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RPG Fanatics - The Last Stand


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This is a group for any PRIOR RPG Fanatics.  If you would like to follow along, you can but since this is the finale I would like to not introduce new characters/mechanics.

 

Welcome to RPG Fanatics and the Realm of NF

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In February of 2014, the realm of NF seemed like a darkening place, although no one could put their finger on what was the cause of the decay.  A raving satyr named Teros spouted off about knowing the reason for the oncoming dread.  A group of ragtag adventurers met up with the satyr.  His proof was a small goblin that he caught, that squealed about a master plan by a demon-king named: Sodamus.

 

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Although the group did not know each other, they banded together and formed a bond. Along the way, they rescued others in the dank sewers that were held captive. One of these was a goat-monster named Sulak.  Sulak's specialty was in alchemy and crafting crystals that held magical properties. He joins the group and makes gems for the party which will use the wearer's energy to track other gems- thus making sure no one in the party is ever lost.

 

The group manages to find and kill Sodamus.  However, foreboding words were spoken that the party did not quite understand.

 

After this demon-king was slain, two ravens named Huginn and Muninn (twin ravens and guides for the group) appear to explain the situation.  Sodamus being slain started a chain of events that have embroiled the entire group.  Other demon-kings are throughout the realm, and this party have shown their potential to enact justice for the land.

 

The next demon-king was the FrostKing; in the frozen wasteland above the Warrior's fortress.

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Before getting to the FrostKing, one of the ravens told the satyr Teros about a prophecy that he would have to keep secret from the rest of the group.  They reached the summit as winter's sting was starting to soften. The FrostKing dispatched, the next demon-king on the horizon was Distractia and his casino.

 

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Before being disposed of, Distractia spoke of trying to win his lover back and spoke of The Red One.  The ravens told of The Red One being the strongest evil in the land, and a foe that would need to be dealt with in due time.  This gave way to spring.

 

The group headed south to the shifting sands as summer approached, to fight off the embodiment of depression: Acerbus.

 

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The group started to realize the potential everyone had inside themselves as they had continued to best their enemies.

 

As summer turned to fall, the succubus twins, Mal and Maru, were the next wretches to be disposed of.  Their castle was nestled in the heart of the Forest of Doubts.  A mysterious and curious man by the name of "Dr. Neemoy" lures the group into a trap with other succubi trying to end the group once and for all. 

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In the ensuing battle, the Dr disappears.  One of the twins was able to be killed, but the other managed to barely escape with a shredded wing and the scars of battle.

 

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The final boss was at hand: The Red One. 

 

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The group managed to get to the Forbidden Crags and hunt down the supreme evil in the dead of winter.  One of the party named Red was unable to continue and another group member uses their plant magic to create a safety cocoon for Red.  After this, the group is told by Sulak what the gems were doing this entire time:  while the gems were made to find each other, as a sort of magnetic tether so no one would get lost; they were doing something else - siphoning emotions from the user.  This meant that every positive and negative emotion that was felt was radiated outward and the gem would absorb some of.  Sulak explained that he didn't know if the group would kill him way back in the catacombs so it was a safety precaution to see if it would weaken the group but it never did.

 

Approaching The Red One, the group used all their might to best the demon-king but it was not enough. Not until Sulak took the gems from everyone and made the ultimate sacrifice.  Giving his gem-crafting spellbook and gem kit to Teros, Sulak was brought close to the demon-king by the twin ravens and when Sulak broke the gems, the stored emotional chaotic energy was released and created an explosion.  This explosion killed Sulak and almost killed the ravens.  It also blew the jaw and upper chest off of the demon-king and he perished - falling into the ocean.  The crags were ripped asunder and crumbled into the ocean as well. Tidal waves swelled up as entire chunks of island crashed into the sea.  Luckily, the party were able to ride smaller pieces of landmass across the waves, as they smashed into the coast of the Adventure's town.  There was devastation done to the Adventure's humble community.  Entire houses were crushed underneath the waves and lives were lost.  Over the course of an entire year of Adventuring, the party known as the RPG Fanatics were no longer a ragtag group- they had become heroes.  Some of those heroes had fallen.  Sulak was gone.  The ravens were both badly injured and used their magics to fuse into one singular being to prevent being on the brink of death.  Other heroes had fought in battle, simply to disappear after a particular demon was dispatched.  Still others required aid or medicine and were unable to continue for certain legs of the journey.  The ones that remained considered themselves family after a year-long quest.

 

Teros however, was distraught.  The prophecy that was told to him a year prior that had to be kept secret around the time of the FrostKing stated that a 'horned one would make the ultimate sacrifice'.  The entire quest, Teros thought that being a satyr; it was him that would dispell the final evil.  However, it was Sulak that did so.  Teros wanted to die an honorable death and felt cheated out of it. He had accepted his fate for months but with this new lease on life, he felt purposeless.  He couldn't sleep and because of this; he started crafting with Sulak's alchemical gems.

 

Some time passes as the group recuperated and started to drift a little bit apart as they all tried to find their own way in life.  Also, the Adventurer's town was being rebuilt.

 

There was a problem though...

 

...The town because a tourist hub as businesses scrambled to finance new projects.  Amidst the influx population, people were been being abducted and no one know by whom.  After yet another sleepless night, the satyr, Teros, hears dragging and odd noises outside his room at the inn.

 

Finding out a woman was abducted the next day and finding some clues to trace the steps; the group is reformed and head back down to the sewers where Sodamus' lair was.  They find a beast that was never felled from over a year ago; feasting on the corpses of the goblin horde and Sodamus himself.  The massive and powerful sewer monster was bested:

 

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After doing so though and returning to the surface, a mysterious figure made of smoke pointed northwest- towards Distractia's old casino.  Surely there was nothing there that the brave group did not defeat....wasn't there?

 

The adventuring family followed the vague figure's direction and went back to Distractia's Casino.  There, the casino was still somewhat intact, although claiming to be under 'new ownership'. Puzzled, the group meets a young rebellious outlaw named Grisham and a holy man named Pierce who is looking for his brother.  They all band together and break back into the casino, attract the jester-guard's attention; and muscle their way back to Distractia's hideout.

 

While there, the voice over the speakers doesn't sounds like the defeated demon-king.  Getting through this mysterious madman's traps, the party finally gets to the heart of the casino.

 

 

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Distractia was still alive...in a way.  He had been brought back through some sort of outsider's aid.  Distractia spoke of a 'person greater than I' and again of winning his lost love's favor.  After his permanent defeat (one of the group severed Distractia's head and the casino was set ablaze), the group has more questions than answers.  Their only clue forward is that Distractia had a very large rose on him - one that only grew in a certain place in the realm.

 

With Siga (the merged ravens) not having the gift of knowledge and foresight anymore since their merge; the group is lost in the dark.

 

They head out on an adventure, but not entirely sure where to go.  As Distractia's casino is burning to the ground, Teros heads outside because of a bad nightmare and began looking at the wreckage of the now burned-down casino.  The smoke figure appear again in the flames, but this time there is a second figure.  The original one is a pale gray, while the new one is a faint blue.  As the gray figure points where to go, the blue one charges towards the gray one and they both dissipate.

 

Teros was not the only one to have had a vivid nightmare.  Others in the group also experience one form or another of something mysterious plaguing their thoughts. 

 

Following the gray figure's direction, the group heads north and then east; towards the dense jungles.  While there, they are attacked by onyx crows - the same monsters that the succubus twins, Mal & Maru, had used in the past.  After a large skirmish, a freak flash flood occurs in the jungle and the group needs to take cover.  One of the people in the group disappears (the one that had used plant magic to cocoon their friend, Red) and it disheartens the satyr, Teros, who knows the reason for her departure.

 

After crossing miles of terrain and going through a piranha-infested river; the group managed to find a newly-constructed wooden fortress in the heart of the sweltering jungle. It is the scarred but still alive succubus sister- Mal.  With her is Dr. N, a man who's acquaintance the group made back when originally facing the demon-queens.

 

A creature that responded to the Doctor fought with the onyx crows and Mal. However, once the castle is set ablaze and the battle continues, Dr. N uses a contraption to turn the onyx crows against their demon-queen mistress.  They claw her to death and during the chaos, the Dr. flees.  With the torching of the castle spreading into a massive wild-fire; the group frantically leaves the scene and heads southward, towards the home of one of the group - The Druid's Grove.  There they can find some shelter and hopefully know where to go next.  Seeing the creation that Doctor N had, along with seeing how the onyx crow responded must mean that he was a threat that would need to be dealt with.  Also at this time, the 'black water' nightmares that Teros had infrequently started to occur more and more often - taking a toll on his health.

 

The party flees south...

 

 

 

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*huhhff huhhf*  "Ok. Ok... We can slow down I think...Damnit I'm not a cardio person."  Teros huffed out as he hunched over and put his hands on his knees. 

 

The group had been racing through the brush for a while now and the flames had finally started to not spread any further.  Large plumes of smoke could be seen for miles away.  The other succubus twin was defeated, but Dr. N had escaped.  The pace for everyone was a little easier now - the panic and adrenaline subsiding.  "We should be near the Druid's forest-grove if we keep heading this way" Heidi chimed.

 

The rest of the day was spent trying to decompress and walking southward to find civilization.  "Never seen the Druid's grove before" remarked Dark_Raider.  Heidi's eyes lit up as she talked about her homeland for a while.  The air started to not feel as thick.  Rather than the hot and humid stickiness that couldn't be wiped off, the jungle turning into forest was beginning to cool.  The flora took on different shapes - the ecology slowly changing a gradient from jungle to woodland.  A babbling brook could be heard.  Heidi perked up as she led the team.  Finding the brook, the group followed it.  "No fresh hell piranhas in here, right?" asked Grisham skeptically.  Heidi simply waved off the inquiry.

 

As the day progressed and the evening sun would soon cast its orange hue, the trees broke way.  "We're here" Heidi spoke.

 

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"There's always a campfire at the heart of the town where we break bread together, tell stories, and enjoy each others company.  Its hard work, but simple here." A smile crept across Heidi's face.  Making their way to the center of town, Heidi led the way.  Everyone followed suit and gathered around the fire that was being built.  Once the fire was made, all of the druids wanted to know who the newcomers were. Heidi introduced everyone.  Everyone was given an offering of spare food in exchange for stories.  Teros started from the beginning, recounting everything from Sodamus, to the FrostKing, Distractia, Acerbus, the Succubus twins, monsters, traps, and Satan Klaws himself.  Most elders puffed on very long pipes.  Purple-tinged smoke rings emanated as they calmly nodded; taking everything in.  Others chimed in during the huge tale, filling in gaps that the satyr forgot or giving a different perspective.  Eventually, Teros and Siga became the backdrop- letting others finish most of the tale.  Grisham and Pierce who were relatively new to the group, listened in fascination.  They knew bits and pieces of the stories but never the whole tale from start to finish.  At one point early in the storytelling, a very young druid named Bjorn Bessen had a quill and parchment.  He seemed to be recording the history of what had happened to the group collectively known as, 'RPG Fanatics'.

 

The sky darkened and the tale continued throughout the warm night.  No one dare cut anything short - the story had embroiled everyone in the town.  Work would be a late start for all of the druids tomorrow.  As the tale was finished and lightning bugs were flickering in the night sky, one of the elders stood up and took a long drag from his pipe. Nodding, he let out the puff and began, "Thank you, truly, all of you for telling us this riveting story.  It is rife with sorrows, horrors, but triumph of the heart.  We are not an explorative lot.  We tend to keep to ourselves, letting the dramas of the world pass us.  None of this happening to the realm was even known to us.  Chit-chatter from the rare visitor but you know how rumors go.  I'm glad that Heidi had met you at one time on her pilgrimage outside of our forest and found you all.  You are all welcome to stay as long as you want, provided the extra muscle can help us with our own workload."

 

Teros nodded and spoke, "I don't consider myself to be in charge of this group at all, but I do think I can speak for everyone when I say that would be appreciated.  Also, this tale isn't over.  We still must find the Doctor and make him pay for his crimes.  He's out there, somewhere. And we don't know where to go."

 

With a pensive look, an elder took another drag from his pipe and mumbled to himself, "Yes, yes. Of course." Then looking at the group, he continued, "We work our mystics in the ancient ways.  The casting of stones and cards.  Never specifics, but maybe some of our mystics can aid you in the right direction."

  

"Wait!" everyone's heads turned away from the elder and to the young druid with a large book on his lap.  The one who was writing the entire time.  "Why was there no figure tonight in the smoke?  That odd figure you describe that pointed you towards Distractia and Mal.  Shouldn't it have made an appearance here, tonight?  And what is the blue figure trying to do in the smoke as well?  And why were there no creatures in the jungle on your journey to face the succubus and her doctor friend?"

 

The elder gave the youngling a knowing glance, "If they knew those things, I think they would have told us."  The elder walked up to Teros, bidding him stand up, and put a hand on his shoulder, "Tomorrow evening, we will reconvene.  Our mystics will try to see what they can figure out for you.  When and if you get a sign to move, tell us."  Leaning forward, the wise druid whispered to Teros' ear, "There are some here …that have yet to make their pilgrimage out into the world. Though I dare not wish any to be harmed, some may want to help on your quest.  If you feel it too dangerous, then tell them.  You are a solid lot and the last thing is for you all to become babysitters for the smallings with stars in their eyes for adventure, you see."

 

Teros nodded and sat back down.  There were some extra stables and hay beds scattered around various households.  The flame was doused with a few reed's worth of water and everyone went to bed. Before leaving, Teros gave one look at the dying flames.  Nothing. No figure. Not yet. 

 

 

- No black glass this time.  The ground was spongy on bare hoof. It made damp smushing sounds.  Boots would get soaked in this.  While traveling along, the satyr could still see nothing.  Treading slowly, there were no sounds, save for the distant guttural croaking of a frog.  Teros felt something thin touch his fingertips.  Recoiling, he reached down again and realized that it was some sort of long grass brushing lightly against him.  He plucked a single strand and pressed it between his finger and thumb.  It had a coarseness to it, like faint spines or hairs along the edges.  He placed the grass blade in his pocket and continued forward.  Then the sound of tree branches breaking in the distance echoed by.  Large lumbering steps wetly smacked against the spongy ground.  The thudding got closer and closer.  Not knowing where to go, Teros ran away from the sound.  The thumping became louder.  He was being chased.  Running at full speed, the thudding behind him did not fade but he heard another sound - the roiling of the ocean coast again.  The wet smacking underneath his hooves was replaced with a hard tinge.  'This must be the edge. This is the edge again' Teros muttered to himself.  He stopped charging forward and fell to a knee and touched the ground.  The feeling of smooth glass again and a faint mist of ocean air spritzing against his skin.  The thudding was getting loud again - catching up.  "No cmon. Wake up. Wake up.  WAKE UP!" Teros started yelling at himself.  "HEY MISTER!" -

 

*FWUGH!* Teros sucked in air.  He looked up.  There was a young druid girl standing over him, wide-eyed and clutching a teddy bear. The barn door was open and morning sunlight seeped through in blinding lines.  "You ok, Mister?" the druid girl asked.  Rubbing his eyes the satyr rolled off of the blocks of hay which was a makeshift bed for him last night.  The girl was concerned.  "Theo and I were worried. Heard you making noises then yelling to wake up.  Theo said I should yell at you to wake you.  You're not mad are you?"

 

Teros looked at the stuffed bear which had a blue tinge to it.  He rubbed his eyes again and it was the normal tan color for a stuffed bear.  Was Teros seeing things? He finally responded, "No, no. Tell Theo uh, thanks."

 

The little girl looked at the ground, almost ashamed.  "Theo didn't look right this morning.  Under the weather.  I had to go to bed when you started telling your stories last night but I think maybe Theo stayed up and listened and got into the honeysweets and had a tummy ache. I don't know. He wanted me to check on you this morning. He's a good bear."

 

Teros stretched as he was listening to the druid girl and grabbed his bag.  "Well, he's a life-saver.  Hope he feels better." Teros said as he gave her a pat on the head and walked out of the barn.  After he left, the girl looked at her bear, "You're not blue?!  Were you just sad this morning, Theo?  Oh what's this?"  The girl went over to the bed that Teros was on and saw a long large blade of black grass.  She picked it up and it felt prickly. "You think this is his, Theo?" she asked.  "Nah, you're right.  It's just junk." she threw the grass on the ground and went outside.

 

The rest of the day was uneventful. Hearty meals and difficult labor sucked up all the hours of the sun that day.  Once it was dusk again, the usual communal fire was prepared and handfuls of steins filled with some sort of rich berry juice was passed around.  The elder druids had small bags with them this time.  Telling the group to make a semi-circle around the fire, the elders took what was out of their bags - various colored stones with different runes inscribed on them, little vials filled with powders, and multiple decks of worn thick brown cards with pictures on them.  "Tonight we channel our energy to see if we can help you find the direction you need to go." one of the elders stated.  We must meditate.

 

The druids had set up the fire and were preparing with their stones and cards.  The young scribe that was writing last night, Bjorn, still had his book with him.   The entire camp was quiet as the elders worked.  There were four elders which had a small alter that looked like it was a woven basket.  The stones were of every color, but all roughly the same size and shape.  Some were highly polished and others were worn and dull.  A couple of small jars filled with different kinds of powders or sands were taken out of a black bag which rested at the foot of the basket-alter.  The group needed to hold hands in a semi-circle.

 

"You need to let go and channel your mind.  We are going to try and share what is referred to as 'a dream state'.  In this state, all of you will meditate and breath in unison.  Let your mind relax and hold tightly onto each others hands.  Then extend your middle and pointer fingers to be on the wrists of the hands you hold.  Press down and feel for a pulse."

 

Teros looked troubled at the explanation of dream states.  Everyone did as they were told.  As the instructions were being given by one elder, the others were working together to set up the altar.  The heavy cards were shuffled and then doled out in a pattern that was unseeable by the group.  Everyone's eyes were to be closed.  The flapping noise of cards being laid was heard.  The same elder continued:

 

"Breathe inward and hold.  Then exhale together.  Breathe and hold. Exhale.  Feel the heartbeat of the people next to you. When they are all together, we will be able to continue.  I am meting out the fortunes and events that may transpire.  All of these cards are possible splinter outcomes - all of them can happen.  But once the runes are shaken and cast down; their probabilities change, depending on what runes land on what cards.  Hopefully, if we can get a baseline of what will likely transpire, we can connect the dots and know where to go.  We must find the path." 

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Teros was toward the far right of the circle.  Dark_Raider was at the end and technically 'starting' the chain, next to Teros.  On the other side of Teros was RedEagleSpirit.  Two of the elders met hands with the ends of the semi-circle.  Then, slowly, everyone stood up and tried to connect the circle, so the Elders would be able to hold each other's hands.  The one on the far right spoke, "This feel fast.  Come here."  Motioning towards the left-most Elder, they switched places.  Sure enough, the right half of the circle's heartbeat channeled through Dark_Raider was much faster than the left side.  "An impurity.  Something is wrong here.  There is a break in the chain and we can't continue the casting of runes unless we are of one mind and heart.  I want all of you to think about something that makes you happy - something that would give you a rush of joy.  That might reset the chain and get everyone on the same plane."

 

Since everyone's eyes were closed, no one knew what anyone else was doing.  Teros stirred.  Although his eyes were closed, his brow was furrowed. He looked more angry than happy. Everyone else had a look of peace across their face.  Heartbeats were checked again.  "Same inconsistency. We need to find out whose troubles are bleeding to the others." an elder proclaimed.

 

The 'caster' druid stayed at the altar.  The fourth that was originally helping with the setup went to the right and held the person's hand.  The other two decided to partially break the circle.  "This 4-chain is calm".  Including the next person down the line, "This 5-chain is calm."  Continuing, "This 6-chain is calm."

 

They got to RedEagleSpirit and including her, said "This is where the disturbance feedback starts."  They then included Teros.  The druid moved their hands down after just a second.  "The satyr.  It's him.  The disturbance stems from him and it reverberates to Dark and Red."  Teros opened his eyes. "Whu- what am I supposed to do?"  The druid at the altar pointed to Teros and motioned for him to go to a tent nearby.  Dark_Raider and RedEagleSpirit held hands instead.  "Continue with the circle and try without him."  Then pointing to the last elder, "Finish for me."

 

The elder that singled out Teros was named Sharn and she went into a tent with the satyr.  "Why are you not able to relax? What happens when you try? What troubles you, my friend?"  Teros had only brought up the nightmares sparingly with the group; trying not to go into detail.  There were other things weighing on him.  Teros was reluctant to say anything - he was tired.  Always tired and worn out these days. It felt like forever since he woke up feeling refreshed instead of terrified in a stupor. The elder put their hand on his shoulder.  "Please. The bond might be too weak without you in that circle for the ritual to work.  You need to be able to clear your thoughts."

 

There was a rattling noise outside. The runes had been cast.

 

"I...can't." confessed the satyr, "Nothing's going to change. Nothing's going to get better".  He looked down at his palms, his face marred with spite. 

 

Sharn leaned forward,"You need to face whatever fear is going on with you. Whatever emotional turmoil that you feel.  You have to be brave. You have to be strong."

 

Teros had a tear rim his eye and still was looking down at his hands as he said "I lost her.  I'm cursed. I have been ever since I can remember...." trailing off and looking 100 yards into the distance.   Sharn grimaced, "Lost whom?  What curse?"

 

There was a chorus of sad sighs outside.  Heavy footsteps smacked the grass.  The prediction failed.  It wasn't strong enough.   The elders were going to try again when Dark_Raider raised his hand and then pointed to the things on the altar. 'Excuse me, those jars of sand and stones... do you do any kind of crafting with them?" He was met with raised eyebrows. 

 

"Why yes, the stones and sands all have linked properties and an alchemical reaction to each other.  See this?" the druid elder named Siara held up a small pink crystal. "This is Fenrir's bloodstone.  Legend of one of our kind besting a wild beast with it.  There is a remote cave deep in the wilderness that has stalagmites made of this.  When foraging for food, a young druid named Feo stayed out in the wilderness for too long and as dusk turned to night, he found himself hunted down by a predator.  The large beast pursued and Feo ran in the darkness, coming across a cave.  Entering it, he was chased further and further into the closing gloom by the wild animal.  Stumbling, Feo tripped over a rock.  With the beast nipping at his heels, Feo went to get up and banged his head against a low-hanging stalagmite.  He broke it off and used it like a joust.  The beast with glowing eyes leapt upon Feo and Feo held the stalagmite like a lance.  It pierced the roof of the mouth of the animal.  It was a lumbering giant and it collapsed upon the helpless Feo, pinning him to the ground.  The monster's large upper fangs sank in as it fell to the floor - impaling Feo in the shoulder.  The animal's blood and ichor ran out of its mouth and pooled along the fangs that was plunged into the deep tissue of our brethren.  His own blood seeping from his wound mixed with the unknown animal and a burning sensation shot through his entire body.  Feo screamed as the pain from this bloodletting was extreme - moreso than the original bite.


Feo started to feel something foreign flow through him as his screams turned into howls.  He, with a surge of strength, pushed the beast off of him and stumbled his way back to this camp.  Clutching in his hand was the stalagmite that he had used as a makeshift weapon - now dubbed Fenrir's bloodstone."



The entire group was listening with enchantment.  Breaking their concentration from the tent that Teros and Sharn were in was the satyr raising his voice, "I DON'T KNOW HOW!"  The yelling turned into soft sobbing and a blabbing of incoherent words.

Dark_Raider seemed lost in thought.  "But wait... why would it not be called Feo's bloodstone.  Why Fenrir?"  Siga flapped his wings with anticipation.

The elder let out a sigh.  "Because Feo, the druid, never actually came back.  He was changed.
Different.  After his wounds had been tended to; he slept for three days. He had nightmares of being chased in the darkness.  About the fang sinking into his flesh.  Sometimes he would cry out in the middle of the night, clutching his shoulder and saying it burnt worse than a smithing brand cast into the flames - yet he was already healed, save for some discoloration. After he was back on his feet, he seemed different in spirit....darker. 

 

He used to be a kind and gentle man.  Now, his temper would get the best of him.  He struck a child in the camp for spilling juice on his lap at the campfire ceremony.  He wanted to be alone all of the time, despite usually being the center of attention.  The hair on his head used to be strung with gray and white - yet now it started to turn dark again - like his youth was coming back to him.  It looked course instead of wispy.  He used to complain in his youth that he was never able to grow a full beard - it being patchy and fine.  But within just a few days, he already had a swallow's nest upon his face.  Moody and distant; he was not the same man.  He was a man consumed with rage and bizarre youthful brashness.

 

Then after about two weeks later, after the camp had gone to bed and in the thick veil of darkness; everyone awoke to a raging howl.  Panicked, no one had ever heard that noise. That loud. That sharp.  That almost human and animal mixed scream.  A few of the brave dare leave their homes with torches to see what would possibly befall the camp.  They saw a lumbering and snarling beast - one that walked on hind legs; but was hunched over and able to run on all four.  Its frame was like an emaciated grizzly bear, but its face... its face was more of a wolf - a very long snout with rows of jagged needle teeth.  Our kind knew this was a serious and rare threat and sprang into action.  Weapons were grabbed and some of our stones were used to make a ward.  Not knowing the full power of this foe, we placed wards on the perimeter of the camp, and then posted wards closer and closer- basically pinning the beast into a cage of sorts.  It couldn't leave a 20 foot area, try as it may.  Luckily our wards held up.  It was at nighttime and as this slow and deliberate cornering of the animal continued, dawn was coming.  We stayed posted until morn to see if the beast was nocturnal and would try and flee.  We didn't know what it was - it might be burned by light or weaker in the day. After the fresh fires of dawn, the beast fell to the floor, apparently being weakened.  It screamed and howled as its voice started to resemble more human in sound.  There, after a few minutes, lay Feo, naked in a disheveled mess.  Fur receded into his skin, leaving large goosebumps all over his body.

Realizing this was our friend cursed with something; we immediately went to work to try and cure him after crossing the ward and leaving him some food and water.  We put the wards down as Feo looked dead in a crumpled mess - apparently whatever this was that afflicted him would sap his energy.  Or so we thought.

 

He awoke with no recollection, but was furious with everyone around him.  As the day passed, we tried all of our magics but to no avail.  The day drew long and dusk approached.  As we were trying yet another spell, night crept in and the transformation happened again.  He grew rageful and his eyes turned blood red.  He was caged.  Then, one of our own accidentally knocked over a ward.  Feo felt the presence in that direction weaken and fled into the woods.  With no other choice, some druids attacked him with magic.  His fur singed, he howled and disappeared into the darkness- never to be seen again.

We named him Fenrir, after the wolf that in ancient lore tries to swallow the world.  He left the camp weeks before as Feo.  He came back as Fenrir.  That is why it is called Fenrir's Bloodstone."

 

Having his curiosity satiated, the githzerai seemed more at ease.  The elder continued though, "It has been said, that although he was never seen from again, his bloodlines are carried to this day.  Years later, some small orphaned children from the woods seemed to have part of the same affliction as him - turning into beasts at night.  I do not know what became of them; but a popular theory is that this was the start of a mutation in bloodlines for many people that were his offspring.  Those with the dominant traits of Fenrir are able to turn into beasts with unbridled bloodlust.  Others with a weaker gene may be able to shift at will, becoming stronger but still able to keep some of their rational wits about them in a sort of controlled chaos. Still others with a very diluted bloodline may be able to shape for a brief time, or have a very strong link with the wilderness.  Most people that bond with a familiar or spirit animal are thought to be the very distant cousins of the original Fenrir's blood.  There is a story or reason for all of these stones upon this alter. All of these sands- which are usually ground up versions.  When paired with its elemental compliment, it creates a  magnetic or opposing force.  This can be used to trap all manner of magical aethers.  Some are basic elementals like water.  Others can compress earth with such force to fill a small crystal with hundreds of pounds of dirt. Others tame flames, while still others are able to create new magics or create wards against evil."

Grisham whispered to ChristArtist, "This sounds like the stuff Teros does with that book of his from Soolook right?"  ChristArtist corrected him, "Sulak.  His name was Sulak....And yes, it does sound like this.  When our friend is not plagued with what ails his heart, he could learn much from these druids to hone his craft."

Sharn walked out of the tent; a defeated and tired Teros walked slowly behind.  The elders conversed.  "He... he has a lot of cleansing to do, but in his emotionally fatigued state; this should be enough for the ritual."  Everyone in the group saw the satyr sit down in the dirt in his original place between Dark_Raider and RedEagleSpirit.  "Let us continue."

Building up the ritual again, this time the heartbeats were all in unison and breathing.  Taking their original places; the cards were drawn and the runes were cast about; landing seemingly at random.  Scrutinizing the cards, the elders pondered together and the group stay in a rhythmic stasis.  Teros looked like he was sick - a cold sweat on his face and his hands were shaking the people next to him.  He whispered to himself, 'I don't know if I can handle this.'



"According to the casting, there is no good news in the future.  There will be a crisis of testing the strongest faith, and with Zelmyr's Might on this card; it appears that the entire realm will be plunged into chaos and pain.  The magnetic shifting here is....dreadful.  Some of these make no sense.  These two stones talk about the earth growing.  I know not how to interpret that.  And….a massive amount of life being granted and taken.  War and migration.  I…I think there is something wrong here as these events don’t seem to add up at all.  However if these two stones here are correct then we might have some luck.  There are no positioning to the poles to go to.  As in, according to the magnetic pulls and pushes; this journey does not lead you north or south of here.  You must move only on the longitudinal plane - east or west of here only."

Pierce piped up, "Well, our journey is cut in half. That's a start, right?"  Teros sat there, eyes looking sunken into his face; still beet red ever since he had emerged from the tent.  "I.... I don't have the energy to do any of this.  I'm sleeping" the satyr said as he trudged off to the haystack that was his bed.  Emotionally exhausted after his long talk with Sharn, he collapsed into sleep within seconds.  The rest of the group felt an emotional toll.  Many decided to go for a stroll to get the cobwebs out.

*week 2 mini*

In order to get the 'cobwebs out' a 5 mile stroll.  This can be done in any way you want. It can be a jog all at once or a mile walk each day for 5 days. Whatever fits your personal fitness challenge.

 

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*Crashing waves in the darkness.  The steady ebb and flow of the sea and the fizzing of the ocean foam spraying on the ground.*

 


Teros woke at daybreak.  He had nothing chase him that night; but there was still an uneasiness in his sleep and still felt a pull to somewhere else.  The satyr sat up and put his face in his palms and spoke to himself in a barely audible whisper, "What do I have to do to stop this?" 

That day, ChristArtist met up with Teros.  He was 'pale as a ghost' according to ChristArtist when they talked.  She checked his forehead and he had a slight temperature.  She let him know of the rune magics and how the druid's sands and stone crafting coinciding with his crystal creating from Sulak.  Consulting the elders, Teros spoke with them and disappeared for the rest of the day - bringing his bag with the black book and gems and jars with him. 

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The rest of the group did their own jobs - mingling with the druids and helping with labor.

Teros learned much that day and had pages and pages of notes and alchemical combinations to try out with his kit.  He also received a few other and rarer stones, like Fenrir's bloodstone.

 

As darkness was approaching and breaking of bread was starting, Teros noticed that Thom seemed distant from the group - lost in thought so the satyr pulled Thom aside.  Coughing a few times, Teros wiped his forehead and the two walked off for a few paces.   

  

"What's going on, friend?" asked the satyr.  Thom shook his head with seeming discouragement. "The story yesterday. Feo.  He... he became a monster generations ago.  And the product of that monster and man's blood probably made me.  I can shift at will.  I... I don't know, Teros.  I used to be ashamed of whatever this power was.  As I fought with you and the rest of this family, I was accepting. I knew that I had a gift, not a curse.  After hearing about what happened to Feo..err Fenrir, I don't know anymore.  Teros, am I a monster? Am I broken?"

 

Teros coughed, looked down, and touched the horn on his head that was chipped from a fight long ago.  Without looking up, the satyr replied, "We're all broken. To some degree at least. We're all monsters - we're never all full of light.  There will be dark inside.  We have all been dealt a shuffled deck that none of us ever asked for. None of us probably ever wanted.  All we can do is choose what to do with that deck."  Teros looked up - saw the githzerai, the shapeshifters, the different races, sizes, and shapes.  All huddled around a map.  All working together.  All choosing what fate to follow.  Teros patted a hand on Thom's shoulder.  "We... are right were we need to be. And doing exactly what we should be doing."  Thom then asked, "What was said in the hut? What was your dark?  We heard you yell.  And you look sick, friend."   Eyes narrowing, the satyr only replied while stifling a cough, "I've kept my emotions at bay for a while now. I'll have to face it soon enough....soon enough."  Thom replied, "When that time comes, are you going to make the right choice?"  Teros walked away, towards the group.  "I hope."  

 

The elders spoke at the night campfire again.  "We should try one more time to see if we can deduce a more specific place for you to go."  The group once again made a semi-circle and tried the ritual.  All calmed their breathing. Teros seemed even worse today- looking frayed.  He protested, "I want to help but this is taking too much out of me.  I don't know if it's the mental burden I'm dealing with, if the adventuring is catching up to me, if I'm coming down with a sickness, or what - but the emotional fatigue is  ...just... awful."  The group all looked at him.  Begrudgingly, the satyr sat down in his place saying, "I'll try, ok?"

 

Sharn the Elder hosted the ceremony.  Everyone was to meditate and calm their breathing.  Cards were drawn - the same exact ones as last time. The same stones as last time. Teros tried desperately to calm his breathing and be in sync with everyone else.  Flashes of something were in his mind as he closed his eyes.  The glass-like clacking. The wet ground squishing.  The salty water misting.  He was sitting next to Dark_Raider like last time and Teros' hand grip was more intense.  The githzerai tilted towards the satyr and whisered, 'You ok?'  Teros didn't open his eyes- just shaking his head side to side.  Sharn was continuing with the ritual.  A prayer was said when casting the stones.  Teros was closing his eyes hard.  Dark_Raider raised his voice a little more worried, 'Teros....Teros...hey, you need to calm down' he said with a slight rocking.  Teros heard the sound of something moving in water.  Tens. No, hundreds of something swimming in darkness.  A deep guttural wail from the ocean depths reverberated in the satyr's ears.  The next thing Teros heard was a thud and Dark_Raider screaming.

 

"HE'S SEIZING!  HE'S SEIZING!"  Gasps from the camp.  Teros couldn't open his eyes.  He heard the churning of water all around him.  Screams from his family sounded muffled, like Teros was underwater and couldn't hear the noise on the surface.  He was lost...

 

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The pinpricking little spiny hairs on the long blades of grass that was above the knee.  There was no light out, not even the moon dared peek through the clouds.  The only glimmer of light was somehow refracted on the surface of the waves of the water. Small sparkles of light danced on the surface.  The squishing under hoof as the satyr walked slowly through this area.  The grass would bend and get mashed into the suction-like moss while walking.  'What is here?  What is going on?  What's wrong with me?' Teros whispered to himself as he kept creeping along.  He wandered.  And wandered. And wandered.  Making his way to the edge of the rocks with the ocean crashing into them.  Feeling a grainy paste between his fingertips after he touched the ground.  Always feeling like something was behind him.  Teros could feel a cold sweat cover him from head to toe.  He was shivering.  His clothes all felt damp from all of the ocean mist being kicked up in the air.  Cold breeze ran through his bones.  Teros sat on one of the large rocks on the coast.  The waves crashed into it but didn't reach the satyr's hooves at all.  Among all the white flecks of light on the waves from the sliver of moon in the sky, Teros thought he saw two red lights in the distance.  Somewhere in the water…deeper down.  Leaning to the side to try and stand up, Teros slipped on the rock that he was sitting on and went plummeting towards the water.

 

*FWWWWWUH*  Teros sucked in air as he shot up, coughing.  He was in a tent.  Confused and in pain everywhere, Teros looked around, dazed.  A small lantern was only a few feet away.  Just then, he heard feet patting on grass outside.  Sharn came inside the tent and gasped.  "OH BLESSINGS!  YOU'RE FINALLY AWAKE!"  Sharn raced over and hugged the satyr.  Teros could barely talk - his mouth was bone dry and felt salty.  Sharn picked up on this and gave him a canteen of water.  After chugging the entire thing, Teros wearily asked, 'What happened? How long was I out?' Sharn looked worriedly at him,

 

 

 

"Two weeks...."

 

Teros' eyes widened.  Sharn continued, "We were trying the ritual again when Dark_Raider noticed that you were hunching over and gripping his hand abnormally tight - like you were holding on and trying not to slump over and fall.  He asked how you were doing and you whispered some babbling words and shook your head.  The ritual kept going but it took too much energy out of you.  You fell backwards and slipped into a coma.  Everyone was worried sick.  We set you up in a tent and the elders took turns watching over you."

 

"Wh-where is everyone?" Teros rubbed his eyes.  They stung badly.

 

Leading with a sigh, Sharn spoke "Well after that, the ritual was over. Next day we tried again without you.  When using the stones to figure out the magnetic pulls, the same results were yielded: nothing north. Nothing south. Only east or west of our camp.  Someone grabbed the map out of your knapsack and started to look at where everyone should go.  Further west leads to the extremely high mountain ranges that people can't get past.  To the east is the Forest of Doubts.

 

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“Everyone started arguing.  People were on high alert. After what happened to you, everyone was frayed and worried.  You...have a lot of people that care about you.  There was some back and forth discussion.  They decided to test out both routes, but first they wanted to wait for you.  After another day of you still in a coma, there was a divide among the group.  Half said that they needed to push forward as that's what you would have wanted.  The other half said they didn't want to do this without you.  Someone in your group said you wanted the satisfaction of finally ending things.  They stayed here one more day and after that, figured they would head west.  They took supplies and ventured out in that direction.  Apparently it was a cakewalk because all of the wildlife was gone.  I don't understand why or how all the creatures of the forest would be missing but they didn't have any obstacles.”

 

“Once they got to the mountain range, they tried getting through but couldn't.  After a few fruitless days, they turned back and headed here.  Then, waiting a couple more days for you and finally heading out east instead.”

 

“We had talked and in the center of the Forest of Doubts is supposedly a cave.  In the cave is the whole reason why that area is haunted:  the cave was dug underground to mine for precious metals, but after an earthquake, the cave partially collapsed in on itself and dozens of workers died inside. By the time the cave was cleared open again, everyone was dead.  Legend is that the fog of the forest is the spirits that coalesced and haunt the area. Others have said that it's some sort of chemical belching from the deepest recesses of the cave.  Regardless, it might be a suitable place for this Dr N to flee to.  They headed there two days ago.  It's roughly a 3 day trek and-"

 

Teros flung his backpack on and wiped the cold sweat from his face.  "Whoa whoa whoa what are you doing?" Sharn asked.

 

"What do you think I'm doing - I'm going to try and catch up with my family.  Sharn put her hands up in front of her, "You...just woke up. You don't even know if you have the energy to leave camp."  Although woozy, Teros didn't listen.  Instead he grabbed another full canteen, a bunch of fruit off of the nightstand, and walked out of the tent.  He grumbled as he headed out, "I've gotten enough sleep..."

 

 

The group were heading east, towards the fringe of the Forest of Doubts.

"I feel like over this whole journey, we keep going in the same circles over and over.  Are we doomed to repeat this cycle?  I mean.... the law of Conservation of Evil would state that this is an endless spinning upon itself, right?"  -Dark_Raider.

 

"I don't think I have the strength to keep doing this.  It's been such a long journey already..." ChristArtist trailed off.   "Are we sure we should have left Teros behind?  This just feels weird without him."  Thom thought out loud.

 

Dark_Raider stopped and turned around.  "We've been over this for more than a week.  If this Dr. N is the biggest threat, then wouldn't Teros want us to stop it, or would he want us to wait up for him for who knows how long?  The longer we wait, the worse our chances get.  It’s not like I like this option but we have to think of the realm as a whole.  We don’t know much about this Doctor except that he’s eluded us twice."

Thom kicked a loose stone on the ground.  "I know...I know.”  He started lagging behind at the end of the group.

The party tried to stay in an exact straight line east from the Druid's encampment.  Encroaching to the forest, the gray fog started to creep in slowly by the travelers' feet.  "We've finally crossed here.  Last time, there were husks of corpses.  Is this place really big enough to have a cave entrance that we didn't even see?" Sylvaa

 

The fog was getting thicker and rising higher.  It was above people's knees.  Everyone kept stumbling on entangled and knotted tree roots.  The sun started to fade through the canopy, looking like dusk although it was still mid-day.  The air felt heavy and fetid - like stale stagnant water.  Trekking through the forest was a very quiet experience.  No one knew what to say.  The lack of vision meant people were on high alert.  There was no telling if there was something wandering out here, waiting to ambush.  Someone broke the silence, "Should we maybe leave a marker for how to get out of here and to make sure we don't somehow get spun around?  Also it can be a marker if Teros wakes-” Heidi was cut off, 'when he wakes.  Yes.  We should' ChristArtist.  ChristArtist took a red ribbon out of her bag and tied it to a tree.  As the party continued east, they would keep tying small ribbons.  The group figured that the Dr already knew they were coming at some point, so they did not have an element of surprise if anything besides Teros found the ribbons.

 

The group continued swimming through the dense fog, now all encompassing.  There was a dark shadow directly ahead.  They were cautious.  Getting closer, it was indeed a yawning rock cavern that was only about twenty feet wide and ten feet high.  Small rusted mining equipment lay strewn about and a wooden cart on broken railed was by the entrance.  "This is it.  It’s small. Almost looks like a bottleneck is this is supposed to be a mining area.” RES said while biting her lip.  A few nearby branches were broken off and lit on fire.  The travelers stepped inside...

 

  A few of the group took one last look behind at the fogged forest before getting ready to descend.  The cave itself had a fairly narrow entryway and people huddled close together. Just because this may be the end did not by any means make it less threatening.  The slope heading down was dramatic.  People needed to lean back and brace themselves.

 

 

 

(mini: Crab Walks or Bear Crawls to go descend down the sloped cave floor)

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Deeper they descended.  The further they got, the wider the cave became.  "It's amazing that this didn't collapse on itself worse than the story tells.  How is this even held up?” Dark_Raider asked aloud.  No one had an answer.  There were rail tracks that ran straight downward with the group.  It felt like hours passed.  There was scarce light from the forest, but now the group was in the deep caverns that no sun would ever be able to touch.  "I wonder if the dwarves have ever dug this far deep" ChristArtist  "I'm more interested in knowing if this place is actually haunted like the druids said”, RES. 

 

 The cave made the party's moving echo through the walls.  Every few minutes, they took a moment of rest from backwards climbing down the sloped cave floor.  There were small sparkles along the walls.  Ore deposits.  "Wonder if any of these are the rocks that Teros uses.  They look like they’re throughout the whole cave" Grisham thought aloud as he touched the cave wall. 

 

Then, from the deepest recesses of the cave came a distant wailing.  The party froze in their tracks, unsure of what to make of the noise.  It didn't sound like an angry noise.  It sounded like the noise of something in pain and not human.  Surveying the area, the group wasn't able to do anything. It was a straight column heading deeper still. Solid rock walls, with no chance of ambush, in a wide open area bigger than an amphitheater.  They had no choice but to go further into the gloom.

 

The slope started to even out a little bit and the group didn't have to crawl or slide down anymore.  Everyone's hands were scraped from the pebbles scratched into the ground.  Another cry out in pain, much closer now.  Sylvaa, light on her feet, started to lead ahead.  Nobody said a word about the wailing as people held tightly to their weapons.  The cave started to take shape - showing lots of debris on the ground. Old tools.  Small scraps of wood.  Broken earthen plates.  Then they heard a rattling of metal up ahead and more wailing.  They could not be more than a few minutes away from whatever was making the noise, but it was hard to tell with the cave's echoing.  They continued to trek through the darkness...

 

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Meanwhile, Teros had been able to hoof it to the border of the Forest of Doubts.  He hoped he would catch up with his friends soon enough.  Entering and seeing the fog creep up to his knees, Teros kept his eyed peeled. He didn't know just how far ahead they were.  "They might have already dealt with him" Teros said to himself.  Tripping over some roots, Teros fell over and landed hard on his knees.  Cursing, he knew he had to keep going. He still wasn't 100% back to normal since waking up and he was trying to make up the distance.  He got back up and started huffing. "I can't fall asleep until I find them.  If I get stuck in that nightmare again....." the satyr trailed off. Then he noticed something - a red ribbon tied to a branch. A smile crept across his face. He would see them yet.  A spring in his step, Teros kept trudging forward without looking around his surroundings.  The Doctor would not have put those ribbons up and if he saw them, he probably would have ripped them off so that Teros would not see them and get disoriented.  That meant the ribbons were either relatively new or there were no threats that the group faced yet. Either way, it was a good sign.  The fog was thicker as Teros saw the cave outline ahead.  Continuing, he found the last ribbon and the cave entrance.  He started scouring the ground.  Seeing a cluster of tracks all stomped over each other, he knew that must be the party.

 

Peering through the cave, he saw the depth ran for miles. He also stared at the minecart that was on the tracks at the entrance.  He couldn't help but grin.

 

  

He pushed the rusted cart forward a few feet until the slope of the cave started to dip. He hopped in and started racing down the track.  Flying down, he could hear the ear-piercing screech of the rusted metal finally moving after the ages it lay dormant.  For the first time, with the humid air flowing through his hair; he was happy as he rocketed down the tracks. "I'm going to catch up in no time!" he yelled as the wheels started to spark as they grated against the metal.  The momentum was going faster and faster as Teros threw his hands up in the air.  "We should use this idea for a ride in the towns!" 

 

The satyr was wide awake as the cart continued to get speed.  He looked at his side and saw a trail of marks along the ground from the group.  Then Teros saw up ahead a break in the tracks and his eyes widened. Panic streaked across his face.  He thought of an idea.  As the break was coming, Teros grabbed the side of the cart and jumped up while holding onto it, lifting it a couple inches in the air.  The cart lurched upward enough to jump the small gap.  "OH THEY TOTALLY MISSED OUT!" he shouted.

 

(Mini - Jumping-Jacks to simulate jumping up above the tracks.)

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The wails were getting louder.  There was also a metal banging noise that accompanied the wails.  The cave started to turn into a sort of walled layout.  There were wooden walls built into cave parts that were not carved out. It looks like a hallway in the middle with rooms on either side.  Looking into one of these, RES saw a cot with a brown flat pillow.  "Everything about this place seems so scarce.  If this was because of an accident one day, where is everything?"

 

 

Dark_Raider, "Well, if the Doctor is down here, then maybe he took and repurposed all the stuff. I highly doubt anyone before us had the spine to vent down this far. We're miles below the surface by now."

 

 

The wailing and metal banging continued to be heard.  It was a matter of a few feet away.  "Whatever this is, it must be locked up in one of these side-rooms" ChristArtist.  Dark_Raider stepped forward a few paces to get to the locked gate.  He looked inside and was disgusted.

 

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It was some sort of cobbled together creature.  It pressed its face against the rusted metal bars and started moaning again.  Everyone was huddled together and looking at the creature. "What.... what the hell is that?"

 

 

 

 

Grisham stared at the creature in the cage.  It looked like it was cut apart and reassembled incorrectly; having either gray skin or completely covered in ash. It stared at the group with its sunken in eyes and wailed again, slamming its torso against the cage.  There was something that wasn't horrifying about the creature, but pitiful.  Its face, though hard to see specific features, looked to be grimacing in pain.  Its long and gray bony fingers grasped at the rusted bars as it hunched over - like all of its noise-making made the creature exhausted.  While leaning against the cage, it stuck its head between the grates slowly, starting back at Grisham.

 

The creature whispered inaudiable grunts.  "Can this thing even talk?” Grisham asked out loud, digustedly.  He took a knife out of his pocket, took two steps towards the cage, and drove the knife through the base of the creature's skull.  Faded blood, almost brownish-gray, started to pour out as its head slung over the horizontal bar and its grip lessened.  They had killed plenty over the course of this long campaign but the pitifullness of the creature was unsettling.

 

Sylvaa rubbed her eyes hard and let out an exhale.  "Ok....we have to keep going."  The group turned to head out further into the mine when they saw a small pair of beady eyes staring at them high above the cave wall in the darkness.  Knowing it was spotted, it turned and fluttered away.  As soon as the group was going to draw strings to take out the spy, a loud echoed screech peeled from the entrance.  Startled, the group whirled around to see what was coming towards them. The grating noise became so loud that it was almost ear-piercing.  Racing fast towards them.  Looking at the side of the yawning cavern where the tracks were, a minecart came rocketing downward with- 

"TEROS!"

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the slope started to soften, the cart slowed down naturally.  Teros put his warhammer outside of the cart and in front of the wheels and pushed to scrape the wheels like a brake.  The cart's wheels shot sparks as it began to slow.  Teros dropped his hammer as the cart came to a halt and lurched out of the minecart; running towards the rest of the group.  Everyone was in better spirits which helped softened the blow of the …thing’s death.  The satyr picked up his hammer and then asked how everyone was. They caught up for a minute and it was explained what happened to the creature inside the cage.  Teros went to the cage and swung and broke the frame.  Picking up the lock, he examined it.  "This... didn't even have a keyhole on it.  This must have been put here permanently."  Someone chimed in about the eyes in the dark just seconds before they heard Teros in the minecart scraping down the rails.  Sylvaa "That high up plus the fluttering sound....it's probably one of the leftover onyx crows."  Teros' eyed widened like a lightbulb went off in his head.  He grabbed his backpack and opened it.  He was shaking his head side to side, "I can't believe I forgot this.  Is it still in here..." he trailed off.  He started taking things out of the bag, like his crafting book from Sulak and his jars of alchemy gemcrafting.

 

 

 

He kept pulling out more and more gems.  He also pulled out Red's gem that was never used. While he was taking them out and handing them to any available pair of hands, the satyr started talking, "When we were at the druid's encampment, that night that I went in the hut with Sharn; she showed me all of the other gems that they had. A whole wealth of them had been collected over the years.  There were also alchemical combinations for them which I didn't know about that that me or Sulak never even thought of.  She gave me all of the stones that they had, except the couple that were used for that ritual that I passed out during, but it looks like even those were stowed away in here while I was out."

 

ChristArtist stepped forward, "What...even happened?"  Teros stopped rummaging with a look of seriousness on his face.  "I uh, told Sharn about the nightmares and what I was feeling and something else about me and I was told some stuff that I don't really want to talk about.  When the channeling happens, it brings out any negative influences and between what I've been dealing with, it created this mental exhaustion.. I don't know what to call it.... overload or something and I passed out.  It felt like I was out for a couple of hours, wandering in a nightmare and then I snapped awake and Sharn told me where all of you were."

 

The others were content with the answer except for Dark_Raider, who looked on skeptically.  "AHA!" Teros yelled as he pulled out a black block.  He unwrapped it.  The pungent smell was disgusting, but surprisingly not as odorous as one would think.  The satyr unwrapped a dead onyx crow that he had grabbed right before fleeing the burning woods and then put the gems back in his bag.

 

Pushing some feathers away from the neck region was a metal plate.  Flicking it with her fingernail, Sylvaa said, "It's some mechanical collar?"  Grisham grabbed the bird and started pulling at the plate that was covering part of the face.  Everyone was looking with disgust.  "What?  It's dead. I'm not hurting it. Let's rip the damn thing out and look at it."

 

After hearing the tearing sinews of flesh and a suction cup-like noise, the metal circuitry was revealed.  There were wires and diodes in the base of the skull and woven through the muscles of the face were little metal pipe filaments.  No one knew what to make of all of it. It only created more questions than answers.

 

Pierce had gone over to the creature and was looking at how it was slumped now in the cage in a puddle of its own blood.  Shining a torch near it, it also had small metal panels on certain areas.   Pierce waved over the group and all shoulder-to-shoulder; the group started comparing the two.  Same metal lines through the face area.  More panels riveted to flesh that had various wires and blocks of metal with tiny gears in them.

 

A few others explored the surrounding area and the other rooms etched into the cave walls.  Seeing there were some grungy cots and noting how exhausted everyone was, the team decided to split shifts and get some sleep.

 

Hours pass and Teros was seen sitting on the floor, plinking with his small crafting hammer on a gem.  He stayed up for both watch shifts.  Pierce sat with the satyr and was talking to him in a hushed tone to not wake the others.  Someone awoke to hear Teros in mid-sentence talking to Pierce,  "...and if I have a handful here, I can actually treat this like a funnel and compress air into here.  Then when I put it near the fire, the oxygen seeps inside."  Pierce was looking enthusiastically. "So....Teros...does that mean you can breathe with these?  Like if you crack the stone, that can be used for reserve air?"  Shaking the semi-clear blue gems, Teros nodded.  "There are all sorts of combinations that I didn't even notice. I did my own experimenting on smaller batches, but with having the entire gamut of gems that the druids gave me all of, there's hundreds more possibilities.  There's one that has a very odd property that isn't like the others.  S eems...special somehow. Otherworldy almost.  There's almost no combinations that work with it"  Teros pulled aside one and showed it to Pierce. 

 

 

Everyone had started to wake as the group shared breakfast and then continued through the cave.  The air felt stuffy; the group being miles below the surface now.  They continued to trek through the cavern.  Eventually, other debris started to appear.  Holding a torch to the ground, Grisham pointed at flecks of blood and small clumps of flesh.  The cave started to narrow a bit.  It was hard to see more than 30 yards in front of themselves.  Boards starts to be patched along cave walls, funneling people into a smaller pathway.  It looked as if a wooden building was constructed inside the cave.  Following along the wooden and rock walls, the entrance started to bottleneck into a single, solitary door.  Teros looked around the area. "This doesn't make any sense. If this was a mining cave, why would a huge building be built inside of it?  The outskirts for cheap made bunks for workers makes sense.  This doesn't."  Dark_Raider ran his hand along the wooden wall.  "It's also not rotted.  This is new. Fresh.  Dr N has to be here."

 

 

The group all gathered around the door.  Grisham kicked it in and the door fell off of the hinges.  A loud thud did not echo anymore as past the door was filled...

 

...with all sorts of devices.  Wooden parts.  Metal trinkets.  Siga landed on a desk and wiped his wing against the top of a nearby desk. Barely a trace of dust or residue.  As the party continued onward, there were more cages that were empty.  Small lights were adorned along the walls.  "How do these even work when there's no fire on them?" Teros wondered aloud.   Staring at one of the lights showed that there were two small metal wires inside, encased in glass.  The building turned into a large labyrinth as the group moved forward.  All adorned with the same glass fire-less lights.  A deep rumbling noise could be heard some distance ahead.  The hallways felt endless.

 

All sorts of animal noises grunted coming from the cages.  Most of them were of tired wheezing.  The rooms looked like a prison, with a long hallway and cages on either side.  The first few were empty and then inside were monstrosities.  Gazing inside the cages were sights impossible to describe correctly.  A hybrid looking between human and animal creatures lay in the cages.  Looking from afar it was easy to see the same metal plates, wires, and hundreds of stitches sewing up the creatures.  "These aren't anything that were born naturally... They look stitched together from all sorts of other animals” thought Dark_Raider aloud.  Hushed silence was all anyone else could muster. These were experiments.  Large lizard-like scales on one with wires running through the shoulder socket into the arms.  Another was only three or four feet high and looked vaguely like a mutilated panther of some sort.  Bipedal creatures with long hung low arms.  Every manner of animal was spliced together in horror with metal soddering it back into a nightmare creature.  Some of them looked like emaciated husks and their skin looked like gray bark.  "There must be 50 of these things. Maybe even 100-" Teros said. "-All ugly as sin" finished Grisham.  The hallways seemed to alternate: 1 door led into a hallway with every cage filled.  the next door led to an empty block of cages.  Each hallway and door made the grinding rumbling get louder.  Three blocks in and the group started to get paranoid, looking behind to see if the creatures would break out of their confinement.  The next doorway, Teros went to grab the door handle and Siga mentioned that the frame was shaking slightly.  Gingerly opening the door led to yet another prison hallway.  The next door shook more.  As the group continued, everyone noticed that the very ground was shaking slightly as the rumbling noise ahead was louder.  It sounded now like a yawning of old trees warping and being moved, paired with a grinding, and some other animal-like grunts.  At the next door, Teros opened it and stared in disbelief.

 

The door opened into a massive open area and hundreds of chained together beasts pushing a massive wheel in a circle.  There were wooden spokes on the wheel and each monstrosity was pressing their shoulder into it and marching forward in unison - like the hands of a clock laying on the ground and spinning in circles.  The beast's march did not stop when the group had all filed through the small prison door and into this open arena.  Dim lights everywhere made of the same metal wire and wrapped in glass.  About 20 crows were scattered around in this area - perched upon all manner of desks, the wooden spokes, or beast's heads.  The group was stunned and didn't know what to do.  There was no way they could take this many monstrosities.  The creatures were all shuffling and pushing as hard as they could to the march in a circle over and over again.  One of the hundred had glanced over at the group and had stumbled and fallen, prompting the one behind him to try to step over him but he fell and then the one behind that had stopped.  A chain reaction happened and because the monstrosities were all chained together, the wooden wheel came to a grinding halt. The flameless lights everywhere all fizzled and stopped working. Since the group had let their torches die when entering the building because of the glass lights, the enormous cavern was now pitch black.  The hundreds of beasts were desperatly trying to make noises with their malformed lungs and howling, unsure of what to do right now.  Flapping of wings moved away from the group and further into the cavern area. 

Striking a rock against another, a spark of light flickered onto a torch that ChristArtist held.  The grunting became thunderous as the creatures panicked the longer they were there without anything to do and nowhere to go.  The group decided to hug against the far end of the wall and skirt past the raving mass of nightmare creatures. A beast with a pig face snarled as the group had to get closer to squeeze by.  "Oh my god...this makes sense now.  Remember how we were in the jungle and we asked where all the animals were?  This is it.  The Doctor has been doing whatever this is for months" said Siga.

 

Just then, a flock of crows swooped back to the beasts and pecked at the two that were still laying on the ground.  There was one crow that was vastly bigger than the others by about three times the size and with a small metal panel covering one eye.  It barked more than cawed at the others as the crows spaced themselves about 20 creatures apart and started pecking at the beast's heads, prompting them to to start marching.  The stitched together creatures started to sync up and after a full rotation on the wheel, the glass bulbs crackled back to life and lit the entire area once again.

 

 

The largest crow with the plate covering the eye went back deep into the cavern as the other crows went back to their posts.  There was a rock stairway that spiraled upward to the second floor that the crow went through so the group followed.

  

Climbing the stairs, there was a massive room that was comprised of all sorts of wooden workbenches and desks.  Glass fragments, beakers, tiny fireplaces etched into the rock walls, metal bars and strands, wires that were twisted and braided.  Not knowing what any of that meant, the party shuffled between the maze of workbenches and went into the next room.  There were none of the glass bulbs with the metal strip lights in this room, but instead a pair of torches on either side of the black hall.  Someone held up their own torche while ChristArtist’s staff end glowed faintly to give off some light – they proceeded through the gloom.  On either side of them were giant glass cylinders just as big as a person.  Shining the torch there, other beasts were in a greenish-blue liquid and suspended in the glass tubes.  Past the room with the suspended creatures in liquid was another room with large circuitry cobbled together. A small wooden tub filled with water was in the center, with metal wires going from the tub to a fixture up on the wall which was made of various metal gears and blinking colored glass lights.  There were other contraptions all strewn about, along with a workbench having various tools right beside it.  Books with handwritten notes scribbled on them were on each bench and opened at different parts.  Teros picked up one of the books and started reading softly as everyone else kept slowly walking forward.

 

"With the extra concipital compound, it can promote fertility between the species. This seems to lower the restrictions put on cross-breeding and this can allow any of the Beastion to mingle with each other.  As long as the eggs stay incubated, it can breed.  The best way to do this is to splice the lizard reconste so all have the same matching organs used for this.  It will create other distilled options and a survival of the fittest will be at had between all of the varying permutations of the Beastion to see what would be best for adaptability."

 

"What the hell is this?  He's making these things somehow." Teros asked aloud.  He looked around the room to see no one understood the Doctor's notes.  Teros threw the book on the ground and kept walking with everyone else.  Dark_Raider was skimming the open books and one had a peculaiar drawing on it. He began to murmur what was written on the page,

 

“The Old World Era must be at least ten or fifteen thousand years old.  It only makes sense that this is current time is the decay of a glorious era and I am to bring the light back!”

 

They approached a final door.  Teros grabbed the handle of it and moved forward, before the next person behind him could walk through, a metal frame slid downward and shut – creating a solid metal wall between Teros and the rest of the group.  Someone started pounding on the metal with their weapon and it wouldn’t even make a dent.  Teros wound up his hammer and struck at the door as hard as possible. It merely scuffed along the metal, leaving only a scratch.  Winding up again, Teros tried and still nothing .

 

“…It won’t do anything. That’s been resmelted and treated with something you can’t break through…” a voice trailed from above.  Teros looked forward to see a small few stairs running from right to left and began to climb them.  He couldn’t even hear anyone on the other side of the metal yelling with all their might.

 

 

 

 

   

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“…It won’t do anything. That’s been resmelted and treated with something you can’t break through…” a voice trailed from above.  Teros looked forward to see a small few stairs running from right to left and began to climb them.  He couldn’t even hear anyone on the other side of the metal; yelling with all their might.

 

At the top of the stairs, Teros turned and walked through a final room.  It was white, almost pristine and a stark contrast to everything else up to this point.  The walls had a gloss to them and seemed to sparkle.  A multitude of the glass lights were mounted along the walls, giving the room a muted and even glow.  The size of the room was the span of the prior ones – if all the other rooms with the glass tubes, desks, paperwork, and circuitry made up the second floor, this whole room was the third.  The Doctor stood facing away from Teros, looking out below. A series of twenty small windows looked straight down towards the monstrosities that were marching to turn the massive wooden wheel.  The extremely large crow was perched on a cadaver that had metal prongs stabbed through it in areas.  The crow itself had a metal panel covering one side of its face and a light similar to the ones on the wall.  It’s organic eye  glowed like embers of coal red, while the circuitry one was plain white.

 

“Magnus, move” the Doctor made a shooing gesture and the crow did its guttural bark and stepped off the corpse and towards one of the many windows.

 

Teros gripped his Warhammer.  “It’s time to end this.”

 

The Doctor paid him no mind and continued to tinker with the stitched together body.  “I said….it’s time to end this.  Face me.” Teros was not in the mood to deal with whatever charade that the Doctor was planning.

 

Finally looking up from his work, Dr. N sighed and pulled a wooden lever down which made all of the lights dim and flicker while the body on the workbench seized up and all of the muscles became petrified.  An inhuman singular howl escaped the recently-deceased cadaver and it lifted a gnarled hand upwards while the Doctor pulled the lever back up. The dimming of the lights stopped and the crow tilted its head to the side in thought….learning.

 

The satyr’s eyes narrowed as he stared at the shambling horror that now had slid off of the workbench and was on its legs.  The Doctor clasped his glovesd hands together in excitement.  “I have done this over four hundred times and each time, it gets me.” As he motioned to his heart.

 

“What the hell is this?  What are you doing?  Why are you doing this?” Teros asked in quick succession.

 

Taking a deep breath, the Doctor tilted his head and gave a knowing glare, like Teros should understand already what he was about to say.  Like a parent who doesn’t want to scold a child again for the same reason over and over.

 

“I feel that one never sufficiently explores the realm of the possible.  I have always thought that we were two sides of the same coin, my brother.  We merely took concurrent but opposing paths.  What if, instead of this little game that you want to play out; we break the divide and flip a coin and have it land not on the face or the tail; but on the coin’s edge?”

    

 

Teros looked on, his grip on his hammer easing.  Adrenaline wasn’t coursing through him anymore.  His blood ran cold. “Why do you call me… brother?” the satyr asked.

 

The Doctor tried to hold back a smirk as he leaned to his Magnus crow companion and whispered something.  The crow flew out one of the windows and swooped down towards the monstrosities below.  Tipping his hat, the Doctor looked at the metal panels right under the windows and twisted two switches.  The glass bulbs glowed brighter.  The loud grinding of the massive wooden wheel stopped and pitch black darkness flooded everywhere except for the pristine white laboratory which the Doctor and Teros were inside.  A choir of loud noises and rumbling of clawed feet striking dirt en mass were heard through the darkness – a stark contrast to the almost emotionless and calm Doctor, who began speaking again,

“Because on some level, we are.  For all we know, we could be.  You don’t see many of our kind around.”  The Doctor then lifted off his tophat to reveal horns – the same type as Teros.  Shaking off his boots, the Doctor also had hooves like the satyr.  “I’d like to think that we are the same stock, only fate has chosen different but parallel paths for us.  We can’t exist without the other one.  We, in a way, have been pushing each other to be better satyrs.  What is our difference in its purest sense, truly?  We both lead.  We both ty to wrangle the chaos of energies around us.  However I have done this without any restrictions or judgements.  I did the same as you would do, had your skewed morality not played a part.”

 

Outside, the animal snarls became louder as the horde started trampling towards the stairs heading to the rest of the group.

 

“Do you really think that dumb raven you’re with, eh, Siga, understands the law of Conservation of Evil?  Do you even know where he is from? Did you ever even think for one moment why any of this has happened? This entire sequence of events.  There isn’t good and evil.  There never was.  Deeds are subjective.  There’s no objective truth or benevolence.  Kill one to save a thousand.  Kill a thousand to save a million.  There is only energy, power, and the Great Ethereal.  Glory and power.  Someone must take it, because if it’s not you, then it’s the person next to you.  I have seized it and consolidated it on this side of the battlefield.  You’ve done the same on your side.  And now I’m back to the coin…what if we weren’t fighting at odds?”

 

Teros scoffed, “I’m nothing like you….”

 

“Oh ho?  Really?  Besides the inherent want to lead?  Besides having a thirst for a challenge and needing to know and understand more. Power? Besides rallying troops?  You’re just more scared than I am.  Tell me, when you’re….fiddling with those rocks of yours, do you avoid any combinations?  Do you hold back on your experiments because of the notes scribbled in the book of a dead goat beast?  You weren’t as brave to seize – to go down the rabbit hole.  In life, you need to make sacrifices.  People will be gone regardless. Cattle. Sheep led to the slaughters.  It’s going to happen regardless because this world is dying YET AGAIN.  This world is bathed in ignorance.  The loss mine as well serve a purpose – they mine as well give meaning and merit to their miserable existence.  Does anyone care about a hero or villain unless they do something grand?  Do history books write about the 4th in command?  Do people talk about the silent majority that march behind a dictator or hero?  Think about who YOU have sacrificed so far. Pastor Curtis, Rita, Sulak, Leeroy, Syren, Lupus, and more.  Don’t you dare pretend to take the high road.  You manipulate the very elements with your gems and tap into the Great Ethereal like some of your group.  You craft gems to bend the energies while I manipulate the energy itself.  There’s a whole world behind the veil, fellow satyr.  Most people are just too stupid to tap into it.  There are founts of this energy but none truly stare into the abyss and claim what is there. That’s the closest the bird is right about considering conservation of hypothetical ‘evil’.  We are parallels Teros. We have been since the start.”

 (((((((I’m leaving this blank for what happens below if you want to write anything)))))

Battle cries were heard from the floor below as the monsters were fighting with the rest of the group.  Teros’ attention was broken for a moment and the doctor noticed this and spoke louder.

 

“….since the start I say.  Why shouldn’t you join my side?  Your friends down there – they will die to my creations.  I’ve let my stars out into the night sky.  I have soul-stitched many a creature and some are being loosed upon the land as we speak.” The Doctor said while motioning to the second lever he flipped a few moments ago. “Tell me brother, what do you really want?  A home?  A family?  Love?  Power?”  The Doctor stretched out his arms.  “It’s right here.  Someone that understands you better than ‘they’ do.  I know more about you than you realize……

   I see that your lack of a response means I should elaborate. Very well then.  I know that you don’t know your father. Neither do I.  For all intent, it could have been one in the same.  I know that you are hiding how broken you really are, putting on a face for , no maybe even a year now to try and charge forward.  I know about that… little…fox girl of yours.  I know you don’t sleep either.  I can’t either.”

 

Teros’ ears perked up, “How do you know about…her?”

The Doctor, now more confident and pacing around the room while his creation on the table still motionless but standing, he continued,

“I know the extent of your relationship. How you haven’t told anyone about her.  How close you two were, in the realm of dreams which wears thin towards the Great Ethereal.  How…amazingly fast it happened between you two.” 

 

The Doctor pointed at Teros, “That flower of yours.  That now withered and black leathery flower in your pocket and how it’s a totem that is bound to you.  You… you never even told them about how that’s a curse on you and you have been adventuring with these people for years! All the while, back at the FrostKing, you tried to use it to no avail. Kept it in your bag.  Broken and beat up.  I know this turmoil with that fox-girl and the curse is what you never spoke about but what you partially spoke of back at the Druid’s encampment before coming to find me.  It’s why you couldn’t complete the circle.  It’s why there’s rage inside you that you never speak of.  Your troubles gave me more time to solidify my machinations. I know how you feel like you are drowning when you sleep.  I was in those shared dreams among the shadows, quietly listening as that bud of a relationship started to blossom behind the thick veil of slumbering eyelids.  She was able to snuggle right next to you, her little head nuzzled under your chin and she would purr as she fell asleep.”

 

The doctor’s tone changed, like he wasn’t speaking only to Teros, but rather assuring himself; “It feels good to feel that warmth… doesn’t it? To feel like you belong?  You two were able to lull into a shared dream state.  A state that weakens the bonds in this world.  I know of your private talks as you slept.  Innermost thoughts.  How you spoke of your future together.  Of marriage. Of children.  Of growing old and holding hands together, or exploring after this crisis in the realm was all over with. Where you would go and how much you would sacrifice to be with her.  How she was nervous and didn’t want to hurt her partner back home that wasn’t on the adventure.  How she admitted she was falling for you and felt such overwhelming dissonance.  Ohhhhh dear, that satyr charm that we both have.”

Teros felt numb as the Doctor kept speaking,

“While I used it for power with that succubus wretch, you unknowingly used it on the fox-girl.  When this adventure ended, that was the happily ever after story, wasn’t it? Defeat the big bad and then ride off into the sunset? Oh how she brought that husk of a flower back to life and a sparkle in your eye; which made you feel not dead inside.  You were sick and she was the cure to your ache.  Spring in your step.  Do you think…being a hero will earn you love? Calloused flower.  I was there for all of it.”  Doctor N took one step forward and held out his hands, “You…you have nothing left to prove and you don’t have to earn anything more.”

The Doctor’s expression changed to sorrow as he finally broke eye contact with Teros.  “I was there.  I loved too… once. And no, not that beast of a succubus – she was a power play.  Business partners.  You never forget the first person you were foolish enough to give everything to and have it all ripped asunder.  To feel left empty.”

By now, the warhammer head was on the ground and Teros was leaning one hand on the handle.  He didn’t know what to say but, “How?  How?”

Neither of the satyrs were paying attention to the monstrous screams and clang of metal just mere feet below them.

Hesitating, the Doctor continued, “I was also plagued by the nightmares.  Drowning. Like you. Something in the Great Ethereal calling in the dream state.  We have had a mental connection that is unexplainable.  It’s just something about us, Teros.  Us.”

Teros shook the cobwebs in his mind and did not feel convinced.  “You’re bluffing.  This is an appeal to emotion.  It’s not some special link between me and you.  We both have been having our dreams read simultaneously, blending together and you don’t know why either.”

Waving off Teros’ challenge, the Doctor spoke once more, “Teros, you lose sight.  We do have a link.  And she was not your hopes and dreams.  There are no happy endings.  Those out there are not your hopes and dreams either” he motioned towards the door.  Teros had completely tuned out the clashing of metal and blaze of fire on the massive spoked wheel.

“I know how you try to be a guiding beacon; but are just as clueless. Blind leading the blind.  The lack of confidence.  The backtracking.  The complete waste of time, resources, and effort you lot put into this entre quest- not just with me but since the start.  You speak of appeals to emotion, but you fell into traps of emotion when there shouldn’t be any, Teros.  The holding back from tapping into real power. You weren’t brave enough.  You have been weak by restricting yourself.  Do you even understand the distinction from hero and villain?  This world will chew you up and spit you out without a moment’s notice. There are two types of people – those that impose their will on others, and the people that let them.  That’s all a hero is: a person that let’s others willingly walk all over them. They give and give and give and get nothing in return.  How is that a good and just life? To sacrifice your chance at happiness to give it to someone ungrateful. Someone that doesn’t even know you or care about you.  If you and another had to fight for a job, what makes them better than you?  How is a hero, letting themself be the bottom rung of a ladder a good thing? Where’s the ambition or power?  Heroism is willfull weakness. You’re weak. All of you, weak.  You were never meant to be the stereotypical good guy.  That was Sulak. His redemption.  You were meant to be here, with me, by my side.  Have all along, right back when we met before Sodamus.”

Teros took a pace forward and squinted, “We never met before the demon queens.”

“HA!  Is that what you think?  I supposed I was still a fledgling then as well, but certainly leaps and bounds better than you were at that time.  You were just a raving lunatic.  Don’t you remember me peddling Sodamus elixirs out in the market and you started trying to scream over me?  I had bribed the guards to keep me safe while I made my pitch, but then this loudmouth satyr starts bellowing about having ‘proof’ that the elixirs were all a scam.  I had the guard chase you down but you gave them the slip and then amassed a group to head down in the sewers.  Teros… my friend…..since the very beginning.  After that whole fiasco, I fled north; knowing that FrostKing and Distractia were summoned.  I ended up at the casino and out-matching Distractia for his ‘love’.  Oh, that pitiful wretch.  Always penchant for the theatrical.  After bewitching his lady for my own plans, I started to work on the power of catching, ripping, and pulling the energy from the Great Ethereal and able to breathe life anew.  I studied and experimented constantly.  Unlike you, I was unhinged – letting my mind run rampant with ideas. Never constraining myself.  Once your lot had killed off the FrostKing and draugr and then took down Distractia, I have to admit; I was becoming impressed with your lot. Having stolen his love from him, I felt it a payback to use him as my first experiment – ripping his aether and putting it back into his body.  It wasn’t a total success as he had been dead for a while and blood had caked into his lungs, but I was proud of my accomplishment.  I also had my hand at trying to keep host bodies alive and adding multiple aethers into a single body – that carousel that you took part in.  Distractia spoke of something ‘greater than I’ and a ‘wrangler of the dead’.  That was me, brother.  I had also taken all of the jester’s bodies and worked on them.  In my field, there is a lot of trial and error and I need a lot of hosts.  Afterwards, I had tried to work on Sodamus by that point but the sewer beast had already grown out of control and unwieldy; along with the rats and worms having eaten Sodamus’ corpse.  I don’t trust those creatures. Not one bit.

Nothing really to experiment on at that point.  Heading back, I started work on creating a creature from scratch by piecing it together.  My experiments were close but not done when your party then found me and my succubus business associate in the Forest of Doubts.  THAT is when you think I started to be a player in this game?  I finally created my ‘honor’ beast that you faced in the jungle when I used that flute to communicate pitch to the creature.  And knowing that my business associate was done for, I used the circuitry that I had been experimenting on to send impulses into the brain to have the onyx crows fly into a rage, killing her.  I had no more use for her so she was gone.  The crows however, especially Magnus, have proven to be powerful and capable of handling the experimentation and circuitry that I used with them.  They are capable of understanding the common tongue and have helped with my notes and crafting.  I feel that I am done catching you up on the underside of what my path was while you moped and slain each demon king.  It’s such a silly name for them: demon kings. They’re neither really.  Just hubs or constructs…..we all are, fellow satyr.”

Teros was taken aback.  “I…I don’t even know how to respond to all of this.”

“With gratitude” scoffed the Doctor.  “There is no authority here.  Our senses and absolutely nothing else need to guide all our actions in life, for only that voice is truly imperious.  All the things you try to stand for, or think you stand for, mean nothing.  Crime is the natural mode of the land, whereby nature itself stirs life to make the conscience move.  Why impede what is moved naturally in that direction?  The natural course certainly must be the course of virtue.  Do we shame and punish a lion for hunting a gazelle?  There is more morality pinned in me pursuing the unexplainable than you stopping it, for this is my instinct.  I am performing the most virtuous acts by letting thy will be done for myself.  You however; you and your kind always face an uphill battle to try and enforce, what, order?  There are no more heroes, Teros.  I am setting a wheel in motion that will not stop, come what may from this exchange.  You rather push that boulder uphill and fail than seize power and let go of your foolish quest.  I am not afraid of the unknown, unlike you.  I don’t want complacency and stagnation. This world is corrupt but your lot is all too narrow-minded to see it.  There are whole kingdoms of men and yet there’s still poor, there’s still thieves, there’s still oppression and injustice but this little adventure was a distraction for you all.  I have the power to embrace rather than fight my instinct and becoming a cog in the broken wheel of society like all of you!  You weigh the scales of fate and maybe you spill my blood this day.  Either way it does not matter.  Peace lives in the shadow of death.  It is a respite and a flash.  I am not stuck on that wheel.  My path runs right into the black void and I embrace it.  I have loved every minute of this journey.  Have you?  You put stock in friends and lost them.  You tried to have family and never had it.  You tried for glory and power and never gained it.  Half the tales that people tell drunkenly in bars about your group are that you’re mercenaries and don’t even know what you’re doing. You fight for their sake?  You tried for love and you have nothing left but ruins, pain, and nightmares and an ungrateful world that will never understand or care about you once you outlive your usefulness.  That’s what the world is – a land of people that are looking to take and take until there’s nothing left to give.  You are nothing without the people behind you.  Meanwhile, I have carved my name; a scar into the history books. You can not erase me. I am immortal now, and this day you never even knew how or why.  But you will…. Oh you will...This is your last chance as brothers, to build something new. Something better.  Something fair – a return to our roots.”

 

The creature that had been standing motionless started to charge Teros and swung with all of its might.  Sidestepping, Teros picked up his hammer and swung it sideways, cracking the creatures back.  It whirled backward and lurched, swinging at Teros and slashing his face.  The Doctor pulled a knife off of a nearby workbench; “Everything you have will be dead and gone!”  Teros swung at the monster again as the Doctor ran forward to close the distance.  The wooden wheel on the bottom floor was completely ablaze and black smoke had started to pool the ceiling and then fill the room.  The glass lights flickered as one final blow was dealt to the creature.  It wailed in pain and crumpled to the floor. The Doctor shoulder-rammed Teros and the two went sprawling on the floor.  Teros’ hammer knocked onto the floor and was too heavy and cumbersome to try and grab with only one hand. The two satyrs battled on the floor and exchanged blows. Catching a hook, the Doctor’s nose was broken as he thrust forward with the knife, sinking into Teros’ shoulder.  Pinned on top, the Doctor spattering blood as he screamed in Teros’ face.  “I’m not here to fit in your world. I’m here to make my own!”  The Doctor started stabbing at Teros’ chest in a frenzy, skidding along the breast plate that Teros wore.  The knife instead sinking into the peripheral of the sides where the breast plate stopped covering.  Teros screamed in pain and used both hands to pry the knife out of the Doctor’s hands.  It was knocked to the side and slid underneath a workbench.  The two came to fists, pummeling each other but the Doctor still on top of Teros.  Covering his face and twisting his elbow, Teros cracked the Doctor’s jaw and sent him rolling off.  Teros began beating the Doctor in the face with hammerfists and hard as he could.  Slick with blood, the Doctor managed to squirm his way from underneath Teros and grabbed a glass beaker and smashed it into Teros.  Collapsing to the ground, the Doctor again pounced and took the broken bottle end and raised it above his head – determined to bury it into Teros.  Teros grabbed the Doctor’s shirt and yanked the Doctor closer.  Tilting his head, Teros sunk one of his horns into the Doctor’s neck and he began to choke.  The life of the Doctor flowed down and covered Teros’ horn and spattered his face.  Slumping forward, the Doctor finally collapsed in a heap on Teros.  There was nothing left to give.

 

The sounds of battle below had died out.  Siga flew through the window that Magnus had left through.  He landed on the sill and barked out at Teros.  The satyr didn’t move.  In a panic, Siga looked at the panels and saw a grouping of levers.  He grabbed each with his feet and flipped them.  The lights shut off completely and a metal clink sound was heard below. It was the metal door that was sealed off.  ChristArtist was the first to climb up the stairs.  Siga stood in a pool of blood, unsure if it was the Doctor’s or Teros’ and nervously tried to assure that the satyr was going to be ok.  “Hold on.  Hold on.  We have some salve left” Siga said but Teros only winced and kept breathing labored.  The group shuffled in the darkness, a torch in someone’s hand; though the burning wooden wheel below was giving a soft glow.  The group heaved the Doctor off of him and the clasps of Teros’ armor was unbuckled.  ChristArtist had a handful of the blue healing salve paste ready.  She started patching everywhere she could find, quickly emptying the whole jar.  There were stab wounds all along the sides, near the ribs.  His nose broken, scarring on his face, and one eye swollen shut.  “Stay with me. Stay with me” ChristArtist kept saying as she worked and tried to stitch the wounds while they were frothing from the healing salve.

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Teros started violently coughing some flecks of blood, “I’m. Done.” 

 

The torch went out and a blue face in the smoke looked at Teros.  It shook its head twice before it faded away.  More black smoke kept creeping in from the fire down below.  “No you’re not. C’mon.  We’ve been through bad before” said the healing mystic.  Teros looked out at the windows at the orange-hued light and spoke, “There’s nothing left. The… he said he released others out into the wild. The beasts.”  ChristArtist kept stitching and then tightly bandaging the sides where the knife wounds were.  “…and?  We’ll get them too. We always will. That’s what we do. We keep fighting until we save this realm.”  Teros turned his head and looked at Thom.  “I….I made the right choice.”  For the first time, Teros spoke about her to the group.  Maybe because he felt this was the end. “She’s gone. She left. Months ago. She couldn’t handle it. I lost her.”  ChristArtist stopped what she was doing and looked directly at the satyr.  With a calming tone she spoke, “We will lose everything and everyone eventually.  What we need to do is pick up the pieces and keep going forward for them.  We can’t mourn every loss forever. She didn’t deserve you.  She’s not in your life so let the pain go and make room for someone else that does deserve you.”  Teros started to tear up, “I felt so lost without all of you, in that nightmare.  You’re all I have.”  ChristArtist finished bandaging Teros up, “And we’re all here for you.  No falling apart today – always realize that this world is filled with dark and void, but we can be beacons, Teros. We can be beacons in the dark that lights the way for others.  Now let’s go…”

-End Section 1- (I tried to put this paragraph in the above section but apparently I write so much that NF glitches out...

 

Everyone had been bandaged up, with the most grievous wounds being to the satyr.  Teros was barely able to hobble on his hooves.  Suffering plenty of scrapes, bruises, cuts, and hacks, Grisham now had a long scar over one eye.  They had made it through the fire alive. The wooden spoke wheel was turning into embers and black smoke clogged the air.  There was enough residual light to get back through the rooms with the prisons.  Not a single creature was in sight.

 

"Clean sweep" Grisham said with a smirk.  He pointed to his new scar, "This thing. This thing right here is going to get me allll the ladies when we're back to the surface."  Teros was trailing in the back, half-leaning on ChristArtist to reply to Grisham, "He said he loosed the rest out in the world.  I don't know what's up top."

 

The climb back up the slope proved to be just as exhausting as the massive battle.  Having climbed to the top, the group decided that it was time to make camp.  Teros insisted that he take the first watch and was hushed up immediately.  He didn't know if the nightmares would keep coming or not now that the Doctor was dispatched.  However, he was so beaten down that he drifted off within seconds of lying in a slump on his bag.

 

While RES and Sylvaa took watch, there was no wind or rustle among the forest and through the fog.  RES, “I can't believe that he killed and hoarded hundreds of animals and corpses and created this lab.  You heard the notes that Teros read from one of his books?  I was too concerned about what we were doing to take it all in, but now that it's settled in my head just...  I don't know what to think.  A few moments in silence passed.  Sylvaa, “So, is this it?  Is everything over now? I don't know. It doesn't feel right for this to be it."

 

Light seeped through the canopy as dawn broke.  The group came to a consensus to scout the forest for the morning and if nothing was found, to head back to the druid's encampment.  After eating, everyone was sore and full of aches.  The last thing anyone wanted to do was superfluous scouting. 

 

It was decided that the best thing to do would be to head back to camp within a few meters of each other, side by side.  That way, each person would have someone within eyesight on their left and right.  Because Teros was the most hurt, he hobbled in the dead center, with the other more wounded staying in the middle and least hurt on the ends of the row.  Slowly trudging through the fogged forest through most of the day, they finally reached the clearing and at that point, clustered back together as a group and finish the rest of their travels together. The next couple days were spent crawling back to camp while wounds healed.

   

The druids welcomed everyone back with open arms.  The writer, Bjorn Bessen, raced to his home and came back a minute later with a huge book. It was the book he was originally transcribing the party's adventure in.  With quill in hand, Bjorn cozied himself up close enough to hear the tale and write about what had happened.  Given fresh fruit and some of the stew that was leftover from the evening's meal, people took turns filling in gaps.  No one was in the mood to recount what had happened - most were nursing minor stab wounds, covered in bruises, and a few with torn muscles.  This last fight had taken the most out of everyone physically and emotionally.  Though a group of veterans, it was mostly unspoken of between party members that the Doctor’s ‘research notes’ got under everyone’s skin.  It ate away and festered there.  It was something that had to be reflected on mostly in private once the mind could take it.  As it stood right now, no one left that fight without serious pain.

 

The only person that said nothing to fill in gaps of the story was Teros.  Having finished the stew in record time, he now lay curled up in the fetal position and sleeping; his head on ChristArtist's thigh like a pillow.

 

Sharn and the other elders took in what had happened.  Grisham was gulping down some of the stew and questioned the druids, "You didn't see or hear anything about any creatures in the woods?  Nothing in the past two ta three days or so?"  There was a collective shaking of heads.  "Whatever the threat was, it's gone now" replied an elder 

 

Clearing space for everyone again, the party finally slept in beds and cloth-covered hay stacks again.  ChristArtist slipped a balled up blanket between Teros' head in order for her to go to sleep somewhere else, leaving the satyr in the middle of the encampment by the dying flames.  Siga nestled himself near Teros' chest as he usually did and everyone retired for the night.

 

Teros woke up to the raven tapping at his shoulder.  One eye completely swollen shut, Teros had no choice but to roll on his back a bit and look at his friend.  Tilting his head to the side Siga asked how he slept.  Rubbing the grogginess from his one good eye, Teros eeked out a hoarse, “...ok?  I think.  No erm nightmares.  It’s too soon to be morning…"

 

 

That morning, the druids went back to their gardening and picking.  The party met for some breakfast and discussed what to do now.  "I feel like we've been doing this for so long that I don't know what I do from here." ChristArtist "I had been roaming most of my life but this gave me purpose. Not sure what I'm gonna do, either." Sylvaa  "After we beat The Red One, we sort of drifted apart. I don't want that to happen again.  Maybe we should all stick together and make something."  Dark_Raider, “What do you mean 'make something'?  Like, we start a place of our own?"  RES hopping up to her feet.  "Yeah!  Why not?  There's enough of us.  If we can take out the biggest threats in the realm, surely we can all put our heads together and think of something.  Maybe we can run a business, or maybe learn some crafting trade, or heck; there’s plenty of room to farm here with the druids or we could set out to find a plot of unmarked land to call home.  I mean, Heidi, you have farming experience with the druids. And Teros, you were apprenticing as a blacksmith and were picking up trade for how to do repairs and build.  I’ve made candles and other crafts before.  We all had lives prior to this, so why not set out and build something of our own?"  The longer the conversation went on, the more smiles grew on everyone's faces.

 

The day was spent with brainstorming what to do with their newfound freedom.  If there were any places that people wanted to explore.  The schematics for what to build and where.  Most of the time Teros was curled next to a blanket near everyone else, dozing in and out of sleep.  He didn't have much to say, his body was too broken to do much more then recuperate.  The healing salve worked its magic like it had always done, with the exception of his legs.  He always had some issues with his hooves and the stride and musculature of his legs. With the injuries that he sustained, things were healing but not quite setting correctly - some of the scarring healed crooked, leading to a turned-outward stance.

 

That night, everyone had gathered around the campfire as usual.  There was something that was nagging at the satyr and it wasn't what was written in Doctor N's notes.  It was the blue smoke in the dying torch when Teros thought he was going to die after killing the doctor.  There was a gray figure that pointed the way, and then the blue figure tried to chase after the gray one in times past. Yet the blue figure was there.  Was he hallucinating that part as he was on the verge of death?  Maybe his mind was playing a trick on him.  The two fogged figures still did not make sense to him.  Also, the Doctor had said quite a bit to Teros before their fight.  The nightmares.  He was having them too?  The fact that they were somehow linked. The revelation that the Doctor was also a satyr?  None of it sat well with Teros. This realm is primarily one of humans, with small bands of other civilizations on the outskirts.  The Elves in the south. The Dwarves keeping to themselves in the mountainous caverns in north. The Human settlements in the center, along with tribes of Orc out west and a concentration of Hobbits close to the Druid encampment as well.  Teros had heard that somewhere that there was a rare chance to spot an Ogre or Jotun, whichever they were called, once a year as they made their way to encampments to sell their wares.  By and large, the lion's share of the world was comprised of humans who had expanded to everywhere in the realm.  The warriors in the frozen tundra in the north that the group helped with the FrostKing.  The small island monastery which the monks resided were mostly humans.  The adventurer's town was overwhelmingly human.  In fact, the more Teros thought about it - he had never seen another satyr besides himself.  He only knew of his kind through a book which was a collection of short stories and one referenced his kind: horned, hooved, with a knack for trickery and deception.  That was all he knew about himself growing up - that he was inherently bad and wrong and alone and- "HEY!"  Grisham yelled and snapped his fingers at Teros.  "You alright, man?  Looked like you were spacing out."  Grisham was wearing an eyepatch now with stitches surrounding it after a huge slash he got across his face during the fight.

 

"*ahem* Yeah, uh... I'm fine" Teros rubbed his non-swollen eye to try and get out of the funk that was in his mind.  Maybe this is why he kept fighting this whole time.  "You can't outrun your demons" Teros remembered Sharn saying to him in the druid's hut that night that he was given the collection of gems for him to craft with.  "Holding back" he remembered the doctor yelled at him. 

 

Although the satyr was a little woozy and felt incredibly weak, he decided to go for a short walk.  Getting up from the campfire, he grabbed his bag and with a hobble, walked down a worn dirt path away from everyone else. He could hear boisterous laughing from the camp.  They were happy now. All of them.  'Except me' Teros thought to himself while rubbing his forehead.

 

He stretched his legs and walked off of the path gingerly. The last thing he wanted to do was trip over something in the dark and aggravate an injury; but at the same time he didn't want anyone to bother him right now.  Lighting a small torch, he knew where he wanted to go.

 

He remembered Dark_Raider and ChristArtist both telling him about the 'Feo story' when they were in the cave and heading to the Doctor.  Teros wanted to find it.  Setting out where the others had mentioned, Teros slowly ventured in the gloom.

 

Coming upon a break into a cave pass, he walked inside.  It was narrow.  He could almost feel the panic that Feo must have been in if something chased him to this area. All of the low-hanging stalagmite tips were broken off.  Bright pink stone.  Teros had a ton of that gem in his bag, along with all the others from the druids.  Inspired and since he had been sleeping most of the day, Teros decided to set up camp and work on his crafting in peace.  Also, his legs were starting to ache so it seemed like a good reason to sit and rest a bit.  He grabbed a bundle of sticks and placed them at the tight entrance, setting a small fire for him to see.  Shoving a few rocks around, the satyr made a sort of work table to start crafting.  He pulled out of the bag one of the gems that he was nervous to use.  There was something wrong about it.  When holding it in his hand, it gave off a faint buzzing or humming that he felt in his head.  He put it down and looked at everything else in his bag: some food rations, a canteen, all of the other crafting gems, the handful of the air-pocketed gems that he was experimenting with, Red's gem that was originally made by Sulak which fed off of the emotions and energy of the user; all-the-while Sulak only saying that it was helpful as a lighting guide.  Teros kept rummaging, finding the books he wanted. One was Sulak's old book of recipes for gems.  The other was the druid tome of knowledge about the gems.  Then, the last thing in his bag: the black leathery strip that used to be the fire lily that he gave to, what the Doctor referred to as, the fox-girl.  Everything strewn around him, the satyr pressed the flower between his thumb and finger tightly and in doing so, started to feel a wince of pain right in his chest.  Biting his lip, he knew what he wanted to do right now.  He began sorting through all the gems and opened both of the gem books.  Finding the clearest gem and a jar of white dust, Teros started forging.  He did as he always did: created the empty shell out of the gem and started to heat up the spoon that held a bit of the dust over the fire until it started to gel together.  He placed the wilted leather flower inside the gem shell and then used his pick to dip into the gel, transferring droplets of the gel on the unfinished piece of the gem.  An hour passed and at last, Teros had infused the gem and encapsulated the flower in its new clear prism home.  Letting out a sigh, the satyr started to pack up all of his supplies.  It was pitch black outside, but Teros did not want to spend the night in this claustrophobic cave anymore.  He used the last few drops of the gel on a black chord on top of the tip of the gem, turning the gem into a necklace.  Putting it on and sliding it underneath his armor, the antsy feeling had been eased.  He went to douse the fire...

  

...and when doing so, the gray figure appeared yet again.  It was larger than before and it pointed southeast.  There was a wisp of blue smoke, but it didn't turn into a figure.  Rubbing his face, Teros let out a huff. This wasn't over yet, somehow. Teros made it back to the druid's camp but everyone had retired for the night. He found his way back to the hay bed that was supposed to be his and he laid there, wide awake now. 

 

Siga was on a block of hay and grumbly asked what happened.  After telling him, the two were awake until dawn.

 

First thing in the morning, Teros sought out as many of his group as possible before breakfast and told them.  By the time people were going to eat, almost everyone knew what the situation was.  They consulted with the elders and were given rations and their blessing.

 

"I don't understand what is supposed to be left of this.  We took care of everything. So this gray figure is telling you there's another?" Grisham whined.  Without looking in Grisham's direction, the raven perched upon Teros' shoulder called back, "Apparently..."  The group knew after the group discussion that the figure pointed southeast, meaning there was no need this time to stay quite on track.

 

 "This should be a fairly simple jaunt, no?" Pierce continued, "I mean, everything has been wiped out by this point. Maybe this leads to whatever the Doctor loosed?  We’re all beaten up so this better not be something difficult…” he trailed.  Cutting through some farmland, the party was on low alert.  Most were irritated.  Having had the conversation of what to do with their lives now, everyone at some point in the journey struggled between being selfless and defending the realm, versus the sacrifices to time, money, relationships, and more in order to do so.  By this point, all these people wanted was to start a new life without having to worry about the next big threat.  While it gave some purpose, it also robbed their purpose away from them.  The day was spent leisurely hiking through cleared lands as birds chirped.  Back near civilization, the group went back to where it all started for some:  the adventurer's tavern. 

 

  

There were rooms for rent.  Folks shared a few pints save Teros, who had a cranberry juice.  Keeping his one good eye on one of the tables, Dark_Raider nudged him.  "Why are you scouting that corner?" asked the githzerai.  Rubbing his beard and pointing, Teros declared, "That table... that table right there is where I met so many of you a lifetime ago."

 

Splitting a few rooms, everyone headed to bed except for Grisham; who always liked to drink late with company.  One of the rooms was shared by Pierce and ChristArtist.  Pierce had swilled too much and stumbled into the room with CA right behind him.  Slumping into a chair, Pierce lolled back and let out a deep sigh.  ChristArtist had very little to drink and sat on the edge of the bed and eyed the holy man.  Her eyes narrowed.  "Tell me, we never quite talked about this but… are you ok with not finding your brother?"  Pierce looked at her confused.  "Brother?  Wha?"  ChristArtist perked up now. "Your brother. When we first met you and Grisham, you talked about your brother being in Distractia's casino.  We never found him. I'm...I'm sorry."  Pierce let out a tired laugh as he shook his head.  "Naaahhh no no.  He doesn't exist."  Alarmed but not wanting to alert Pierce, ChristArtist leaned forward and lowered her voice.  "What do you mean. he. doesn't. exist?"

 

"I mean he's not a thing… or…. whatever.  I told Grisham that to help me." Pierce started to realize in his drunken stupor what he wasn't supposed to say. 

 

Taken aback but trying to not show it, ChristArtist pressed for more information, "How was he supposed to help you? How do you two even know each other?"

 

Looking at the floor, Pierce knew he had to explain now, "I met the outlaw about a month before we ran into your lot just by chance.  I had a good gig going in town. I would sneak in and spy on various people and then make my presence known at inns and taverns.  I would claim to be a soothsayer and holy man and then I would 'predict' things about people that I already had learned without them knowing.  I did this everywhere I went and it earned me a lot of coin since I proved myself - I would tell others fortunes.  One night I had done this and Grisham was in the audience.  I learned a little about him so I called him out to prove to the rest of the room my ‘powers’.  He didn't believe me and spat in my direction.  After a couple of people at the bar calling him a coward, he begrudgingly sat at my table and I did my usual.  I acted like I was channeling a spirit and then blurted out something I found out the day prior about a stab wound under his shirt.  He cursed at me and threw a bottle. People demanded to know if it was the truth.  He bared his chest and sure enough, there was a cut under his rib area.  I thought that was the end of the tale.  He demanded to know what was going to happen in his future. I leaned in close to tell him so no one else would hear.  I made up some bullshit about an enemy of his dying tonight.  Ungrateful for my false prediction, he shrugged it off and went back to the bar. I cleaned up and made other predictions; making my coin for the evening before I was going to retire for the night.  I can't sleep that night for some reason.  I decide to head out of the inn and have a smoke.  I also brought one of these sweet apples that the inn was famous for.  Peeling it with my knife and then cutting a few chunks, I stood leaning at the edge of the inn and was eating in silence.  I heard a rustling happen around the corner.  Not sure of what it was, I prepped my knife.  It was Grisham and he dashed around the corner.  In the split second it took for us to notice each other and make eye contact, I saw him bolt past me. With my head still turned, I went to look in front of me and a large man blindly ran at me and impaled himself on the knife I still had held up.    I had just killed someone in cold blood unintentionally.  Grisham wheeled back around and saw what happened - the man collapsing onto the floor with a plume of dust kicking up around him.  I was startled and I started wiping the blood off my knife and put it in my pocket.  Grisham looked at me, wide-eyed and said, 'It's true...'  I didn't know what he meant at first.  Rooting around in the now dead man's pockets, Grisham took all of the money that he had, yanked at my shirt, and then the two of us booked it to the dirt roads.  Once we had some distance, Grisham told me what that was all about.  He was an outlaw and had stolen from everyone his entire life. He didn't know his mom and was beaten by his dad.  Grew up poor. Learned to steal food at a young age.  Got into scraps with kids twice his size.  He had stolen from the man that night but Grisham dropped his weapon in the fight and made a run for it.  Then he saw me and, well, my fake prediction…ended up becoming a real one.  I guess if you lie enough times, you end up telling the truth eventually.  He said that he was tired of not making an honest living and that I should show him how.  Being a holy man, I should show him what to do to get rid of the 'darkness' he said he had inside."

 

Pierce scoffed, now sobering up when telling his tale.  "Imagine my surprise.  Me, another thief trying to show him the way?  It's the blind leading the blind.  I made up a story on the fly about how I believed in fate and that I lost my twin brother to the same 'darkness' that Grisham spoke of.  Somewhere in the casino. That's why I was at that particular inn at that time.  I told him that he needed to do penance and make amends for his bad deeds.  After that, he told me he didn't want to be a 'villain of circumstance'.  From them on, we tried to stop bar fights and he choked out a man that was forcing himself on a woman. All the while, he looked to me to make sure he was doing right. Like... like somehow he wanted my approval."

 

Pierce started rubbing his forehead and then ripped the collar of his shirt. "I'm not a holy man.  I'm a liar. Same trash as most of the people. I don't have an excuse for why I lead to a life of crime. I was just good at deceiving people. My family was well off enough that I didn't need to resort to that. I did it for thrills, because I liked the idea of hunting and learning.  Grisham though, he was a victim of circumstance.  And I know that if I ever fessed up to this, he'd be betrayed and kill me on the spot."

  ChristArtist took all of the information in.  She stood up and put a hand on his shoulder and knelt to see him face to face.  "Anyone can repent.  But, your secret is safe with me."  

 

 

Ocean waves crashing.  Teros wasn't scared anymore. He was frustrated. Tired of this.  He wandered in the darkness again, unsure of what this meant.  Not stricken with fear, the satyr tried to piece together parts of the environment.  It was cool out. Very windy.  The tall grasses were coarse.  The squishing under his hooves meant it was someplace soaked through like dense mud.  Maybe it was beach sand.  Teros bent down to grab a handful of the earth.  It wasn't loosely packed sand like he thought. It was spongy instead.  Confused, Teros kept walking with a handful of the pulp in his hand. He felt the cushion under his hooves start to turn hard and smooth, like a block of ice or glass.  He dropped the clump that was in his hand and reached to touch the earth this time.  Hard as a rock. Cool but not cold.  Not quite ice.  This time, as he heard the waves crashing he felt a sorrow or lament and didn't know why.  Like this was the end of something.  There was a whisper, a jabbering inside the satyr’s head.  Trying to shake them out did nothing.  The whispering turned into a high pitched noise.  Covering his ears and cringing, Teros hunched over and walked a couple steps.  He slipped on the slick ground and plunged down into the icy water.  Whatever sound within his head kept incessantly muttering as the high pitch grew louder.  Teros realized he couldn’t breathe and start sucking in ice water.  Tightness gripped his chest and then woke up.  Rolling out of bed, the satyr started violently coughing as his lungs begged for air.  Siga was startled awake as he came rushing to the satyr’s aid but there was nothing the raven could do.  Fumbling in the dark, Siga grabbed a match with his foot and swiped it to light a candle.  He dragged it close to Teros while the satyr coughed and wheezed.  “Hey what’s going on. Friend...friend?” the raven perked as Teros finally was able to breathe normally. The raven took a few sniffs of the air and asked, “Why does it smell like the sea right here?”  Grabbing the candle from Siga, Teros waved it at the wooden floor.  A large puddle of salt water was spat up by him.  “I was really there.  It’s not over.”

 

“We need to figure this out right now.  Are you ok to walk?” the raven questioned.  Teros nodded, his throat burning and his swollen eye stinging from the coughed up flecks of salt water.  The two left the room and went outside while holding onto the candle.  There wasn’t a trace of wind tonight, Teros noted.  Blowing out the candle, the whisp of smoke looked vaguely like a hand pointing east.  The whisp started drifting that way.  The two followed.  The further it moved, the more the smoke dissipated.  A few dozen steps or so, the trail of smoke was gone.  There was only a few miles stretch of land and then the coast.  "There's nothing to note between here and the ocean, right?" the raven questioned.  The satyr nodded.  "It has to be out there somewhere."

That morning it was clear that somehow, the group needed to finish getting to the coast and then venture outward.  They trekked most of the day and spoke to a few fishermen captains.  Consulting with them, most knew that the Forbidden Crags were out in that direction but nothing else. "Damn area basically sunk into da waters" said a grizzled old man as he rubbed his wiry gray beard.  "Supposin' that there's nothing there for any one down that watery road.  Me friend is a king crab catcher.  He has the biggest boat around.  Figure if you talk with him; he'd bring you there.  Although the crag area is about 20 feet 'bove sea level. Just looks like a flat rock top with not much onnit."

 

After some debating with a few other fishermen, the best bet was going to be speaking with the crab captain.  Finding him, the withered man and two crewmen agreed to drop the lot at the edge of the crag area for a small fee.  "Wouldn't be doing this but I'm making my round tomorrow morn.  I sail above the northern area but I could drop ye off near the south end and then loop around and grab all my traps" captain spitting some tobacco in the bucket on the pier.

 

Next day everyone was ready to set out on the ocean and unsure of what to do when they got there.  Unlike the last time heading this way, this ship was huge by comparison and the skies were bright and blue.  The captain barked orders to the group to help with moving the sails.  About 30 feet out away from the crags, the captain declared, "That's it! Your stop apparently.  Can't bring ya closer as the underrocks will shred this here hull.  Ya'll seem like a nice lot, but not worth ruining my business with!"  The captain cackled as he yelled, "Wanna walk the plank?”  Sylvaa spotted a small break in the rocks that looked to cascade upwards and were almost stair-like.  Everyone dived in, the water being ice cold but not very choppy.  They all swam to the edge and climbed up the rock.  The expanse of the crags went on for a couple of miles. It seemed so disorienting.  Everything was different looking. Before, gray ash fell from the sky, there was dark gray fog, there were rumblings of a volcano underneath, the tall monuments of rock had looked like obelisks dedicated to the Red One.  Now, there was ocean mist and a white fog, but no ash, no spires, no heaps of gray.  It was still somewhat harder to see ahead with the density of the mist.

 

The area was only a few miles across.  Stepping onto the rocks, Teros knew what this was.  He bent down to swipe the rock.  Smooth as glass - eroded by choppy ocean waves until it was filed down.  "We're in the right place..." the satyr leaned down and was touching the polished rock with a grimace on his face.  RES asked where to go from here.  Dropped off in the southwest corner, the group didn’t know to go straight north or east.  Everyone still aching from their injuries, everyone shuffled along northward and stayed close to the misting coast of rocks.

 

After about 20 minutes of keeping their eyes peeled through the mist, Dark_Raider spoke up "I think the only option here is to prepare. We should collect as much wood as possible and split it into two piles - one for tonight and one for right now that we can douse immediately to see if the gray figure can help us more.”

  

  Everyone agreed that was the best course of action and made their way along the perimeter of the glass-like island.  Teros thought to himself that this is where everyone felt it was going to end well over a year ago.  Sulak had made the ultimate sacrifice and put an end to The Red One.  This is where Teros thought he was going to meet his end.  Where he was willing to meet it.  He started mulling around things that the Doctor had said to him before their last encounter.  The satyr thought he was the last of his kind, but after killing the Doctor was he all that was left of his race? Or were there others on the outskirts that were pretending to be human, filing down or covering their horns, their tails, and masking their hooves with heavy boots?  Maybe when at a tavern and he got a knowing glance, it was one of his kind sharing a non-verbal cue with him that he was oblivious to.  The prospect simultaneously made Teros nervous and excited.  If there were others out there in the expanse, would they be like the Doctor, or like himself? The human colonies were the most expanded throughout the realm, but maybe this whole time; his kin were hiding in plain sight.

 

Gathering the splinters of broken branches was difficult, as the dense damp air had rotted tree limbs and brush.  The shattered remains of the walking woods. Teros couldn't help but feel that they were collecting corpses, walking in a graveyard of a nightmare that was a lifetime ago.  While keeping an eye out in the distant fog and gathering, Teros stepped and felt and heard the familiar squish.  He looked down. Moss. Thick, caked together clumps of moss.  That was what he must have stepped on in the darkness during his dreams.  He began looking out for clues.  He remembered a while back there was long stalks of something prickly that went up to his knees a while back when that little druid girl woke him up.  He started thinking about her bear.  His eye narrowed, "Her bear was sick...was blue."

   

 

 

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Usually, the group would engage in some chit chat when doing this activity, but because of the low visibility; everyone was on lookout.  This was it. This had to be the end, it just had to be.  Nobody was quite the same after seeing the Doctor's abominations that he created.  Those gray beasts were terrifying.  Shaking some damp moss clumps off of a tree limb, Pierce asked how much they needed for a fire.  He seemed to be much quieter than before, but no one noticed much except for ChristArtist.  After an hour, the group joined up to compare materials.  A large enough heap was assembled, though starting the fire would prove to be an issue.  T2 knelt down and started flicking with flint to make sparks along with her fire power.  A few expletives later, a small plume of smoke sparked and a faint fire was crackling.  Never getting past some embers, there was no more than just a billow of smoke rather than a fire.  People looked to Teros who shook his head, "Nah, it only happened after a fire was put out. This is barely dry enough to stay alive for a few seconds."  A couple moments later, the branches fizzled out.

 

RES, “Well how the hell are we going to get a fire started?"  Leaving the mess of warm but damp tree limbs as they were, everyone threw their share of debris on top to make a huge pyre.  They decided to mark this area and use it as home base.  In the meantime, they would keep scouring to try and find something better to light.  "At this rate, we can't even use clothes. This shirt is starting to stick to me with the fog being this thick” Sylvaa.

 

Grabbing at small clumps of brush and shaking them, the group searched for anything else to burn.  The group stayed close enough to see with the bad visibility, but kept a line formation to spread out and cover more ground.  What felt like hours passed.  "Hey, I think I got something" called Grisham.  The group heading towards his voice.  *snap* *snap* *snap* came from Grisham's direction.  He was hunched over, grabbing tall blades of black grass. They were up to his knee.  Dark_Raider went up to help him. "They're almost...waxy feeling. If we scrape that little bit off; this should be dry enough to be a good starter".  Everyone coalesced and were snapping large blades from the ground.  Teros took one in his hand. Slightly spiky to the touch.  "This is what brushed against me..." the satyr murmured to himself.  The group cleared as much of the black grass as they could and started to make their way back to the damp campsite.  They set up the camp on the outskirt of the island so it would be easy to relocate.  Trudging through the thick spongy moss; it was almost dusk by the time they got back to the camp.  Interweaving the black leaves with the soaked tree branches, a large enough formation was built.  T2 again began to flint and spark with her powers.  It caught on the black leaves and quickly started to engulf the rest of the branches - wet or not.  A roaring fire came to life, which helped dispel some of the fog in the area.  Considering the time, the group thought it would be prudent to call it quits.  "Uneventful day" Heidi led with a grimace. 

 

Watchposts were set.  Teros would take second shift so when the fire died, he would be awake –figuring if the fire died out then, he would see it.  Those that stayed up for first watch were almost lulled to sleep by the crashing waves against the rock.  The moisture in the air was enough to keep the fire from burning and fizzling too fast, almost created a controlled slow burn for the camp.  With the second watch starting, Teros quickly became restless.  With some time to kill, Teros grabbed a small branch that had only caught on the end and carried it like a torch.  He walked south a few paces.  He wanted to look at any of the notes that were neglected in the book of gem alchemy.  It was something that was gnawing at him since the Doctor accused him of being a coward.  Had he played it safe when experimenting with the gems?  They had proved to be helpful at certain stages of the adventure.  Teros looked at Red's gem that was never destroyed because he was in the cocoon from injury on the campaign to The Red One.  The colors swirled inside the gem.  It had acted as a siphon of emotional energy.  Would this mean that this last gem was even stronger than last time?  Teros played with the gem that he most recently made that hung around his neck.  The one that encases the wilted flower.  The one he never spoke of to anyone about.  He eyed the blue gems that he made fairly recently as well that were empty.  He started looking at the jar that had gems he never touched.  In the book, Sulak wrote about how these were linked to poisons and ethereal energies.  When using them, they made the person temporarily stronger but also would weaken them long term.  They carried with them an addictive quality - needing more of the gems to hold the same power.  It was a path that Teros didn't want to go down, and one that he didn't want anyone else involved with.  He shook the jar and they rattled together.  Apparently, this gem was rare and would appear as flecks mixed into other metals. Even rarer were veins of the pure element.  Consulting the notes that he took from the druids; it was noted that in rune-casting, this would symbolize raw unadulterated hatred and power.  Teros scoffed at that.  "Maybe Doctor N had a wealth of this stuff."  When smelting with this gem, you could grind it into a dust and then magnify the other element you paired with it; as a sort of booster gem.  The satyr shook his head.  He liked learning about all of this but at the same time; he knew that if in someone else's hands, a lot of research could turn this simple bag of rocks into something devastating.  He wasn't the one to do it, though.  A strong wind gushed by and put out Teros' torch. He froze and stared at the end that now had a wisp of smoke.  The gray wisp was shaped like a hand that pointed to the immediate right of Teros. A matching blue cloud showed up for a brief moment to wrap around the gray hand before they both dispelled again.  A gust of wind and it was gone.

 

Teros scooped up all of his gems in the dark making sure he had them all.  Then he went back to camp.  It wasn't very far - he could see the flames ahead of him.  He told the rest of the group what had just happened.  With grimaces; they acknowledged that they are extremely close to the edge of the water.  Although they knew what they would do first thing in the morning, Teros went back to his watch.  He laid down and it immediately started to bother him as he closed his eyes.  There being two doesn’t make sense.  And why did only the blue one show up when he was on the verge of death?

 

Taking a few calming breaths, Teros hoped this would be the last night that he had to dwell on this.

 

Darkness enveloped the group as the moon wasn't visible that night.  The controlled burn of the fire seemed to be fizzling out as the ocean mist was starting to get the better of it.  Teros looked to his side and saw Thom that was supposed to be on watch but was nodding off.  Another hour in the gloom passed and sleep got the best of the satyr as he dozed off as well.

 

There was no sound except the deep rumbling of the ocean mixed with a gruff voice.  Teros started rolling side to side.  The satyr stood up with his eyes still closed.  Thom shook himself awake as he heard Teros moving around.  “Teros?" Thom whispered.  Not responding, Teros slung his bag over his shoulders and started walking into the darkness.  Thom kicked Grisham awake, who then started shoving everyone else awake to follow. The last embers of the campfire were dying and people hurriedly grabbed some twigs that held a little bit of light on them as they set out to follow the satyr. 

 

ChristArtist clanged her staff and a faint glow emerged from the top to help light the way.  Teros was heading southward in his sleep in a straight line.  The party spoke in hushed whispers - unsure if this was something that they should wake Teros from, or if this was leading everyone to where they needed to go. Teros kept walking, his hooves squishing into the piles of wet moss.  Then the clack of hoof striking the stone. It was difficult to see what Teros was walking on with mere candle's-worth of light for the group to walk with.  The clacking was louder.  Dark_Raider squinted, "Looks like the island curves inward. In a straight line Teros is going to-"  The githzerai was cut off as Teros blindly walked off the island cliff and fell into the water.  People yelled and started sprinting.  ChristArtist dove in, immediately followed by everyone else. All they had now was the glow of a single staff in the choppy waters.

 

 

The group started to swim down as Teros was sinking like a rock.  Heidi catching up, kicked Teros and he woke up.  Wild-eyed and terrified, Teros realized he was underwater and wanted to scream.  He swam directly up to the surface.  The whole group was rocking in the choppy water now.  "There!  Down there!  We can't find anything around here because it's not here.  It's down!" Teros called.  He reached his hand in his bag. 

 

Grisham called over the ocean crashing, "What the hell are you doing?  Get back on the surface.  We're all going to drown in the dark."  The satyr didn't listen as he kept feeling around in his bag. He pulled out the blueish-clear stones.  Putting one in his mouth, he passed them to everyone.  "No we aren't.  Bite down once we drop a few feet."  Teros dove down and started to plunge into the black waters.  Everyone else did the same, unsure of what the gems were.

 

Swimming lower and lower, the group did as they were told.  ChristArtist shone the staff near Teros as he made a dramatic biting gesture.  Everyone now lower than 20 feet into the water, they all bit and broke off the small tip of the gems.  Their mouth filled with air.  As long as they would breathe through their mouth only, they would be able to inhale the air that was packed into the gems.

 

They continued into the black and freezing cold gloom.  Dark_Raider pointing further down.  A red speck of a glow could be seen all the way at the bottom.  Following it, they swam deeper.  Their journey through the black abyss was silent and unnerving. What was waiting?  ChristArtist's staff began to weaken, showing a shorter and shorter radius of where they were.  She concentrated with all of her might to keep the staff glowing enough for people to see each other.  It was terrifying - the group could be swimming to an icy tomb. All they had to go by was the red light which was growing brighter and bigger.  Then abruptly, the red light disappeared.  Not deterred, everyone kept swimming further.  There was a loud groan...of something much much bigger than anyone else.  

The red light flashed and was now mere yards away. Then another.  Two of them.  Eyes.

 

Cthulhu%20Klaws_zps1z2znavg.png 

 

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Everyone backpedaled in horror. It was The Red One, mangled.  There was enough of a glow from the red eyes to see just what had happened.  A large chunk of the Forbidden Crags had fallen on top of The Red One, burying him under thousands of tons of rock.  His top half remained.  The bottom jaw and upper chest had been ripped apart and ravaged by the original attack. However, eels had taken root and latched on to the open area; looking like a mass maw of tentacles below the nose.  There was a deep reverberating guttural howl as The Red One moved one claw through the ocean and tried to swipe at the whole group.  Although The Red One was enormous, trying to move its body through the deep ocean kept it sluggish.  With enough explosive swimming, people were able to just barely avoid a gnarled hand.  

 

Everyone was motioning to each other, but because they were all underwater, there was no way to communicate. Everyone had to keep their mouths closed with the gem sealed inside so they could breathe.

 

Everyone fanned out.  With enough space, The Red One wouldn't be able to take out anyone in particular.  Both sides of the conflict could see each other but neither could really do anything about it with the water being a medium.  After a few gargantuan swipes, its eyes narrowed and the monster pointed a gnarled finger at Teros.  What looked like a gray storm cloud emerged like a column from The Red One’s finger.  This murky beam fired and Grisham swam to get in the way.  However, both the satyr and the outlaw were engulfed and disappeared. The Red One's barely noticeable pupils rolled back into its head as its eyes closed –seeming to be dormant.  Not knowing what else to do, the others swam towards and tried to attack the face of The Red One.  Underwater, blade slashes barely were able to break skin. A few of the eels that comprised it’s face were sliced off and billows of blood spread through the water but the beast laid there like it was in an eternal slumber.

 

Ethereal_zpsodafklnh.png

 

"WHERE THE HELL ARE WE!?" screamed Grisham.  Teros and Grisham looked like they were among cavernous rocks with every surface, even the ground glowing a pale yellow-white.  The very atmosphere felt thin, distant, or made of clouds. It was extremely hard to breathe. There was an incessant ringing in their ears, like hundreds of buzzing bees.  The noise was maddening as Grisham fell to his knees and kept yelling but the droning noise didn’t seem to bother Teros in the same way.  What was going on? 

 

Looking ahead, they saw a gray shade.   The smoke figure manifested itself and solidified; turning into a huge beast.   It was The Red One.  Teros grabbed his warhammer and steeled himself.  His confidence shaken after dealing with his solo encounter with the doctor, Teros knew wherever this place was – he had this final foe.

 

Claw and hammer clashed as the satyr swung against the monster's hands.  The Red One swung wildly and scraped at the satyr, slicing through the steel of Teros' gauntlets like a hot knife through butter.  Undeterred, they clashed again.  The beast kicked Teros square in the chest and he went flying over Grisham, who was delirious and scratching at the sides of his head to try and get the maddening noises out.  The satyr had dropped his hammer and was scrambling to get it when The Red One's claw came down again - slashing through the back metal plating of Teros' armor.  It fell away in two even pieces and slung against the hip.  Swinging his hammer in a downward thrust, The Red One was smashed in the upper chest and repelled backwards. Only enough to stagger but not to knock down, the beast came charging forward.  Teros dodged and sprinted through a plume of blue fog that materialized and lost his footing.  Falling to the ground, The Red One kicked the hammer away and Teros was defenseless. Half of his armor gone and utterly useless, he had no idea what to do at this point.  The bit of blue smoke etched to the side of The Red One as a clawed fist was to come crashing down.  The smoke materialized and stopped the monster's hand from striking, just mere inches away from Teros' face.  The blue figure solidified. 

 

It was Sulak.

 

 

 

He pointed at Teros, much the same way that The Red One did just moments earlier.  A cloudy beam came from Sulak's fingertips as he wrestled to restrain The Red One.  "USE THE FORGOTTEN GEM" Sulak cried out as he aimed his hand towards Grisham and Teros.  A beam of light flashed in front of them.

 

Grisham and Teros were back underwater with the rest of the group that was attacking the face of the dormant Red One and getting nowhere.  Teros swam over and pointed towards the surface.  Waving madly, the group started to swim up.  Pierce, ChristArtist, and Siga were still underwater, refusing to go.  Teros dug into his bag to pull out the last gem that was never used.  Red's old gem that Teros had kept this whole time.  ChristArtist looked at the satyr and shook her head.  Siga grabbed the gem from Teros' hand as The Red One's eyes began to lazily open – the beast coming back to this realm.  Furious, the beast started to move its head and torso forward.  ChristArtist grabbed hold of Siga and the two knew what would happen.  The Red One grabbed both ChristArtist and Siga in his huge paw.  Teros put his hand out and tried to swim towards them but Pierce grabbed Teros and started fighting with him to swim upwards.  The Red One reached out with his other hand to swipe at Teros but batted Pierce instead.  The swipe just grazed Teros and the gnarled nail of The Red One had clipped and cut away the bag of gem fragments, sands, and everything else Teros had – with armor pieces and hammer falling away and starting to sink.  Everyone was already at the surface.  Pierce pointed angrily at Teros to keep moving even as he was in The Red One’s gasp.  Swimming as fast as possible to the surface, the satyr heard a rumbling from the depths.  A bright light began to glow, stronger than The Red One's eyes.  Teros looked back one last time as Pierce went back down sinking towards ChristArtist and Siga.

 

Getting to the surface, the glow from the ocean depths was brighter than outside.  Everyone scrambled to get to the rocks as the light from underneath started to be overpowering. 

 

All of the fighting spirit, the hate, the love, the loss- was all imbued in that final stone.  The rumbling drowned out voices as people spit out their gems into the water and got onto land.  It sounded like thunder erupted from under the ocean and a column of water miles wide shot straight up. 

 

Hardtack_Umbrella_nuke_zpsuusixics.jpg   

 

The entire earth started to crack apart and move away from itself in massive earthquakes.  It looked like all of the land was being split asunder.  The ocean started to sink and the island rose. 

 

It was unlike anyone had ever seen. The shifting and splitting landmass started to fragment as small rivers filled into the dips.  The sound of heavy breaking glass was heard from miles away and seemed to echo through the whole world.  The edges of the rocky island that were underwater splintered as it started to jut upwards and push apart. The entire landscape was being ripped apart and more land from underneath was seeping through to fill in the gaps.  Across the water, the land looked to be fragmented as miles of mud and rock filled and expanded between the original landmass.  Unable to stand anymore from the thunderous earthquakes, everyone had fallen to the ground and could only watch as their world broke and expanded. The entire earth's bones were cracking and growing.  A cacophony of ear-splitting groans were coming from the ground itself.  The water column crashed back into the ocean and filled up the empty space yet again and there was nothing but silence.  The horizon looked to be hundreds of miles across now.  In that massive rift of power, the earth was split asunder and expanded – growing tenfold. 

 

There was stunned silence.  Who the satyr looked up to as a mother, and a raven as a friend, were gone.  There were no words and Teros could only think of what she had told him when he thought he was going to die in that cave,

 

" We will lose everything and everyone eventually.  What we need to do is pick up the pieces and keep going forward for them."  On his knees, the satyr looked out at the brave new world that lay before them and wondered what would happen now…

 

 

 

Thank You.

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RES is here

 

unleashed_phoenix_by_fireeaglespirit-d7l

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RES...and I want to live days worth dying for...

Current: RES: CUTE in 2022

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Magickal, Eclectic, Goddess, Level 65

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Growth happens when you care more about the well being of your future self than the comfort of your present self!

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Room for another?

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&Heidi

Gypsy Druid Paladin

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The Ulfhedinn is here.

Woden uses ravens, I use an iphone.

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Where to find me: Current Challenge : Battle Log Facebook : Instagram :

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Google images, DeviantArt, Pinterest the usual.

Woden uses ravens, I use an iphone.

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Where to find me: Current Challenge : Battle Log Facebook : Instagram :

"Each day, just focus on getting 1% better in whatever it is you're trying to improve. That's it. Just 1%." ArtofManliness Article.

"That which is wise and holy helps the health and wholeness of the chain of generations." D. R. Miller. 

"We do not rise to our expectations. We fall to our level of training." Archilochus

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7 minutes ago, ravnos said:

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*Cough Cough* Hi.

 

Well, it's about time.

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&Heidi

Gypsy Druid Paladin

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Paladin71 |

Heidi Chronicles  NF Character Sheet | @theheidifeed| MySlashdotKarmaIsExcellent

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2 minutes ago, Heidi said:

 

Well, it's about time.

 

Yeeeeeah, I know.

 

I've been journeying through hell for a while. Figured it was time to climb back out.

  • Like 3

Level 5 Viking Berserker

Str: 10 | Dex: 10 | Stam: 8 | Con: 15 | Wis: 18 | Cha: 12

Battle Log || Current Challenge Log

 

Fitocracy | My Fitness Pal | Runkeeper

Twitter | Xbox Live: ravnos13 | PSN: CrawlingChaos13

Nintendo ID | Steam ID | Battle.net: ravnos#1547

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1 hour ago, ravnos said:

 

Yeeeeeah, I know.

 

I've been journeying through hell for a while. Figured it was time to climb back out.

impeccable timing... ;)

  • Like 4

RES...and I want to live days worth dying for...

Current: RES: CUTE in 2022

Spoiler

Magickal, Eclectic, Goddess, Level 65

|1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10|11|12|13|14|15|16|17|18|19|20|21|22|23|24|25|26|27|28|29|30|31|32|33|34|35|36|37|38|39|40|41|42|43|44|45|46|47|48|49|50|51|52|53|54|55|56|57|58|59|60|61|62|63|64|65|66|67|68|69|

|My Character Page | Tracking Spreadsheet |

Growth happens when you care more about the well being of your future self than the comfort of your present self!

"Pass on what you have learned. Strength, mastery. But weakness, folly, failure also. Yes, failure most of all. The greatest teacher, failure is." -Yoda

 

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1 minute ago, T2sarahconnor said:

 No one has been insulting me.  

Dangitol. I knew I was forgetting something. . . . :)

  • Like 3

&Heidi

Gypsy Druid Paladin

Ranger1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 ::

Druid8 | 9 | 1011  | 12 | 13 |:: 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 |:: 1920 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 |:: 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 |:: 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 |:: 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53| 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 |:: 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | :: 70 |

Paladin71 |

Heidi Chronicles  NF Character Sheet | @theheidifeed| MySlashdotKarmaIsExcellent

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