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Author Topic: Tales from Kseiran  (Read 2155 times)
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Xarl
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« on: 07 December 2001, 19:04:00 »

Alright, as soon as my puter stops acting up, I should have the first part of my story on here. Just wanted to place this...  

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Xarl
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« Reply #1 on: 12 December 2001, 19:56:00 »

Alright, let it begin!

Tales from Kseiran: The Open Eye.

   Tsakan loved the dark. He felt his cloak wrap around him for a minute, then continued up the tunnel with only a small twinge of fear.    After all, this high up in Tsor-Klasants I'm only dead if discovered. Why should I worry? He temporarily feared that the Claws' rudimentary telepathy might sense him, but after all the Nullhelm he was wearing was intended to stop just that. He thought back to when he was first given his assignment...

   "Tsakan, of Homeguild, Brood of Sonura, the Kseiran-Magair wishes to contact you," the emmisary had said. From that alone Tsakan knew something was going on. A message through the Telepathic Matrix would have been much easier to send, but there was always the suspicion that the Gemshapers could eavesdrop communiques. The Eyes certainly would given the chance. Tsakan glanced back at the glowing rune that was his link to the Matrix, and incidentally a good mental detector. It glowed reassuringly, and Tsakan returned his attention to the emmisary. The helmet with an onyx in it reassured him, as such gems were formed by the Gemshapers at high cost to stop mental alteration of the wearer. His tunic was the deep green of an Eye, he had a ring with the proper seal on it... All things pointed to this messenger being genuine and very high-level.
   "Tell the Guildmaster that I will be honored deeply to see him. My greatest thanks." The possibilities whirled through Tsakan's head. He was the best stealth trainee of his Broodyear, so this could only be a spy mission! Success could mean a place on the mating index, a chance to elevate himself in rank and stature... perhaps even a run at the Guildmaster's seat! Tsakan could see himself already as one of the candidates for the Ascension, controlling one-fourth of the entire Psyrpent world.

   The Psyrpent culture is a strange one, as is its mindset. The Eyes of Arvins, while they like to think themselves as the most enlightened of their race, are an example of what human politics would look like carried to an extreme. No Eye trusts another explicitly, assassinations are extremely common, and any one of them is a persuasive enough liar and/or mental manipulator to occupy a high position in any government. Also, the expression "Don't count your chickens before they're hatched" has no existence in Eye culture. An average eye will have counted the eggs, selected the best of the chicks to breed, sold the rest for a profit, and repeated the cycle until they are rich enough to buy one of the Guildmaster seats before they even have their first egg. This is one of their many weaknesses, as shown by...
All excerpts from Xarl Bluestride's    Psyrpents: Extremes in the Extreme. Published 1253, Ximax Resources.

  The next day, Tsakan had walked proudly to the Guildmaster's caverns, giving the required passwords to the various Nobleclaw guards for all the twisted way. If anyone could give off an aura without psychic enhancement, these fit the bill. When one looked at you with that pure-black gaze, you got the distinct sensation that if you even thought funny they'd be all too happy to rip your throat out with their well-polished swords. Still, they did a good job.
The tunnels in this area were reputed to be a constantly shifting maze, and Tsakan was extremely grateful for the parchment map given to him by the emmisary. Without it, he would have been lost several times over. As he went deeper into the twisting passages, his surroundings grew darker, and the only light came from the occasional dull red pulses of what Tsakan had learned to call his heat-sense. A useful ability, to be sure, but in any of the volcanic chambers near the heart of the mountains he was nearly blinded by it. Ah well, every gift has a downside.
At the end of this way, he saw a well-appointed antechamber. Abruptly, the walls were covered in tapestries, elegant works that Hand artisans could be persuaded to do for a substancial price. The dominant one showed a blue and green Psyrpent dueling with the Creator.
"Magair?" Tsakan whispered this, tracing the outline of the greatest Eye to ever walk the face of Sorren. Oh, there were stories behind him, glorious tales of intrigue and bloodshed, strength and sorcery...
Even as a broodling, Tsakan had taken a great interest in the beginnings of Psyrpent history, especially the Insurrection. Sometimes he dreamed he was with Magair, assisting in the conversion of the crystal-worker Gashan, and even assisting in the final battle, when Magair freed the Creator's bodyguard Klasants from his bondage and allowed the massive Claw warrior to turn against his master. Oh, they were glorious stories, stories he could drift on forever...
A mental finger-snap later, Tsakan was back and inspecting his surroundings, cursing his inattentiveness. He heard the voice of his Broodmother Sonura, as though he was merely a ten-year old again.   Tsakan, if you were supposed to be a dreamer, you'd have been a Hand! Now back to work, you little lizard! Arrogant elvish Eye. She only was a Broodmother for the enjoyment of having a group of slaves to work for her. "Well, she did keep me focused...." He returned to the world at hand.
There were tapestries and crystal insets all around the antechamber, but the centerpiece was the door. The door had  his Guild's crest on it; an emerald eye with an obsidian shield behind it. Inscribed below the eye were some strange lines.
   The Claw can cut, the Hand can grasp
But Eye alone can kill
The Eye can see both Death and Life
The eye alone sees danger
The Eye, the key to now pass on
Then Eye alone sees victory.

     Tsakan inspected the eye closely. Was it his imagination or was it starting to glow? He ran a quick mindsweep.Nothing around, but the door was shielded.  He looked at the eye... it was directed to his right... A tapestry of the Protosyrpent...HOLES IN IT!?
     Tsakan's stealth training took over. He hit the floor. Just in time, as it would appear. A series of darts    Poisoned, no doubt thudded into the opposite tunnel wall. Knowing his chance was soon, Tsakan flattened himself against the wall to the door's left. He heard the words of his assassination instructor, Dokass, echoing back to him.
    "If you don't see the hinges, the door will always open from right to left. As the target goes through it, use a blowdart on the target's neck. If you are without the Assassin's Kit, use a psi-shock on him/her and place your claws in the proper points. Surprise is key. Focus on where you know the target will be, and spring at him or her a second before they know they're taking a step"
    Tsakan was extremely grateful he'd paid attention. Then again, it was hard not to listen to an instructor who used his more unattentive students for practice dummies. Tsakan felt and heard the door begin to creep open. He checked his equipment, running through a quick prayer to the Great Hunter as he did so.   Lord of the Wild, grant me life through this crisis so I may still serve you in honor.. His best bet was a knife blessed by one of the older clerics of Arvins. He readied it, waiting for his betrayer to emerge.
    He was, to say the least, somewhat surprised to see the door opening from the left. A massive mental shock struck him, and he blacked out for a second. When he awoke, the first thing he heard was this.
    "Dokass... now there was a useful tool. Did you believe EVERYTHING he said?"
* * *
When Tsakan came to his senses, he was in his Guildmaster's chambers. A roaring fire, sumptous tapestries... the delicious smell of well-spiced meat. Almost unconsciously, Tsakan licked his lips.
No blood? So I'm being kept intact? Nothing made sense about the setup. Torture would make sense if he knew something, but he was completely healthy, except for the massive hangover that must have been the psychic shock's aftermath. And if he had offended Kseiran-Magair, he had no doubt he would not be alive now.
"Tell me, Tsakan, have you always been so unresponsive to your elders?"
Tsakan leapt up from the floor that he'd been lying on and found himself gazing into his guildmaster's eyes. He was an imposing figure. His form, well muscled under his emerald-encrusted armor, showed the intense physical training he had gone through, but of his razor-edged mind there was no sign except for his eyes. Someone once said that eyes are windows into the soul. If so, the Guildmaster's soul was as cold as ice and twice as hard. Tsakan involuntarily shivered under that sapphire gaze befor sinking to his knees, speaking the ritual words that training had burned into him; cutting through the haze of the psychic shock.
"I am the servant of my Master, and it is my place to do his bidding. As-"
Kseiran-Magair interrupted. "Drop the ceremonies. If I had wanted to merely chat, I wouldn't have tested you so directly. We have things of great import to discuss, Tsakan."
Daring, Tsakan spoke. "What things, Master?" His soul danced in glee.
The Guildmaster walked over to the table that was already set, for two, Tsakan noted. "Young one, have you ever heard of the Syrpent's Staff?"
Mental shocks, despite common thought, do not lose power with successive hits.
* * *
 Back in the days when the Psyrpents were still lorded over by the wizard Churas, his most powerful tool over his creations was the Syrpent's Staff, in which the combined psychic force of his minions rested.
Alright, as you can tell, I've restarted work on this. Next up, i have to finish the Syrpent's Staff.

Xarl Bluestride, Archmage of the White Arcana, Master of the Magic Forum, and generally cool guy. All requests are to be written on the back of a ten-dollar bill (or equivelant thereof) placed on a dead ferret, and tossed in the sewer system.
Xarl Bluestride
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Edited by: Xarl at: 1/31/02 12:16:50 am
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Artimidor Federkiel
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« Reply #2 on: 13 December 2001, 14:23:00 »

The pace of the story maybe is a bit fast. You don't get enough time to learn much about the character and the places (tunnels etc.) for my taste. Maybe some more descriptions would be helpful here, because especially when you do a story about Psyrpents (a completely new and quite alien race) there are many things which should be mentioned in more detail so that the reader can dive in in this new part of the world. If you don't know anything about the Psyrpents before reading the storying this could be a bit too confusing. Just my two cents:)  


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"Between the mind that plans and the hands that build there must be a mediator, and this must be the heart." -- Maria (Metropolis)
Xarl
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« Reply #3 on: 13 December 2001, 16:57:00 »

I know. I'll fix this shortly, I was just somewhat pressed for time.

Xarl Bluestride, Archmage of the White Arcana, Master of the Magic Forum, and generally cool guy. All requests are to be written on the back of a ten-dollar bill (or equivelant thereof) placed on a dead ferret, and tossed in the sewer system.
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Bard Judith
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« Reply #4 on: 14 December 2001, 07:15:00 »

Plot is good - pacing far too fast, as Art notes - but engaging.

The quote and the poem both help to break up the text, especially since there is little or no dialogue.

Try a little more indirect action to help the pacing.  Description of the character and what's around him would help - integrated with the plot line, of course.

For example...

"Whotsisfaz let his claws drag gently along the tunnel wall, feeling the slight indentations of the well-set stonework.  It was old, he knew, older than the Somthinorother Guild itself.  If he were caught this high in their headquarters, though, an instant death was all he would have to fear...."

or however you'd like to put it...(grin)  Some observations from his point of view, and some descriptions from outside the character would definitely be helpful.

And I like the ending line, although that NAME has to be changed, really! (grins wryly)  Left me wanting more....

Regards from the Bard

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Xarl
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« Reply #5 on: 14 December 2001, 23:00:00 »

I'll add on the next part here soon, for now know I edited the first part.

Xarl Bluestride, Archmage of the White Arcana, Master of the Magic Forum, and generally cool guy. All requests are to be written on the back of a ten-dollar bill (or equivelant thereof) placed on a dead ferret, and tossed in the sewer system.
Xarl Bluestride
Owner of the longest sig in Santharia

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