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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:25 pm 
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Something Cool

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Nobody tell Spires!

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:54 pm 
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Rainbows
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Location: Tower of Hoeth
Now this newest development surprised even me. :lol: Is the tower really THIS empty? (Edit: Now that came across in entirely different meaning from what I had in mind, those two sentences are not connected in any way. #-o)

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:27 am 
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Auctor Aeternitatum
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Location: The city of Spires
Malossar wrote:
Nobody tell Spires!

Too late... ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 9:10 pm 
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Ultimate End Times Chronicler

Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 9:10 pm
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Part Ten – Visions and Endings


He lay upon his back on top of the bed. The sheets were a sweat-stained tangle about his feet. At his side was the lithe figure of the princess. He could feel the soft warmth of her curves pressed against him as she rested her head upon his shoulder. One hand was draped across his bare chest, gently caressing the scars about his abdomen.

“Sometimes I wonder,” Aicanor gave a breathy whisper into the moonlight.

“What is that?” he acknowledged and pulled her tighter against his side. Her long black hair was draped across his chest and throat and every strand positively shimmered in the night glow.

“I wonder,” she continued slowly, “if our lives are at the hands of our gods after all.”

She stopped. He cautiously stroked the alabaster curves of her side. It had been such a long time since he had been this close to a woman. He was beyond such things as Shadow Prince, but now…

Now, what am I?

And he felt young and foolish and clumsy all over again. Every press of his fingertips upon feminine curves accompanied by a blush on his cheeks.

“I sometimes think that the gods are commanded by something more than themselves,” she continued, whispering into his chest. “A power…or a Fate, that commands even Asuryan himself. Something that orders the very lives of the Pantheon itself.”

“How can that be?” he whispered back.

“I do not know,” she said after a moment. “They say Chaos is beyond the gods. A force not of this world; from outside Asuryan’s Creation,” she murmured. “Sometimes I wonder if even the Dark Gods though dance to unknown puppet strings. That perhaps before Creation there was something else. Not a Void, but a Reason. The logic of Space and Time from which Creation itself was possible….”

He thought about that and frowned. “I do not understand.”

She turned her head and rested her chin upon his chest bringing her eyes to look at him. They shone again with a silver sheen. “Without Depth, there can be no Thing to measure,” she explained. “Without Time, there can be no Action. No life. No Creation.” She hesitated, “And I sometimes wonder if these forces were in play even before the birth of our gods. Or the Chaos Gods. And they rule over them with an invisible hand, pulling the strings like puppet masters…. Forcing the possibilities of what can, or will, be….”

She settled back down into his chest. “And then a more terrifying thought occurs to me. What if these forces are not impersonal. What if they are capricious? Even cruel? What if they play with all Creation… all of our lives… the conflicts with Chaos… the struggle and deaths of this world…. As nothing more than an amusement. A game perhaps to entertain children? And our struggles and dramas and foibles are nothing more than an ersatz pathos with which to engage the bored and listless….?”

He struggled to follow her words. She wrapped her arms tight about him. After a moment she whispered, “I call this force the Gav’Ynn….”

He frowned and thought about the ancient words. They were similar to the elder dialects of Nagarythe. The Gav’Ynn…? What was that? Yes.

The ‘Soul-less Thing’….

He shuddered at that and brushed her hair gently with his fingers. And waited.


***


In time he could feel her body fall into the rhythms of deep sleep. She was beautiful beyond words. A lithe carving of a sylvan princess made from alabaster and hope. But it was after the witching hour now, and if it was to happen, it would happen soon.

Carefully and quietly he extricated himself from the maiden’s embrace, and dressed in silence in the adjoining foyer. He claimed his bow and two swords and then swept out into the hall beyond. All was dark and quiet; there wasn’t a sound of movement or the sight of a late night sentry or servant making their rounds. Yet still, he was not comforted. He made his way quickly, and without stealth, down the length of the corridor and to the stairs leading below.

He climbed down many of the tower’s complicated and twisting staircases; always at a hurry, always with a wary eye but unquiet step. In time he arrived to the place he sought: an empty corner of the great library. There was nothing here but a few long tables and chairs and shelves jammed full of books and folios. A pair of lanterns created pools of light on the opposite side of the open space in this corner. He glanced around, then claimed one of the tables at the far end, near one of the walls. Upon the table he lay out his Avelorn bow, and then carefully and with respect, the two swords. All were even upon the table – set as if at ritual. Then he went in search of the book. It took him a while, but he finally found what he needed, and returned to the table. He set the book in front of him and began to read.

The minutes slipped past and the night darkened. One of the lamps burned down to a sputtering flicker, and then… he knew he was not alone.

He put his finger upon the space in the book.

“They say that I have to change,” he said aloud to the room. “They say that I am an… ‘anachronism’,” he read from the dictionary before him. “A thing ‘out of time; conspicuously old-fashioned’.” He sighed. “They are probably right. That I must change with this new world…. But it is hard. So very hard….”

He looked up. He could see the dozen or so cloaked and cowled figures looming in the shadows about him, assassin’s blades in hand. Killers’ eyes stared out from the darkness.

“But here I am,” he said heavily, “the last of my kind. And I will speak the words that no Shadow Prince before me has uttered….” He looked to the waiting figures. “Go. Just go. Leave in peace and I will leave you in peace.”

He waited. After a few seconds one of the figures shook its head. “We cannot do that. We have our King’s orders.”

He sighed. “Yes. I know.”

He reached out and let his hand sweep across the table. Finally it settled upon the hilt of Spite.

“Let us begin.”


***


The last died hard. There was blubbering and vomit. Until he bashed the back of the head in with a corner of one of the heavy tables.

And then he was standing alone in the pools of light, surrounded by the bodies and pieces of bodies, by the blood and the stench of death and sweat. He stared down at the last and saw that his features were not Druchii. Most were; but not all. And a pain and a regret filled him.

Spite was drenched in blood before him. As were his arms and hands. Most of the blood was those of the assassins; but not all.

Is this my legacy? He thought as he studied the carnage about him. Six thousand years of battle, and for what? Death. Death, meaningless and cruel, over and over again. Is that all the Shadow Princes were? All we can be?

He did not know the answers. But one thing was certain – this wouldn’t be the end. Malek’Kith’s arm was long if he could send assassins after him even in this isolated place. And they would come. They would follow him to the ends of the earth. Of that much there was no doubt; the enmity between the Shadow Prince and the Witch King was eternal. If he stayed, more would come, and all those around him would be at risk.

There was only one thing to do. He gathered his things from the table, leaving only the book. Then, again without stealth or guile, willing the watching eyes of the spies to follow him, he walked down the stairs and made his way to the great hall and her waiting silver doors. With one last pained look behind him, he opened the gate and crossed out to the early morning threshold. The sounds of the sea waited for him. He climbed down the long steps, sparing only a single glance at the bowed head of Tiralya, before climbing once more into his little rowboat and casting off.

He pulled as hard as his arms could move. Until the mighty tower became a slender spire behind him.


***

The sun was high and warm and the White Tower was just a line upon the horizon. He had stripped his new tunic – already blood stained and ruined – and placed the Shadow Armor upon the bench before him. He looked down at the cuts along his arm and shoulder. None looked deep, thankfully. He had little to tend them to except a bit of fishing line and hook, and strips from his once fresh shirt.

One oozed a puss that was sweetly pungent and of a greenish tinge.

Poison. And he could not draw upon his powers of rejuvenation to fight it. He had no antidote; and even if he did he knew not what venom now flowed within his veins. Fever? Madness? A paralysis of limbs? The slow death as his heart gradually began to sputter? It could be any of these or more – the Druchii alchemists prided themselves on their innovation. All he could do was tend the wounds as best he could and wait and see. There could be no going back. That would just encourage more attacks. And he would not risk the harm that could cause.


***


Nightfall. The sky was filled with a vast strip of purple stardust. The stars were stained violet and shone forth from the heavenly cloud. Twinkling. Turning. He could see them shimmer like lamps shone from the decks of ships. As if they were searching for him.

He could see his breath fogging the panorama above him. And icy particles drifting through the air; a swirling kaleidoscope of soft whites and silvers that drifted upon wind and dream. But his body was shaking. He felt the fever. Felt the sweat on his brow and upon his arms. He was freezing and sweltering at the same time. He wrapped himself in his cloak, and stared upwards. He tried to find familiar stars; he should know them all here. But they were strange behind the haze. Strange and unfamiliar. Just an assault of lights turning. Turning and falling…


***


He awoke with throat parched. The sun was beating down on him again. He could see it past the swollen eyelids that refused to open – a warm, reddish light, beating like a heartbeat. He reached out with his hand trying to find water. His fingers fell into the rain catch. He cupped them and pulled them to his cracked lips, but then spat as he tasted the salt. His spitting turned to heaving. Twisting in agony upon the bottom of the boat as his stomach tried to force its way out his throat.


***

It was night again. He was not sure of the same day or another. The boat flowed on its own atop a current that dragged it through wave and over crest.

He sat hunched over himself, his soiled cloak wrapped loosely about his shoulders. One hand hung limply upon the boat’s side.

“I failed,” he mumbled to nothing.

There was another hand on the boat’s side, a little distance from his own. He saw the weathered fingers, the callused knuckles, gripping upon the wood as if steering a boat along a shallow stream.

“Yep, you sure did,” the old familiar voice said.

He shuddered. “I failed, Tanith. Failed everyone that depended upon me.”

He saw the figure now walking alongside the little rowboat. Each footfall touched the surface of the ocean and when it left the water seemed to glow a bright sapphire. The old Shadow Walker’s face was turned away from his as he walked. His knotted hair hung about his shoulders as he stared up and out at the stars overhead.

“Yep. A real level of failure not to be matched in the annals of Nagarythe. An epic-ness of failing.”

“All gone, because of me,” he moaned.

“Yup. No other Shadow Prince managed to mess up so badly that he lost the bleedin’ country! You should be proud. It takes a particular level of ineptitude to do that.”

“Stop it.”

“What? I’m just agreeing with you. You are a total and abject failure. On a level never before imagined. Pretty impressive, that.”


***


And he was gone. He sat alone in the night feeling the boat buck and sway beneath him. Feeling the cold seep through his cloak and into his arms. He let the blackness take him….


***


The sun was shining. He sat at the aft of the boat. Before him, propped up on the seat board, were the swords Regret and Spite. And upon the greatsword he had draped the Shadow Armor. He stared at the black links and gold bands. Seeing them there like the silhouette of a gaunt scarecrow. It had been a part of him for more than a century. But now he looked at it and saw only metal and bits of leather. Straps worn and torn; rings twisted and ill-fitting.

He closed his eyes. And sat there, and waited. He was alone….

No. He felt something. A presence….

He opened his eyes. The sword and shadow armor were gone. No. They were returned.

HE sat before him.

“Well met, Narrin’Tim.”

It was the voice. The old calming voice. And he was there before him, resting upon the boat-seat, just as he had done those centuries ago. His ebon hair long and flowing in the sea breeze; the armor gleaming upon his shoulders; the greatsword strapped at an angle across his back, its pommel glistening with the sun’s rays.

“Spite,” he whispered. His fingers reaching before him, straining. “My prince….”

The black eyes were looking at him, and there was a peaceful, even amused expression upon his gaunt, pale face.

“You have returned to me,” Tim croaked. “Here at the ending. You were gone…so long.”

The figure gently shook his head. “I have never left. I have always been right here, beside you.”

He felt his voice choke at that. “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I failed you! I failed everyone! Please! Oh gods, please!! I am so sorry! Take the pain away! Please!!! Take me to the golden fields…. I am ready.”

The figure sat there and looked at him with a sympathetic light in those ancient black eyes. “You have not failed me, Narrin’Tim. You have not failed anyone.”

“Please….” his parched voice broke.

“You have made me proud. So very proud,” the figure replied, his face smiling sadly. “That is why I appeared to you now. To say to you these words…. You have made me proud.”

“No. I failed,” he said shaking his head. Confused and sobbing now, the sun filled his eyes and brain with such pain. He just wanted it to end.

“No, Narrin’Tim. That you did not do,” he said the gentle smile still in place. The figure shook his head slowly and said:

“For a long time I have known that you are a better Asur than I.”

He was so surprised by those words that he just stared back, trying to fight through the pain in his head and eyes.

“I took my name ‘Spite’ not just as a curse against our old foes,” the shade continued wearily, “but also as a cry against my fate. I spited the call from Nagarythe. I had fled the homeland and gone to distant climes, anything to avoid a life in the Host. A life of war and service. I hid away in forests and mountains in distant continents just so that I wouldn’t have to serve.” The shade explained its shoulders slumped. “And when the call finally came. When I was found and the service was forced upon me…I resented my lot. Resented it with a passion.” The shade swallowed and shook his head. “I wanted to be a gardener, you know. I wanted to find a small plot in Hoeth or Avelorn and grow things from the ground. A quiet life of contemplation and care. And then later, after I married… I found the love of my life… I just wanted to be a father. And a husband. That was all. And so I hated and lamented my fate. Cursed Nagarythe and the elders. I resented everything about my duty and what was demanded of me.”

He looked up, and his black eyes settled upon his tired grey ones. “But you…. You served willingly and without a selfish thought. You never shirked your duty. Or turned your back upon your brothers….”

“And for that, I just needed to say, that you have always been my hero, Narrin’Tim….”

He was speechless. Sitting there in pain and hunger. Too tired to do anything other than weakly sob. “Then…may I go? May I go to the Golden Fields? I am so tired. So very tired….”

The shade smiled before him, broadly and with warmth.

“No, my friend. I am not here to guide you to the Final Place.” The black eyes filled with tears of kindness. “Nagarythe still needs you….”

And he was gone. He moaned and stretched out with his hand trying to grasp at the empty space that had just held him.

“Go to Her….” A voice whispered in his mind.

And he stared and blinked.

In the distance, high among the clouds, he saw….

Black spots. Of all different sizes and shapes. Black stones among the clouds! And from them eagles of white and grey. And skyboats drifting between with sails of scintillating silver. He saw them spread out and about the heavens.

He began to laugh. And to sob.

He was home.



***






THE END


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:13 am 
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Chronicler

Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:47 am
Posts: 219
Location: Brisbane, Australia.
I almost curse you headshot; a little bit because writing stories in the same forum as you is like rolling jiu jitsu with a top flight black belt; humbling, invasive and ending in mat burn, but mostly because now I really want to go and make a HOTEK list from the flying motes that remain of Nagarythe with Nagarathi warhawk riders and Skycutters, master spam on 'dark' pegs, phoenii and infinite flying circus fun. In the words of Zim; Curse You! :lol:

That being said I am incredibly glad Tim got something of a happy ending, and a bit of tail on the side :lol: , I absolutely love the discussion between Tim and Spite and I love that when you've been following Tim's overall character arc he's been a really hopeful character and despite all his setbacks and trials that finally pays off for him in what most people are seeing as the darkest of times.

I salute you and if you don't win this competition, there may be an online riot.

Great work!

God damn, now I want to buy another elf army and I haven't even finished Belac Agaith! My wife may yet sacrifice me to She-Who-Thirsts!

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Makiwara wrote:
Smiths in Nagarythe that can repair the holiest piece of armour worn by the Shadow Prince himself... 0 apparently.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:40 am 
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Chronicler

Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:47 am
Posts: 219
Location: Brisbane, Australia.
Hang on; Gav'Ynn, the soul-less, hahaha I only just got that!

:lol:

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Only in the Dreaming Woods are Mortals truly free, t'was always thus and always thus will be.

Headshot wrote:
Makiwara wrote:
Smiths in Nagarythe that can repair the holiest piece of armour worn by the Shadow Prince himself... 0 apparently.


Duct tape counts!!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:50 pm 
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Well played Sir
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Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 7798
Location: Queensland, Australia
Of course the famed floating islands, they float not because of the magic of Ulthuan, but because of D'har, they will remain there forever.

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Lord Elessehta Silverbough of Ar Yvrellion, Ruler of Athel Anarhain, Prince of the Yvressi.
Beastly member of The Mage Knight Guild.
Narrin’Tim wrote:
These may be the last days of the Asur, but if we are to leave this world let us do it as the heroes of old, sword raised against evil!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 3:09 pm 
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Something Cool

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:21 pm
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You just couldn't resit one jab at ole Thorpe could you ;)

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:03 am 
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Well played Sir
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With the End Times stuff done, do you still have time to finish off the other story before you need to go back to real life?

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Lord Elessehta Silverbough of Ar Yvrellion, Ruler of Athel Anarhain, Prince of the Yvressi.
Beastly member of The Mage Knight Guild.
Narrin’Tim wrote:
These may be the last days of the Asur, but if we are to leave this world let us do it as the heroes of old, sword raised against evil!


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 2:28 pm 
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Auctor Aeternitatum
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Location: The city of Spires
Elessehta of Yvresse wrote:
With the End Times stuff done, do you still have time to finish off the other story before you need to go back to real life?

Ssst! Don't remind him there's a real life out there. Just let him remain here and keep writing. If there was a way to chain him to his desk I would. ;)

Rod

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Eirik wrote:
Please try to remember that, no matter how 'official' the source seems, rumours are basically just a dictionary combined with a random number generator

For Nagarythe: Come to the dark side.
PS: Bring cookies!

Check out my plog
Painting progress, done/in progress/in box: 167/33/91


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 9:35 pm 
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Rainbows
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I knew it wouldn't last... :twisted: And I do not call them Gav'Ynn, but Matt'Hew.

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Ssst! Don't remind him there's a real life out there.
There is no real life out there. Just reality bubbles. :wink:

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