Open Chronicles The War of the Kinniger Dutchy: Outriders

  • Distant lands call to you, Guest. The next world event coming soon.

    A land once ruled by Dragons and Gods opens, but not every secret of Arethil's past is safe to uncover.

    Titanfall

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Crows Call

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The longer you remain here the more you can sense you are being watched, the ashen figures that come into contact with the seeping cast light seem to all be facing your direction, and in the distance one can occasionally hear a faint whisper or a light shuffle as if someone was whispering in a conspiratorial tone to a confidant or had started to move but never placed a second step.

The darkness of this place seems to become stronger, evidenced by the reaching effects of any light sources growing dimmer and shorter. As well as the church of the Celestials becoming less and less as bright. If you were to study the expressions of the ashen statues they seem to be twisting from a look of fear and anguish to that of rage and their features becoming distorted: somewhat broken, decayed...

If one has a god, now would be a good time to call upon them for aid or guidance.

Kiros Rahnel

Farzad Oldsummer

 

Farzad Oldsummer

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Farzad was not thrilled.
Hey remember that part where you said, 'duhhhh we gotta go help Kiros'

... I do.
Your an ass.

You said you were already doing it!

Screw. You.

"No you haven't talked about them in the past six days! I've been a little preoccupied." He snapped back, he was already preparing spells in droves. This place made curses look friendly and he wasn't a fan of that being the case. Almost as much of a fan of that darkening sky that seemed to try sapping away light and magic. He didn't trust it. The Guard's didn't have their shields braced to the sky for nothing.

"But I don't quite frankly care about that." He retorted, he looked at one of the Ashen statues. "Because these assholes are partially animate." Farzad death glared them. He got down close to one of the corpses, staff braced as the soft illumination of his scroll made every detail of them flare into focus. Rage, hatred, a mire of misery and negativity. If he was an Empath mage this might've been paradise. "I will cut you if you try anything." Farzad expressed to the frozen golem contempt in his eyes to mask the abject fear that was coursing through his vein. "Now can we leave this place and go report our findings to whoever was in charge of this campaign into futility?" He was very expressive on that. In fact, one might call him desperate to leave.
 
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Kiros Rahnel

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The relief he felt from Farzad’s assurance that he hadn’t blabbed about divine secrets was muted in comparison to the despair the very sight of this place invoked within him. Motion out of the corner of his eye caught his attention, and he saw the moving statures contort with fitting faces of horrified dread.

There was never a good time to call upon Her. Only scheduled or suitable times at best; and even then best not done in the hopes that She might provide actual, useful assistance. Her presence had never inspired any hope in Kiros, and the foreboding scene rift with unfathomable evil energy drained any he ever had. To be lead to death was one thing, but the ominous and anguished expression on the animated statues warned of a fate far worse that lied ahead. The very reason he followed a deity he despised so had been the promise of deliverance from damnation; being lead into such a fate was certainly not part of the deal.

Itra had provided him with a spiritual safety net; an alternative to the tortures of the pit. That She had promised to prevent his damnation was the entire reason he remained her follower long after learning of her intolerable nature. Only too late did he learn that he would not see the astral valley; She had been quite clear that his soul had no place in Her tract of it. Rather to prevent damnation by the Three his soul, and all parts thereof would simply be annihilated. No kha, no bah, no ren. Kiros would simply become nothing upon death.

And Itra had bid him to a place that promised a fate as bad as the pit.

Bullshit.

For fifteen years he had been following her in search of some means to undo his own damnation, only for Her to deliver him to it’s doorstep by quest.

Fucking bullshit.

Kiros was done. Death would be a preferable alternative to whatever would await him here.

“This task is one for fucking fools. I concur.” he agreed, turning back away from the statue’s leering eyes. This was well beyond what he was prepared to do to achieve his own salvation. Turning to depart, he’d mutter something unintelligible yet clearly profane beneath his breath.

Of course, the thralls would await them if they ventured too far. He well remembered the deadly threat that they had posed; it paled to the greater threat he left behind him. A brief travel took him over ash covered ground that transitioned back into snow, felled stonework poking through both substances at increasing frequency until his brief stride took him seemingly safer ground near the city’s former exterior wall.

He took a pause, eyeing on one such block of stone. It looked to be the proper dimensions for an altar, but did he really want to pray here? To be candid, he didn’t want to do anything here, but he was between a rock and a hard place. Given the massive horde that awaited them beyond, it could be days until he reached a situation where he could feasibly gather materials for an altar’s construction. Given that he believed he had already been here for six days longer than he planned, it could not wait. Missing a scheduled communication would risk forfeiture of his magic – almost certainly so if he was also travelling away from duty. Besides, he had further been bid to report on his quest’s completion; which was now, as said quest was over.

“It has been long enough, and I cannot know when I might be next granted opportunity to make report.” Kiros turned to Farzad to speak the statement, while reaching into his belt to procure his altar cloth in preparation.

“And doing so is requisite for divine magic. I shall be brief.” he added curtly, tossing the white cloth atop the square stone and adjusting it as if he were casually setting a tablecloth rather than anything ceremonial or holy. He then began to kneel before the cloth-draped stone and meditate in communicative prayer; preparing to the telepathic link that served as divine communion without a spoken word.

* * *​

Again. Here Her priest was again, for the third day in a row; as if Itra had not given him sufficient warning last time. Not only that, but his string of mistakes only further fouled her mood; of all the times to call upon her, this was not one. She would not give him chance to open with inquiry.

“You were given warning one day prior!

Yet you disturb Me in midst of error?

Why?”


“These lands hold nothing but the very damnation You swore deliverance from!”

“Then what brings your presence to such fool’s land?”

“In fulfillment of the sword’s quest, as you commanded of me!

“I bid you not to arrive here at all!

You were tasked with the sword’s holy service”


“The sword has abandoned me! There is no further quest!”

“Speak no lies to Me, whom can see you clear!

You lost the sword! Deny not your failure!

I am divine witness to your mistake!

Explain why you dare speak falsehood to Me!”


That scene was entirely missing from his mind, erased by the amnesia of his concussion. Itra did not care for the silence; allowing not even a second of it.

“Speak!”

With his memories lost, Her priest held no such answer to give.

Crows Call Farzad Oldsummer
 
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Crows Call

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A third voice found itself within Kiro's prayer, a darker, sterner, beastial voice that interjected in a mocking grandiose tone,

"Lunis... hvað er orðið af þér elskan...

have you forgotten to act towards your chosen with a bit of grace..?"

The voice then paused, as if to wait for some reaction, a question, or perhaps fear.


Kiros Rahnel

Farzad Oldsummer

 

Farzad Oldsummer

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Farzad wasn't sure what really to do. Kiros was off praying to some dick of a god and here he was surrounded by animate corpses that just sat on the precipice of attacking. He started swirling his quarterstaff about, poling the corpses and their lifeless glare of melancholy hate. "Yea keep looking asshat." Farzad said. He remained within a few feet of Kiros. Unaware of his prayer to the divine. Here he thought his scroll work was a nightmare always taking a few hours a day to maintain or create or even replace.

And poor Kiros had to play bargaining.
It was making sense why so many clergymen were so blessed with gab. Even the gittiest of them still had the wiles and charms of some prostitute. One sold a good few moments, one sold a good afterlife. "Is it Sacrilegious of me to compare holy men to hookers?" Farzad spoke aloud within earshot of Kiros.

"Probably Farzad."


Farzad turned to the left. There was no one there clearly. Whether his madness had seeped into reality or not wasn't made clear. But what was, was that no one was there.
He turned to the right.

"Should I stop?"

He turned to the left.

"I mean. Are you?"

He turned.

"If you make a good point?"
"I thought that was your job?"
"Wait which one am I?"
"I thought you were you and I was I."
"Ah yes that sounds about right."
Each interjection bringing a turn of the head and a new queried face. All though he had come out of a lot to talk about. He kept... Drawing his face upwards. Poking a glance at that abhorrent sky. The cackling emptiness. The utter madness of the void. "I hope Namidre is okay... We can't die here. Still gotta show them that cool rock I once saw." He was a little somber at that, if a little mopey.
 
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Itra

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‘Lunis’ – that was the name that had started this whole quest. She thought She heard it days ago, and believed the opportunity to hear it anew to be gone once Her priest lost the sword’s spirit. The name invoked the same disturbance in Her as was sensed upon initially setting him on his quest. She could tell now that it was a byname of Hers, of this She had no doubt. Finally, Her priest had emerged successful, quite unexpectedly completing his objective despite the sword’s absence. So why is he acting so stupid about... everything?

But the voice continued, beckoning Her to consider a greater issue; who said that? Despite all Her efforts towards seclusion, that someone had found Her was highly troubling to the reclusive deity. That the words were of divine tone made the situation ever more grim: She had encountered another god!

The revelation was much to Her horror, recognizing immediately the jeopardy this posed. While She was woven from the fabric of creation as an unfathomable infinite, and of such scale that no mortal could comprehend; much the same could be said about any other god. And without followers or worshippers of any sort of Her own, this other deity would dwarf Her in power without question. Any battle of the divines was destined to end in defeat for Her, of that She felt certain. Not even Her own steadfast prophet could do anything against divine threat.

In moment of stress She had to wonder; who had brought this god to Her? Her priest was alone, save for one lone companion dressed in ornate robes, bearing vivid designs fitting of possibly anothers high priest. A style She utterly abhorred, feeling that such unreserved attire had no place among Her humble vestments. But perhaps the wizard just normally dressed that fancy. The situation was too fragile for assumptions, and the possibility was one She would not discount given the confusing nature of the mortals. Their ways had never truly made sense to Her.

Determination would require inquiry. In the skies, darkness was pierced by a dim orange speck of Pnerian moonlight passing through a pinhole in the black sky. Unable to make inquiry to Her priest without breaking silence and sharing word with the eavesdropper, She opted to focus on the wizard in attempt to determine the answer She sought.

And heard him speak.

Holy men.

Her priest.

Compare holy men to what?


Prostitutes?!

A threat to Her was one matter. She was divine; and reasonably ought have answer to such. The result of Her strategic decision to protect Herself through obscurity rather than by the power attained from the worship of mortals. Regardless of the genuine fright the goddess felt, the matter was Hers to be dealt with.

But perceived direct insult to Her prophet stirred unbridled rage, an attack on Her pride. The one She hand-picked, whom toiled without hesitation when Her word was given. Who seldom, if ever, bothered to ask Her for anything. Why, he had stepped forth towards hellishly blighted lands purely out of foolish belief that She bid him there. She had minted a fine priest, it was Her greatest work! And to witness his insult during divine ceremony, where beholden to prayer he could give no response....

This wizard dared to compare the holiest one She had anointed...to a prostitute?

At times most sacred...

And conditions most cowardly!

So twisted by anger and fear She already was Farzad had unwittingly laid upon Her temper the final straw it could bear. With only room for fear or anger; anger won out.

Itra was livid.

She could not rely on Her priest to answer for this; he was preoccupied. Yet, that would not cease Her reprisal. In state so consumed with wrath, She would resort to miracle to see Herself heard. The darkness obscuring the skies opened further, the pinhole of light scattering to unveil Pneria’s orange glow. To those present, the moon was in slow transition to menacing blood red, as if Pneria itself was somehow enraged. If the purple spots of ash and darkened skies caused a foreboding appearance, the presence of the lone blood-red moon in the lightless sky only added to the terror of the place.

Any opportunities to gaze or wonder upon this occurrence would last a second, interrupted by a violent burst of blinding lightning erupting from ground mere metres away. Snow burst into steam in an instant, with ground twisted into glass and the roar of thunder rumbling for hanging seconds. Her priest, until now so focused in prayer that he could not notice these events, jumped away from the altar in startled fright. He took steps back with eyes wide at the deafening fulmination. In shock and confusion, he knew not what to do; Farzad would receive a confused glare from him at the most.

But then, She spoke.

The voice that followed was one of harmony, not heard with ears but through one’s entire essence. The words were seemingly poured directly to the soul, rattled by the intense anger the divine proclamation carried. From no direction and yet all at once no description could be apt for the transcendent surreal nature the sound carried. The tone of wrath was unmistakable; as if the most powerful, baleful symphony could be reduced to two words. Unclear to whom they were intended, they were spoke aloud for all to hear:

“WHO DARES!?”

Crows Call Farzad Oldsummer
 
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Crows Call

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In response the voice answered with a roar one would describe as demonic,
"STRÍÐ ÞORIR! (WAR DARES!),
Don't mistake your position to be on beyond reprisal, beloved..."

The entirety gave pause in to let whatever tyrranid from Itra would come before continuing,
"Ah... so this is your chosen? Kiros! FATASÍMTÖL!"

Kiros Rahnel

Farzad Oldsummer

 
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Farzad Oldsummer

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Before his very eyes was radiance, blinding in it's unrivalled divinity that flashed his eyes and marred them with speckles of light that he simply couldn't shake. "Ahhh... By Eleth what was that?" He spurted out in confusion, head bent into the ground at an awkward angle as he tried to blind his eyes from the ironically also blinding radiance.

The spark light didn't recede, but his ability to peer through the veil of freckled dots did. Before him stood a god. A goddess even? But he couldn't quite make the details out. The voice rang through his body and shuddered his core like he had only felt one time before. This was power. Power unrivalled transcended before him. But he knew this power was only trivial to others, he was in no position to match magic today.


Of course. This was not the end.

Power like he had only felt twice before. Once about the span of a brief moment ago, and one an age and time ago he couldn't quite dictate a time to. But this was dark. The power. The authority. That was there. And it was not enjoying being challenged it seemed. Farzad was blinded and kneeling in the dirt before everything kicked in. Reflexes. Instincts. A lust for survival. With a beam of a scroll and blinded eyes he cast fourth muttered words in the heat of the moment and bounded towards Kiros, leaving his own quarterstaff behind to try and grab Kiros and get the duo out of there. He wasn't sure if he could outrun divinity.

But he had outran death. How much harder could this be?
 

Itra

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Having sated Her own impulsive wrath, the continued words of the other deity served reminder of His presence. He spoke of His domain as name; that it was 'war' did not bode well for a lesser goddess of insight. His domain empowered Him to slaughter, while Hers did little for the situation She’d found Herself in. There was little else to be gleaned by insight. What the other deity wanted, or why He was here in the first place remained mystery.

Perceived answers would come soon, as He called Her beloved? So is that what this was then, He arrived as a suitor? It was irksome that She was seemingly unable to leave Her heavens for so much as fifteen years without attracting such unwelcome advances. That the other god did not appear immediately hostile was better than Her initial assumption of conflict, but barely. Itra did not relish the presence of this problem raised anew; the deity held little means of avoidance. It was further vexing that Her own prophet bore witness to the humiliating term of endearment.

Ever cautious in the presence of the greater divine, Itra silently stewed in frustration; She dared not speak, for She knew He would hear it. The irritation of it all! What had begun as routine altar prayer between Her and Her priest had resulted in the eavesdropping of another god, with an additional mortal as undesired participant.

All these people! The reclusive deity hated it.

Inability to give Her priest direction or remove Herself from the situation only furthered the frustration felt. The situation before Her was one seemingly beyond control.

But She was a goddess.

And this sort of thing simply ought not happen to a divine!

From blackened skies that bore nothing but a blood-red moon, She would vent Her anger with another furious bolt of blinding lightning; another violent electric arc tearing into the ground not far from the first. It was a futile attempt to convince Herself of continued control over Her own agency. Unimpressive to the other god, it had only managed to further frighten both Her priest and his companion; both of whom were already stunned in horror.

This other god continued on – He spoke of Her chosen and called him a ‘Kiros’; whatever that was. Perhaps some form of vulgar insult? Perhaps he had betrayed Her to this new deity and the word meant ‘traitor’, She fretted. The infuriating thought vanished from mind once She saw the wizard run to Her priest; before both raced away from the very conflict that vexed Her so.

Sure, he fled. At least he had not joined forces with this new deity; he appeared to fear Him much as She did. Yet it remained further embarrassment to have Her very own priest cower before not just the situation, but Her very presence – and in front of another divine no less! His very reaction caused Her to appear indolent in front of company She was now attempting to save face in front of. And as much as divine wrath had allowed Her to vent anger, it did nothing to solve the problems She still faced.

With no other immediate options available, Her response was yet another bolt of divine lightning; this one with more focus and purpose than the prior two. The ground before the two erupted in another bright fulguration that threw them from their feet, but it was insufficient to properly halt either. In little time, Her priest had already scrambled back upright, likely in tandem with the wizard, before sprinting off anew.

"Run!" he shouted in response to Her attempt to prevent departure towards the certain death of the thralls; a further embarrassment. As if She was so immature as to destroy Her own valued possession!

Despite Her efforts, the situation had gone from bad to worse. Itra clearly needed answers, and this other god was the only source thereof. Collecting Herself from foul mood enough for conversation, She finally spoke again as the two recovered from Her display of warning.

She even warned him against departure; he disobeyed.

“He is My chosen priest! Stay put!”

“Why do you bring Yourself to Me?”
 
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Crows Call

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(OOC: side note: Fatasimtol means something along the lines of "fate calls" or fate beckons" sort of forgot to leave a translation there...)


The warfather's visage's eyes stopped limiting their light, reviling ever so vaguely in the perceived darkness a giant, dark plated, horn helmed figure with dark green robes. The avatar just stood there with a rather befuddled posture. Did the mortal he was going to employ just run in terror from him? Well... that was not according to plan.

Not to get the Réttlæti wrong, when he approached mortals in this divine avatar he usually expected them to throw weapons and spells at him fruitlessly or grovel on their knees for his forgiveness and pledge eternal loyalty to him, but to run in fear of a shadowy giant warrior? He had never had that happen before... Had he overdone the whole "I'm and being of war" thing?

Himself damn it! He needed those two, the chosen had a connection with his ancient champion and a plus one is always helpful... most of the time... they are always helpful when he chooses them! Well now he had to do away with the kickass full on cleansing of this little tear in the fabric of existence and go with another plan. Perhaps he could call a Crusade down from his Nordwiir followers? No... that would take too much time, maybe he would personally smash this realm! No... that would risk splitting himself and diminishing his power further... perhaps...

His ordered musings were interrupted by that fragment of himself, the way she chose to ordain herself, himself... themselves! Was he/she/they always this annoying? Then again for a god of order he was rather... disordered, maybe this incredibly pushy fragment was his mastery of tasks? Maybe? No... Yes? YES! That is why he needs to reunite with this fragm- err, his beloved... beloved? Even for a being of divinity, is marriage to a piece of yourself redundant? Is it masturbation? A serious commitment..? He forced himself to focus and answer the fragment that now called herself Itra,

"YOU DARE ORDER ME! ALSO! Did your chosen just ignore a direct order from you? Don't bother answering it dosen't matter... those two are stuck in this place less it's dispelled...

AS FOR YOUR SECOND QUANDRY! ERRrr... Well, that's rather complicated... llllllet's just say I either need to consume you or re-wed you in order to regain a bit of myself, aaaaaand I need your chosen's help, and he's going to need mine if he want's to escape this place.

SO IT HAS BEEN SAID SO IT SHALL BE!!!"


Kiros Rahnel

Farzad Oldsummer

 

Farzad Oldsummer

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He wrapped his arms around Kiros, a hand agasint his quarterstaff in an embrace that was equal parts panic and worry. "With pleasure." Farzad responded, two short scrolls flaring to life around Farzad and Kiros, one attaching like a parasite to the priests Quarterstaff.

Bel Bicote Xar
And like that Kiros quarterstaff grew longer and more rigid, the butt end of it digging into the dirt below as it's metal shaft elongating the tighter they held onto it. The spell flung them high wards and upwards before Farzad released his second spell, the cowl like strip aghast in bright white colouration in the murky darkness of their reality as they blew up in motion and speed, followed by only a violent pop.

La Delidore Siriane
Sky high and careening with speed. Farzad was okay with leaving a god behind. Kiros may have been a little differential on the matter what with it being his own personal deity. But that was issues to be dealt with in survivors guilt. Farzad, could leave with a little bit more.

Now, fate was a tricky thing. Fickle yet certain in it's course. Farzad tried not to let it bother him, or even let it control his steps. But when Fate decided on a path, he was rarely in the position to say no. Such as in this matter. They were flung in the wrong direction. Instead of outside o that demi plane of dread, he had flung them into it's epicentre.


The bathing light.

That horrendous glow.

The haunting red light pilfered and haunted all around, the ominous black sky hanging above no different than a maw waiting to descend and consume it's prey. And that bell tower was a tongue. Farzad twisted in his uncontrolled flying motion to protect Kiros, his own back smashing against the still bell and turning it into a lapping tongue, tasted with fresh blood as Farzad's cranium was slightly made ajar like a door off a hinge to let loose a trickle of light.
 
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Kiros Rahnel

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He’d never seen such a virulent display of fury before. Not even his most egregious error had evoked such violent response. Infuriated as She was with Farzad, Kiros hoped that his close proximity would spare Her wrath for fear of killing both. Yet the third bolt shed this very hope from his mind; in that instant, he well and truly believed that She gave no care if his life was lost as collateral.

Had he finally fouled up to such degree that he had been dismissed? A terrible place to be abandoned; holding such death and danger for one of arcane talent, never mind as the mundane and magic-less man he believed he’d now have to live as. Fifteen years had apparently been thrown away in false hope of finding his own salvation. He had even less idea of how he might obtain it now without Her divine magic to aid him. But as he fretted and fled; he finally heard Her speak again, beckoning him to stay put.

It was here that he’d make a dreadful assumption; She intended to kill him outright! In panic, he posited that his death would break the divine connection and release Her from the presence of the other divine. Without trust or faith in Her, he felt sure that such was the very thing She was making attempt of. Running had seemed effective in evading Her wrath, and so he had advised it again in brief and terrified tone. Quite redundantly, given the state of terror Farzad aptly shared.

But what would they do? He had his own staff with him; absent of Her anointment it’d become nothing more than physical weapon. He’d have to rely on Farzad for arcane solution; and he had left his own staff behind. Concerned that neither of them would be able to properly weave magic, Kiros began to slow to a halt. The wizard would need his quarterstaff, and this entire murky business was Kiros' in the first place. If he had to risk himself and head back to retrieve it, so be it. Between himself and Farzad’s staff, the latter seemed better able to provide safety.

But before he could do so, the wizard latched onto him and invoked his scripture magic. The divines carried argument in the background as Kiros and grasped his quarterstaff with all his might, abandoning his former worries. Magic would be able to bring them to freedom after all, and then he could settle down in a town and figure out what to do with himself. He had now been ejected from not just one religion, but two; a priest he was clearly not.

But safety and freedom was not to be their destination.

It was to his horror that they were not speeding away from the foreboding town, but towards the most grim structure therein. Sailing through the air, the two spun around, with Kiros making a failed attempt at the the same maneuver of self-sacrifice that the more deft and agile Farzad was successful in. A ring of the bell and a grisly crunch awaited them on impact before both plummeted towards the floor.

He took care to cradle the bleeding head of Farzad as the two made their second impact against the ground, shattering the hip and elbow of the priest. A groan of pain turned to panicked concern as he took immediate survey of his gravely wounded companion. Not only had the efforts placed them further into danger, it had claimed the life of an innocent. Gods be damned! No matter how rude the wizard had been, he didn’t deserve death.

“Answer Me, My priest; where are you?”

She would find him soon; Kiros counted the remainder of his time among the living in seconds. This mess belonged to none but himself. If these lands were to claim a life, Kiros was determined to make it his own. Itra may not have yet cut off his source of magic, and were that the case, he'd be able to cast one more spell. The last he believed he’d invoke before his own deity killed him; body and soul combined.

“Respond! Speak of your location!”

Agonized from his own injuries, Kiros ignored both the pain and the demands of his own god and crawled over the cathedral floor towards his injured companion. The scraping sounds of metal on stone reverberated off the walls as he dragged his staff along. With a moment to steel himself, he closed his eyes and spoke his incantation with toneless words. A soothing white glow emanated from Farzad’s wounds as Kiros worked his Blessing of Health to mend the wizard’s wounds. He worked his magic quickly yet carefully, bringing restoration to his injuries and utilizing what he truly believed to be his last moment to the fullest potential.

As expected, upon use of Her magic, his position became known to Her immediately. Words of anger audible to all would be Her immediate response.

“You dare hide your presence from Me?!”

Crows Call Farzad Oldsummer
 
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Crows Call

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The Warfather smiled as he realized where the duo had ended up, right where he needed them... Just as planned! How wonderful! Just as usual he was proving himself a master of tactition. Then he remembered Itra, he figured he could always go to reunite with this fragment of himself later, right now however...

"Gael, showtime..."


Around the church, shambling skeletal figures began to encircle, as they approached the circle of the dim red light one could see the clumps of purple ash that stuck to their bones and in the ash they almost seemed to wail, "Iiiiiinnnvaaaaderrrrrsssss... deeeeeeeffffffffffeeeeennnnnnnnnd... ssssstoooop......"


They continued to encroach, but the red light seemed to slow them, causing the ashes to fall from their bones. Though they are slowed, not stopped...

Kiros Rahnel

Farzad Oldsummer

 

Farzad Oldsummer

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He was slow and meandering in his recovery, the whitewash of magic quietening out the thumping pain of his skull no different in the same manner as walking away from a loud drum circle. Though, as his eyes slowly switched back on he was greeted with the foreboding sight. Up above, the churning of a licking tongue and only teh slivers of black to accentuate the crippled work of architecture. But between those two. Was that glow of red.

He quickly snapped back to reality, remembering what hellscape he had been thrusted into.
His uppperhalf bounded upwards to look around. He looked to Kiros. The man had just lost his god and now it seemed he was being chased down by it. "Like a cow raised only to be slaughtered." Farzad bemused, accidentally of course aloud as he fell back down, his back against the cold cobble work. "And the church? The slaughterhouse." He could feel it now. That wretched toll bell of Death. The sky wasn't unfamiliar now. He was startled to recognize it. He wasn't sure if it was delusion or memory but he could've sworn, in those tiny slivers between the roof he could see meandering and dancing chains, an unknowable figure crooked with a smile watching down with famished eyes filled with lust and gluttony.

He took in a deep breath, the air was musty and felt like rust in his lungs, jarring and scrapping as they peeled into his throat. The windows, great and wide that spoke of once fine craftmanship and care were now filled with the haunting vestiges of tenacious death now circling them like vultures to the scraps of a carcass. "Hey Kiros." Farzad asked. His voice was deflated. A little more direct than usual as he pulled out a small doll.

It was disturbing. And if anything. It fit the theme of this whole place.
"Do you have any prayers for the dead?" He queried. The thing was old and had the tell all stitching's of ill crafted hands. He held them close in a had, brushing a tuft of poorly maned hair from an eye. He was still sat on the ground as they creaked and moaned, the gate that stood between them and damnation wasn't likely to hold out long. He wasn't sure if his spirits would either.
 
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Kiros Rahnel

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No sooner than Farzad displayed signs of life than Kiros dropped his staff and hopped back from his kneeling position at his side. He pushed his body back with his legs and one good arm, teeth clenched with a groan of pain from his agitated injuries. But he had to get away from the wizard; whatever means of execution She held in store for him would doubtless kill him too if he remained near. To be slaughtered like livestock that has outlived purpose; an expectation Farzad’s words told he shared. Kiros gave only a mournful expression in response – and a simple nod. With no idea how much time he had left he’d wait in his position for the fate he believed inevitable. Such a cruel place to meet one’s end. Farzad’s presence provided the despondent priest some solace. At least he would not be alone in his last moment before nothingness.

“I yield, Holy Goddess, and accept my death! But spare hi-”

“Idiot! I seek not to end your life!

You and your remarks humiliate Me!

When did you become so bereft of thought?!

Is stupidity contagious illness?

Did your companion transmit it to you?”


Kiros remained stunned and speechless at the unexpected response. She was as abrasive as She always was, but he had expected death, not admonishment. It had seemed She meant to kill them only moments before with Her violent display of power; an assumption finally corrected by Her explicit statement to the contrary.

But he’d have to give answer, despite the utter inanity of Her questioning.

“...No.” he responded in cowed tone. He began to prepare a second blessing of health, only to be interrupted from the task.

You bleed? You suffer grievous injury!

What did you do to yourself, careless lout!?”


“We were injured on impact, in effort to escape danger.” He explained plainly, hiding his exasperation in explanation of his situation he was beholden to give. Aggravating that in times of such danger, She continued to lecture him. Yes, there was blood on his robes; that’s what happens upon injury. Something it seemed She either did not understand or care about. It was of little matter anyhow, he could mend his injuries with the aid of Her magic as he always had. Wasn’t that what such a blessing was written for?

You nearly died in attempt to survive?”

“It is but injury, I can mend it.” he replied, an attempt to allay Her concerns. But before he could he was interrupted anew.

Enabling your carelessness evermore!”

“I need aid presently, not lecture.”

“You think I enjoy giving words of lecture?”

“...You think I enjoy receiving them!?” he snapped the words; face frozen in horror once he realized the sheer stupidity of what he had done. He had never been so impulsive in speech with Her before, no matter how badly She aggrieved him. To hear the words leave his lips shocked him, and anxiousness over whatever punishment his transgression incurred raced through his mind. Kiros shook in silence before he mustered up the courage to prostrate himself with speech.

“I-” but he’d get no chance to explain.

“As you prefer. A lesson without words.

Proceed and do so then. Heal thyself, priest.”


If anything, Her newly collected attitude was more dreadful and foreboding than Her former of rage. With far less enthusiasm than in his prior attempt to cast the spell, he worked the magic over his wounds.

And screamed in pure agony from the newly present anguish inflicted upon himself as he did so. Bones reset and mended while his body shook from the unexpected torture, with every nerve firing off signals of sharp pain. Such effect had never before been borne from the blessing.

Expect such from healing yourself henceforth

May it banish such carelessness from mind-

One I see you've managed to wound as well!”


Divine miracle undid the hindrance his concussion had inflicted. While his memories returned and his impulsive attitude abated, he hardly had attention to give it notice in such state of pain. He collected himself with a struggle, turning to Farzad as he spoke of prayers for the dead.

“Many; such prayers are staple among Annunaki.” he replied; reverence for the dead and afterlife were major tenets of his religion, after all.

“Yet what brings such inquiry?” He asked, still making pained breaths as he eyed the odd doll the wizard spoke. Yet She would interrupt him again in response to the wizard’s remarks; though as previously, it was unclear to whom the body-less voice was addressing.

“I know not of how you plan to escape;

but you shall fail, much as you have before”
 
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Crows Call

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As the two landed in the church, the flock gathered quickly moved away leaving them in the center of the circle. They all just stopped and stared at the two before Gael finally spoke, "That's a sign from the War-Father if I ever saw one. RELEASE THE CHOSEN!"

The red light had become brighter and pulsed upwards from the ground, bits of ash seemed to levitate in mid air around the the encircling light, and the undead that encroached during the change were crushed into the ground, as if they were ants being crushed by a fist. The Réttlæti spoke yet again,


"DREAD NOT THIS NIGHT, FOR I AM THY SHIELD AND THY HAMMER!"

Two battle cries resonated outward, one valiant if ethereal in tone as if roared from the tops of mountains, the other guttural, feral, and desperate as if it were the screams of a flayed bear.

"HUZAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!"

"GUUUUUUUUUUURAAAAAHHH!!!"

A rusted goliath exploded outward from the front wall of the church, right past Kiros and Frazad causing fragments of the scorched wood to fly in every direction. The inhuman creature crashed directly into the horde on the outside and sent bodies flying in all different directions with the charge, and crushing those beneath its feet the undead sorcerers quicly raised another ward. Simultaneously, a radiant golden light burst out from the top of bell steeple and high into the air, sending the bell crashing down into the horde before following suit and incinerating a great deal of the horde. The light then rocketed to the front of the church where Kiros and Frazad now sat, incinerating any that stood in it's path appearing as a white cloaked gold plated warrior with a red flamed great-blade.

1611877176548.png

She then turned to face the horde and raised her blade he before raising her blade high into the air, "MAY THESE ABOMINATIONS HEAR THE CROWS CALL SING!"

Kiros Rahnel

Farzad Oldsummer

 
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Farzad Oldsummer

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Farzad took in a deep breath as he glowered at the God that stood before Kiros. "Ahhhhhhhhhhhh..." Farzad bemoaned with berated breath. He let the god talk. Keeping his mouth shut as they trickled down with converse and chime at their priest. It was shocking. Appalling. Is this how all God's acted? Like a teacher chiding a student? Specifically the teacher that chided a student over a simple mistake? Farzad could feel his weak muscles flare up as he quietly but purposefully got up. Looking at his little doll as he gingerly placed them to the ground and next to them a large series of different coloured inks.

"Nuope."

He replied to Kiros, he only gave one more glance at the God before slowly marking a circle around him, "Little Sellia. I need you to make a pretty picture for me." Farzad Confided with gentle touch words as he uncorked the bottles and pulled out a brush. It was only a few moments later when the small Doll slowly started to rise, it's incorrect features porcelain and inanimate began to motion around the inks. Farzad felt terrible. And his face showed. He worked through pain and toil as emotions screamed in his ear.
"Are you there...

I'm still hurting...
Why won't you let me sleep..."

That last one particularly stung. He could've. Maybe. He wasn't sure. He could've gotten the rites there and than but his practicality overwrote his ability to be morally correct as they crafted a picture like a father would with a reluctant daughter. Though for a keen eyed viewer they may note that the picture wasn't a child's one. Maybe a cursed child, but not a gifted one. The marionette created perfect circles, the strings only held by command as Farzad filled in bit's and pieces. Event through his emptying and wasting visage.

Than the memories came not as words soft-spoken, but as images made virulent and vibrant in it's muted spectrum. It was cold. It always was. The world felt cold and miserable. Like the very life was sucked dry no different to heat sucking moisture. It was almost natural. In that cold dark world of roots and thorns cold working fingertips was the only noise made, though he couldn't control it. He couldn't turn around as the repressed shadow worked in the wicker light visage on the muddy wall. His entire confines. Her entire confines. For a lifetime, her world as she and he both looked at the little doll.

Than he snapped back to reality. What Kiros, the God and whatever that Automaton that now stood at the doorway could see was the doll laying listless in the centre and artwork made quicker than what mortal hands could fathom and manage. Writes and rotes, ancient and long dead languages and overall the overabundant smell of magic. Not that common hodge podge Elbion College Magic, or that Dread Lords from the Edge of the world. But pure, in the truest sense distilled magic disposable. And Farzad sat at the centre of it all. Picking up his doll. He took a deep breath.


"Kiros. Who by Eleth is that at the doorway?"
 

Itra

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All this blood! Precisely the reason She loathed watching after Her priest. He was always getting hurt, always at risk of death. It was further distressing to hear of his nonchalant attitude regarding such events - and enraging that he dared talk back! Was it Her fault then for encouraging this sort of risky behaviour? At least he was forthright about it. She took the opportunity to mend his fault with punishment.

She felt She simply had to; it was for his own good, after all.

But after the disaster of whatever they had attempted before, they were trying yet again. She had returned to them; why did they not simply trust Her? The other one was busy working magic as if mortal efforts would serve effective against that of another divine. Her own priest was speaking prayers to the dead; for reasons She could not know. Musing that they were lost, She’d provide them direction.

“You’ve been sealed here by another god’s will

No magic of yours can break His barrier!”


She made attempt to explain, but was interrupted by yet another. Itra was meeting far more people than She had ever cared to. But this one had slain the undead - the very thing She Herself meant to do. And further spoke Her byname along with that of another. Sunaris; a name She hadn't ever heard. But given that other god had addressed her as 'Lunis', Itra grew concerned.

“A paladin of Sunaris! It is a warrior under the sword’s god!” Her priest cheered at the presence of the holy paladin, rising to his feet with his quarterstaff held at the ready. Much to the opposite of Her reaction; She recoiled in horror. She was done with the sword now, having learned more than She wanted to know. Concern only heightened when Her priest took up arms in support of the stranger without question.

Could he not have done such with Her prior? They would not be in this mess if so!

“And have you met that warrior before?

What justifies your sudden trust therein?

I can free you, but play not to a scheme!”


She nearly pleaded with Her priest. First the sword, then the wizard, and even this new paladin. He’d seemingly place faith in absolutely everything but Her!

“I await instruction.” He replied. But Her response would take another moment.
 
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Crows Call

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Dame Sigris kept cleaving through the hordes, incinerating the foes almost as soon Crows Call sunk into the ash that covered their bones, but for every abomination fed to Sunaris's flame two more rose again from the ashes. In the distance the spirit could see dim lights of the undead being tossed around by a much larger, brighter light, doubtless the rusted warrior... still even with the pair cutting theough the horde, the sorceries of Gael and her flock, as well as the aid of Sunaris himself: if they did not find a way from this place soon, they may be fighting in this hell for eternity.

Sigris yelled out in a battle balad,
"OH! Gael you better find a way out,
Fail and I'll gut you like a trout!"


Sigris cleaved through and incinerated a line of the abominations with a broad stroke of her ethereal blade.

"GAEL! QUIT MILLING ABOUT LIKE A LOUT,
BEFORE I CUT INTO THAT STUPID... GRAAAAAH!"


She cleaved through another line, seemingly infuriated by her botched rhyming.
From the inside the church behind Kiros and Frazad, a woman in embossed black habit and a group of undead offered their aid to Kiros and the wound Frazad.

Kiros Rahnel

Farzad Oldsummer

 
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Farzad Oldsummer

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"Ya know."

Farzad looked at the God. Eyebrow cocked like an annoyed parent.

"I don't remember saying I was going to break out. But..."


There was a pause, almost like a needle dropped.

"I, at least plan on trying to do something."

He maintained that intense eye-contact.

"Ya know. Unlike you so far."
Ancient glyphs and writings swirled in this horrid mire of reality, small runes placed in bigger rune squares, shapes both geometric and natural formed natural groves around Farzad as a the great circle came to life, Farzad's form placed in the centre most point, legs crossed as he was almost placed into a meditative stance. Eyes slowly turning and affixing on the great chapel door. "Aight cool. Cool. I don't know who that is but cool." Farzad simply chimed to himself as he motioned his hands through the swirls of magic like a diviner and a small platter of water. The magic was audible in it's ringing chimes as the first rune circle rose up, peeling away from the floorboard and cobbled stone.

His concentration broken as he was quick to spin around to look directly at the creepy and stalking lady and her cohort of the raging undead. "Ohhhhh~ wonderful. More strangers. And what do you know. The undead." He was hesitant to say the least, but they hadn't attacked while he was setting all this up.
 
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Itra

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The companion to Her priest turned to look upon his staff; glaring upon Her eye inlaid upon the bronze head. And spoke to Her holy symbol with such contempt and disrespect! In Her present existence as a bodyless voice without physical presence before them, he seemingly used it as a representation of Her; and insultingly so at that. Yes, that he was attempting something was better than making plea of Her, as most hopeless mortals had tended to do. That his last action was error and his current attitude indolent was certainly not!

“Your error has carried no benefit-

But act of naive mortal foolishness”


Disobedient mortal that he was – at least his foolishness in dismissing Her grace provided relief that She’d find no follower in the wizard. He hadn’t made a big deal of Her presence as the sword had. She did not exist to dispense wisdom upon request, no; but with situation so dire to Her well being, the mortals had simply become entitled to it.

“This god is prepared to invoke Me forth

And must possess means of doing such”


Rather than response or even acknowledgement to Her instruction, Her priest began to weave blessing as weapon against the advancing undead in support of the two warriors. The ones She held no trust in at all; and they had Her priest’s present loyalty and support! And when he did give response it was not to Her, but his companion!

“I know them not, only her god-”

“I spoke instruction and you ignore it?

Why do you remain devoid of action?”


He ceased wielding Her magic for the moment, yet remained idle and without urgency. An expression of confusion on his face, precluding words of similar tone from his lips.

“...And where ought I go?” he replied, after his brief delay.

“I spoke of what you ought search this place for!”

Did She have to spell it out? She had already done so upon the quest's onset, and he still faltered on the task! The exact nature of what this was mattered not. Be it prepared avatar, an altar, or anything else; She required it. Possession thereof would enable direct application of Her power upon the barrier entrapping them, it mattered not what form it took! She simply needed it done make a greatly desired departure from this place, and dismantle the trap beset upon Her.

These words had caused response in Her priest, who still wore the same look of confusion as before. He turned away from the sight of the battle raging outside the church and looked instead towards its interior; from whence even more figures made their intrusion upon the situation. His expression turned aghast at the sight of the entourage of undead accompanying the woman. Yet, Her priest’s expression soon vanished, and he made his reply after the hesitation he seemingly shared with the wizard.

“Who are you; and why do you lead the undead? Who are those outside? Naught any have identified themselves!” He spoke out at fast pace, remaining in his position with attention upon them.

Better that he did it; She didn't care to make the inquiry. All these people intruding upon Her compromised moment was growing quite wearisome.

Crows Call Farzad Oldsummer
 
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Crows Call

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Gael did not divide any concentration from her prayer, but she felt it necessary to answer some of the Lunis's priest's questions as they were now in the same boat. She stood upright with her hands clasped in front of her before speaking, "I am High War Priest to the Réttlæti, and these are my flock... it is my duty to shelter them from the tyrant." She paused for a moment, carefully considering her next answer, then she spoke, "As for the two outside, the golden one is an old champion remembering what it once was, the rusted one is... well... I'm honestly not entirely sure, but the War-Father has made him one of his champions."

As bodies were thrown left and right outside the ward, Gael's gaze fell upon the gravely injured in front of her. She simply walked a few steps closer before asking, "Now then dear, with the introductions out of the way, could you use some help mending your friend?"

Kiros Rahnel

Farzad Oldsummer

 

Farzad Oldsummer

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"And so too has your inaction caused no benefit, but has caused distress." Farzad returned, "So continue with chided words. I have little time for the cockalorum's of the world." Apparently no longer happy to be reprimanded for trying by the words of empty gods, instead deciding to step up to the pedestal. This rarely ever in the long history of history had ever panned out well.
By now the first of his seven spells had shone to light, the arcane light flashing and glimmering as his arms rose up before straightening his eyes a tide of magic swirls and river filling his eyes as his voice boomed chains alight as they swarmed out like a dam broken, a half-dozen chains that seemed to absorb the very magic around them, tethering and binding some small fractions of power from the air into their metal forms.

"La Pelitora Fratorael"
The long chains flung outwards and towards the door, Farzad seemingly in control as he, from a safe distance and far from the forefront of the battle lines, twisted and turned the chains to strike like the tails of great beasts at the foes at the frontline, adding what little assistance he could with the metal coils.
 
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Kiros Rahnel

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Intently listening to the priestess’s words, his confused expression remained as she referred to the undead as her flock. Their very presence before him was disturbing; he’d much rather not suffer them to live. Yet he remained wise enough to refrain from acting out against them. If he knew of them, then so did She. And She outranked him; being divine, as She so often loved reminding them. As much as undeath disturbed him, if something was to be done about them Itra ought be the one to handle it, he mused in silent thought.

A statement that Farzad soon echoed aloud, to Kiros’ concern.

While grateful that his companion was present and his own indolent deity finally had to deal with someone who could speak so bluntly against Her hypocritical statement, it was disquieting that he seemed to dare Her to take action. Gods help them if She tried; Kiros was doubtful Her attempts would. Her unkindly help with his healing remained fresh on his mind.

“Though I wrote the magic that saved your lives,

You speak truth; it was to no benefit”


Fifteen years of this had left the worn priest jaded to Her attitude, one that Farzad was regrettably learning of. His own former motivation to flee was, in no small part, out of desire to protect him from further encounter; viewing Her presence akin to horrid disease he’d rather not spread. Perhaps the comparison of priesthood to prostitution was more apt than realized.

“It’s not She who might die here.” he uttered in concern of their own lives, in complete unawareness of the predicament She was truly in.

The priestess spoke of aid in healing, causing Kiros to look over at Farzad; still healthy and weaving his own magic. A look of continued confusion, and even mild offence was returned to her at the comment. Was she criticizing his spell craft and suggesting he hadn’t done a proper job of it? It felt like the attitude of the Celestialists at Elbion all over again.

“But I have healed him.” he responded, somewhat tersely. Certain that Itra would take offence too, Kiros paused; but if She had any words to add, She did not speak them.

The continued introductions required ongoing concentration that robbed him of opportunity to weave his own spells against the hostile undead. While lacking the option, he still held other means of aid and drew another line of sand across the doorway, still in conversation with the priestess. Pressing his symbol into the line marked it’s completion as before. The barrier would at least keep the hordes at bay, making it easier to cut them down once they stormed the church.

“Of what purpose are they sheltered for? Why are they unliving? How ought we justify their existence?” He continued in question, not quite able to let the issue slip. Kiros couldn’t imagine a proper reason for her surround herself with minions of such foul, sinful form; nor did he relish the idea of implicitly condoning it by relying upon them for assistance. That last inquiry was an open one; more so directed to Itra than the priestess before him. But Kiros was anxious for answers; any answers at all.

He’d have to hear her out; options were growing slim, and Itra had yet to make comment Herself. Rather, She had been oddly silent since Her last given statement.

Crows Call Farzad Oldsummer
 
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Farzad Oldsummer

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Farzad was methodical in gauging their response. He couldn't quite tell if they were admitting defeat, or if they were trying to overshadow him. Lucky for him, he was determined to not be belittled by someone gifted to the arcane. He earnt his.

"I suppose it's a good thing than."

He could drop a needle and make it audible in his pause.

"That us mortals can improve such shoddy work."
His whiplash chains still twisted and contorted just outside the gate like a half-dozen serpents rolling and contorting in an aggressive display of dominance, rolling down and grabbing a corpse, pulling tightly and constricting first air, than blood than flesh and bones out from their body in gory displays. Farzad was simply happy it wasn't inside and to hold it back, though he still was apropos to knowing what was really going on here it seemed outside his paygrade considering all he was looking to do was scout a way around this mess of a place, not to get dragged deeper into it.
 
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