Nerakan Forest. I wove my way through the trees towards a signpost. In the distant lay a graveyard. Beneath the sign was a blue seal. I remember being furious that it was in such an open location. Any clumsy traveler could easily have found it. Then, my memories jumped again, to the lagoon where I had found the fourth and final seal. I realized that, in my arrogance, there had been footsteps there before me. I flashed forward a bit, and looked out over the tumultuous seas again. This time, however, I realized that the man in the canoe was not heading towards me; he was rowing away. As I snapped back to the present, my anger boiled. I had been too blind to realize that someone else could, potentially, keep up with me. I should have killed him when I had the chance. If only I had known! As my fury built, one last memory popped into my head. It was at the Silver Dragon Inn; I was yelling at all the farmers who believed they were going to find the treasure. As the pinch of sulfur and the pitch of guano were ready, I remembered myself shouting. "If you even manage to make it half way to the treasure, a quarter of the way to the first seal! I will kill you myself." I intended to fulfill that promise. Author: Leodas Date: Thu Jul 17 20:43:28 2008 Subject Palanthas at Night (Vishar) The Archmage of the Red Robes stood in an alley not far from the Library of Palanthas. He remained still, staring from beneath his maroon hood into the night sky. A small shake of his head revealed his displeasure that Lunitari was almost at the lowest point in her cycle; he felt the slight decrease in his powers, and he was not the least bit happy. The red robed man had come here with a purpose. That purpose was the armor-clad solamnic whom Shinare had whisked away from his grasp. As the stars twinkled around the moons, the Archmage made his way out of the alley. The city shone with lights. In the center of it all, he could detect a large domed building, higher and brighter than its surrounding peers. When he had finally arrived at the supposed center of the city, he observed the people who loitered within. One of them stuck out in particular. He was a minotaur, a full head and shoulders above the rest of the room, and his attire was unconvincing. The Archmage noticed that the minotaur had forgotten to remove the insignia of the Dragonarmy before he entered the city. Even more peculiar, he thought, was that the guards had missed it and allowed the beast within the city walls. Suddenly, an idea took form in the red robed man's head. Without warning, a fireball blazed through the room and struck the minotaur full on. The other occupants ran from the area, some screaming, some crying some calling for the Knights. The minotaur had recovered and was swinging his great sword at the mage, who parried it with his staff time and again. The blade almost seemed to be dulling itself on the plain wood which had not even been scratched. The Archmage heard the sound of guards in the distance and quickly fled. The minotaur, of course, gave chase. A city guardsman, a mere citizen, stood at the entrance to the dome. His hand was raised in front of him, and he stood there, shaking as the red robed man and minotaur bore down on him. "Stop! In the name of the-" He was cut off by the roar of a fireball that blazed just past him as he dove to the side. Flames and lightning, hallucinations and flood waters filled the streets as the battle raged in Palanthas. By now, the Solamnics were out in force chasing the duo, but they always seemed to be just a step behind. The pair seemed just around the next corner, and then they were gone. The minotaur seemed to feel the same way about his opponent. He followed him around a building, then the red robed man was, somehow, a good thirty yards away. As he followed the man around another corner, he had finally caught up to him. The red robed man was bent over, hands on his knees, breathing heavily as he looked up at the minotaur. The soldier of the Dragonarmy laughed mercilessly as he stalked towards his prey. The Archmage waited patiently, pinch of sand in hand, as he looked up at his oncoming victim. With one last laugh, the minotaur raised his sword over his head and received a blast of white sand in his face. He coughed and sputtered as the vile grains seemed to slowly make their way down his throat. He dropped his sword in an attempt to grapple with his neck, attempting to breathe while he fought to keep the grains from closing his eyelids. The Archmage paused during the minotaur's struggle. "The longer you fight, the harder it will become. Allow yourself to succumb to the spell. I promise, you won't feel any pain when you are unconscious." The minotaur's eyes opened wildly as he gave one last great struggle and seemed to shake off the spell's affects. The mage grabbed his staff, ready to battle, when the Dragonarmy minion suddenly collapsed. At that moment, several Solamnic knights ran around the corner. The Archmage of the Red raised his hand and winked. They slowed and stood before him, the minotaur lying on the ground. "Gentleman. Let me present to you a minotaur of the Dragonarmies. I am surprised you did such a poor job by letting him in through the gates." The Archmage could almost see the bile rise in the back of their throats as they took offense at this small slight. "Now, there is no need to thank me. Really, you can do with him what you want. If I were you, I'd put him in jail." The red robed man winked at the Knights and nodded while he smiled, as if to show that he understood they were a bit slow. Several of them raised their lowered swords, while more joined the fray. One, in particular, caught the Archmage's attention. He noticed the solamnic from the Tower of Tran. Those with the slightest bit of intelligence noticed the change in the man's demeanor: his glittering eyes grew mirthless; his eyebrows drew down, and his smiled faded completely. "Actually, gentleman, let me serve him up for you." The man raised his hand and chanted several words. Lightning flashed into the minotaur's chest, and his body convulsed violently as the electricity danced through him. After a moment he lay still. The Solamnics looked back to the red robed man and saw that his hands were still raised. With anger in his eyes, he spoke a few more words and the electricity seemed to gather just above the minotaur's charred chest. At precisely the wrong moment, a Solamnic Knight stepped forward. The lightning, intended for the man Shinare had protected, struck this Knight instead. He was fried in his armor. Within seconds, the other Knights stopped watching their fallen comrade and turned to bring in the man in maroon robes. However, when they returned their attention, he was gone. As they lifted the charred body of the Dragonarmy soldier to bring back to the temple to heal, several of them noticed the eerie glare that Lunitari's sunken form seemed to portray from the beast's armor. That same glare, they noticed, reflected from their fallen brother. Author: Leodas Date: Sun Dec 28 02:07:56 2008 Subject High Archmage Leodas of the Red [Knife of Dracart (Konan/Derkylos)] The whispers on the still winds of the Tower had reached his ears as he stood over the scrying pool: Lelthas had retired from the Head of the Conclave and from the post of High Archmage. A small smile crept onto the normally stoic face of the Archmage of the Red Robes; it was not malicious, nor was it ambitious. He respected the former High Archmage, though he felt that the man held the post far too long. As he leaned further over the scrying pool, he pondered how old Lelthas really was. Moments later, a man and a minotaur, found themselves in an epic battle with an unknown magic user. They faught valiantly as fire and smoke engulfed the room but soon found out their opponent was no longer there. The red robed Archmage stood around the corner, gazing out of the window of a different Tower; this tower looked out upon the plains before Thorbardin. He gave the two time to settle back down while they grumbled about hauntings and whatnot. The Archmage, Leodas, knew the minotaur well; he had fought with him before and won, of course. His name was Konan, and he served Takhisis and the Dragonarmies. Leodas would discover, later, that the other man was named Derkylos. He knew what they were after, and he wanted it. Not long after the two settled back down, the Archmage reentered the room, unbeknownst to his opponents. After the two were quickly subdued, the man began questioning them about the Knife of Dracart. To his displeasure, they knew little, though the man named Derkylos had it once, and that was a lead that the Archmage could go off of. Disgusted, he left them unconscious in that Tower and disappeared. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Archmage of the Red stood silently in his room, putting together the pieces of the puzzle he had uncovered so far. Chasing down this Knife of Dracart was not unlike searching for Shinare's treasure: there were so few clues and a myriad of potential locations. He would have to put the Knife off for now, however, and hope that it would find its way to him. A smile appeared on his face, though, this time it was slightly different. The malice was still gone, but the ambition had managed to make a small appearance. There were no other worthy candidates for the role of High Archmage. Perhaps worthy was not even the right word; there were no other candidates, period. His descent down the Red Tower was quick. He chose to forgoe the stairs, as always. He was dressed simply: a crimson robe and a staff with a garnet stone at its tip. He made no sound as he strode calmly, purposefully towards the Hall. He entered the Hall to a clamor; people were arguing loudly with eachother: who should be the next Head of Conclave? Do we need a Head of Conclave? Who will be the next High Archmage of Red? The Archmage saw several red robes seated on the red chairs, new to the Hall of Mages. He, certainly, did not know why they were there, and he most definitely did not understand why they felt they deserved to be arguing. As he strode to the center of the half-circle, he allowed his staff to make noise when it struck the ground, each step growing steadily louder. When he reached the center, most of the mages looked at him, while a few continued whispering arguments from the sides of their mouths. Leodas stood calmly and looked at each of the three groups slowly before speaking: "I am claiming the position of High Archmage." Without waiting for a response, the red robed figure turned and walked from the room, his staff making no sound. Author: Leodas Date: Sat Jun 6 22:36:43 2009 Subject An Interesting Box The Archmage of the Red sat silently in his room, facing the window that looked out over Wayreth Forest. He was enjoyed the hues of red and orange that struggled to stay above the canopy as the sun sunk lower and lower. His eyes struggled in a similar fashion, battling heroicly to remain open. However, resistance was futile. He had no other tasks for the day, the room was cool, and the view was just so mesmerizing. Once they recognized all of these things, his eyes gave up their fight and allowed the Archmage a respite. Unfortunately, moments after the battle had ended, several loud knocks thudded through the room, echoing the wooden sound through the Archmage's chamber. He rolled his closed eyes and breathed an aggravated sigh before lazily waving his hand at the heavy wooden door. It opened slowly, evidence of its massive weight. Yet, it flowed with ease, silently. At its entrance stood a man in crimson robes. "Archmage Leodas." He followed these two words with a deep bow. The Archmage stood up and returned the bow with a slight inclination of his head. The faintest of smiles alighted upon his face: "Keslin. How are you?" The man, Keslin, spread his arms and smiled. "Couldn't be better. I have something very intriguing that I would like to leave with you." The Archmage's eyebrows raised slightly as Keslin stepped aside and revealed what he had been hiding. Behind him, bobbing up and down as it floated in the air, was a dull metallic chest. It was a dark cyan and had two dark bronze, metal straps running around its circumfrence and meeting in the front. There were no padlocks that locked it. There wasn't even a slot for a key. It was simply sealed completely with the metallic bronze straps. A piece of seaweed hung from one of the corners of the box. "I was collecting components from the beach when I stumbled upon two of these. I have been unable to open it. Its sealed with something more than just the two straps. Perhaps you will have better luck than I. Yours to keep." With that, the man who had interrupted the Archmage's brief nap bowed deeply and exited the room. The Archmage waved to the door, and it glided shut again. He stared at the box, intrigued. It was slightly longer than his shoulder width and about as deep as his chest. His eyes gleamed as the chest floated into an adjacent room and came to rest on a stone table. The eyes knew that they had gotten revenge, a come from behind victory against the serenity of sleep that had threatened the Archmage earlier. They knew that the battle would not come again for quite some time. His interest was piqued; there was no hope of sleep tonight. Author: Leodas Date: Mon Jun 8 00:48:32 2009 Subject When Money is the Incentive ----------------------------------- Immortals --------------------------------- [ H1N1 ][105] * [ Solamnic ] [Sword] Holy Kiri Cakes! ------------------------------------ Mortals ---------------------------------- [ Human ][ 25] * (VIOLENT) Patrown is a kewl d00d. [ Human ][ 10] Dreis the sleepy. [ Kender ][ 14] * Leaflock is fishing! [ Human ][---] * Locki the titleless [ Neidar ][ 17] * (VIOLENT) [7 Kingdoms] Dindom [ Nordmaarian][---] * (VIOLENT) Tomas lost title abilities for being silly. [ Nerakan ][---] * (VIOLENT) [ Conclave ] [Black] Valek the Reaver [ Ogre ][---] * (VIOLENT) [ Marauder ] Kamafal Gramaak [ Silvanesti ][ 39] Vasher lost title abilities for being silly. [ ][---] * (VIOLENT) [ Marauder ] Ainuna Lunk Head Master [ Ogre ][ 9] * Menoch the Swordpupil [ Solamnic ][---] * [ Solamnic ] [Crown] Segwarides T'orgh [ Hylar ][---] * [7 Kingdoms] Orsik GraySlate [ ][---] * Acaydon RavenClaw [ High Elf ][---] [Holy Order] [Light] Monito the blessed One Players found: 16 Helpers: 3 Role Playing: 0 I offered a substantial amount of money as a reward for pks. This offer will be present in the future. Author: Leodas Date: Thu Jun 11 02:07:15 2009 Subject An Infuriating Box An apprentice stands at the entrance to the room, patiently awaiting the arrival of the Archmage. Within moments of the apprentice's appearance, the man he was waiting for materialized. A deep bow was followed with, "Greetings Archmage." The man, wearing crimson robes, looked at the apprentice expectantly. The young magi seemed to have forgotten why he was there but quickly shook his head and spoke. "Sorry Archmagus, I was so interested in that box over there. Sorry, rambling again, I do that a lot when I'm nerv-" He cut himself off midsentence as he saw the Archmage's eyebrows both rise, as he waited. He could tell that his Master wasn't angry; instead, he was merely impatient. So, the young man decided to just complete the task he had been sent on: "Ergoth." He bowed as deeply and quickly before hurrying away, not waiting for an answer. ----------------------------------------------------------- The Archmage stood over the stone table that he used for experimenting. The box sat upon it, still locked tight. He rolled his tongue beneath his upper lip, a visible sign of his frustration. He, one of the most powerful mages on the face of Krynn, could not open a simple box! Its contents were important, of that he was certain. No one would go to the trouble of sealing a piece of garbage so ridiculously well. The crimson robed man grasped his familiar staff as he sealed his laboratory. He glanced around the room one last time, making sure everything was in order. With a quick frown at the sealed lab door, the Archmage withdrew from his room and locked the entrance. Since he could not open it, he had set out to find its source. Where it had been discovered was likely to contain a clue. Author: Leodas Date: Thu Jun 25 09:37:40 2009 Subject Test of High Sorcery: Nestos (Part I) Two eyes float through the Tower, bobbing slightly as the make their path. More experienced apprentices give them but a glance, used to their presence. The younger ones gaze in awe, well aware of the rumors about the eyes. They float down the hallway and stop before a door that opens at their whim. One apprentice recognizes it as Nestos' and spreads word down the hall like wildfire. Nestos is being Tested. Even with his back to the wall, Nestos can sense the piercing gaze. He closes the spell book he is studying and turns to facing the floating eyes. The eyes see Nestos turn towards them and they nod, slowly, before turning away and carrying off down the hall. He understands the simple guestures, pads down his robes feeling the secret pockets, making sure he has what he feels he needs. He rises from the ground where he had been reading and follows the eyes. They lead him on a path through the courtyard. Heads peek out of doors behind it, wishing Nestos luck as he trods past. In the courtyard sits a solitary figure, an elf, reading beneath a tree. All else is quiet. Nestos acknowledges the other apprentices, but does not say a word. Upon arriving in the courtyard, he is struck by the gravity of what he will soon be facing. He pauses to control his breathing while the eyes lead through a set of double doors in another tower...the Testing Halls. The young apprentice pauses again at the doors. He had seen them before but never truly seen them. He enters the double doors and is faced with a long hallway. At the end of which is a stairway that he begins to ascend. He feels it goes on forever, but finally reaches a simple door and pushes it open. The High Archmage of the Red stands at the entrance to the room. "Welcome, Nestos. I hope you had a pleasant journey up. It didn't take too long, I hope." A wry grin plays upon his face. The apprentice feels reassured of his task, but seems to also be unnerved by the man's new position. "It was not unbearable." "Good." He gestures behind him. "Please continue." Behind the High Archmage sit three Archmages at a table, "They will be witnesses to your Test. Only you and the four of us will know what occurs during it." Nestos looks each Archmage in the eye and bows reverently. It is the same group that ran the Test when the High Archmage tested his previous apprentice: a skinny man in white robes, Eldaron, a plump elderly woman in red, Madam Pinkterton, and a slobbering dog of a man in black, Jendaron. Each Archmage nods at the apprentice and then nods at Leodas. The High Archmage beckons to a portal in the back of the room, "Enter when you are ready. Good luck." Nestos bows again to the Archmages and makes his way to the portal, knowing that from this point on, it is either success or death. As this thought passes through his mind, he enters the portal. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- The young apprentice, Nestos is walking through a light forest with a small child, his nephew, and a mage. He is taking the boy to his father's, after spending the weekend with Nestos. The mage, wearing white robes of Conclave, is discussing powerful artifacts with Nestos, while the boy dances around in front of them. Up ahead is a large canyon, with a rope bridge crossing it. "Of course, Nestos, Yestrana's Device of Greater Mass Teleportation does come with some risk. But that risk is a necessary one, and a small price to pay for the benefits of the artifact. You'll come to understand that accurate risk calculation and management is a valuable tool for magi." The child picks up a rock or two here and there and launches them off the trail. Soon, he spots a perfectly shaped stick for sword fighting. Turning sharply to face his uncle and the white-robed man, he takes a haphazard fighters stance. "On guard!" The white robe looks at the child before continuing, "But tell me, what have you learned in your studies of artifacts? Oh, what have we here? I don't recall this bridge being here ..." Nestos quickly picks up a stick to play with his nephew while still maintaining his conversation with the other mage, "It must be something that has been recently placed?" Knowing the way this battle needs to go, he quickly makes some mistakes and allows his nephew to best him. While the two of them play sword fight, the white robed mage walks slightly ahead, trying to avoid any contact with the sticks. The child whacks the mage in the shin and receives a rebuke that he shrugs off, "Careful there, careful you little twer... ahem you sweet child." The white robe mage laughs off the innocent attack and applauds the child's handiwork, "Bravo, bravo! If the gift didn't flow through your veins, you might have made quite a warrior!" He turns to walk backwards, watching the two continue swinging swords as they all cross the bridge. As they near the middle of the long bridge, a slight breeze swells and rocks them. Nestos steadies himself on the ropes with one hand, and grabs the child with the other. The magi grunts and grabs onto the rope railing, "Oof, a little bit of nasty weather it seems, no matt..." He couldn't have spoken too soon, as his last step was ill-fated. An old rotten plank crumbled under his weight, and he fell backwards into nothingness. Without thinking about it, Nestos jumped forward to where the mage was, hoping to grab the smallest bit of fabric of his robe, if not a limb. Eyes wide with fear, the White mage swings wildly for anything to grasp. Barely missing Nestos' outstretched arms, the white mage screams loudly before hitting his neck on a ragged plank. Somehow, a necklace from his neck is caught on a snag as the man plunges to his death: "AHHHHRRRrrrgggg....." The necklace, Yestrana's fabled and only Device of Mass Teleportation, lies precariously across the right railing of the rope bridge, hanging by a few threads. Nestos quickly dives for the necklace. Clutching it in his hand, and pushing the risk of the device out of his head, recalls and speaks the words of magic required to make the object work. Unfortunately, the bridge is swaying violently and throws off his spellcasting. While the mage falls to his death, the child falls as well, but grabs onto the side of the rope bridge. The bridge is rocking back and forth, not allowing Nestos any time or concentration to cast a spell. As Nestos hesitates in indecision, the bridge sways and drops the necklace out of his hand...right back to the same spot. He now has his cousin hanging from the left side of the bridge, and the last remaining artifact of Yestrana hangs on the other side. As the rope supports holding the entire bridge up begins to creak, Nestos is faced with a split second decision. The child screams in a high-pitched voice, "Help!" Nestos' nephew begins to feel his small grip faltering..slowly. Knowing that there is one choice, Nestos quickly makes up his mind. He realizes that he would never be allowed back to Silvanesti for letting such an important object become lost, he grabs the necklace knowing the signifigance. "Uncle.." The child's right hand gives way to the weight of his small body: "..Nestos!" Nestos twinges at the screeching of his nephew, but knowing he has made his decision, gives a prayer for the boy and runs off the bridges. The boy slips further, hanging on by fingertips. He releases a horrifying scream as his Uncle abandons him and retreats from the bridge. As Nestos makes it to the other side of the bridge, all support snaps and it falls away, deep into the canyon. All that can be heard after the snap is the screaming of a small child.... and a thud. Nestos turns as the bridges snaps and his nephew falls. He looks at the necklace and wonders aloud, "Was it worth this?" (To Be Continued) Author: Leodas Date: Thu Jun 25 09:38:33 2009 Subject Test of High Sorcery: Nestos (Part I Conclusion) However, knowing the importance of the artifact, he feels somewhat justified and places it into one of the inner pockets of his robes. "It was an unfortunate but necessary sacrifice." Nestos heads down the road to the next town, where he buys a room at The Wily Goose inn for the night. (Part 1 Done. Part 2 To Be Continued) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Thanks to Kiri for playing the small child and Luerk for playing the white robed mage. Author: Leodas Date: Tue Jun 30 08:38:38 2009 Subject Test of High Sorcery: Nestos (Part II) Nestos wakes up from a poor sleep in a bed at The Wily Goose. The events of the day before tormented his dreams. As he awakes he thinks to himself again, "Was it worth it?" But knowing that the object that was saved was worth it he tries to push the thoughts out of his mind. He gets out and dresses in his humble white robes; making sure that all the components are in the right place. He reaches into the satchel he carries and pulls out his spell book. He sits on at a chair in front of a desk and begins to study it. After studying for awhile he notices the hunger in his stomach grow. He packs up his things and makes his way down the stairs of the inn. He enters the eating area and asks for whatever tastes the best. As Nestos takes a seat, a figure in white robes looks up from her meal. Her pointed elven ears protrude from underneath her hair. Her eyes follow Nestos across the room as he takes a seat at a table. As his food is served, she casually stands up and approaches him from behind. Coming around to the front of the table, she sits across from him, "Hello Nestos." With a look of confusion on his face, Nestos respond, "Hello? Do I know you?" "Yes. Well, no..I mean..." She giggles momentarily, odd for someone as mature looking as her, "I'm sure you've heard of me. I'm your cousin! Cloreana!" With a look of deeper confusion, he sets his utensils down and looks at the elf. "Bu...you...that is a lie. Cloreana has long been dead. What kind of trick is this? Who are you?!" "Dead?!" She giggles again, "That's silly. Who told you that? Nevermind. Well! I'm obviously not dead, am I? I'm right here. Is that the necklace of Yestrana you are wearing? My! How did you come by such a beautiful and powerful object?" Nestos, worried that this is someone that saw the events of the day before, frowns. "It is a story that I would like to not relate if you do not mind. Why is it that you ask? Who are you?" She rolls her eyes, exasperated, "I'm Cloreana. Do you have amnesia or something? And I find it extremely odd that one so young and inept would have something so powerful. What are your plans for it? Do you intend to keep it or hand it over to...the Conclave?" There is a slightly venemous undertone as she says the word 'Conclave'. "Well, as you say it is something that is far more powerful for me. I feel that it must be brought to the Conclave. If they feel that it is something that I should possess then so be it." While speaking, Nestos slowly tucks the object into his robes. Her eyes, however, follow the necklace as it makes its way into the folds of Nestos' robes, "Youthful naivety. How cute. The Conclave will take that artifact and bury it somewhere deep in a vault, never to be seen again. They will thank you and then turn their backs." Her cutesy act turns into a sneer of disgust, "That is what they do. That is what they did to me. Why don't you just let me have her necklace? No one will know about it. That other mage and the kid are already dead." Nestos shakes his head, slowly. "I do not think so. While I did used to look up to you, I also know what you have become if you truly are my cousin. I would rather have it buried than give it to you...and if you are not my cousin then it certainly should not be in the hands of a stranger." "You'd rather stick by the Conclave? To give you more knowledge, they make you take a Test that risks your life! I can give you that knowledge, without the risk. Just...hand me the necklace." He frowns momentarily, "There is a reason for the test, and learning from multiple places is better than one. No, thank you, I will take it to where it belongs." Nestos glares at the elf across from him and sits back in his chair. He begins to worry where this might go. Greed has reared its ugly head like this many times before. He tenses up fearing what will almost certainly come next. She pauses as she balls one hand into a fist and puts it in front of her mouth, as if trying not to throw up. Her eyes ooze anger as she stares at Nestos, "Fine. I will take it then." As she says this, she stands, and her white robes fade and shred, turning themselves into torn and black robes. Her hair grows longer and thinner. Her face grows gaunt and thin, her eyes hollow and blacken. She lets out a blood-curdling scream and jumps back from the table, pointing at Nestos: "I WILL have that necklace!" Nestos, knowing what she truly was, slowly stands up to hold his ground. "No. One as yourself has no authority to have this." Nestos remains calm and controlled on the surface, but he grows nervous and unsure in his mind. He quickly knows that these thoughts would not do and pushes them out of his mind. He begins to think of a plan. (End of Part 2. Part 3 To Be Continued) Author: Leodas Date: Wed Jul 29 06:39:44 2009 Subject Arrest Warrant The High Archmage stood there, mouth agape, staring as his target ran off into the urban wilderness. Beside him stood a much younger man, looking around confused. It was mere moments later that the High Archmage rounded on him, not bothering to conceal the anger spread across his face. His eyes bored holes into the apprentice that stood next to him. "What made you think, for a second, that it would be a wise decision to follow me through the portal? Further..." He paused to gathering himself and cease shaking in anger. "Further. What could possibly make you think that it would be a good idea to wake up the man at my feet? Perhaps you thought the High Archmage needed help? From such an esteemed apprentice as yourself." The High Archmage turned his back on the apprentice and walked off to visit his shop. The situation had unfolded rather poorly. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Earlier in the week, he had had a conversation with his shop- keeper. The man informed him that, since his last visit over a month ago, there had been several raids by the Solamnics. They demanded a higher tax rate, something they labeled as "The Anonymous Owner Tax." It was complete bogus, but if he wanted to keep his privacy as the store owner, the Solamnics were going to charge more. Furious, the High Archmage left to speak with his informants. It turned out that the order had been signed by a man known as Segwarides, of the Knighthood. The High Archmage planned on forfeiting his privacy in order to introduce himself to this Knight...personally. Several days had gone by as the High Archmage watched for the man throughout the city. Apparently, he rarely left the safe confines of his small office. From there he could issue absurd orders and not have to deal with the confrontations or with the consequences. A fortunate series of events occurred, however, and the High Archmage found out that Segwarides was planning to personally attend a tax collection on a fellow magi, Crag. However, the High Archmage received this news on a quick trip to the Tower. He immediately gathered the components needed to create a portal for himself to Palanthas, near the harbor. At the same time, an apprentice by the name of Ciskei, had come up to ask him a question. Upon seeing the High Archmage enter the portal, he decided to follow...just to get the answer to his question, of course. This decision led to a series of rather unfortunate events for the High Archmage. He appeared right in front of a severely shocked Knight of Solamnia. That Knight happened to be Segwarides, the infamous tax collector. It was mere seconds later that that same man fell to the floor, white sand clogging his eyes. At almost the same time he collapsed, Ciskei came through the closing portal, and landed on the Knight. Fully intended to protect the High Archmage, he decided to start beating on the man. This resulted in, unfortunately, the spell being broken. Simultaneously, the Lord High Clerist, Alenth happened to be walking by and rushed in to save his comrade. Segwarides, the coward, immediately took hold of Alenth's collar and dragged him the opposite way, as the pair fled into the city. It was then that the High Archmage of the Red rounded on the apprentice. ------------------------------------------------------------------- *************************************************************** Posted above, beneath, and on top of the newest arrest warrants *************************************************************** Let it be further known that the supposedly lawful Knights of Solamnia are imposing unjust and unfair taxes upon foreign shop owners. Xenophobia is rampant amongst the fair and impartial Knights. Their fear of mages is duly uncalled for. We do not harm you, the citizens of Palanthas. We try to run our businesses like many of you; we struggle through the hard times, and we rejoice through the good times. Due to our arcane ability, something we do not flourish, the Knighthood seeks to hunt us down. This is not unlike what the Kingpriest of Istar did before the Cataclysm. Do not let their fear bring doom upon us and our beautiful city. One last note: the arrest warrant claims that the odds in the altercation were unfair. It was a red robe and an apprentice against the Lord High Clerist and a ranking Crown Knight. Do not let them fool you; fear runs rampant amongst your brave city defenders. Let us not say, "Arrest the magic-users!" Instead, let us say, "Arrest those that discriminate, those that seek to bring a second Cataclysm!" Signed, The Unjustly Persecuted Author: Leodas Date: Fri Jul 31 05:50:57 2009 Subject Test of High Sorcery: Nestos (Part III) Nestos stands in the dining area of the Wily Goose Inn. Across the table from him floats the tormented spirit of his cousin. The people in the room begin to scatter as the banshee lets out a blood curdling scream. "I will take the necklace from your dead body." As the banshee raises her arm, the words come to the mage's mouth almost instinctively. Nestos finishes the spell as the bolts of lightning arc from the banshee's fingers. The lightning strikes the shield spell with such force that it only absorbs the killing blow; and the lightning continues its arc through to Nestos, causing him to fall to his knees. As the lightning flowed out of his body Nestos could not help but think, "How am I going to stop her when her magic is so more powerful than mine?" Rising to his feet, the magic-user looks the spirit in the eyes. The eyes have are filled with menace, "Will you give it to me now? That was only a taste of my power." Smiling, because he realizes that his cousin had not seen him grab the components from a pouch, "I will not give it to you, Cloreana. It will go where it belongs." Cloreana sneers at the mage, "Ah, mentions of your beloved Conclave again. You truly feel that these foolish mages know what is best? I will offer this one more time, give me the necklace and in return I will take you as my apprentice. Think of the power I can grant you." The smile still on his face Nestos says, with defiance, "I don't want the power you promise." Then, raising his arm towards the spirit, he whispers words of magic and his own lightning flies from his finger tips. The bolts strike their target, as magic is the only thing that can hurt the spirit, and cause the banshee to shriek. Although striking true, the lightning only caused minimal pain. "You may think that you are powerful enough to take me on; but you are gravely mistaken," raising her incorporeal hand again, the banshee shoots several balls of magic at the white robed mage. The mage quickly ducks across the room, avoiding the missiles till he gets to the closet in the back of the room; but as he approaches the door a missile crashes into his leg sending him into the closet and crippling his leg. Knowing his cousin's arrogance, the mage knew he has a bit of time before she gets to the closet. The mage quickly removes a piece of coal from a hidden pocket in his robes. He begins to chant and draw runes on the walls ceiling and floor that will make them impenetrable by incorporeal beings. Outside in the dining area he can hear his cousin's piercing voice draw closer, "I am going to have that necklace, Nestos, whether that means killing you or not." Nestos finishes the the runes on the door, leaving it slightly ajar. He waits to the side of the door for her entrance, "I will give you neither the pleasure of the item or my death." "No, I think I will take them both," with this the banshee comes through the door. Barely able to stand from the crippling missile, but still moving quickly, Nestos jumps between the door and the spirit. He raises his hand quickly and chants the words of magic. He had thought this through as the missiles were flying at him, "I will put spells of holding in the closet to hold my cousin. The fireball, in this close range, will undoubtedly burn me as well; but with luck, the magical fire will consume the evil spirit of my cousin." As the fireball begins to form, the spirit tries to break the mage's concentration. She raises her hand and speaks a word of command. The spell works properly, but Nestos does not realize that he had not just closed his eyes. The spell blinds the mage, but too late; and the fireball streaks across the short distance. The force knocks both the banshee and the mage back. Nestos can feel the burns on his back from where hit him as he turned away; and it is now that Nestos realizes that he has been blinded. His stomach drops at the realization, "I still have to close the door, but I can't see it." Only knowing he must shut the door, the magic-user moves towards the heat of the fire and the shrieks of the banshee. He finds and closes the door before the spirit and escape. He pulls out another component from a pouch on his belt and presses it up against the door. After speaking a few words of magic, the door magically locks the banshee inside the closet. As he tries to walk out of the building, falling over chairs and tables, he can hear over the crackle of the fire, "You would try and destroy your own cousin? Even after you let the son of your brother fall?" This strikes Nestos harder than the ground that has broken his ribs; but instead of doing what the spirit wants, it only galvanizes Nestos' resolve. Nestos finally makes it to the door of the inn, following the cool breeze. He grasps his chest to make sure he has not lost the necklace; then, being exhausted from casting and his injuries, he almost falls through the door of the inn. (Nestos wrote this awhile back and sent it to me. One more part left)

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