Helt Requiem

On Top of the World
Mythia Cross

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoUxxQIUV7o

It’s a good day to be resurrected! So much has happened, and I’m so excited, and I can’t wait to get started! We got out of those wretched caves and into the sunlight, and found we were in the forest nearby Ohm’s hometown. I think he said it was called Sanctuary.

We made it into the city alright, and went to Ohm’s home, but unfortunately it seemed like it got sold away or something because, of course, he died, and that’s what happens when people die without leaving a will. I felt sorry for the poor little giant. But we got some favors from a golden-eye, I think he was called. I think the golden-eyes must be some kind of spies or police that watch the city—I really don’t know, but isn’t it fascinating to learn about so many things and peoples and places you never thought existed before?

I’m sorry, I’m getting off track again. Anyway, the golden-eye gave us a money voucher, then left. On our way to the Sleeping Dragon (the inn we were recommended to by a local named Vora) we were nearly attacked by an elemental, but Ohm calmed it down before it could do any harm. Now it’s following us around. I think we should call it Rockie.

Someone at the inn named Luc helped us and finally, I got some decent clothes. I spent entirely too long picking them out, but I didn’t care if the others got upset waiting. I can’t go out looking like a slump, now can I? I’d rather be naked, honestly. Not that I was walking around naked all this time—that cute raven-wing man, Dastan, he gave me his cloak, and I’ve been wrapped up in it all day, but when I found something worth wearing I gave it back because I figured it was only polite.

Anyway, we used the voucher to pay for our stay at the inn, and we all slept. We woke up the next morning and spent a good while coming up with a decent name for our troupe. I like “The Walking Dead”, myself—and why not? Technically, we are undead, aren’t we? We might as well make light of the situation. Snaf recommended we call ourselves “Dockswamp”—or was it “Dampsock”? Either way, it’s an acronym of all our names, and it means “freaking awesome” in Goblin, apparently. If more people in this town spoke Goblin, I might have gone for it. But the images it brings up to native Common-speakers isn’t the most pleasant or valiant.

In the end, we settled on “Aralondil”, or “The Determined Light”, or just “The Determined”. Not bad, huh?

After that we headed for the blacksmith. Each of us went around and asked for whatever gear we needed, and Jordana (the blacksmith) opened a tab for us. I ordered Alaryan armor and a Telanh—I can’t wait til they’re done! I’ll have the most beautiful, elegant Alaryan armor in all of Sanctuary, I just know it.  

Poor little Ohm was so guilty about the cost of his armor. Giant armor requires so many materials, you understand, so it was very expensive to order. But I tried to comfort him and reassure him that he was just as important as the rest of us and needed armor just as badly. I have a soft spot for that giant. He’s so good. I can sense it in him.  

However, the cost of all the armor left our troupe in debt—approximately 60 gold each to pay it back. Doesn’t matter at all to me. It’s worth it to be well-outfitted in the finest armor available. All we have to do is spend a little time working and the debt will be paid in no time. Already we found some jobs on the board in the inn, and we’ll get them done lickety-split!

I made the suggestion to split up in two groups to get the small tasks done, and then to come together for the big task of fighting the witch, and everyone seemed pleased enough with my plan, and they agreed!

Can you believe it? Me, helping to make decisions for the group? I never expected them to take me seriously. There were always other people around to take care of the important things, like my parents or my brothers. No one at home ever took me so seriously, except for maybe my mentor, Aeria Allium. But other than that, I can’t really remember ever being given responsibility like this. Now that I’m dead, I have some respect. Power. Feels good. I like it. Muahahahahaha! Tell me, Aurelian, Mercanis, Ferrous, who’s responsible now? 

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Oblivion
Mythia Cross

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeSi76ADGLw

Nothing seemed real. Nothing at all. I watched from the skies as more rebels and heretics swarmed the temple, preparing for some dark ritual—I hoped I was wrong, but it looked like they were going to sacrifice all those people. I could see the troops of the city guards and local militia closing in on the temple. I wanted to help—I had to warn them—

I heard a cry from below me, and looked down. I had only been gone a few moments to survey the land from the air, but already the demons were here.

They were swarming all around Kane. He fought, but I knew he would lose without help. I was the only one who could save him. It didn’t matter to me that he was little more than a stranger. I knew he was a good man, and I believed if it were me down there, he would save me. His life was in my hands. I didn’t think—I just dived. I spiraled down through the air as I had done a million times before, and reached my arms down to sweep him out of their clutches.

He reached up to me. A moment before my hand grasped his, he let out a cry, and he was sucked down out of my view, demons blocking the only hope I had of reaching him. Suddenly, a great pain erupted in my chest and in my right wing. Blood spattered my feathers and sprayed through the air. I careened toward the stone-paved street. My body struck it with a great smack.

Then, as if I had been startled awake from a nightmare, I was gasping in the darkness.

I stood. I was not alone—there were other shapes in the dark, of other races, other peoples. I shivered and put my arms around my body. I was so cold… and so confused. Why was I naked? Where was I? I looked toward the only source of light. It was shining from a tall gate; a group of people were gathering around it. I felt drawn toward the light, captivated by it and by the man slowly walking toward us from out of its cold blue depths.

I maneuvered my way closer, standing between humans and fey and other creatures I had never before encountered. The man in the light began to speak. I looked at his face, at his frigid blue eyes which stared back at us without feeling.

He was Death.

My spine shivered and my feathers and hairs all raised up in fear. I… I died?

No. This… This couldn’t be right… I couldn’t…

I couldn’t have died. I was Mythia Cross! I couldn’t have died. I was only twenty years old. I was only trying to save Kane. I was only trying to save my city—my temple—my friends—my family. Teonas, my mother, how could this have happened?

Tears rushed up to my eyes and I hugged myself tighter. I thought of all the things I had left behind. All the things I had wanted in the future. My life had barely begun. What now?

That’s when Death offered us a deal. If we fetched an item for him… if we went through the trial of the requiem… he would grant us back our lives. If we failed, we would be taken into the underworld. If we refused, we would be taken into the underworld. No one before us had been able to succeed. But Death had faith that we could.

If there was any chance I could be home again, any chance I could save my city and my temple and my family from the demons, then I would take it. What else did I have to lose? I had already lost my life.

I looked into Death’s eyes again, and when he asked me if I was willing to undergo the requiem, I said unflinchingly, “Yes.”

The others around me also accepted Death’s offer unanimously.

Then in a blink, just as it had happened when I died, I was again startled awake in a completely different place. Dark saltwater flowed all around, closing me in like a grave. Cold blue light filtered in above me, shining from the sun. I reached up, struggling for the sunlight and the air. My head and arms and wings breached the surface of the water and I inhaled sharply, water streaming from my sinuses. I wiped my face and eyes to see, bobbing along with the movement of the waves. A coastline was dead ahead.

All around me, other heads started popping up, too, and we all flailed closer to shore. Finally, when the water was shallow enough, and my feet could touch the sandy bottom of the beach, I stretched out my wings and glided the rest of the way to the beach.

The rest of them washed ashore around me. All of us were still naked, but I found that I didn’t particularly care. I wasn’t embarrassed. I had no reason to be. My body was beautiful; I had nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to hide. Besides, the sunlight and the breeze on my skin was most refreshing.

For the first time, I got a good look at my companions. There were races I had never seen before. Two fey, and a half-giant with a goblin on his shoulder, and a woman that looked like a fish, and a woman that looked like a cat, and—Kane! Oh, praise Teonas! I felt my heart leap with happiness. I could hardly believe he was still alive—well—not alive, I guess that’s the wrong word, but I could hardly believe that he was here, wherever here was, and that we both had a chance to redeem ourselves!

Our little band exchanged names, and hatched a plan to explore our new island for shelter and clothing and food.

I flew out up into the sky, soaring past the cliff that blocked the beach from the main land, and began to survey the ground below. It looked like it was covered in heavy forest, completely uninhabited. Far beyond in the distance, there was a great, towering mountain with clouds ripping across its top. I made that my landmark, and headed for it.

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Dead Air

Many creatures have felt the twinge of pain. The sharp, piercing, near-overwhelming sensation that fills you for just a second. Stubbing a toe. Having a feather ripped out. Falling from just a bit too high up. Not many creatures get to tell the story of the pain of their deaths. Many fantasize it is just a quick, silent moment of exquisite pain; over in a blink of an eye. Not many know the truth.

As the darkness, the ever-present and ever-growing nothingness around Dastan surrounded him, it became quite clear the pain he was in. You would have heard his screams if not for his inability to do so. Pulverized bones and flattened muscles are enough to bring even a battle-hardened Raven to tears, or would… if he could. It seemed like ages past, and at the same time as if time stood still. It is difficult to explain the sensation running through Dastan's mind more than just pain and confusion. Whether it was just a moment or eons, Dastan knew that his bones were reformed, his muscles filled in his body.  Dastan was standing on nothing, yet not falling. Casting his eyes around, he saw he wasn't alone. Spirits filled the dead air. All of them seemed as unsure as he did. They looked intently forward. A mesmerizing voice shot through the air. It filled every crevice of Dastan's frame. A slow turn to look at this voice. In his heart he knew what he was going to see, even if he knew nothing of what it looked like. He shivered. If you have ever heard a foreign sound in your home and turn to look expecting to see something there and wishing not to, you know this shiver. Now, imagine that when you looked, you stood face to face with Death.

Dastan couldn't move. The host of spirits cowered slightly at his penetrating voice. Dastan seemed unable to focus, unable to grasp what had happened.

"There are some of you," Death whispered with such a profoundness. "There are some of you, who have a choice. To move on, see what the next life has in store for you, reap what you sow… or, to resolve unfinished destinies by taking the test of Requiem."

With a quick motion Dastan spoke out declaring, "I will take the test. I must return." Death seemed rather skeptical of Dastan's abrupt disclosure of his choice. "This is not a test that will favor the weak young Raven." Death's words were penetrating and subtle but nothing inhibited Dastan's resolve. "If you go, you must bring back to me an object of high importance."

"I must go!" Dastan's words were met by the outstretched hand of Death. A deal to be made, in order to go back. It was Dastan's turn to be skeptical. Eyeing Death, he took his hand and grasped firmly.

And with the slightest motion from Death, a door opened. And without hesitation, Dastan was through it.

Dastan awoke in what felt like water. His body was heavy as if sand had been poured into every open nook. The pain again was back. It filled every gritty crease and pore of skin. As time passed, Dastan was able to compose himself. He crawled out of the water and heaved himself onto a sandy beachfront. Wind passed over him, chilling in his current circumstances. Death leaves not a single worm for the birds. An open cave stood before the dismal body trying to stand in the sandbank. A light of hope for Dastan. He was practically raised in caves, and knew their terrain well. He hobbled over to the mouth of the cave, searching for help. A tent stood at the entrance, a small fire flicking in the wind. Dastan was approached by a man within the tent. Words were traded and the man saw fit to grant Dastan a bit of meat. A crazy and unhelpful old man in Dastan's eyes.

Some time passed as Dastan searched the inner workings of the caverns. A small tunnel lead to a pitch black room. Dastan had traversed many a cave in complete dark, but this seemed impenetrable, as if having a light wouldn't have helped. As he circled the walls, a small but quick metal slicing sound came from the darkness. Traps or perhaps he wasn't alone; Dastan didn't mind either notion very much. He came to a door with no proper handle. In its place was a dial, with 4 holes. Several attempts to open the door came to no avail. Each failure only worsened the impatience boiling up in Dastan. In a swift movement, he stuck his pinkie finger in the hole and spun it all the way around, and with a quick unsheathing and a swift slice. His finger fell to the floor. Dastan cried out in pain, and felt a small jab on his head from something behind him. Now was not the time to get stuck, nor to be stopped by this door. Dastan spun the dial the opposite direction and the door swung open. Quickly grabbing his dislodged finger, Dastan stepped inside and the door slammed hard against the cave formation, with him bodily against the wood.

Only one way to go, forward. Dastan was in too much pain from his hand and head to notice much about these next rooms. It was as if he handed the reigns over and the body knew what to do instinctively. More traps and more perils yet nothing hindered his progression through them. He eventually found two torches fastened tightly to the wall. He took the opportunity to cauterize his finger back on. Not the best medical work, but it was satisfactory for the raven.

Dastan was getting close to the end room, he could feel it. He took a step into a very open room. A sort of man slept pedestalled in the center, with an ogre cage nearby snoring away. The man awoke as soon as Dastan entered. Some annoying speech of how he always lies, three levers control awful fates that can befall you, but one will open the next door and lead to freedom. Nonsense and confusion rang in Dastan's ears, but he went to the levers. Dastan didn't really care for the dangers except one. The Ogre. Still slothfully asleep, that seemed the least dangerous of them all, and it would at least buy time. "Which would release the Ogre?" Dastan slyly spoke. "The far left." 

Now Dastan had to evaluate the man. Was he one to lie? Or was he one to get things over quickly? So many questions, the blabbering of this man, the room itself only aided to confuse Dastan further. "The far right one is the lever for the ogre, the left is for the spikes."

Which is which!? Dastan was getting impatient again, and he wasn't going to die now. The last time he just went for it, he lost a finger. "How about you strike up a deal with me?" The man asked pridefully.

Great… another deal. Dastan barely listened to the particularities but joined the man at the center and shook his hand. "The center lever is the one to freedom." Without a second thought, Dastan left and pulled the lever. Freedom smelled sweet, the wind from the room beyond was refreshing to Dastan. Without even a look back, he passed into the next room and took a nice deep breath. If Dastan could finish this test, how hard would a test of Death be? How difficult could this test of Requiem prove?

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Ogres with Sticks up their butts

Lets just say today has not gone according to plan. It started out well enough. I did my morning ritual while Pyry and Asura trained in their magics and then Pyry and I went off to do our normal things, she to explore and I to train in my weaponry. When we came back…. Well, I'm sure Pyry filled you in on that already. It was awful. Pure evil… so much death and so much against my very being. And I, I could do nothing to stop that man from killing Asura, Kai, and Pyry. Even when it came down to defending myself, I couldn't bring myself to harm another living thing. I guess that is the first lesson I learned from today. Sometimes harm of one creature is needed for life to continue.

Lesson two is that Kai still doesn't know social cues. I woke up surrounded by others while I was naked which wasn't really a big deal since everyone was naked. The problem was that as time passed our death scars healed and Kai went around ogling all the women. I guess there are still some things we need to focus on in his "cultural" education.

And the third thing I learned was all about how to kill an ogre. I hear near death experiences change people. Protris always said that when we trained and then he would follow it up with "Never Change" in his stoic voice. Believe me, actually dying was never on my list of "to do's" for the day. But with the realization that sometimes harm of one creature is needed for life to continue, killing the ogre wasn't a terribly hard choice to make. Basically after we got through those caves the last room had an ogre. Kai and others that I guess we are stuck with now since we're on the same quest started to flank and attack the creature but nothing was working. Even the spear we were given by the "guardians" of the caves was not piercing. It was taking entirely too long and they needed help… so I grabbed the spear, saw and opening and struck. Literally, I saw an opening… the ogres butt hole. Then I repeatedly pounded it in with my pillars. I cannot even imagine the internal damage that occurred. I should have looked for a different way to put the poor creature out of his pain, but we made it through. I really need to cleanse myself after that. There's a lot of chaotic energy around me right now.

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First Session Review
Summary

The group opens the door to find a hallway with spikes lining the ceiling.  Cautiously they test for tripwires or other sources of activation, but eventually have to proceed cautiously.  They send the goblin.

Snaf makes it all the way across without triggering the trap.  So they send the next lightest, and the next, until finally Ohm makes his way across, head bowed.  No traps are triggered.  

In the next room they find a puzzle with water levers, channels, and rotating images, knobs, and a lever.  The door was smashed open, and in little words "Danger arrows left" was scratched into the frame.  In avoiding the trap, Ohm found an opportunity to break one of the wall spikes and get a makeshift weapon, but in doing so he and Asche bent the trap, making it unusable and triggering a host of spider-demons called Skulltugs to squeeze their way through the hole.  Pyry, who was the only one to stay behind to finish the puzzle, reacted quickly with a water spray to force the Skulltugs back into their hole.  She then quickly finished the puzzle, forcing the trap sealed and the Skulltugs safely back on the other side.  Before anything else could trigger, the party threw themselves on the other side of the door.  

In the next room was a well-dressed Tiefling, who greeted them thusly in a thouroughly bored tone, "Hello adventurers my name is Failure and I am cursed to guide new trial participants.  I would like to kill you and cannot be trusted.  There, have to say that first."  He then eagerly awaited something from above and gave sarcastic remarks about the three levers on the wall.  One he said would open the floor below them, another would set them free, and the last would unleash a maddened fifteen-foot Ogre from its cage.  After some debating on which lever would open the door, the tiefling made them a bargain.  He wanted one of them, if successful in their trials, to "bring back the 'book'" and use ti to free him.  Uncooked chicken was dropped from above and he seemed frustrated.  The party then offered to cook the chicken for him, which they accomplished quite ingeniously.  The Tiefling, true to his word and quite grateful for a meal of his preference in his cursed state, told them the correct lever and they were on their way.  On their way out the group promised to help him anyway.  Confused he gave them the name Ix, later confessing his name to be Brian, and he gave them a few tips.  Only choose one, and left immediately to rescue 'him'.  AS they left, no one noticed the fifteen foot ogre being let out into the room beyond them to lay in wait.  

The room to the right was littered with sliced and scooped skulls, bodies, finally some weapons and clothes, and the body of a Raven Cabraithian.  They took all they could and checked the body for life.  Upon seeing that he was alive they decided to carry him to safety.  

The next hallway had a complex series of traps and poisoned needles that jutted out from the walls at regular intervals.  Ohm held Snaf over a wooden plank shield they had found and she pressed the button on the far side of the room, making the room crossable.  They timed the strikes, predicted the pattern, and then crossed.  Everyone made it soundly across.  

A room held three priceless weapons, a blessed spear, dagger, and longsword of Ravennica.  The party chose to heed Brian's warning to only choose one, picked the spear and ran through the door on the opposite side.

And into the room with the Ogre.  They braced for a fight.  Asura, Mythia, the Raven, and Pyry stayed in the back and helped with supporting magic or protected the others, while Ohm, Asche, Kane, and Kaicoran attacked the Ogre.  Snaf ran for the door on the far side to lockpick it with her surprisingly long nails.  

Asche created a rock pillar for Kane to plunge-attack from while Ohm held his attention.  Kai tried to strike at the weak points but couldn't find an opening.  During the fight Pyry channeled a rainstorm that created more slippery ground and irrigated the ogre's face.  Snaf broke a nail.  After several turns of just not finding their mark, the party stepped up their aggression.  Kane attempted to sever the Ogre's spine and nearly got crushed, but managed to make a miraculous save, swinging himself around and pinning the ogre's hand.  Snaf broke another nail.  Asche struck the blow that turned the tide, thrusting the spear a place spears should never go, critically wounding it.  The spear was pounded in like a stubborn nail, and a sharp blow from Ohm's fist took the last of the Ogre's vitality, striking it at its weakened neck and jaw, and it fell to the ground dead.  Just as Snaf lock-picked the door.  

Relieved, the party walked through to the other side of the mountain, and looked down on the magnificent city of Sanctuary.

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In Which Pyry Flushes Spiders and Asche Spears an Ogre (Unfinished)
Go Asche!! You stick it to 'em!
  • We open the door-holes in the far door like a metal grate lets firelight in. 20 ft hallway to the next room. Roof is lined with spikes shining polished steal spikes 8 feet high and 3 feet long.
  • We tie a rope to Snaf and give the other end to Ohm. We all decide to hold the rope to help pull her back if necessary. I prepare to catch her if necessary.
  • She scrambles across, pauses, nothing happens. She goes to the door, opens it and goes in. 
  • We decide to send Asura to the other side. She rand and nothing happened.
  • Kai went next. Nothing happens. 
  • Asche goes. Nothing happens.
  • Kane went. Nothing happened.
  • I went next. Nothing happened. Ohm gave me the rope so we could pull him if necessary. 
  • Ohm makes it too. Nothing happened.
  • This next room is super tiny. We need to close the first door before opening the next door. 
  • Stone door directly in front of us. It's smashed open. Above it is scratched "Careful Arrows Left". 
  • I figure out the puzzle on the wall. It was suppose to be the Mother of Jolen, Jolenar. The woman by the water should be Altarin. I move things around but the last piece won't move. It's attached to a chain that is attached to a bucket that needs water.
  • Kai, Asche play with the arrows on the left. Ohm obtains a spear.
  • I use a lever to turn on water that tricles in to the bucket. The bucket fills and allows the last piece to move. I move it and a metal sheet falls down as if meant to block the arrows. Since the spike/arrows have been bent and broken, it isn't effective. 
  • Flat, evil spiders (Skulltugs) have come out of the wall where Ohm had pulled the spear from.
  • More spkers come out and go after me and all of us. I am separated from the group.
  • I use the water lever to get a water flow and use my Water Current to sweep all the spiders up and push them all back into the wall. -1 MP
  • Asche and Ohm rebend the spears so that they go back into the wall. The metal sheet falls down, holding the spiders in the wall.
  • We meet a tiefling in the next room. There are 3 levers on the wall. There are spike traps from above, a trapdoor below and an ogre in a cage. 
  • The tiefling has been there 100 years as punishment. At first he says we can call him Ix but before we leave the room he tells us his name is Brian.
  • He gets raw chicken from a shoot above him. We offer to cook his meat and he will tell us which lever ro pull.
  • He was happy enough to accept. Kai and Snaf work together to start the fire.
  • He gives some advice-choose only one and there is a poor soul trapped in a fake door to the right in the hallway beyond.
  • If we could bring him books or food, he would be willing to pay with knowledge.
  • He says that the 2nd lever is the right one.
  • Before we pull the lever , he asks if we have more questions he can answer. He answers them.
  • He calls to me on the walk to the door. He says I'm nice and asks my name. I tell him. He kindly reminds me what he told me about not giving my name to demons or people like him. Then he tells me his name is Brian. 
  • I bow to him as Ohm pulls the lever. The door opens and Brian's pedestal sinks into the floor and he waves. I wave back.
  • He told us that we would probably be back around sometime.
  • Asche had tried to see if Brian really would have turned to dust by asking him for a lock of hair. As soon as it leaves the the circle of the pedestal, it turns to dust.
  • I had asked him what he would do if he were free. After a list of atrocities, he quietly says he would go home. 
  • In the next room, we find the fake door. Inside is a party of about 15 people, dead. One is still alive. The others were killed by the Skulltugs.
  • I look at the body of the Altarin in the room. The only thing of worth to me is a gold band. I take it and ask Ohm if it has magical properties. It does. Some sort of protective enchantment.
  • I put it on and go to the man in the middle. He is breathing and alive. 
  • The Alaryan cares for him.
  • Others get items off the bodies.
  • We leave the room with the man and go down the hall to the door to the next room. 
  • As soon as we enter the room, the 3 cases of weapon in the middle of the room go up, revealing a decorative spear, sword or dagger. This is the room where we only pick one.
  • We decide to go with the spear. We pick it up and the other cases close. The door on the other side opens.
  • We go to the door. The hall is dark. 10 ft wide 20 feet long.
  • Kai uses a light to illuminate it. There are needles covering the floor, ceiling and walls. 
  • Across the way Kai sees a small button.
  • Snaf and Ohm work to throw a rock to his the button.
  • The needles retract. Then the needles start ejecting themselves randomly, one a t a time, slowly.
  • Kane does some acrobatics and makes it across to the door. He opens the door and the needles stop their movement.
  • We run through the hall and through the door into darkness.
  • Kai's light ball follows. The door slams shut. A grunt comes from the middle of the room. An oversized ogre moves beside a pillar in the middle of the room.
  • There are a lot of bodies in various states of decay and being eaten. 
  • He begins to move at us. 
  • The others move to engage but I stay to guard Asura, Mythia and the unconscious man.
  • Kane gets grabbed so I make a light rain in order to have water to use as a weapon. -1 MP
  • I try to Water Whip the key chain off of him. It doesn't work. -1 MP. First I tell the Alaryan to take the man to the other side. 
  • Asche shoves the spear up his butt and it lights on fire. The ogre turns and attacks Asche.
  • I use a Water Current to shove water in to his face an down into his lungs. I'm trying to take his attention from Asche. -1 MP. He chokes for a minute, spits the water out and deflects the current. 
  • Asche uses a rock pillar to shove the spear farther up.
  • Ohm gets him on the ground.
  • Kane slide tackles the spear farther up. Kai and Asche try to spear him in the ear with other weapons.
  • He gets up and slashes at everyone near with his cleaving sword. No one gets hit. Ohm tries to snap his neck. No good.
  • Kane attacks. I take Asura to the other side of the pillar. Ogre swings again. Hits no one.
  • Ohm backhands him and snaps his neck. He dies.
  • I find a satchel. It has a small clay pot, sealed.
  • Snaf picks the lock on the door across the way. We walk through it. We come out on the other side of the mountain and see a city down in the valley.
  • The day is the 2d day of Juvius. (Esentially Feb 2nd)
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Into the Dark
Kaicoran Dawn, Asuratea Dawn

I awoke to darkness and was greeted by Death.  It was cold.

I saw that Sister stood next to me and I felt less sad.  I'm glad we were together. I must have died as well by the Evil that had slain her. I wish I had killed him. Sister doesn’t mind as much when I kill evil things.  Evil things kill freely.  They have to be stopped.  I don't like it, but it makes sense…

Death began to speak to us and I noticed there were more beings standing with us in the dark. I saw Asche and Pyry and felt sad again; they would be missed by their parents. There were also several others that I had never seen before. Was this what it meant to die?  It was weird and cold, and I felt like we were… interrupted.  Like we didn't die the way we were supposed to.

Death’s words were cold and hard as stone. We had been chosen to complete a task for him in exchange for life, otherwise we would be taken by Death never to return to the realm of the living again. We all agreed to complete this task, although we still knew not what, and in an instant the dark room had disappeared and in its place was the feeling of cold water and bright sunlight from above.  The water wasn't that cold.  It was actually kind of warm.

There was a white beach, a forest, and a mountain; all empty of life. This place could be called beautiful in the same way a polished gem is beautiful; pure… but sterile.  Ooh. what a pretty and accurate description. You're getting better at this brother.  Sister sensed the lack of life first.  It was the quiet.  I spied a cave some distance up and seeing that the others meant Sister no harm I went to explore for any other possible life.

At the mouth of the cave there was a small tent and the remnants of a camp for one. Whoever had stayed here had long since left much like the rest of the life here. Inside the cave was long and ended beyond my sight, but a breath of wind whispered to me that this was no cave; it was a tunnel.

I went back to tell the others. The large one had broken some tree branches and had upset Sister but he seemed to be of a gentle kind.  I don't think he meant harm.  I couldn't hear the trees whisper anyway, it was like they were already gone… A strange creature sat on his shoulder and whispered things into his ears. I also noticed for the first time a winged woman and strong looking man.  Such beautiful people!  The big one called me "quite pretty".  Made me smile. 

We all made our way to the entrance of the tunnel and delved into the darkness. When it became too dark for even myself to see I created light in my hand, as I would sometimes to dispel the dark that often would frighten Sister, and found a door. Pushing the door open we found a small room with a hole in the center. In one corner of the room there was a dead body of a Sylvan, Poor man! in the other a barrel. The strange creature on the large one’s shoulders hopped down and crossed on one side of the room only to be nearly missed by a spike shooting out of the wall. This room was a room of traps.

I tried to cross on the other side but slipped in a puddle of black slime gross and would have nearly fell into the pit were it not for the large one that grabbed me before I could fall. We all made it across the room where another door waited with no handle but four small holes that could be turned. Using some sticks found among the old campsite we turned the lock and entered the next room.  It tried to cut our fingers off!  We went through several sticks.

We progressed much the same way through the next several rooms, solving puzzles and avoiding traps. There were spiders that crawled out of the walls in one room that frightened sister Oh Light don't even talk about those things.  They were so crawly and flat and hairless and scary!  very much but Pyry prevented them from harming us with her water. YAY PYRY.  MY HERO SISTER! We then entered the largest room yet where a pale man with horns waited for us.

In the room also was an ogre in a cage and three levers. The horned man was a curious kind of creature and Pyry asked him many questions.  I don't like the way he looked at me. The price of his knowledge to safety was a fire to cook his meat… very curious…  Yeah, he had chicken he couldn't enjoy because it was raw.  Who feeds someone raw chicken?  There are so many delicious things that is just… a waste!

We picked up another creature in the next room who was only barely alive but was winged like the woman; except this was a man with black feathered wings like a raven. He had a sword which I decided would be less useful to him so I relieved him of it.  But you're going to give it back, right?

After passing through another room of puzzles we were faced with the choice of a sword, dagger, or spear before entering what seemed to be the final room. Choosing the spear for its versatility and because it was GORGEOUS we entered a room as large as the one with the pale man but this time the ogre inside was not in a cage. On the ogre’s belt was a key and it became obvious what our final task was to be.  I decided to stay in the back near Pyry.

It was not an easy creature to kill, and Sister seemed to be upset as we hurt it, but thanks to a rather particular placement of the spear Ewwww by Asche we were able to bring it down. Just in time to see the strange small creature from the large one’s shoulder unlock the door on the other side of the room.

The sunlight beyond the door was full of life. A city lay below in a valley.  It felt so good, like this sun was warmer and friendlier.  I felt more alive once we were able to get back out into the living air again!

Yet it seems as if our tasks have only just begun.

Forebode!!!  Haha, dramatic timing ruined.

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A Hero's Death
-Dastan Kiari

A soft rustling in his wings from the mountain winds, Dastan scoffed at the calm. They had been overrun. Brothers in arms, families… everyone… he is witnessing the destruction of his people. Giant ogres and trolls were now too numerable to count. Dastan saw a blur of friendly faces each being crushed. The solemn melancholy was only contrasted by his developing anger. He saw the last remaining member of the Royal Line, the line of Heron, a light hawk named Selenia running from the desolation. The wind was now behind Dastan, pushing him forward. No. Now, even the wind was against him. He dove down to save the heiress. Surely, such a prominent member of the society would have the resources to rebuild this great nation of Cabraithians. Our customs, our ways. 

It seemed just like the flick of the wrist that Dastan swooped down and enveloped the light hawk. Their escape was assured. Cowardly retreat. Necessary retreat. Screams rang from the city as more lives were claimed under the stomp and smash and pound of the giants. A familiar cry and battle  yell rang simultaneously from the battleground. Dastan could not bring himself to retreat longer and ignore the calls to action. Ushering his fledgling to the ground, he demanded that she run. Dastan boiled over with rage. He felt his face flush and his hands tense. His black hair matted against his face and head with sweat. His feathers were not nicely preened, they were jagged and angled with fury. He turned and face the onslaught behind him again.

The nearest yell was from his mentor, Temisra, locked in combat with a club-wielding troll. It was apparent she was on the defensive and not going to last long. Farther on, near an edifice at the edge of town, the cry of Dastan's kid sister, Mira, echoed in Dastan's ear. He felt the pull of family urge him to his sister, and the bond of friendship and a teacher pull him to his mentor. Instinctively, he soared to the closest target. He had been taught look for the weak points in the giants. Temisra was taken to the ground, a large foot heaved up above her. Dastan smirked as he triangulated to the most obvious weak point. All large things, fall hard. Right behind the knee, severing the important muscles holding the body up; he found his target. The bladed tip of his bow ready to swiftly slice.

Like a bullet, Dastan met his mark. He spun slightly around to land in front of the now falling troll. Without a moment's waiting, he gathered his mentor in his arm and fled. One down, one to go. There wasn't a considerable distance to cover to reach the cowering Mira, but enough that Dastan flinched in fear that he may not make it in time. Seeing an approving nod from his mentor, he rose high enough to  launch her down to her opponent. She tensed as her sword drove itself deep into the back of the neck of the troll. Dastan rushed down to protect them both, but couldn't help giving a whooping screech of victory. 

Temisra removed her sword from her conquered foe. She was favoring her arm and shoulder but she too had a glad look on her face. Mira hobbled over to Dastan as he landed and her welcoming face turned to a shocked grimace as a grumbling ogre came into view barreling towards them. Mira brushed against the building as they stared at the ogre sprinting. Dastan was waiting for the opportune moment to turn and get Mira out of the way, so that the ogre would run into the building instead of them. The grotesque horror which was this beast was apparent with its unhinged jaw, blood running over its shoulders, and other ogre-ish features. In a lapse of alertness, Dastan jumped to get Mira as Temisra followed suit with the same idea. Instead of narrowly escaping the ogre, they piled on the ground in a tangled mess. The ogre ran ever closer, when suddenly the building exploded and fire erupted from the rooftop as the building began to buckle. The ogre was caught off guard and slowed right before the structure as it began to fall to the ground, but not enough to strike it and fall flat. The ogre was recovering and Dastan, Mira, and Temisra were struggling to their feet. Dastan almost unnaturally reached up to catch the building; the weight was sustained, but was too much for the poor raven. It only took a look. One look and Temisra grabbed Mira and started to clear herself from harm's way. Dastan saw as they passed the ogre his hand raise to stop them. The weight was too much. Fire bellowed forth from the stone, slivers of wood spliced the cabraithian, and his body could no longer support it. In one fluid motion, he tried to dive out of the way, but fell underneath the ogre as the building crushed them both. The last thing Dastan saw, was the silent visage of Mira as they removed themselves unscathed from the collapse. The weight was too much. Dastan was crushed.

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A Fish Out of Water (Finished)

My earliest memories are hazy. There was water and wetness but it wasn't until I met Asche that my things become clearer for me. She found me, on a beach, near death. Like a little pet, she took me home and kept me. Like sisters, we grew up together. 

It took years for me to finally learn that I was not Sivryan like Asche and our parents. She is part cat and I thought I was just part fish but that innocent thought was changed by careful instruction and tutelage. I am Altarin. Not just part fish but an entirely different species from Sivryan. It made sense. Sivryans have only one or two traits of the animals that are part of them. I had no such limitations. I essentially am a fish in human form. Fins, scales when wet…everything.

I wasn't sad when I learned I was Altarin. I was actually proud of my uniqueness, but I still didn't know who my parents were and to what sea I belonged. I figured that I would be able to find that knowledge out in time. Now, I would need to complete Death's request in order to find out.

My death was not anything spectacular. It was a failure, actually. In our youth, Asche and I had befriended Asura and Kai. Like me, Asche took them home with us and we became a family. A family that I would protect with my life. 

The Day started like any other, bright and cheerful. Asche, Coran and I left the house on an errand or two. Asura stayed home with one of her many little projects. We weren't gone very long and when we returned, something wasn't right. Asura was missing. Kai took off immediately, tracking a strange trail. Asche and I followed, flanking him to better search the area. Through the forest and over hills we searched. Topping a second rise, we looked into the valley below. What we saw made my blood run cold. Asura, bound by chains to a black obelisk, struggled to get free. A man in black robes postured before her, speaking in a tainted language. We reacted with all our speed but it wasn't fast enough. We had barely begun to move when a knife-blade flashed in the waning light, slicing through Asura's throat. Kai lost all control. He attacked the man who only smiled as he repelled it. I tried to run around him to make it to Asura. Surely there was something I could do for her. She couldn't die. Not here. It wouldn't be fair.

Kai engaged the man again but it was in vain. The fiend blasted a hole right through Kai's chest with magic and casually reached out to me as I came abreast of him. I don't know what he did but I did make it one more step. I was sucked into darkness.

…Darkness…swirling…lost…alone…

Where am I? I can't see anything. I can't feel anything. I can't speak. What?

Panic pulses through my heart, making it race. It creeps its way through my mind but I squelch it. I focus on calming the irrational fear like I had been taught. It would dull my senses if left unchecked.

Breath in. Breath out. Breath in. Breath out. Now, open my eyes.

The darkness around me began to fade. I found myself standing, a stone hall coming into focus around me. Before me, a man. Eyes of piercing blue gazed down at me and then moved left as as if he scanned something. I looked where he did.

I gasped in surprise. I was not alone. Asche stood beside me with Asura and Kai. Others stood behind them. We were not a large group but it was a relief not to be alone.

"I am Death."

My gaze shifted back to the man. He was intimidating and I could easily believe he was who he said he was.

He continued to speak, something about all being equal and naked, which I realized I now was. The nakedness didn't bother me much. I had fins to cover those parts that most races' senses of modesty dictated should be covered in public. All I needed now was some water and I would be quite at home.

Death's sudden question demanded my attention. He wanted to know if we would agree to his offer, retrieve an item for him in exchange for a second chance at life. Of course! Who wouldn't want that chance? A little adventure wouldn't hurt either. Besides, if Asche was going to go, so would I. Who knows what sort of trouble she'd get herself into if I wasn't there to help get her out?

Agreement was apparently unanimous as we were all suddenly whisked away into the darkness. My sense of feeling returned first followed closely by sight and sound. We had been dropped into the shallows by a beach. Water! Warm and refreshing, I dropped to my knees and let a wave crash over my head. Asche! I jumped up and searched for her. There, not far from me. She stood taut and practically hissing as the water swirled around her hips. She was drenched. I took pity on her and waded over. Before she even knew what was happening, I grabbed her and tossed her onto the dry sand of the beach and went back to swimming. I assumed she landed on her feet. She usually does.

The others trickled out of the water one by one, intent on exploring where we were. I decided to stick to the water to see what I could find around the shore. My carefree mood soon fizzled into a sober alertness. There were no fish. No other signs of life in the water which is impossible. It's the source of ALL life. How could there be NO life? I swam a little farther but slowed to almost a stop. There was something, a subtle sense that was warning me. Danger. But from where? I couldn't see anything in any direction around me. I shook my head and back paddled. Not worth finding out. I flipped around and sped back to shore. These waters were unfriendly. I'd feel better taking my chances on shore with the rest.

Stepping out of the water, Asche accosted me. She was distraught. The giant in our group was tearing off tree branches to try to make himself some clothes. I comforted her Sivryan sense of life preservation as best I could as I highly doubted I could stop him from continuing if he wanted. He'd most likely swat me out of the way like a fly. Luckily Kai came back just then with a distraction, news that there was a ladder and a cave. We all followed him and climbed up. There were very few items in the cave entrance. I didn't have any particular use for an old tent but the big guy suggested we could make clothes out of it. I shrugged off the suggestion, leaving it and my portion of the material for someone else who would feel more comfortable covered. I was fine. Kai was anxious to explore farther so I trailed after him. The others did too.

A brief, dark hallway lead to a closed door. Curiously, we opened it and peered in. Nothing. Pitch black. Even my natural low-light vision couldn't see anything. Thank Jolene Kai could and did produce a ball of light. We would have walked right off a ledge without it. Literally. There was a gaping hole in the middle of the room. The only way around were small ledges to the right and left of the door. Kai chose to go left first. I'm glad it wasn't me because he found a decomposing body. Poor guy. Kai, not the body. I don't know if he'd ever seen a dead body before he and Asura came to live with us but I had learned over the last five years that he was a very sheltered young man and a part of me wanted to protect that cute little innocence of his. He may have seen more bodies then I had thought because this one didn't faze him. Not one bit. He probably didn't even bat an eye. He just came back to us and then headed right. The kid baffles me at times.

The goblin girl dashed into the room next, probably in a hurry to find loot. I hear goblins like that sort of thing. I guess I'd find out first hand if it was true. She apparently decided that Kai was in her way because she went left. I could barely see her since Kai's light was to the right but it looked like she triggered something in the floor that sent spikes shooting out of the wall. The spikes retracted after a moment. Must have been how our friend on the floor had died. I didn't see what the goblin did next to make it to the other side because I was up next. Being spiked didn't appeal to me so I followed Kai to the right.

There was a barrel in the corner of the ledge before the ledge turned left, leading us to the door on the other side. I wanted to open it but when I reached for it, there was a hiss and a shudder above me. I hesitated. I hesitated a long time. Asche came up behind me and wanted to help me move the barrel out from under whatever the darkness above concealed. I hesitated long enough that the human man came upon us. He didn't wait for us as he opened the barrel and removed it's items. I was a little miffed but I couldn't fault him. I was the one who…hesitated. I shrugged and moved down the ledge to the left and onto the other side. I didn't get the chance to look at the intricate door puzzle because Kai and a few of the others were already trying to figure it out. I ended up dozing a little as I sat off to the side, out of the way. I hoped things would get a little more interesting on the other side of that door.

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Prologue Session Review
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After 5 years together in a Sivryan Cat community in Sivrya, Asche the Sivryan Cat, Pyry the adopted Altarin, and Kaicoran and Asuratea the fey-children, stumbled across a dark magician building an obelisk in the feywood.  The magician captured and killed Asura, and the others were killed in the attempted rescue.

Mithia the Alaryan Priestess and Kane the Arcadian Monk met amidst the news of tragic murders in the Temple of Light in Illidia.  A man in dark robes unleashed demons on the city that were quickly dispatched by the army, but not before twelve others had died, including Mithia, Kane, and their friends.

Ohmer the half-giant, and Cretincreight Sniffersnaff von Winkle the goblin, were studying together in the great stone library of Sanctuary, the same where Ohmer first caught her trying to light fire to the library, when tremors from a nearby mountain fissure caused a collapse of the building. Despite Ohmer's best efforts, they were crushed under the weight of the second floor.

 

 

Death met them all in the dark stone of Nighthall.  He said, "In death all are equal. No money, standing, or property. No title, dignity, skill.  Empty, naked, and penniless you go to the void.  But in deprived absence purpose is complete, life is meaningful, and rest obtained.  And sometimes, new life grows where once was barren."

Death then offered them a choice.  Accept their fate and move on to the unknown beyond, or take the test of the Requiem, retrieve what was his, do good on the way, and if they were successful, then they would have a second chance to right the wrongs they left behind.  A second chance at life.  

Each of them took the contract.  Still devoid of possessions of any kind, they are now faced with a beach, a cave,

and their first trial.

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