Author Topic: Chapter 5 - EFU: City of Rings Rumors & Gossip Thread  (Read 32999 times)

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on: December 20, 2021, 06:07:19 AM
[ :: Year 2 :: ]

The Pallid host, for a time now yet, has contested well Count Zarono Senuspur's  advance forward, much to his spiraling control of the Ward. While some might contest that Ring 94 and 93 brought a deep distain to light that was a nail in the coffee for his tenure in the Peerage, none can argue the complete damage and disconnect wrought by the events following up to and around the siege of the Pallid Plane of Bone, Ash, and Death:

-- Somewhere deep behind enemy lines, a small group has assembled.. --

Quote from: ”City Whisper by Ser Manfred Japes of House Orza”
[A begrudging voice.] In light of our agreements as the cinquefoil rose, House Orza and House Velstra have made an agreement...

We shall rescue Lady Oriana from the Prince... Mghmm.. /Together/. Then once the Prince is pushed back, we will hold a royal tournament to determine who shall lead the ward. We will invoke what powers we can, to re-open the bannergrounds and have it out like we used to.

Quote from: ”City Whisper by Marshal Luc Devereux of House Moonspear”
In light of recent developments, Retainers of the House Moonspear are given leave to join the attack upon the Palli.... should they so wish.

-- The Houses align themselves under their flags and make for war in earnest. The Pallid Prince turns from the City and the House's Banners have come to hound him until the very end of his realm. --

-- Somewhere else, safe in shadow, sits a boy with no shoes on a cold seat. A tall, gaunt man flanks him, whispering into his ear. --

-- When the cat's away... --

During the besiegement, a cunning rogue rocks the very foundations of a place of hope and expansion.

-- From the Old Canal Harbor, a shockwave blasts against the Ringwalls of the 97th, and can be heard from the Ward to the Warrens. --

-- A tower topples against another. Pondsfolk say they saw the head of the King flying just above the Ringwall across the harbor... --

-- Smoke fills Ring 97. An incredible plume is seen, and will be seen for several days. --

-- ...many, many mice take the opportunity of a lifetime. --

-- Harborfolk are seen, covered in soot, scurrying away forever, after pulling their meagre belongings from the rubble. --

-- Three flavors of retainer drag a Recondite, covered in soot, over the bridge to the gallows, lecturing the stubborn creature on morals and ethics. Its head is cocked, as if its eardrums have already been destroyed. --

-- A gleam of masterful pride flashes from its visage, rapidly being enveloped in deathly stone. Following it: the smells of alchemist's fire and bombstuff. --

- One last explosion racks the Outer Rings as a hat-wearing buffoon ignites the remaining explosive materials on the body of the Hanged Recondite, since brought to justice. --

-- Luckily, the gallows are unscathed. -- 

Quote from: ”City Whisper by Glitt Retainer Sorcha O'Connor”
Let it be kent that th' recondite kent as 'Mister Yakov' haes bin hanged fur th' crime o' murder haes bin hanged. Refugees 'n' survivors o' th' explosion in th' harbor ur fàilte tae tak' shelter in wee ticker 'til reparations kin be made, under th' protection o' hoose Glitt --

After a harrowing journey for most, an army is assembled:

-- A forward encampment awaiting the brave heroes that make the path forward finds itself assaulted by a scouting party of the pallid --

-- The trail of Banners makes its way to the edge of outskirts... --

-- The Banners of Orza, Moonspear, Velstra, bring their retainers to bear on the edge of the Pallid Prince's inner demesne.. --

-- Battle plans are formed... the rest of the accompanying retainers prepare and take to the outskirts fields. The orders have been shared. Only time will tell if they'll be followed. --

-- The remainder of the retainers form up outside... --

-- The forces are arrayed... --

-- In the distance, the city of Pale glitters darkly. --

Meanwhile in the Peerage...

-- A riotous rumble approaches the Peerage Ward gate, mercenaries and gangsters, well armed by some kind of funding, approach, chanting: WHERE'S OUR GROAT? --

Quote from: ”City Whisper by Alden Greywood”
People of the Peerage's Ward, the barbarian mercenaries which assailed our home have been repelled and put to the sword by our loyal armsmen. You have our worthy sons and daughters to thank for the keeping of our Promise, and none more so than the retainers of Orza, Moonspear, Glitt, and Velstra.

Back upon the field of contest, armies are finished prepping, they make forth:

-- Ser Manfred Japes sets his mouth to a bloodied horn. One single call that echoes across the flatlands of the Pallid domain. --

-- 'March!' --

-- An attack on the very gates themselves! --

-- Upon the Western Front a cold and horrible force seeks to stall the would be heroes --

-- Silence on the Eastern approach... --

-- Bones of Ice and stone crush against the Host lead by House Velstra. Ser Adrian Velstra leads grimly against massive foes that smash at them like gnats --

-- The masses of bone and ice, hulking ever so slowly from behind the Moonspear and Velstra line seem to dwindle a bit in power... their bones begin to chip --

-- The archers rain a score of arrows upon the Western Advance, the door is all but sealed... perhaps if they can remove the threat above they can deal with the one below --

-- Though the Western forces push through... terrible magics disturb the grounds there... a moment, and they are back where they were... --

-- A dreary battle on the Eastern approach... --

-- The retreat horn sounds on the eastern approach. --

-- House Velstra and Moonspear climb the battlements, seeking to end the Archers there --

-- The center approach holds... sounds of a struggling fight to the west. --

-- A horn blows long and proud from the Center, the sound of an approach cleansed of skeletal foe. --

-- The approaches are secured for the time being. From far behind the pale plains, a horn sounds from the harbor. Regroup, recenter. Restrategize. --

-- With less than a score of archers upon the Western front, terrible magics once more grasp at the heroes - still, the Western Wall is won -- 

With the gates challenged, a path forward to lay proper siege is given:

-- Ulfington heads outside. Soon, more artificers and workmen of the Drill join her. In the wake of pitched battles, they load and bear out wooden beams and construction materials, carrying them deftly across the plains. Hastily, they begin to construct, craft and build. --

-- Soon, fortifications, defenses, armaments are constructed... --

-- The quartermaster positions herself outside, calling those inside the complex to join her. --

-- An orzan war horn is blown, and the forces proceed towards the siege weaponry, hoping to defend it --

-- Scores of Pallid descend upon the defenders from the Center fort --

-- The Eastern Forces also meet resistance from the Pallid in droves --

-- The horn for Reinforcements sounds from the West. Titans of Ice smash the seigeworks. --

-- Catapults fire upon the Eastern Front as the defenders are beset by wave after wave of the undead --

-- The Gates of the West fly open, and yellow mist seeps forth. -

-- Upon the Eastern Front, the gates finally break, but a terrible miasma seeps unto the battlefield --

-- In the Center, Volleys fly and lay down the Pallid upon the walls --

-- The gate breaks... however, the sound of gnawing, gnashing and stamping feet follows... --

-- Though the catapults fire, the forces find themselves overwhelmed - still, the gate forward is broken, for now --

-- In the West, the onslaught simmers, as the yellow mists envelope all. --

-- A horn bellows from the Main encampment, while the field of war is still very active, the battle is won upon all fronts, a retreat is called --

-- The Sunpurse Captain Speaks: The battle is won this day, though those brave enough to press into the city proper might gather resources to do so upon the morrow --

-- Further he quips: The Pallid Prince will regret their actions shortly... --

Quote from: ”City Whisper by Ser Manfred Japes of House Orza”
The banners return to the ward. The city of the Pallid Prince has been cracked open and we shall soon be launching a grand assault. For now, we rest from the planar itch.

No less than four of the prince's personal knights were broken today and three of his grand city gates.

Quote from: ”City Whisper by Ser Adrian Velstra of House Velstra”
With the tragic bombing of Swaddle Point Harbor, House Velstra will be pulling its forward garrison out of the Bonelands and repositioning them in the Wine Quarter.

Whatever passes for leadership of the harbor these days is ordered to report to the Velstra Vale, posthaste, to discuss the future of the district. Our guards will stand watch over the orphanage for now.

We are grateful to the hard work of House Glitt in apprehending and destroying the deranged Recondite terrorist responsible.

Night passes, tensions flare, and calls for death are made in the still of the night... but upon the rise of the Promise, the efforts are continued:

-- Fresh for a fight after yesterday's taking and breaking of Pale's walls, the main force against the prince have gathered once again the next day to prepare for a final assault.. A captain, dead yet helpful, has ferried in reinforcements from across the Still in the wake of this main force... --

-- While many seem on guard, the same dead captain that has ferried a great deal of you before seems not to be hostile. In tow, he brings fresh reinforcements. --

-- The captain presents himself to the quartermaster. She, in turn, looks to him with something bordering between fear and obvious revulsion. --

-- The pair begin to converse. --

-- The quartermaster motions for Ser Manfred, Ser Adrian, and Luc Devereux to present themselves. --

The undead captain that ferried the host before and now asked for its price, but the host was unwilling. By Orzan orders the opportunist was cut down... never paid for his works

-- The quartermaster asks for those ready to muster outside for final say and preparations... --

-- Of the three banners called to rise against the prince, only two yet remain. Orza and Moonspear... their retainers rally around them. -

-- The Sunpurse seem to have vanished... --

-- On the thoughts of many is an event that survivors - should there be any - will never forget. The 'Vanishing of Velstra', then when it mattered.

-- Pale's walls loom on the horizon... --

-- Ser Manfred Japes sets his horn to his lips and calls for the banners to gather. Swords unsheathe, shields raise, spells are sung. The final assault on Pale begins... --

-- Likewise, the Marshal in banner blue, Luc Devereux sets his poor marchers to task: ending the cursed Pale once and for all --

-- Archers, though less than before, have manned what is left of the walls once again... they seem prepared. --

-- The sounds of massed gatherings.. --

-- Ahead of you seem winding alleys and narrow avenues. --

-- You are swarmed, beset on all sides. These alleys are the death of the slow. They seem so stretch and wind endlessly into the rest of the necropolis. --

-- Straggles in the back are bogged down with the dead. --

-- Ser Manfred of Orza cuts his way through the dead, in his wake followed by the rest of the invaders of the city of Pale. Luc Devereux fights beside him, the banner of Moonspear held high. --

-- The dead seem endless, here in the heart of their domain. As you proceed through the streets of Pale, you feel a heaviness on your shoulders. The heavy gaze of someone watching you with keen interest. --

-- The fighting is dogged and rough... --

-- They enter a more pestilent part of the city. --

-- The air is green and sickening. And you can smell the acrid taste in the air... up ahead you see things through the fog. --

-- Past the sickening fog, you see the men of Sunpurse fighting for their lives.. --

-- The sounds of battle in a nearby alleyway. --

-- Numbers flee north... --

-- A titanic struggle to the south! --

-- The last of Sunpurse struggle downwind in the caustic air. --

-- Some of the Sunpurse saved, ser Manfred blows his horn and calls northbound into the city.. --

-- They enter a lonely lane.. ahead of them, it seems, the only way through is through the gate leading onward through a rotted park. --

-- They enter the loneliest lane in all the city.. --

-- They trudge through dreadful water. As you continue... --

-- ..the dreadful waters shift. Something stirs beneath.. --

-- From ahead of them, the waters shift in response to their approach.. --

-- The walls seems scalable here for a select few.. --

-- Here the air is still. The space is silent. Whilst the rest of the city is riddled with the dead, here... they seem alone. All alone. --

-- Ropes are lowered rapidly into the prince's personal grounds... --

-- More ropes are fastened. A rapid rappel down the sides of the wall into the silent quarter. --

-- They meander into the meat markets. Here, gigantic beasts roam. The prince's personal carvers... they are slow, but a single blow could fell a man in one blow. --

-- The Pallid rouse from their rotted homes. Their sockets are empty of eyes, but lit with green hunger. --

-- Meat for the tables of the prince. --

-- Corpses of former friends and acquaintances of their home are hoisted upon their shoulders. They carry them with, trailing what remains of their blood. --

-- They felt an intimate presence watching you here in this square, so heavy as to be almost palpable on the shoulders. --

-- Ulf chugs a rare drink, then hurriedly swings a large rock around in a strange sling. Whoosh, woosh, whoosh-- he lets fly, aiming for the belltower high, high above. --

-- The rock is let fly, it angles, arcs, then hits the massive bell high up in the tower. There's a sudden sound of incredible clamour of a cacophonous ringing as the bell is rung, audible - palpable - throughout the rest of Pale and its immediate environs. --

-- One bell is rung... --

-- Ser Manfred flexes, crouches, then springs up into a furious blur of mucle and motion. He hefts a large rock, larger than his head (massive in its own right) then hurls a large rock, aiming for the belltower up high. Miraculously, the rock connects - a tremendous feat.. --

-- ...the bell rings in response to the violence inflicted upon it. Once again, the sound permeates like a wave throughout the rest of Pale. --

-- Luc calls upon ancient and ornate powers. There's a prayer on his lips, quiet at first, but then it loudens, strengthens. 'I unsheathe my holy sword and take up my holy spear. I need no holy shield, for my faith is my armor and in this moment of courage, I call on you now.' --

-- There's a silence that follows, and a still wind blows about Luc. A moment passes, then another, as he picks up another stray piece of architecture long since broken off from the edifice. He takes a running leap, angles, then releases it from his hand. --

-- A moment later, the third bell is rung. --

-- And the gates open... --

-- They enter the Prince's palace. As you wind their way through the endless labyrinthine tunnels... they find that the gates close shut behind them, locking them in. --

-- They enter the many colonnaded hall of the Pallid Prince himself. All about them, the dead - sat at their feasting tables - look up from their meals. As they move between the tables, they notice former friends. Cut and served and in the process of undergoing consumption. --

-- The Prince lords from his position, high above the tables, overseeing your arrival. There is a cold and cruel smile to his features, green fire leaking in rivulets down his sallow, sunken cheeks... --

-- Before the Prince, at the base of his throne, you see the lady Oriana, her hands clutched together in what appears to be fervent, desperate prayer. --

-- Pallid Prince: Welcome... --

-- Pallid Prince: How easily you take to my table after breaking my things! Perhaps you are famished after your long and strenuous ordeal? --

-- Pallid Prince: Fret not. The meat is plentiful... --

-- The Prince is flanked by some of his brides, sat on smaller stools to the sides of his throne. Their flesh is pale, their hair and features beautiful. But their eyes are hollow husks... and they weep. They weep. --

-- The Prince oversees, looking out across the breadth of his hall. His gaze on you is cruel and heavy and incomparably piercing. --

-- The Pallid turn turn their head in instant, eerie unison, as if their limbs and skulls were directed by an unseen puppeteer. All of their empty sockets are filled with green, incandescent light that has burned away at their cheeks over eons. And they all turn to look at Manfred... --

Quote from: The Host makes conversation with the Undead Royalty.
The Pallid Prince: ...Is there something you wish to say? [He leans in, almost tiptoeing to cock one ear at Manfred.]

Ser Manfred Japes: You have taken Lady Oriana Sunpurse forcefully, and we are here to take her back. Stand... Stand you cowards. [He slams his fist into the table]

The Pallid Prince: [ ...As the lady is mentioned, the prince turns his gaze on her.] You come for her?

 [The prince seems unperturbed by the actions shown by visitors to his hall. His attention is wholly fixated on Oriana. He steps up to right behind her, hovering, looming.]

Ser Manfred Japes: [Grips something in his cloak.]

-- The prince's wives, sat on their seats, suddenly gasp. Their backs arch and their limbs are made to move, almost catapulting themselves onto their feet. --

-- The Prince makes a slow gesture with his hand and in immediate reply, his pale wives make their way down the stairs. --

The Pallid Prince: See... [He gesticulates with his fingers. The women do as he wills them to. As he bends his fingers low, they fall to their knees. As he brings them back up, they look to him in fearful adoration.]

I will show you. [He says to the woman at his feet.] I will... please you.

[He turns to those before him.] You've come for my bride-to-be. But I fear you do not understand the gravity of what this woman is to me. Perhaps I can make you understand.

[From his side, he draws a slender rapier, he leans down to cup the woman's cheek.] ...My love. [He runs her through with one single puncture straight through the chest]

Ser Manfred Japes: [Kicks out the stool before him.] I fear you do not understand the gravity of the situation you are in!

-- Tables are flung, meat falls. Blood spills. --

-- The Prince raises his blade. --

-- Pallid Prince: ...very well then. --

-- Pallid Prince: Your blood as wine... your bone as bread. Let us see to a pleasant meal. --

-- Pallid Prince: My friends. It is time for a feast.. --

-- Reinforcements come from the many side halls.. --

-- The prince is not alone in his large palace. --

-- More of the Pallid slink in from the halls, ready to meet and eat you. --

-- The Prince raises his hands, working the ways of his world to twist and turn... --

-- The hallways of the Prince's palace open up... --

-- The halls rumble. The building-bones crack and splinter. --

-- More recesses of the palace open up as the bones of giants crumble and fade away, revealing passages. --

-- Long hallways closed and locked for eons open, revealing monsters long kept locked. --

-- Inadvertently, the passage for escape does as well. But the Prince seems void of his mightiest magics, the green fire in his eyes dimmed. --

A silver stake is stabbed into the cavity where one might find a heart of the Prince of Pallid, and then into the domain itself... fractures break in the plane itself

-- The Prince is felled, the last blow done by Ser Manfred. In response, the palace - the quarter - Pale itself - shudders, exhaling as if a long held breath was let out. --

-- The palace continues to quake and shudder. The prince lay where he was brought low and around him, the cobble begins to crack. --

-- Oriana seems nowhere to be found... --

-- 'Let there be MEAT.' --

-- Survivors flee out of the prince's palace. Slow-forming splinters crack their way from the palace on outwards into the rest of the city. --

-- Survivors flee across the square.. --

--They are willed onwards, with the speed of horse. They leave behind a citadel of meat. No doubt, within, were many pounds.--

-- Victorious, but broken, those who survived the assault on Pale and its Prince return to the ward that houses them... --

-- Ser Manfred Japes crosses the bridge of the Peers with Lady Oriana Sunpurse on his arm, clinging to it tightly... --

Quote from: ”City Whisper by Tolinar Mistborne”
Lord...Phelan of sunpurse.. your 'Mother' is here.. such as she is.

-- Buzzards circle House Orza as the Lady Oriana disappears within it... --

An ominous whisper follows...

Quote from: ”City Whisper by Lady Esmer, Mistress of the Hunt”
We haven't had a proper eons. We cannot express our gratitude enough, strangers. We have much to do now that we are free again... ...and even more to eat. We'll see you sooner than you'd like, we're sure.

-- With the Prince gone, the threat of the Pallid seems to have been dealt with, though only time will tell the truth to that statement. --

-- The recovery of the lady Oriana and the secrets learned within the prince's palace will indubitably lead to a great varying array of consequences for those who call Ring 99 their home. --

-- For now, however, those heroes who have braved the depths of Pale and lived to tell the tale have earned their rest and reward for the time being. --

-- A chapter closes, but another Ring opens again as the Drill will likely see itself moved again soon enough. And the collected continuation towards the center of this place, our City of Rings, will once again resume... --

Still, a reunion is made... Hostage and the Missing, Lady and Lordling, Mother and Son.

Quote from: ”City Whisper by Ser Manfred Japes”
Lord Phelan Sunpurse, you are summoned to Castle Orza... To speak with your mother.

-- A crowd begins to gather in the Orzan manor... --

-- The guards can't hold back the throng as Lord Phelan enters... --

-- The scene that unfolds within is soon on the lips of every person in the Peerage... --

-- The Lady Oriana ... standing callously as Giuseppi Orza tests the boy's blood ... --

Quote from: A Reunion Within Castle Orza
Guiseppe Orza: [He swills Phelan's blood in the black bowl... and studies its eddies and flow.]

Lady Oriana, the Widow of House Sunpurse: Look at your work! Look what happens!

Guiseppe Orza: T-this is an exact science..

Lady Oriana, the Widow of House Sunpurse: This is clearly the work of changelings...  Look at the sickly black bile in the blood... The boy is an imposter- a fetch!

Guiseppe Orza: [He glances at her, then into the bowl..] ...I d-don't.. hm..

Lady Oriana, the Widow of House Sunpurse: Do you *know* how I know... ?

Guiseppe Orza: E-everyone is crowding me!

Lady Oriana, the Widow of House Sunpurse: [Her hands tremble...]

Guiseppe Orza: [He hyperventilates, ducking away from the crowd for some space to study the blood, back turned] J-just give me a m-moment, PLEASE..

Lady Oriana, the Widow of House Sunpurse: [She looks at Guiseppe, a frantic look on her face...] [She lets out a sigh...] Phelan... my sweet... baby boy...

Phelan 'Crowsong' Sunpurse: [Sniffles] I'm.. I'm your son.. please, m-mommy..

Lady Oriana, the Widow of House Sunpurse: [She approaches him...]

Ser Adrian Velstra: [He lays a hand on his sword and immediately steps up as Oriana closes on Phelan... [He glances at Manfred.]

Ser Manfred Japes: Do not draw blades on a lady. [He reaches to pull her back.]

Lady Oriana, the Widow of House Sunpurse: [The woman seems almost rigid... immovable?...]

Ser Manfred Japes: Swing your sword and die on these cobbles pea-pea... How are you so strong...?

Lady Oriana, the Widow of House Sunpurse: [What strange sorcery... ?] My sweet Phelan...

Guiseppe Orza: [Studies the blood intently, nervous sweat beading on his brow..] Erm.. w-well..

Ser Adrian Velstra: Manfred...

Ser Manfred Japes: [He tugs and tugs, he cannot move her!]

Ser Adrian Velstra: I didn't send you that letter as a joke.

Lady Oriana, the Widow of House Sunpurse: [She reaches her hand out, cradling Phelan in her arms... Sweet little Phelan...

Ser Manfred Japes: She's a Lady of the ward, swing on her and know th-nn... The consequences. [Try as he might, Manfred is clearly trying to tug on her, to no avail.]

Phelan 'Crowsong' Sunpurse: [Sniffles, quivering at his mother's touch.] M-momma..

Lady Oriana, the Widow of House Sunpurse: [And then.. perhaps predictably, she draws a knife...] Do you think this is my first time killing a Sunpurse.... ?

Ser Adrian Velstra: [He draws his blade. Coiled like a serpent, and twice as suspicious.]

Phelan 'Crowsong' Sunpurse: [His eyes widen in abject fear as the knife is drawn]

Lady Oriana, the Widow of House Sunpurse: He has his father's eyes... You see... They fill with the same fear...

Ser Adrian Velstra: I told you, Manfred!

Phelan 'Crowsong' Sunpurse: [He shrieks in fear!]

-- The woman... a collapsed puddle of insanity on the ground, impaled by so many knifes, swords, spells and blades... --

 -- As her eyes close... --

-- "My Count... my beloved Count..." the Lady Oriana says... --

-- "Anything for you ... my Count ... my love... " --

-- "I'll wait for you... forever..." --

-- And with that...  the Lady Oriana, once the desire of all the ward, once the pursuit of so many suitors, breathes her last... --

Phelan 'Crowsong' Sunpurse: N-no, no! No! No! No-no-no!

Lord Anders Orza: That was supposed to be my bride!

Ser Manfred Japes: [Manfred drops his axe as he steps away from the witch's death. Holding up his bloody hands.]

Guiseppe Orza: [The bowl of Phelan's blood goes spilling as the three Orza brothers tuck into a three-way fistfight]

Lord Anders Orza: [He snarls] That was supposed to be my BRIDE!]

-- The Orza brothers have tumbled from the room in their tousling... Leaving only a corpse, a crowd, and a weeping boy. --

Ser Adrian Velstra: ...Take Lord Phelan back to his mansion.

Phelan 'Crowsong' Sunpurse: [He shakes and wails] [Fragile and small and now - utterly alone] [He is led, inert and only weeping]

Guiseppe Orza: I really s-should've just said h-he was a f-fetch... At least t-then... this w-would have some m-meaning ...  [He slicks back his hair with his hand... holding a bowl of blood...] P-Please - Everyone l-listen... The b-boy is not a f-fetch... I w-wish people would l-listen ... [He clutches at his head wearily...] Everyone j-just shut up ... !

Guiseppe Orza: [He sniffles loudly...] Again... the boy was not a f-fetch... and I have his b-blood now which the p-prophecy wanted...  But it all f-feels... So h-hollow... and p-pointless...  So many ... d-dead... For w-what...

Jodfry a'Valar: That should be obvious.You have all been gifted a great revelation... And you stand about gawking and gaping, wondering... The woman confessed to her part in the murder of the Lord Desmond.

-- Some souls are simply stained and some sinners not worth saving.  --

-- When the world proves cruel and callous, and hope and presumption prove fragile in their swift shattering... what can you do?  --

-- Pick up the pieces, and forge ahead.  --

Among some in the peerage, a royal letter is passed around through lordly hands and hushed whispers...
« Last Edit: December 20, 2021, 06:17:14 AM by Bearic »


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on: December 31, 2021, 05:29:04 AM
[ :: Year 2 :: ]

Works of  the Cinquefoil Rose continue against the wants and desires of the absent Count Zarono Senuspur, as the last prize  and defense of the dead Grand Vizier Sardistan is tested.

-- Dark omens in the skies of the City of Rings ... terrible black clouds streak through them. Something is surely soon to happen. .. --

Quote from: ”City Whisper by Winter Augur and Conduit of Arrhenius: Sverri”
The skies darken, the snow tastes of metallic dried blood! The raven awakens. It is time. Gather allies, to the Blacke Velvet where this began...swiftly. It is time for another step upon the Path of Arrhenius.

--A band of Retainers and sundry gather in the Blacke Velvet, before slowly making their way from the Ward. They go onwards to perform a great deed, some feat of heroism. Some battle for the good of all mankind. Or onwards, to failure...--

--Into the rain, they stride.--

--What will be sown, this dark morning? With they deliver the light to some dark corner of the City, or will the shadow consume them, and perish?--

--The arrayed force departs from the safety of the Dorvant's Wall, heading deeper into the Swamps.--

-- Beady green eyes watch them as they advance through the swamps ... staring from the trees, from the murk and the mire ... --

--The Trail of the Augur trudges through the Swamps, through cave and muddied clearing. They ascend an ancient Ziggurat, stained red with centuries of blood, and more. A powerful conduit for whatever is to come next...--

--The writhing mass of heroes idles about as the Augur begins his preparations. He lays out vials of blood, and icy pebbles carved with runes.--

-- There is a loud swing of an axe from the highest reaches of the Ziggurat ... --

-- They see a hooded man with red eyes waving at them... --

A premature whisper rings out explaining the circumstance, however such end was not so:

Quote from: ”City Whisper by Xiv'rahk”
Adrian, Sverri and Japes in one swing. That's what we in the business call a three-fer. I even buried them at no extra cost. I'll collect payment in the coming days once things settle down.

--The blood of Nephezar, of Velstra, of Moonspear, of Orza, and finally. The blood of the Count Senuspur himself. Each are laid out, in turn... each in their particular place, drawn from deep within the Augur's mind. His memory, or otherwise... the ritual is set.--

-- A heavy silence falls over the chamber... --

--Sverri draws on some deep power, calling to the Gods, and the Mists within which they endure. And yet... nothing.--

--Lady Glitt's blood is placed aside that of Ser Adrian Velstra... a premonition, perhaps... or simple happenstance. The ritual begins again, in earnest. The Augur trails his own lifeblood, in a savage pattern about the chamber.--

-- Thick clouds of Mist begin to fill the Ziggurat chamber... --

-- Great spires of magic rise up from around the long-dead lizard's sarcophagus! --

-- Words spoken on the wind: 'The path... the path... the path...' --

-- Slowly... the mist seems to stretch out, invitingly... all-encompassing --

-- Drawing them elsewhere... Drawing them... along the Path...  --

--It's tendrils snatch them, and they are pulled roughly through a cold blanket of Mist... somewhere.--

-- Finally they find themselves... In a strange place. A dark, cavernous structure. The colors are wrong. Strange and pastel... the walls drool and bleed as you glance at them. --

-- It is... dangerously cramped... --

--The world around you is strange. Cramped walls oppressively close to you, as if they close in. Closer inspection reveals that there seem to be brush marks. As if rendered on some canvas...--

--Chaos is sown amongst the ranks of the party. From those brush-stroked shadows, death steps forth, seeking blood to claim...--

-- The walls almost seemed to PRESS IN around them all... --

-- So CRAMPED... So TIGHT... Chaos... confusion... --

--Chaos. Absolute chaos... the painted men emerge from the shadows, their forms dripping with blood. Some folk are claimed, dragged into the canvas, awaking elsewhere...--

-- The bulk of the forces move ahead, while several dozen hang behind... --

-- Trapped forever? in the cruel maze of the Vizier... --

-- Finally the heroes reach the end of the terrible maze. But even at the end, there is no escape... --

-- Once more the houses devolve into petty bickering at their moment of triumph... --

--The group bickers and discusses, and decides. Which of their number will be painted upon the canvas, which of them will enter the Lighthouse, lashed as it is, by a raging, unyielding storm...--

-- Now the other painting comes into view... -

-- Many, many more spaces... back in the Peerage Ward. --

--All the while, a familiar shadow watches... stalks... slips among them, near unseen, with predatory instinct. The shadow, ruby-wreathed.--

--Casper begins to paint what he remembers of the Ward, and people begin to step into the painting, and disappear...--

--The eight enter, brush strokes calling them inwards. They emerge into an ancient, leaky lighthouse. The sounds of a storm rage outside...--

--Before them, a small boy. An orphan, no doubt - he is clad in the outfit of the Knaves. No doubt this is the infamous Pickney Jim, once unrivaled lockbreaker. Now a shadow of his former self. The cocksure grin replaced with one of pain, and turmoil.--

-- Into the dark depths of the Lighthouse do they tred; encountering strange and hunchbacked men - and even children, corrupted and defiled into titans of blood... --

-- A swirl of shadow.. An endless battle . --

-- The Count's Right Hand, Vizu Nemari, visits death upon brave heroes in a place far from here. --

-- A swirl of blades. ..An endless darkness --

-- As the Ruby's shadow grows long indeed; as it swarms around them all... --

A short moment of reprieve as shadows and shades of ruby red are dashed, the now seven continue on with their purpose... though they do not stay so for long. Soon the seven find themselves surrounded in an Auld room of Blood and Purpose.

-- Ser Adrian Velstra slices at the ropes... as Sverri's blood drips from his palm, into the pooling fountain below ... --

-- And the ancient bloodmage... --

-- Collapses to the floor, a gaping wound through his chest where a long spear had been impaled ... --

--A tremendous roar, eons in the making, erupts from the bloodmage. He drags himself up, his wounds closing...--

-- It's too fast to describe... the Rubies swarm in... they leap onto the Blood Mage... --

-- And one by one... their heads explode --

-- The magical painting begins to fundamentally alter the world... --

-- And the heroes reemerge in the midst of the Peerage Ward... in a bright flash of pastel. --

The Eight gift the tower of Oldspyre to Ojo for his works, though the current owner is most distressed, a series of altercations lead to some resigned development:

Quote from: ”City Whisper by Eldrikh Mundus”
Hrm. Khrm. [Cough.] Alright... [Grandeur fells Eldrikh's voice.] Those Who Saw It Fit To Backstab A Fellow Rose! To Do Same The Cursed Count Did To Me! Will You Take Responsibility For Your Actions?! Ser Adrian. Ser Manfred. Casper. Gaddiel. Kinsley. Luc. Sorcha.

Deliver To Me Each A Vial Of Your Blood. A Challenge Of My Rival Ojo! If Not... There Is Other Me-[Sever coughing.] ...I'm too old for this... There is other means. Tokens of challenge and such. We'll find a way...