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Topic Subject:The Silver Chalice
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Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 07-12-00 05:11 ET (US)         
This is the third part of the story of Wendolin, Thoren and their companions.

Cast of Characters
Benson - Benson has traveled extensively never staying in one place to long but often revisiting many of the places he passes through. He prefers to be in nature and tends to befriend animals wherever he goes. He is tend to be a loner and even in when traveling with groups tries to find way to spend time alone. He does not make friends easily but is very loyal if you gain his friendship.
Eme-Redser - the current alias of Wintersong, the Elven Queen. She is in the guise of a mysterious stranger. She wears trousers, a long shirt, and a long, bulky cloak. All of her clothing is muted green and brown. She carries a large bundle of things, all wrapped in a mysterious fabric that no one has seen before. She rides a beautiful horse, one that is warm cream in color, and whose mane and tail are a rich chocolate color. The horse's name is R'edaine, the meaning of which is undisclosed at present. Eme-Redser is an unknown entity at present, and her guise of The Elven Queen is also unknown at this time. She has the ability to disappear at will, and her other diverse talents will be revealed as the story progresses.
Gillandra - High Priestess of Coranmaire. Mysterious character - fights for good over evil. Known throughout the realm for magical healing and spiritual abilities. Soothing voice. Wear's a deep purple and white gown, and long silver cloak, showing her coat of arms on the back. Rides a silver-grey mare named Misty. Worships at the temples of Eir. Also has a pack-horse, carrying essential supplies.
Jayhawk - Wandering minstrel, troubadour, tall (6'4") slender, dark haired, sea green eyes, that seem to be able to change colour. Plays a 12 stringed lute, with fair competence. Has travelled the realms extensively and has an incredile knowledge of lore and myth. Some of his travels have been with Chunky. There may be more to him than meets the eye. Rides a black stallion by the name of Aran.
Lysette - Daughter of King Damodred, who sold her in to slavery to a cruel traveler she came to know as her "master." Has survival skills like any road-wise child, but is relatively innocent at heart. During the Quest for the Cloak, she spent 5 years in an alternate future and has now set her mind on marrying Thoren.
Rides Leeta, her chestnut mare, given to her by Thoren.
Thoren of Torvald - Norseman from the Lodge of Torvald. Torvald came into his heritage as his father was slain on the Towerfields. When he entered Torvold he found out his throne was usurped by Mordred, who's champion he defeated in single combat, thus regaining his throne.
Gruff and somewhat belligerent exterior hides a thoughtful, sometimes sensitive nature. Skilled in long sword, battle axe, short bow and knife. Unusual ancestry. Some say he is descendant from Roman and Norse stock. Rides Vorth, his Norse-bred stallion.
Wendolin - Clonmaire County Palladin. Somewhat of a mystic, experienced traveller, adventurous by nature. Friend to kings, noblemen and townsfolk of all races and types, but prefers the company of travellers. Fights for Right. Wears a long black dress made out enchanted material,
which may look like a fine gossamer web, but is in fact as hard as steel. Wears a ruby-red cloak, with deep purple & gold trim. Jet black hair - dark eyes, pale face. Also wears a magical ring on her right hand - amethyst in colour, it seems to glow when danger is near. Rides a gold coloured horse named Whispering. Close friend of Gillandra the High Priestess. Has prowess in sword and mace, and carries a golden shield.

The Quest

The Silver Chalice has been liberated from the evil mage Zordemon the Black[/b]. The party is now on it's way to the Candscent Creek in order to find the Sacred Springs with which water, once poured on the Chalice, the Hill People can be restored.

Wendolin's New Map

Quest Part 1

Quest Part 2
Updated character descriptions...

[This message has been edited by Jayhawk (edited 07-13-2000).]

AuthorReplies:
Caesar Ishaius
Pleb
posted 08-19-00 18:08 ET (US)     76 / 147       
Don't worry, I wont leave you. I've just been playing Majesty and finally got to know what is a CHalice and how do you say it! whoopie!! and BTW- is Jayhawkthe ministral?

As waves broke on the Trireme's bow, crew man began loading off goods. Sanisbra was just like Ronen imagined it would be: A small dark village. The village was quite empty now, and shops at the market were closing. Some people were wandering carrying goods and supplies they bought to their homes.

Sanisbra didn't have many homes but where there was a house it usally would be a 2-floors, sometimes 3 high. At this time of the day Sanisbra looked like a ghost village, but at morning and midday the streets of Sanisbra are packed with people.

The sun was slowly disappearing in the west, with light from the sun braking over the mountains and hills of the Realm making the sky in a texture of red blood(Or is it over the dunes? Sanisbra is in the north right? You can change this reply anytime you want Jay).

Thoren jumped down to the wet iron dock. He then helped Lysette and the Elven Queen come down. He touched his head and felt that the marks were gone. Jayhawk and Chunky came down and Jayhawk helped Chunky cary his maps. They were all happy and tired of the journey. Ronen took his backpack and jumped down lending softly. He was paler than ever, like a man who saw a ghost. He looked lifeless and strugling to catch up with the party. Thoren didn't like this at all.

He had suspected Ronen from the begining. Though his suspicions were gone, on the way to Sanisbra when Ronen was becoming paler his worries came back to him. Jayhawk also noticed it. Ronen became quite and didn't leave his room on the Trireme.

"There should be an Inn near the market... here it is" Jayhawk pointed at a very big building of 3 floors, which looked like it was about to collapse if someone would give it a push. They were about to come in when Ronen stopped and. He looked like he was concentrating hard. He than looked seriously at Thoren and Jayhawk.

"I erm... need to buy some... well erm... potions... yes potions at the market. I will come meet you in the lobby when I'm finished. Goodbye" He said, turned away fast and walked away. He tried to walk like nothing is wrong, but when he does that he always forgets when to move his hands, how and in what speed to walk.

"Something is defintly wrong with Ronen Jayhawk" Thoren looked up at the seraph who noded. "But let's investigate that later. All I want know is to have a cool drink and relax" he smiled at Jayhawk and walked with him into the Inn.

[This message has been edited by Caesar Ishaius (edited 08-19-2000).]

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 08-21-00 06:28 ET (US)     77 / 147       
Majesty was fun, finished it in a week or two, though. Sana is almost as you envisioned it, except that, it being a desert town, most people are inside during the day and only come out in the evening/early morning.
Thanks for the contribution

As the evening progressed Sana became more alive. The companions had gathered on the roof terrace, where a breeze from the desert crossed to the sea. It made the temperature almost pleasant. A few hours from now it would start to get chilly, though.

The landlord had served a meal of lamb, together with tabouleh, unleavened bread and a thin sour wine. It wasn't the best meal they'd had since they started out, but neither was it the worst. Ronan had re-appeared an hour or so after sundown, looking a little less pale than before.

They woke early the next morning as the call for prayer resounded from a nearby squat tower. It as just at first light, an hour or so before sunrise.
After breakfast, more bread, olives and goat cheese, with some sliced melon, Jayhawk and Chunky, followed by Lysette and Benson, walked down to the caravanserai.

They were met by a slender native, blond hair peeking out from under his headcloth, dark eyes and a straight, narrow nose. An hour of haggling later, the minstrel had arranged a dozen camels, some for riding others for packs and food. They spend the rest of the day, visiting various outfitters for desert garb, food and other utensils. As the sun reached the horizon once more the small caravan left Sana.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 08-21-00 16:00 ET (US)     78 / 147       
The humped creature Thoren rode swayed back and forth, back and forth. Before his eyes the horizon moved left then right, left then right.

"How did I let you talk me into this, Minstrel!" he said to Jayhawk riding to his left. Lysette, riding on his right, turned to listen to Thoren's complaint. "These vile creatures stink like last week's trash; they spit like dockworkers; and they bellow like someone's stepping on their...

"THOREN!" shouted Lysette. "Behave yourself! You're not amongst a company of uneducated cave workers here."

"...tails," he finished looking sheepishly at Lysette. "What...? I'm behaving..."

Lysette huffed and turned her head to look the other way.

The companions riding behind the three, those who heard the exchange, snickered. Those who hadn't asked what was so funny and were told. They too laughed.

But Thoren was only minimally thwarted. "I'll take a horse any day over these... these. What do they call them? 'Ships of the desert'? The trireme was easier on my senses than these humpbacked beasts!"

"A horse wouldn't last two days in this climate," said the minstrel matter-of-factly even though Thoren's complaints registered with amusement in Jayhawk's mind. Of all of the creations, camels were low enough on Jayhawk's list of creatures that he looked forward to their company only on an exception basis. He too preferred a horse. None-the-less, Thoren's comments suddenly brought back a long submerged memory of just such another complaint spoken many hundreds of years ago by a Roman warrior when they travelled the silk road to the land of the Chin. Had it really been that many centuries since that time? I guess it had, the Seraph realized.

Jayhawk turned to look at the blond-headed, blue-eyed Norseman riding beside him even as Thoren continued to mumble about "these beasts." The Norseman was the current representative and last, so far, in a line of warriors reaching back to the foundation of the ancient city of Rome. It was an increasing chore just to remember them all, especially which one was which from among those bearing the same name. But one he remembered distinctly: the Roman who fought the Huns, sought out and imprisoned Deyhawk, saved Big Tusky's children, accompanied him through time in Egypt, tried to save the Great Library, journeyed to the land of the Chin and was a reluctant part of a celestial trial.

Some of these stories have been told. Some still wait to be revealed. Meanwhile, Jayhawk's immediate task was to see that the lineage continued. That had been his promise to the Roman warrior he remembered best, but Thoren was proving to be a bigger challenge than he expected. Regardless, the seraph would continue to do what he promised he would do. That was Jayhawk's way.

Desert sand passed beneath the feet of the ever striding camels. As the sun began its descent the riders saw in the distance the oasis they expected to reach that day. Sweet water and shade beckoned to them as they aimed their camels specifically in that direction, unaware of the danger that awaited them only a short distance beyond.

Caesar Ishaius
Pleb
posted 08-22-00 17:20 ET (US)     79 / 147       
By the time the party has reached the Oasis it was very dark. The sky had changed from light blue, to dark navy blue. The only light was from the stars and the oil lamps tied one on each side of a camel. Sanisbra was now only a dot of light, like a star. The party looked up and watched the beautiful sight of the sky. Ronen saw the north star he loved so much. It helped him so many times.

The camles slowly bent to take their passangers off, tired from the journey. Thoren's camle rocked from side to side, too tired to walk anymore. Thoren lost his grip on the (hm.. how do u say Davshot in english? Davshot are the two things camles have on their back) and he fell and crashed on the soft cold sand. This caused Thoren to complain about camles again. "Those beasts are the worst transport there is. I can't believe people ride those... those... 'things'!" While he mumbled this he recovered from the shock of falling, wiped (did I spell it right?) the sand of his legs, hands and face. He was about to say another complaint but his eyes met Lysette and he decided not to talk about camles.

They each took his own stuff from the camles and put their blankets on the sand. Jayhawk helped to start the fire, while Lysette and Thoren carried the ale bottles.
They set near the fire and reached their hands to warm themselves up. "Can you please pass me some ale Lysette?" Jayhawk asked in soft calming voice. After drinking and talking, the party felt very tired and warm. Each person (or seraph) lie down on their blankets and then rapped themselves, except Thoren and Lysette who were curled up together and weren't feeling any cold ().

Ronen felt something itchy on his neck. It was now becoming spiky. He slowly opened his eyes. It was very early in the morning. It seemed to him like 5:00 A.M. He saw a blured group of men. He thought he was dreaming so he closed his eyes again, but he felt the spiky feeling on his neck again. This time he opened his eyes and rubbed them a bit. He wasn't dreaming.

There was a group of men standing infront of him, with who seemed like the leader pointing a large Scimitar at his neck. "Go and waike the otherrrrs" the man said with an Arabian accent. Ronen got up quicly and crawled to Thoren, Lyesette, Jayhawk and Chunky.

He poked them and woke them up. They all slowly opened their eyes and rubbed them. "Why did you wake us up Ronen?" Thoren talked from sleep. "I think you'd better wake up and look at them" he pointed at the group of bandits.

"Now listen up strrangerrs" the leader said...

[This message has been edited by Caesar Ishaius (edited 08-22-2000).]

Benson
Pleb
posted 08-22-00 21:15 ET (US)     80 / 147       
The leader of the bandit has a wicked grin on his face as he surveyed his capture. His men started to move to surround the small band. The leader of the band had a look of a predator in his eyes as he began to speak to the group but the words died in his throat as an arrow appeared sliding silently though his throat cutting right though his windpipe. With a look of surprise and indignation he dropped his sword and grasp his throat then fell over dead. There was a moment of stunned silence as all watch in surprise as the man fell to the sand. The silence was broken as another of the bandits screamed out in surprise as he watch an arrow protrude through his chest piercing his heart them a cry was heard and out of the silence of the night came a man wielding two swords. Seeing the familiar form of Benson appearing out of nowhere brought the little group to action and in a few minutes they the bandit overwhelmed. All we dead or so every on thought, until Benson said that their watchman was tied up a little ways away. He took Thoren and they went and retrieved the unconscious man. After they had cleaned up the cam they all gathered round the unconscious bandit as Jayhawk bend over him…

[This message has been edited by Benson (edited 08-22-2000).]

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 08-23-00 05:31 ET (US)     81 / 147       
Benson, I thought you were with us all along...7 people, Lysette, Thoren, Ronen, Chunky, Eme Redser, yourself and I. Oh well, let's assume you felt the urge to be alone for a while and had wandered off
Ish, it's called a "hump"

...

Aaargghh!, I'm at a loss for inspiration...

Caesar Ishaius
Pleb
posted 08-23-00 09:04 ET (US)     82 / 147       
I didn't know our party was 7 people...
and thank you for telling me what a Davsha is. Don't worry you'll come up with something
And it must be quiet stupid asking it now, but is our quest is to look for the silver Chalice?
MRed94
Pleb
posted 08-23-00 10:28 ET (US)     83 / 147       
Ish, please read the intro to the story, in the first post, it will tell you where things are at in the story line.
Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 08-23-00 22:57 ET (US)     84 / 147       
Writer's block, Jay? Not like you at all. Well, its good old reliable Civis to the rescue.

____________________________________________________________

The bandit came to only to see seven pairs of eyes staring curiously at him. One pair, belonging to a tall slender man, was closer than the others. "Who are you?" the minstrel asked the bandit.

He didn't answer right away but turned his head to the right only to see the dead body of his leader nearby with an arrow through his throat. "Aaaaiiiiieeee! He is dead! The sheik will be most angry! You will all die unless you let me go!"

"I doubt that," replied Jayhawk. "I repeat, who are you?"

"Ekobar is my name. And what I say is true. You will all die!"

"Why? Did the sheik tell you to harrass us tonight?"

"No that was Ali's idea, not mine. He thought you might have valuables."

"So why should the sheik care if Ali is lying there with an arrow through his neck?"

A strange deep voice behind all of them answered Jayhawk's question. "Because the dead man was the sheik's eldest son... Now, you will all stand up and remain perfectly still. If just one hand reaches for a weapon of any kind, you will all die."

Out of the bushes stepped a brightly robed and armored soldier and 25 men with bows loaded, strings pulled back and arrows aimed at the companions. Jayhawk looked at Thoren, the most likely to do something impulsive. Thoren knew better than to challenge the well armed party confronting them. He made no injudicious moves. Jayhawk answered for the group. "We are your prisoners."

The soldier with the deep voice, the commander of his patrol, spoke to Ekobar. "Get up, miscreant. You will have your chance to tell your story to the sheik. The rest of you will be bound and taken to the sheik." He turned to two of his soldiers. "You two, bring the body of the sheik's son to his horse. Leave the rest of these to the vultures and vermin of the desert. Ekobar, find your horse and accompany these two men and the body. The rest of you, guide our 7 travellers to their camels and back to the camp of the sheik."

Before long, the seven travellers found themselves uncomfortably bound and on top of their camels being led to a camp whose fires could be seen in the near distance. The far and dim light of the city of Sar Dalaam beckoned to them, but the travellers could not respond to its call.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 08-25-2000).]

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 08-24-00 08:30 ET (US)     85 / 147       
Hmmm, taking into account we're still a week or so out from Sanisbra, and still have to cross the Plain of Fire and the sabkhas...that must be some pretty bright lights.

Ish, the Chalice bit worked out around post 15 or so...we're currently looking for information on a Dread Lord by the name of Ashkane, whose forces, lead by a 'lady' named Ragnhild are busy preparing siege to Torvgold

The desert warriors tossed the travellers of their camels and cut the ropes tying their legs together.
"Rise, scum," the patrol leader told them.
If looks could kill, he'd be a dead man, for the look that Thoren threw him ws filled with hatred as he tried to help Lysette to her feet.

They had arrived in camp of hair tents, with people milling around. Little children with dirty faces were looking at them, veiled women brought food and water to the patrol. A few prods turned the travelers towards a tent that was slightly larger than the others.

Bright tapestries, with intricate patterns covered the sand. A man, in his late forties with a fierce hawk nose and a small beard, sat smoking a water pipe. His hair was dark, except at the temples where it was streaked grey.
He looked at them impassionately.

The patrol leader stepped forward and swept a low bow, then he spoke in the Tongue of the Desert.
"My lord, Nur al'Din, these men have slain your son, Ali."
A fleeting look crossed the sheikh's face, for a moment Jayhawk thought it might have been relief. He wondered if he was mistaken.

"If I may speak, Lord Nur al'Din?" the minstrel asked in the same tongue, liquid vowels rolling of his tongue, mixing with harsh throaty consonants.
A handsignal stopped the warrior who'd prepared to slam his spear in the small of Jayhawk's back for speaking out of turn.
"You may speak, stranger."

The minstrel swept a courtier's bow, which earned him a brief smile.
"My Lord, " he intoned, "your son rudely awakened us this morning. I cannot believe you condone this kind of conduct."
Nur al'Din looked at the tall man before him and replied in trade speech.
"I do not condone such behaviour. In fact you have done me somewhat of a favour as my son and his friends were disrupting our trade agreements.
However, " he switched to the desert tongue, "he was still my son.
I will retire and think about what I should do with you and you're friends."
The desert ruler turned to the patrol leader.
"Ha'sam see these people to the guest tent and treat them fairly. Non shall have rights to complain about our hospitality, whatever they may have done."

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 08-24-00 16:08 ET (US)     86 / 147       
Jayhawk: Where there is fire, there is smoke and light. Could it be our friends are drawn to something they think is Sar Dalaam but isn't?

____________________________________________________________

In the middle of the night they came for Thoren...

Lysette clinged to Jayhawk frightened to death that this would be the last time she would see the Norseman alive. The camp warriors, led by the same man who led the party that captured them, unceremoniously entered their tent and roused Thoren from sleep and ushered him outside. That had been the last she had seen of him.

Jayhawk spoke comforting words to her, but they were only partially effective. Only Thoren's safe return would ease her fear and worries. Tears flowed intermittently, sometimes stopping with Jayhawk's soothings, sometimes stopping because none were left.

Two hours later the flap to the tall wide tent opened and Thoren walked in laden with booty. His smiling face turned to frowns when he saw the distress on Lysette's face. She leaped up and nearly knocked him over with her desperate hug. Through tears anew she said, "I thought they were going to kill you; and I've been so mean to you lately."

"No Lysette, no... we are fortunate indeed. Look..."

She released her grip on the Norseman and looked where he indicated. Weapons? Why weapons? They look familiar... Thoren spoke excitedly, "These are my weapons from when we were captured by the Dark Elves. They were in the cache of stolen goods Ekobar was, ummm, 'encouraged' to reveal to them. He said he and the others fell upon a party of odd looking creatures, very slender, none they had ever seen before, that is, until he saw Eme-Redser. They were heading the same direction we were and were caught in the same oasis. Some escaped to the northwest, but these weapons were among the goods the creatures left behind. I could tell from the markings that they were Norse, but not until I found the small markings with my family's insignia did I realize these were my very own weapons. See... I have my long sword and my bow and quiver back again."

"But why did they give weapons to you? Aren't we prisoners here?" asked Lysette.

"Well that's the interesting thing. The commander who captured us told me we had nothing to fear. The Sheikh had decided to pardon us because we were simply defending ourselves from his eldest son who was breaking the Sheikh's law against thievery." Thoren turned to Jayhawk. "You know, Minstrel, I think the Sheikh may not be particularly upset about his eldest son's death. The commander suggested the Sheikh was perhaps more relieved than bothered. Strange, don't you think?" Jayhawk pursed his lips and nodded in the age old gesture of shared puzzlement.

Thoren rambled on. "Anyway, we are to be feted tomorrow morning and sent on our way. The commander saw these among the booty and asked me to tell him what the markings meant. It seems they meet few Norsemen passing this way and were curious about the markings. They prefer their own weapons and so when I pointed out my family mark, the commander said to me, 'A warrior should never be without his weapons or the company of a beautiful woman. Now you have both'. And he handed these to me and brought me back to this tent... And, and... Why are you turning pink, Lysette. Did I say something bad?"

Lysette leaned into Thoren and buried her face in his shirt. He could feel tears wetting his shirt as she sobbed against him. Thoren, puzzled, looked at Jayhawk.

"You said nothing wrong, Thoren. I dare say she is crying more for joy than anything else. But I must remind you about something not so pleasant. Your weapons were obviously carried here by Dark Elves, don't you agree?"

Thoren nodded and finished Jayhawk's thought. "Yes, and that means our quest is anticipated and worse of all..." Chunky finished the thought, "There are Dark Elves between ourselves and Sar Dalaam."

Benson added. "It is good you are fully armed again, cousin. Very good indeed."

Morning found them refreshed and ready, all except for Ronen, who seemed to be pale once more and unsteady. Eme-Redser wondered anew about their young paladin.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 08-25-2000).]

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 08-25-00 08:48 ET (US)     87 / 147       
That might well be it, Civis, that might well be it Oh and it should read Sar Dalaam, Sanisbra is the port.

The mounted their camels Jayhawk and Eme-Redser with their usual grace. Thoren with a fair amount of cursing. The other made do. Their water store had been filled by the desert tribe and some extra food had been packed too.

As they rode off, Lysette noticed a little hump on the ground with bloodflies swarming around it.
"What's that?" she asked the minstrel.
Jayhawk looked, his eyes narrowed, and looked back at the girl.
"Are you sure you want to know?"
Lysette nodded.
"It's Ekobar. They burried him to the neck in the sand, they'll start playing games with him this evening, or at least with part of him."
He pointed toward the poles on either side and the long handled mallets that stood next to them.
Lysette paled and swallowed hard.
"I think I'd rather not asked" she said in small voice.
"The rules of the desert are harsh. There's not enough food and drink to support criminals. A harsh object lesson normally makes those that contemplate a life of crime to change their mind.
It seems to work...sometimes."

They rode off deeper into the desert, the red gold sand glowed on either side of them and they were happy for the desert garb the minstrel had suggested they'd buy. As the day wore on they called a halt near noon and rested in the shade of a House of Hair, as the desert folk named their tents.

Jayhawk let the slow waltzing gait of the camel lull him into a near meditative state in which time seemed to flow away like water through a sieve. As the evening drew near and stars came out glittering like icy jewels on the deep blue silk of the sky light of a different colour filled the landscape before them.

"Is that Sar Dalaam?" Ronen asked.
"No, " Chunky replied in a colourless voice, "it's the Plains of Fire"

They mounted the rise and saw a plain with white and blue salt crusts alternated with deep black runnels that burned a violent red. Flames shot up from holes in the ground, and the heat rolled from the plain in waves.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 08-25-00 11:27 ET (US)     88 / 147       
Jay: You're right. It should be Sar Dalaam. Corrections made. Now how did I get off course...?

____________________________________________________________

Ronen looked in dismay at the plains extending before them. "Do we really have to cross that? Isn't there any other way around it?"

Jayhawk shook his head. "No Ronen, to the left is Burning Lake and to the right is Hazard Chasm. You can't go around it; you can't go over it. You have to go through it."

Jayhawk tapped the shoulder of his camel with his guide stick and the animal strode forward. Chunky did likewise. Thoren tapped his animal's shoulder and noted to Lysette that the beast had no sense or it would have turned tail and walked back to Sanisbra without hesitation. Guess that's why we ride these idiotic beasts, he observed. Lysette said nothing. She usually ingnored his complaints about camels.

The five other companions followed the lead of Jayhawk and Chunky and rode behind them into the Plains of Fire.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 08-25-2000).]

Caesar Ishaius
Pleb
posted 08-25-00 15:34 ET (US)     89 / 147       
first I want to ask who is welcoming me?! I can see "Welcome, Caesar Ishaius" on my left. Is that a new forum gizmo? And don't worry Ronen won't get paler and die

Ronen was amazed. He never seen such a sight like The Plains of Fire. Ronen liked fire. He stared at the blasts of fire coming from the tunnels. He felt like he wanted to go near the fire and to touch it. He kicked his camel to move, but Thoren and Jayhawk soon stoped him.

"You wouldn't want to do that Ronen" Jayhawk started at him puzzled, still wondering why was he trying go to the fire. Thoren was holding Ronen's camel and muttered a few curses to the camel, which replied to Thoren with a grunt.

They turned back a bit from the Plains when a wave heat struck their faces (spelled it right?).
"Ronen what's wrong?" Thoren said and looked seriously at Ronen. Ronen looked up at the sky. It was dark blue from where they stood, but there was a piece of the sky covered with red. He then looked at the plains and turned to look at Thoren. "I don't know. I suddenly feel bad, like something is always wrong. I am not sure I can continue this anymore. I have just began my journey as a paladin, and I haven't even used my sword. What will happen when I'll have to fight great evil?" He looked down.

"Are you saying you are leaving?" Jayhawk asked.
"No. All I want to do now is pass the Plains of Fire" he said and wiped his forehead.

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 08-28-00 06:06 ET (US)     90 / 147       
It took them a day, a night and another day to cross the sulferous waste. Pools of flaming naphta broke from cracks in the salt crusted ground, Fire spirits seemed to be playing in the gas vents and the air shimmered and hummed with the sound of flames.

The companions had taken to wearing slips of their head scarves in across their faces and chewing on them water soaked points to prevent the acrid fumes from sending them into a fit of coughing. Their eyes were red and burning, but there wasn't a safe camp spot in site.

Carefully the camels waded their way across the plain until the reached the edge of it. The fires diminished, faded, burnt out until all that lay before them was the desolation of the Great Sabkha. The sunlight glittered on the millions and millions of salt crystals.

"Snow?" Thoren murmered, his voice cracked with exhaustion.
"No, " the minstrel replied, "salt."
"Salt? Is that all salt?" Lysette wondered as she drew next to the two men.
"All of it. As far as the eye can see and then some. We can camp here on the edge, but it's going to take another two days to cross it. We need to be extremely careful with the water. The next oasis is a day after we leave the Sabkha."

The minstrel took some fine gauze from his pack and handed it over to his companions.
"Wrap this around your eyes for protection against the light. You might end up blind if you don't"

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 08-28-00 15:51 ET (US)     91 / 147       
The next day found the travellers deep into Sabkha. Sunlight glared off the crystalline surface of the ground. The gauze covering their eyes filtered it just enough to take the edge off the brightness, but only minimally hampered their vision. Not that it mattered much as there was nothing to see in the next league that was any different from the previous leagues they covered as they rode their camels across the salt rich desert.

Now and then an oddly shaped creature, looking like a salt encrusted skinny square on six legs, skittered away from the hoofs of the plodding camels. As they escaped they emitted a noise that to the traveller's ears seemed like a bright, sharp snapping or cracking sound. Ever the curious one, Lysette leaned over towards Jayhawk and asked the question on her mind.

"Jayhawk, what are those little creatures that scuttle away?"

"Which creatures?" he asked.

"Down there, on the salt flat. See... there's one *crack*, and there's another one *crack*. There go three of them..." *crack* *crack* *crack*.

"Oh, those creatures," replied Jayhawk. Without change of expression he answered her question.

"Why those are what we call "saltine crackers".

Thoren gave Jayhawk a quizzical look then added, "And I suppose that little creature over there vibrating back and forth is a 'salt shaker'?"

"Why yes, Thoren. How did you know?" replied Jayhawk, the corners of the minstrel's mouth twitching while he tried to suppress the smile struggling to escape. "Nevermind," replied the Norseman who tried very hard not to look at Lysette during the exchange.

"Goodness," observed Lysette. "There surely are amazing things to be seen in this desert."

"Amazing indeed, Lysette," replied Jayhawk with the wink of an eye in Thoren's direction. The Norseman simply shook his head not knowing what else to do or say.

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 08-29-00 10:42 ET (US)     92 / 147       
They made camp as the moon rose over the horizon, a big bloody sphere, looking larger than Thoren had ever seen her. She paled a bit when she rose, but still gave the impression of being close than ever.

A mewling sound sounded in the distance as they ate a sparse meal of bread and dried meat.
"What are those?" Benson asked, his hand moving towards the bow that lay beside him.
"Mooncats" the minstrel answered.
"Mooncats?"
"According to local legend, there is a city owned and run by cats on the dark side of the moon. The cats can travel there when the moon is new as the bridge is open at that time."
"Have you been there?"
"It's a bad place..." Chunky muttered.
Jayhawk shook his head slightly and Chunky took another swallow of the pale beer he was drinking.
"Never mind what I said, " he apologised, "I must have drank too much."

Morning broke and they travelled onwards.

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 08-29-00 21:35 ET (US)     93 / 147       
Like seaspray surrounding a beachhouse, the salt in the atmosphere of the Sabkha desert permeated everything the travellers wore or touched. Minute errant crystals entered their nostrils and mouths each time they breathed or talked. Crystals of salt found their way to their hands, then to their food and finally to their mouths.

Then would come the thirst. Meager supplies of water needed to be conserved. Desire to drink spurred on by the effect of the salt crystals would have to be controlled. It was not easy. Subconsciously and unknowingly some reached for their canteens and skins to drink the water they contained. Others saw them reach and grabbed arms and containers to prevent them. There was no anger, just surprise; for the persons thwarted in the attempt to drink weren't generally aware of what they were doing and were grateful at having been prevented from squandering the water they still had.

Two days passed in this way. On the third day they reached the edge of the desert and what was salt became merely sand. Thoren and Lysette were never so happy before or after to see desert sand. By early afternoon they reached the oasis. Cool, refreshing water was plentiful and they ceased their travel for the day very early in order to enjoy its pleasures.

In a light-hearted mood somewhat rare for the usually reserved minstrel, Jayhawk pulled out his lute from its case and began to strum a merry little tune. The spirits of the group picked up even more so and Eme-Redser and Lysette found it appropriate to drag first one protesting man then another up off their seats and onto their feet to dance a little jig in step with the lively tunes Jayhawk played.

So passed the rest of the day and the night, undisturbed as they were, comfortable in the palm tree canopied oasis by the ever refilling pool of clean, sweet, cool water.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 08-30-2000).]

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 08-30-00 05:31 ET (US)     94 / 147       
Lute, Civis, lute...would I use something as silly as a mandolin?

The next morning, very much refreshed they left for Sar Dalaam. According to the minstrel it should take them about another two days to reach the city.

At the end of the first day they began to see signs of civilisation, some goats and herds boys could be seen in the distance, some irrigated fields spread a green sway around the city that lay in the distance and glittered with an unearthly blue light. Towers rose, tapering to narrow points, flat domes covered buildings and a massive wall surrounded the city.

They made a quiet camp and carried on the journey at first light. The walls seemed to grow as they drew closer to the city. Small figures could be seen working on the fields, some swathed in robes, others naked with a strange dun colour.

Then they reached the main gate towards night fall and could see a detachment of guards standing near. One was dressed in black cloth, covering black laquered chainmail and with a spiked helmet. The others wore rough leather tunics, the same colour as their sallow, dried skin. Scragly hair protruded from beneath the leather caps they wore, their eyes glowed the same eerie blue the city did at night.

Jayhawk stayed Thoren's hand as he reached for his sword.
"Don't"
"But...they're undead..." the Norseman muttered.
"They are, but serve the powers of the city."

The man in black stepped forward and looked at the minstrel as he dismounted.
"Welcome strangers, welcome to Sar Dalaam, City of the Dead. The Necromancer welcomes you."

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 08-30-00 15:40 ET (US)     95 / 147       
Not only is it a lute, but it's a 12-string lute at that. Your character bio even says so. I must be losing my touch. So okay then. From a tortured mind here comes a segment that is really going to be weird.
____________________________________________________________

"I am Jayhawk. These are my friends. We bid permission to enter the city and meet the Necromancer."

The zombie studied them closely. In turn, Thoren and the others studied the zombie. The undead creature was ashen gray in color, his dehydrated skin pressed against the general structure of the bones in his face. They imagined the rest of him was no different, but they could not see his frame as it was covered in the chain mail and uniform of his apparent rank.

"You are known to us Jayhawk. You and your friends are expected. You may enter the city and meet with the Necromancer. The inn is in the center of the town, near the palace of the Necromancer. The Necromancer will call for you when ready. He shall be told you are waiting. Enter now." The zombie Captain waved his boney arm and stiff fingers in the direction of the town center and stepped back to let the travellers pass through the city gates.

They entered a world different than any they had ever seen before. The structures were built of coated earthen materials and painted in shades of gray. Ash covered the thatched roofs as if intended to convey the same mottled gray color there as well by masking the contrasting yellow of the thatch.

Citizens walked slowly going to and fro. Their expressions varied from non-existent to dour or sad. Adult men walked silently by themselves or in the company of others like them.

Here and there a woman walked. Once pretty faces now looked out at the travellers from sunken eyes (if eyes existed at all) and from faces that were more than weatherbeaten, almost dessicated, as if the sun had baked them for hours upon hours in dry heat. Their blouses and skirts hung on their bodies without distinctive shape. The emaciated bodies of these undead women offered none of the support that usually created eye-pleasing curvature in the clothes they wore.

Children too, but very few, could be seen here or there. Yet these children, diminuitive in size as children should be, could have passed for very small whizzened adults as the children too seemed dryed out. Most surprising of all, the children did not play. They stood or sat in place, lethargic at all times unless drawn up or away at the insistence of a dour-faced adult.

The inn could be seen in the distance. The sign swinged back and forth in the moderate breeze blowing down the main street. Close enough now, the travellers could read its lettering. Eme-Redser announced it for the rest to hear:

O'LEARY'S CRYPT AND ALE HOUSE

And in dark small letters:
Strangers and The Living are Welcome

Tom O'Leary, Innkeeper

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 08-30-2000).]

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 08-31-00 08:17 ET (US)     96 / 147       
Actually, I'd intended the guard captain to be human, with quite a few humans in an ordinary town, but with an added complement of undead, everybody in the city just accepted.
Let's just say we passed the Quartier Mort (or Undead Quarter)

"Actually, " Jayhawk remarked to Thoren, "that captain, though looking sickly, wasn't undead. There are quite a few people living in this city, rather than unliving."
"However, " he continued, "a lot of the hard labour is performed by the undead servants of the Lord of the city."
"Chunky, " the minstrel nodded at the youth that was looking less than happy, "loathes the undead."

Jayhawk dismounted from his camel and led it to the wide portal near the inn. A couple little, living kids ran up to talk the reins to his mount. The minstrel tossed them a coin and entered the tavern. The undead behind the bar dusted his hands on his apron and ambled towards them.

"Och, it be my old friend Jayhawk, or I be a little green man"
The creatures round vowels and sing-song voice seemed most at odd with it's dour appearance and wispy red hair. The minstrel looked him up and down and replied
"Well, as you don't look like a little green man to me, I must be Jayhawk".
He hugged the undead barkeeper and dust flew up from the creature's shoulder as the minstrel slapped them.
"Och, och, it's been a while, no?"
"A few years, but you haven't changed a whisker, have you?"
A crackling sound came from the zombie's throat. Lysette realised the creature was laughing.
"Ye, devil, ye. Come on, introduce me to your lovely companions, won't ye?"


Angel Jayhawk
Eyrie • Caesar 4 Heaven • Children of the Nile Heaven • Stronghold Heaven • Caesar 3 Heaven • Emperor Heaven • Pharaoh Heaven • Zeus Heaven • My Deviations
Support your local Heaven • My Recommendations • EXCO • HALO
I believe violence will only increase the cycle of violence. — The Dalai Lama

[This message has been edited by Jayhawk (edited 08-31-2000).]

Civis Romanus
Angel
posted 09-01-00 15:57 ET (US)     97 / 147       
Ish: Are you there?

"Och, it does me eyes good to see such lovely lasses in me pub," said the jovial proprietor of O'Leary's Crypt and Ale House as Eme-Redser and Lysette were introduced to him. "Aye, and ye say this young lass here, the one betrothed to this man, is the very same what put the stop on Zordemon?"

"The very one," said Jayhawk.

"Faith and begorra! There's more to ye than meets the eyes! Though me eyes is well treated already." Lysette blushed. Thoren stewed, but calmed himself quickly as he sensed rather than knew that the proprietor's words were well intentioned.

Jayhawk changed the subject quickly. "We seek rooms and meals, O'Leary, one for the ladies and enough for the others and myself."

"Och! Ye came to the right place, Jayhawk. I have plenty of rooms for ye. Hasn't been much business lately. Things have been simply 'dead' around here ye might say!" The odd crackling sound came from O'Leary's throat once more as the rest realized O'Leary had just played a word joke.

Lysette giggled behind her hands. It was a bad joke she knew, but she had to laugh anyway at the proprietor's antics. He's cute, she thought... for an undead, zombie-type guy.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 09-01-2000).]

Caesar Ishaius
Pleb
posted 09-03-00 11:38 ET (US)     98 / 147       
Hmm... yes somewhere lost in real life
I will come back soon, so keep Ronen alive. It's nice seeing you ask if I am alive Anyway, I'm just bored- finished Diablo2 in Hell mode 5 times, so I made a paladin named Thoren
And a Necromencer named Jayhawk
Don't forget me

[This message has been edited by Caesar Ishaius (edited 09-03-2000).]

Jayhawk
Eminence Grise
posted 09-05-00 08:08 ET (US)     99 / 147       
A necromancer...?

The next morning, Jayhawk and Lysette walked to the Necromancer's palace. This bit of the city looked quite different, splendid houses with lavish gardens spilling from the courtyards. Bright cloth every where and even a suq.

"Oh, " Lysette clapped her hands.
"A market. Can we go there?"
"Later. Most likely the Necromancer will make us kick our heels for a few days, so ther is time enough to do some shopping."

Still it was an eerie sight to see all these undead people perform the more menial tasks of carrying goods and guarding buildings. A large group of the creatures stood guard out side the palace. Long lines of armoured guards, hardly moving in the harsh sunlight.

The two were met at the entrance by a human enough servant who let them into a hall, where water sprayed from a pair of large fountains. Bird song played in the air.

Somewhat later a servant came and presented them with some light repast and large glases of iced fruit juice.

Still later a richly dressed individual announced by himself as the Vizir and told then to come back 5 days from now at sunset. This was the soonest the Necromancer could see them, he added in an apologetic tone of voice, as his master was currently engaged in his arts and needed to make use of the fortuitous lunar alignments.

The minstrel thanked him and with Lysette went back to the inn.


Angel Jayhawk
Eyrie • Caesar 4 Heaven • Children of the Nile Heaven • Stronghold Heaven • Caesar 3 Heaven • Emperor Heaven • Pharaoh Heaven • Zeus Heaven • My Deviations
Support your local Heaven • My Recommendations • EXCO • HALO
I believe violence will only increase the cycle of violence. — The Dalai Lama
MRed94
Pleb
posted 09-05-00 21:30 ET (US)     100 / 147       
Since the surrounding countryside contained many herbs and other plants that Eme-Redser had never seen before, she thought that the next few days would be good spent searching the woods and the meadows for things that she needed or could use.

The village doctor was partially alive, and offered to go with her to see what they could find.

Eme-Redser and El-Hirm went off on their quest, leaving the others to entertain themselves.

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