Nartin jerked awake, mindscreens crashing into place.
<Annilon you bastard, where the hell are you?>
<Bullshit. There is no way you can farspeek to SithRose from there>
<Oh but I can. There are so many things that you know so little about Nartin>
<Alright iblith, what do you want?>
<Is that any way to talk to your old friend, and King for that matter? I'm just making you aware that Blyclaaf has been utterly destroyed, your Rebellion put down, and that you, Sinrë, and your allies are screwed>
<Annilon, give up. Intimidation doesn't work on people that hate you so much that they'd be quite willing to throw you into the Demonweb Pits, even if it meant the end of the world>
<Ah well, it was worth a try. I'll be seeing you in the near future I hope, you have been silent for so long>
The mental conversation abruptly ended. Nartin hopped out of his bed and ran from the room, shouting at the top of his lungs for everyone to get up.
Naturally, not everyone was especially pleased at this prospect. Lithien staggered from her room, wiping sleep from her eyes with one hand while the other tried to smooth her silvery white hair which stuck out at all angles.
"Nartin, it's 3 in the morning. What the hell are you doing?" she asked sleepilly, with an irritated undertone.
Nartin spoke at a frantic pace, "We have to move, now. Annilon just mindspoke me somehow from Naraquil. He says that Blyclaaf has been destroyed."
"Lithien snapped awake in seconds, "He mindspoke you. Here? That's impossible. Right?""
"So we thought. Looks as though he has proved up wrong."
By this time the corridor had filled with 18 half awake people in pajamas, who also happened to form the core of the Arani Rebellion.
"Someone turn on the TV, if he's bullshitting we'll know," said someone from the back of the hallway.
Everyone filed into Lithien's room, despite her protests of it been an absalute mess not fit for anyone to walk into. Sinrë, the leader of the Rebellion, walked over to the small TV set and switched it on. It was an unusual time for a news report, but there was the familliar SithRosian reporter in the middle of an interview with someone.
Reporter: 'How was Blyclaaf destroyed exactly?'
Official: 'It is thought that Aranian vodyanoi teams drilled a hole from the sea bed to the outer Blyclaafian tunnels. After the victory at Eaglin charges that were laid there were detonated, allowing the water to gush in.'
Reporter: 'Do we know what has become of the Blyclaafian leaders?'
Official: 'We have no confermation yet, but it is thought that Tao and the president were in Kaarbaag , which has been comfirmed as one of the sunken zones. There is no word of the Rebel leader Noonet as of yet.'
Reporter: 'What has been the Arani official statement to all this?'
Official: 'No comment as of yet. King Annilon is expected to address the nation soon.'
Reporter: 'Well thank you for your time. Now we cross over to where the exalted Lady-'
Sinrë switched off the TV set, his normally ebony face had turned the colour of ash.
"We're leaving, contact the Kaeneieans. Annilon has gone too far this time. Lets hack that gol iblith into several chunks and feed 'em to the umberhulks. Rebellion time peoples."
With that he hurried out of the room to get some more heroically inspiring clothes on.
"Annilon of Arani, the Empire of Draconic States formally requests a trade agreement. We wish to purchase the Byclaaf casualties of war. If you can name a reasonable price reflecting quality of the corpses on a pound for pound basis, we will give you payment. Human flesh is one of our nation's primary food supply. The amount of corpses you have would help reduce food costs significantly and spare you disposal."
Imperial God Maelstrom Vortex,
The Empire of Draconic States (http://www.nationstates.net/cgi-bin/index.cgi/page=display_region/region=The%20Empire%20of%20Draconic%20States)
(Not a Puppet Region, Certified by Scolo der Game Mod)
EODS DEFCON LEVEL: 5 (General Peace and Recreation)
National Anthem: Roll Tide - Nightwish
Average Economic Strength: Thriving
Regional Positive Effects: Yut-Agreement (+1 Eco Cat) | Negative Effects: None
Pop: Approx. 2,685,000,000
GDP: Approx. $67,125,000,000,000 Tax: 40% Defense Spending: 25%
Defense Spending: Approx. $6,712,500,000,000
Approx. Total Military Personel: 103.84 M
Approx. Total Troops: 68,533,400
Annilon looked over this very odd request and called in his advisor Nazgar.
"Whadda ya think? Should we sell them these corpses at the risk of pissing off more people than we already have?"
"Sure, it gets us some more cash, and it's not like anyone else actually needs these millions of corpses that we've got floating around."
"Right, send out the vodyanoi to collect all corpses possible. Try and identify them first however before we pack them off to this Dragonisia."
Official Message to Dragonisia:
"This is an excallent idea and we shall inform you of a price when we have enough corpses for shipment. I expect that the corpses will be pretty beat up, but they should serve for food."
Message from the Kalessin Ministry of Peace to Annilon:
"We of Kalessin have been observing the Underdark for some time. Much of what we have seen has pleased us greatly, and the goddess Lloth seems to be a most agreeable deity. Both in your appearence and in your society we see great similarities with ourselves, Young Kingdomers though you are. Since a confrontation between our two peoples over resourses seems unlikely, since you dwell in the deep earth and we under the endless sky, we would like to propose an alliance, both for the sake of trade, and to help furthur our battle against our mutual enemies, the surface elves, who by their treachery deprived you of your ancient homes many millenia ago."
To the Kalessin Ministry of Peace:
"I believe that an alliance will benifit both out nations greatly, and it shall be a grand day when we are able to retake the surface worlds from our traitorous kin. Mayhaps you would like to send an ambassador to Arani to work out the fine details. An embassy may also be in order."
Of who's line were the surface elves? Surely, it is not of the line of Jonah Flik's son, heir of the Elven Realm of Mactan Island, bearer of the Light?
Prince Abaddon the Rogue
Lord of the Realm of Yavimaya
House of Lothloriendalin
They had left SithRose in a hurry, heading through the tunnels as fast as their lizard mounts would carry them. Now, five days later they were holed up in a cavern, near a small Arani city. They had no plan, nor did they really want one. It was as though they could see the inevitable checkmate coming up, but instead of been defeated gracefully they jumped up and threw the chess board accross the room.
In reality it was quite a good plan.
"Right, lets go!" shouted Sinrë with very false heartiness. He grabbed his small machine gun and rode at the lead of the small collumn of Rebels. They rode straight up to the closed gate of the city before anyone took any visible notice of their approach, though they had been caught on sensors quite a while ago.
"State your name and business at the city of Barestal. If your answer is satisfactory then the door shall open," came a voice from speakers implanted in the stone wall.
"Lets see, I'm Sinrë and we're going to knock down that door of your and take over the city. You got a problem with that?" Sinrë asked fiercly.
"Erm... let me check," came the voice, this time hesitantly. "Apparently yes, my superior does have a problem with that. It seems to be a very large problem and..."
Sixteen minds meshed. Nartin drew power from the psychokinetics of the team and expelled it all is a wave of destruction which sent the adamantite door flying is a twisted mess.
They broke the metaconcert and charged into the city, psychozaping or firing upon all of the town guard that ran there way.
The town guard soon found that they had more trouble than just the 18 Rebels that had just burst in. Those who sympathise with the Rebel cause were soon at the backs of the town guard, outnumbering them three to one.
It didn't take long for the city to fall. The priestess' of Lloth in the city were slain and the temple ripped down. It was the first victory for the Rebellion.
((Assuming the Rebel's make this victory public, and assuming this move for an Alliance with Kalessin is well known))
The Farseer council was gathered, they had a simple decision to make, and make it they did.
'Send this message to Sinrë:-'
((It's Telepathic feels different to your method, coming from a different source, it feels like a sending but straight to the mind, it's cutting through an Alternate dimension.))
'We congratulate you on your recent victory, and would offer our aid to your cause in any future actions, we where unwilling intially to enter this conflict, unsure what the cause for the rebellion was. We now know the truth behind these Lloth worshipper's, they are traitor's and an Evil that must be fought. We are as of yet unsure how we can aid you, how we can get to your position, however we are working on that. The bare minimum we offer you is resources, but we are making plans to bring more substantial aid to your cause.'
Jernis for the Council.
"Damn I wish people would stop assuming that you were a metapsychic," grumbled Nartin as he picked up the thought wave. He quickly informed everyone of what it said and sent back a message of his own.
<We are glad that you support us and if you need to send aid in any way it is advised that you send it via our allies in SithRose. We do not wish for large armies, the most that we would accept is a small team, supplies are of course most welcome. It is good to see tha not everyone has been corrupted by the lies of Lloth>
The preparations where being made, as asked not a Substantial Military Force, rather it was decided to go with an Exarch Team, led by a Warlock.
The following Aspect Shrines where asked to suggest an Exarch. (Names to come soon.)
Warp Spider's. The Abilty to make limited Teleport's joined with the Death Spinner would be a very Useful Combination. The Irony of sending an Exarch of this Shrine against follower's of the Spider Goddess was not lost on the Farseers. ((yes he does have a Spider web pattern to his Armour. And Yes the Death Spinner's round leaves an effect that looks A LOT like a spider web...))
Howling Banshee. The Close Confines of the Underdark, much like a Craftworld would require often Close Combat Condition's for this Reason a Howling Banshee would excel in these conditions.
Striking Scorpion. See statement above.
Two Ranger's. Their Stealth Abilties would be invaluable.
Finnaly in a Gamble one Shining Spear was to be sent. Despite the close Confines that would be the norm, it was hoped that a fast attack bike, ridden by such a skilled pilot, would be an unexpected tool for the Rebels.
Total Force with Warlock=7
Supplies they would bring. Fifteen Cases of Lambas Bread. ((Each had I believe 10 Loafs....))
20 Plasma Bombs,
15 Shurikan Rifles, half with Sniper add on's.
30 Krak, and 30 Frag Granades.
Their own Equipment, and ammo.
(OOC I hope this meets your not an Army requirements while still being a useful force, I'll contact Sith with the information when they reach Orbit.)
General Thompson signed the document.
CONDITIONAL SURRENDER OF BLYCLAAF
The Republic of Blyclaaf hereby conditionally surrenders to Arani and swears fealty to Arani, the conditions are as follows:
Condition #1: No Aranian soldier or military equipment is to attack any Blyclaafian on purpose.
Condition #2: The Economy and Government is to be seated and preformed by Blyclaafians, with 33% of the resources produced to be given to Arani.
Condition #3: The friendship goes back to the way it was before the war began.
Condition #4: Blyclaaf will be rebuilt without any interuption from Arani
This is a very important document. Do not crease, fold or make paper aeroplanes out of.
Nartin sped out of the city at full speed. The message he had just recieved changed everything. Whispering Voices was coming, and that had the potential to screw up everything they had worked for. Whispering Voices was not especially liked in Arani, especially after Nisil.
Still, Sinrë had accepted their help, and Nartin had the thankless job of meeting them. He rode his lizard mount as fast as it would go, which unfortunatly wasn't as fast as he would have liked. Nothing like those surface beasts called horses.
As he rode he reflected on the liberated cities reaction tot he whole mess. Quite a few of the civilians had died as chainmail doesn't stand up too well to machine gun fire. The town guard had fought as dishonourably as they had anticipated, blasting at those using swords with their 'modern' weaponry. Not that it helped them that much.
The civilians had delighted in Sinrë's coming, which is to be expected after the rule of the Lloth priestesses, who had been put to the sword immidiatly after the city's capture. All in all it was working out quite well...
We are willing to accept the surrender if this condition is met:
King Annilon, or his representitive, will be able to over rule any decision made by the Blyclaafian government. Unless it is a matter of great importance however, Blyclaaf will be left to govern itself.
The Republic of Blyclaaf accepts the terms.
(ooc: thank god. Peace at last)
Three large dragons fly away from Kalessin in the direction of the nearest Underdark entrance.
Message from the Kalessin Ministry of Peace to Arani:
"We have dispatched an ambassador, suitable landing co-ordinates would be appreciated."
The evening was dark and bitterly cold, with a rough wind smashing waves against the shore. In a bay still littered with debris from the Arani-Whispering Voices war, two small sleek navy blue hovercraft skim soundlessly to the beach edge, treading shallow water. Five figures slip quietly into the water, and walk ashore as the boats reverse back into the water.
Three of the figures dart behind nearby rocks, covering all angles for hostile movement. The rest quickly strip off their wetsuits, with three then replacing the three on watch and four beginning to move a huge boulder from its sandy, tidal resting place. The three replaced on guard duty in turn strip out of their wetsuits. All the discarded clothing is placed in a waterproof locked chest, and buried in a hole before the boulder is moved back. Even as they finish, the rising tide removes all marks left on the beach.
One man speaks into his comms-set: "Alright. Ash point, Beech right Cyprus left. Sycamore and Willow rearguard. Move it out." Fanning out and blending in almost perfectly with the dark, the group of ten moves towards and then into a cave entrance, weapons slowly sweeping every shadow and hiding place.
Soon they had entered into the uppermost cavern of the Underdark, where they were to rendezvous with the Arani insurrectionists, where they found Nartin. Two men remained in the passage they had entered from, covering in event of any pursuit, and two fanned out to the other two entrances.
"Mr. Nartin? Captain Laurence Fairacre, Special Operations Team Alpha, Ministry of Defence of Hushed Breaths at your service. Please refer to me as Oak during the time of this mission. Here on orders from the Dominion of Whispering Voices - they said you had requested as small a visible link with them as possible."
The captain waited for a response, and then nodded. "No need for anything like that. Our gene therapy has advanced to the point where our created soldiers can perceive several different light spectra, nullifying the requirement for bulky IR goggles. After the fight in Nisil, Dominion scientists spent years working on future underground combat eventualities. We are fully prepared for any and all projected combat situations, including saboutage, civilian pacification, and scorched earth policy." Here, he pats several tiny discs clipped to his belt. "One of these will bring the house down - literally. Our assault rifles are silenced for discrete operation, and we have of course underslung grenade launchers for overt operations. Lead the way, Mr. Nartin."
Arani, are you going to help in the elven conflict?
ooc: years working on it eh? How I love time distortion :D
IC: I'm sorry Aquilla, I'm quite addicted to life at the moment.
"Oak is it? Well good to meet you," said Nartin with a fake heartiness. "So do you need some infrared goggles, or night vision?"
Nartin listened to the response with great interest. It sounded as though Whispering Voices had been expecting to come to blows with Arani again. After this speech Nartin began walking off towards one of the tunnels. "We're based quite a while away, and I was able to steal a few lizard mounts on my way here, if you would like to use them"
The Kalessin dragons were directed to the Arani Airhole, where they were able to land with ease. Several important looking people awaited the ambassador in the underground airbase and they rushed over to greet the Kalessin representitives.
"Welcome to Arani. If you would like to leave your mount here you may do so. We have lizards nearby to transport us to Naraquil. King Annilon is delighted at the prospect of meeting you."
OOC: well nation states standards is one RL day is one NS week, right? So Years is entirely possible. Everything ages faster, except our favoured played characters.
"Certainly, Nartin. Anything to facilitate our rapid entry into this insurrection."
Oak murmered into his headset, and the squadron moved to follow Nartin, covering in front and behind, obviously expecting trouble.
ooc: I'll reply relevantly tomorrow, for the time being I'll continue a sub-plot I started last thread.
IC: Di'yerni hung from the wall in constant agony, unable to summon the energy to move or concentrate hard enough to use any of her metapsychic powers.
She heard the door open and saw a figure cloaked in shadows enter the room. She knew who it was, the despised one. The one who fancied himself as a king. The one who had ordered all of her companions cruelly tortured to death before her eyes.
She felt her anger and fear rising, though she could do nothing about what she felt of him. She was her prisoner, to be tortured for as long as it held his amusment.
"Ah, Di'yerni," said Annilon cheerily as he stepped from the shadows. "I see that you are well."
He scanned her bloodied form, especially taking note of the infected wounds around her wrists where the continual rubbing of the metal cuffs had worn away the skin. He chuckled softly at the thought of how much pain she must be in at the moment.
"I have quite a different amusment planned today," he annouced gleefully. "You see, it is about time I tested the effectivness of the newly formed Elite Metapsychic Corps." He sent a quick thought back to the metapsychics who were waiting just outside the door. They all filed in one by one, looking quite a sight in all black robes a glowing insignia imprinted on them.
Each greeted Annilon politly before turning their attention to Di'yerni.
"As you can see, I have managed to pull together quite a group, and when combined with the great power of the cerebyenergetic units, they shall be unstopable. But as for you, you will only experience the more painful aspects of their talents," Annilon turned to his cronies, "Shall we begin."
They murmured their accent before opening themselves to the metaconcert which Di'yerni perceived as twenty balls of light orbiting one, which took energy from each of those in it's orbit. Then she only knew pain.
They drilled their coercive power into her brain, laying it open for them to examine and to find her weak points. These they probed and prodded, making her body thrash around as her mind tried desperatly to fend them off.
<Break concert> came Annilon's mindspeech.
The metaconcert broke up and Di'yerni was left with all the fight taken out of her, hanging limply in the chains, which to her imense surprise and pain released her, sending her crashing onto the stone floor.
"Now now, it wasn't that bad was it?" cooed Annilon triumphantly. He would not have done so if he could see his prisoner's face.
Her eyes glowed with hatred, she became the incarnation of pure fury, possessed by the insatiable desire to utterly obliterate all those around her. Her mind expressed this in a whirlwind of chaos and destruction, ejecting all of it's pain and anger straight at the mocking laughter of Annilon.
The laughter stopped abruptly. Caught off guard by the mindbolt Annilon only had time to throw up a weak shield, and if it were not for his vigilant colleages he would have been vaporised on the spot.
Di'yerni leviatated to her feet, now completly calm, no signs of pain crossed her face. The mind bolts that flew at her crashed against the shimmering shield that she had errected.
As the awed Metapsychic Corps watched her grievous wounds began to heal. Bones reset themselves and the huge gashes down her arms and face disappeared without even a scar. Only those wounds around her wrist resisted the healing.
"Quickly! Metaconcert! Together we can stand against this creature!" shouted Annilon in a panic and plunged into the minds around him.
Di'yerni laughed, releasing a sparkling blue bolt of energy from an extended finger straight at what looked to be one of the youngest of the Metapsychic Corps. The bolt caught the young man in the chest and hurled him backwards, a look of horror was etched his face as he toppled down from the wall directly behind where he stood to lie in a mangled heap on the floor.
The metaconcert took effect them and they conjured a glowing shield of their own which Di'yerni pelted relentlessly with balls of glowing energy. The answering energy blasts from the metaconcert were deflected harmlessly away from her body by her flawless shield.
The roaring of the mental battle caught the attention of passing guards who smashed their way into the room with their adamantite swords drawn. Di'yerni barely acknolaged these new arrivals, prefering instead to bombard the enemy hiding under the mental shield.
Just as the first of the Royal Guard was about to take a swipe at her did she seem to notice their presence. With some disdain she calmly zapped each of the soldiers brainstems, causing them to fall into heaps where they stood.
<Annilon Annilon, lets getthef*ck OUTA HERE now before we get brainzap too>
<Nonono, we can still take her>
<We're gonna get screwed over in a few minutes, look atthat friggety mindblast of hers. Our shield is weakening>
<See flashes of sickly yellow light on it, when it goes red then it's about to collapse, as it is it won't stand much longer>
<Shitshitshit, she won't let us get away>
This exchange took approximatly three seconds, in which some of the metaconcert began gliding towards the door. Then Di'yerni spoke, and everyone stopped whatever they were doing to listen.
"You have made me angry, but no longer am I so," she spoke in an ethereal voice. "I am fury, the pure incarnation of chaos and destruction upon this world. You have let loose a demon this day with your puny mindprobes. Know that you are going to die in the near future, and when you do, I shall be there, and I shall depart this world leaving this mortal body behind to pick herself together, until another creature unwittingly summons me. Hatred goes a long way, and I shall see you in the next world after you depart this one. Your suffering shall be legendary."
She flashed them a wicked grin, evil enough to make Lloth herself stand up and applaude. Then she simply vanished.
"Oh f*ck!" yelled Annilon after a few moment of absalute silence. "We need to find out what this demon is, there is no way she should be able to pull of this sort of thing. It goes against the laws of intelligence!"
"My lord, we shall find out what this is and solve the problem. You can count on us."
"Yes, of course Arquelios. Get right on it. And get someone to clean up this Lloth forsaken mess down here!"
Annilon spun around and marched out of the room, puzzling over this latest mystery.
ooc: Holy crap that took a long time. I wonder if it made any sense...
[OOC: it made sense. IT doesn't bode well, but it makes sense :p]
The rider of the first dragon, a tall Kalessin wearing finely crafted armour, the colour of which shifted constantly between countless hues of blue and purple, vaulted from the back of his dragon, his azure cloak flying out behind him, and floated gently to the ground, grasping a rune-encrusted silver staff in his right hand. As two halberd-armed guards, also attired entirely in blue, and five robed figures, four in the same blue as the guards and the other in black, joined him, he nodded his head slightly towards the Arani who had greeted him.
"I am Prince Irlbilse al Kboisth of the Empire of Kalessin, and I have no need to leave my mount here."
At that, all the dragons simultaneously vanished.
"Shall we proceed? I would hate to leave King Annilon waiting."
It took a few hours for the Kalessin prince and his escort to arrive at Naraquil, which was made up of a number of vast caverns which were lit by a dull glow from the faery fire used to highlight the city's artwork. They were immediatly taken to the Palace where Annilon awaited them.
The drow escort left Prince Irlbilse and Annilon alone in a large room which had as its centrepiece a circular table. Two chairs were positioned opposite each other, one of them Annilon gestured for the Prince to sit at.
Annilon took the other seat.
"Prince Irlbilse al Kboisth of Kalessin, it is my pleasure to welcome you to Arani and to strengthen the relations between both our nations," said Annilon as pleasantly as possible.
Irlbilse grinned, his bright blue eyes boring into Annilon's
"My, my, is it just me, or do you look a little...tired?"
He sniffed the air delicately;
"And do I smell the distinctive odour of demon? Or am I just imagining things?"
"Your imagining things," said Annilon curtly. "Demons are none of your concern, what is of concern is the alliance between our two nations."
Nartin led the Hushed Breaths team through the twisting tunnels with ease, making a beeline for the captured city.
ooc: And erm... Very little to do really. I want to have the conversation with the Kalessin person before too much happens, otherwise we have the time distortion effect coming into play.
ooc: The results of an IRC session.
Irlbilse continued to grin, "As you say sir, I was indeed imagining things."
"Good then, now let us get down to business," grunted Annilon.
"Business? ah yes, the alliance." His grin faded faintly as he muttered under his breath "demons are everyone's problem," he paused for a moment. "And what might Arani be able to offer the great Empire of Kalessin?"
"Well," said Annilon thoughtfully, "We can surely export some of our rarer and more exotic items, as well as a joint defence alliance. Free trade and military."
"Ah yes, the Ministries did mention that your people possessed some absolutely fascinating poisons. But as for this 'defensive alliance'. Who are your enemies? The elves of course, but are you having trouble with any others at the moment?" He fiddled with a silver ring which he wore on his finger, upon which was mounted a single sapphire, even as his eyes continued to bore into Annilons, his grin widening again.
Annilon returns Irlbilse's stare, and puts a small amount of psychic pressure on his mind. "We oppose the GDODAD, or as they would prefer, The Dominion. Also Iesus Christi, whom we have hated for many decades."
"I am afraid that the Empire cannot help you there. We share your contempt for these young-kingdomers....but they are proving of some use to us at the moment." Irlbilse didn't even flinch, and parried the psychic thrust easily, without bothering to riposte. His eyes twinkled with barely concealed mirth. "One trusts that your internal affairs are all in order. We have noticed a certain amount of change in Arani's political orientation of late, and have wondered if you have had any problems with counter-insurgents."
"That we have. Rebels under the command of the former King Sinrë are striking. We expect to be able to counter the problem as most of those who would fight for them are either dead or too frightened to do anything about it."
"We rarely have problems with rebels in Kalessin. Our methods in dealing with such fools are rather....effective."
"Oh, and what methods may these be?" asked Annilon, who was greatly interested in anything that could hurt his enemies.
"There are certain beings existing on other planes of reality which have an uncanny knack for finding and killing a mortal assigned to them as a target. You may call them 'demons' if you wish. We normally send one of these to kill the leaders of a given group, and then, as their followers flee in terror, they normally become fairly easy for our Ministry of Love to find and make examples of."
"Interesting. I prefer the old fashioned torture them before crucifixion idea myself. Anyhow, we will have the situation under control before long. Even now the single city that they have captured in been surrounded."
"Crucifixion? Thats a bit...quick. The Ministry's methods are a little more sophisticated. But it is good to see that you have everything under control. Although I do so love the sight of rebel scum fleeing in terror before one of my pets."
"Hmm, this demon intruiges me. Mayhaps you could provide a demonstration?"
The Prince stood, running his delicately boned hands along his staff. "And who would be the target? This....Sinre?"
"Not Sinrë, his closest advisor, Nartin. And," his grin widens. "His cousin Lithien. He did go to such troubles to save her."
"What an interesting idea. Break Sinre down little by little. Kill his advisor, his cousin, everyone he cares for. Force him to watch, and then you will get him personally when he is helpless and alone, stripped of his allies. Beautiful. "One hopes that you have something belonging to the targets, hair or some other body-part is best, but even a simple possession would be enough..."
"Oh of course, this did happen to be where they lived once. Do make sure that you kill off Nartin first. Intelligence shows that he is away from the Rebels powerbase."
"That is most...fortuitous. Do you have anywhere where I might prepare?"
"Do you need any specificly prepared area or any equipment?"
"My servants have all the necessary equipment to prepare an area for the ritual."
"Shall the Temple of Lloth serve?"
"Not if you regularly use it. Stray trace-magics might prove troublesome."
"Ah, then one of the lower dungeons may serve. One of my servants can direct you there."
"That would be ideal."
A few hours later, Annilon, Irlbilse, a pair of robed Kalessin servants, and a drow guard gathered in one of the lower dungeons of the palace. A chair was placed against the wall, and Irlbilse motioned Annilon towards it;
"If you wish to witness the summoning, I would request that you sit upon that chair, and that once I begin, you do not move, or speak, or use any form of magic. Those restrictions are purely for your own safety."
Annilon nodded in acknowledgement and seated himself, even as the servants scurried around, placing candles in various places around the room, before lighting them. The candles flared up brightly when lit, burning with an intense blue flame, and filling the room with a strange scent which Annilon couldn't quite put a name to, although he was sure that he recognised it from somewhere...
"You," He pointed to the guard, "stand there near the middle of the room."
The servants retreated then, scurrying from the room as quickly as their legs could carry them and slamming the door as they left. Irlbilse stepped forward, his staff in one hand, and a Drow shortsword wrapped in an old and tattered cloak in the other. He placed the cloak and sword in the centre of the room, before muttering a few words under his breath which caused the runes on his staff to light up with a sheeny glow, and as its tip brushed against the cold stone floor, it left a clear silver line. Irlbilse spent the next minutes gently tracing a complex pattern on the floor, before cautiously stepping back to inspect his handiwork. Annilon looked up, and saw an eight-pointed star shining on the floor, its unnatural glow casting a disturbing pallor onto the Kalessin Prince's already pale features, and outlineing his hard, alien bone-structure. In the half-light of the dungeon, his eyes seemed to glow for an instant with barely-contained power. Then, he stepped to the edge of the symbol, and spreading his arms wide, began to chant.
The words he uttered were in no language ever meant to be spoken by any mortal. The guttural syllables rent the air like blades, his voice contorting and distorting as his normally melodic tones were lost in a language which had its origins in a world which was now long dead, and whose inventors had never heard of men, or elves, for men and elves had not yet been created. As Irlbilse continued to intone the words of the rune, a thrill of terror ran down Annilon's spine, and he had to force down the moan of fear that welled up within his throat.
The chant continued for several minutes, until the ground in the centre of the star, where the sword and cloak were, seemed to fall away, leaving a gaping black hole, through which climbed a creature out of Annilon's darkest nightmares. Standing at nine foot tall, iron-hard muscles rippled under its smooth, black skin, its fingers ended in long, razor-sharp claws, and a line of equally sharp protuberances running down its back. The nose was large and flared wide as it sniffed the air, even as its cold, black eyes fixed upon Irlbilse, who now held his empty hand out in front of him, as it warding off the demon.
Why have you summoned me, foolish mortal.
To serve me
I serve nothing. I am a demon of the 666th abyss. I cannot be commanded by any any mortal. I will take your soul and feed upon it for all eternity for your temerity in disturbing me.
The staff flared up, and the demon flinched slightly;
You serve me. You shall obey.
How will you pay for my services?
Irlbilse nodded towards the guard, who could not move due to the hold that Irlbilse maintained over his mind.
Take that one
The demon reached out lazily with a taloned hand, and siezed the guard, before ripping him apart, and stuffing the parts into his maw, which was studded with countless razor-sharp fangs. When he had finished, he looked up at Irlbilse again.
This is not sufficient.
The owners of the sword and cloak are named Nartin and Lithien. They are both powerful and will provide you with adequate sustanence. When you have killed them, their souls are yours. You shall kill the male first, and then the female. When they are dead, you shall take their souls, and may return to the abyss.
The staff flared up again, as it emphasising his words.
If you have lied to me, I will require an alternative.
I have not lied. Now go.
The demon strained against the bonds placed upon him for a moment, and then obeyed, smashing straight through the dungeon wall, as he sped directly towards the place where Nartin's soul shone, seeing it as clearly as a burning torch in the darkness.
"Oak!" hissed Nartin. "There is something coming! Can you feel the vibrations. Something very large, something that is..." he extended his farsight a bit. "Knocking it's way through every freaking wall heading straight for us! Holy shit!"
<Xeniler!> he farspoke back to the Rebel city. <We have a demonic entity coming our way! What the hell are we gonna do?>
<Demonic entity?! Give me an image>
<Get the hell out of there!>
<Love to, but can't see how>
<Idon'tgive a FLYING F*CK what you can't see. Kalessin demon is heading your way and if you don't get outa there now then you are royally screwed. GoGoGo>
Nartin made a sound that made an interesting mixture of a groan of agony and squeal of pain. His face paled (figure of speech) and his eyes opened wide.
"We have got to get out of here," he said in a shakey voice. "There is something coming that cannot be fought by mortal man. Your guns are no use here, and the sword I hold shall merely bounce of its flesh. It is a demon from the pits of the Abyss, it shall show you no mercy. We must flee now, run, as fast as you can and don't look back. Get the hell out of here while you still have the chance, now!"
It was cold, it was wet, and it was miserable.
Vlos Drake lef her equally cold, wert and miserable team through the tunnel. Fortunately, it would not be too long till they reached Barestal, the rebel-held city.
"We are aggravated."
"Yes we are."
"We are cold."
"And our hair is a mess."
Vlos was ready to scream. The twins were driving her positively insane! She spun around, facing the two men, and gulped. Even wet, cold and miserable the twins were gorgeous. Especially when the "wet" aspect had practically glued their white clothes on them.... Vlos shook her head. No, not going there.
"Would you two just shut the hell up?" she hissed, and was met with indifferent glares behind shielded eyes. Figures.
"This racket is alerting every single..." She continued, but froze and fell silent as she saw the reflection of someone stading some distance behind her on the lenses of the Twins' glasses.
"You Lolth-worshipping scum are not going any further!" an authoritative voice rang thorough the silence.
"Shit," Vlos mumbled, and raised her hands as she slowly turned around...
Ooc: I am aware of the fact that in IR, there wouldn't be a reflection (I think...) but let's leave it there as a dramatic lisence, yes?
Special Operations Team Alpha leader, codename Oak, raises an eyebrow at Nartin. "A demon?"
"Oh yes, a demon."
"I see. Coming straight for us?"
"Ah, yes. You should run now."
"We should run now, you mean."
"Ah yes, now /would/ be a good time," Nartin starts backing away
The black-clad soldier identified as Sycamore crouches down by the wall of the tunnel that Nartin had been looking at fearfully, and removes something from a belt. Tapping a couple of buttons, it beeps once, and he attaches it to the wall. Once he is done, the team look ready to move out - but they're making sure Nartin is ready to run, also. By now the tunnel is shaking violently and some loose dirt and rocks fall from the ceiling, "Run!" shouts Nartin, spinning around and running as fast as possible
Smoothly, the team begins running alongside him. Ash, who was point, is now the rearguard and takes the occasional glance back when running, trying to judge the distance. As they run, Oak calls out to Nartin - "Any idea why it's coming for us?"
"I was told it's a Kalessin demon, it must be here on Annilon's orders!"
"Annilon has enough political swing with Kalessin to get demons summoned just to deal with groups of six?" Oak sounds very disbelieving at this point, but at Nartin’s silence and slightly ragged, exerted breaths, concludes that the point is irrelevant. Then the wall further down the tunnel, the way they had just run from, explodes, rocks flying out in all directions and the demon makes its appearance. The tunnel didn't quite fit it but that didn't matter, it broke to accommodate its extended height. "Fast little devil," Oak murmurs as Ash grabs a grenade from his belt, and tosses it behind him just as he turns
the corner, causing the tunnel to collapse.
The demon smashed its way up the tunnel towards them, the roof crumbling down around it. "Nartin, I don't think we have much time at all," Oak is fumbling in a pouch, and gets out a small bottle.
"We have no time," Nartin replied.
"What is it?"
"Think of it as a storage device, but hurry!"
The rubble began to move slightly. As they continue running, Ash drops another grenade round the next bend. Nartin grabs the bottle and gulps it down. He coughs once, and a pained expression washes over his face. He stumbles, falls, going down on his knees in the corridor as a thousand murmuring and tantalising voices fill his mind, stealing his thoughts and his identity. His eyes film over, glaring bright red. As the sounds of the demon grow ever closer in the dust-filled corridor, Oak waits. As soon as the last vestige of any colour other than red is gone from Nartin's eyes, he sighs.
"Hopefully you'll understand why I'm doing this soon, Nartin." He levels a pistol at the incapacitated man's head, and squeezes the trigger.
Nartin's dying, screaming mindshout reaches the metaconcert in the Rebel held city, along with jumbled images. Blood and gore and slivers of skull spatter against the tunnel wall as Nartin's skull shatters. Oak flicks his hand at the corpse, and Willow crouches down, sucks a sample of blood up in the syringe. The demon hesitates at the sudden demise of its prey, frustrated and furious, before slamming back through another wall and heading to the Rebel city. The red glow from Nartin's eyes fade slowly, as his thoughts become more and more distant, his life sliding away in a slow agony of pain that for all others passes in a heartbeat. Oak turns to the team, idly brushing a clump of gore and hair from his sleeve. "Alright. We have a sample of Nartin's DNA and hopefully an imprint of his consciousness. Let's try to loop back to get the genetic sampler, and then we'll follow that demon. When we transmit the sampler data to ops command, we'll send Nartin's DNA and inform them of the
Tinilyon ran into Sinrë's room in the Rebel city, her face ashen with grief, "Nartin is dead." Tears filmed in her eyes, the distance between the two had sharpened his dying thoughts, his last empathic feelings those of cold unconcern and the hatred of his demon pursuer.
Back in the tunnels: "It must have been going for him. Original idea was just to get base to produce a clone and try to restore his mind so we could run faster. Not sure if he could have kept up with us if we'd had to keep running. If that thing had got him, our whole mission down here and that of the rebels could have been compromised."
The team, after a little digging, made its way back to the point of first contact with the hostile entity, where they retrieved the wall-mounted device. Data was transmitted to their command.
"HQ, this is Alpha team. Encountered some sort of entity that was apparently invulnerable to conventional weapons. In order to avoid compromising of our mission here, our guide was terminated and a genetic sample recorded. That and a sample of the entity DNA on their way. Guide was fed parlay before his demise, hopefully his mind will still be accessible in some manner. Please contact Arani rebellion."
Shortly afterwards, the following encrypted message is transmitted to the Arani rebellion-held city. "Hostile contact with unidentified creature. Sample of DNA retrieved. Physical reconstruction to commence soon. Mental reconstruction possible but unconfirmed. Creature is reported as 'unstoppable' by agents in the field. DNA analysis of creature estimated to be completed within two days."
The enraged reply is returned fast, Sinrë’s rage almost palpable. An unencrypted message comes back back: "You utter iblith, traitor. Olath Plynn Dost, and may you rot in the Abyss for your betrayal. We shall not forget this one. You talk of resurrection: Bullshit. You killed Nartin as you shall be killed, without mercy."
Orders to proceed after the demon with great caution in the event of contact with either side is returned to the team.
"Bastards! How could they have done this!" raged Sinrë to those gathered before him, which was the remaining members of the metaconcert and his cousin Lithien.
"We'll get them, they can't possibly stand up to us," Tinilyon told him in a cold voice.
"They are but a few, while we are many," piped up Xeniler.
"Let us meet them with swift violence, they shall then trouble no one. None more shall suffer," said Lithien softly, drawing more than a few strange looks from those around her.
"Yes, we shall do all of this, but not yet. There is still the matter of this demon," everyone in the room indicated their surprise in some way, be is swearing softly or groaning. Sinrë had bought them back to reality with this comment. "Someone get me a farsight lock on it!" he commanded.
Several of those with some power in farsight attempted to find the demon, only to find that it had mysteriously disappeared.
"I can't get a lock on it. It looks like it's gone," said Tinilyon.
"Fine, everyone go somewhere that they'll be useful in the event that this thing gets into the city. I want us prepared for this thing!"
The demon stood before the city gates, before it lay the bodies of five Rebel guards that it had caught unaware. The demon had used some small amount of stealth on its arrival, none knew it was there.
From the shadows a young drow emerged.
"Demon," said Di'yerni quite calmly.
The demon spun around, instantly enraged. Foolish mortal it telepathically cried as it leaped for her, its claws outstretched.
Di'yerni D-Jumped, teleporting directly behind the demon. "Calm yourself fool! I have come to offer a deal that shall aid both of us. Already I have saved you from certain discovery by those that would seek to keep you from your mission."
What do you want?
I want his soul
"You may have his soul when I have finished. In return I shall ward off all attempts to find you until you slay whoever you are here to slay."
With that the demon marched into the city, now invisible and made impossible to farsense by Di'yerni's metapsychic powers. It made its way through the city, towards a large house near the back that was home to five members of the metaconcert.
It also harboured Lithien.
The two that guarded the doors were caught unaware, if anyone had have been watching it would have seemed as though deep claw marks had materialised straight through their adamantite armour and through their chests. They both crumpled down in a heap having no time to scream.
Once again the demon found itself faced with a structure that could not accommodate its height, and so made its own way. It ripped through walls, the invisibility wearing off as it made its way closer to the room where Lithien now stood, jerked from her contemplation's by the noise it was making.
Lithien looked around the room, wondering who could possibly be making such a racket. It sounded as though someone was knocking the walls down.
Leaving the books which she had open on her desk she stood and began to cross the room to the door, leaping in surprise as half the wall opened instead.
The demon leered down on her, almost smiling at the thought of such a tasty and life filled soul. And so fragile looking too, though surprisingly not as affraid as was expected. It gnashed its teeth and walked into the room as Lithien backed away quickly, seeking the end of her bed.
A metre from the bed she dived, going into a roll and grabbing the sheathed sword that lay there. Simultaneously the demon let out a roar and charged forward, obliterating the bed moments after Lithien rolled to the side.
She ripped the shining mithril sword from it's ornate sheath, quickly discarding of the casing on the floor and bring her sword up in a defensive position.
The demon was now wary, not expecting such a move from such a frail looking female. But it was not worried, no weapon, no matter how it glittered could stand up to its tough hide or powers.
Lithien backed away, giving a flick of her wrist as she did so to extinguish the single faerie fire light that lit up the room, plunging it into darkness. The demon was unaffected and leaped at her as agile as a cat, its claws aiming to take off her head.
Lithien stood her ground, lifting her sword to parry the mighty blow. The sheer force behind that attack send her flying backwards into the opposite wall, the sword flying from her grasp and skittering along the floor.
However the demon had more things to worry about than his foes discomfort and vulnerable position. It game a roar of shock and pain as it surveyed the ruins of its claws, which had been all but sheered off by the goddess forged weapon.
Lithien limped over to where her sword had fallen, ever careful to stay out of range of the demon's grasp.
By now the city guard had been alerted to the disturbance and raced towards the house with several members of the metaconcert running with them. They burst into the ruined house and attempted to rush straight into Lithien's room.
One irresponsible person let loose at the demon with a machine gun, almost hitting Lithien in his wild shots. The demon shook off the bullets with slight irritation at the interruption. It ambled over to where the terrified man now stood, grinning a toothy grin which caused the machine gunner to wet himself with terror.
Someone screamed, and Lithien tried to make her way over to where the demon towered over the man, but it was too late for him. The demon opened its mouth wide and bit the man rather messily in half.
Several of the city guard threw up at the sight, and as the demon lifted it's blood soaked head towards them, they fled. Only the most courageous or those to terrified to move stayed in defiance of the Abysmal creature. A mind bolt flew from the hall, but had no effect on the hulking demon, which turned its attention back to Lithien.
You shall pay for that one foolish mortal
It lunged with the grace of a cat, baring its teeth and bringing up its uninjured hand. Lithien twisted to the side, almost, but not quite getting clear of the swinging claw which opened a long gash from her shoulder down to her elbow.
She made a quick slash at the retreating arm, but it came in too late. Retreating to the other end of the room she screamed, "Light bomb!" before closing her eyes tightly.
One of the soldiers tossed in a small spherical object that exploded in a flash of blinding light, causing the demon to stagger in surprise and demolish the dressing table by accident. Lithien seized the opportunity and went into a dive roll, making sure to keep off her injured shoulder which was dripping blood over the floor and forced her to stifle a scream of pain.
The demon thrashed wildly, hearing the female's stifled yelp and did its best to try and stop her, but could almost physically feel the advantage been pulled out from under itself. It swung its clawed hand out wildly and demolished part of another wall. Lithien only just managed to avoid the stomping feet by anticipation alone, and occasionally feeling the brush of air as it descended nearby. The demon suddenly felt a biting pain as the sword slashed across its ankle tendons. The unearthly roar it let out as it collapsed to the floor shook the roof of the house and caused most of those remaining in the hallway to flee. The force of which it hit the ground with send Lithien flying off her feet and sprawling her over the floor.
The light faded to a tolerable level and Lithien managed to raise herself high enough to see the demon writhing in agony on the floor. She picked herself off the floor carefully, feeling around for her sword. Her left hand hurt intensely and she soon found that she couldn't move it, but her right hand was as of yet uninjured. Scooping up her sword she staggered over to where the contents of her dressing table had spilt out sifted through them. She picked up a small velvet lined bag and opened it up revealing a few small herbs which she crushed up quickly and swallowed.
The pain in her hand numbed and she sighed in relief, then surveyed the room.
The demon lay to her left, thrashing around in agony but just out of reach. All of those that had rushed to her aid had now fled in terror and most of her possessions lay strewn and broken around the room.
Swallowing her fear she once again prepared herself for combat, raising her sword and searching for holes in the demon's defences. The chaotic thrashings didn't allow many openings but Lithien was determined to finish what had been started.
Twisting inside the swipes made by the demon's arms she made her way towards the head, taking easy strikes at the lower arms as she did so. Using its one good foot the demon launched itself at her, catching the startled warrioress off guard and almost squashing her. She leapt into the air and went into a flip, landing on the beast's stomach and ran nimbly up its body.
The demon went crazy, doing all it could to dislodge Lithien from its body. Lithien dived, plunging the sword between on of the demon's ribs with both ands and held one and the demon bucked, making the wound deeper and bloodier.
Everything the demon tried Lithien had a counter for. When it tried rolling Lithien spun herself to the other side of the sword and gripping on with both hands and feet, ripping the gash wider. When it bucked she curved the blade around the monsters ribs, and when it tried to swat her with its oversized claws she shoved the sword through its hand.
Lithien was coated in blood by the time the demon's frantic thrashes slowed down and she was able to get back to her feet. Wearily she staggered over to stand by the creatures head where they stood immobile for a few moments, staring into each others eyes and seeing only loathing there.
"Your finished Lloth spawned filth," she spat out at it, raising her sword to deliver the final blow.
Slay me now, if you must. But know that Lloth holds no sway over me, and that I shall be back. You cannot kill a demon, Eilistraee spawned filth
The demon closed its eyes, seemingly awaiting the final blow which Lithien didn't hesitate in delivering. The slash ripped through the demon's skull eye to mouth, more blood flooded the floor, adding to the puddle already there. The demon was dead, but a thought that should have long since past lingered on the air. I am not yet done with thee, mortal
The black eyes bored into her, its hideous face pressed close. Mortal... I have been waiting, I continue to wait
The demon opened its mouth, revealing rows of sharp, bloodied teeth. Lithien backed away, feeling small and insignificant compared to the raw power that was displayed before her. She collapsed to her knees, eyes rolling back in her head. With a thud her body fell face first onto the blood soaked floor.
Come mortal, I shall wait
Lithien awoke with a start, cold sweat covering her body. She shivered involuntarily and tried to wet her paper dry mouth. Glancing around in fear she saw that she lay in a bed in a white room completely unlike her own. And then she remembered.
The battle with the demon had almost killed her, and she could remember only a small part of what came after the fight, though the battle was kept fresh in her mind.
Groaning she tried to sit up, alerting those waiting just outside her room that she had woken.
Sinrë burst in, his face contorted with worry. "Lithien! Are you alright?"
"I- I feel like shit," she managed to mumble.
A huge grin crossed Sinrë's face. "Your alright ickle cousin, though why in the Nine Hells your were fighting a demon is beyond me, and how you won is even further out. Where did you get that sword?"
"Oh, right, my sword. D'ya think you could get me a drink?" Lithien neatly sidestepped the question, adding to Sinrë's suspicions. Nevertheless, he did go over to the basin and fill a glass with water for her.
"Your a bit shaky still," he commented as she sipped from the glass.
She shuddered slightly, "That has to be the greatest understatement of the century. Did you get my stuff out of my room?"
"Yeah, most of it. Since when did you start playing the flute anyway?"
"Since SithRose," Lithien snapped at him without warning.
"Alright, calm down. I was just asking. But damn that is one hell of an instrument. It's under your bed if you want it."
A nurse who had heard the noise bustled into the room. "Now, now, your cousin needs some rest," she shooed Sinrë out and closed the door in his bewildered face.
Lithien sat up, her back aching all over. She reached over the side of her bed and felt around for the flute case. Finding it she pulled it out and opened it, revealing the shiny mithril flute that Eilistraee had gifted to her. The flute leapt into her hands and fitted itself together. Raising it to her lips she blew a long perfectly in tune note.
The song she played was slow and sad, reflecting on what she had lost in her life. It chased all the fear from her and caused tears to flow down her face. She hadn't had time to reflect on Nartin's death before, and now it hit her hard. Nartin had always been there, it was rare that he wasn't at Sinrë's side. His death would leave a gaping hole in their lives. The music seemed to reflect on all of this, weaving the story of his life and death.
Sinrë, who still stood outside the door listened to his cousins playing mutely with tears streaking down his cheeks. Reluctantly he pulled himself away from the door and set off, leaving Lithien to her song.
Vlos turned and saw a drow dressed in full chain mail standing in the tunnel, a long adamantite sword was drawn. Behind him there were several other drow, half drow or human warriors, all with weapons out.
"Right, consider yourselves prisoners of war. You shall be taken to Barestal to be judged and sentenced by the rightful king. Any attempts to escape will result in your death. Surrender now or die."
Vlos cursed. This was not good. She turned her head to see her team tensed, waiting for directions. "I very much doubt their goodwill if we assault this patrol, " Vlos muttered, and shook her head to answer the silent query of her team. The Twins looked disappointed, but the scientist and the ex-otaku looked relieved. She turned back to the drow that had spoken.
"You need not to worry... we're not spies or anything..:" At least not spies of that Lolthist bastard, she mentally added, "Would "'take us to your leader' be too cliched? 'cause we really need to see the guy.. we've got a message to deliver."
The thick, dark green. As his eyes opened, all he could see was green. Occasionally a bubble would rise close, close enough to see, but it was rare. What ...
It was hard to think. To hold thoughts together.
He felt something, a sensation, in his head.
What is this place? What is this that surrounds me? Who am I?
Another sensation. Slightly different, but similar in many ways. Somehow it was getting closer. What was it?
These feelings ... I know these. Remember them. I ... am I, these feelings?
There was something solid, he could feel it now, close to his mind, down a bit. And not just a feeling, now. A taste. Bitter - yes, it was a taste he knew. Salt ... saline. Something ... something in his mouth.
agonyscreampain "come to us nartin" stretchingburstingpulling "join us" strainingbreakingdraggingdown youareonenownartin lossofsense lossofemotion lossofmind lossofself
Nartin spasmed and shook with the memories, flailing out, his hand touching reinforced transparent plastic of the birthing tank, slowly and weakly, but endangering the process, the wires attached being endangered ... and then it goes black, and he slides into blissful peace.
Nartin shook with the cold, freezing. His memories had returned in a flood the night before, and the doctors had had to put him to sleep twice as the fear drove him feral. But his mind had healed, aided by the drugs, with remarkable speed. Or if not heal - then scab over. The memories of the time after he lost his soul were buried, and buried deep. He knew, somehow, that he would have to be careful - were he to probe the mind of another too deeply, he would risk releasing what he had only just managed to block away - a presence, always waiting. Not threatning to take over, but promising to watch him, an eerie and unwanted voyeur of his thoughts.
A direct link to a machine had fed him information, electrical pulses burning along neurons from a webnet of electricity gelled to his skull. He saw, in agonising detail, his own death from the cameras of the operatives. He saw the demon, its subsequent departure. He felt, rather than saw, remembered pangs of disappointment as the creature had felt its prey taken far beyond its reach.
Nartin reached up, instinctively repeating a nervous gesture of running his fingers through his hair - but he had none, now. The tiniest hint of stubble where it would grow back. There was snow in this place, lots of it. He saw the helicopter lights before the helicopter itself came into view in the night sky.
It landed, smoothly, rotor blades hurling snow. His silent, taciturn companion - a laboratory technician - led him to the open door. He got in, and the helicopter rose from the ground, surrounded by white.
"We're taking you back, drow. You will be liaising with Oak's team in ... five hours from now. We haven't got a recent intelligence report of the situation to give, I am afraid." The soldier sounded a little bored, like he was reciting. He tenderly reached out with his mind, but felt only the chill void that surrounded the minds of all of these people.
Strapping himself into the seat more securely as the helicopter was buffeted by the Arctic wind, and reached out tentatively, slowly and carefully with his mind, like a patient teaching themselves to walk again after an operation. Reaching out to where he dimly-distantly felt the presences of minds once familiar: "Hello?"
Annilon sat at the side of the 8-sided star, transfixed by awe as he watched the path of the demon through the caverns and walls of the Underdark. Where the hole through which the demon had come had lain there was now a limpid pool, a mirror through which Irlbilse and the Drow King could watch the progress of the Kalessin beast. They watched as it clove through wall after wall in its inexorable charge towards its foe. They watched as Nartin was slain by his own guard, and they watched as the great demon easily slew the warriors of Sinre, before falling at the hands of Lithien. As this last occurred, Irlbilse's eyes widened in disbelief, and he swiftly ran around the room, drawing runes with his staff, even as he summoned another two drow guards, and ordered them into the heart of the chamber, before carefully placing himself directly between Annilon and the star-symbol.
With a great crash, the demon exploded out of the hole, although now it seemed to be more an insubstantial shadow than a material being, and lunged directly at Annilon, its claws reaching out for the Drow's throat, but then fell back as Irlbilse raised his staff, which now shone as brightly as the noon sun, emitting a clear white light which seared the eyes of drow and demon alike.
You have failed, demon.
The elfling is mine. You tricked me, the woman, her sword stank of divinity. Now, I will claim payment.
You have failed, you have not earned your payment
I shall have one nonetheless, for otherwise I will no longer consent to come at your call.
There are other demons.
But few that are as powerful as me which might reply to your call.
I shall allow you these and these alone.
Irlbilse gestured to the guards, who stood frozen in place by the power of the Kalessin Prince's mind.
They are weak, they shall provide me with little sustanence. I want him.
The demon lunged forward again, and was thrown back once more by the power of Irlbilse's staff;
He is mine. You shall never have him. Take those who I have given you and go, or our contract is terminated.
I shall do as you wish, this time.
The demon eyes bored deep into Annilon's for a moment, and then he turned, and seized the two hapless guards, rending them asunder in an orgy of feeding, before fading to nothingness, as the hole in the floor sealed up, and the star ceased to glow. One last thought hung in the air behind him;
One day, if it take me a year or if it takes me a thousand thousand years, I will have that girl's soul, to feast upon for all eternity.
Sinrë and his metaconcert were gathered around a circular table in one of the richer lodgings of the city, discussing what move they would next make. Xeniler was muting the meeting out, saying little unless he had to. He wasn't exactly the best for military tactics, though everyone around him was in the throes of a heated debate.
Then he felt it, a tug on his mind from a mental signature similar to one he knew, but wasn't quite right. He tried to ignore it, it couldn't possibly be what he was wishing for, it was just his imagination.
Sighing heavilly he turned his attention back to the conference. None others noticed the metapsychic greeting.
The helicopter journey took a long time. Nartin drowsed, fitfully - nightmares he struggled to wake from, and sleep he couldn't quite reach. He knew there was a part of the journey on a ship; that filtered in.
It wasn't til he landed back on Fardinia that he felt awake, however. And when he jumped from the chopper, and saw the specops team waiting for him, he vomited.
"Just think of it as storage," "drink this," "storage."
The helicopter had departed long before he finished heaving at the memories of his death, the impact of the bullet into his skull, the feeling of being dragged down.
Finally, he mustered the will to stand, and stare back into the cold eyes of his killer.
"Let's go." Nartin's voice was flat, by dint of willpower alone. He knew his mission, and was willing to get back to it. But he wasn't forgiving his killer, even though he knew he could well have been consumed by the demon.
It should have been my choice," he thought, as he once more descended into the Underdark.
The drow wept Fury from her. Cold and miserable, she had only time for Sorrow and Pain. The violent end of over five thousand people had affected her deeply, it had raised the Fury and Hatred, but now it was gone, expelled from her in the tears.
Di'yerni finally stood, surveying the place where she had d-jumped into. It was a small cavern, and once she had sent her farsight out a bit she saw that it was close to Barestal, the Rebel city.
'This is good,' she thought to herself. 'It is time that they became active.'
She d-jumped from the cavern, not noticing the silvery radiance exuded by the salty water on the floor, her tears.
Nartin consumed himself with his inner torment, all at once wishing to drive a dagger into Oak's back, yet knowing that such a course of action would be foolish.
He berated himself for cowardice, berated Annilon for cowardice, berated Sinrë for cowardice. After all, it was Sinrë that had sent him on this utterly stupid mission, to meet with the betrayers of Whispering Voices who had not so long ago murdered twenty million or so innocents in the Fall of Nisil. He should have gone himself, after all, it was his idea to accept the aid of the Possessed Ones.
In his thoughts he cursed his most trusted friend bitterly.
The girl lay sprawled on the floor, her frail body showing multiple wounds. Blood seeped over the floor around her and was absorbed by her torn clothes. All around was black, coated in darkness, with but a faint red glow providing dim light in what appeared to be a cavern deep beneath the surface of the Earth.
In reality it was a cavern deep in the Abyss. The 666th level of the Abyss to be precise.
The demon stood over the cowering girl, saliva dripping from its open maw as it attempted a grin.
Mortal, we meet again
The girl tried her best to look defiant, but couldn't help the quiver of her lip, nor the tears which welled up in her eyes.
Foolish mortal, you should have known better than to fight a demon. We have very long memories you know, and are prone to hold grudges
The demon leant down, almost pressing its hideous face against the terrified girl's.
The time will come when it is just you and me, and I shall emerge victorious. Your soul shall be mine to feast on, as shall the body. You have never known true pain mortal, you will, whether it takes you a lifetime to learn the lesson, you will.
Lithien jerked awake, her eyes, opened wide with fear, scanned the room looking for lurking demons. They didn't have to move far to find one.
Sitting cross legged at the end of her bed a drow female sat, an aura of darkness seemed to shimmer in the air around her. Where the whites of her eyes should have been there shimmered silver, while the centre of the pupil shone with pinpricks of red light. The strange drow looked straight at Lithien, the expression on her face was one of sorrow.
"Lithien," she said, nodding her head slightly in greeting.
"Who are you," asked Lithien, her voice quivering minutely.
"I am... I am Sorrow, I am Fury, and I am Di'yerni. It is impossible to join the separate entities of my mind. Call me Di'yerni, for it is the name of the body as well as the mind."
"Right, and what in the Nine Hells are you doing on the end of my bed?"
"I am here to motivate, to move the Rebels onto victory, for staying here will lead only to stagnation, with stagnation comes ultimate defeat."
Di'yerni's voice took on an angry tone, "The Rebels have been to inactive! What have you achieved thus far? You've taken a single, measly city, and that is all."
Lithien remained silent, and the pause stretched out uncomfortably.
"You must strike, soon. You have enough people for an army, for thousands more arrive each day. If you don't fight soon then you shall run out of food, and Annilon's army already moves in. You could be up for a lengthy siege if you do not move swiftly and decisively."
"I know, but why are you telling me this? I do not have any power in matters of war, it is my cousin that you really should be talking to."
"I find your presence much more soothing than that of your cousin. I was in his room before, yet couldn't bring it upon myself to awaken him and speak with him. Your purity is revitalizing. Besides, Sinrë will listen to you, he always has."
"I shall do as you say."
Di'yerni looked visibly relieved. "Then I shall leave you, rest well, for you will not get much in the times facing you."
Then she was gone, yet a thought floated back to Lithien:
I cry for thee, I mourn for thee. When you are in your darkest hour call for me. I shall come. There are no more tears to cry, yet still much mourning to do. I shall leave you to your own devices until you call, Tári Lithien.
Jono Land supports Arani, although I am just an00b I hope this helps Arani be victorius!