Open Chronicles The War of the Kinniger Dutchy: Outriders

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Crows Call

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The Warrior-Poet's specter kept hacking and slashing at the hands until they grappled his sword arm and began to pull him in quicker. The spirits midsection was now beneath the black pool, Aegnor had charged in with his dog to cut down the hands but it was in vain. For every hand they cut down another appeared, now he was up to his shoulders.

Kiros attempted to help, channeling his faith and rage, trying to banish the hands but every bolt and miracle was caught and dispelled by the hands, now the specter was up to his neck. The hands pulled his head back forcing him to look up at the dark overcast sky, he only had time to spit out a few last words before he was pulled under and the dark portal closed. "Never forgive, nor forget. For the light brothers, AVENGE Mfff-!", his war cry became muffled as he was completely pulled into the inky blackness and the portal began to close.

***************************​

On the other side of the portal he would land on his "feet" in a primal spectral from. A ball of golden light that ebbed, flowed, and licked at the air like flame. In the center of the form a skull can vaguely be made out. He was now in a the corner of a dark room, inside said room he could see the faded lights in the darkness. The weak life forces of the undead.

Kiros Rahnel

Aegnor Ransiren

 
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Kiros Rahnel

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He turned quickly back towards the task at hand; it was all he could do to cast his magic as fast as he could in a bid to end whatever dark magic was taking Crows Call, his ally and brother in divine quest. Nothing had done any good. In the last moment he invoked his spell of insight out of pure desperation, receiving but one cryptic response.

He is ours now.

Kneeling before the events he just saw with the sword on the snow before him, Kiros watched on with unbelieving eyes as the spectre spoke his last words, before both he and the portal vanished into nothing. A chilling quiet filled the cold air as he remained still, before looking to Aegnor.

For the moment he could only exchange an expression of shock and bewilderment at the fate of Crows Call.

Aegnor Ransiren Crows Call
 

Crows Call

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The warrior poet's spirit instinctively attempted to charge the undead in this primal form, only to slam against a barrier and be forced back. He slammed against it again and again, letting out a bloodcurdling disembodied scream with every clash. Then, one of the dim lights of the undead approached the barrier.

"You are the warrior-poet are you not?", The undead asked the spirit in a deep, unbroken, feminine voice.

The spirit responded in a unhinged scream, still slamming against the barrier, "MORIEMINI! MORIEMINI! MORIEMINI! DE MORTOUIS NEQUE AMBULARE! ET SUCCENDAM VOS OMNES UETUS! ET RESTITUET TE IN LUMEN AD OPACA! ET ELIGAM DE VOBIS IN NOMINE!"

The undead continued, "Your purpose in life, spirit, was to safeguard the souls of the living and bring death to the undead... I'm giving you the chance to fulfill that purpose in death."

The spirit continued to slam against the barrier, "Tu scis me putem mea, ut non nasci!? TU NIHILI SCIS! Iustus es, neque erunt in perpetuum. QUOD NON AUFERES!"

The undead continued now much more annoyed, "These are good people who are on the cusp of having their souls enslaved, will you help us, spirit?"

At this the spirit began to relent, slowing the speed of it's pounding against the beerier, "Et victimas vosmet dici? Bene non ait mea in auxilium vocatus avertere. Ut libera a malo!"

*******************************************
In the near dark of the barricaded and well warded room, the undead, dark robed, priestess and her congregation of damned souls held out for hope, the mages and priests of the group using every ounce of power they have on the wards against the others outside that stand ever ready to force them into their dark pacts. The warrior poet convinced to be their aid, she wandered to the stone table that lay on top of it a giant of a man in rusted armor, and crossed her arms in frustration. This newly undead, limb missing, lake of pooling blackened tar from rusted plates was supposed to help them.

She wondered if these two would be enough to save her flock's souls, but the War-Father had spoken to her and made his will clear. The damaged monster of a man in front of her was his champion, named Lögfræðingur or Lawbringer, and the other a champion of his from ancient times... the warrior-poet. She and her flock were surrounded on all sides by spirits of rage and loss, and now two were inside the parameter. She wanted to release them on those who barred their path now, but was told to wait for the time of battle and until then, she would wait, for whatever kicked off this battle...


Kiros Rahnel

Aegnor Ransiren

 
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Itra

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It had been utterly boring, looking after them from Her vantage point up high. Mortals! Everywhere they go, they do so at such sluggishly slow pace; crawling along the land with the grace of insects. Her punishment had already incurred delay, and the travel that followed seemed to be as lengthy as the wait. She had no time for such a waste of a divine’s attention. She knew Her priest had faltered during a battle, one in which he repeatedly called upon divine power until his error nearly cost Her his life and service. She was aware when Her magic was being used; She simply didn’t usually care under most circumstances. But clearly, nothing of interest would happen until he called upon Her power again – perhaps then She might be able to catch him making mistakes firsthand.

It wouldn’t be long. The constant use of Her magic at such desperate pace made it clear that something of note was happening; and it was dire. Rushing back to watch, the goddess would catch sight of Crows Call in his very last moments as Her priest failed to save him.

“I knew of it” She mused to Herself in bitter anger, having witnessed firsthand another of Her priest’s failures...

As he shook his head and tried vainly to gain hint of Crows Call with Her granted spell of insight, She fumed. This anger only grew as he stood up and continued down the path in defeat with his companion. He had not only failed to save Crows Call, he opted to continue in quest rather than search for him!

“I tasked you not with saving souls!

I do not care!

I gave you task to serve the sword!

Go seek the sword!”


But all She could do is watch in anger. They had just spoke, and unless he’d establish contact early again She would need to wait nearly a fortnight to lecture and smite him again. And so She watched, Her attention divided between the outcome of the sword’s spectre and planned punishment for Her failure of a high priest...

Aegnor Ransiren Crows Call
 
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Crows Call

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The sudden surge of energies in the area did not go unnoticed by the thralls and undead patrolling the swamps around the area, as soon as Crows Call was abducted the sheer number of the skirmishers began to embark on Kiros's position from the trees of the swamp. There feted stench and pained howls hung in the air, as the vampiric warriors circled the group in the shade, amassing like wolves trying to surround and overwhelm large prey, there true number hidden my the fog, foliage, and dark of night. How many were there. Hundreds? Thousands? Who could say. None-the-less, they were coming for Kiros and Aegnor!

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Kiros Rahnel

Aegnor Ransiren

 
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Kiros Rahnel

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Kiros eyed the sword, but an ordinary blade now lacking the spectre that it formerly held within to supply it with power. No doubt of fine craftsmanship, and no doubt swift and dangerous in the hands of an experienced swordsman. That was not a skill Kiros held however, and his former strategem of swinging the sword around and allowing it to take care of the rest was clearly no longer viable. Perhaps he'd carry it in a sheath, or perhaps Aegnor would wield it.

If his weapon was going to be unenchanted, it was going to be one he knew well. He already had hierahit out in his hands, now a 6 foot staff instead of it's former form as sceptre. Without the power of the sword to slay his foes, the power She imbued him would have to do.

He had barely managed to step off however, when the stench of undeath assailed his nostrils. He had failed to reach his destination in time, and now the legions of the undead would have a second chance to end his life. Soon after he could smell them, he could hear them. Unlike the last batch, this ambush took no effort to hide their presence. That they felt so sure of their odds was not a good omen...

Kiros looked around to gain knowledge his surroundings and plan what they might do. Remaining in place was by far the worst option available - this is where they wanted to fight. Kiros himself saw it fit to take the battle elsewhere.

"We ought reach higher ground - if we are going to make a push we must do so now. The crest of that hill! That is ground we can hold!" He urgently cried out to Aegnor as he held his staff at the ready, making his way out only to be caught by a thrall laying silently in wait. A deft boot to it's midsection put it back at ideal range, and a forceful swing of his staff brought the end to the monster's skull in a lethal blow from the holy weapon.

Yet Kiros was beset by more and more of them, greeting each with one vicious staff strike after another. The bodies of the dead fell and began to accumulate while their progress through the thickening horde grew slower and slower as he found himself forced to deal with his foes in ever increasing numbers...

Aegnor Ransiren Crows Call
 
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Farzad Oldsummer

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The campaign that had waged both death and undeath.
The campaign where lives lost were lives served.

The campaign Farzad had stumbled upon.
The stank darkness of the night was ominous and foreboded great evil on the wind. The limelight of campsites muddied by the stench of unending death and waves of unwavering foot soldiers slogged by only their own decayed flesh. Farzad was as he decried himself, a man with a Traveller's Mark. Not ever quite sure how he got from point A to point B, but always arriving at point C whether he liked it or not. But no matter where it lead, that mark was sketched in the rot of danger. To Farzad, this was just another road travelled. At least, if he was alone.

Namidre could not come along.

He had made damn well sure to leave them back at camp as he scouted a pathway through the marsh and ripped asunder landscape. If he was by himself he was certain he could've made it through with only a few major incidents. But with a companion not yet use to the gruel of day less travel without feed nor sleep not to mention being inundated with unwavering necrotic energy he had no choice. He had to scout the safe way through the path.

It was of course, ill-advised. The Dutchy kings had never heard of King Applewine and spoke of great dangers. Vampires and their ill staking the pathways unseen, ghouls on the ones seen just marked a little more by gore and blood with the tasteful addition of simplistic zombies driven mad by endless hunger and a thirst of blood.

And they were the first scrambling's he heard, the mire of zombies so easily distinguished. Un-ended and gathering as he felt the licks and flicks of magic dance in the air. Or at least try to. Divine magic was often so fickle as to never swing in the same way the arcane did. It was... Orderly? Or Chaotic? It was one of the two. Depending on how the God felt. Arcane was different. Arcane was emotional and he felt no emotions on those swings of magic. Just the desperations of Order or Chaos to impart their will into a reality without patience or interest in such cut and dry modus operandi.

Farzad had taken a few moments to walk over, a saunter as the stench of death grew thicker, the hill most assuredly what he had avoided. Too much effort to wander up it. The ranks of the dead were piling up around them. Farzad was off in the distance before pulling out a scope.
"Surely. Suuuurely. They are fine." He pulled out the scope, the muttering call of death making it hard even to think yet to articulate those words. The long graceful scope made of mirrors and steel stretched out to the length of his arm as he drew it through the crowd like a man aiming for a fish in the barrel. First he saw the site of an elf, their ancient lifespans made ever longer by the curse of undeath. "Nope." He slid it along. A stunts dwarf stuck with a sword hanging loosely from an eye socket. "Surely not." Before he laid claim to Kiros. A familiar face. A familiar face not yet caught by the rot of death. That was nice. But he could see it.

There was sweat on the brow.

There was that heave of exhaustion.

There was that lacklustre swing from tired arms.

There was death.


You have to save hi-
Shut it I'm getting there.

Oh.
But that horde. That encroaching mass of writhing worms filling in the spots of muscle sinew. Farzad had little in his arsenal to clear out that. Vampire's or Ghoul's sure. They cower to sunlight. But zombies have no prerogative to survive. Only to consume. Lucky for Farzad. He didn't need to kill them. He drew a hand along his left thigh, unending a long scroll. A great scroll, one made of thick inks and hefty scrawling's of arcane scribbles.

Bel

Delidore

Kalusan
His words flickered with arcane might, his eyes twisted and turned with colour as his hair flickered just above his many scarves that coated his face, each strand a different coat of a rainbow as he planted the butt of his staff into the ground and upturned a great and wide path with violent explosive power. Rocks upturned and twisted creating a great jagged path of stone and granite twisting and curving towards Kiros as Farzad let loose arcane restraint to try and pull it back from crashing into Kiros but still providing him an ample path of escape as corpses were upturned and busted apart, loose bones and gore filling the air and path alike.
 
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Kiros Rahnel

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He was many things; divine mage, outlaw heretic. Competent with, yet not master of the staff. Perhaps a priest by technicality; though to call himself such without flock to tend to felt akin calling himself blacksmith by aimless swing of a smithing hammer, upon an anvil bare. To directly serve the divine seemed requirement enough for Crows Call; a view he could hold, knowing Her not. Kiros definitely had little inclination to correct him.

Yet there was much more that he certainly wasn’t; ‘warrior’ or ‘battlemage’ among such. He only held what magic She would allow, and only through what limited versatility that She’d permit. Were there an upside, it was that such uncaring and rigid definition meant that regardless of the situation, his spells could always be counted on to impart the same degree of helpfulness (Usually; those accursed nose goblins be damned). Which is to say ‘nothing’ in certain circumstances; of which this was one. He had but five other incantations to remember, and fifteen years to learn well enough to know that none could aid him here. Only his blessings could do them harm, but he was in the midst of an uncountable many foes. Unless the monsters that besieged him would be so nice as to patiently organize themselves to be smote one-by-one, such a spell carried no use.

There was a sixth spell he held, but Kiros held as much faith in it as he did his blessings. It was a rare gift; She hadn’t bothered give him anything new in nearly a decade. And as low as his expectations were and as remiss as he knew Her magic to be by now, She had hit a new low.

Well-known spells were like well-used tools. Extremely shoddy tools for all the quests and tasks She set him upon, granted – but ones he knew well. If Itra’s anointment defined his arcane power, his own ability to wield poorly written magic defined his arcane skill. And new magics held all the same qualities as the old; paired with the added risk of unknowable unpredictability.

The assailing horde on the other hand would be perfectly predictable. They would kill him horribly. Of definite demise and untrusted magic, the latter was the clear action to take.

He’d have to make his own opportunity; a gap in the horde occupied by one lone thrall. Making aggressive motion towards it, Kiros gave a feint of his staff before setting it upright on the snowy ground. A front kick followed that slammed the heel of his foot into his undead foe– a hardly lethal attack, but enough to clear the needed space. He still remembered his near-demise the last time he relied upon the spell.

There was no time to hesitate. Kiros closed his eyes as tight as he could and tilted his head downward and away, before he invoked the spell with a quick, subtle gesture.

“Please let there be no more surprises.”

A blinding, luminous burst
No verbal component - Effect centred on magical focus used
Generally causes temporary blindness within 2m(7ft), effects dependant on range
Range and effect amplified at night and/or against those with darkvision
Will inflict radiant damage against undead and those with vulnerability
No effect on those not looking upon it. Closed eyes may be insufficient at close range
Carries whatever additional unknowable qualities She neglected to mention this time
Such as a concussive blast
And other potential surprises

The effects were twofold; the first was a blinding white burst of light erupting from the brass staff head. True to Her word it did burn the undead, and all within twenty feet were lit aflame and incinerated by pure white, radiant fire. From Farzad’s vantage point the flash was a frozen moment in time, a still-shot scene of smote foe and pained priest. Too far away to impart any negative effect, it may serve useful for guidance and illumination as he wove his own magic; with Kiros yet to be aware.

Second was an effect She never made known to him – a noiseless concussive blast. Later, he would learn that the radius was two feet. Immediately, he would learn that his head was well within that radius.

The blunt force caught Kiros entirely by surprise, re-kindling his morning’s migraine and sending him tumbling sideways. The staff in began to fling itself away from him from the force in outstretched arm, before he regained control of the recoiling focus with white-knuckled grasp. Stumbling strides took him further as he struggled to regain his balance with eyes involuntarily closed from the pain, unable to see the lifeline that was twisting path of stone careening towards him.

He had cleared enough room that no thralls or undead remained to threaten him, ironic that the very effect that would preserve his life would strike surprised fear in him that they could not. It was an antipode of emotion that he felt at the sight. Hopefulness at the torn bodies of his foes, accompanied by fear that his might join them.

Sudden awareness of the situation overcame any desire to maintain his balance, and Kiros flung himself forward, landing prone where the spell had already taken effect in carving a path. He wasted no time in scrambling back to his feet, bracing himself on his staff to help himself stand anew when he’d finally see the source that turned his sour fate.

It was that quirky wizard again. Whether the array of colours were the same or different, there absolutely was no mistaking him. Was there? That was an awfully sharp blow to the head he took. Was he but a figure of hopeful hallucination? He couldn’t be sure. It might neither surprise him if he was or wasn't. Of few things he was sure regarding Farzad, that he gravitated towards adventure and not away was one. Right?

Presently, he held another two highly desirable qualities:

He didn’t seem to perish in deadly situations.

He was currently keeping Kiros from perishing in exactly such a deadly situation.

After all, if he had been able to keep that naive guardswoman alive; Kiros’ outlook was now justifiably optimistic.

Crows Call
 
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Farzad Oldsummer

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There was a serious downside to Farzad's spell. One that most people forget especially when in the thick of combat. And that was the smell. The outside of a corpse was ghastly. The inside was the sort of things that made ones on insides come out for a visit. And even as far as Farzad was away from it all that embellished scent wafted over him.

But at least he wasn't stuck running through the thick of it.

No that was the mistake of Kiros. Weird that he choose to solo a horde of the damned. Farzad thought to himself as he slumped along through a literal cobble path, Farzad standing as a beacon at the end of a grey tunnel. He could hear the rummaging though. The dead weren't far off the two of them. And it looked like a few of the corpses were starting to... Well somewhere between getting back up and staying dead. Half cut up corpses always did seem to have trouble getting back up. Arms and limbs flinging and tossing through the bramble of upturned stone with the more sturdier or just plain lucky corpses starting to force and pilfer their way into the path.

As always though. Farzad was nonchalant.
Instead of panicking, Farzad tossed his backpack to the ground, balancing his quarterstaff over his shoulder blades as he pulled out object after object of slowly diminishing miscellaneous value. A pot, a rubric cube and a book missing all it's pages just to name a few before he finally pulled out a medical kit to start patching Kiros up. For whenever the man managed to arrive.
 
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Kiros Rahnel

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Not even a gag or a retch; in fact, Kiros seemed to be completely oblivious to whatever foul odours permeated the air in his movements towards Farzad. Hardly a run; even 'stumbling' would be too nimble a description for Kiros' motion over the path, moving as if he were falling sidways with his staff held out in feeble effort to steady himself. Be it by miracle or sheer coincidence, he managed to traverse the entire winding path before his battle with balance ended with a loss, sending the tall priest tumbling down just as he managed to reach Farzad.

That he didn't quite seem himself seemed glaringly obvious. Rather than his usual articulate manner of communication... Well, there was no real communication; only unintelligible monosyllabic utterings. Even whether they were Kaliti or Common was completely indiscernible due to the slurred tone in which he delivered them. Automatic reflex would likely convey what his words were temporarily unable to however, and a hand on the back of his head hinted at the growing lump beneath it.

While not quite all there, he had been at least sitting still on the ground as Farzad did his best to tend to the priest's injury. Confusion waned after the passage of a couple of minutes but hardly vanished - as if it merely transformed from all-obstructing fog to ebbing mist. His movements became at least deliberate, if not purposeful, and coherent words would finally leave his mouth.

"Oh, my head is pained..." He finally spoke before turning his head to gaze at his new surroundings. He could readily tell that he was in a distant frigid land, but why he was evaded his mind's grasp. Farzad was busy tending to something that Kiros couldn't understand, not without recent memory of the event. But the priest could understand the painful ache biting his head.

"She must have been angry again." Kiros believed, unaware of his concussion and concluding in error that his headache had been the result of divine punishment. If that was the case he'd need to pack up the altar; it made as much sense as anything in this state of mind. Stumbling back onto his feet he promptly began his search for it despite any effort from Farzad; having not really bothered to consider whether it was important to do so immediately.

"Where is my altar? I need to pack it." Kiros took stumbling steps and looked about as he asked the nonsensical question. Whatever form his altar took, it was readily apparent that it was nowhere around. Fumbling hands patted down the pockets of his robes until he paused in surprise, pulling out the very altar-cloth he had spent the moment in search of, temporarily realizing that it had already been packed.

"Oh."

Standing in a daze, his balance quickly deteriorated until he fell down on his rear and sat still on the ground again. After a few seconds, he'd turn to his companion with a quizzical look.

"Farzad...Where's my altar?"
 

Crows Call

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***************************
In the secluded corner of the dark room the warrior-poets spherical specter lazily smacked against the wards keeping him locked in the building and away from the undead just yonder. He had agreed to help these souls but his instincts in this primal form still rushed against the walls of his new found cell, again, and again.

The undead just outside his barriered cell, all jumped and jolted with fear every time he charged against the wards, something that even in this state he found very amusing. Some of his captors/new-found-allies he could make out wore robes, robes of blue? Green? The color gradient of a spirits sight was lacking any vibrancy which made it quite hard to tell. The undead who had likely orchestrated his capture and (at least temporarily) his begrudging compliance, was knealt before a makeshift alter of sorts, no doubt praying to her heathen god.

Though despite this he could vaguely see a brighter light splayed upon a table, too dim to be alive but no doubt a dark vigor resonated within whatever abomination lies dormant within this room. Indeed, it seems he was dealing with heretics of the highest count, that thing was an unholy copy of life. This spurred the spirit back into a fury, crashing against the wards, which now began to crack with every fifth charge.

Kiros Rahnel

Aegnor Ransiren

 
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Farzad Oldsummer

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It started with a wrap. A long stretch of clean fabric coiled around Kiros' arm and a stick to keep it in place. Specifically his staff, after all Farzad was sure he wouldn't want the thing left behind, it was his stick and a stick no matter the sort whether staff or wand, toy or sword was always worth keeping. Especially when the rattle and caw of dead and damned marched along to their own tune. They were after all, closing in. So long as by closing in one meant it in the loosest of terms.

"You know Kiros."

Farzad stated through a haze of words crammed together like a necromancer sewing odds and end pieces to make a dog. It was coincidental because Farzad could almost see those same Frankenstein creations hobbling through the path. "I was hoping for a nice relaxing jaunt." Kiros continued to feign words as far as he was concerned. "And here I am tending to the injured and wounded. Why is this?" Farzad was rhetorical as one of the more nimble undead poked and prodded with ill-fitting arrows and a blade cracked and severed down to an inch above the haft came strolling up, jaw hanged loose and to the mercy of winds as Farzad snapped a finger, a tiny thimble of magic cracked out form one of his scrolls and left a tiny pox ridden mark on it's forehead. And than through an arm. Than a leg. The mark seemed to weave and roll through the air, consuming it from flesh to muscle to bone to leaving air in it's wake.

I also thought you Clerics were meant to be undead specialists. Farzad continued, in fairness Kiros had by and large dealt with hordes and waves if his antics consisted of soloing hordes and was rightfully tired. Farzad however, was simply tired of having companionship in the harshness and realized very quickly that he couldn't hold his ground here for very long. At least not with Kiros in his way. Farzad instead trusted him as he walked to the cobbled path of stone and sharp edges, the dead body he had shot at was long dead, little remained as Farzad whistled.


"La Felza Fore."
And with that whisper, five more of the creatures he previously summoned came fourth, becoming ethereal poxes in the world, nothing more than magical anomalies with gaping mouths. He pointed forward and the five creatures flew forward into the tunnel to at least slow things down as he himself started preparing spells until Kiros awoke from his slumberous nap.

Which luckily, wasn't very long.
"Oh good Kiros you've waken up. You've been out for five days." Farzad lied deliberately before turning around to a stumbling shape. "Or... Not? Are you still asleep? There is no Altar. Plenty of the damned though. Like. At least a mountain if you were to pile the corpses." Farzad than turned back around as a bumbling form took the corner it's eye gouged out by magical wisps as it made it's mistaking approach before a bone gave out and made it slouch to the ground with desperation pulling it's body forward desperation and glutton fuelling it's movement.

"Ahhhhhhh. That's not a good sign."
 
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Kiros Rahnel

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Whatever words Farzad spoke still made little sense; and his reaction unintelligible. He simply sat still and confused as he was bandaged up, wobbling about in his seated position while the world continued to swim around him.

And then, over one grateful moment, it stopped.

While his senses returned, his memory did not; he couldn’t figure out exactly where he was or why he was here. What was going on, however, was apparent; with Farzad’s arcane minions holding the front line against the mounting thralls and zombies. Evidently, over the past five days. Despite the continued maladies of his injury, the situation and solution were clear to the battle hardened priest, and his mind was now sound enough to instinctively think of the one he held for just this sort of situation.

“Clear out- get the flanks.” While spoken with much more clarity; there was nothing coming from the flanks. He still hadn’t seemed to gather this however, and promptly set about his task. First was his standard means of keeping anything at bay; much like Farzad, he’d reach to magic. Unlike Farzad, his staff was bound to his arm; and Kiros wouldd have to shimmy the stick upward to pull the thing free; while his motions were clumsy, they were far more deliberate than those he had made in his concussion-induced haze. Finaly dislodging it from the bandage, he slammed his staff on the ground and spoke out the incantation:

“Oyoen d’zo”

It sounded like ancient Kaliti for ‘light wall’, matching the effect that followed. A ray of light descended upon the pathway from above, meeting the ground before extending in opposite directions to form a luminant curtain that blocked the advances of most foes opposite it. He then stumbled towards the temporary safety this curtain provided, coming to a stop a distance away. A hand reached into his robes to withdraw a glass vial filled with salt and sand, before he opened and tilted the vessel over to pour the contents width-wise along the path. The result was a single unbroken line while the curtain flickered ahead of him; a lone thrall slowly struggling to break through.

Kiros quickly pressed the holy symbol of his staff against the line of salt and sand, stumbling back just as the thrall managed to finally cross over – only to be stopped by the line of powder before him. The thrall stood stunned as Kiros raised his staff like a cudgel, before swinging it at full strength towards its skull. The staff slammed into the thrall's head with a brilliant flash that illuminated the bone-crushing injury, sending the thrall’s lifeless body plummeting off path and to snow-covered earth below. Another one was clawing its way through, and on passing the curtain it too met the same fate as the one before it.

The luminant wall of protection expired shortly after, fading in an instant to allow the remaining horde to advance in a burst of chaotic motion before being halted again by the powdered barrier. More thralls were sent falling off the path, shoved by their brethren as all attempted to push through. None seemed able to cross however, and with their route of advance sealed off, Kiros gave a look behind his shoulder with his staff held at the ready in front of him.

Now it would be clear to Kiros that there was nothing coming from the flanks. The situation was seemingly under control for the moment. Was that it then? His urgent demeanour became suddenly calm, executing the thralls and zombies one after the other with unhurried yet vicious swings. Each strike of his staff upon their heads burst with light on impact.

“That....that is all of them? Where are we going then? Have we breached that city, Old Yarnous yet?” He asked, still disoriented from the recent events. Still, he continued to bring blessed death upon each remaining foe with nonchalance.

Crows Call
 
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Crows Call

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CRACK! CRACK! CRACK!
Crows-Call hit the ward separating his primal form from the panicking undead on the other side. Every charge cause the creatures to cower and some occasionally to shriek, and they buried their heads together as if not seeing the righteous spirit would cause him to dissipate, how pathetic. The undead mages or perhaps priests were the only thing stopping him from incinerating his quarry, they desperately channeled their powers to keep him locked inside the his new-found magical cage.

CRACK! CRACK!
Even in this weakened form, the spirit possesses the innate understanding of fear, he could "feel" (if that be the right word) the other entities despair. Emboldening him, giving way to a sadistic zealous taunt in his ancient tongue,

"O! Quam nos charrish muros, USQUE SUNT DESTRUCTA OPPRIMENDI SUPER VOS!"
(Oh! How we
cherish walls, UNTIL THEY ARE TORN DOWN CRUSHING UPON YOU!)

Like an arrogant bull, the spirit charged against the wall again, savoring the momentum and the terror of those in his path, only this time when he crashed against the wall he was not greeted by the desperate sunken eyes of damned spell binders, nor the terrified hollowed sockets of the corrupted but the cold vissageless gaze of the helm from the one who had spoken on behalf of these abominations.

1609817473141.png

It wore a worn ornate garb of plate and cloth, not unlike the garb of a war cleric, and on her him a matching rapier that he could sense within it a certain magical power. Doubtless of dark design, the regal undead stood on the other side of the emerald-grey haze wall with and odd mix of regality and cocky aggression. In Sunaris's eyes this was little more then some void tainted witch, yet... she dared stand directly in front of him. Admirable, but when this ward broke he would see if her blade would match her bravado.

It was then the spirit realized that within her presence the ward began to repair itself an accelerating rate. This whirled Crows Call into a fury, the spirit rammed against the ward with increasing ferocity in order to match the the reformative power his cage now possessed.

CRACK! CRACK! CRK! CRK! CRK! CRK! CRK! CRACK!
Crows Call's rage boiled over, but soon gave way to a bit of amusement. Despite the witches tricks, he was breaking down the ward, albeit slowly.


Kiros Rahnel

Aegnor Ransiren

 

Farzad Oldsummer

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It was like a beacon of righteous fury that seemed to bind itself to reality. The sight of the gods unwilling to glare upon such putrid abominations that with ramshackle movements insulted their gaze only to be halted behind the curtain fall to allow reprieve from such maladaptive foes. It was godawful and blinding as Farzad had to shield his eyes, the luminescent glow like a teardrop of sunlight falling directly into his unshielded eyes. He was lucky that he stumbled into the circle of salt and sat down near Kiros, rubbing his eyes with wincing gasps.

Flanks? What Flanks? Farzad mused internally as he rubbed his eyes trying to peer through the hazy visage. After an imaginary five days of fighting this was the last thing he needed. There hasn't been anything to my flank in the past six days... He mused alone as he heard the clunk of a staff bracing into the skullcap of one of the exanimated ranks as another radiance burst fourth like a star having a minor fit of rage.

It put Farzad back to square one of the wincing and the gasping clasping eyes.

"Kiros. Buddy. Friend. Comraide. Comrade. Compicio. Comprehenda. Compiseniora?" There was a point where he was simply more inclined to simply rhyming than making sense. Sorta like his eyes, more inclined to being blind than they were to making sense of the situation. "I have. Literally borderline no idea where I am right now. I'm in no short matter of fact just wandering around and you have made about as much sense as reading a book and skipping every second vowel letter." He replied, still wincing through the pain of flashing bulbs before pulling the bandanna to his now tearing eyes.

"Can you please. Catch me up to why you are out here?"
 

Kiros Rahnel

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“Yes?” He asked, his hand returning to his head in attempt to massage away the dull ached that continued. Despite the grimace, he looked to Farzad attentively – at least he did at first. As the wizard continued to speak a string of words that turned into an alliterative assault, abating Kiros’ attention into distracted restlessness. As the words continued he rummaged through his pockets, patting around until he procured the very smoking pipe he had been searching for. Another hand meant to search for his tobacco, but he absentmindedly rummaged around for his dose of shade instead, pulling out the substance.

Realizing his error once he had the substance out, he paused his actions with pipe in hand once the wizard spoke again – evidently knowing much less than Kiros in his state of limited amnesia. Given that it had lasted five days, or so he was told, he had expected Farzad to know more than he currently claimed to. Something didn’t add up. Even in his weary and addled state, he knew what didn’t as he looked upon Farzad and promptly discarded whatever knowledge he formerly believed he gleamed from the wizard.

“You mean to tell me your presence here in these infested lands is the result of aimless wandering?” He asked with brief expression of incredulity that waned nearly as soon as he wore it.

“You know, never mind...” He added, cutting off his question entirely.

“My recollection is foggy, my last awareness is from this...from the morning when I made departure towards the town of Old Yarnous with the sword. Because...” he paused in strenuous attempt to reach his memories, but ultimately failed. There was something important to be done there, but he could not remember what. But Crows Call could, and upon realization he immediately reached for the sword’s hilt.

“Crows Call! Brother please humour me and regale us with the tale of our journey thus far!” He implored of the sword as he pulled it from its sheath to hold the inanimate weapon in front of him. No answer came, no magical aura could be felt – it was but an inanimate sword. Ancient however, it did look like a valuable relic worth a fair bit of coin, an impressive treasure. It looked Kaliti in design, yet ancient- centuries old and in pristine condition. An odd and priceless relic it was – but it certainly didn’t speak. On realization Kiros’ face showed a look of defeat.

“What happened to the – hm.” He began before interrupting his question again, resigning himself to preemptive defeat on remembering Farzad’s candid declaration that he lacked and further awareness. Or maybe the wizard was testing him – even so, better to play along. Given his unawareness of where he was, any help in remembering was a boon indeed, whether or not Farzad meant to.

“It held a spirit within it. It was arcane artifact when I held it last! I must restore it.” He spoke in a worried tone. He couldn’t recall the event that had stolen the spectre away – only that its absence was a very dire situation. But Farzad was here, for reasons yet unknown. And seemingly not his companion but a chance encounter much the same as that haunted house.

Fortunate to Kiros’ that he ran across him when he needed him most. But he was alone, he had no chance at restoring the sword himself. He could really use the help right now, if he could persuade him to do so. One last look at the sword gave Kiros an idea however, and he soon set it down on the snow between them both.

“I found this weapon here, of all locations. Are you aware of any historic Kaliti excursions into the spine? For I am not...and I know much of Kaliti history.” He spoke earnestly.

“I suspect further undiscovered artifacts and history await. Further, I must find a means of restoring this sword, and I believe the answer lies there...But Farzad I require assistance, of which I bear no shame in admitting. Would you help me reach this town? I can offer little in exchange but whatever treasure we might recover.”

Crows Call Farzad Oldsummer
 
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Crows Call

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CRASH! CRASH!
"GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!" ,the spirit roared out in rage and frustration as it crashed against the barrier. A truly pitiful sight in the Malgre's eyes. What did the War-father see in this witless, fading spirit? Surely at his age of supremacy, such a mighty god would employ more tactful warriors as his highest agents, and what of the ruined monster behind her? A rusted, twisted, broken thing that lay spewing acidic tar onto the floor, slowly eating away at the notched ropes keeping it bound in place on the table. Indeed she pitied the woman who birthed that thing. Even if she could 'awaken' it, even if it could still fight with the severe, deep lacerations, and missing arm... there was no guarantee it would be mentally sound even given time to adjust to shock of being 'awakened'.

She steeled herself, and remained resolute in the plans of the war-farther: 'in his fall he was awakened not humbled, for his eye: wisdom, for his might stirred, for his plans capricious, for those who follow in his shadow or his light: salvation in the blood.' these tenets had guided her thus-far, and had not led her incorrectly yet. With the War-father's guidance, his flock in this dark ash pit that was once a city, may yet have their souls freed from this torment.

CRASH! CRASH! CRASH!
She inhaled deeply, annoyed at this half-mad soul only barley contained by the arcane echoes of the dead and the small boon of faith granted to her by her god. She relented, still examining the sphere of golden light in front of her: t'was like moth to flame, or mosquito to blood.

Kiros Rahnel

Farzad Oldsummer (Fixed it!)​

 

Farzad Oldsummer

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"You didn't depart anywhere this mo-"

"Oh right. You mean from six days ago."
He exaggerated, digging his heels into his lie and spinning the web with just a little more silk than he needed. He'd make a bed out of this yet. Paying more attention to trying to extend the lie than he was listening to his words in full. "Ya know. Kiros. A sword is not what I'd expect you to haul around here. Don't you find it just a little heavy on your side?" Farzad inquired jumping off his metaphorical bed and into this new line of questioning.

...

...

...

It also weighed on his mind.

To the point it was addling it.

Farzad simply... took a step back. "Crows call... Cool uh... cool name for the uh..." He had taken another one. Talking swords were not common. In fact they were rare and Farzad had a good summary of why. He imagined, they would bitch. It is the same reason tools were never animated with sentience. They would bitch. And why even a door wouldn't. They. Would. Bitch. And so to see Kiros chatting up the sword was a good as indicator as any that he had just spent the past six days guarding a bygone man. "Oh cool. A uh... A spirit huh? In a blasted wasteland with a Necromancer no doubt bending the will of the undead to it's own doings." Farzad's insinuation was clear. Both seemed like a bad matchup.

Setting it down. Either because of what Farzad said or apart of Kiros almost pre-set routine of innate rambling and insane random actions Farzad wasn't sure. But it at least put him at ease that he couldn't go wildly flailing it around. And than came a question. Finally some insight. The Kaliti had potentially come through here. At some point. In history. Possibly. It was only a few seconds in before he realized this was at most trivia and at it's worst still also trivia, but that sort of trivia that wouldn't win you any board games.
"Nooo. I couldn't tell you of anything official." Farzad responded. He might be clueless as to where he is, but that didn't mean his wide birth of knowledge both ancient and otherwise couldn't be of use.

"But that isn't to say that a Kaliti had never walked this path before. Nor is it to say a person had once traded with a Kaliti and died or dropped it here. Really an expedition is but one of many possibilities." Farzad clarified, his words spoken with some edification on the matter a far cry from his mundane and usual goings on that amounted to babble and bobble. "And yes someone has to look after you but I need to ask one important. Clarifying point." Farzad responded.

"What town?"
 

Kiros Rahnel

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The sword was heavy. Incredibly heavy, and while Kiros was certainly strong, it was certainly unwieldy in his hands as he held it; replying to Farzad’s question with response about the former spirit held within it. This prompted the wizard's musings about potential necromancy in response. Now, Kiros didn’t think it was necromancy, but in his current state of temporary amnesia he couldn’t quite recall how he knew the sword was holy. He had made inquiry to his deity who....ultimately ignored him. But then She made serving the sword his quest therefore the sword could not possibly be of dark magic; for in sending him in service to it, Itra had made the sword an ally. And no holy deity may knowingly make alliance with dark powers. The proof was theologically sound enough to the priest.

But there was another problem. How does one go about explaining that? He was growing increasingly aware of the nonsensicality of his own speech, further befuddled by the absence of his recent memories. Was he about to follow up by attempting to explain that he knew the sword was true because he literally had the firsthand word of a god?

...
Of course not.

“Well, I have ensured the weapon was void of dark magic. It held holy magic – and it cannot hold both. They are antipodal.” He explained; a necessary misdirection. It was close enough to truth; as true as the actual situation would allow. He never knew the sword held holy magic, but he felt sure enough it was never the vessel of necromancy. The statement arrived to the same conclusion, all while obscuring any reference to Itra. After all it couldn’t be of dark nature, She was indolent but She wasn’t stupid. Right?

Kiros nodded as Farzad gave his thoughts on the sword’s origin. The wizard was making complete sense. How hard did he hit his head? It was reasonable; trade was as likely an origin. Maybe an adventurer dropped it? After all, he was Kaliti and he made his way out here. Into the biting, freezing, abhorrent cold that he grew to hate the spine for. Frozen rain may not be unholy, but it should be.

“Yes, from six days ago?” To be honest, he still wasn’t really sure. Memories came to him in brief flashes, but given the sharp stabbing mental pains such attempts gave him Kiros was not about to give it serious attempt. He’d already gleamed the name of that town, ‘Old Yarnous’, and that he could remember it was nothing short of a miracle – literally, at that.

“Well, it should lie to the east of here. The path has been narrow and difficult to stray from.” He recalled in a flash of insight, before clenching his teeth in grimace the recollection had caused him. He instinctively reached for his belt again, but discovered his dose of ‘headache medicine’ was missing. His panicked search took only a moment before he located the bag he had dropped on the ground, taking into his hand and forgetting about it anew while his headache waned.

Should they look from their vantage point, the very town Kiros spoke of would be visible in the moonlit horizon.

Crows Call Farzad Oldsummer
 
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Farzad Oldsummer

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"I mean. That does sound like logic." Farzad replied in kind to Kiros' assessment of the sword. "Though your use of held as in past tense as opposed to holds is not comforting." It was rather nit-picky. But he was sure Kiros wasn't going to come too properly if he didn't start fixing his grammar. Though if he thought of it a little more, all he was doing was making sure he was accurate. The last thing he needed was for him to say there was an enemy nearby as opposed to is. "Almost as discomforting I'd say as you being able to sleep for six days and not come out hungry." Farzad part clarified and part asked as he looked to the west by mistake. He was starting to think he was on the wrong side of the planet.

"Wait it's called Old Yarnous?"

Farzad was a little taken back. "Damn. What a name. Imagine being the guy that gets to say, 'of Old Yarnous'." Farzad started whispering under his voice as he started to take a few steps to the west "Farzad of Old Yarnous... yea... yea..." He repeated under his breath before stopping and turning to Kiros. "Oh and next question. Why are we looking for Old Yarnous? Better why are you even out here?" He paused just long enough for Kiros to talk before he would interrupt to finish his own thought, "Before you ask. I'm just trying to navigate a way through here."
 
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Kiros Rahnel

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“Well no, it is not. And I am rather distraught about that.” he spoke the understatement in candid reply to the concerns Farzad voiced before eyeing the sword again. Strange that it no longer held the spirit or magic it once did; it was holy once. He had mentally proved that, although given which god deemed the thing holy, doubt proved fair. Maybe he should clarify that with Her...he hated the thought but as terrible as She was She couldn’t kill him, and tampering with unknown magic might.

The persistent headache gave him second thoughts. Maybe it would be better to ponder this another time; if he was to dare pose Her question, it would be so under circumstances more dire, or time more proper.

Farzad raised a point – he hadn’t eaten in six days. Or maybe the fact that he wasn’t as hungry as he should be was counter-evidence to the wizard’s claims. Kiros could ponder this, or he could eat; and with his head aching he elected for the activity that involved it not. He had food with him; smoke-dried meat and flatbread, well-preserved with a liberal amount of salt. Yech. Travelling rations weren’t the best. But no one with a overly picky palate should choose the life of an adventurer. Nor should they pray to strange women in hidden temples, as he learned.

Farzad continued on about the town as Kiros took a bite of the snack. Followed by another as his thoughts audibly meandered through his whispering. The question however would give him pause, and he prepared himself to reply before realizing he held none.

They had to go there because it’s what the sword said they should do. Which he had to do because She said that’s what he should do.

“...It has been made my holy quest. Though the objective eludes me – this town is the only clue my memory still holds. And if I do not know, I must figure things out.” Familiar terms, he had heard the very words from Itra herself many a time. But his reply was cut off by Farzad’s continued speech, before Kiros looked up at the stars to gain his sense of direction. His gaze turned eastward with a squint of his eyes after.

“That there – it appears it might be the town?” He remarked, wondering if it was as he took another bite from his food.

Crows Call Farzad Oldsummer
 
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A gateway to the rusted realms...

Crows Call

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(OOC: First some setting music:

As you approach you can see the town in the distance, the sky begins to darken to black, revealing no stars or celestial constellations, the air itself is permeated with the scent of damp soot and any noise from wildlife or roaming undead have become utterly silent. The entirety of Old Yarnous is covered in dark purple like ash that against the complete blackness of the sky makes the town almost as black as the void, requiring some kind of light source to discern around or within. Every wooden structure is completely dilapidated, and anything made of stone clay or metal is badly corroded.

All across the streets are ashen statues of those who once lived in this place, their last moments of fear and desperation forever frozen in time: one may find guardsman try shield themselves or others from the sky, some sit on their knees praying to whatever god they had to collect their souls, and you can find some huddled together with their loved ones as the end came.

The only place in the whole town that seems to have any light it the Church of the Celestials bell steeple having a very dim red light at the base of the bell.

Kiros Rahnel

Farzad Oldsummer

 

Farzad Oldsummer

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He dug the back of his heel into the ground, turning and twisting in the fine and dirty muck beneath his footfall as he left behind a deep imprint into it and started to stride and glide with as much lustre as one could when they were surrounded by the grim and the gore. "Damn holy quests. Never as straightforward as ya hope huh." Farzad replied with a shake of his head, trying to pass up on the idea he wasn't yet familiar with his directions as he sauntered and strolled into the lead into the foreboding town of Old Yarnous.

Of course. He stopped.

"Kiros." Farzad simply pipped up. "Are you batshit goddamn insane?" Farzad continued with the absolute most simplicity as he pulled out a long wisp of paper. it was long, as long as a man was tall and coated in arcane runes and fluctuations of ink drawn and scurried with masterful care. It glowed against the darkness of this new macabre world with great light as it warped and twisted around Farzad something akin to a security blanket with it's powerful lightshow.

He kicked at the ash. It was wrong. In colour. It seemed in texture. And quite frankly it didn't seem like it should belong in this plane. With both arms he pointed to the sky, than trailed down to the ground, than spun all around.
"This isn't even haunted. This whole place is just plain incorrect." He looked up to the sky. "For instance. I have seen the bottom of pits that come close to the centre of the world with more light than that horrible sky." Was his first point, "The ash. Is purple. Purple. Ash. Why is there even Ash here? Nothing looks like it was set on fire so in what wopity world is this correct?" He than put a hand to his ear, "Oh. And what is that? The senseless mob of undead. Ya know. Notorious for their unending hunger and lack of any sense of goddamn fear? Oh where are they?" Farzad asked. Curious. Shaking his head with eyes bewildered by this task.

"Oh that's right not here because even they don't dare tread on a place that makes Pandemonium look inviting."
He moved over to one of the completely crumpled buildings about to rest his back on it before noticing the fact that even the stone has been warped and corroded by this new reality. "The. Stone. Is. Melting." He clapped between each world to emphasise each and every word before taking a step over to point to the ashen statues. "Look at them! Even in death they have fear in their face! And I can tell that through Ash! Through ash, Kiros!" He dragged his hands down his face it felt malleable as if the simple dread was making his face like putty. "Do you know how hard Ash is as a working medium for making anything? It's like trying eat a brick!" He had maybe taken ten steps into the town of Old Yarnous before running back to Kiros, putting an arm around his body and with he same hand pointing his gaze directly to the church.

"Kiros. Look at that. What in the heaven... The Church is glowing red. There are dragons that glow less hateful than that building."

He gently clasped Kiros with both hands, eyes screaming this is all wrong. "I don't swear lightly but your god. Is an asshole. In fact. Get me your god on the line I wanna have a word with them this is bullshit." He shook his head, his voice was tired from all the yelling and the sickly air didn't help. "Like there are suicide missions. But this place looks like even in death you won't get respite." He asserted rather forthright.
 

Kiros Rahnel

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"They have naught ever been." he agreed bitterly, with plenty of experiences to back up the notion. Itra's constant refusal to offer guidance or wisdom had led him to suspect She had nothing to offer. It was quite telling that even in his memory addled state he held no doubt that She had let him down, somehow.

"I am steadily getting there." He thought to himself in silent response to the question of hiw own sanity. A fair one, given the disturbing darkness they were venturing into. It became difficult to see; he held the ability of illumination, but the wizard seemed to have an aversion to moonlight. Better that Farzad had a spell ready to ward away the darkness.

The illuminated sight of the land of terror only further confirmed this notion. But not just what he saw; a blanket of unnatural ash coating the ruins of a town that appeared to be destroyed through sheer torment. Horrid expressions left him only guessing at the cause of their demise - but clearly whatever horror had done this was unfathomable. Yet it what he didn't see or hear was the most horrifying of all, no further foes came to assail them. As horrid as the thralls were not even they dared to step foot here, as Farzad aptly pointed out.

Kiros prodded the odd, purple ash with the bottom of his staff, testing the eerie and hitherto unseen substance that blanketed all. He had found something even worse than snow to deal with. As Farzad continued to describe their surroundings, Kiros could only agree with his words and tone. He had come expecting vampires and thralls, not the surreal terrorscape before them.

That church. He had hardly seen anything so evil and foreboding before. He'd never seen pandaemonium, never cared too. And Farzad claims this is worse? Given the sight of the place, Kiros held no argument against that. He was too busy internally arguing against the posibility that the maleficintly glowing church was his quest's destination before regretfully concluding that it was likely so. There was nothing else in the town that prompted them. Castings of insight to determine the nature of this place only confirmed what Farzad spoke of. He was equippred to deal with curses; but this was no curse.

The wizard spoke of his god, and he paused at the statement with a turn to look at him. The priest wore the angry expression one would expect such a statement to invoke; yet he held his tongue rather than retort with offended protest. Much as he had to agree with the wizard, he couldn't vocalize such opinion. Farzad might get away with sacrilege, but Kiros wouldn't. But he could bitterly move his head up and down, which he did for a very brief moment until his better senses caught up with him.

Farzad said god, as in singular entity. Granted, as a man of divine magic Kiros pledged faith primarily in one lone deity; a fact Farzad seemed aware of. Something that could have been prior knowledge, or something that Kiros fretted he had blurted out in his perceived state of extended amnesia. Further, he just gave an apt description of Her, which Kiros had just affirmed. The anxious thought that he had been loose lipped about theological secrets was gravely concerning.

"I'd not reccomend it. Farzad, have I spoken of Her..." he spoke, and then paused. That was an unclear means of phrasing things. It also unwittingly offered another bit of information that the wizard may or may not have held already. Kiros composed himself briefly before continuing his sentence anew.

"...Have I spoken of my god at all in these past six days?" he inquired with worry.

Crows Call Farzad Oldsummer
 
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