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Thread: The Tiers of the Shiverfang

  1. #21
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    Diadems of Promethion's Avatar

    Name
    Throld Sartet
    Age
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    Race
    Dwarf
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Red
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    150cm / 114kg
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    “Welcome to the mountain, Master Sartet.” The silky voice slipped through the amethyst-tinged shadows from behind its alabaster mask, a dagger unsheathed in the dark. “We’ve waited patiently on your arrival.”

    Throld groaned. The sound shook the close granite walls of his new surroundings, battering him in repeated reminder of the wager he had just lost with his life at stake. Suffocating tendrils lifted from his vision and receded from his lungs; he breathed again of stale must and ancient history. Over him loomed three slight figures clad in black. The one on the right glowered at Throld with boorish bravado, bristling beneath the bruises of his brawl with Breaker. The other two regarded him with little more than mild amusement.

    Pain wracked his head. He dared not acknowledge the triumph flickering through their eyes, the crescent of glowing silver tickling his throat. The rancid musk of his fear stained the aurochs-hide vest he wore, heedless of the chill in the air. Hard rock dug into the small of his back and the seat of his pants, clawing at his sweaty palms.

    “Said the dark elf holding his moonblade to the captive dwarf’s neck,” he muttered, jabbing at them with a stubby, grimy digit. “Let me guess... you all met me in Raiaera last year. Four, Five, and Six, together again at last. Ronus’s beard, you didn’t have to tear a hole in time and space to get to me, you know.”

    “You have proven remarkably adept at escaping our attempts at talking to you, Master Sartet,” their leader replied, removing his mask and confirming Throld’s suspicions. The hint of a wry smile played about his pale purple lips. “I hope you will not begrudge us our little game. After all, we did make the effort to convince you of its authenticity. The informants. The map. The illusion of pursuit.”

    “Fool me once,” Throld swore, this time not bothering to keep his temper in check. The roots of the mountain reverberated in tune with his rage. Loose dirt and ash sprinkled upon his upturned, furrowed brow. “No shit, then, you tricked me. I fell for it, hook line and sinker, to my eternal shame. Now what?”

    “Now, Master Sartet, you walk free.”

    “I do what?”

    Six - or was it Five? - shrugged. The movement gave the dwarf a whiff of dried grub rations beneath the delicate sweet scent of dark elf magic, a tantalising hint of the underground tunnels that he had once walked as home. “You walk free, Master Sartet. We let you go.”

    Throld’s face, already folded into thunderous crags, hardened like black diamond. Snarling, he bared yellowed fangs at his captors. His voice stabbed at them through the dim motes of floating dust. “Why?”

    The dark elf on the left sighed, shook his head behind its sculpted mask, and turned to stand guard over the empty tunnel behind him. The bruised one continued to glower through the gloom, dire disappointment beginning to seep through his hurt pride. Their leader smiled, white teeth gleaming, arcane amethyst seeping from his fingertips.

    “We have proven that, despite your misgivings and your trickeries, we can track you down and corner you. We have proven that we know how to manipulate you, through your desire to collect the artefacts of your people. We have proven that you cannot escape us. That is all we need to do.”

    “You sons of molehares.”

    “Admit it, Master Sartet, we have impressed you. As a teller of stories you admit, however much you hate to, that this is an inspiring flourish. After all, like us you enjoy wreathing your words behind smoke and mirrors. Even when you wished us to learn of your ignorance regarding that accursed artificing anarchist, you tantalised us instead with what else you might know.”

    The Blackcloak straightened from his crouch, allowing Throld his first good look at the chamber into which they had summoned him. Brittle bones, what little that remained of those fallen acolytes unfortunate enough to encounter the three dark elves, lay scattered past the entrance. Faded murals of ancient saints marked this room as one of great significance to those who had constructed it, beneath the intricate friezes depicting their battles against aberration and abomination. A shrine, perhaps? A reliquary? Painful shards of rock continued to dig into the palms of his hands.

    “Don’t patronise me. You didn’t go to all this trouble to make a point.” The dwarf’s glare smouldered like the frosty embers of a dormant balefire. His fingers twitched upon the stock of his dragon-belcher, mindful of the moonblade still held at his neck. “What do you want?”

    “For the moment?” Six’s smile revealed little. “Nothing.”

    “You sons of molehares,” Throld repeated. He could think of only one reason why the aristocrats of Alerar would want to hold leverage over him: his wealth of contacts throughout Ettermire, Kachuck, and Gunnbad. “In Ronus’s name, you’re not turning me against my kinsfolk.”

    “Perhaps.” The dark elf smiled again. A flick of his wrist withdrew his blade from Throld’s throat, leaving behind only the faintest of cold impressions in leathery skin. As the glowing steel receded into its scabbard, the shadows sped forth once more to swallow him whole.
    Last edited by Diadems of Promethion; 03-19-17 at 02:12 PM.
    -Level 1-

    Come one, come all, and listen close
    No braggart am I nor one to boast
    Yet to tell this tale I must declare
    'I shit you not, 'tis true, I swear!'

  2. #22
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    Breaker's Avatar

    Name
    Joshua Breaker Cronen
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    "I didn't think much of your welcoming party," Breaker said, brushing bone dust from his shoulders. He paced the length of the table, glazed eyes seeing nothing but his old enemy. "The years have not been kind to you." Time seemed to have impacted Rythadine threefold; age lines creased his face and bald pate, and the grey in his beard dominated the red of his youth.

    Rythadine circled in the same direction as Josh, keeping the liviol furniture between them. He dry washed his black gloved hands, the hems of his brown robe rippling with each deliberate step.

    "You killed Kristina," Breaker accused, and his voice dripped venom. "She may have died at your master's hands, but you killed her the moment you took up arms against her."

    "Do you not think I've mourned?" Rythadine spat, "do you not think I repented for my sins? Nina was never meant to die. She was supposed to join use here, in all our glory."

    "What glory?" Breaker bit the question off viciously, "you're all alone here, Rythadine. You and your army of skeletons. What happened to your men? What did you do to them?"

    A crazed look seized the mountain king's green eyes. "They plotted against me," he said, "all of them hungered for the power I wield. And before long... I found I hungered for them." He gave a toothy grin and gestured at the greasy pans sitting on the old stove.

    The smell of cooked meat became suddenly overpowering, and Breaker paused in his pursuit, peering into the pans. Several charred fingers sat in a filmy layer of fat. Josh's stomach heaved but he stifled the feeling, refusing to retch.

    "You disgust me," he said.

    "I never claimed I could cook," Rythadine replied, and then giggled. The haunting, psychotic sound echoed around the throne room.

    As he returned to the front of the chamber Josh leaped on the table and raced across it toward Rythadine. The crazed king cackled and fled into a tunnel concealed behind his throne. Josh followed, black boots pounding on the stone floor. The tunnel arced upward at a sharp angle, twisting in on itself to continue rising. A cold draft swirled from above, and as he rounded the final bend Josh faced an opening that led out onto Shiverfang's snow capped peak.

    Rythadine waited on the slippery slopes, beckoning with a black glove. "Come along then, Breaker. I have been waiting for this since my crystal ball showed your arrival in Salvar."

    "Only a madman sits and waits for death." Breaker hissed as he struck.

    They battled across the wind whipped peak, exchanging blocked blows. Breaker's boots lent him extraordinary traction on the icy terrain, but Geoffrey's gloves gave him the ability to harness the wind. He floated upwards on a gust, evading Josh's latest salvo of strikes, laughing to the overcast skies as he settled on the high ground. The demigod bent his knees and leaped mightily, rising to the same level as Rythadine and assaulting him with another volley of clenched fists and hard elbows. Geoffrey fell back beneath the barrage, stumbling into a snowbank and upsetting its balance.

    As the thick snow shifted, a body tumbled out of the drift. Frozen solid and blue as prevalida, the corpse slid slowly down the slope, gathering speed and drumming up the beginnings of an avalanche. Rythadine's eyes watched the body disappear hungrily.

    "You won't need your food supply any longer," Breaker reminded him, and leaped upon his enemy. They fell to the frosty ground, entangled and grappling with all of their strength and skill. Breaker bulled his way to a dominant position. He clutched Geoffrey's arms one at a time and stripped the enchanted gauntlets off of them, throwing the black gloves to the wind. "Let's see how long you last without your father's gifts," the demigod growled.

    Rythadine squirmed his way free and stood, suddenly unstable on his perilous perch.

    Breaker rose in front of him, hard hazel eyes meeting Salvic green. He kicked out at the mountain king's right leg, and then his left. Geoffrey stumbled, his streaked beard swirling in the wind. Josh ducked beneath the other man and then stood, lifting his enemy across broad shoulders. He paced to the edge of a cliff and tilted his torso and heaved. He threw Geoffrey Rythadine into the open air, and for the second time in his life watched the man tumble off a cliff. On this occasion, Rythadine did not fly. He fell, with a wail that echoed amidst the walls of the Tiered Mountain.
    ... They fell to him as prey to bluefin
    for the Jya's warriors knew not how to swim...
    13-3-2

    I wrote a book! ~ Most Suave Character 2010

  3. #23
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    Diadems of Promethion's Avatar

    Name
    Throld Sartet
    Age
    68
    Race
    Dwarf
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Red
    Eye Color
    Green
    Build
    150cm / 114kg
    Job
    Runekeeper, Loreweaver, Spymaster

    A faint echo distorted the silence between Throld and the Blackcloak, the final vestiges of a horrid, drawn-out wail. Hackles rose on his nape. Clammy chills trickled down his spine. He swallowed deep of the rancid fear that clogged his throat, and willed his limbs into action.

    An unsteady totter brought him to his feet. Dusting off his backside in a billowing cloud of ancient ash, he sneaked the opportunity to peer at the debris upon which he had lain. His jade gaze swept across the crushed remnants of stone tablets and other assorted artefacts, long since vandalised, defaced, and destroyed. The Blackcloaks had to have known of the treasures of the Tiered Mountain long before he did; how else could they have summoned him into what remained of the reliquary with such pinpoint accuracy?

    “How long have you been sitting on this Haide-damned place?”

    “Many cycles,” Six answered, his placid demeanour deflecting the dwarf’s barbed scrutiny. “We do admit that your quest, and that of the human Joshua Cronen, has finally presented us with the perfect occasion to explore these halls in person.”

    Did mischievous mirth dart through the dark elf’s intense gaze? The Blackcloak betrayed little else, turning to join his comrades beneath the archway that exited the reliquary.

    “In light of your contribution, we might even consider your debt to us paid. In part.”

    “Said the lackey who could not even lace his boots without authorisation from above,” Throld spat back. But he did not inject his words with the rancour he might have otherwise felt. His shoulders slumped in an approximation of resigned acceptance. Six, after all, could no more influence his true masters than Throld could wish the events of the past hour into a figment of his hyperactive imagination. His stony glare continued to scan the vicinity, looking for something - anything - that might catch his eye. “I would also think that war machine is worth a favour or two in return, at the very least.”

    The dark elf snorted, a dismissive sound most unbefitting of his refined features. “Really? Do you believe that the misguided zealots and bigots of this primitive nation could threaten the sanctity and prestige of our fatherland, with something as crude as a reworked relic of the Tap Wars?”

    Having wandered the length and breadth of the room without finding any trace of what he sought, Throld’s attention returned to the leader of the Blackcloaks. “Or I could let Breaker know that you’ve known of this mountain for years and have been withholding said information? I wonder how he might react to the notion that the nobles of Alerar have been complicit in the treacheries of Geoffrey Rythadine?”

    “That’s stretching the truth, Master Sartet,” Six scoffed after the briefest of pregnant pauses. “Even for a renowned spinner of tall tales and lies.”

    Throld grinned.

    “I would not underestimate the younger races, were I you or your puppetmaster.” A curt nod at the bruised and battered Five - or was it Four? - emphasised the broken teeth he bared. “Whether in ingenuity or in sheer brutality, they have a tendency to defy our false airs of superiority, to tear apart the delusions we cling to in our desperate and misguided need. Perhaps I have no need of the truth. Perhaps I only have need of a convenient story.”

    “Perhaps,” the Blackcloak repeated, unconvinced. “I will at least relay your words for consideration by... by those who have the authority to dictate such matters. You never know, Master Sartet. You might even get lucky.”

    “I was born lucky.” The dwarf’s lips twitched, a humourless obscenity directed at any who would think otherwise. “Lucky enough to stand tall and tell you now to scram.”

    “You do not wish us to escort you from these wretched halls?” Despite the sarcasm that dripped like venom from his lips, Six seemed almost surprised by Throld’s bravado.

    “A companion for the sky-roads is a companion nonetheless. By Ronus’s beard, I won’t abandon him.”

    “Harglukkin.” Dwarves.The Blackcloak shook his head, strands of fine platinum hair flowing in time with the motion. “Very well, as you wish.”

    A heartbeat later he disappeared, and his underlings with him. Faint traces of powdery arcane amethyst lingered amidst the shadow. The stench of peppermint magic reminded Throld that he had not dreamt the confrontation. He exhaled into the dank chill, too terrified even to pat himself down and convince himself that he yet remained whole.

    “No shit,” he whispered to himself, aware once more of how the cavernous and domineering mountain halls loomed over his diminutive person. One last look he spared for the ransacked reliquary, to ensure that he had not missed any vital clue amongst the rubble, or even one of the Daughters themselves. The voice in his head remained quiet, as it had done all day. “But the odds were long, after all.”

    Exiting the desecrated chamber, he sniffed once of the musty silence. Choosing his direction from the labyrinth of rotted oak and rough-hewn masonry, he trudged off in search for the stairs that would lead him upwards and outwards.

    “As of this moment, Vera my beauty, we have more important concerns to see to.”
    Last edited by Diadems of Promethion; 03-19-17 at 02:12 PM.
    -Level 1-

    Come one, come all, and listen close
    No braggart am I nor one to boast
    Yet to tell this tale I must declare
    'I shit you not, 'tis true, I swear!'

  4. #24
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    Breaker's Avatar

    Name
    Joshua Breaker Cronen
    Age
    Ageless (looks 28)
    Race
    Demigod (human)
    Gender
    Male
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    Light Brown
    Eye Color
    Hazel
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    Breaker stood still on the precipice for a time, watching the space where Rythadine had vanished. The curvature of the cliff prevented him from seeing his old enemy strike the ground. I should confirm he's gone, Josh thought, but still his black boots remained rooted in place. The frigid northern wind whipped around his ankles and tugged at the collar of his shirt, pulling him back in time to a different Salvic mountaintop. One closer to Knife's Edge, where another Rythadine had perished.

    Kristina's face rose in his mind's eye, skin white as snow framed by fiery locks. I got him for you, Nina.

    Vindication eluded the demigod, as did regret. He felt only a sense of satisfaction at unfinished business finally complete. This story finally has an ending. Throld will be thrilled. Thinking of the yarn-weaving dwarf piqued Cronen's curiosity. Where did he get to? Josh had only caught a glimpse of the arcane mist that captured Sartet. It had looked complex, but not exceptionally powerful. He must still be somewhere in the mountain.

    Breaker took a last moment to admire the view from Shiverfang's peak. Through the mist that swirled on the breeze he could see miles of rolling hills and mountains in every direction. The sun, hitting the frosted landscape at an angle, threw up shimmering reflections like a thousand shattered mirrors. Crouching, Josh gathered a few rough rocks and stacked them atop one another, a small token of Kristina's memory. Slipping and sliding, he descended toward the open doorway that had brought him to the tip of the Tiered Mountain.

    The winding passage carried him down to the throne room, where he paused and then sat in the great carved stone chair. With his back straight, his eyes swept across the liviol table and chairs, across the stove with its gruesome meats, across the banks of blue flame lining the walls.

    Joshua Breaker Cronen, he thought, Uncrowned King of the Tiered Mountain. For the stronghold had always been rule by might, and only he who slew the king could claim the crown. On a whim Josh picked up Rythadine's crystal ball and held it before him, focusing on finding Throld. The mists within the glass orb whorled into the shape of the dwarf making his way through a dim dungeon, with Vera held at the ready. He must be on the lower levels, Breaker reasoned.

    Leaving behind both throne and crystal ball, Breaker swept down the stairs lining the walls to the middling tier where he'd fought the horde of skeletons. Bones and dust still littered the floor like the bottom of a mass grave. His boots made soft metallic noises as he paced to the spiral staircase at the middle of the large room and continued downward. Soon he stood on the level he and his companion had first entered, in the large chamber made porous by dozens of passageways.

    It took some time to locate a staircase leading downward, and then Josh found himself descending into inky darkness. "Throld?" He called, and the stone walls rebounded his voice a thousand times over. He let his feet fall heavily on each step, creating a harsh clanking metronome. With any luck, the dwarf would be able to follow the sound.
    ... They fell to him as prey to bluefin
    for the Jya's warriors knew not how to swim...
    13-3-2

    I wrote a book! ~ Most Suave Character 2010

  5. #25
    Member
    EXP: 3,391, Level: 2
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    Diadems of Promethion's Avatar

    Name
    Throld Sartet
    Age
    68
    Race
    Dwarf
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Red
    Eye Color
    Green
    Build
    150cm / 114kg
    Job
    Runekeeper, Loreweaver, Spymaster

    “Behind you, lad.” Chapped lips laughed from beneath a bulbous soot-smudged nose. Throld stepped out around a shadow-wreathed bend in the labyrinthine halls, into Breaker’s sight. Deep craggy lines furrowed his weathered brow. The dull jade gleam of the hollows beneath his eyes underlined his exhausted gait. He took a deep breath of the mould and mildew, though the darkness seemed to swallow his words whole. “I would advise against heading deeper into this mountain. Undead acolytes and mad tyrants are villains enough for any tale, but darker and angrier things lurk here now. Malice, and hatred, drawn to the Shiverfang’s deepest niches and roaming its darkest corners. Best we forget that they exist, before they realise that we do. Best we leave this abyss behind.”

    “Really? They won’t boil forth like some plague to ravage the surrounding lands?” Breaker did not seem too enamoured with the idea of retreat, although belated realisation flickered through his eyes. The Tiered Mountain had profited from its isolation for decades. No victim made a living for at least two days’ travel to all points of the compass. “And what’s to stop some unwary fool from venturing in to this... abyss?”

    The dwarf winked, a weary attempt at winsome appeal. With a subtle groan that echoed through the maws of the mountain, he started up the stairs that Breaker had just descended, towards the distant light. “Oh, I think I can come up with a tall tale or two.”

    The stone beneath his feet cast his voice back into his face. The humid stench of faecal fungus made it difficult for him to concentrate. Instead, he cast a critical eye over Breaker. The human continued to hesitate at the bottom-most step, his body language recalcitrant, his eyes simmering with bloody thirst.

    Throld sighed.

    “Trust me, Master Breaker, there’s little more we can do here. We stonefolk have learnt much of the perils that lurk in the depths of this world. Some menaces, even a deity such as yourself and a demi-god like myself are unable to combat.” A cheeky grin cracked his dusky broken features, though it lacked the vigour it had displayed in the morn. “Some menaces are best left undisturbed.”

    He paused in his words, continuing to regard the man, his eyes sombre despite the flippancy of his features. “See, there’s a reason I tell my tales.”

    “Other than free drinks, you mean?”

    “Well, there’s that,” Throld admitted, allowing himself to salivate at the thought of a rich foamy ale. Oh, what he would do to bask in the warmth of a roaring fire and the waves of hearty conversation! Breaker caught his eye as if reading his thoughts, the ghost of an unwilling smile playing about his lips. “Rather, one might say that my indomitable thirst grants me a vested interest in the wellbeing of this world. It is my job, nay my duty in Ronus’s flinty gaze, to cajole, to inspire, to forewarn the next generation of great adventurers.

    “Say, for illustration, that I return to Knife’s Edge and spread the word of a lonely mountain, haunted by the vengeant ghosts of long-dead kings and the daemons that lurk in the abyssal pits below. Those who know of these forsaken tiers are warned that other minds more cunning than theirs are aware of their plotting, that they had better not try again. Those who hear the tale of our failed expedition and don’t come anywhere near Shiverfang are intelligent. They deserve their quiet safe lives, growing crops and tending to families. Those who hear it and still decide to come here are foolhardy, and deserve whatever fate they find within these walls. But those who hear it, and still brave these halls, and somehow survive... those folk are heroes. They’re the ones who’ll stop the next Rythadine, and the next, from taking root.”

    “Or become the next Rythadine themselves?”

    “I’ll take my chances,” Throld grunted, acknowledging Breaker’s point. “If your fickle Thaynes give us a Breaker for every Rythadine, then the world’s a better place for all our troubles. There’s a famous inscription I like to quote at times like this, engraved upon a plaque at the Temple of Paragons in Gunnbad. ‘Let the innocent dead rest easy in their tombs, in the knowledge that their sacrifice has meaning.’”

    Not once did he relinquish Breaker’s glare, braced against the flaring anger, the tides of sorrow and regret, the grim abyss of acceptance. Like an anvil to the hammer he weathered the tumultuous tempest of the man’s leashed emotions, until at last the fists twitched and unclenched, and the teeth loosened their grit rigour.

    “That’s...” Gravel ground in the depths of Breaker’s throat, as he took a single step upwards to look Throld in the eye. He coughed, swallowed, and tried again. “That’s a very practical outlook on life.”

    “A dwarven trait,” Throld explained, weather-beaten features creased in a wry and tired grin. “For what little it’s worth... I’m sorry for your loss.”

    Breaker could only nod, composing himself in the shadow and the silence. A long pause ensued, only the whispered threats of the deep dark underfoot keeping them company, until at length man and dwarf turned as one. Together they began to ascend from the clutches of the Tiered Mountain.

    “There’s just one last thing I don’t like about all this, Master Sartet.”

    “Hm?”

    “The way you’re telling the tale, it’s like we failed.”

    Again the dwarf grunted, this time with effort as he climbed.

    “Not everybody gets satisfaction in pursuit of vengeance, Breaker. I’ve had enough of seeing lives wasted in pursuit of age-old grudges.” For the briefest of heartbeats, the shadow of fallen Hamdarim clouded Throld’s vision. Then it fled before the faint light that trickled through the mountain above, his fears and his pain banished behind a flimsy facade of levity. “Besides, I don’t mind my heroes failing, as long as they try their damndest. It’s easy to be valiant when you always win, when everything goes your way. There’s nothing great in that. And that’s another important life lesson to teach those wet-nosed snotlings who’re going to pay for my next drink.”

    Breaker snorted disbelief. But once again he could not quite disguise an amused smile.
    Last edited by Diadems of Promethion; 03-19-17 at 02:13 PM.
    -Level 1-

    Come one, come all, and listen close
    No braggart am I nor one to boast
    Yet to tell this tale I must declare
    'I shit you not, 'tis true, I swear!'

  6. #26
    Maul-Slayer
    EXP: 172,649, Level: 18
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    Breaker's Avatar

    Name
    Joshua Breaker Cronen
    Age
    Ageless (looks 28)
    Race
    Demigod (human)
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Light Brown
    Eye Color
    Hazel
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    6 feet / 202 lbs.

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    The sound of metal on stone echoed throughout the tunnels of the Tiered Mountain as Breaker climbed back up the stairs. Together the demigod and the dwarf retraced their steps through the darkened confines until a breath of fresh air graced their lungs. The hole Throld had blown in the side of the mountain gaped greedily, and the dwarf uncoiled his long rope. Breaker set his feet in the carved hallway, boots adhering to the cold stone, and lowered his companion hand over hand to the permafrost below. He tossed the rope down and stepped out of the opening, pausing with the wind teasing his hair and tugging at his clothing.

    Molten ice erupted from both of Breaker's palms, sealing the gash in the mountain's side like a cork stopping a barrel. He turned and raced down the side of the mountain like a two-legged spider, landing heavily next to Throld in a spray of snow and grit.

    "You really must tell me the story behind those beautiful boots," the dwarf commented, wiping flecks of ice from his face and peering at the demigod's footwear.

    "I'd be happy to," Breaker replied, "but there's one thing I still need to do." He took a few steps back, studying the mountain and trying to calculate the winding path his descent from the precipice had taken. Giving up, he stalked off in a wide circle around Shiverfang's lower slopes.

    "Don't tell me you're about to mark your territory," Throld jested, following closely, "In that case, I should give you some privacy-- ahhh..." A long note of understanding rolled from the dwarf's lips as they rounded a craggy cliff and came upon a battered corpse half buried in the snow.

    Breaker could barely recognize Rythadine's body, for the impact of the fall had distorted his features. The grey streaked beard remained the same though, and the bald pate, and the adamantine crown encircling it. The prongs of the unbreakable affectation had dug deeply into the fallen king's scalp, fixing it in place.

    "Of course," Throld commented, "the confirmation of the kill! A tireless trope if ever one existed. For how else is the audience to know if a sequel lurks ahead?"

    Breaker crouched down by his old enemy's body and clutched the adamantine circlet between his powerful palms. He pulled it free and stood, wiping flecks of blood and skin away from the simple crown. It felt surprisingly heavy in his hands, for Breaker had never held anything made from the indomitable metal. He could see a thin rendition of his reflection in the band, stony hazel eyes glaring back at him.

    For once, Throld remained silent.

    Josh rolled his powerful shoulders and threw the crown like a discus. It spun out over the frosted landscape and buried itself in a large bank of snow, nearly out of sight.

    Vera bellowed, the echo ricocheting off the solid rock wall, and buckshot peppered Rythadine's body. Breaker turned, giving Throld a quizzical look.

    "Just to be safe," Throld grinned as he expelled the spent cartridge. "Sometimes the baddest ones come back." The demigod arched an eyebrow. "Or maybe it's all this fresh mountain air making me lightheaded."

    Breaker shook his head, a hearty chuckle welling up from his chest. "Well, he's definitely dead now. I hope you don't mind giving me credit for the kill when you tell the story."

    "Naturally." Throld said with a wink and a nod. "Now about these boots of yours..."

    "They were a gift from Rythadine's father, a powerful alchemist called Tinker Rythadine." The dwarf and the demigod strode away from the mountain side by side, headed back the way they had come. "The enchanter hoped I would use them to stop his son's misdeeds without harming young Geoffrey... and at the time, I succeeded. I chased him up the side of a mountain with a Church of the Ethereal Sway set on its slopes..."
    ... They fell to him as prey to bluefin
    for the Jya's warriors knew not how to swim...
    13-3-2

    I wrote a book! ~ Most Suave Character 2010

  7. #27
    Member
    EXP: 3,391, Level: 2
    Level completed: 47%, EXP required for next level: 1,609
    Level completed: 47%,
    EXP required for next level: 1,609

    AP
    5
    GP
    1,086
    Diadems of Promethion's Avatar

    Name
    Throld Sartet
    Age
    68
    Race
    Dwarf
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Red
    Eye Color
    Green
    Build
    150cm / 114kg
    Job
    Runekeeper, Loreweaver, Spymaster

    Windswept snowscape, broken by jagged outcroppings and copses of evergreen, sped past in a comfortable blur of conversation, exaggeration, and swapped stories. They sheltered overnight again in Breaker’s icy shelter, supping on a stew of tubers and salted pork. Though Shiverfang touched their nightmares in slumber, this time the Blackcloaks did not disturb Throld’s picket of twine and bells.

    By afternoon on the second day they had regained the trail, leaving the deep wilds behind. The setting sun cast long shadows into their path. A pale moon rose into the streaks of cloud on the eastern horizon. Approaching the village tavern in which they had first met, they at last found themselves out of tales to tell.

    But still Throld milked his arrival for every possible ounce of theatre. Hailing by name even those he had met for only brief minutes over a pint and a joke, he attracted a rambunctious crowd on the short journey from village gate to tavern. His voice rolled among the thatched roofs and muddy paths. His heroic shadow grew to thrice his size in the twilight. Breaker seemed content to exchange small words with the ladies drawn to his presence like butterflies to nectar.

    They entered the low-ceilinged building to whistled acclaim, breathing again of stale ale and smoky hearth, basking in the heady warmth. A trio of tankards already awaited their arrival, lined like trophies upon the counter at the far end of the room. Throld handed Breaker the first and downed the second in a single long draught. Then he sought a seat, clutching the third to his chest like a prized possession.

    For a while he wet his lips, content to bask in camaraderie and to tease of the spectacle to come. A small crowd gathered as he spun them a short parable, featuring a pair of magic boots and the cheeky child who stole them to scale a haunted rockface. Only when he had almost finished tale and drink alike did he catch Breaker slipping from the tavern, as stealthy as a morning shadow.

    Man and dwarf matched glances one last time, one sage soul to another, flinty jade locking with fathomless hazel. The dwarf nodded first, then the man, promising that when they greeted each other again they would do so as old friends. Until then the dwarf would continue searching for artefacts and tall tales. The man would continue travelling the world to right its wrongs. The world would continue to turn. Few would be any the wiser that Geoffrey Rythadine lay dead in a snowdrift beneath Shiverfang, or that the Blackcloaks of Alerar had vested interest in the activities of Gunnbad and the Elythian League.

    With one last blast of frigid wind, the heavy log door swung shut behind Joshua ‘Breaker’ Cronen. Dancing light and flaring warmth rushed to fill the void he left behind, ushered forth by the tumult of happy conversation and the flow of watery beer. Throld stood from his seat, meandering over to the bar where the bosomy barmaid already had a hard stare and a cold drink waiting for him.

    “Now now, gentlemen, gather around and allow me my say,” he did at last declare, perching his considerable bulk on the counter-top so that he sat at a height with his audience. “For I have a tale of great sorrow and woe to impart to you.”

    He grinned, exposing yellowed teeth to the flickering light of the hearth.

    “I bet you’ve all heard of the Tiered Mountain?”
    Last edited by Diadems of Promethion; 03-19-17 at 02:14 PM.
    -Level 1-

    Come one, come all, and listen close
    No braggart am I nor one to boast
    Yet to tell this tale I must declare
    'I shit you not, 'tis true, I swear!'

  8. #28
    Lyre-Bearer
    EXP: 57,929, Level: 10
    Level completed: 36%, EXP required for next level: 7,071
    Level completed: 36%,
    EXP required for next level: 7,071

    AP
    70
    GP
    6,755
    Philomel's Avatar

    Name
    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
    Age
    28
    Race
    faun
    Gender
    female
    Hair Color
    violet (dyed)
    Eye Color
    grey
    Build
    6ft / 156kg
    Job
    Matriarch (Gilded Lily, Feminist Guild)

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    Name of Thread: The Tiers of the Shiverfang
    Judgement Type: Full Rubric

    Plot – 21/30

    Story: 7/10

    Diadems, you gave a great opening with a tavern tale of the mountain itself, which then becomes the setting for the story, and serves as a focus of the title. The separate connections, also, that either character have to the Tiered Mountain are believable, and give some focus as to why they are in the place at that time. The development of the story from there, adding all the details of the Tiered Mountain, with the constant mentioning of it and the final confession of Breaker to Throld of why he wanted to go there, add all a slow build up leading to a fantastic climax. Separating the characters did allow for some further adventure, and it made sense for they did have each their own story to be told here. Added note: Adding in Throld’s stories to find a way in was genius.

    Setting: 7/10

    Main setting was introduced early, well, not so much in description but in the fact that it was talked about. The story itself, however, beginning in a pub is as typical as you can get for a story full of adventure, and it is described well with the noise and “burly” customers. Simple, particular descriptions such as the “bell-shaped flowers” in post 3 not only add to your setting, but make it alive and weave the plot well into it. The journey through the land seems a little lacking, and there could have been more development here, but you did make up for this in the final description of the Tiered Mountain. The fact that the interior of the Mountain is hollow, and has levels (tiers) adds to the adventure within this thread.

    Pacing: 7/10

    There was no long pauses when there should not have been, and the right amount of tension was present in most points. There is some rise during the smaller fight scenes (such as that against the skeleton, post 16) but else it was steady. There could have perhaps been more rise, the further up the Mountain they went. All in all it did rise with the coupled ill effects of Breaker’s foe and Throld’s enemies being in their own story endings, but certain points (such as Breaker looking into the cooking pots, then suddenly running to fight in post 22) were interrupting to the general flow. In future a good balance of action and pacing would be something to aim for.

    Character - 23/30

    Communication: 8/10
    Action: 7/10
    Persona: 8/10


    Diadems:

    Communication:

    Throld speaks as one might expect a story-weaver to – with a great amount of words and with impressive vocabulary. Simple things such as repeating phrases (“Information, Breaker. I deal in information.” Post 7) add depth to the character. His eloquence is something to be admired, espiecally when simpler phrases might fair as well. There are times when speech was not so well concentrated on, and seemed a little out of place (post 9 “great shot”) but overall, it is well done.

    Action:

    Actions seem thought of well before writing, which is what a reader likes to see. The act of placing useful items, such as the chimes in post 9 around the camp, are suitable to the wisdom of your character and also clever. Though we do not see him fight much, and some things are left up to the imagination, there is a power in the actions described that make sense for the dwarf. There could perhaps be more scope here for developing habits or other, but overall a great job here.

    Persona:

    Persona was not used as much as perhaps it could have been, but what there was was very well done. In post 11, for example, you have Throld consider the connection Breaker has given to him with the Tiered Mountain, and the fact he does not believe him. This is built upon well, and creates a strong sense of the character of Throld. The comments about his sister Vera, also, and the attitude behind it, the continued mentioning of her also add to a great character.

    Breaker:

    Communication:

    Overall Breaker keeps constant with his speech, and communicates as one might expect a knowing, ageless fighter might. Sometimes the word choice for his speech, such as “nip” in post 8 seems a little colloquial for him, however. Communication is regained in skill somewhat else, with the continuation of the liveliness of the character, and simple things, such as his connection to his name.

    Action:

    Breaker has a strong sense of the personality in his action, them being all thought of and purposeful. Actions such as fighting, and simple ones like taking a deep breath (post 10) add more to his character. You manage also to communicate a sense of heroism and nobility within Breaker, when he throws away the crown. In a way there could have been done more here, with communication and persona taking a more prominent seat, however this is something perhaps to develop on.

    Persona:

    Overall, one can be impressed by the way you write Breaker’s character. Some things are included in this thead, such as the origin of Breaker’s ‘nickname,’ which helps the reader to get to know the character a little better. Having Breaker not telling Throld his real interest in the Tiered Mountain (post 6) is something of a gamble for your character, but add a depth that cannot be written else. Other things that are littered through the thread, the decisions that are described, all have reason behind them and are done well. There is even a point of weakness for Breaker, when he realises he is the king of the mountain, and this adds a human element.

    Writing – 24/30

    Mechanics: 7/10

    Mainly mechanics was without much flaw, there was not any noticeable spelling errors to be seen. A couple of times there was the odd punctuation missing that could have helped the flow of the writing to be better, and also Breaker tended to not add a capital letter to the opening of every speech mark. Paragraphing, also, could have been broken up at times to create shorter ones and help with clarity. However, overall, grammar was all there.

    Clarity: 8/10

    As above the only massive issue that affected clarity was the paragraphing that was sometimes large and bulky, but this in reality is only a minor point. Clarity was not something that caused any detriment to the story, and this thread itself. It required little to no reading back by the reader.

    Technique: 9/10


    With a character such as Throld, it is good to see that Diadem used his linguistic technique well. Parts of the speech were extremely poetic (start of post 11) and others had alliteration with post 1: “dwarf did declare.” There were also examples of similie by Breaker with “Dawn arrived slowly, as if made lazy by the cold,” post 12. Wherein some points there were moments that could have been improved with more technique, the use of imagery as an example, this is being extremely penickity, and overall the read was a pleasant one with a vocabulary that left nothing to be desired.

    Wildcard – 8/10

    Clever words cannot be doubted as the secret power within this thread. “It seems we are alone, and yet not alone,” there is poetry and beauty and I hope to read more of the adventures of these two in the future.
    Also I LOVE how the story started where it began. So much awesome here.

    Total: 76/100

    Rewards:

    Breaker receives:
    3560 EXP
    200 GP

    Diadems of Promethion receives:
    1565 EXP
    215 GP

    Notes:

    Cost is 5 AP to be taken from Breaker's account.
    Judges Choice nominated.

    “I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”
    ― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
    "Tol. Mela. Othor." "Versh. Sai. Memnae." Come. Love. Conquer. - Philomel in Tolkein Sindarin, Faunish and Tradespeak

    Very grateful winner of 2015 Althies Awards: Friendliest Member, Mrs Althanas, Best IC Rivalry (with Doge), Best Judge and Most Helpful/Friendly Mod and Admin Award of Moderator of the Year.

  9. #29
    Deliver Us
    EXP: 60,694, Level: 10
    Level completed: 61%, EXP required for next level: 4,306
    Level completed: 61%,
    EXP required for next level: 4,306

    AP
    0
    GP
    6,295
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
    Age
    31
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Brown
    Eye Color
    Gold
    Build
    6'0", 155lbs
    Job
    "Executor" (Leader) of the Brotherhood

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    All rewards added, pending JC outcome.

    Althanas Operations Administrator



    "Hilarious question, particularly from you. Did you ever ask why? Why we toppled all those dictators, undermined all those regimes, only to come home: "Well done, good job, but sorry, old boy, everything you risked your life and limb for has changed."

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