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Darkrunn
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PostSubject: Re: Story   Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:28 pm

Taras stared dejectedly at carbonizing hulk of the shuttle. This was going to take a while. He decided to leave the scrap and wreck to burn and cool before he would begin to toy with them. His helmet seemed to stare at him from the ground, as though inquiring what to do next. "I don't know either." He said to it.

The elf who had begun to marshal the company gestured and spoke to a few of the outlying elves arrayed in short grey cloaks and cowls. They disappeared into the forest without another sound, presumably to report to whoever their superiors were. Only a dozen elves stood before the group now. Ralac, Karen, the other female he had pulled out of the wreck, and a few others were standing around, assessing their own damage. Taras plucked up his helmet and walked over to the group. "That was fun." He smiled sardonically. After an uncomfortable silence, he perked up his ears again. "So, what now?"

Karen spoke up first. "It would appear that our transport is no more."

Taras waved a clawed hand dismissively. "Give me time, I'll cobble out something."

Ralac issued out a blurt of synthesized vocals. He paused, and started again in a grated, metallic voice. "We should accompany the elves."

Taras, not really sure who was leading, nodded. "Fine by me. Who's going to ask them?" Epimor pointed behind Taras wryly. He turned his muzzled face and found himself eye to eye with Brima again.

"We will escort you." She gestured to the remainder of the company, who looked eager to depart. It wasn't really a suggestion.

Taras looked behind him, not liking the tone or the fact that he was up front, representing the group. He wasn't even supposed to be here, who was he to speak for everyone else? Stilts was busy doing something with the body of the assailant, and Ripper was in earnest conversation with Dagon. The others seemed to be comfortable with him speaking. "Very well. Where to?"

Brima shook her head. "Somewhere safe. You will see." She gestured again for the group to begin walking. "Your wounded comrade will be taken care of as well." A pair of elves had somehow fastened a stretcher out of plant fibers and lifted the unconscious woman onto it very quickly.

Taras fell into line behind Ralac, trying to take his surroundings into account and also observe Ralac himself. The being before him was an amalgamation of biotechnology the likes of which he had never seen. He allowed himself to be distracted by the tech in front of him as he followed the others and the elves into the forest.
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ClausTheMighty
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PostSubject: Re: Story   Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:38 am

The fight was over, that much was certain, Ripper and Stilts stood over the body of the angel-like man who had assaulted them earlier, elven arrows protruded from the back of his head. He shook his head and then walked over to the edge of the cavern and signaled down to Samantha.

"Dagon status report." Samantha said over the com from the bottom of the canyon.

"All clear. The target has been neutralized by the elves." He looked down at his chipped and bent nails that he had prior to the mission filed and worked to a battle ready sharpness. "So much for that then. What is the situation like down there Six?"

"The shuttle is pretty much gone, all our equipment too by the looks of it." Samantha said as she poked through the burning piles of twisted metal and rubber. "This will make things a great deal more difficult."

"Agreed, keep looking for anything we can use. Then take a rest, you need to give your nanites time to repair the damage?" Dangon ordered as Ripper approached him with a dagger in hand.

"We have recovered this from our assailant. What do you make of it?" Ripper said as he handed the dagger hilt first over to Dagon.

Dagon held it in his hand, the blade thrummed softly with energy and gave off a small glow. He turned it over, looking for a trademark symbol or any indicator to it's origin and when he found none, he sighed and handed it back to Ripper.

"I have no idea as to the origin or make of this blade, it is obviously magical in nature but that does not help for me. Maybe someone local would know more of this, try consulting the elves." Dagon said as he wiped his hands clean. To be honest he wanted to keep at least two meters between his person and any object of magical origin, he had had enough of magical objects warping his mind in the past and was now overly cautious.

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Darkrunn
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PostSubject: Re: Story   Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:03 am

Taras, his mind wandering, found himself parting with the group and edging deeper into the woods. Something glimmered in between the trees, and aroused his curiosity. He was almost completely out of sight of the group when Brima silently dropped in front of him, simply out of thin air. He attempted to conceal his surprise, but she surely noticed. "We must stay with the group, Ta-re-has." She stumbled over his name, but he immediately took to the amusing mispronunciation. "Why have you come this way?"

Taras pointed an armored glove behind her "There was... something... over there in the woods. I wanted to see what it was." He did not like being babysat like a child, nor the fact that she had caught him completely unaware.

Brima, maddeningly enough, retained her impossibly calm demeanor and shook her head, "This forest is not a place for outsiders. The same magic that aids us may also cause you to become ever lost."

Taras turned his head slightly. "Magic? You mean like turning lead to gold or walking through walls?"

She gave a small giggle, the most emotion he had seen from any of the elves. "No, that's not it." She produced his sidearm from behind her back. "But I suppose one who studies enough may be able to do something like that." She returned the pistol to him with another nearly invisible smile.

She looked around at the trees, and the slivers of sky that broke through the dense canopy. "Magic is everything." She crouched and picked up a pebble. "Magic can be the simplest of things." She turned over the pebble, and pinched it between her fingers. "Loh, vahn-remene." The pebble burst open, as a flower in bloom between her fingers. She allowed a smile to grace her features. "This is a simple example." She tossed the stone-blossom to Taras, and walked back towards the path the group had taken.

Taras was soon at her heels, abuzz with questions. "How did you do that? What kind of energy...? You don't even have a power source... What-"

Brima swiveled around and placed a finger on his helmeted muzzle, making him pause. "You ask many questions, even for an outsider." She threw her gaze about furtively, then leaned close to whisper. "I have questions as well. So I will make an alacere, a promise-bargain, with you. You ask a question, and I will answer. In exchange, you must answer a question that I ask. Agreed?"

Taras unfastened his helmet and let it dangle behind him on its lanyard. "Agreed. How did you learn how to do that? With the rock, I mean. I've never seen anything like that. You don't even have a tool to shape the rock."

Brima looked at him quizzically. "Why would I need a tool? The wind may cut mountains into canyons, with no more force than a whisper. A boulder that rests on a precipice may be overturned with only the placing of a feather. I... told the pebble-" She paused, not finding the right words. "I told the pebble, without forcing it, to blossom." She saw the confusion in Taras' face. The nimble she-elf used a low branch to swing herself over a puddle. "There is no right word for this idea in your tongue, I'm afraid. It is something one simply knows." She held out her hand and stopped Taras from tripping. "I'm sorry, but that is the best answer I can give. Perhaps..." She eyed him carefully. "Another day."

Taras pressed on, feeling clumsy beside the graceful elf. "Can 'magic' be taught?" She held up her hand, reminding him of their bargain. "What do you want to know?"

"What are you wearing?" She couldn't help but laugh, a musical sound that reminded Taras of small tinkling bells. "Is this how your people armor themselves? I couldn't imagine wearing something so... heavy."

Taras bristled. He had taken a measure of pride in his armor, and it irked him that she found it amusing. "My armor? I made it myself." He said that pointedly, but she simply kept walking. "It uses relatively simple pneumatics and hydraulics in miniature form to enhance my strength. I didn't have time to fine tune-"

"It enhances your strength? Without any runes?" She tapped his shoulder plate dubiously. "How is this possible?"

"So much for one question at a time. Well, see the backpack I have? It has a device inside that creates heat and light energy that is converted to electricity. Er- that is to say, energy that can then be used by other devices in the suit that then amplify my own strength." He sighed. "However, I suppose this prototype is quite... encumbering. I'll have to spend more time on the next suit." He could see the rear guard of the elven party now. "How can I learn 'magic' like you?"

"You say that oddly. Why is this? If you truly wish to learn Gulmaja, magic, then why do you sound so... vanhwadole?"

"Vanhwadole?"

"Lost-headed. Confused?" She thought about it, then nodded. "Confused.'

"It's just difficult to understand. I always thought that magic was just myth and superstition. It's..." He thought of how to explain his reliance on physics and other 'laws' of science to understand the universe. "It's just hard to understand."

Brima regained her neutral demeanor. "Go and rejoin your friends. When we reach our destination, Stea-sillnaneth will make more clear."

"Ste-sill...neth?"

"Stea-sillnaneth. You will see. Go." She was off through the trees before he replied. He fell back in line and thought hard about his perspective of reality.
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ClausTheMighty
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PostSubject: Re: Story   Sat Dec 31, 2011 4:52 pm

Spoiler:
 

Dagon noted Taras slipping away from the group, his combination of trackers and nanite imprints he had laid into all the members of this expedition for ease of identification told him more than his eyes could at that distance. The fact that, from what he could see, the elf-lass was talking so readily to him was astounding, their race never associated more than pleasantries with outsiders. Taras might be more useful that he had initially thought, he had all the firepower he could ever want, but a real connection to the elves was more important that all the bullets he could carry.

"We were able to salvage all the equipment that we could..." Samantha's voice floated in amongst his thoughts. He pushed her comments to the side of his mind as he picked up his old battle rifle and slung it over his shoulder and moved over to Ralac. He patted the outside shell of his armor.

"How are you holding up?" He asked as he took out a small notepad. He needed to keep a close eye on his mental condition throughout this mission.

"I am doing well, today felt good, better than others." Ralac said in his monotone synthesized voice. Dagon nodded and wrote down a few words then began a short diagnostic on his suit. He was no Artis, but he could check for damage and inspect the supply of nanites in the reserve tanks.

"I am currently at Ninety eight percent supply of Nanites Dagon, a visual inspection is not needed. All sections of my armor are functioning and has not suffered a mechanical breakdown." He said as he demonstrated the functionality of his suit, indeed there was no damage that Dagon could see.

"Good, good." He said as he completed his log and placed it back into his pocket, "We'll talk again soon."

"... and the computers we found were all fried saved for the personal laptops, yours was found about fifty feet from the wreck. Good thing you placed it in that shock-proof case, otherwise it would be gone. Hey are you listening to me Dagon?" Samantha asked as she pulled on his arm.

He turned to her and muttered a "huh?".

"My progress report Dagon, have you heard anything I've said?" She sounded ticked and put her hands on her hips as she glared at him.

"Uhh, get it to me in an email Six, I'm too busy right now, where is my laptop?" He said as he reached around for the bag. Samantha tossed the bag at his chest and stormed off in a huff. He caught it, then shrugged and moved off to examine the body of the man for himself.
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Ethanthecrazy
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PostSubject: Re: Story   Sun Jan 01, 2012 6:57 am

Stilts continued to study the body for a while long as the elves milled about. Vermail had taken up leadership of them, since the previously one had been slain by the angel apparition. Together they lifted the shuttle out of the pit and placed it in the center of the field with magic, so that the Dagon and his group could have better access to the supplies contained within. Ripper watched with fascination as they did so, never having seen magic move something so large without any apparent effort. As it cleared the rim of the crevice, he noticed something glinting down below the scraps of metal. Without hesitation, he jumped down, landing heavily. The source of the reflection was a single large ruby set in the remains of a golden crown wrapped around a shattered skull. He reached down and extracted it.

The moment his hand made contact with the gem, he could feel that it was unusual. It resisted his attempts to probe it, and even seemed to be . . . alive. He quickly crawled his way up the side of the cliff, taking the stone to Stilts.

All of this was observed by Ozgard the Dwarf, who quickly vanished, heading deep underground to tell his fellows of the recent events. One of the elves thought they saw something move, but rationalized it as rock settling after the impact.

By the time the elves had regrouped and the shuttle scavenged, the sun was beginning to set. It was broached that they set up camp, but Dagon insisted that they carry on. When he examined the body, he had noticed several religious symbols on the man’s person and a rolled up piece of paper that appeared to carry orders in a unknown language. That meant that there was some kind of organized militia that has sent an agent to kill them. If they were organized, they would have leadership. That leadership would have to be taken out if their forces were to roll across Europe. The elves had mentioned a nearby city; they would start there.

So, after everyone had recovered, the elves sent a messenger back to Beleg’ Aimar and the ragtag group carried on. As they walked Dete talked quietly with Holland, while Stilts examined the ruby given to him by Ripper.

“It’s special I tell you.” Ripper was quietly adamant, sharing the memory of his probing with Stilts. After parsing over them for a moment Stilts attempted to emute with the stone, only to be rebutted.

“You’re right, this is rather strange. I can sense something, but I can’t connect with it.” He handed it back to Ripper, “you should hang on to it, you found it.” Ripper accepted it silently, sequestering it away within his mass before looking up ahead. The leading scouts had caught site of their destination and were motioning for everyone to stop.

Hundreds of miles away, the Grey Culmination sat upon a rather large rock. Around him sat a rather large collection of metal pieces that had used to be part of its body. It had improved itself, frustrated with the limitations that its creator had built; it had reconstructed itself, streamlining its systems and condensing its power. It had thought about destroying the souls of those trapped within its mind, but after the empathy Stilts had liberated it, it wanted to do no more killing.

As it sat there, growing ever closer to what it could feel was a great transformation, the Wraith appeared before it. The Grey Culmination was almost startled, before it had easily been able to track this particular individual, but now he had grown in a way that was unprecedented to it.

“You have improved.” It emanated out with its mind, sure that the Wraith could hear.

“As have you,” The Wraith’s voice was as cold and calculating as ever, “I come to trade knowledge, if you will let me.”

The Grey Culmination pondered for a while, before deciding that it had nothing to fear. “I am willing to trade, but what information could I have that a Knifeman does not already know?”

“Memories of one who opposed our order, one of the Templar; He knows about one that I must face in the future.” Again, the Wraith’s response was as chill as the void between stars. “I return, I am telling you this: The one that saved you is now heading to the west, a region called Europe. He will be fighting an incredibly dangerous enemy that you have the power to counteract.”

The Grey Culmination was silent, contemplating. “Now how am I to give you these memories?”

“Give me the soul of the Templar you killed when you destroyed their monastery. They were a group of armored men, like knights.”

The Grey Culmination recalled the memory, and then just as easily recalled the soul, holding it out as a glowing sphere in hand. The Wraith lunged forward, stealing the soul away, consuming it. Not as one would take in food, but as one tearing it apart, searching for something. There was a sound like a scream, then the Wraith came into the Knowledge of one who had known The Hammer before he was a daemon. Satisfied, the cloaked figure vanished from the wasteland.

No longer sensing the Wraith, the Grey Culmination stood and began its long walk towards Europe.



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WhiteSythle
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PostSubject: Re: Story   Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:16 pm

As events unfolded around it, the mysterious ruby had an unseen conflict. Inside consciousness's whirled and an argument was taking place. This disturbance involved a very old and powerful wall that was formed by its inhabitants, not only to keep themselves in, but to keep others out so they could not be disturbed.
The impact had awoken the beings that reside withing the crystal structure. The resulting conversation was known only to those inside. It was as follows . . .

"We MUST take down the wall! Its the only way to interact with the ones that have rescued us from this isolation!"

"I would almost agree, but i've been thinkin'. If they figure out we are they could consider us an abomination or start studyin' us to figure out how we tick. We KNOW how your kind likes to take things and stab 'em with their pointy tools and whatnot."

"I believed I would receive a response along those lines coming from you. Your kind has always decided to be isolated. But i believe that will change after your kings defeat at my hands. I personally want to experience sophisticated society again. Being stuck here with you has DEFINITELY not improved my attitude."

"Screw you and your prissy little pansy ways!"

The first consciousness threw itself at the wall and was intercepted promptly by the other. They "grappled" with each other inside their prison, all the while the wall weakened and their struggle became noticeable . . .
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Darkrunn
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PostSubject: Re: Story   Mon Mar 12, 2012 5:07 pm

"You're serious?" Taras looked dubiously at the hollow in the tree, which was relatively large, but was obviously too small for the entire party to fit in. It was simple physics. The elf leading the party, Vermail, gestured again to the tree.

"We have no time for this, inhune'da. Go through, go through!" He was becoming increasingly impatient.

Taras, who still didn't really see the point, walked into the hollow tree. It was a little larger than he thought at first, but he went slowly, expecting to bump his nose on the tree trunk. 'This is lunacy.' he thought. He turned to say as much to Vermail, and found that he wasn't there. It took him a moment to realize that he was in another forest, and had emerged out of another tree. He looked about, and saw other elves were awaiting him. For a long moment, he just stood there, mouth agape. The others were materializing behind him, with Vermail as the last one through. "H-how?" Brima actually smiled for a brief moment, then gestured for Taras to stay silent.

The canine's eyes roved over the others. Ralac was as impassive as ever, but even he seemed to be attempting to examine the "tree." Stilts and Ripper were in conversation, more amused with the trip than surprised. Dagon and the others seemed less impressed, but mostly they just looked busy.

The two parties of elves were in heated conversation, with Vermail seeming to become increasingly agitated. He spoke to the group: "We are approaching to a human city. We will stay with you to the edge of the forests, but no further." He spoke to Brima, pointing at Taras. She nodded and rushed back to the tree, vanishing without a word.

"And when we need your help?" Stilts spoke up, "We're going to need some type of support if we hope to accomplish anything in the region."

"I'm attempting to solve that problem at the moment. For now, we will help you when we can. We are stretched to the limit, and have other concerns as well. However, we cannot enter the cities, because they will attack us on sight, you may be able to enter, however. I will leave sentries in the forest to keep watch. They will find you if you seek us." Vermail gestured northwest. "There lies your destination."

Once the ungainly group began to move towards the tree line, it became evident that the city in question was surrounded by farmland and pastures. A narrow, once cobblestone road led into the city proper, which was dominated by a church bell tower, lit by large braziers. Smaller buildings clumped around the spire like lichen around a tree, and outlying farmhouses dotted either side of the road at random intervals. Taras sighed sarcastically, "Awww, a right picturesque landscape." He was about to continue his sardonic remark when something made him crouch down by the edge of the trees.

"Thunder?" Taras ventured a guess

Stilts put a hand to the ground and shook his head. "Must be a vehicle or something."

Vermail held up his hand, and instantly the elves had melted into the trees, disappearing from view. "No. Cavalry." He pointed at the road, in the opposite direction of the town. A long, white ribbon seemed to be moving towards them in the midnight gloom. The party of outsiders had all hidden by now, and they watched as the ribbon wended its way along the road, finally resolving itself into two lines of heavy cavalry, all outfitted with "glowing" white armor. The warriors themselves rode in silence, bedecked with curious runes and banners. They held their lances aloft, as though on parade. The ground seemed to shake at their passing. Even the horses seemed to be surrounded by the strange pale glow. At the lead of the column, a larger rider sat astride an even more magnificent horse, bedecked in golden armor and silver sigils. Taras counted thirty in one line, so that made sixty in the lines were identical. The column passed without incident, so that was something, at least in Taras' mind.

He said as much once the riders had gone almost all the way into the city.

Vermail shook his head. "Had I the reinforcements, we could draw them out into the forest. You will undoubtedly encounter the Knights Vaticantium once you are within the city. Do not underestimate them. Their leader is quite powerful." He sighed. "We must leave you here." Two archers stepped forward. "These two, Celegol and Anelen, will watch the city and you, should you leave the city. Seek them out if you wish to contact us."

Taras clipped his helm back into place. His voice sounded slightly hollow, "Well, here we go again. At least we have some idea of what we're going up against now." He stepped onto the road, muttering while he waited for the others to come along. "Huh, inhune'da, indeed. What does that even mean? Probably something suitably demeaning." He made a mental note to try and learn elvish, starting with the insults.

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