This thread is reserved for member of Group 6. The thread will open at noon on August 18th (Pacific time) and will be closed after two weeks.
Itera - Itera
Inwuhou - Inwuhou
Ceidon Lore - Ceidon
Zack Blaze - Zack Blaze
This thread is reserved for member of Group 6. The thread will open at noon on August 18th (Pacific time) and will be closed after two weeks.
Itera - Itera
Inwuhou - Inwuhou
Ceidon Lore - Ceidon
Zack Blaze - Zack Blaze
"I have looked upon all that the universe has to hold of horror, and even the skies of spring and the flowers of summer must ever afterward be poison to me." - Call of Cthulhu
David vs. Goliath: History's first recorded critical hit.
The light of the dawn spilled across the landscape, reflected in countless glittering wavetops on the sea. When the double glare of the sun and mirrored sun struck the shearwater colony, brown-feathered expanse broke into noise and movement. Parents argued briefly over who was watching over the chick and who was going out hunting and by the time that the sun cleared the horizon, the losers were flapping away into the sea.
Downwind of the settling mob and immersed in the smell of a hundred generations of collected birdshit, a dense column of gnats danced in their early-morning orgy. Occasionally, two would wander off for a private moment together. Some of these couples came near a small gumwood. One of these approached a small, sky-blue bundle near the root of that tree. They stopped, frozen in midair, the invisible blur of their feathery wings becoming a languid flapping more befitting an albatross. The intimate moment stretched into an eternity in front of Inwuhou's closed eyes.
A gust of cool sea-wind blew towards the rocky beach, lifting a few strands of her black hair with excruciating slowness. She put a mental bookmark in her contemplation on the natural aspects of nothing, then surfaced from her meditative trance. In a tight bubble around the nun, time has been moving very slowly since sundown, sliced into unusually thick pieces between each passing moment. To her perspective, the sun had set not 3 hours ago and had popped vivaciously free of the horizon. It was time.
Inwuhou studied the copulating gnats in front of her face for a moment and filed away a passing thought on the brevity of life. Then she stopped slicing time, returning to the broader frame. The gnats sped back up to their normal speed and were gone in a second, their tiny minds none the wiser.
The nun observed the windy rustle of the leaves above her head, the angle of the sun, and stood up from her cross-legged sitting. The blue robes and white outer-skirt unfolded elegantly with her. Then she reached back and, very precisely, pounded a fist into the side of the tree trunk. An oak staff, its surface worked to a dull, dark polish by age and use, fell out of the branches and neatly into Inwuhou's waiting hands. She slung it on her back, over the small wicker backpack, by the strip of cloth wrapped around it. There, that was everything.
Her sandals slapped quietly against the gravelly beach as she walked down from the headland, arms folded inside each other's sleeves and entire body abuzz with an entire night's stored negative Paradox. She approached where the others had rested for the night and waited quietly for one of them to wake up.
Inwuhou still hasn't opened her eyes.
They say that the sleep of a person satisfied with everything in the world is like sleeping in the most comfortable feather beds. Presumably, this meant that the person wanted the most comfortable feather bed and was satisfied with the one that the person's got. This was the case with a certain boundary fairy, who had spent the night sleeping in an ornately-carved canopy bed the size of half a volleyball court and filled with enough feathers to simulate an artificial ski slope.
Itera loved her bed very much. Other than the horrendous massacre of geese that went into making the bed, there was also a horrendous massacre of careers when the man for whom the bed had been commissioned discovered that the box it was delivered in was empty. The new captain of the guard puzzled for a long time over how a gigantic bed could be stolen from inside a sealed wooden box, surrounded at all times by alert guards who swear up and down that no-body had come anywhere near it, and yet the box's seal remained entirely intact. In fact, a few years later this would inspire legends of do-gooder thieves who went around nicking nobles' furniture and distributing it to the downtrodden and poor. For some reason, this was much less well received than legends of do-gooder thieves who went around nicking more fungible things, like coins or jewels.
Itera loved sleeping in her bed very much. The only reason that the term hibernation doesn't apply is that this happens at times other than winter and, technically speaking, there are no seasons in the pocket dimension that she sleeps in. Like a dilletante heiress with no position or ambition, the only things that get her out of bed are hunger, boredom, and visitors.
A weak, purplish light still penetrated the heavy red drapes around the bed. Itera's amber eyes cracked open. Then they closed again and she went back to sleep.
Perhaps an hour later, the drapes parted and a disheveled fairy clambered out. Itera had finally remembered that there was supposed to be something interesting and fun today. Her private dimension, a tesseract-shaped place whose strange distances and eye-covered "walls" could drive men insane, was littered with rifts to various places that she had visited. She ambled over to one often-visited one, commanded it open, and hopped in sans pajamas. There was a splashing noise.
In a secret hot springs hidden away in an secret valley in the Kachuk mountains, a young shepherd taking a bath froze stock-still as a breath-taking blonde appeared out of nowhere and fell into the water. He managed to make it almost a minute before Itera, in the process of wringing out her wash-towel for the second time, noticed him. Back-washing, followed by hijinks, ensued.
The rift to the bathhouse opened again to admit a much more refreshed, cheerful, and satisfied Itera. She had a subconscious notion that the traumatized boy was probably ruined for marriage or whatever passed for marriage in his pitiful little village. True to her fey nature, she paid the idea no heed whatsoever. She opened her closet and picked out one of dozens of identical costumes: a huge light pink mob cap with a red ribbon in front, a conservative, white tea gown with a narrow purple tabard, wide sleeves, and 3-layer pleated ankle-length skirt, and heavy brown boots. So prepared, she headed for the rift to today's events.
A biological necessity surfaced at this point and Itera performed an about-face.
Quite some time later, there was an unheard tearing noise inside Inwuhou's pack. The boxy pack, tightly-woven from oiled wicker, was mostly empty save for a few documents, prayer beads, and a handful of pointy gold-coated needles. There was plenty of space for the rift.
Inwuhou's backpack lid popped open and Itera's smiling head and hands emerged fresh as a daisy, "Good morning! I see that we're here already! What a nice day, yes?"
She sipped from the fragrant cup of tea one hand before placing it down in the saucer in the other hand with a faint clink. "My, what a nice forest! What... what is that smell?"
Inwuhou was aware of something different in her pack from the first moment that its inside was suddenly connected to a different inside. It was a very strange feeling, like staring into the abyss with all of your senses. All the directions and distances felt wrong to any mind used to the more traditional system of Althanas and the many eyes in that purple expanse stared back at her mind's eye. Suffice to say, she was a little perturbed.
Then a hat came out of the rift. The hat was attached to a head. The head was attached to a neck, and so on and so forth until there was very definitely a very familiar person poking out of the very pack that she had personally packed the night before, such a short time ago.
"Good morning. The smell that you refer to appears to be the result of hundreds of birds nesting in the same spot for many years and practicing fowl hygiene." Inwuhou said with all her usual calm, entirely defeating the temptation to turn her head and look at her sudden passenger. Compared to the temptation to strangle the fairy the first time that the two had met, this was extremely easy.
"Can't you do something about that? It's disgusting."
"I don't have my mop with my person this time. It didn't occur to me that it would be necessary on this... endeavour."
"Well, can't you kill them all or something as punishment?" Itera sipped her tea and, realizing one of its many benefits, refused to remove her nose from the steam above the cup.
"It is bad for the enlightenment of the soul to commit mass murder of innocent animals."
"They're hardly innocent. I mean, the smell!"
A normal person might have refused to dignify that reasoning with response. Unfortunately, there wasn't a single normal person within two feet of the pair.
"They are innocent of that. They are only doing what comes naturally to them, because they haven't wisdom to know better."
A grin spilled across Itera's face. "Then why did you blame me for doing what comes naturally to me, all those times before?"
"People have the wisdom to know better and should strive for enlightenment. Your excessive acts of theft, robbery, assault, molestation, theft, arson, indecency, vandalism, and profanity will ultimately harm yourself."
"There was a lot of theft."
Itera chuckled to herself, which was a technically challenging operation while continuing to bury her nose in her tea. As a testament to her experience and skill, nothing spilled.
"Well, what are we doing now?"
"We are waiting for the others to wake up."
Itera thought on this proposal for a moment, hesitantly sipping at her tea lest she find herself with an empty cup and no defense against exposure to the elements.
"Is that so?"
"It is so."
She reflected on past conversations with the nun. The main problem lied in that the girl had two modes: off and torrent. Either you weren't going to get a single extra sentence out of her, or she was going to be nattering on and on about morals and enlightenment and all sorts of human rubbish. It made for a terrible conversationalist.
"N-hey, Inwuhou." Still, any distraction was welcome, at this point. Itera was quickly getting bored of looking out at the rocks and the gravel and the scrub and the sea. There was a lot of flocculent sky, too, but she had gotten bored of that long before she ever signed up for this adventure.
"What are you going to do after they wake up?"
"I am going to greet them and exchange names."
Some time passed. The tea cooled.
"So, you don't know who they are?"
"Don't you do that history-looking thing where you can see into their past?"
An awkward silence - at least, it felt awkward to Itera - ensued for several heartbeats.
"Well?" Itera finally gave in.
"Do the history-looking thing. Who are they?"
"Didn't you say that it would be rude to do that to others when you don't have their consent?" Inwuhou replied, her eyes-closed smile actually widening a little. She had gotten that exact, indignant accusation from Itera when they had first met. That had been quite a shock, finding out about the realm of the fey and the practices of those people.
"That was me. This is them. It won't be rude at all."
Itera's brow crinkled a little, "I know what you're trying to say, you stick. They're not fey. There's nothing wrong with poking around in their business because they're from your realm. When you poked around in mine, that was an inter-dimensional incident."
Another awkward silence ensued. Itera sighed, "What if I offered you some tea?"
"That would be nice, I think."
Itera withdrew back into her home. There was a clinking of porcelain and a faint sound of pouring from within Inwuhou's pack, then she re-emerged, bearing another steaming cup and saucer.
"Thank you." Inwuhou accepted the cup as Itera reached around her head with both arms. It really was very nice white tea; the fragrance completely filled the air above the cup. She stood there, tea in hand, staff resting in the crook of an arm. Waiting.
"Perhaps when I finish this tea."
The Omega Infinitum must be destroyed. In the wrong hands, it could end all life on Althanas! Someone whispered into his ears. The Omega Infinitum must be destroyed. In the wrong hands, it could end all life on Althanas! The voice grew louder. The Omega Infinitum must be destroyed. In the wrong hands, it could end all life on Althanas! The voice screamed.
Ceidon Lore, adventurer and principle agent of the Order of the Golden Dawn, awoke with a start. He jumped to his feet, grabbed his sword, Errol, from its sheath and spun around. His nostrils were quickly filled with salty air and the sounds of water crashing into rocks took form in his ears. Wait...was he on a beach? How was that possible? Moments ago, he was in Corone being briefed by the leader of the Order of the Golden Dawn, Caduceus Grimaldi, on a dangerous new mission. Now he was gods know where. “What on Althanas is going on?” he cried out.
He looked right and left, and then saw a peculiar sight. In front of him, a nun was sipping on some tea. There was something else too, a head was protruding from the nun’s backpack, presumably drinking the same thing. Sword in hand, Ceidon shifted into a defensive posture. Why on earth would a nun and and a life-sized fairy be on the beach together? Then it struck him: the tournament had begun. This eclectic pair was either his partners or his opponents. Before he could decide, a wave rose along the rocky shoreline and submerged Ceidon’s feet in the water. Startled, he jumped into the air, and started frantically brushing off his legs with the flat end of his sword. When he realized his assailant was just the ocean, he turned red and looked sheepishly into the air. “Great, now they think you’re a clown.” He mumbled.
While looking up, embarrassed, Ceidon caught a faint flicker at the top of a tall mountain. At first he thought it was the sun reflecting off of something, but the flicker remained constant. Ceidon’s suspicions had been confirmed. This was the tournament and that must be it, the fabled Omega Infinitum. With his free hand, Ceidon began pointing up at the flicker. “There!” He called out to the nun and the fairy. “There!” He began poking at the air.
When the two looked clueless, Ceidon shook his head. The Order of the Golden Dawn was created to protect Althanas’ deepest and darkest secrets. That mission made the Order incredibly secretive, and it meant death if one exposed the group’s existence or its mission. Nevertheless, Ceidon carelessly yelled out the words that were engrained in his head: “The Omega Infinitum must be destroyed. In the wrong hands, it could end all life on Althanas!” He placed his free hand over his lips. “Oops!”
“Oh, is that tea?” Ceidon asked in recovery. “Can I have some?”
Last edited by Ceidon; 08-19-12 at 01:49 PM.
Inwuhou managed a complicated expression resembling a bastard cross between a confused frown and a benevolent smile. The man who had just hopped up was very excited, which was understandable for someone who had just woken up in foreign surroundings and probably very confused, and spewing nonsense, which was not understandeable because it was nonsense. She forayed backwards along the timeline to make sure that she heard right.
"The Omega Infinitum must be destroyed. In the wrong hands, it could end all life on Althanas! Oops!"
By the third replay, it still didn't make much sense for a tournament, but Inwuhou was quite familiar with not understanding some mysteries. The familiarity came with the territory of being a nun seeking after enlightenment. She reeled herself back to the present, when a few seconds had passed during the review.
"Good morning. There is tea for everyone. My name is Inwuhou, a nun of the Wuji Temple. The one behind me is Itera, a native of Tenger Jerhal." Inwuhou's head tipped forward, both as a bow of respect and because Itera just daintily elbowed her in the back of the head.
"You didn't need to-"
"It is best to be forward with everything. We are teammates, after all. Tea?" Itera sighed and disappeared back into the pack to rummage around for the rest of her tea set. There was the sound of porcelain, of water, and of some metal vessel being retrieved. Itera reappeared, a cup of tea in one hand and a lidded pewter bowl in the other.
"Sugar? Serve yourself."
Inwuhou passed each to Ceidon in turn and, for the first time, opened her sea-green eyes to look in the direction that he had pointed at. She stared that way long enough to have finished her tea and for Itera to have begun on her second cup.
"I don't see it. If you say it is there, however," She smiled, eyes closing again. "then it must be there."
Last edited by Inwuhou; 08-19-12 at 04:21 PM.
“I’m Ceidon Lore,” the adventurer said, taking the sugar and his glass of tea. By this time, he had sheathed his sword and was sitting on top of a large rock near the others. “It’s nice to meet you.” Ceidon lifted the cup to his mouth and was about to take a sip when he smelled something horrible. “No offense ma’am,” he said to the rather odd fairy, “but your tea smells like...uh...bird feces.” Ceidon sipped it anyway. “Hmm, it tastes okay though.” Then he saw, much to his dismay, that the source of the smell was not the tea, but rather the gull nest the two had set up camp near. Ceidon turned red and for the next few minutes he was afraid to look the fairy in the eyes.
“It’s there.” Ceidon eventually said in response to Inwuhou. Still attempting to avoid making eye contact with the fairy, he focused on the nun. “I don’t know how Stern found it though. Before he advertised it as the reward for completing the tournament, we weren’t even sure it existed.” He looked into Inwuhou’s emerald eyes and saw she was clueless. “Sorry,” Ceidon said. “Sometimes I forget to fill in the blanks. The Omega Infinitum, also known as the Book of Knowledge, is a living history of Althanas. Everything that’s ever come to pass is recorded on its pages. Alone, the book is just a historian’s dream, but in the wrong hands it can be used to uncover Althanas’ darkest secrets. It records everything, even things not meant to be remembered. Just think of weapons and magic so dangerous they could destroy Althanas in less than a millisecond.”
Ceidon hesitated before continuing. He was blabbing, and was unsure if could trust these people. But then again, Inwuhou was a nun. They’re among the most trustworthy people on Althanas, right? Ceidon took another sip of tea and continued. “Well we think – sorry, my organization – thinks that Kenneth Stern somehow found the book and is offering it up as the prize for winning the tournament. We think the “Destiny’s Book” is actually the Omega Infinitum. As you can imagine, I need to destroy that book before anyone like Dan Wilmherst or Madison Freebird can get their grubby little hands on it. Oh no…” Ceidon trailed off. If this was the tournament, and the shining beacon was the book, then the other contestants would already be on their way to the top of the mountain.
“We…I need to go now,” Ceidon said, standing up. He handed the unfinished cup of tea back to the fairy and started looking around. They were on the shore of an ocean, but it was one that Ceidon had never seen before. There was no sand like the shores of Fallien or Corone. The cliffs and rocks were characteristic of the shores of Alerar, but the weather was wrong. “Let’s go that way!” Ceidon pointed what he believed to be north, through a rocky path. Truthfully, Ceidon had no idea where he was or which way to go. He had no idea where the other combatants were, or whether he would ever encounter them. In fact, he had no idea why he’d suddenly voted himself de facto leader of the party and if the nun and the fairy would even follow him. All he knew is that he had to get to the Omega Infinitum first, but he didn’t want to go alone.
He started towards the rocky path. “Well, are you guys coming?” He asked, looking to the nun and the fairy. Of course, in his rush to get underway Ceidon wasn’t looking where he was going. Before he had taken 5 steps, the adventurer tripped over the slumbering body of Zach Blaze and toppled head over heels onto the rocky shore.
Last edited by Ceidon; 08-19-12 at 05:19 PM.
Zack awoke not to the sounds of his team mates clamoring, but to that of the seagulls incessant cawing. As his eyes opened, the teen tried to cover his ears. He hated seagulls; they were nothing but rats that developed wings instead of tails in his eyes. Then there was that noise, the sound of a squeeze toy that was drowning in the water. The smell didn’t so much bother the young man, as he felt most people on Althanas did not practice proper hygiene protocols, and therefore had the tendency to smell just as bad as bird excrement.
“Who….who drugged me exactly, so I can punch them in their goddamn face?” Zack looked to the man who had stumbled over his body. Luckily, Ceidon’s clumsiness didn’t hurt the battle hardened street fighter, though the motion did allow the boy to take note of the man’s inability to watch where he was going. His gaze shifted to the other two, or rather the woman and the disembodied head in her backpack. He blinked for a moment, unsure if he was still dreaming or if he had indeed woken up. A cool breeze rolled in, tickling his smooth legs, and prompting him to look downwards at his body.
“More importantly, where are my pants?!” Zack looked down at his white boxer shorts, the bottoms of the underwear looking has if they were torn. His question prompted a giggle from the head, who ducked back into the backpack. “If this is what I think it is; if this is the Adventurer’s Crown, then I am not participating unless I have something to wrap around my legs!”
Before Zack could continue his complaint, his black bell bottom-esque pants were tossed out of the book bag and onto his legs. The youth stood up and quickly redressed himself, not taking even a moment to wonder how someone got his pants off without removing his shoes. “That’s better,” the street fighter said with a smile, “Now that that’s settled, I’m Zack, Zack Blaze of Misery Incorporated, where stopping Misery is our business.”
The others blinked at the motto-spewing Zack for a moment, and the teen was briefed on what was going on in a matter of seconds. “Goodness. That certainly does sound like a dangerous book! I think we should trust Mr. Ceidon in leading us to where we need to go.” As he spoke, Zack blew a drifting feather away from his face.
Outwardly, Zack was prepared to follow Ceidon’s orders, or the orders of any one of his other team mates. After all, the Adventurer’s Crown was a competition that revolved around team work. However, if this book was indeed as incredible as Ceidon made it sound, there was no way the boy would destroy such a valued item. With that kind of power, he could easily obtain his goal of ruling Althanas in a matter of weeks. If push came to shove, Zack would push and shove his team mates off of a cliff to hold something that marvelous.
“Well then, Mr. Ceidon,” Zack smiled, a faux smile for his faux friends, “lead the way!”
You`re weak, creepy and pesty, consider euthanasia! Ha Ha.
Ceidon managed to protect his face from the fall, but his hands and knees were not so lucky. Before he even stood back up, the adventurer’s hands began to sting and could feel strawberries on his legs. “Damn it,” he grimaced while pushing himself off the ground. He eventually stood and turned just in time to see the loud young man putting on his pants back on. Ceidon briefly caught a glimpse of crack and turned his head. He didn’t even want to know why the newcomer was pantless in the first place.
Ceidon listened as the young man introduced himself as Zack Blaze of Misery Incorporated, but something about Zack’s description of the group didn’t sound right. As a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn and an unwilling participant in most of Althanas' recent wars, Ceidon was well versed on the various factions that inhabited the land. He seemed to recall that Misery Incorporated’s business wasn’t to stop misery, but rather to cause it. Or maybe that was Malice. Max Dirks, Zack Blaze, Ken Stern. There were too many two syllable names floating through Ceidon’s head right then, and they all sounded sinister to him. But this guy, Zack Blaze, was smiling it up. Moreover, he seemed content letting Ceidon lead the party. Anyone who blindly trusted Ceidon deserved to be trusted back.
“Great!” Ceidon said. “It looks like it’s about a two day journey to the summit.” Forgetting what had happened only a few minutes earlier, Ceidon cheerfully looked at the fairy and asked, “Itera of Tenger Jerhal, what other goodies do you have in that magical bag of yours? We may need food and water.” While Itera was answering, Ceidon began to walk towards the rocky pass. This time he was watching where he was going. Even though he was still listening to the fairy, outwardly it would likely look as though he was ignoring everything she said. After she finished her provisions check, Ceidon stopped.
“Wait!” He shouted. “I feel like I’m forgetting something.” Ceidon scratched his head. He felt his fingers pass through his matted hair. That was it! He was missing his hat. Ceidon rushed back to the beach where he had first woken up and looked around frantically for his most prized possession. At first he couldn’t see anything, and just when he’d given up hope he saw the rim of the hat sticking up above a rock. Fortunately, it was still dry! He walked over, picked up the hat, dusted it off and put it on his head. He slid his finger against the rim and looked up. “Okay, now I’m ready. Let’s go.”
Last edited by Ceidon; 08-20-12 at 01:45 AM.