Quest II. The night the towers cried [open]

In this epic quest, a group of adventurers is abducted during a thunderstorm and pitted against an eldritch enemy.

(This is a thread from Mizahar's fantasy role playing forums. Why don't you register today? This message is not shown when you are logged in. Come roleplay with us, it's fun!)

An inland sea created by Ivak's cataclismic fury during the Valterrian, the Suvan Sea is a major trade route and the foremost hub for piracy in Mizahar. [lore]

II. The night the towers cried [open]

Postby Tarot on August 7th, 2011, 8:33 pm



Chapter II, which takes place on the night between the eighty-first and the eighty-second day of Summer in the year five-hundred and eleven After Valterrian.

ImageThe Watchtowers. There had been a time, before their creator was struck, when they'd been an integral part of the world as people knew it. Imagine guardhouses and soldiers, patrols, papers being checked, military supplies taking precedence over civilian travel, and trade flourishing around these structures. Hubs rising in their vicinities, the hustle and bustle of wagons, specially made for Watchtower transportation with their padded interiors and sealed doors. And, of course, taxes. Watchtower travel had been a natural source of income for the nations blessed with their presence, especially in the centuries leading up to the Valterrian. The wealthy could afford using them for entertainment, and the sons of the rich were especially fond of touring Mizahar on their coming-of-age journeys (which tended to feature more brothels than anything else).

Nowadays, they served little practical purpose save for keeping the continent informed on season switches with their periodical flares. Lacking most other forms of calendars, that was a service in and of itself. People were able, if nothing else, to tell their age and birthdate with remarkable accuracy - often up to the season! There were occasional fireplace stories of people actually trying to do the Watchtower thing like in the good old times. The option was still there, and when something was out there you could be sure someone, somewhere would take it. A few stories had a happy ending - most did not. Of course, in most cases it wasn't given to know exactly what fate befell those who didn't come back, because, well, they didn't come back. No matter where they landed, they either really liked it a lot there, or not at all.

Our tale here is concerned with the peculiar night when, for the first time, the Watchtowers actually invited a large gathering of people. It should be said that, when Aquiras handed the Watchtowers over to mankind and retired into his love nest with the goddess Priskil, he did not exactly provide an instruction manual or full schematics for their use. Nor were the recipients overly interested in the complexities of their design at the time. They couldn't have known that, under certain circumstances, the Towers were programmed to borrow able bodies from their surroundings to deal with a serious enough crisis.

Because until now, despite Aquiras' near death, the Valterrian and the system-wide state of ruin, there hadn't been a serious enough crisis. Aquiras was a good fellow if there was ever one, and he did not insert this measure lightly. Aware of the cost in terms of broken lives, he made it so that it would only activate in the event of an immediate, global threat. Ideally, if such a thing happened, it would be the marked of Priskil to confront the crisis and deal with it.

However, this very night the Order of Radiance was gathered at their Talderan headquarters with Priskil, and the secret Watchtower there existed in half-isolation from the others. The coincidence was hardly coincidental, as we will see, but let us not get ahead of ourselves here. Since their tower failed to activate thusly, and in fact all but shut down for a time, the Order did not play a role in this chapter of the tale until much later, and lives that might have been saved were not.

But the candle keeps burning and you look impatient, dear reader. Our story begins, rather unfortunately, with a dark, stormy night. The dark was Akajia's doing, like any night, but the Watchtowers themselves provided the storms. Suddenly, bolts of electricity in the four colors the Watchstones usually flared - blue, red, yellow and green - shot up from the towers' pinnacles and to the gathered clouds, where they fell back to the ground in spectacular, but mostly innocuous, showers. Many people watched this show half-thinking it was the end of the world, or Ivak coming back to finish the job. Priests interpreted the omen, and scholars interpreted its science, and both sides could at least agree on the fact this wasn't looking good. Not world-ending, maybe, but world-changing? That was far more frightening to contemplate.

After several minutes of pyrotechnics, the lightning bolts stopped rocking the sky. Instead, they struck over large distances, traveling along wide, jagged arcs, and hitting those curious enough to stand in the open. The careful watcher would have noticed these bolts no longer originated from the Watchstones situated on top of the towers, but from the side structure that housed the portal itself and which had since flared up. It was painful to watch, partly because of the light, and partly because you could almost see the strain on the magic at work. It wasn't designed for this, not now, and it was drawing from secret reserves put in place specifically for tonight. There were bright flashes, then the glow would dim as if the power was fading for good, then it would pick back up.

Of those who were struck by the bolts, it can be said that they disappeared without a trace, and most were presumed dead, literally evaporated, until they returned. Those who did, anyways. Men on horseback vanished with their mount, as did others with animal companions if they happened to be very close. Their immediate possessions were apparently "disintegrated" alongside their unfortunate owners; or so it seemed to any witnesses. What these people actually went through was travel as packets of converted Djed. They had been volunteered.

When the heat of feeling thunder-struck and the blinding light subsided, each found himself or herself transported to a place that felt dark, lonely and yet necessary.

Their feet were firmly planted on ancient stone tiles, each carved in great detail. Many had the symbol of Aquiras: the open door being crossed by a stylized lightning bolt. Others held more obscure pictograms. The floor formed a large, perfectly circular disc maybe three hundred feet across. To the skin, it felt warm and buzzing with energy, but at the same time brittle and in the process of cracking and crumbling. The tiled floor was made more remarkable by what was under, over and around it. That is, nothing except an incredible starry sky blacker than any they'd ever seen. And if they dared look down over the edge of the disc, they'd find ultimate proof that Mizahar's world was round.

Image


Even though they were feeling perfectly normal here, the disc was suspended thousand of miles above the planet's surface. To say it was on a perfect geostationary orbit, while more correct, would have made no sense to a Mizaharian: hence, it was suspended. It would have taken a leap of faith to even conclude this cloudy orb was Mizahar, if not for the faint outline of the Suvan sea streaming through the murky atmospheric layers. Or the strange, nostalgic feeling that this oversized marble gave off. If the feeling got strong enough for any of them to try and jump off the disc, they would find that a barrier kept them from doing so. It became visible on contact, in the form of a grid of light beams that gently repelled one's finger, like a bubble, only to disappear when no longer touched. No surprise there: the Watchtowers were the joint opus of Doors and Light. Yet the glowing grid, like the tiled floor, also looked worn out and full of cracks. Whether it extended spherically around the disc was unclear.

Every minute or so, they would see a flash of light piercing the clouds far below and a bolt of energy from one of the towers hit the bottom of the disc with perfect accuracy. This would in turn cause a flash on the upper surface, as well, and one more newcomer would appear randomly and join the gathered crowd. Not a crowd in the 'three's a crowd' sense, either, but a true crowd that would not have looked out of place in a town square. Maybe one hundred people by the time the flashes stopped. A more diverse gathering could not be imagined: from the beggar who hadn't rushed inside because he had no 'inside' to rush in, to the Syliran Knight on patrol, from the wandering Konti to the awkward couple, naked and horizontal, who'd decided to make love in the grass just in case the world was ending for real. Others had been out for deals of a shady nature, and some had their weapon already drawn. Morality hadn't been a factor in picking out this crop. Many here were only out for themselves.

They were all trapped against their will, so far away from home, in the company of mostly untrustworthy strangers with frayed nerves and without any indication as to what they were meant to accomplish here. It was difficult right now to think of a worse nightmare in a more breath-taking setting.

Soon, though, they would be able to.
Tarot's thread tickets: sold out. Not accepting any more threads for the time being unless I promised you one. Sorry for the inconvenience!
User avatar
Tarot
May you live in interesting times
 
Posts: 2219
Words: 765606
Joined roleplay: March 23rd, 2009, 4:29 pm
Location: Moderation abilities game-wide
Blog: View Blog (11)
Race: Staff account
Office
Scrapbook
Plotnotes
Medals: 5
Featured Thread (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
Extreme Scrapbooker (1) Being Tarot Award (1)
O RLY Decoration (1)

II. The night the towers cried [open]

Postby Hadrian on August 7th, 2011, 9:10 pm

The last thing he remembered was a stroll along the docks, his only worry being the need to keep his senses attuned to any auras that approached, for a tourist was easily dispatched in Ravok without any questions being asked. What he was not prepared for was the sudden overload of his senses, mundane and magical, only to find himself... somewhere. Had he been captured? His false identity seen through?

Blinking back to reality, he took in the disc, the people, and up... the globe. For it was a globe. One might have taken it for an oddly convex map, but this one knew the rudiments of astronomy and called things from other worlds with coordinates and bespelled circles. And the longer he looked, the surer he became that it wasn't an optical illusion: some ground was disappearing on one edge of the circular map, and more appearing. A globe. There the Suvan Sea, there Mathews Bay and beloved Zeltiva. There the lake upon which Ravok hunched and waited for a chance to knife its neighbors in the ribs.

"What in the...?" he wondered aloud to himself. Had he been Summoned?
Image
User avatar
Hadrian
Most smartest and best damn tapper.
 
Posts: 2498
Words: 1050304
Joined roleplay: March 21st, 2010, 6:50 pm
Location: Wandering
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Medals: 3
Featured Character (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
One Million Words! (1)

II. The night the towers cried [open]

Postby Talen Stirling on August 7th, 2011, 9:16 pm

Talen got to his feet quickly, and looked first at the mass of people cowering, yelling, walking or even crying on wherever he was. Then he saw where he was, and his jaw dropped in absolute awe.

For someone who had spent his entire life in a small village locked away from the rest of the world, this his first travel to another place than Denval was beyond his mind to comprehend. His senses danced to try and understand what he saw before him, but in the end he shut his eyes and tried to establish some reason in what was happening.

He had been on duty on The Road. When the storms began, there was no way back, so he stepped outside of his little watch-shelter to take a look. And then he was struck. He had dissolved, had felt himself evaporate only to reappear here whole with all of his equipment and clothes. So apparently the magical lightning from the Watchtowers had brought him here.

He opened an eye hesitantly, and the immensity of what he saw overwhelmed him again. He took a deep breath, and looked down on the floor. Perhaps if he tried to understand it all one tile at a time, he would be able to regain some resemblance of self-control.
User avatar
Talen Stirling
"What the petch...!?"
 
Posts: 340
Words: 173129
Joined roleplay: May 30th, 2011, 11:07 am
Location: Zeltiva
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets

II. The night the towers cried [open]

Postby Hadrian on August 7th, 2011, 9:31 pm

"It's Mizahar," said a voice beside him. "At least..." He took a deep, steadying breath. "At least I think it is." He ran his hand back through his dark hair, his black-on-black clothes part of a persona he had been living in public in Ravok, but now Ravok looked to be the size of a grain of sand, not even something he could actually see, but estimate from his time poring over maps of Sylira Region.

"Do you have any idea what's happening?" His Common marked him as from Zeltiva.
Image
User avatar
Hadrian
Most smartest and best damn tapper.
 
Posts: 2498
Words: 1050304
Joined roleplay: March 21st, 2010, 6:50 pm
Location: Wandering
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Medals: 3
Featured Character (1) One Thousand Posts! (1)
One Million Words! (1)

II. The night the towers cried [open]

Postby Cilaes on August 7th, 2011, 10:11 pm

Confusion filled the Ethaefal, an expression that seemed almost out of place on such an other worldly face. The warm tiles beneath his boots felt as though they hummed beneath him. Perhaps this was caused by the turmoil that surrounded him, people shuffling about dazed, calling out for an answer. I doubt it... This sensation felt beyond them, and was overflowing with magic, powerful and old.

It was then Cilaes looked away from the crowds, to the sky. All around him, twinkling stars hung against Akajia's darkness. His lungs tingled as he stared at the sky, not with the Djed that pulsed through the air, but with an overwhelming excitement. I have never felt so close to him. Now I stand somewhere near the path my Lord walks each night. A satisfaction greater than any he had felt since his fall filled Cilaes as he let the stars' light fall on his own luminous face.

Eventually he pulled his gaze from the heavens that encircled the strange disk and glanced down, or at least in the direction that seemed to be down. Slowly he rubbed his hands together, the moist dirt from his garden falling into the carved images that covered the floor. As he gazed at the orb circling below them Cilaes was unable to shake the sensation that he had seen it before. The hushed sounds of a conversation beside him confirmed his suspicions.
Common, Kontinese, Pavi
Thought

School is a busy, busy place. I will be posting as regularly as I can, but to stay balanced only expect posts on Monday and Friday (maybe the weekend). Sorry for the delays!
User avatar
Cilaes
Melancholic Medic
 
Posts: 63
Words: 44297
Joined roleplay: April 24th, 2011, 6:38 pm
Location: Mura
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet

II. The night the towers cried [open]

Postby Malia on August 7th, 2011, 10:20 pm

Image

When the lightning and color storms started, Malia was outside, sitting at the edge of the Outer Petals with her backpack next to her and a piece of chalk in her hand. Of course, she was about to draw another pair of circles for another Animation ritual. While in Spires, she had neglected practice, but she was determined to use the darkness of the night and perform the ritual outside, as far away from civilization as possible.

The light appeared over the treetops, only moments of sight between chimes of darkness. Malia didn’t know what it was. Since it didn’t come near, she focused on the task at hand.

Until the wooden floor and the half-drawn circle disappeared, as did the humid air and the small noises of the rainforest and its inhabitants. Instead she found herself kneeling on stone tiles with symbols on them, chalk still in hand and backpack right beside her. She rose to her feet, taking a strap of the backpack in her hand and ready to run if the environment proved to be hostile. However, there was no need to.

The stone floor formed a disc and beyond it was what could only be called a globe painted in the most vivid shades of blue and green and brown. For a person who had spent most of her time in the wilderness, who had only occasionally seen maps of the surrounding lands, that sight was incomprehensible. Never had she been more clueless.

However, she caught the last words of a young pulser standing near her, together with others of different races, and turned to him. The chalk left her hand and sank into the pocket of her cloak. “So we’re not in Mizahar anymore”, she stated. It was hard not to let it sound like a question. The Nuit had seen many things, but not that. “I wonder which God brought us here?” For she was certain it had been the doing of a God, no mortal and not even mortal magic could be powerful enough to do such a thing.
Image
User avatar
Malia
The Remnants
 
Posts: 620
Words: 229208
Joined roleplay: August 20th, 2009, 5:44 pm
Location: Spires
Blog: View Blog (18)
Race: Nuit
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Medals: 4
Featured Character (1) Trailblazer (2)
Power Fork (1)

II. The night the towers cried [open]

Postby Riki Stormheart on August 7th, 2011, 10:27 pm

Who knows why Riki had decided to walk through the gardens of the Sanctuary to late at night. Sleep had been avoiding him that night while Sadie nearly was begging to be taken outside to romp around in the flowers. When the man and his dog found themselves out in the Cyphrus air Sadie seemed nervous. "What's wrong Sade?" She pawed at the ground nervously as if she was trying to think of what she was supposed to do. Riki had seen her react like this before. She often got a bit nervous when ghosts that she could sense got a bit too close or pushy. Maybe the ghosts were her saving grace, pushing her to run scared into the Sanctuary without warning her Drykas companion. Run little dog. Something's coming.

Riki could not sense the ghosts like his canine companion, although who knew if they were even the reason Sadie ran off? "Sadie, get back here!" All Riki saw was a flick of her tail before something stole him away, whisking him away from the Sanctuary.

Riki had no idea what was happening. He had never been outside of Cyphrus and now he seemed to be away from Mizahar completely. He was without Sadie, his ghost dog and this unnerved him. He was rarely away from her and more so, what would happen to his position at the Sanctuary now?

When he found himself on solid ground again he was surrounded by many other people. People who spoke so many different languages. While he could speak common he hoped to find someone who spoke his language, Pavi. "Where is this?"
If Riki is speaking in this color he is speaking in Pavi.
If Riki is speaking in this color he is speaking in Common.
User avatar
Riki Stormheart
Not a Mongoose
 
Posts: 119
Words: 68456
Joined roleplay: February 24th, 2011, 6:20 pm
Race: Human, Drykas
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets

II. The night the towers cried [open]

Postby Cassandra Coven on August 7th, 2011, 10:43 pm

The night had started out for Cassandra as any other - meaning, she strutted around the tavern, flaunting curves and flashing smiles as she went from table to table serving drinks and food, all the while doing her best to dodge and slip away from the grasping hands of the inebriated patrons. Those quick enough or lucky enough to get a squeeze or a feel in were treated to a light rap on the knuckles by the wooden tray she carried. Like the good barmaid that she was, her trademark smile remained on her lips despite moments like this, though the expression looked strained at times, especially when one of the more drunk patrons insisted on having his way with her. Such troubles never reached the ear of the hulking bouncer stationed at the door: such patrons always learned not to touch her again as they ended up with with their toes stepped on... a minor, almost negligible injury, until it left them stifling cries of pain a few seconds later as they reached for their respective feet that suddenly felt as if a mad rhino had stomped on them.

Pain was ever a good teacher.

Too busy with the duties of her job and not having the time to peer out a window, Cassandra hadn't noted the colored lightning storm that cracked the dark of the sky, though she was certainly one of the many who stepped out of the tavern when they saw that a crowd had started to gather in the Nitrozian Plaza, all of them pointing up at the sky. Panicked whispers were heard among these people: talks of the wrath of the gods, and the coming of another cataclysm. Though more than five hundred years had passed since the Valterrian, every still knew of the tale of how the world was shattered by the fury of one of the divine for its world changing effects were still felt all around them. Their city may be protected by another divinity but would He be able to save them from another Valterrian should it ever come to pass?

Most did not wait to find out the answer as they rushed home to be with their families and the rest of the crowd were dispersed by the city guards. The tavern was closed early, its staff dismissed for an early night, and Cassandra found herself rushing for the safety of her apartment just across the plaza. Another was waiting within the confines of her small room for her, one of the men who shared her bed. It was the acolyte who seemed to have some sort of enigmatic hold on her and, oblivious (or perhaps uncaring was the better word) of the strange occurrence happening outside, he was quick to order her to please him. She could not resist, not with suggestion and magic heavily influencing his words, and she found herself on top of him in no time, the buttons of her blouse undone and her skirt hiked up to her waist. She was leaning forward to give him a kiss, as his words manipulated her to do so, when a stray bolt of lightning, red in hue and seemingly full of malevolence, found its way through the wide opened windows and struck her.

Next thing she knew, Cassandra was kneeling upon a tiled stone floor. Not having the body of the acolyte to support her from below, the woman found herself unbalanced and ended up falling awkwardly on her face, her lips smooching against the carvings on the floor rather than a man's waiting mouth. She gathered herself in embarrassment, one hand was quick to close her opened blouse while the other her skirt back down to cover her exposed - over-exposed - lower regions. Thankfully, it was dark wherever she was. As she buttoned her blouse close, she hoped that no one had seen too much of what she would rather not have them see.

Standing up, Cassandra took stock of her surroundings and what she saw made her forget the burning sensation of embarrassment on her cheeks. She, along with many others, stood upon a flat disc, unsupported and untethered, in what she could only describe as a sea of the night sky. Save for what was in front of her, everywhere she turned all that Cassandra could see was vast emptiness dotted by stars of varying nearness. What was before her, however, commanded her attention. It was a giant ball with its outer design appearing to be the land masses of Mizahar - something she recognized from looking at the maps in her father's room when she was young - though there were other land masses she did not recognize. Without knowing how she knew it to be true, she realized that the sphere was Mizahar.

But why was it all the way over there and she and these other strangers isolated on this floating platform over here?

Why am I here?

Fear gripped the dark-haired woman's heart and her hand reached instinctively at the hilt of the dagger hidden beneath the waist band of her skirt. Despite the darkness that surrounded her, she could just make out from the light of the stars that some of the individuals around her were of the unsavory type. Some of them were not even human. Not even aware of her actions, Cassandra found herself drifting closer and closer to a small group of her kind. She hoped they were not cutthroats.
there is something
i have to say to you
if you promise you'll understand
i cannot contain myself
when in your presence
i'm so humble
touch me
don't hide our love
woman to man

User avatar
Cassandra Coven
Tortured Soul
 
Posts: 235
Words: 205763
Joined roleplay: June 24th, 2010, 8:21 am
Location: Ravok - Fall 511 AV
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets

II. The night the towers cried [open]

Postby Nil'kayn on August 7th, 2011, 11:44 pm

One minute Kayn had started to set up camp for the night, travelling from Zeltiva to Sunberth, and the next thing he knew is that he was somewhere else. Instinctively his hand reached for his sword, shouldering his pack he focused on each sense in turn. He could smell and hear people around them and sounds of thunder in the distance. He could feel marble under boot, and the heat from bodies around him. He opened his eyes glancing around, he saw the disc marble he crouched to touch the cold stone. Standing back up he glanced over the edge of the disc and saw a globe? It was mizahar, he could see that it confused him, and awed him. He had been summoned, by someone or something, he didn't know what the purpose was, but he knew something; This was going to be fun. nil was going crazy, a constant monologue of what he saw and what he thought, but Kayn had learned to filter the thoughts out.

Glancing to his side he was confused and happy to see the only semi-familiar face in the crowd. "Hadrian?" His voice was serious, and was a light rumbling boom.
Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
Note: Unless stated otherwise, Nilkayn is speaking in common, except for his thoughts.
Disclaimer: All the images I use ARE NOT MINE, and I do not claim ownership of them. Thank you to the artists, photographers, or models who created them.
User avatar
Nil'kayn
Someone...
 
Posts: 200
Words: 60524
Joined roleplay: May 27th, 2011, 10:28 am
Location: Somewhere...
Race: Akalak
Character sheet

II. The night the towers cried [open]

Postby Ma'ii on August 8th, 2011, 12:17 am

Ma'ii had just found an underwater stream when the roiling clouds came and the lightning storm started, at least he thought it was a lightning storm. In his years in the Redstone Cliffs he had never seen such a phenomenon and so it was something beyond his ken.

He heard the caws of a murder of crows. Then the lightning struck him.

When he next opened his eyes he was kneeling on stone, but it was not the stone of his home. He was kneeling in the middle of a carved circle atop a symbol, the symbol of Brother Crow.

He became aware of other beings beside him. He heard them speak and shout in languages and accents he was unfamiliar with. Being a hunter he thought it prudent to stay still and listen for the familiar lilts of Tawna or Shiber.
Last edited by Ma'ii on August 8th, 2011, 2:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
Image

"We are with you in the raven, in our gods, in our wisdom. When you leave us, you take us. When you walk alone we follow. So take no path that would turn you from honor. For when you turn aside, we all do."
— Kalanue Chaktawe Blessing
User avatar
Ma'ii
"Brother Coyote"
 
Posts: 60
Words: 7934
Joined roleplay: September 11th, 2009, 10:27 am
Location: Redstone Cliffs
Race: Chaktawe
Character sheet
Scrapbook

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests