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Thread: Clean and Clear

  1. #1
    ברוך אתה אדוני אלוהינו
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    Alma Waterstone
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    Clean and Clear

    Cool and calm, the moonlit waters lapped against the shore near Gisela, steadily reaching higher on the Coronian beach. So, too, did it rise on the young man wading nude into the tide, holding aloft a jeweled goblet of a pale blue wood. When he was waist deep, the magician Caduceus stopped, lowering the cup into the sea. He watched closely as the water poured over the lip, filling the bowl, before raising it once more to pour over himself, the salty scent of the sea filling his nose.

    With that, he closed his eyes and focused his thoughts on the feel of the ocean, pushing him ashore, then pulling him to the depths with the perfect rhythm. In each tug, he let a piece of himself flow outward, joining the sea in its lunar waltz. A feeling of soothing calm washed over him as his mind dissolved into the medium. In a final release of will, his now-empty body spoke, "Nischa." The simple word seemed to vibrate the entire ocean, every drop of the sea jumping in the energy of its call.

    Steadily, his mind coalesced once more under the waves, in a forest of kelp rising high overhead, into the endless blue. Enormous oysters were scattered about the sea floor, and nereids swam all about, paying no heed of the visitor to their realm.

    But one creature took note and spoke, in a voice soft as sea foam, but harsh as tropical rain. "Welcome, conjurer," it said. "We have been expecting you."
    Last edited by Zook Murnig; 09-17-13 at 08:16 AM.
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  2. #2
    ברוך אתה אדוני אלוהינו
    EXP: 9,299, Level: 4
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    Alma Waterstone
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    25
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    Human (Q'Doshi Sinai)
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    An oceanid floated into view, dark green hair and long beard flowing over his muscled torso like seaweed. Blue scaled gills opened and closed at his throat as he spoke, "We have heard of your visit to the smoldering king, and the deals you have made with him." As the creature passed, it watched Caduceus closely with wide-set, piglike eyes, then took no more notice.

    Behind the magician came the playful voice of a river nymph. "We know that you have come to broker a deal with Us as well," she said, tending her blonde locks with a comb of fishbones. As he turned to face her, she giggled coyly and raced away.

    The young magus turned all about, searching for the Water Queen with whom he had come to speak. "Where is Nischa?" he demanded. "Where is your queen, the Lady of the Wave?"

    From all around him, the nereids and selkies and oceanids turned to face him at once, no longer passively gliding by without heed to the magician. "We are Nischa," sang a thousand voices at once. "What offering do you bring for Us, conjurer?"

    Caduceus had heard rumors that Nischa rarely, if ever, took a single form, preferring to work and deal through her servants. Still, it surprised him to find not only that this was true, but the extreme to which she took it. Not only did she work through the creatures, she identified as all of them, both individually and as a group.

    "A chalice, O Queen, with enchantment laid upon," replied Caduceus holding the cup toward the oceanid, still nearest to him. "I offer this to you in exchange for your consideration. I would make compact with you, would that you, in your great wisdom, have me."

    The creature seemed to appraise the object, turning it about in his webbed hands. Finally, he came to a conclusion, speaking alone to the magician. "A fine gift, of good make. A paltry offering, however, for what you ask." His porcine eyes turned back to Caduceus. "A counteroffer," the spirit continued, carving with bloodied talons into the surface of the goblet. The magician could just barely glimpse something growing within the etchings, whispering promises of power. "You will perform three tasks for Us. We will give them to you in time, but for the first. That, you must complete ere We make compact with you."

    "If that is what you require, Ondine, then I would perform as you wish. What is the first task?"

    The spirit turned the offering over in his clawed hands, tracing the rim idly as it spoke. "Our temple in the elf-home is befouled with a corruption most vile, and this perversion threatens to flow on to the Great Sea, into Our very essence." He reached out to the magician, returning the gift to the giver with a shark-toothed grin. "Seek out Our shrine in what the fair ones call Alye Duina, and use this implement of Our power to purify the sin that darkens Our waters."
    Last edited by Zook Murnig; 10-10-13 at 11:50 AM.
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  3. #3
    ברוך אתה אדוני אלוהינו
    EXP: 9,299, Level: 4
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    Name
    Alma Waterstone
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    Human (Q'Doshi Sinai)
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    In the cold predawn light, Cohen turned the chalice over and over in his hands, examining the fine lattice of coral that had grown in the week following his meeting with the sovereign of seas. The salt air of the ocean filled his nostrils as a breeze picked up, tossing his long hair. The Deshnoke rocked on the waves, and the magician thought he could almost see a pair of wide-set, dark eyes keeping pace and watching him from beneath the prow of the ship.

    Her words echoed even now in his mind. "Bathe this instrument in Our waters every day until you reach the elf-homes. Enchantment will grow and flourish upon it, purifying and causing to purify. Speak the name of 'wehdr,' and my will be done." So had she tasked him with the necromancer Xem'zund's final exorcism from Raiaera, even as its people celebrated their victory against him and mourned the loss of the legendary mercenary Godhand Striker.

    His eyes rising now, the magician peered across the waves. In the distance, just coming over the horizon, the necropolis of Beinost lay under the star-studded night sky. Within its walls, smaller points of light could be seen, marking watch towers and street lamps. The city, even under the blanket of darkness, glowed with what little magic the elves could still muster.

    "Haunting, isn't it?" came a soft feminine voice belonging to the mage's companion, Gavrila Endora. She leaned against the rail beside him, dark locks falling about her shoulders and framing a pale face and stormy eyes, radiant in the moonlight. "Master Cicero brought me here once, when the city of Anebrilith still stood. Three years he oversaw my studies at Istien, determined that I should learn the music of Turlin.

    "I still remember the way Raiaera shone in the darkness, its every city, every citizen a beacon of light in a black world." Her voice cracked and strained as she reflected on the bright past of the broken land. "Now, they struggle to hold that blackness at bay," she choked out, tears welling beneath tightened brows.

    Cohen nodded. "The war was waged was not only on the elven people, but on their lands, and their hearts. The damage may never be undone." He turned to lean back against the prow, and watched his friend. The magician reached out, taking her hand in his. "But we will take one burden from their shoulders, Gavrila." As she looked to him and braved a smile, he squeezed gently on delicate fingers. "You and I."
    Last edited by Zook Murnig; 09-24-13 at 06:18 PM.
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  4. #4
    ברוך אתה אדוני אלוהינו
    EXP: 9,299, Level: 4
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    Name
    Alma Waterstone
    Age
    25
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    Human (Q'Doshi Sinai)
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    Russet
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    In the dark of night, the Deshnoke turned from the elven port, instead depositing her Coronian passengers on the swampy Alye Duina, at the mouth of the river Elleduin, a few miles to the south. The magician had purchased one of the merchant ship's dinghies and necessary provisions for the duo's use in following the river, and so they rowed out under the stars.

    They avoided the torchlit city in this way, and with it the suspicions of what policing force remained. Too much time would be lost in questions and negotiations, and too dangerous for them both would be the desperation of its long-besieged citizens.

    Rather, they paddled upstream in the waning moonlight, silent but for the gentle splashing of oars breaking the surface. As the boat neared shore, the bittersweet scent of wet earth filled Cohen's nostrils, softened by the floral tones of honeysuckle and clover. The gentle croaking of bullfrogs and chirping crickets carried across the night air.

    Over half a year had passed since Cohen first met Djinn in his molten temple. The young magician needed the salamander king's assistance to make the wand he now carried at his side. More than that, to one day bind or banish the demon that grew within him, he would need the aid of his rivals and contemporaries, the other elemental powers. He had impressed the fiery monarch with his strength of will, then, but not before Gavrila saved his life with a kiss.

    She had been apprenticed then to his old mentor, Chic Cicero of Hearthwood. The girl was a gifted medium, and the old man had seen to it that she was trained in other areas -- the song magic of the elves, swordplay and its occult side, and, most importantly, research. Gavrila had been a godsend in his search for the illusive water spirit, Nischa, and it was she who suggested to him the particular offering of the chalice, though it failed to impress.

    Time wore on, and dawn broke, revealing the rolling hills of Raiaera on either side of the river, carpeted in blossoms and tall grass. The countryside passed as the pair steadily rowed on, taking turns to keep up a steady pace. The moon set early, and the sun rode overhead, into the west.

    When the sky at last burned with the dying light of the day, Gavrila carefully pulled the boat up on the south bank of the river. The Emyn Naug range in the southern horizon, Timbrethinil lay ahead, further along the river. For now, though, they would rest and keep themselves fresh for the trials that surely awaited them in the forest.

    As the young medium tied down the oaken vessel, Cohen stepped ashore, setting the linen sack of provisions on the grass. A gritty, slime-drenched hand wrapped around the magician's ankle, where he stood sorting through the supplies, eliciting a cry of surprise that was quickly squelched by the muddy waters that filled his open, gasping mouth.

    At the noise, Gavrila looked up in time to see only her friend's hand, swiftly sinking below the surface. The medium cursed under her breath as she reached for her blade.
    Last edited by Zook Murnig; 10-01-13 at 09:40 AM.
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  5. #5
    ברוך אתה אדוני אלוהינו
    EXP: 9,299, Level: 4
    Level completed: 6%, EXP required for next level: 4,701
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    Alma Waterstone
    Age
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    Human (Q'Doshi Sinai)
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    The magician's eyes burned in the murky, filthy water. His lungs joined in the symphony of fire, vying with the freezing water for his swimming, swirling thoughts as his assailant pulled him deeper and deeper. He felt as much as heard the splash of his companion diving in after him, a sudden pulse of pressure against him, and through the silt and scorching pain managed to see her outlined in the failing light, sword in hand, swimming after him.

    Flailing his arms to little effect, he caught a glimpse of his attacker -- rotted flesh, exposed bone, and empty eyes -- and felt another wave of fear and anxiety overtaking him. Just as the girl's blade swept in a slow, deliberate arc through the water, biting into the thing's arm, he called upon the very thing he needed most. "Shaddai el chai!" he cried, though it came out as little more than a gurgling and the last of his air bubbling up to the surface, replaced by another blaze of pain as his chest tightened.

    The drowning conjurer's consciousness wavered as his spell coalesced, and he was dimly aware of the rushing wave hurtling all three bodily upon the shore, tumbling in a heap against the beached dinghy, then nothing.
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  6. #6
    ברוך אתה אדוני אלוהינו
    EXP: 9,299, Level: 4
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    Name
    Alma Waterstone
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    Human (Q'Doshi Sinai)
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    Rotting, dripping, peeling flesh rose from the tainted river. First a gaunt arm, atrophied muscle clinging still to waterlogged bone, then a deteriorating skull broke the surface, followed by the rest of the fell corpse. Its face was nearly gone, like much of its skin, leaving yellowed bone and blackened meat bared, and its eyes were bloated and bloodshot from saturation. Lank black hair hung in patches from its scalp. The animate soldier wore rusted out chainmail and Raiaeran insignia adorned the eaten-through sword belt at its waist. Two more drowned soldiers surfaced and climbed ashore behind the first as its deathly grin turned to its robed and unconscious prey.

    Gavrila, coughing and sputtering, watched from her cover behind the bow of the beached vessel as these abominations drew their swords and closed upon her friend. Terror and nausea struggled for control of her senses and the girl fought hard not to vomit at their abhorrent forms. Forcing down the bile, she picked up her sword and rose to her feet. Angling the blade to catch the light of the dying sun, she whispered a fluid and haunting rhythm to imbue the steel with the purifying power of that distant star, trapping it within. That done, she drew up her fear and urges to flee, projecting them onto the nearest of the beasts as she shouted in challenge.

    The withered carcass recoiled from the overwhelming mass of living emotion, and as Gavrila closed upon it, her burning steel seared through its guts. The corpse's rotting entrails ignited in purifying flame that engulfed its quickly collapsing form, a cloying stench rising from the smoke and ash.

    As their assailant recovered from the strike, the pair of remaining undead rushed her, swords drawn. Their assault forced her to reel back to the boat, nearly tripping over Cohen and the bones of the skeleton he'd shattered in his escape. Parrying one sword with the vibrating tip of her own, it shook violently and threw its wielder's arm wide. The swordswoman kicked at the dead warrior, throwing him back a pair of steps and spraying brackish water from her clothes. This aggression, however, was swiftly punished as its companion raked the jagged, rusted edge of its blade across her ribs, biting to the bone. Gavrila choked out a curse, recoiling from the wound, and quickly swept her sword at the skeleton's neck, decapitating her foe.

    The final monster, regaining its balance, ran at her once more, sword leading. Gavrila, clutching the soaked and stinging gash, dove aside as her opponent's blade dug into the solid oak of the dinghy. Screwing up her courage and pushing past the pain as the creature tugged at its weapon, she threw herself at the undead soldier. She swept her leading foot behind the cadaver and gripped its slimy skull, throwing her weight into tackling it to the ground even as she channeled her mind into what remained of the dead soldier.
    Last edited by Zook Murnig; 09-17-13 at 08:52 AM.
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  7. #7
    ברוך אתה אדוני אלוהינו
    EXP: 9,299, Level: 4
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    Name
    Alma Waterstone
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    Human (Q'Doshi Sinai)
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    Russet
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    Bleeding and in agony, Gavrila dug her nails into the sloughing flesh and coarse scalp of the zombie. Even as it writhed under her grip, lunging its rotten jaw at her throat and clawing at her stomach as if to tear out her intestines, she grit her teeth through the pain, pouring her soul into the abhorrent beast. After a moment, its assault slowed and weakened before finally relenting into lassitude as her mind subdued the necromantic energies animating it. The least painful of her work done, she let herself fall into the creature, bodily and more.

    The necrotic taint dug into her psyche as it plunged deeper and deeper into the fragmented mind of the fallen soldier. Images flashed before her mind, sounds playing back in her ears, all while strangely familiar odors filtered through her sinuses. Gavrila felt the touch of her lover's embrace, smelling the raspberry scents of the elven woman's silken tresses. Her children's laughter rang like bells all around. Sun shone overhead, and its warmth touched her to the core while a breeze stirred the curling hairs of her beard. Thunder crashed in the distance as a storm rolled in, far too quickly to be natural, and the Sun's light was extinguished by the putrid rain. Her heart filled with dread as her love's soft touch turned cold and needle sharp, juvenile laughter growing hoarse and mocking. The tartness of raspberries gave way to vinegar, burning her nose even as she struggled to breathe the thinning air. Her eyes opened wide in terror at her wife's betrayal, turning to behold a pale, grinning, fleshless visage, with crimson hair falling out in clumps even as the horror thrust its bony fist into her chest, shattering ribs and shredding her lungs, all while her heart was broken.

    She crumbled to the brittle, dying grass, and the vision faded. The medium quaked and seized on the riverbank, curling herself about her knees to recover from the trauma of the delve. She lay there for several minutes, quivering and starting in the moonlight, before she finally unclenched her eyes and began to regain her senses. Her gaze settled quickly on Cohen, coughing and vomiting on the ground by the boat. She let out a sob, thankful for his survival, and praying that she never had to lose so dear a friend.
    Last edited by Zook Murnig; 09-20-13 at 11:51 PM.
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  8. #8
    ברוך אתה אדוני אלוהינו
    EXP: 9,299, Level: 4
    Level completed: 6%, EXP required for next level: 4,701
    Level completed: 6%,
    EXP required for next level: 4,701

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    Zook Murnig's Avatar

    Name
    Alma Waterstone
    Age
    25
    Race
    Human (Q'Doshi Sinai)
    Gender
    Female
    Hair Color
    Black
    Eye Color
    Russet
    Build
    5'4" / 129 lb.
    Job
    Witch

    View Profile
    You return to Us, conjurer.

    Cohen was drowning. Water poured into his lungs through mouth and nose, filled his eyes. His head swam as pressure built in his skull.

    It is meet that you do, for you have seen a symptom of the Sin in Our temple.

    His stomach swelled, overflowing with mud, punctured from within by the needle-sharp bones of fish. Blinded by stinging salt, Cohen could do naught but flounder in the thick, heavy fluid.

    The Speaker of the Dead, forgotten by time, though he be dead once more, lingers in Our realm. He besmirches Our powers to restore his own, as the Old God of the Desert has blessed him with the knowledge to do.

    Hot, viscous, coppery blood poured from the dying magician's gums, nose, eyes, as he clawed at his burning throat, as if to tear it out for want of air.

    But though silt be sand, the Desert can lay no claim to Sea, and Our power remains, as always, Ours. Just as the Old One took a champion in vengeance, so, too, do We task Our need to you. Cleanse Us of this filth.
    Last edited by Zook Murnig; 10-10-13 at 11:22 AM.
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