Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16

Thread: Hidden Beneath The Canopy

  1. #1
    Hand of Virtue
    EXP: 85,914, Level: 12
    Level completed: 69%, EXP required for next level: 4,086
    Level completed: 69%,
    EXP required for next level: 4,086

    AP
    7
    GP
    16,670
    SirArtemis's Avatar

    Name
    Artemis Eburi
    Age
    28
    Race
    Human (+ Dovicarus)
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Dark Brown and Gray
    Eye Color
    Piercing Blue
    Build
    5'8"
    Job
    Smith

    Hidden Beneath The Canopy

    Prologue


    "So how does this work?" Artemis asked, staring at an apparatus of metal balls suspended by wires, endlessly ticking in its methodical display. "Is this some magically enchanted toy or something?"

    Daros stood on the opposite side of the room with a grin on his face. He pushed his rectangular spectacles further up his nose, his hazel eyes focused on the delicate work before him. "No Artemis, it's not magic; that would be physics,” he said with a chuckle." By the way, I may have a job for you."

    Artemis rolled his eyes, leaning back in his seat and kicking his feet up onto the corner of Daros' liviol desk. He made sure to keep his boots off the wood, as the last time they had marked the rich blue color – though Daros easily fixed it. He could not help but shake his head every time he glanced around the eccentric man's home, as nearly everything seemed out of place. Where one would expect to see family photos, there were images of the countless conclusions of Daros' many experiments. Where one would expect to see walls lined with books, there were countless toys and trinkets, whirring and dancing and spinning and clicking - the entire room was abuzz with the sounds of magic and science. Even where one would expect to see a door, there was instead a magical stone platform that worked as a portal system between rooms, all attuned so that only the owner himself could designate where each would lead; the stone circle, a small step up off the ground, sat covered with countless runes inscribed upon the surface that pulsed with an icy-blue light.

    "What kind of job would this be?" the young man asked with a raised eyebrow, always wary of the mage's antics.

    "Well, I'm not sure what you would call it. I suppose a pickup," Daros said, tapping a finger to his lips while looking up at nothing in particular. "I need you to go… and pick something up. So yes, a pickup. That works."

    "And what would I be picking up, and from where?"

    "Well, it's hard to say specifically."

    "What is hard to say? The what or the where?"

    "Both."

    "That's helpful," Artemis sighed.

    "Well there's not much I can really say," Daros said, pushing up his glasses again. "I can tell you the general location, where you have to find someone in particular, who can tell you more about where to find the item I need. That's as specific as I can get really."

    "You haven't been specific about anything. What's the general location?"

    "Oh, right. It's Dheathain - the Luthmor forest to be exact."

    "Never heard of it," Artemis said, scratching at an itch on the side of his head.

    "That's okay, it doesn't matter. All you need to know is that it’s rainy and full of life – creatures you’ve probably never encountered. It’s pretty interesting really. I'll teleport you to the port city of Talmhaidh, which is just west of the forest. From there, you can find your way. Also, I've been meaning to give you something." The mage left his table, walking over to the warrior and handing him a small vial. "Since we'll no longer be in communication once I send you off, this is your ticket home."

    "It doesn't look like a ticket," Artemis said, turning the bottle in his fingers and staring at the glistening icy-blue liquid within.

    "Well, when you're ready to come home, just pop the cork and pour it out onto the ground beneath your feet. Within a moment you'll be carried off by the lovely ferryman of magic and dropped off back in Knife’s Edge and in my front yard, so to speak..." the mage said with a sly grin. "And once you're home, it'll be easy enough to refill. I just made a large stock."

    Artemis looked up at the mage cautiously, thinking back on the many times the wizard's cryptic language had left him in unpleasant circumstances. "So when do I leave?" he asked Daros, tying off the small satchel on his belt where he had just deposited the vial.

    "Whenever you're ready."

    Artemis dropped his feet from the corner of the desk and quickly stood up, taking a step away from the wizard as if he had just threatened his life.

    "Daros..."

    "Yes?" the mage responded innocently.

    "Give me the pill first. And an extra for the trip back. I don't want to deal with that vomiting again."

    "Ah, of course," Daros chuckled, pulling two tablets from a pocket of his blue robes and handing them to the man. "One now, one later. Also, take this – it’s a container for the item you’ll need to get for me."

    Artemis took them cautiously, slipping the container and a tablet into his pocket so that they would not be lost in the teleport. "Alright, now I'm ready."

    "You sure?" the mage asked, taking a moment to brush some of his chestnut brown hair, which somehow was both messy and neat at once, out of his eyes.

    "Yes, I have all I need with me. Let's get on with it."

    "Alright, take the pill," Daros said, closing his eyes and tapping Artemis on the shoulder. As he took a lozenge, the magic grasped at the man, tugging him into the rift of space that transported people all over the land of Althanas. He felt his stomach churn and his head spin. The countless colors, covering the entire spectrum, rushed passed him before his mind could process any of it. He felt as if he were swimming through an immense river of multicolored light that both squeezed and stretched him at once, and within the few seconds of magic, it always felt like a lifetime.

    When Artemis landed, dropped onto a squishy patch of mud in an open market area, he spit out the pill, annoyed that he had not had time to stop the spell.

    "This is just one of your damn bad breath mints, Daros," he cursed under his breath.
    Last edited by SirArtemis; 04-01-12 at 12:33 AM.
    2011 Althy Winner - Most Realistic Character
    2016 Althy Winner - Best Contributor & Player of the Year (tie)

    Artemis Eburi Wiki Page
    Current Character Profile

    Solo Quests:
    Hidden Beneath The Canopy (75)
    Lost Loot of Lornius (74)

  2. #2
    Hand of Virtue
    EXP: 85,914, Level: 12
    Level completed: 69%, EXP required for next level: 4,086
    Level completed: 69%,
    EXP required for next level: 4,086

    AP
    7
    GP
    16,670
    SirArtemis's Avatar

    Name
    Artemis Eburi
    Age
    28
    Race
    Human (+ Dovicarus)
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Dark Brown and Gray
    Eye Color
    Piercing Blue
    Build
    5'8"
    Job
    Smith

    Part One

    The Danger Ahead



    Rain continued to fall heavily, as was custom in Dheathain. An open expanse of grasslands preceded the forest of Luthmor, frequently flooded by storms from the ocean to the west; the rocky earth had trouble absorbing the constant barrage of water. With each step the ground sucked at Artemis’ boots as he splashed through, as if holding him back in warning of what awaited him.

    Artemis’ dark hair lay matted down as droplets of water trickled along his face, tickling him before dropping from his nose or chin. He blew through his lips, spraying a mist out before him as he continued along to the dense and humid canopy that awaited him. It seemed bizarre how quickly the border broke between the forest and the grasslands - as if the line had been drawn with intent.

    As he stepped over that border and through the boundaries of Luthmor, the warnings of those from the port city of Talmhaidh, where he had arrived, started to play in his mind.

    Nothing is as it seems in Luthmor.
    Watch for the fae, as they will watch for you.
    There is more poison within the forest than anywhere else on Althanas.

    That last one concerned Artemis most of all. With no experience with poison, things would become dire quickly if he were envenomed. As he was already here, the decision remained to continue onward, and so he did, despite the curtain of water that continuously obscured his view.

    As he left the clouded skies of the grasslands, he entered into the dim canopy of the forest, where the gloomy skies above darkened even more as the dense foliage blotted out the little light that had shone through. The expected vibrancy of the color green was a dismally dark shade that was more black than anything else.

    ‘If this is daylight, I’d hate to see nighttime,’ Artemis thought morbidly.

    With each step, the crunch of leaves and branches mingled with the squish and drip of the torrential downpour that continued without end. The forest edge acted as a barrier almost from the sound of life that existed within the wildwood. Now, within its living walls, a barrage of wild sounds assailed the young man, as if shouting for him to leave this place. Chirps and caws, squeals and squawks, the symphony of life sang in perfect balance; one would never imagine that the beautiful flow of the countless creatures would symbolize the endless dangers that resided within, each just a step away from the next.

    This was Luthmor forest of Dheathain – one of the most dangerous places in all Althanas; and Artemis had just arrived.
    Last edited by SirArtemis; 03-20-12 at 12:38 PM.
    2011 Althy Winner - Most Realistic Character
    2016 Althy Winner - Best Contributor & Player of the Year (tie)

    Artemis Eburi Wiki Page
    Current Character Profile

    Solo Quests:
    Hidden Beneath The Canopy (75)
    Lost Loot of Lornius (74)

  3. #3
    Hand of Virtue
    EXP: 85,914, Level: 12
    Level completed: 69%, EXP required for next level: 4,086
    Level completed: 69%,
    EXP required for next level: 4,086

    AP
    7
    GP
    16,670
    SirArtemis's Avatar

    Name
    Artemis Eburi
    Age
    28
    Race
    Human (+ Dovicarus)
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Dark Brown and Gray
    Eye Color
    Piercing Blue
    Build
    5'8"
    Job
    Smith

    Each step brought with it a new creature or plant, as if the entire forest were an undocumented cluster of organic material. Strange little animals slithered and scurried along the ground, one of which looked like a rat the size of a wolf. Countless plants swayed in the light breeze of the storm, many of which opened their maws wide to catch the occasional droplet that fell upon them. The colors were endless, covering the whole spectrum; even the dullness of the thick canopy along with the cloudy overhang could not keep the most vibrant of colors from showing themselves – some of them even emitted a dim glow. There were thousands of insects. Countless burrowed deep beneath the fertile soil while others made their journey above, all of various sizes and shapes; some even took to the air, buzzing along.

    Artemis wondered how many he was inadvertently destroying beneath his footprints, and decided to use the magic of his boots. Willing the sole to change, the base morphed into a wide mesh, creating a honeycomb beneath his feet to allow for easier steps and much more room for the potential bugs beneath. He did not know if it would help, but decided it was worth a try.

    “It’s so humid here,” he said through labored breaths. “Damn air feels thicker than a dwarven stout.”

    He felt sweat mixing beneath his armor and beads of it mingling with raindrops as they washed down his face. He was grateful for the cool water that, despite the struggle, found its way through the dense canopy, mostly in large chilly droplets.

    As he took his next step, one of these droplets struck him on the head, but this one was warm and did not wash away. He looked up as he touched the top of his head, feeling a soft, warm goo trickling slowly backwards.

    “Oh that’s disgusting,” he said as he noticed the source, which seemed to be a large creature the size of a full-grown man. It appeared as a feline head attached to a sloth’s body. Its sleek black frame hung by one arm from a tree’s branch as it swung back and forth. It was as if the creature had calculated the exact trajectory to land a hot mess of feces on the invader’s head, either as a warning or joke. If it had lips, it would have surely smiled at the sight of its success.

    Artemis leaned forward, letting the goo slide off his head and plop down onto the ground with an unpleasant squish. He looked around and noticed a small pool forming from the rainfall and knelt down, cupping the water to quickly wash his hair.

    As he rose, giving his hands a quick shake, a large objected flew in his direction. It was a bit larger than his head, but looked more like an insect than a bird. Its pair of bulbous eyes stared him down as it flew right for him, its stringy limbs and buzzing wings propelling it through the thick air.

    Before he could register what it was, his instinct reacted as he drew one of his enchanted mithril blades from its sheath and sliced the creature cleanly in half. Its lifeblood splattered along the dark mud, radiating a dull blue, while its head landed barely a meter away from the rest of it.

    With heart still pounding from the sudden adrenaline rush, Artemis quickly looked around, becoming more alert of his surroundings before kneeling down to look at what it was he so quickly killed.

    “This definitely isn’t going to be a vacation,” he mumbled while sheathing his blade.
    Last edited by SirArtemis; 03-20-12 at 10:18 PM.
    2011 Althy Winner - Most Realistic Character
    2016 Althy Winner - Best Contributor & Player of the Year (tie)

    Artemis Eburi Wiki Page
    Current Character Profile

    Solo Quests:
    Hidden Beneath The Canopy (75)
    Lost Loot of Lornius (74)

  4. #4
    Hand of Virtue
    EXP: 85,914, Level: 12
    Level completed: 69%, EXP required for next level: 4,086
    Level completed: 69%,
    EXP required for next level: 4,086

    AP
    7
    GP
    16,670
    SirArtemis's Avatar

    Name
    Artemis Eburi
    Age
    28
    Race
    Human (+ Dovicarus)
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Dark Brown and Gray
    Eye Color
    Piercing Blue
    Build
    5'8"
    Job
    Smith

    Part Two

    The Stars of Luthmor



    Hours passed quickly as Artemis wandered through the dense wildwood of Luthmor. He had lost his sense of direction and instead meandered along until night fell. Despite its little influence, the sun had finally hid for the day, and now the world became a completely different beast.

    The rain had finally stopped - for now. Creatures of the darkness crept from their holes, along with those who did their best to avoid the endless rains. In this brief moment of respite for the creatures of the forest, Artemis was given the gift of seeing what most would never see in their lives: the stars of Luthmor.

    The stars of Luthmor were not the stars of the outside world; the cloudless and open skies that poured forth their rain of light did not exist in Dheathain's forest. In a world hidden by clouds and canopies, their stars had a life of their own. Hundreds of insects fluttered through the still air, creating a chaotic array of bright dots. The pools and puddles of water emitted their own dull glow as the parasites within began to feed and digest, emitting colors of blue and red that merged into a rich hue of purple.

    Yet the stars of Luthmor were not alone. The leaves of the ferns and trees were no longer the near black of earlier in the day, but instead glowed with an icy blue that matched the intense look of Artemis' own eyes. The beasts of the forests joined as well. As Artemis glanced up he saw a diamond of white glowing between the yellow eyes of an owl, casually hooting as it awaited its moment to swoop down and strike. Nearby a spider worked quickly, weaving a web of doom that would earn her a meal before the rains resumed. Even a tiny frog, still as a statue as its orange and green fingers clung to a leaf, waited patiently to dim one of the stars forever.

    What scared Artemis most was a black hunting cat that lazily straddled a thick branch of a nearby tree, barely fifteen meters away. A single stripe of crimson ran down its body, beginning at the tip of its nose and following along its spine before spiraling along its tail. The cat yawned at Artemis, blinking the slumber of the rainstorm away before dimming the blood-red glow and reverting to complete black, preparing for the night's hunt.

    "They sure know how to make someone feel welcome," Artemis said, glancing around. "At least they make sure the roads are lit."

    Artemis could not deny the beauty of the forest, but he remembered what they had told him.

    Nothing is as it seems in Luthmor.

    With danger lurking from every direction, caution led Artemis' decisions. He withdrew his daggers, carefully treading along the still-moist ground. Whatever he faced, Artemis would be prepared - he would make sure of that.
    Last edited by SirArtemis; 03-28-12 at 02:32 AM.
    2011 Althy Winner - Most Realistic Character
    2016 Althy Winner - Best Contributor & Player of the Year (tie)

    Artemis Eburi Wiki Page
    Current Character Profile

    Solo Quests:
    Hidden Beneath The Canopy (75)
    Lost Loot of Lornius (74)

  5. #5
    Hand of Virtue
    EXP: 85,914, Level: 12
    Level completed: 69%, EXP required for next level: 4,086
    Level completed: 69%,
    EXP required for next level: 4,086

    AP
    7
    GP
    16,670
    SirArtemis's Avatar

    Name
    Artemis Eburi
    Age
    28
    Race
    Human (+ Dovicarus)
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Dark Brown and Gray
    Eye Color
    Piercing Blue
    Build
    5'8"
    Job
    Smith

    Part Three

    Shadows Within Shadows



    With colorful light from every direction, the shadows that managed to survive seemed more ominous. An almost impenetrable darkness lingered beneath the dense canopy that warned of dangers one would not find anywhere else in the world. Artemis’ intuition – a keen and reliable tool – shouted ceaselessly.

    “I really should have timed my visit better. This seems like a very bad idea.” Artemis’ words filtered into the air and became just another sound of the forest, joining the symphony.

    But he did not belong.

    With each carefully placed step, it seemed that Artemis’ heart beat a millisecond faster than it had before. His breaths flowed in and out faster and faster.

    The sentient spirit of Artemis’ bow, currently in its passive form as a black bracer upon the man’s left wrist, sent its thoughts through the warrior. ‘An ominous magic lingers in this area, Artemis.’ Judicis’ words showed a fear and caution that were unfamiliar to the wielder, and that worried him most of all.

    “Yeah,” Artemis agreed quietly, “something feels very off right now.”

    As he spoke, a head began to rise from the shadows a few paces behind the man. Slowly it ascended – a shadow within a shadow – taking shape as it left the sanctuary of darkness. Its arrival produced silence as the creature’s features became distinct and the truth of it became apparent.

    ‘Artemis, it is close!’ The urgency of Judicis’ warning caused Artemis to turn abruptly, and the unexpected sight sent him staggering back several steps. The creature before him resembled a hybrid of an elf and an extremely large spider. The image reminded him much of the legends he had read on centaurs – creatures that were half man and half horse. However, this creature was not a simple story.

    The part that was elf lead the way, with a heinous grin full of jagged teeth that craved a taste of flesh. Its hair glowed with the deepest black, as if it too had a life of its own. Each strand found its own direction and place to cling to him, some even over its face. His hands reached out, poised to lunge with pointed claws that would impress even the fierce panther.

    Beneath the beast was the expected set of eight incredibly large and hairy legs of a spider, attached to the large bulb that held some of the most prized silk in Althanas – though Artemis had no time to even contemplate such things. All along the body, from the bulbous abdomen to the elven torso and even hidden beneath the black strands of hair, were glowing markings. They lined the flesh and pulsed a dull gray, the magical energy promising a painful and gruesome death to any who dared threaten it.

    Artemis stepped back, hoping to take advantage of the distance between them and gain the upper hand. He quickly sheathed his daggers as he continued to step back, the mud sucking at his boots, aiding the spider-elf. “Judicis," Artemis said aloud, lifting his left arm up as the sentient weapon shifted from a bracer into a shortbow. He pulled back on the string as a magical energy materialized where the arrow should have been. Its deep black color solidified into a projectile that would incapacitate the creature and give Artemis a clear advantage. As he let the shot fly, it struck the creature in the center of the chest; but instead of falling down, the creature only continued to grin as the gray runes pulsed a bright white where the attack had struck.

    In retaliation, the beast lifted its hands and sent out a fork of lighting. Artemis jumped to his left and behind a tree, barely able to move in time.

    ’My magic won’t work on him, Artemis. His own magical energy protects him.’

    “I can see that,” Artemis said, willing the bow back onto his wrist and withdrawing his daggers yet again. “Hopefully his magical energy doesn’t protect him from a sharp edge.”

    Artemis listened closely as he crouched down, readying himself for the creatures approach. After a few seconds of utter silence, he began to worry. He peeked around the edge of the tree, but saw nothing.

    His brow furrowed in confusion as he turned back, and as he did, he saw the spider-elf rise from the shadows before him. The beast lunged forward with its right hand. Artemis, barely able to react, quickly lifted his daggers to parry, creating an ‘x’ and lifting his arms to deflect the blow. The beast howled as the blades cut into its flesh, showing Artemis that it was indeed weak to an edge – and not just any edge. The twin mythril blades that Artemis had crafted himself were enchanted to slice through organic substances more effectively, and at the very least, the spider-elf’s internal magic did not protect him from that.

    As the creature staggered back in pain, Artemis tumbled to his left to return to where he had been before. An unexpected shot of pain struck him in the back as an exposed branch prodded at him mid tumble, but he did his best to shrug off the inconvenience.

    Daggers ready, he watched the spider-elf glance at its wound before looking back at the source of the pain. Its mouth opened wider than an elf’s ever should as it shrieked in sheer outrage, exposing a pair of gruesome looking fangs that dripped with a luminescent green. It was then that Artemis noticed the claws of each hand lined with a similar substance, though glowing to a milder degree.

    ‘Shit, poison.’
    Last edited by SirArtemis; 03-28-12 at 06:38 PM.
    2011 Althy Winner - Most Realistic Character
    2016 Althy Winner - Best Contributor & Player of the Year (tie)

    Artemis Eburi Wiki Page
    Current Character Profile

    Solo Quests:
    Hidden Beneath The Canopy (75)
    Lost Loot of Lornius (74)

  6. #6
    Hand of Virtue
    EXP: 85,914, Level: 12
    Level completed: 69%, EXP required for next level: 4,086
    Level completed: 69%,
    EXP required for next level: 4,086

    AP
    7
    GP
    16,670
    SirArtemis's Avatar

    Name
    Artemis Eburi
    Age
    28
    Race
    Human (+ Dovicarus)
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Dark Brown and Gray
    Eye Color
    Piercing Blue
    Build
    5'8"
    Job
    Smith

    The simple thought reminded Artemis of the dangers of the forest, and that the beauty of the stars were just a fašade. It seemed the advice he had been given, however unpleasant, continued to ring true:

    There is more poison within the forest than anywhere else on Althanas.

    Suddenly, the creature launched itself forward at an incredible pace. Its eight legs worked in perfect harmony as they propelled the spider-elf on, completely unhindered by the rough and challenging terrain. Artemis retreated a few steps, preparing a defensive stance as best he could.

    As the spider-elf arrived, its unhindered left hand launched forward for his chest. Artemis barely sidestepped the attack, but the creature's right hand quickly followed. His left dagger rose, ready to finish the job, but the beast quickly retracted its hideous claw to attack again with the left.

    The attack forced Artemis to jump backward and dodge, setting him on his heels and off balance. The spider-elf took advantage, rushing forward and barreling over the man and pinning him to a tree a few paces behind him. Its claws dug into his torso as the sharp talons punctured through his leather armor. The beast screamed into the man’s face in triumphant victory. Yet that scream cost it dearly as Artemis lifted his left dagger into the abdomen of the beast, easily cutting into the elven torso with the magic of his blade.

    The creature suddenly released the man and staggered back on its own, howling as its legs visibly weakened at the tremendous pain. Blood dripped slowly beneath it, leaving droplets of violet glowing wherever it stepped.

    The pair sized one another up again, realizing that this battle would be costly to both. Artemis began to feel the pain of the poison entering his bloodstream, and understood the risk he was in. The beast too felt the severity of its own wound, staring down the formidable human.

    This time, Artemis rushed forward, and the creature took a few steps back. As Artemis approached, he feigned right and dove left, tumbling beneath the creature as it fell for the feint. As he completed the roll, he sent his daggers out like wings, pulling them backwards as they cut cleanly through the creature’s rear four legs. As he finished, he pushed hard off the ground and launched himself on into a second roll from beneath the body. He barely escaped as the weight of the creature’s bulbous rear, unsupported, plopped to the ground. Artemis turned quickly, seeing that the beast was unable to retaliate, and he took a few steps back. With a quick burst of speed, he ran forward, leaping upon the back of the elven-half. The weight caused the last four legs to collapse beneath the pair and the elf’s torso to flatten upon the ground. Mounted upon its back, Artemis took his right dagger and pierced the creature’s heart.

    The spider-elf shrieked in pain – the dying breath of a beast that knows it has met its doom. Yet Artemis, afraid of the consequences of not finishing the job, used his left dagger to lift the creature’s head and the right to slit its throat, silencing it forever.

    Its remaining limbs instantly lost their strength, and the beast lay motionless upon the mud of the forest. As Artemis sat upon its back, taking in his victory over the creature, he watched as a pool of violet slowly grew beneath them both.

    He managed a brief smile before the poison spread enough to numb his body. He then collapsed upon the blood-stained earth as his vision blurred and his consciousness faded.
    Last edited by SirArtemis; 03-29-12 at 01:46 PM.
    2011 Althy Winner - Most Realistic Character
    2016 Althy Winner - Best Contributor & Player of the Year (tie)

    Artemis Eburi Wiki Page
    Current Character Profile

    Solo Quests:
    Hidden Beneath The Canopy (75)
    Lost Loot of Lornius (74)

  7. #7
    Hand of Virtue
    EXP: 85,914, Level: 12
    Level completed: 69%, EXP required for next level: 4,086
    Level completed: 69%,
    EXP required for next level: 4,086

    AP
    7
    GP
    16,670
    SirArtemis's Avatar

    Name
    Artemis Eburi
    Age
    28
    Race
    Human (+ Dovicarus)
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Dark Brown and Gray
    Eye Color
    Piercing Blue
    Build
    5'8"
    Job
    Smith

    Part Four

    Contact



    'Ugh, what the hell is that?' Artemis' eyes remained shut as he lay on his back, the muscles in his entire body aching unexplainably. 'What happened? Where am I?'

    As the memories of his last waking moments raced through mind, he remembered what had happened. In a sudden rush of surprise, he sat up and looked around. He instantly realized his mistake as he shouted out in pain from the abrupt motion.

    "Lay down! Don't be a fool! You must rest!"

    The voice came from the side, but Artemis did not bother looking that way until his body returned to the safe and comfortable ground. As he turned, letting his vision focus after the sharp and abrupt pain, he was not quite sure what he saw.

    "Do not move. Your body is still recovering from the effects of the poison. It had spread quite far by the time I arrived. You're lucky to be alive."

    "Who... who are you?" Artemis managed to say, though even speaking hurt terribly.

    "My name is Vulence. Daros informed me that you would be arriving. And it is good he did."

    Artemis wanted to speak, but the pain was great. He managed a few stifled grunts - the beginnings of a coherent thought - but quickly gave up.

    "I'm sure you have plenty of questions, and soon you may ask them all. For now, rest. I managed to cure you of the poison magically, but given the nature of your enemy, there are some after effects. I'm almost finished with an elixir that will ease the pain, so please just hold on for just a moment longer."

    Seconds quickly turned into minutes as Artemis lay on his back, staring up into the canopy. 'How long have I been out?' he wondered, as he noticed a glow above. It seemed morning had arrived, and the stars of Luthmor had set. Artemis felt grateful for that.

    The forest returned to a dimly lit and more traditional wildwood, with creatures chirping and buzzing around the way one would expect in Underwood - though with a bit less light. Still, the memories of the spider-elf haunted Artemis, both mentally and physically. He lay there, wondering why Daros had sent him, who this man was beside him, and why he looked so bizarre.

    Artemis' look fell upon Vulence and his unconventional features. For the most part he appeared as an elf would, and by human aging, looked like he were in his forties - which Artemis knew meant the man was likely centuries old. Yet he could not be sure, as Vulence had a characteristic that one would not expect a traditional elf to have: wings. The man had a rather large pair of wings that ran from the back of his knees to a full head above his actual one; they looked like those of an insect, and set on his back like those of a butterfly. They were a rich and deep sky blue, and the translucent material was elegantly designed with an array of greens and reds throughout. The designs swirled in a very beautiful manner and in perfect symmetry. Artemis had never seen anything quite like it.

    "It's done," Vulence said, bringing a small flask of liquid over to the man. "Here, drink this. It should help." He helped hold Artemis' head up gingerly as the man sipped at the liquid, some of it spilling and rolling down his chin. "There, that should do it."

    Artemis couldn't help but agree, as he instantly felt the rush of the elixir running through him, neutralizing the effects of the poison and making it easier to move and breathe. At least now he was able to speak.

    "Thank you Vulence," Artemis said, still on his back and staring up at the rustling foliage. "For saving me I mean."

    "Of course. That is my duty."

    "Your duty?"

    "Yes. I am one of the Keepers. We protect the travelers of the forest who are unfamiliar with the dangers. Daros is an old friend of mine and informed me he would be sending you along a few weeks ago, so I've been scouting the region frequently awaiting you. It seems I didn't manage to get to you before you encountered one of our local legends."

    "The spider-elf?"

    Vulence laughed at the name. "Yes, well that is a quaint way of referring to it. The creature is known as a N'Jalian spider magi, and they are few and far in between. They are highly sought after for their silk." As he said the words, he patted the giant abdomen of the spider, which he had apparently harvested. "Normally, we do not hunt the beasts, but as you had already slain it when I had arrived, we may as well not let it go to waste." Vulence winked and began to gather his alchemical equipment.

    "A N'Jalian spider magi. I'll have to remember that." Artemis grunted as he propped himself up onto an elbow. "So what are you? You look like an elf, but obviously you are not."

    "I am a fae," Vulence answered. "We are creatures of Luthmor forest and we come in quite a variety. Fae is more of a theme than a race, and it mostly has to do with our wings." He fluttered his own to emphasize the point.

    "So you're a fae Keeper named Vulence who is a friend of Daros. I suppose you're the contact he mentioned?"

    "Yes and no," the fae answered, rising to his feet. He slung his pack over his shoulders and dusted off his brown leather armor before retying his bright blonde hair back into a ponytail. "Think of me as the middleman. I'll be taking you to her."

    Artemis let out a sigh as he finally decided to try to stand up on his own. His muscles still ached and a bit of the pain remained, but he managed. "Okay, well Vulence, I'm right behind you. You know the forest better than me, and if it's all the same to you, I'd rather avoid fighting any more N'Jalian spider magi. In fact, I'd prefer to avoid anything even remotely like it."

    Vulence laughed and nodded, his smile beaming despite the low light. "Do not worry, I know this forest as well as any who've ever lived. You are safe with me. Come. He's waiting."

    ____________________________________________

    The walk was short and informative as Artemis followed closely behind the fae. Vulence told Artemis of the N'Jalian spider magi and why they were so sought after - their N'Jalian Spidersilk. Apparently the silk was completely impervious to slashing and piercing from normal weaponry, which sounded quite useful. The only disadvantage was the immense vulnerability to fire. Even more strange was that there was always a set amount of these magi in the forest. When one died, a new was born, and the forest maintained a state of equilibrium.

    According to Vulence, Luthmor forest was as alive as everything within it and could be seen as a massive and complex system of life. Within the borders of the magical forest the state of life and death continued on in a predetermined and calculated manner, and if anything obstructed that path, adjustments were instantly made. Even now, it was likely that a new spider-elf crept out of somewhere or other to walk through the forest; the thought of that gave Artemis the chills.

    Of course, this did not apply to the fae. Those who made their home within the forest in their capital, Donnalaich, were not bound by the magic of Luthmor. They were not originally of the forest and thus did not belong within its magical rule.

    "Here we are," Vulence said as he stopped to turn toward Artemis. "From this point on, you are on your own. You will be told what is next on your journey. Good luck."

    "What do you mean? I thought you were supposed to help me."

    "And I have. From here on, I cannot help you. Do not worry, I trust that you will be fine." With a wink, he tossed Artemis a sack of gold coins. "That's for the spidersilk. You killed it after all. Good luck!"

    Vulence turned and walked back the way they had come, waving as he went.
    Last edited by SirArtemis; 04-03-12 at 09:09 PM.
    2011 Althy Winner - Most Realistic Character
    2016 Althy Winner - Best Contributor & Player of the Year (tie)

    Artemis Eburi Wiki Page
    Current Character Profile

    Solo Quests:
    Hidden Beneath The Canopy (75)
    Lost Loot of Lornius (74)

  8. #8
    Hand of Virtue
    EXP: 85,914, Level: 12
    Level completed: 69%, EXP required for next level: 4,086
    Level completed: 69%,
    EXP required for next level: 4,086

    AP
    7
    GP
    16,670
    SirArtemis's Avatar

    Name
    Artemis Eburi
    Age
    28
    Race
    Human (+ Dovicarus)
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Dark Brown and Gray
    Eye Color
    Piercing Blue
    Build
    5'8"
    Job
    Smith

    With Vulence taking his leave, Artemis continued on to where the fae had instructed him. Barely half a minute's travel lead him into a grove of the most amazing flora he had even seen, even by Luthmor's standards.

    As he glanced around, he was surrounded by a dozen trees that were a deep shade of violet, with trunks larger than any he had seen. Their bark looked veined as lines of pink rushed and pulsed along, as if pumping the blood of the tree itself. In the middle of the grove was a small pool of water a few meters wide, within which stood a tree that was more alive than the rest.

    "Greetings... Artemis..." Its words were slow and deep, filled with the creaky movements of the ent.

    The young man, completely awestruck by the living tree that knew his name, did not even notice the presence of another.

    "Ah, Artemis. I am glad you have come. I hope you did not encounter too much trouble on your journey." As he heard the voice, Artemis noticed the fae that stood a few paces behind the ent, and now circled the pool toward him. Her hair was a rich chestnut and fell over her right shoulder to rest upon her supple bosom. She stood a bit shorter than Artemis and walked with an elegance and poise that seemed out of place so deep in the forest.

    "Well, there was the N'Jalian spider magi. Other than that, I'm fine."

    Her eyes went wide at the mention of the creature. "You fought one? What happened?"

    "I managed to kill it but it poisoned me. Vulence apparently got to me just in time."

    She relaxed visibly, even smiling slightly. "Vulence is always reliable. I am happy to know you are safe." She stood before Artemis at arm's reach and looked up at him with her bright green eyes. "I believe it is time for an introduction. My name is Ietia Donagadhe." She lifted her hand out to him, though her posture was very stiff.

    Artemis laughed, taking her hand. "Don't expect me to be able to pronounce that. And why do you look so tense? I was the one who fought the spider-elf."

    The fae blushed and looked away. "I'm... I just..."

    Artemis shook his head. "It's okay, just relax." He let out another laugh and let go of her hand. "So, what is this place? And why did Daros send me?"

    The fae smiled at the opportunity to ramble, and her violet wings fluttered rapidly in excitement. They were lined with white and pink zig-zags throughout, and looked much like Vulence's in shape. She tucked her hair behind her ears; hers were rounded as if she were human.

    "This is the Grove of the Ancient. It is an area of Luthmor that has an extremely high concentration of residual magic due to the properties of Rognaf, the ent behind me, and has turned much of these rywan trees into liviol wood."

    "I thought liviol was a kind of wood itself?"

    "Oh, that's not quite right. Liviol is more of a descriptor. When a tree is infused with magical energy, it takes on a new hue and is described as liviol. You can have liviol rywan, or liviol cyper, or yew, or whatever it may be."

    "Well that's interesting. I've never seen an ent before. He seems... stiff."

    The trembling laughter that echoed out of Rognaf was incredible, and even shook the ground. Artemis tried to keep his balance while Ietia took to the sky giggling. "You.... are a funny one... Artemis..."

    "Heh, thanks," Artemis said with a scratch to the back of his head.

    "Rognaf is an advisor to the fae. He is more in tune with the forest than any of us, and when something needs doing, he lets us know."

    "Balance... must be... maintained..."

    "Yes, and the balance has been broken." The fae landed gently as her face turned grim. "We need you to slay a creature we call the Ghaede."

    "Ghaede. Okay. What is the Ghaede?" Artemis asked with a raised eyebrow.

    "An abomination..." Rognaf quickly responded.

    Ietia turned to glance back at the ent before returning her look to Artemis. "The Ghaede is a large humanoid beast. It is completely black, covered in fur, and rather intelligent. We believe it may even have some magical ability, though we cannot be sure."

    "Well that sounds fun. What if I die?" he said with sarcasm and a roll of his eyes.

    "You killed a N'Jalian spider magi. You won't die."

    "I... will aid you..."

    Artemis raised an eyebrow at the ent's comment. "I don't mean to offend, but you don't look like the kind of guy who does much moving." Another laugh filled the air at the young man's words, though he was more prepared for the trembling earth.

    "Rognaf won't be joining you, nor will I. But we can offer our aid in other ways."

    "Such as?"

    "Magic," was the fae's simple response.

    Artemis scratched at his nose, looking around at the dozen liviol trees. "Yes, well it does seem you have plenty of magic. But how exactly do you expect your magic to help me?"

    "Daros has informed us that you have an internal magic that has been suppressed for a long time, and only recently has been unlocked. Is this accurate?"

    "Uh... yes... but what does that have to do with anything?"

    The fae flashed a grin at the man, and her next words left Artemis both excited and afraid: "You'll see."
    Last edited by SirArtemis; 04-04-12 at 04:31 PM.
    2011 Althy Winner - Most Realistic Character
    2016 Althy Winner - Best Contributor & Player of the Year (tie)

    Artemis Eburi Wiki Page
    Current Character Profile

    Solo Quests:
    Hidden Beneath The Canopy (75)
    Lost Loot of Lornius (74)

  9. #9
    Hand of Virtue
    EXP: 85,914, Level: 12
    Level completed: 69%, EXP required for next level: 4,086
    Level completed: 69%,
    EXP required for next level: 4,086

    AP
    7
    GP
    16,670
    SirArtemis's Avatar

    Name
    Artemis Eburi
    Age
    28
    Race
    Human (+ Dovicarus)
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Dark Brown and Gray
    Eye Color
    Piercing Blue
    Build
    5'8"
    Job
    Smith

    Shortly thereafter, the ent and fae conducted a brief ritual that Ietia explained as 'repairing the frayed strings of magic.' She had told Artemis that due to the duration of the suppressive seal, his magical ability was damaged from lack of use. The ritual was meant to accelerate the slow healing process that was already underway, and Artemis could feel it working.

    He was then lead by the fae to an entrance of some ruins that were believed to be the home of the Ghaede, as well as told what it is that Daros requested: some of the beast's hide. The trip was shorter than expected and the ruins much darker, and he had no source of light. The stones were a dirty pale color and were marbled with countless streaks of amber, gray and black. Much of the ruins was marred by the greenery that had decided to invade, given little resistance.

    Slowly, Artemis made his way down the wide steps until he reached the base of the stairs, taking one last look up at the light before continuing on.

    "How am I supposed to see down there?" Artemis had asked just minutes ago.

    "Trust the magic, Artemis. You have tremendous capacity and your eyes are the most powerful tool in your magical arsenal. Demand of them to see what you must see, and they will oblige."
    The fae had been cryptic, but Artemis remained optimistic. So as he made his way deeper into the darkness, he hoped with all his heart that something would happen.

    "C'mon, work," he mumbled to himself.

    'Whatever it is that they did, Artemis, I can also feel its effects, as I know you do. I am sure that they know what they speak of, and I have heard of something similar to your case in the past. It will take time, but the process will succeed.'

    "Thanks for the insight Judicis, but I still can't see."

    'What is it you expect to see? What is it you are accustomed to?'

    "To light. To the sun. To fire. To colors."

    'Is that what you expect to see down here?'

    "Of course not. There is no light down here. I have my cubes but I can't move them while I walk. And the sun can't reach down here."

    'So what is it you expect to see? What is it you want to see?'

    "I don't know, shapes? So I know where I'm going. So I know what to step over, and where to turn, and where to go. I have my other vision - the one that detects temperature - but I need something different here."

    'Then demand it. Look hard for the shapes you seek and demand your eyes give you the information you need.'

    "Yeah, I only wish it were that easy." Artemis sighed and placed his hand upon a wall, doing his best to draw forth the need and desire of sight. Yet moments passed quickly and absolutely nothing changed.

    He dragged his hand along the wall, using his sense of touch to guide him deeper into the underground ruins. Yet just minutes after entering the cave, someone else had found him.

    "I see they sent yet another for me."
    Last edited by SirArtemis; 04-08-12 at 03:45 AM.
    2011 Althy Winner - Most Realistic Character
    2016 Althy Winner - Best Contributor & Player of the Year (tie)

    Artemis Eburi Wiki Page
    Current Character Profile

    Solo Quests:
    Hidden Beneath The Canopy (75)
    Lost Loot of Lornius (74)

  10. #10
    Hand of Virtue
    EXP: 85,914, Level: 12
    Level completed: 69%, EXP required for next level: 4,086
    Level completed: 69%,
    EXP required for next level: 4,086

    AP
    7
    GP
    16,670
    SirArtemis's Avatar

    Name
    Artemis Eburi
    Age
    28
    Race
    Human (+ Dovicarus)
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Dark Brown and Gray
    Eye Color
    Piercing Blue
    Build
    5'8"
    Job
    Smith

    Part Five

    Seeing Clearly



    The voice startled Artemis and sent him spinning to try to find the source of sound, his daggers drawn and at the ready. That instinctual desire to see the speaker had done the trick. The entire world abruptly changed from an endless blackness to countless shades of indigo. He could see, but not the way he saw above ground. What he saw now resembled what he would expect to see if there had been a torch, but without any of the colorful pigmentations to distinguish anything. His depth perception remained as well, and he could see the shapes he had so desired.

    However, what he saw in front of him was a shape of a creature he had never encountered before in his life. It stood about two and a half meters tall with four arms and a set of wings sticking out of the sides. They resembled that of a bat, but with less webbing and were as wide as he was tall. Atop his shoulders and running down his arms were small spikes that appeared as armor, but were a part of his flesh. He wore a pair of leather chaps and boots as his only attire.

    Artemis stood defensively, awaiting the creature’s attack, but it never came. Instead, the Ghaede simply stood with his arms resting at his sides, staring at the young man barely a few meters away.

    “Well? What are you waiting for?” the beast asked.

    “Excuse me?” Artemis asked with a confused expression.

    “Strike me down. Isn’t that what you want? Isn’t that why they have sent you? Just as they have sent the others?”

    Artemis stared at the creature with a puzzled expression. This sounded far too much like a trap for him to comply, not to mention that the young man specialized in defensive combat.

    “Fine, if you will not strike, perhaps you will listen instead. None of the others hesitated, so I never had the chance to give my side of the story.”

    Artemis kept his blades at the ready, but his curiosity left him waiting on the man. He couldn’t help but be surprised that the creature spoke the common tongue so clearly and fluently. Ietia had mentioned the beast was intelligent, but Artemis had not imagined that she meant he could speak. “What do you mean your side of the story? What story?” Artemis finally asked.

    “Are you truly so ignorant as to hunt and take life simply because someone commands it? Or is it because my shape is unnatural to you – not human enough – that you feel no remorse when you seek to kill me?”

    “What are you talking about?”

    “The fae sent you, yes? They have sent countless down here in order to find and hunt me. None have made it out alive, though not due to my own actions. Some have found me in their search, most have not, and all have perished to the shadows. These ruins are cursed, and nothing survives for long.”

    Artemis’ heart began to beat faster at the comment. Though the initial adrenaline had worn off from when the man spoke behind him, the fear of losing his life without even the ability to fight back set him into an emotional frenzy. “What do you mean a curse? And why hasn’t it affected you?”

    “Because the curse follows me, human. The curse is what made me what I am. I was once a fae, and part of a team that was sent to recover relics from these ruins. I found one that looked valuable, yet as my hand touched it, an evil magic was unleashed that transformed me into… this.” He looked down at himself, all four arms emphasizing different parts of the body. “Now, I am a creature despised and hunted by those who were once my kind, because none live who saw the events.”

    “Wait, so you were a fae? And some relic cursed you? That seems a bit farfetched, doesn’t it?”

    “Magic does not have to make sense to be true. I have learned that the hard way, and now I exist in these ruins without any chance at a future. My children, my wife, my family – they are all lost to me. They all believe me to be dead in some accident. Yet here I am, a changed man doomed to exist within these accursed ruins and to be hunted endlessly.”

    “Why don’t you just leave?”

    “The magic of the relic does not permit me to do so. It is bound to these ruins and thus, so am I. I have even tried to find the relic to destroy it again, but it seems it was consumed somehow. I believe the relic has become one with me, and I do not know of a way to remove it without losing my own life. And to be honest, even in this form, I do not have the courage for such an act.”

    Artemis' arms fell to his side as his caution gave in to sympathy. It was true that he had not known why they had sent him, and he had never imagined the creature to be this intelligent – to once have been a fae. Part of him believed this to be some elaborate ploy – a hoax to goad him into lowering his defenses so that he could be easily killed. Yet something deep within his heart told him otherwise, and his intuition – as keen a tool as he had ever had – did not warn him of anything here.

    “You wish to die then? Is that it?”

    “I see no other choice, human. I have lived here for many years and sought a way to undo the magical curse, but I have not found a way.”

    “What about magic? Can’t you fight magic with magic?”

    “I possess no such magic, nor do I feel that destructive magic of the kind warriors have brought down here would aid me. I only hope that death will bring these ruins some semblance of peace once I am gone.”

    Artemis stood there, pondering his surroundings and wondering what could be done for this man. He no longer had any intention of fighting, and sheathed his blades while he thought. The creature did not move, and did not seem to hold any desire to truly fight.

    “Please, end me before the curse takes you as it has taken the rest.”

    “No,” Artemis said, his voice full of conviction. Artemis’ resolve was set on helping the man, no matter what, and so he thought.

    ’Artemis, there may be a way.
    Last edited by SirArtemis; 04-09-12 at 08:08 PM.
    2011 Althy Winner - Most Realistic Character
    2016 Althy Winner - Best Contributor & Player of the Year (tie)

    Artemis Eburi Wiki Page
    Current Character Profile

    Solo Quests:
    Hidden Beneath The Canopy (75)
    Lost Loot of Lornius (74)

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •