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Author Topic: Chapter 1B: The Ball of Pure Souls and Tormented Minds  (Read 32298 times)
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Gararion
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« Reply #105 on: November 15, 2005, 03:51:22 AM »

As Gararion neared the top of the stairs, he could see a cloaked figure standing before him.  As the last bolt of lightning flashed through the stairs, the figure turned to reveal herself, the face of the Duchess was familiar to the mage.  As the Duchess spoke, several thoughts ran through the mages mind.

Why would this Duchess bring us here, only to end our quest?  Was this a mere test or was this what fate had planned for them?

As the Duchess finished, Gararion spoke himself, watching her actions carefully.

“That is why I have come here, in ensure that the future remains in tact…” was all the mage was able to say before the Duchess began her onslaught, concealing her true identity from the mage before her.  “You will have to try better then that.  Rèth'cár'áll!”

With a wave of the mages hand and the words he spoke, the Duchess’s bolts of lightning weakened before they made contact with Gararion.  By the time they reached Gararion, they were nothing but charged air, raising the mage’s hair.  At the same time, the illusionary copies of the Duchess seemed to fade away, as if their presence was swept away with a gust of wind.  All magical effects in the room followed, Gararion had cleaned the slate in which they fought.

Edited by: Gararion  at: 11/14/05 19:53
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Tomás Valentín
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« Reply #106 on: November 15, 2005, 09:46:22 AM »

The images of the Duchess seemed to shimmer before finally fading away, as if they fought to remain in existence. However, the figure in the middle did not completely disappear, instead growing until its height was equal to that of the other mage. Any resemblance to the Duchess faded as a cloaked figure was revealed. His white cloak seemed to glow with purity, the only shadows being those that concealed his face within the cloak's cowl. Slender fingers emerged from the voluminous sleeves of his equally white robe, and the tips of leather boots inlaid with silver peeked out from the hem of the robe.

A light chuckle emanated from the hood of the cloak, showing that the strange mage was truly impressed with Gararion. "Defense of self will not be enough. Salvation can only be achieved through the defense of others." The mage's melodious voice rose in volume as he chanted. "Dalaiá er avásh"

His hands rose above his head with his palms facing upwards. A loose stone in the column weighing about half a pygge dislodged itself and flew through the air as the mage shifted his hands as if he were pushing something beyond Gararion. Instead of flying toward Gararion, the stone flew to one side of him as it hurtled through the air, flying directly for Ratdragon as he recovered from his fight with the Duke.

Edited by: Tomas Valentin at: 11/15/05 1:48
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Gararion
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« Reply #107 on: November 16, 2005, 04:01:22 AM »

        As the true form of the mage was revealed to Gararion, though its face was still cloaked in shadows.  The new mage wore a glowing white cloak, though even this mystical light didn’t reveal the mages identity.  But soon the mage’s identity was of no concern to him, as he threatened the lives of those who remained on the stairs.

        A stone from the column was pulled from its foundation from the mage before him, pushing the stone through the air and towards Ratdragon.  Gararion quickly countered this effect, though he only used half the spell that his advisory used.  Knowing that the other mage was maintaining a jet stream of wind underneath the stone to keep it afloat as well as a smaller current of direct the direction the stone moved, Gararion created his own jet stream.  Gararion’s stream though was not placed underneath the stone but in front of it, hoping that his efforts would overpower the weaker two elements that his advisory was implying or at least bide Ratdragon enough time to realize the threat before him.

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ratdragon
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« Reply #108 on: November 16, 2005, 06:11:22 AM »

Ratdragon watched as the duke fell through the gap, listening to the thud he made as he fell. Hearing commotion above him, the elf hurridly leaped up and ran up the stairs. He was halfway to Gararion as he saw a rock flying straight at him, but he noticed it too late to dodge it. Tensing himself for the impact, Ratdragon felt a sigh of relief as the mage countered the attack.

Now that he was aware of the threat, the elf could readily dodge the missile. Wishing that he had his weapons on him, the elf charged up behind Gararion, staring at the glowing figure in front of them. Nodding to his companion, Ratdragon signaled that the elf could release his hold on the stone. With a flick of his wrist, Ratdragon hurled the broken wine bottle he still had clutched in his hand, aiming for the face of the enemy mage.

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Tomás Valentín
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« Reply #109 on: November 16, 2005, 09:17:22 AM »

The strange mage watched as the stone hurtled toward the elf, and he sighed in relief as the other mage countered his spell. It had been his intention to test the adventurers and not to cause them harm. Deaths of any kind were always unfortunate, and it saddened him that the Duke had just died of his own folly. At least these two elves appeared to be capable of defending themselves, and perhaps that would be enough. He knew that the entire party was not yet gathered, but harm would not come easy to them with a mage such as Gararion to protect them.

His entire body shook with laughter as Ratdragon hurled the broken wine bottle at him, as it seemed to be more insult than it was injury. With a wave of his hand, the bottle vanished as though it had never existed. He crossed his arms as his laughter died down, and glared at the elves as Emalaya joined them. His form remained unmoving, as if he were daring them to approach.

Light suddenly filled the passage as a doorway opened only a few peds behind him. The warmth of a fireplace began to pervade the air as a melodious voice could be heard singing. It was a song without words, yet it remained beautiful without them.

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Gararion
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« Reply #110 on: November 19, 2005, 07:31:22 AM »

        Gararion let a breath of relief escape his aging lips as he felt the opposition of his advisory let go, Gararion directing the stone in between the cracks of the stairway and down upon the steps below.  Turning to once again face his advisory, Gararion examined the figure as it stood unmoving.  Gararion body became eased as a door beyond the mage upon the platform, shedding a warm light upon Gararion and his companions.  Along with the light came a soft melody, as if it were in part with the light that warmed ones soul.

        Gararion made his way towards his advisory, waving his hand through the mage’s form dispersing the effects of his spell.  Gararion continued up the stairs till he stood before the doorway, waiting to one side for his fellow companions to enter before him, assuring them that it was safe to do so.

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Tomás Valentín
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« Reply #111 on: November 20, 2005, 09:29:22 AM »

Avásh'klyuál

The door opened to reveal a scene most citizens of the city would be shocked to behold. Avash sang in his soft melodious voice as he stroked Sera's hair, reveling at how beautiful the sleeping Duchess was. A mischievous glint was evident in his azure gaze as he watched the three elves enter the room. His song rose to a crescendo before halting completely. With a beaming smile, he shook the Duchess as he woke her.

"Awake, my love. You have guests to attend to."

The elf swept the sheets off him with one fluid motion as he arose from the bed. His lack of concern over his nudity was evident as he strode across the room to a wardrobe. Throwing open the wardrobe, he bent over to retrieve a blue robe that had been carelessly tossed into it. The robe settled onto his slender shoulders as he slipped his arms into its sleeves. His body was finally concealed completely as the hem of the robe fell to his ankles. He gracefully placed his feet into a pair of black slippers before walking over to the other elves.

"Hail, friends. I'm afraid that the Duchess will not be able to welcome you for a few more moments." He paused and turned to watch as the Duchess sleepily awoke, clutching the sheets to her chest as she noticed the visitors. "She does not share my confidence in being nude. I would suggest turning your backs as she dresses. In a few moments, she will show you to the anteroom. I, on the other hand, have other matters to attend to." Turning back to Sera, he spoke to her in a tone that clearly conveyed his devotion to her. "I'll summon the servant and have her dress you."

Without saying another word, he strode over to the double doors set into one wall and opened one door as he slipped through it. His soft footsteps could be heard for a moment as he walked away.

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Elendilwyn
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« Reply #112 on: November 21, 2005, 02:22:22 AM »

Elendilwyn was sitting at her tiny table when the message came for her to attend to the Duchess. She was annoyed at being interrupted from her personal time—personal time in this castle was a luxury, she was just about to write a song about love too. She had never loved a man, save for the daughterly love she had for her father, but she recognized anguish when she saw it. The young girl who was to be married to the Duke was clearly in distress and the softer side of her could share that pain, not that it really mattered. Being simple and lowly is sometimes so much easier than being royalty and subject to all the politics of court—She could never understand how people endured such a life.

It had been a long day for the maids-in-waiting as the ladies of the castle were insistent on looking their best for the ball. She had spent the better half of the day offering help where needed though her main responsibility was to attend to the Duchess. Now that the ball was in progress, the servants of her rank could rest a little. If she was fortunate, she might have been done for the day, considering that most of the ladies would not be retiring to their rooms alone and eager male hands would be more willing to help with the undressing than tired servants—probably more pleasurable too—She had no doubt about that but alas, the call for her came too soon.

She barely had time to throw on the simple peach-coloured dress that marked her as a maid-in-waiting, without time to comb and tie back her black hair, before rushing out of the room—Thank goodness for the proximity of her room to the Duchess’s, better than the servants who stayed near the kitchens. She could not really have asked for more. Her meager savings would not have allowed her to continue with her travels and the taverns she visited would not accept a barmaid who refused to offer extra services to their customers. A job like this that came with a small room containing a bed and table was more than welcomed.

She took the servant's route to the Duchess’s room for discretion was prized in this household though it is also true that she did have a preference for being alone. Upon entering the Duchess’s room through a side door set into the wall, she saw three elves excusing themselves and one of them closing the door as they made their exit.

The Duchess was clearly not too pleased about being interrupted this way but she commanded Elendilwyn over to help her out of bed. Elendilwyn gave a low curtsey and greeted her mistress, moving over to help her out of that great bed, following which, made her way to the wardrobe to pick out a silk gown of deep blue, at the Duchess’s request. The blue gown had long sleeves that flared out midway, made to add a soft feminine flow to a tall and dignified posture, and when worn, would reveal a fair portion of the shoulders—Elendilwyn had already made a mental note about the Duchess’s good taste in clothes when she arrived—the blue silk was lined in white at the borders with a gold line running through, which were actually tiny embroidered flowers so finely done that from a distance, it looked like a thin line of fine gold.

She smoothed the white under-dress that the Duchess was wearing and slipped the gown on, tying the ribbons together in crosses down the back. She proceeded to braid the hair which she then wound up into a bun secured with hair-sticks laced with blue gem-stones. The whole process did not take very long for there were guests waiting and the Duchess herself was slightly anxious to be done.

“Is there anything else you would like done my lady?” Elendilwyn enquired.

“You may inform those outside that I am ready to see them now,” was the reply.

Elendilwyn bowed again to her mistress, went to the door, opened it and said, “My lady would see you now,” and went back to stand on the left of the Duchess.  


The day has waned, walk with me, grant me this song... Can you hear?
The midnight sun is calling...


Elendilwyn Gwaihir

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ratdragon
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« Reply #113 on: November 22, 2005, 07:29:22 AM »

Ratdragon followed the mage warily as they passed through the door. The elf was trying to grasp what had happen, was the sorcerrer only illusion?

Looking up as he entered the room, Ratdragon flushed slightly as it appeared they had intruded upon something private. The elf had already turned his back as the man addressed them. Waiting outside with the others, Ratdragon waited until a half-elf gave them permission to enter once again. Standing aside, Ratdragon waits for Gararion to enter first.

------------------
Beware the BladeSinger of the Silver Sword.

 RatDragon

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Gararion
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« Reply #114 on: November 24, 2005, 12:04:22 PM »

        Upon entering the room, Gararion was displeased to see what he and others saw.  It had not been long since the Duchess had left them but yet she lay in this state before this male, though Gararion kept his thoughts to himself.

        Gararion stepped outside the room and waited to be invited in once again, this time with a more normal greeting.  Stepping inside the room once again as Ratdragon stepped aside, Gararion remained silent, hoping to gain some sort of explanation.  

        Gararion’s eyes fell upon the new figure within the room, dressed in the cloth of a maid.  What thoughts were running through the mage’s mind only he would know.

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Tomás Valentín
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« Reply #115 on: November 27, 2005, 05:17:22 PM »

Duchess Sera

A soft sigh escaped her lips as Sera drifted into a peaceful slumber. The arms of her elven lover held her gently to his chest as his melodious voice graced the senses with song. One moment her gaze lovingly peered into the blue eyes of her lover, yet darkness clouded her senses only a moment later as she began to dream...

Her eyes strained in vain as they attempted to pierce the murk. The song of her lover slowly faded from her mind as she became enthralled by the dream. Only the distant wails of a lost child could be heard, wails that reminded her of the love for her son that burned within her heart. She strode in the direction of the child, yet he seemed to remain the same distance from her. Running toward him holding the hem of her shift in her hands, she called out in both worry and pain as the ground had become sharp rocks that impaled her bare feet with each stride. Her attempts to reach him were of no avail, and she collapsed on the icy ground as she quietly sobbed.

In the moment when all hope was lost, the child appeared in her arms. His wails ceased as she rocked him to and fro, yet tears of joy streamed down her face as she recognized him as her son. The crimson locks were a testament to his identity though Sera would be able to recognize her son no matter his outer appearance. It was his very soul that she was familiar with, and she would do anything to regain her sweet child. A broad smile graced her face as Tasul’i suckled at her breast, reminding her of the years when his very existence depended upon her. Sera sang to him much as her elven lover was now singing to her, yet her song became a gasp of pain as he savagely bit her with fangs sprouting in his tiny mouth as he bit down upon her flesh.

The agony overwhelmed her maternal instincts, and she dropped him as he aged a few years in a mere moment. He stood before her with his arms outstretched, begging to be held by the woman that loved him. Gazing into his green eyes, she knew that she could not refuse him, and she stepped forward as a wicked grin twisted his facial features. With only slight hesitation Sera reached out to him, yet she screamed in pain as his touch seared her flesh. Looking on with horror, she cowered as an inferno blazed along his limbs and torso, seeming to consume the boy without harming him. Any attempt to approach him was foiled by the extreme heat, and she despaired that she would never again hold her child. For a moment, her eyes could only see her son, yet when she looked beyond him several strangers seemed to be standing in the shadows. She raised her voice to implore them to aid her son as another voice pierced her dreaming mind...

Awaking to her lover’s voice, she smiled at him before realizing that they were not alone. She held the sheet close to her chest as Avash dressed himself, seeming unconcerned about his nudity in the presence of strangers. Whether this peculiarity was unique to him or common to all elves was unknown to the Duchess, but she knew that she would never be comfortable with displaying her body so wantonly. A sigh of relief escaped her lips as the elves exited and her personal maid servant entered. It had always been her desire to dress herself, yet Avash insisted that a lady in her position should possess servants to attend to her every need. He would heed no argument on the subject, and it was true that some of her dresses required an extra pair of hands.

She smiled fondly at Elendilwyn as she finished styling her hair, trying to relieve some of the pressure of being in the presence of a Duchess. Disdain of those that served her did not exist within her nature, and she knew even the lowest stablehand by name. Any surprise at the elves odd entrance into her chambers was carefully concealed, and she curtsied to them as they re-entered the room.

“Welcome to my home. I am Sera Rose, Duchess of Chylikis. Hopefully, the citizens of this fair city and I have proven our hospitality to strangers. However, I must admit that I am shocked by your unheralded entrance into my bedroom chambers. How you entered where only a blank wall existed a moment before I do not know though I suspect it is an interesting tale. Please, follow me to the adjoining anteroom where we may properly introduce ourselves. Elendilwyn, it would greatly please me if you accompanied us. I would offer you some excitement this night as you were not able to grace the ball with your presence.”

She calmly turned as she walked toward the far side of the chamber, throwing open a simple oak door whose beauty existed in the wood itself and not in any decorations. Any terror from her nightmare seemed to have faded in the moments since she awoke, and she laughed softly to herself as she realized that a fire blazed within the room’s small yet cozy fireplace. Her thoughts immediately focused upon the one she knew to be responsible for the fire and the comfortable chairs placed ever so neatly in the room. Six chairs were lined against the walls, and it surprised her that Avash was wrong about the number of guests that she would receive this night. One chair in particular seemed to be meant for her with its high back and gilded arms, yet she purposefully walked past it and seated herself in a chair to the far right of the room, putting distance between herself and the fireplace. Her chair faced the door to her chambers with the gilded chair and another chair much like her own to the left of her. The remaining chairs faced her as they were lined against the opposite wall.

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Gararion
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« Reply #116 on: December 01, 2005, 07:28:22 AM »

Gararion listened to the words of the Duchess, though her words puzzled him.  For it seemed that the Duchess had no memories of traversing the same stairs that they had only moments ago.  Was this result of the magics implored by her guest or did they follow the mage himself, Gararion unaware to the trickery due to lack of insight.  Gararion would need to be more careful of his surrondings if he wished to survive this quest.

   As the Duchess lead them to small anteroom alongside her bed chambers, Gararion scanned the room with his eyes, though not only his eyes.  He looked throughout the room for any signs of a magical aura, not sure if he could trust that they were alone, or if the prying eyes of his advisory lay hidden somewhere within the small anteroom.

   Sitting himself in a chair across form the Duchess, unaware that he sat upon the high arched chair, Gararion awaited what knews the Duchess may provide to him and his fellow compainions.

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ratdragon
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« Reply #117 on: December 01, 2005, 11:21:22 AM »

Ratdragon listened to the Duchess as she introduced herself. Why was she speaking as if they'd never met? Was she not just walking with them? Puzzled, the elf followed Gararion into the next room.

Seeing as the elder elf took the high backed chair, Ratdragon sat down next to him, waiting for the duchess to continiue.

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Elendilwyn
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« Reply #118 on: December 02, 2005, 02:29:22 AM »

As the Duchess addressed the elves, Elendilwyn took a bit of time to observe the visitors who have accidentally intruded upon the Duchess’s privacy, mentally reminding herself not to seem too curious. She thought they were rather ill at ease but figured that if it was meant to be, she would know why in due course. And then, as if the Duchess could read her mind, she found herself being addressed and invited to follow her lady into the next room—that’s strange, servants are usually dismissed from private conversations for it is common knowledge that servants have a loose tongue—Elendilwyn, as much as she wanted to retire for the day was excited and it took a fair amount of self control to remain expressionless as she nodded in response.

She waited for the guests to follow the Duchess and then proceeded behind them, closing the oak door behind her. She moved with grace, her face warmed by the glow of the fire, to her place behind and to the left of the Duchess’s seated position.  


The day has waned, walk with me, grant me this song... Can you hear?
The midnight sun is calling...


Elendilwyn Gwaihir

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Tomás Valentín
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« Reply #119 on: December 03, 2005, 03:16:22 PM »

Duchess Sera

A soft sigh escaped her lips, expressing her relief that they were willing to listen. Hope, as she well knew, was a dangerous emotion, yet her dream that strangers would help her son filled her heart with hope. If these were the strangers she did not yet know, but any risk was worth taking for the good of her son. Only the question of how much of her past she should reveal plagued her mind. Demons lurked within the shadows of her past, and to reveal them would be to risk scaring these strangers. Yet if she did not tell them enough, then the strangers would not be willing to help her.

“I am relieved that you all have chosen to listen to my tale. It is one that began about two decades ago with the birth of my son, Tasul’i. As some of you may have noticed by now, his true father is not human. My husband, Duke Roland, seethed with anger as my son’s elven heritage became apparent. Even as an infant, Roland would not hold the child and his every word was tainted with disdain. Tasul’i was too naive to understand that his father hated him and vainly attempted to earn his love. Even I could not convince Roland to involve himself with the boy, yet one day my husband took Tasul’i hunting, an unprecedented event in the boy’s life. I foolishly believed that Roland had changed, yet I still worried about the welfare of them both. Tasul’i I loved with each beat of my heart, and Roland was needed to govern the city. At first I assumed that it was a deer that Tasul’i carried over his shoulders, yet as he approached my eyes perceived the body of my husband with an arrow piercing his heart. My words could not convince my son that he was not a murderer and that it had been an accident."

"For an entire year, Tasul’i mourned the death of the man he believed to be his father, even refusing to attend the funeral. Only after months of pleading did I convince him to assume the duties of the Duke with me as his advisor. For a while, he seemed to be the same carefree youth that he had always been, yet I began to notice subtle changes within him. His moods began to shift irrationally, and the worst moments were always those when anger consumed him. It was during such moments that I truly worried about his welfare, fearing that he would someday anger someone willing to end his life."

"I do not know the source of his madness, yet my only hope is that it may somehow be healed. The healers of Chylikis have tried to heal Tasul’i, and each one has failed. It is clear to me that my son must venture abroad if there is to be any hope for him to ever be healed. He would not survive the wilderness alone, and I implore each and every one of you for your help. I am willing to offer anything that is within my power to give, whether it is gold, land, or whatever your hearts most desire. I would give anything for the sake of my son.”


Her eyes passed over each elf as they now sat along the opposite wall with the elfess sitting close to the fireplace. She then rose and paused for a moment as she smiled at Elendilwyn, a girl whose vibrant spirit she greatly appreciated. With a few graceful strides, she walked across the room to the window and looked out upon the world as it was shrouded in darkness. The chaotic downpour that doused the night seemed to echo the whirling emotions within her. For a moment, she gazed out the window as she awaited the answers of the assembled party before turning to face them, now leaning against the window.  

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