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Random Stories and Fragments

Discussion in 'Fall from Heaven Lore' started by KillerClowns, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. thewyrm

    thewyrm Ambassador to Real Life

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    Thanks! Yeah poor Giggles, he doesn't know what's in store for him. Giggles will slowly break down until he does her bidding not because she summoned him to, but because he loves her and he wants to impress her. In my first story, Puppy obviously had the idea that he would torture and corrupt her fully, but in just two years time a 6 year old totally dominated him emotionally to the point that he was willing to sacrifice his life to protect her.
     
  2. seZereth

    seZereth FfH´s art monk(ey)

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    woa, that Elohim story is so awesome, makes me want to create some more Elohim stuff ;)

    Keep on writing, man!!

    While reading that, somehow the picture of the more eastern flavored monks does not seem to fit anymore...
     
  3. KillerClowns

    KillerClowns Emperor

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    Sweet... I always pictured the Elohim as being a much more Western monastic order, albeit with the martial arts skills of their Eastern counterparts...
    Goodness knows the Elohim need more units! Seeing Elohim with brute-looking axemen always bugged me...
     
  4. seZereth

    seZereth FfH´s art monk(ey)

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    they´ll get more toys soon. They are on my wish-to-do list for a long time now... as well as grigori... but we still have some elves and dwarves to do, too.
     
  5. Skitters

    Skitters Prince

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    This was originally going to be an entry for the Tower of Necromancy pedia entry - but I think it got a little long winded for that purpose!

     
  6. jimi12

    jimi12 Half Jedi

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    There are plenty of long pedia entries. You should still submit it.

    I dont know if it fits that they summon Arawn since he doesnt interact with creation at all. Also, one can follow any religion and still build the tower so i think it would fit more if they simply channeled entropy mana rather than summon agares and so on. Also i found it odd there was no mention of Chaos.

    Those arent big problems though. Excellent job.
     
  7. Skitters

    Skitters Prince

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    funnily enough, I was bathing the kids and it struck me that I'd forgotten Chaos completely...not sure what that says about bath time for a 32 month and 18 month old in a bath....except that perhaps it became a temporary chaos node of it's own.

    Revised it slightly to add chaos in.

    Regarding your point of Arawn and Agares - I didn't intend it so much as summoning them, but more calling on their 'blessings' as it were. Could perhaps re-think the death element of it though, but I did try to express that Death isn't actually evil in itself.
     
  8. Ekolite

    Ekolite Deity

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    The first two parts of a story I'm writing for FFH NES, in which the Calabim have remained under ground for several years after most other civs have left their caves and so have had time to develop a little. The next part will probably be the last.

    Leaving Al-ash-ir (Part 1)

    Agron moved swiftly through the caves of Al-ash-ir, he knew his masters would want to hear his news immediately and it did not do to keep them waiting. The ice was gone! He thought to himself as he sped agilely across the cave floor towards the lights on the far side of the cavern.

    As he drew closer he stared up at the Palace that climbed the wall of the cave right up to the ceiling. He now made his way through the narrow streets of the city of Al-ash-ir, which in the tongue of the Calabim means ''Teeth of the Vampire'', referring to the stalactite-encrusted ceiling of the cavern which loomed over Calabim homeland. Agron observed the small houses around him, and watched the people of the city going about their daily business under the shadow of the Vampires' palace. Fitting, Agron thought. The fellowship taught that humans were made to serve beneath Vampires, and so it had always been. The natural order of life. Vampires above Humans, Humans below Vampires.

    However, although many outsiders would surely consider this life in a poor light, serving beneath the House of Calabim was not all that bad, particularly when you knew how to play the game. You kept your head down, and did what you were told to the letter. You did everything they asked to the absolute best of your abilities, no matter what it was, and made sure you maintained their favour at all times. This was how Agron had obtained the rank of Arkagoi, the highest non-military caste of the human populace, equal in authority to the much-feared Moroi, and had been promoted to an Inspector of Trades. A remarkably high position within Calabim human society. Of course, effectively his job was to give the Vampires a ''reason'' for which to legitimately kill a citizen. Usually, someone who had been reported for speaking out against the government by the Haloi spies hidden within the city.

    Today he had been inspecting some mushroom gatherers who were suspected for being part of a humanist secret society. Today, Agron had reported them guilty of poisoning the mushrooms they had been planning on selling to the Palace kitchen and had gathered so-called ''evidence'', which he would add snake's milk to later. Of course, even if they had poisoned them they would have had only the smallest effect on the Vampires, but such was life. He was not proud of his actions, but knew he had no choice. His high rank could be stripped like the dropping of a stalactite, sending his life crashing to the ground.

    Thankfully, during his covert integration into the group, they had not revealed any signs of humanism. If they had, their charge would be far greater. Of course, even without the treason, they would still die. They, and their families, would simply vanish. Abducted in the night by the Moroi brutes and dragged up to the Palace, where they would be branded ''Kraltavoi'', the lowest, criminal, caste and dumped unceremoniously into the Feeding Pits, a series of tunnels and caves dug out of the rock beneath the palace, with only one way out, guarded by Moroi at all times. Here they would live lives of fear, never knowing when a Vampire would grow bored with the Aristocracy and come down into the pits for some time out. Here they would rape, torture and then finally kill their prey, and it was Agron's job to make sure the pits remained well stocked with victims.

    However, compared to the punishment for Humanism and Treason, this was nothing. Had there been any solid evidence of either, a Hunt would take place. Agron shuddered to himself as he climbed the rough stone steps to Alexis's chambers. A Hunt was the ultimate symbol of Vampiric dominance over Humans, when every vampire would leave the Palace with a personal body guard of Moroi and kill and feed upon anyone found to be Humanists, anyone suspected to be humanists, and anyone they personally didn't like, just as a Predator hunts it's prey. The message was clear, and the morning after the Hunt there was always a wave of loyalty and servitude displayed in each and every citizen. Humanists were hated by both the Vampire Aristocracy and their Human peers.

    As Agron reached the door of Alexis's room he hesitated a moment before entering. He hoped his news would outrank the obvious disappointment She always showed when he informed her that there would not, in-fact, be a Hunt taking place tonight. He took a deep breath, and opened the door.

    Leaving Al-ash-ir (Part 2)

    Agron leapt hurriedly down the Palace steps. His Mistress had been very specific, ''send Yrain''. Yrain was the Commander of the Moroi, and perhaps the highest ranking human in Al-ash-ir, as a personal favourite of Mistress Alexis, he was expected to receive the gift a some point within the next ten years. Some, however, suggested that such a man was simply far too useful to be integrated into the nobility. He was ruthless and brutish, and handled the Moroi with an iron fist. He had led countless successful raids on Humanist suspects, and never during his reign had anyone escaped from the Feeding Pits. Agron always resented working with him, and tried to avoid it whenever it was safe to do so, still, their paths crossed all too often for Agron's liking. Now it seemed that Yrain would be stealing his thunder and leading the first expedition to the surface. Sometimes it seemed there really was no justice, so much for promotion.

    He entered the Moroi Feed Hall, and was as always hit by the strong smell of body odour and the noise of shouting and guffawing within the hall. ''Barbarians.'' Agron muttered under his breath in disdain. Still, no one could deny that these beastly men were very good at what they did, namely quelling each and every minor uprising with unmatched efficiency, and striking fear into he hearts of the Kraltavoi. They inspired great loyalty in the Human population and each and every boy between the age of 7 and 12 aspired to one day become one. Of course, few made it. The Moroi were the best of the best, elite, and were hand-picked by the Vampires or the Commander.

    Agron made his way towards the far table where Yrain was seated with his second-in-command, Kratos. Unusually for a Moroi, they were not shouting the odds at each other but immersed in a hushed conversation, which was drowned out completely in the background noise of the hall. Kratos was a terrible man, the size and shape of a bear with long, matted hair, almost as beastly as the man he served. Agron hovered a pace or so from the table, waiting to be invited to take a seat. Yrain saw him approach and quickly ended his conversation and made a signal for Kratos to leave. He shuffled to his feet and Agron took his place at the table.

    ''Commander,'' Agron began, ''You are summoned by Mistress Alexis.''
    ''Did She give a reason?'' Yrain's voice was strangely sharp and clear.
    ''Does she ever?'' Agron replied jokingly.

    Yrain did not seem amused, but left immediately. Yrain was tall and muscular, and more civilized then the best of his men. A man truly destined for the gift. Agron sighed, there was nothing he wanted more then to be accepted into the ranks of the Aristocracy, yet despite his high status he was treated like a slave. He picked up a spare chicken leg from the now vacant table and chewed on it thoughtfully as he made his way back to his quarters.

    Agron had not been asleep an hour before a loud knocking on his door awoke him from his slumber. He dressed wearily before bidding them to enter. It was a servant boy. ''Ulau'' he said, which was how the lower society acknowledged and greeted their human superiors. The rough equivalent of ''sir''. ''Mistress requires your presence,'' he began to recite, ''it's urgent.'' Agron thanked him and sprinted towards to the stairs to the Upper Palace. Kratos stood on guard before them. Most unusual, the Palace was never guarded inside. He nodded in acknowledgment and grunted ''Ulau''. Again, unusual. No Moroi worth his weight in blood would ever admit inferiority to an Arkagoi, despite the fact that by law the Arkagoi were higher ranking.

    Agron leapt up the stairs and knocked on the great wooden door that marked the entrance to the Chambers of Alexis. There was a sharp call of ''Enter!''. He took his ritual deep breath and opened the doors. He made his way into the room, looking left and right for his Queen. He suffered only a moment of confusion before he felt teeth fall down upon him, and Alexis quickly tear through his clothes with inhuman strength. The Gift! Determined to make the most of it, Agron turned and kissed her passionately. Her black dress fell away to reveal the stark contrast of her perfectly white body. She was beautiful beyond anything Agron had ever seen, how he had hoped for this day! Ever since he was 15 he had dreamed of receiving the Gift from her. Vaguely he wondered what she had wanted Yrain for earlier, and hoped it was not for the same reason he now lay upon his Mistress's bed. That would be the icing on the cake. Achieving immortality before the Yrain! He shook such thoughts away as Alexis now caressed his naked body. This night would be one Agron remembered for the rest of his soon-to-be Immortal life.
     
  9. Skitters

    Skitters Prince

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    Restaurant review taken from the Jubilee Times

     
  10. cyther

    cyther Lord of the Dance

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    Wow, now I am afraid to visit any restaurants during my yearly trip to Jubilee during Revelry. Great story Skitters!
     
  11. KillerClowns

    KillerClowns Emperor

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    From the desk of the noble Magus Johan Fireborn, head of the Department of Alteration at the Cevedes Mages Guild:

    That simpering pervert posing as a mage My esteemed colleague, the noble Magus Aaron Gates of the Mages Guild of Celo, head of the Department of Necrophilia Necromancy whatever euphemism they call themselves the Restricted Arts, recently suggested that the art of Enchantment intersected with his own psychotic schemes studies. He suggested, in his latest affront to gods and men recent paper on the possibility of replacing our living workers with the undead using skeletons in non-military capacity, that “the act of raising a skeleton is little different from that of creating a golem.” Not even a drunken adept would say something so foolish! I would like to correct this moronic assumption understandable mistake.
    A golem can be created with any material, including ones that never have nor conceivably will possess life; metal, for example. We have had success in enchanting small devices for domestic uses, although the secret to large-scale golem construction lies with the midgets Luchiurp. They have been too greedy unwilling to share this secret, but we understand the basic theory, if not the details and mechanics involved. Contrary to popular assumption, enchantment does not give life, only the illusion of it. Adepts entering into the field often find themselves startled by the amount of thinking mathematics and logic involved in enchantment. Many of them move to easier more intuitive fields upon this discovery. A golem, at any rate, is quite incapable of independent thought. There are rumors the Luchiurp have a self-aware golem, but these rumors are idiotic unsubstantiated.
    Meanwhile, an abomination the walking dead Aaron's lover a skeleton is capable of basic, simplistic thoughts, inherent from being a gods-forsaken mixture of doomed lesser spirits stuffed into a rotting skeleton made of something that once lived and should have been left dead. If you attempt to destroy a golem that has received no orders, it will offer no resistance. If you attempt to send a skeleton without orders back to the grave where it belongs, however, it will defend itself through its will to slay the living instinct. Some even recall how to use weapons to slaughter innocents fight, through some cruel twist of fate oddity of necromancy the restricted arts.

    [This is the rough draft of the letter published in the Cevedes Mages' Newsletter. While the actual letter was published without any evidence of Magus Fireborn's unsaid words, an adept found this draft, the omitted text scribbled out but still legible, and showed it to several of his friends. They in turn copied it, and it soon became an inside joke amongst the students. Most of those outside of the Department of Restricted Arts agreed more with earlier versions than the tamer final one. Magus Fireborn denied having anything to do with the letter, although in his denial, he wryly noted that “although I cannot support such blatant disrespect of a fellow Magus, the author of this forgery is clearly a skilled satirist and doubtless a very intelligent individual.” When, three months later, Magus Gates was stripped of his rank for “unspeakable private use of magic,” that very same draft, well-worn but quite readable, was quietly framed by several students and put up in the Alteration Hall. To this day, the Department of Restricted Arts in Celo suffers the nickname of “The Department of Necrophilia," even from others in the same guild. And in the inter-city competitions between the two guilds, the ladies of Cevedes costume themselves as skeletons and can often seen flirting with the students of Celo. Students outside of the Department of Restricted Arts don't seem to mind.]
     
  12. Skitters

    Skitters Prince

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    Late evening. He shuffled forwards and looked nervously around him – he could ill afford to be recognised here. The gates were closed. He did not have the physique to scale them. It was a risk, a but a light dabble of fire magic helped melt the lock. He looked around nervously hoping that no one was alerted by the flash of light…all seemed well. He entered, closing the gates behind him….it was a still night, but he gave a quiet prayer to Tali not to disturb them. He shuffled to the side where he stood less risk of being seen….but here, away from the street lighting he began to feel more confident that he could carry out his plan without disturbance.

    He worked his way to his target, a left here, a right there. Finally he came to the place revealed to him by several weeks of intense, but cautious, research at the parish registry. He looked at the tombstone “Jemima Fireborn nee Oggburgh, beloved mother and wife. Forever in our memories”

    Aaron Gates chuckled to himself “Muahahaha….muahahaha…necrophilia huh Fireborn?…well lets try these dark arts out…”


    Sorry....couldn't resist! - did love the letter
     
  13. mahazel

    mahazel Warlord

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    KillerClowns - you should be a Greate Bard in FFH, Skitters - you are sick :D
     
  14. KillerClowns

    KillerClowns Emperor

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    Loosely inspired by a strange series of events in a recent game.
    Spoiler :
    I remember... back in, let me see... yes, almost exactly a hundred years ago. I was just a small boy, a student in the Glen of Killybegs; still a small town in the jungle then, not the bustling city of today. We were being taught about our duty to Sirona, to offer mercy to the fallen, and compassion to those who could find it nowhere else. The world was full of evil, my teacher said, and only love could we hope to defeat it. "But where," I asked, "does this evil come from?" She frowned. Apparently children weren't supposed to ask such questions. But she decided to answer it. "From the dark parts of men's hearts. All men are good, deep inside, but sometimes they forget that. Sometimes they get led astray, and need to be shown the right path, to goodness and happiness." A simple answer, meant for children. Of course, there is nothing a child hates worse then being treated like one. "Who leads them astray?" I asked. She shuddered. "The Fallen One. We do not speak his name. At first, the universe was good. But then the Fallen One went astray..." I interrupted her. "Who led him astray?" "Nobody. He made a mistake, and chose the wrong path." "Why?" But all she could say is "nobody knows. He was once the greatest of the angels, the King of Hope. Our Lady seeks to redeem him, for even in him the spark of goodness remains."

    I was satisfied, at first. But then I found myself wondering. She had never really answered my question: where had evil come from? It had corrupted the Fallen One, but he had not created it. The question floated in my head for a few years. Maybe the Fallen One had created it. But then, why? Maybe it was a sad, but fundamental part of the universe. But wouldn't that mean that it was also a fundamental part of humans, unlike what I had been taught?

    I toyed with this question into my teenage years, as I studied magic, when the Luonnatar came, and accidentally offered me the answer. I first laid eyes on one in the middle of the town square, preaching. "The gods you worship are false, petulant children!" Officially, we tolerated other beliefs, but that didn't stop some from laughing at this man's absurd rantings. But they made sense to me. The gods had been created by a greater god, the One, the preacher explained. I asked, "is this One the same as the Fallen One?" For a brief moment, he looked at me as though I had just casually asked what brothel his mother worked at, how much she cost, and whether or not, in his opinion, she was worth the price. But then he laughed. "Ha! Agares, the Fallen One whose name your people fear to speak, is as much a child and a fool as all the rest! Worse, it is by his hand that our world is in its sad state, that the One could not rule as he was meant to. Nay, the One of which I speak is the purest good. He is all-knowing, all-seeing, and almighty." This made little sense to me, however. "If the One knew everything, saw everything, and could do anything, why did he not stop the Falle... Agares... from descending into evil? And if he created everything, didn't he also create evil?" The preacher didn't seem to like this suggestion much. "I never said he created everything. The One did not created your clothes, did he? Nay, it was Agares who created evil..." "How?" I am certain the preacher did not want me to ask that question. He didn't have any answers either. He stammered a bit about unknowable mysteries and unimaginable intelligences. But he had nothing. And I had a name.

    Agares. It seemed absurd. The terrible, dark, Fallen One had a name, just like any other creature. Perhaps he had fears. Perhaps he had dreams. Maybe he did regret his mistakes, and was too proud to admit them. I wondered: who was Agares? And why had he followed, or perhaps forged, the path to darkness? Indeed, I felt sorry for him. Maybe he had been looking for answers to a question nobody could answer, just as I was.

    A few months later, a stranger came into our lands. A woman, with unnaturally pale skin and icy white hair, despite her relative youth. She was only a little older than myself, in fact. She asked only for shelter and food, and both were provided. She was silent, graceful, and beautiful beyond words. She dressed simply, but whatever she wore seemed to be the rainment of queens upon her. Of course, all the men in the village wanted her, but she showed only polite interest, occasionally smiling a sad but unimaginably wonderful smile. Then one day, she asked for me.

    We met by the bank of a small creek. For a while, we listened to the sounds of the jungle. Then she spoke, in broken Elohim. "I sense... strange thoughts?" A lilting Balseraph accent; she sounded as wonderful as she looked. I wasn't sure why, but I nodded. "I sometimes wonder... about the Fallen One..." She smiled. Oh, what a smile. "Your question, I knew. Answers, I give you. But first, we drink." She offered up a bottle of Balseraph wine. It smelled magnificent, and tasted even finer. I drank eagerly, and as I did so, she began to speak. "Evil, I tell you. Elves, you know? Fellowship, you know?" I guessed, correctly, she spoke of the Fellowship of Leaves. "Yeah." "They do not protect prey from predator, yes?" "That's one interpretation..." "Is true interpretation, I say. But I not know, I not them. Truth, I tell you. Evil, you must accept. Good cannot win. Also, evil cannot win. Is nothing to win, in world." I stared at her. "I see future. In future, in your heart, good has lost. Abyss has won. But no. I change future."

    My vision began to blur. "You drink. You are saved. Abyss cannot get you. Overlords protect you." I began to hear voices. A thousand voices, each speaking differently, and surrounding it all the roar of the sea. "Listen. Listen. You hear truth. It hurts, yes? But in time, you hear music. Wonderful music. Music of eternity." I could make no sense of the voices; some congratulated me, some mocked me for haven been so easily tricked, either by Agares or by them, some seemed disappointed at their victory. I realized, calmly, that I was going mad. Some part of my mind refused to listen, though. It sought out some island of stability. And it found it.

    "Silence." At this powerful, incredible command, the voices died down. I sensed an awesome presence, and it spoke to me. "Long have you sought me. Sought to understand me. I am Agares. I am the Fallen One. I am the King of Hope. You are my child. You are my chosen. You shall show the world who I truly am." The Balseraph began chanting, and at her command the voices rose up again, louder, and perhaps more desperate. They attempted to unite. "The Lord of Depair offers only the flames and the Abyss. Dance with us for eternity, and we shall show you things more beautiful than you can imagine, more wonderful than you can dream of..." "You can offer a life spent dreaming, with only idle fantasies and endless distractions. But nothing real. Nothing substantial. You are naught but the nightmares of a slumbering god. You are dust and ashes, blowing across a shattered mind. You are pathetic." And indeed, before Agares, they were nothing. They continued to speak even as Agares did, but I could barely hear them. He did not yell. His voice did not even drown out the others, simply swept them away with its confidence, its calm, its assurance.

    "Kill her." I resisted. It seemed easy, until I realized he wasn't trying to control me, or even command me. Even resisting a simple suggestion from one so magnificent was an effort. Rather then try to force me, Agares calmly added, "Or you can let her kill you. It seems a simple choice." It was then I became aware of the fact that the Balseraph woman was holding a long, elegant knife, decorated with pearls and coral. And she was planning to use it on me.

    "In your eyes, I see. Abyss has won. I must send you there. My lords demand. All gods demand. World demands. For Erebu..." she never finished her sentence. I'm not sure how I killed her. I didn't use any magic, I simply recall letting go, allowing the great, unimaginable presence of Agares to guide me. I think I broke her neck. It was hard to tell, though, since I'd also shattered many of her bones. Further, I'd carved all sorts of sigils and symbols into her with her own blade. A fine, well-weighted thing. It seemed different, although I wasn't sure how. Less beautiful, more terrifying. Sharper, more refined. Before it had seemed a work of art that could be used for killing; now it was clearly an instrument of death.

    "Do you swear to serve me?" "Yes..." I couldn't even contemplate answering otherwise. How could I refuse one who was so much more than I had dreamed possible? "Good. Then spread the word. You shall be my first. You shall be my child. The King of Hope awakens to cleanse the world of pretenders, to bring the truth to those brave enough to seek it, to bring death to those too weak to understand it. Do this, and I shall grant you power. Power beyond your wildest dreams..." "I don't want power. I only want the truth." "The truth is power. Evil, some would call me. Perhaps. But follow me, upon the path I took. You asked where evil came from? I shall tell you. It came from those who would be more than what was chosen for them. It came from those who, rather then blindly kneeling before their elders, dared to ask the unanswerable questions. It came from Hope. The hope of becoming something greater. I offer you this hope." And of course, I accepted.

    (I intended several things, hopefully most or all of them worked. I first intended that the narrator's fate not be obvious until the fourth paragraph. Then I sought to imply the Balseraph woman was a servant of Agares, and would bring the narrator to him. Technically, she did indeed bring the narrator to Agares. But that hadn't been her plan. I had originally thought of making the narrator's would-be savior Empyrean or Order. But I wanted to explore the dynamics between the Overlords and Ashen Veil a bit. Besides, the theme of Order/Empyrean vs. Ashen Veil is pretty common. The Overlords offer a less traditional salvation, and allow Agares to present himself as the lesser of two evils.)
     
  15. evanb

    evanb Prince

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    Is this the story of how the Elohim founded the Ashen Veil in your game? :)
     
  16. KillerClowns

    KillerClowns Emperor

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    Aye, with a GP gotten from Amathon's event (which I wouldn't have been able to use if I wasn't good). I hadn't even planned it. "Ooh... a few gold for a Great Prophet? I'll be having that! Let's see what the bulb gives me... Corruption of Spirit? Not what I had in mind, but I wasn't planning on an altar victory anyways..."
    I'd say Amathon may have miscalculated...
     
  17. nadszyszkownik

    nadszyszkownik Chieftain

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    Nice story KC, but I've always thought that dreams granted by Overlords wouldn't be any less torturous than Agares' reality.
     
  18. Kael

    Kael Deity

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    Great story KillerClowns, if you enjoy playing FfH as much as I enjoy reading your stories then we are doing pretty well.

    I really like the choice to make the woman an Overlord follower. Very non-typical and much more interesting because of it.
     
  19. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

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    The Saga of The Priesthood, First part
    The Tale of the Birth of the Priesthood, and the coming of age of the first High Priestess Erin

    The cold pressed in towards the center of Braduk very strongly that day. Erin shivered in the cold air that blew in through the house. It had been two weeks since the center of Braduk had fallen away, two weeks since her life, and that of all the survivors, had changed.
    They knew things would turn to the worse. Already, the Crops near Braduk had failed in the cold wind and snow blowing in from the South. The Jungle was withering, and supplies of food were already dwindling. Erin knew she’d have to go out and find something to eat, but heat was such an essential part of the life of a Bannor… especially hers. Though her father had been only a minor priest of Bhall, she was head of her theology Class, and was destined to be high priestess of Bhall.
    Finally the cold and hunger overcame her, and she left the relative safety and comfort of the house. She hadn’t left it in days, not since the first day when they had all heard the Fallen one’s voice, and had Run towards the Great Temple of Braduk and her father. She had found neither… only a great crater, eternally ringed with flame.
    On a whim, it was towards this that she made her way, though odds were that already anything edible had been found and taken.
    She met no one, but already the signs of a growing desperation and hunger were growing. Bodies bearing signs of violence littered the streets, and windows were broken. Fires smoldered somewhere in the distance.
    She turned onto the Avenue of the Champions. Looking around, she felt her heart stop. All the statues of the Heroes of the Bannor people had been defaced and vandalized. How dare they? These people had Sacrificed all in the fights against the Patrian Archmages… These people deserved unconditional love and respect.
    In Anger, she turned to walk down the street, her livid face a pale contrast against her flaming red hair. She strode towards the Crater, and, when she reached the edge, she looked back. Behind her came a shambling horde. The survivors. Something called them to the crater, called them all to witness something.
    Erin stood at the edge of the crater, waiting. Waiting for something momentous. Erin looked in through the curtain of flame, and, reached in. The flame burned her, and she called upon the Fallen Goddess… and received an answer.
    “Reach in my child. Take my symbol. You will keep it and my people until my chosen comes.” The voice was soft and weak, but burning with a fiery passion. And Erin knew… Bhall had spoken to her, had taken her in… She felt a fiery strength course through her veins.
    “When?” She whispered back, “When will he come.”
    But Bhall did not answer.
    This Time, Erin walked in completly. This time, the flame felt welcoming, like a mother embracing a child, or a lover clasping her, or perhaps a bit of both at the same time.
    When she emerged from the Flame, she held a staff in her hands, a staff wreathed in flame. An eternal flame burned at it’s top.
    She looked out towards the massed people, and raised it over her head. A blast of heat emanated from it, melting the snow within the area of the city walls.
    “BHALL!” she shouted, and her Cry was taken up by the people of Braduk “BHALL! BHALL! BHALL! BHALL! BHALL!”
     
  20. KillerClowns

    KillerClowns Emperor

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2007
    Messages:
    1,139
    EDIT: @Thomas: How'd I manage to miss your story? I've always been wondering about the time after the fall of Bhall, and how the Orcs ended up as they did.
    Spoiler :
    "Another fine day in Galveholm," Vranton thought. Business was slow. Used to be he rarely went more than a week without a new case. Women wanted proof their husband was screwing some cheap wench. Merchants wanted the dirt on their rivals and, since this was Galveholm, every merchant in town had at least one dirty secret. Sometimes he regretted moving to this hellhole, but he'd made enemies with the wrong merchants back in Kalm. No turning back now, this damned place was the only place in Erebus their henchmen couldn't get him. Even they weren't crazy enough to follow him here.

    Of course, Alexander Vranton was still a Grigori heart and soul. As soon as he'd heard of the "Ashen Veil" that had recently sprung up, he'd smelled a rat. He did a bit of research on his own, following people as far down dark alleys as one dares in Galveholm, listening in on tavern gossip while hoping not to get noticed. They were bad mojo, that was for sure.

    Demon worship and human sacrifice were part of the Sheaim culture. Vranton wasn't making the mistake he made in Kalm; he avoided the cults, and they didn't bother him. When customer's cases got too close to the cults, Vranton would tell them "the lead went red," and they'd know exactly where their trails had led him. A few cults had hired him for odd jobs, and rumor had it they'd decided Vranton too useful to sacrifice. He didn't like it, but Vranton was first and foremost a pragmatist these days. Ideals had nearly gotten him killed before.

    The Ashen Veil was different. They were smart. They didn't aim for the top to please their dark lords and end up angering a noble they couldn't handle. The street didn't have many beggars anymore, and Vranton had a good guess where they'd went. The Veil was organized. The cults were usually at each other's throats, but the Veil had a hierarchy. Everyone knew his place. But worst of all, they were playing to win.

    The Sheaim rank-and-file hadn't been religious before. Some offered futile prayers to Ceridwen, others switched gods as often as Vranton changed shoes. A few had taken the Overlords. Most didn't care; the gods hadn't helped them before, and they didn't expect that to change. The demonic cults weren't interested in new members; to the contrary, they carefully guarded their secrets and existences. Fewer members meant more power for each member. But the Ashen Veil built temples, preaching Agares' works. Vranton had to admit, they were good at it. If he hadn't been Grigori, he'd have probably bought the con hook, line, and sinker. They'd painted a wonderful picture of the "King of Hope," and of themselves.

    Vranton had attended a Veil wedding once. Heartwarming stuff. The minister gave a wonderful speech about how marriages, and love, were built on hope, on trust, and on honesty. All things lacking in the Veil. The husband was an old former demon-cultist who'd switched to the Veil when he realized who was winning. The wife was some young Elohim girl, doubtless a slave he'd bought. Why the hell was he bothering to marry him, Vranton wondered, when he could just have his way with her? Turns out this particular wedding was a well-disguised ritual, binding the will of the wife to that of the husband. Poor girl couldn't even hide in her mind anymore. Trust? There didn't need to be any, the lass could not disobey. Honesty? Same. Hope? Well, that was gone. Vranton had practically expected Os-Gabella to barge in and start devouring souls, but apparently she only cared about Sheaim women. Pity. It would have made an interesting sight, and Vranton had chosen the best possible seat to escape just in case.

    The Veil wasn't just abominable, though. Vranton would have tolerated them as he tolerated the cults, but they were also bad for business. With the demon cults consolidated under the Veil, the sacrifices went from being rich brats and rivals to beggars and foreigners. Nobody hires private eyes to see what happened to them. Think your dear is cheating on you? No need to hire someone to find out, just pay your local priest of the Veil, swear allegiance to Agares, and you need never worry about disobedience again. Just hope your loved one doesn't move first. Vranton was down to defaming merchants. He wondered how long until the Veil moved into that somehow.

    All in all, things were looking pretty bad for Vranton, until that scholar showed up. A plump, middle-aged man with a surprisingly boyish gait and easy smile. Cheeriest looking fellow Vranton had seen in years. He'd clearly tried to dress in the Sheaim fashion, but everything was overdone. For instance, the Sheaim loved their mystical baubles, but this man's practically weighed him down. Robes with mystical sigils were popular, but Vranton had never seen one with so many colors before. The skull painted on his codpiece it was perhaps the final hint that Vranton was looking at either a lunatic, or a Balseraph. Not that there was much difference.

    "You that Grigori private eye?" asked the scholar. The man spoke Grigori well, but with a slight accent. Balseraph, of course. Without waiting for an answer, the strange man continued. "Name's Ozziel. You might have read some of my works on the major religions of Erebus? Well, the Ashen Veil's a bit too quiet, so I could use a hand finishing up my research. Oh, and I should probably mention that Os-Gabella is out to kill me. Give me a hand, and I'll get you a ticket to Gaudium. If we don't die, of course."

    (You might recognize Ozziel. A Great Sage in-game, I did his quote and he played a brief bit in a storyline I haven't finished, since it's still on my old hard-drive in my dead computer. I've been wanting to explore the Ashen Veil a bit more. Anyways, if this hard-drive manages to not die, To Be Continued.)

    EDIT 2: And @Kol.7 and thewyrm, I'm wondering if you intend to continue your own contributions.
     

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