• Event • The Warmth of Death

A quickie little event

Once an isolated and dying township, an influx of academics, adventurers and thrill seekers have made Scalvoris Town their home. From scholars' tea shops to a new satellite campus for Viden Academy, this is an exciting place to visit or make your home!

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The Warmth of Death

Postby Aegis » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:56 pm

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Vega


"You will slay the boy. You will burn him to ash, and consume his remains." It was the same voice from when it had the Avriel form. It was different though. Intimidating adjacent. As if it had experienced true intimidation, and was attempting to mimic it. But a mimicry is not a true thing. And it could be felt by the half-breed redhead.

"You are us now. Orphan boy stole from you. You cannot let that pass."

When the woman suggested that she would expel the voices, several of them laughed and laughed, filling her head with a cacophony. None before her had ever removed them, and it was not about to happen now. Not with this one. Nor the next one. Or the thousands after that.

"What you want does not matter. Make us whole, and we will allow you some respite. And when you perish, your soul will burn and we will find another to join us. The boy's life was forfeit the moment he stole from us. And you will slay him."

As Vega entered her meditative kata, the voice changed, to one of a child. "You don't want children. Why should you care what happens to one? You're not a mother. Never will be. If you don't slay him quickly... you'll watch yourself kill him slowly. You'll hear him scream, watch him cry, feel him squirm. And you'll love it. Vega Lei'nox a mother? A protector of children? What a joke."

The voices began badgering her in agreement. Attacking everything about her. Insults, slanders, lies, inner truths were sent at her in wave after wave of assaults. But as Vega continued her meditation, the voices fell away, one by one. It was long, arduous. But eventually there was only one voice left. Of a young man, one she didn't know.

His voice was kind, friendly even. "You must save that boy. I saved him that night. He was playing with his sword in the corner, over there." Vega could feel the sadness in the man's voice, "You can quiet the voices for a while. Many before you have." Vega would be able to hear footsteps, as if the man were pacing about her, but no one was there but her. "Focus on what made contact with the Death Forged Rose. Fo--" and with that, his voice was dragged away.

And it was completely silent.

The fire went out.

And Vega was alone.

She could feel that the voices were still within her, but they were quiet. It was as if they were bugs beneath her skin, that no amount of scratching could drive off. But they were quiet. There was no pull to drive her to their will. It seemed that, for the moment, she was in control.


Arlo


"Mama is dead... I killed her when I was born."

The kid looked forlorn. Clearly he'd beaten himself up over this many a time. He held a stiff upper lip though, fighting back tears. But as Arlo continued to speak, he looked up at the man. "Squires haven't earned the right for glory! Becoming a knight is hard work! Takes years of chores and training and discipline! The knight deserves the glory! He saves princesses! Fights monsters and demons and bad guys! He helps those that need it!"

The boy's excitement paused momentarily as Arlo continued to speak. "You'll... you'll be my squire? Really?" The boy's face lit up at this. He understood that he would have to give up his quest, but demons always lingered. He could return to slay it later, with his squire in tow to learn how to be a proper knight.

"You have a deal. Let's go get me healed, squire."

He grabbed Arlo's hand with his uninjured one, before turning toward Mixiebelle. He bowed, and when Arlo didn't immediately bow with him, he elbowed the man in the leg to take the hint. "Milady, I'm sorry for breaking your window. When I'm well, I'll return to help fix it. I never meant to frighten you. If you ever need a favor, you may call on me and my squire any time. Day or night, danger or not."

Mixiebelle bowed her head to the boy, and to Arlo, "Of course good ser. Please make haste in your journey to the healer." Then looking directly at Arlo, "I look forward to seeing you again."

And with that, Ser Danzcek pulled Arlo by the hand out the door, to go on their first quest together, to find the White Mage of East Street.


Roland


"Oh this piss water? Nah. This might put steel in my sword, but it ain't for shit for keepin' me warm. Normally it'd be a woman, but not a good night for old Akeeyari with the ladies. The warmth comes from that thing there. My first visitor dropped it."

The man took a long swig of the whiskey, gasping satisfied, "Man that shit is noxious, but it sure do hit the spots."


"Ain't sure what it is. But it's too hot to hold for long. I'll sell it to you for a story, and a few golds. I know just the right deckswabber ro keep me warm tonight. Ol' Josie, she can suck the barnacles right off a keel. Ya interested? Unless maybe you know a lass that will spend a night with old Akeeyari?"

The man stood up, slowly and shakily, as one might expect from a drunk in an alley. He leaned heavily against the wall, barely upright. He took another long swig, then pulled out a leather pouch. He bent down, nearly falling over in the process, and picked up the petal in the small bag. He then scooped up a handful of snow, and stuffed it down in it.

He held it up before Roland, was about to speak, before he held up a finger, signaling the man to wait a moment. He then turned and retched up his stomach's contents into the snow, obscured by the crates. Once finished, he wiped his mouth on his sleeve, and held the pouch up once more. "Well, interested mate?"
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The Warmth of Death

Postby Vega » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:27 pm

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The Burned InnThe noise in her head was like a thousand noises and it made her want to stumble. It was laughter and words, mocking and derision and it was telling her what would happen, what she would do. How things would be. Vega hated that more than anything. "Oh, do me a favour you bunch of wannabe physical form idiots, would you?" She wasn't anyone other than who she was and who she was would not be pushed around. "You 'aven't got bodies of yer own an' so you want me to give in so you can take 'old of me. Jog on, you bunch of losers." Yes, she was quite clear. They were trying to push her around and she would not be.

"You're right. I don't want kids. But I'm not lettin' a boy die cos a bunch of incorporeal flame-filled asshats decided somethin'. Get a grip, get a life an' jog on." There were lots of voices, all badgering her, tormenting her. Whispering and speaking things that she feared were true but there was something about Vega which pretty much defined her. "I 'ave spent my whole life not fittin' in with who those around me want me to be. An' I remained me. You know what? If it's what it takes to stop you," she said, her voice clear and firm and loud. She spoke aloud and did so for a reason. So she heard herself, not just them. "I'll go throw myself into the icy water an' we'll peg it together. Why? Cos you bunch of wheel-spokes aren't gonna win. Give it up, you've already lost."

What they said to her, those whispered fears and insecurities, each one of them she acknowledged and owned. She had weaknesses, there was no doubting it and, by accepting them she saw them for what they were. Part of her, not all of her. She didn't need to be a mother to care about a child, didn't need to fit in to be loved or be able to read to understand. More than any of it? She didn't need to be anything other than who she was to be everything she needed to be. Vega thought and believed that she was academically stupid, often clumsy, many many things. But they were her and she liked her.

So, when the young man spoke to her, as she listened to him she understood something. "I'm sorry you died. I'm not gonna, an' I'm gonna save him. Thanks for the help, rest easy." The Death Forged Rose? Focus on what made contact with that? Vega looked down at the plant and she frowned. The sword made contact with it, but also hadn't. How had the boy made contact with it when her sword could not. She examined the sword, then, where it had struck, but not struck. Then she experimented. Cloth, wood, metal, hand. Did they touch the plant? Was it that they would touch it when they were a gentle contact, but not when it was a blow against it or was it that the material was important? A frown on her face, she focused on that.

And while she did, she sung. Vega had no training in singing, but she had a pretty, light voice which could be trained to be beautiful if she bothered. It wasn't beauty that she was interested in right now, though. It was two things. She made a noise, a noise that she and anyone around her might hear and also, she sang songs from her childhood. Songs of the biqaj which reminded her who she was and why she, Eva Lei'nox would never, ever, harm a child.

Or allow harm to come to one.
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The Warmth of Death

Postby Arlo Creede » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:57 pm

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The kid had killed his mother when he'd been born? Arlo frowned deeply and shook his head. Probably troubles with childbirth, and he'd be sure to add that to a list of insensitive questions to ask without thinking. But how could he have known? In fact though, probably better to say nothing more about it. Hadn't Vega's mother also died in childbirth after all? And in a sense, maybe she hadn't seen it so different than this kid did.

Rather than argue a point that he'd only made as a diversion, Arlo opted not to argue about the distinctions between knights and squires, and who ought to deserve all the fame and glory. Let the boy think what he would. Arlo had no intention of playing at being a squire, or hauling round a child in the night, in a storm, looking for a demon that in all likelihood didn't exist. And if it did? All the more reason not to take a kid anywhere near one.

"Right, we go see a healer," he agreed. "My choice of healer, not yours, and then we'll discuss the terms of me, maybe, being your squire." He even had to go so far as to bow to Mixie, begrudgingly. Whatever it took, he figured, but opted out of thinking that there'd be any reason for him and Mixie to cross paths again in the future.

Of course Arlo had no idea who the White Mage of East Street was. But no matter. It was a quick walk to the Order, and Faith was a member there so far as he was aware. But if she wasn't there? There were other healers there certainly who'd be happy to take the kid into their care for the night and keep him there. And that was exactly Arlo's plan. Hand the would be knight over, and get himself home as quickly as he could.
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The Warmth of Death

Postby Roland Demira » Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:43 pm

All of a sudden, Roland was no longer feeling any kind of fear and trepidation. Whatever feelings he had before melted away at the thought of a deal. Whatever the petal was, it was clearly magical, a portable heat source that gives off no light. Or barely any. Surely he could find a buyer for it and he stood to make a tremendous profit, should he play his cards right. He watched as Akeeyari put the petal into a bag and then tamped snow down with it. He made the appropriate eyebrow raises and low chuckles of recognition when mentions of whores and their skills came out. Maybe he would find out, if he didn't sooner than later for free.

Seeing the vomit as it steamed on the now cooling ground, Roland tried to over look it and instead set his focus on the bag. "Well,before we have a story, let's talk nels. I know that the average bottle of whisky would set me back thrity gold nels. This thing here, without the knowledge of its origin,
of course other than your first visitor, I would say that the best I could do for you would be forty five. That's a bottle of whisky and quite a night at any brothel. You could even take in a room, if you spent your money right. Get out of this cold and rest up a bit. Give the innards a rest." He opened his coat and began counting the nels out of his belt pouch, his crossbow placed on a barrel in plain view, should Akeeyari decide to make any moves.

While he did so, Roland started talking, the clink and thump of coins on the barrel marking the cadence of his tale. " Well, if you like whores, and who doesn't? I would recommend taking a little journey down to Gunvorton sometime. It's maybe a day of travel, but I guarantee it is worth your time.
There is a place there known as the Home and hearth Inn. Homey little spot, everyone smiling. Well, Sir, let me tell you that the reason they are all smiling is that never before has there been such a repository of slave snatch as this Inn. They keep everything very smiling and have a cider, but trust me, you can have a shot at just about anything you would like to. No restrictions, if catch my drift. All you have to do is tell someone that you would like to sample a slice of Shania's pie. A thick slice, moist and made with love." The coins kept falling. "Trust me, Sir, wherever they lead you after that will be a place only for the Immortals." The last golden nel landed on the modest pile, sliding down a bit.

"Do we have a deal?"
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The Warmth of Death

Postby Aegis » Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:06 pm

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Vega


During Vega's testing of items against, a whole lot of nothing happened. The sword seemed no different, the cloth, wood, none of them seemed different. When she touched it with her hand, however, she felt the burning reignite within her. But not at the point of contact with the flower, but rather in the palm of her sword hand. Searing, excruciating pain. Upon opening her hand to her eyes, she'd see black lines burned into the palm, in the shape of an impossibly ornate rose. And in that moment of revelation, the burned lines faded to scarring, dull white and pink, as if it had always been there. And the pain, vanished. And with the missing pain, the metallic flower shattered into dust, gone, forever.

And the next time Vega picked up her sword with that hand, she'd find it glowing orange as it did before, like metal fresh from the furnace. And yet, this sword did not bend, did not break, did not yield when used in this state. It retained it's strength and edge. Heat poured off of it, hot enough to ignite cloth, wood, burn flesh, and if held against it long enough, melt steel and iron.

But with this orange glow, the voices returned. One at a time. And never the calm one that had helped her. The longer the sword glowed, the more that came back. And the longer it glowed, the more tired, and hungry, Vega became. Impossibly hungry and tired. And that was how she was left, there in the cold, scarred, silent voices within, and alone.

The smell of old, burnt wood lingered in the air, and the snow began to fall in the ruins once more. It was heavy and thick, quickly began to bury it, the heat no longer present. And so, this place, burned to a husk, some were saved, some were burned, and all affected, began to be purified by the freshly fallen snow. And there, in the middle of it, a new fiery rose shone in the night, the only blaze around. And that rose by another name was Vega.


Arlo


The Great Knight Ser Danzcek put up no resistance as his faithful Squire, Arlonious, guided him to the White Mage of East Street. Or as she's better known to literally every other person in town except for the powerful knight, Galena Valed, of the Order of Adunih. The healers all breathed a sigh of relief as the boy was brought back, some scolding him, others rushing to him to see his state. The boy's fever had worsened, and they tutted over him like a pack of hens.

One healer, a newer girl approached Arlo, "Thank you for finding Danny and bringing him back. We feared the worst. Can we get you something? Some food? Warm drink? You've truly done a service today." And when she turned away to get back to work, as the healers treated Ser Danzcek's burnt hand, a little girl presented herself to Arlo, Zanadika, the girl oft forgotten.

She looked up at Arlo with a soft smile, tears glistening in her eyes. She untied the yellow ribbon holding her hair up, and offered it to Arlo. "For saving him. For bringing him back to me. My hero's hero." Turning away from the man, she returned to her beloved Knight's side, taking his uninjured hand in hers. And the boy smiled, and the fire danced.

And danced.

The fire seemed to dance gleefully, in a way that was unnatural to anyone who'd spent time around a campfire, but would have difficulty explaining. But happiness was evident in the hearth.

"Ouch!"

As the Knight exclaimed in pain, the fire seemed to flinch in pain as well. The same woman as before returned to Arlo, with a basket, "It's not much, just some bread and cheese and a wineskin, but we must thank you again. Please have a safe journey home. Danny is in good hands now, thanks to you."

And so, the Order of Adunih returned to the chaotic scramble that always came when they were busy. But every single person in there was smiling. Ser Danzcek had returned from his quest safely, and Squire Arlonious would have his first tale told about him. The Tale of the Fire Demon and the Squire of Snow would be told and retold many a time in the orphanage, and every time it, the Squire's heroism and feats grew.

And so, the night wore on, and the snow fell, and everything was quiet, and Mixiebelle fell asleep, a smile on her face, and a new name in her heart.


Roland


The man smiled toothily and nodded. "Aye, forty-five is mighty generous of you good sir. You do a wearied heart well. A true saint."

The man watched as coin after coin was plinked down upon the barrel as Roland told tale of an inn of depravity. It came with a code phrase and all. That was something Akeeyari could get behind, quite literally. He saw the man's crossbow, but was unconcerned, he had no mind to double cross one being so generous. He handed over the pouch of snow, water, and petal to Roland, and scooped up the coins, depositing them into a coinpurse around his neck.

"Maybe we'll cross swords at the Home and Hearth Inn one day. Ya ain't experienced anything like it til ya have. I must be going now good sir."

The man turned with a flourish of his ratty cloak and was gone. Completely gone. He'd not walked away, there were no footprints, nothing. One moment he was there, another he was gone. And yet, there was a chuckling from the man left behind for just a moment, before that too faded away.

Within the pouch of slush, snow and water, the petal grew bright. If touched, it would merely burn, like a pan pulled from the oven that had not yet fully cooled. It gave off no heat, though its brilliant red color was vibrant, more so than any whore's lipstick. But after touching it for the first time, Roland would feel a mental tug, driving him north by northwest. And it seemed insistent to pull on him. Every time he touched it, he would feel that draw.

And with that, the snow continued to fall, but Roland felt no cold. This trinket would keep him warm as long as it was in his presence. So a night that had begun so sour, began to sweeten, as it seemed there was profit to be had in the man's future. And what was more important than coin?

 ! Aegis wrote:
Alright lovelies, last round. Do your final replies, and when you're done, I'll review this thread. Was tons of fun for me, and will continue to be fun down the road I hope. Well done, the lot of you!
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The Warmth of Death

Postby Vega » Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:36 pm

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The Burned Inn"This, right 'ere?" she muttered to herself as she tested things, "this is why all scientists are bored, boring or dead." Vega was not likely to ever become a scientist, she had decided. Science was boring and this was so dull she might die. Here, in this place, she was more at risk of death from boredom than anything else. She'd almost given up, but then as she touched it Vega felt the searing pain and all thoughts of boring fled from her. "AHHH! OW! Oh you filthy little..." the stream of Rakahi which followed would be enough to make the most seasoned pirate blush pink, but it didn't stop the screaming, searing pain which shot up her arm and caused her to yelp out in pain.

Instinctively, she looked at the palm where the pain was and she breathed in, "what the...?" She had never seen a burn so intricate, never. It was black and then it was pink and the superstitious biqaj watched it turn that way, shifting like the colours of her eyes and she knew that something was very, very wrong. What was she going to do? How did she tell Arlo about this? What did it mean? She wasn't used to needing to consider others in her decisions, not at all. And, she decided, she didn't need to now. It would only worry him and she could deal with this. She could, she was sure.

She'd have to.

The pain vanished and she sat, in this ruined place and she wondered how to manage this situation she had no idea how to control. Then, with a shaking hand she reached out to pick up her sword and there, she learned something new. Something terrifying. As her hand wrapped around the hilt, she found that she was holding a molten, glowing sword.

And the voices returned.

With them, came hunger like none she had ever felt and tiredness, no not that. It wasn't tired. She wasn't tired, she was unable to move. Unable to think, or move - unable. Not able. How could she tell him this? They had bought a boat, he was marked by Cassion. They were... no, Vega knew what she had to do. It was obvious and simple to her. Pushing her sword away, the young woman rested her head on her arm and curled up to sleep, hoping that the voices would go away now that the sword was not in her hands. Hoping that she'd come to a conclusion, that she'd find a solution. Hoping that she could put it right, fix things. "I'm sorry, Xiur," she whispered, the swirling colours of her eyes mostly hidden by the heavy lids. "I think I got it wrong. But I'll put it right, I will. I promise. It's jus' all a bit dark at the bit, is all." She smiled, a slight and sad smile reminiscent of the look she had worn as a child when her father had nearly died in a fire. "It'll be a'right. I promise."
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The Warmth of Death

Postby Arlo Creede » Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:56 pm

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It was just as well the kid didn't put up an resistance to being seen to a healer. The last thing Arlo wanted to do was hoist Ser Danzcek up over his shoulder and haul him there bodily. Any of the guard saw him doing that, they'd accuse him of kidnapping. Chances were though, any of them with any sense were home by their fires and out of the weather. Faith wasn't at the Order and he hadn't really expected her to be...last time he'd seen her she looked like she was getting ready to blow any bit now. Galena would do however, and Arlo was happy to place the kid into her care.

And apparently they'd been looking for him, which meant this was where he belonged, and he'd given them the slip. "It was no trouble," he said with a smile, and seemed to protest. It was though. It had been a lot of trouble with Mixie thrown into the mix. They didn't need to know that however. The kid was back safe, it seemed to be all that mattered. The truth was, he'd rather pass on the food and drink and head back towards the Wanderlust, where he figured Vega would be, wondering what had become of him. But they seemed intent on feeding, therefore thanking him for his troubles, and he'd at least take a cup of tea to keep him warm on the walk home.

As for the girl, Arlo assumed that she must be an orphan, maybe like Danny himself come to think of it. And he smiled, accepting the ribbon and putting it in his pocket. "Thank you. Maybe convince him to stay put next time," he advised, and grinned as she walked away. While he waited though, Arlo caught sight of the fire, the flames and the way they danced strangely. Seemed to him, as if they were feeling things, responding to the feelings of another. Danny? He frowned curiously. Maybe the kid was more than he seemed. Appeared so, when they changed again when Danny cried out.

"Thank you," he said to the woman when she returned with a basket. But he was still eyeing the flames. "You know, right, that there's something about that kid? Something different?" A glance, that way, towards the fire advised her they might want to look into that connection. Regardless, his part in all this was done, so he took a trill to bid farewell to the would be knight, advised him to stay put and mind the healers, and was off into the night on his way back home.
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The Warmth of Death

Postby Roland Demira » Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:49 pm

Roland was particularly pleased with himself that the deal went so smoothly. With the initial fear of double cross out of the way, not even a haggle came from Akeeyari's toothy lips. Suited him fine. Forty five was a stout amount, but again, for something that provided heat with no flame, it was as much a steal as he could muster. He watched as the man collected his coins and nodded in agreement as he took his own little pouch, the heat radiating from it.

Opening the pouch, he could see the little metal petal buried in the snow and water, a little steam escaping when the purse was opened. Pleased to see it, he listened as the man talked of 'crossing swords' at the Home and Hearth. Roland's smile only grew with the thought of those flour caked hands wringing in stern disappointment and that perfect face of home and hearth cracking. What a sight to see. Looking up he saw only the flourish of Akeeyari's cloak before he was no longer present. He didn't walk away or duck behind anything. He was just there one moment and then he wasn't. A dim echo of a laugh remained. Roland wondered for a moment if he hadn't made a deal with a nefarious creature. So what? He shrugged it off, glad to have such a wondrous object.

What he noticed even more is that with the object beneath his coat, the cold of the air and the night was gone, re[placed with a comfortable warmth. his body relaxed under his clothes as he scooped up his weapon and made his way back home. With such a wondrous item, he saw no reason t sell it at all. At least until the weather changed.
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The Warmth of Death

Postby Aegis » Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:56 am

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Your Thread Review is Here!

Well done all of you! I'm glad you three could take part in my first official moderated event on Standing Trials. I quite enjoyed this style of moderation as I tried several different techniques and ideas in this one. I say different as in styles I've not used previously. In this quest, I specifically set up 3 Paths that while all thematically related (IE connected by the Death Forged Rose), I strove to make it so they weren't all, same place, same scene. 3 Paths that branched off of a single event that occurred that was not explained (Ser Danzcek's meeting of the "Fire Demon") I also attempted to make it feel a bit dangerous and quest like without actually having to use true combat and monsters and other standard "quest" dangers.

I had quite a lot of fun watching the choices your PCs made, particularly when I wondered what choices you all would've made had you selected different paths in this. And these paths were certainly not rigid in any sense, very much carved by your choices in the thread. There was the possibility that you all could've met in thread. There was the possibility each of you could've died or been maimed. But you all forged your own path, and that was by far my favorite part of this.

I do hope you enjoyed this thread as much as I did, and I look forward to any follow up you all do on this, with or without my assistance. If you have any questions on this plot, or continuing its plot, feel free to ask me. I may answer directly, or I may set you up with a plot to find the answers. Any other questions relating to this thread, the rewards, etc, bring my way as well.

You all are fabulous, and I'm so pleased with how this story turned out.






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