Solo In the Shadow of the Tower

Something strange happens to Vypec when he goes to the Dark Tower.

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Built into the cliffs overlooking the Suvan Sea, Riverfall resides on the edge of grasslands of Cyphrus where the Bluevein River plunges off the plain and cascades down to the inland sea below. Home of the Akalak, Riverfall is a self-supporting city populated by devoted warriors. [Riverfall Codex]

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In the Shadow of the Tower

Postby Vypec on February 14th, 2016, 7:39 am

11th of Winter, 515 A.V.
The Dark Tower

Vypal knelt in the brush around the Dark Tower, Vypec silently dwelling in the back of their mind. The Dark brother knelt with no attention paid to the pangs of pain that the rough brackets of the brush caused his knees. Their devotion to Akajia had become like iron in both souls since that holy moment of her touch upon them. They now conducted their worships in Makath, the language of their holy Deity. It was not that they had replaced devotion to Wysar, but Akajia had made them her own. She had contacted them to her cause, whatever that may be. Vypal inwardly thought that she kept that most holy of secrets to herself and her highest and most honored priests. He had a curiosity for the Night Mother's motivation, but not a need to know. He knew that his minuscule status was nothing as of yet. He would need to earn the right to her trust.

The wind blew through the trees and the spires of the Dark tower in a familiar, wintery way. Vypal had grown to a man spending his nights devoting himself to the Night Mother. Vypal reached around to the small of his back with one hand while staring up at the Dark Tower. He felt his fingers wrap around the familiar hilt of his Lakan. With a subtle whisper the blade came free of it's sheath, the rasp barely audible over the wail of the wind. Truly, Zulrav shared the this night with Akajia.

Vypal raised the blade overhead and continued his whispering. "The shadow embraces me. I am the tool with which the Night Mother will realize all holy aspirations. I give of myself to the Night Mother." Vypal ran the Lakan's blade across the outside of his fingers. He let them bleed across the shadowy soil below. "My eyes see for her, my ears hear for her, my lungs breath for her. I am the tool of the night." Vypal breathed, willing his message to reach Akajia, whoever she may be.

The Dark Tower lay ominous and immobile against the twilit Cypress sky. His dark purple skin gleamed with the dark blood, like liquid shadow. Vypal stared down at the droplets that fell into darkness. He willed each drop to empower Akajia. He willed his essence to her. She was the night protector of Riverfall and everything he knew. It was an honor to be in the service of such a divine being. The Akalak were lucky, though they struggled to keep their race alive. They contained the blessing of the Night Mother and the God of Discipline. This gift was something to strive to be worthy of. Vypal, and Vypec for that matter, planned to dedicate themselves to being worthy of the gifts laid upon them from these two divines.

Vypal carefully cleaned the curved blade of the Lakan on the grass. He returned it to its sheath and rolled backwards onto his feet. He stood and stared into the darkness of the Dark Tower. The shroud of darkness was no longer indiscernible for him. He had been blessed by the Night Mother. Now the shadows and the darkness held much more than mystery. It held a world within the normal, and beings of shadow that were part of the very essence of the Night Mother.

Vypal walked towards the shadows around the base of the holy structure. He fixated on the doorway he knew was hidden there. He had added this last ritual to his devotions since the mark had appeared on his back. Vypal reached forward into the darkness, which now was a shroud of protection, and pushed open the holy gateway to Akajia's tower.

617 words
Last edited by Vypec on February 19th, 2016, 5:35 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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In the Shadow of the Tower

Postby Vypec on February 14th, 2016, 7:42 am

Stepping into the darkness, Vypal felt the sounds and touch of the wind disappear. The entrance to the Tower was without sensory signals. If one did not have the ability to see into it, they would be lost completely. Almost instantly Vypal heard the whispers of these most privileged shadows.
"This is our home."

"This is the house of the Night Mother."

"Who seeks the secrets within our Temple?"

Their whispers seemed to be mostly shocked indignation at his arrival. They ignored his familiarity, willfully or not. They had taken it upon themselves to be the first interior guardians of the Night Mother's Tower. Vypal had never moved past this entrance in the Temple. For years now he had simply been kneeling here, in the shadows. He gently pushed the door closed behind him, closing himself off from all else but Akajia's world. The darkness completely engulfed him.

Vypal heard the whispers more strongly now, as if the shadows within had been afraid of letting their sacred words seep out into the unprotected night beyond. He knelt down amongst them, and thought that perhaps Akajia was amongst them, ever watchful.

"I reaffirm my pledge to the Night Mother." He whispered into the darkness, the Makath sliding off his tongue as though he had known the shadow language from birth. The reaffirmation of his words held a dark weight here in the halls of shadow, a place that leant extra meaning to their pledge. "All that is mine is for the good of the Lady of Shadows and her consort, the Lord of Discipline, and their city. I give my knowledge and my life for it. And I give my life's blood to you." He let his hand find the Lakan's hilt again. The thing came eagerly into his hand, as if it knew what would happen. The blade carried a piece of him inside it. He thought that some small piece of the shred of his soul carried the essence of the Night Mother, like all Akalaks did. So that knife even, was her servant.

Vypal grimaced slightly as he ran the Lakan lightly across the purple knuckles of his unfounded hand. He could see the blood pooling there clearly, though the darkness masked all. The sight Akajia blessed him with allowed for darkness. He was one of the darknesses creatures. Secret and slight though he be, to be an affirmed blessed of the divine was wonderful. As he watched the blood drip into the ground of the Tower's base, he felt an odd sensation.

It was as though the shadow he was most familiar with, his own, was suppressing him. It was engulfing him in itself. It clawed up from the ground and out of the air to find his skin. Vypal had never felt the sensation before and it quickened his heart with fear. He watched through his blessed vision as the shadow wrapped him up and began to meld to him. He gasped as his hands, now both bloody in the darkness, were shifting from their corporeal state to a new, ethereal one. He watched as his hands became shadow. Vypal almost screamed in horror. but he was a tool of the Night Mother. Perhaps this was some sort of test of hers? He struggled with the image and felt control being wrested from him.

Vypec emerged and calmed his brother. Don't worry brother. All shadows are the domain of the Night Mother. We will be fine. His reassurances were hollow and clipped. both Vypal and Vypec knew the Light Brother was just as fearful as Vypal, but he maintained a discipline over his fear.

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In the Shadow of the Tower

Postby Vypec on February 14th, 2016, 7:46 am

Are we dying, Vypec? Vypal's tremor in tone betrayed his fear. He was usually so cool and collected that this was quite a shock for Vypec.

But the Akalak struggled to work past the fear of watching himself become a shadowy being and concentrated on his senses. He could still feel and see, and touch. He reached out a hand and placed it against the floor. The cold of the stones was still gingerly brushing against the palm of his shadowy hand. I don't think so brother. I think this must be something else.

By now the entirety of his body was made up of dark tendrils of shadow, even the Lakan in his hands. Vypec struggled to his feet. The shadows around him had gone silent, as if they were shocked as well. The lack of sensory input unnerved him even more. The room was all darkness now, there was nothing in it but shadow and consciousness. Perhaps that was what it meant to truly be one with Akajia? The immersive news scared him. He needed to at least be able to identify himself.

Vypec turned and tried to shove open the door. Instead of the door swinging silently open, he simply fell through it. The sensation was wild and invigorating and wholly unnatural. He was once again standing in the windy winter's night, looking out across the cliffs of Riverfall. The sudden addition of the wind and the rustling of the many plants and animals around him felt like a blast of chaos compared to the complete void of sound that was the entrance to the Dark Tower.

Vypec rushed along the dirt path that lead away from the Temple, not sure where he meant to go. Fear was a chaos creator. He needed to think, and Vypec always thought best when he was moving. As he started to run he noticed the shadowy tendrils that were his legs made no sound against the dirt path. Their dark existence, and that's of the rest of his body, seemed to be completely as one of those mysterious creatures that lurked between light. He, for all that he could tell, had become one of Akajia's shadow creatures. Vypec was very afraid now. Did Akajia do this to those that displeased her? Had their arrogance in thinking themselves amongst her favored turned the goddess against them. Vypec's mind raced from tragic horror to worse nightmare as he sped down the path, hardly noticing the swift pace he set himself.

The eerie feeling of making not a single sound as one bounded across a street was unfamiliar to the huge Akalak. Stealth had always been a skill he wished he took more of an interest cultivating, but this was almost faultless. Vypec could not make even the leaves on a nearby bush shake. He came to a set of stairs that lead down to one of the main streets of the second tier of the city. Planning on taking them three at a time he leapt down. His shadowy form slid through the air as if his weight was nothing. He glided over the steps to land at the bottom of the fourth step staircase lightly and without injury. He had practically flown!

For the first time that night Vypec grinned. He felt the reproach from his brother slink through his body. Their balance seemed to be very unstable in this state, since the two of them were so unfamiliar with the rules and bounds of it. Vypec squatted down and leapt into the air as hard as he could. The shadowy body soared ten, fifteen, twenty feet into the air. He willed himself forward and he felt his form moving as he willed. but then he was falling again. The rapidity of his descent increased with his fear. Would he slam into the ground and break a leg? Would he fall through the street and be permanently stuck in the bedrock under Riverfall?

662 words
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In the Shadow of the Tower

Postby Vypec on February 14th, 2016, 7:48 am

Vypec landed much as he had at the bottom of the staircase. There was no crashing back into reality. There was no slipping through the cobbled stone of the street. There was no death or pain. He felt relief wash over him. But Vypal was ruining that moment of victory with his own pessimism.

What if we are stuck like this forever, Vypec? He said, his mental warning dire and in earnest. Vypal seemed to e the brother, in this instance, whose foresight lead him to apprehension rather than the curiosity with which Vypec was dealing with the situation.

Vypec stood from where he was rubbing his hands through the shadowy wall of a nearby home. You're correct, we should find out if there is a way to return to normal. Will we starve? Or die with the light even? What happens come morning? Vypec rubbed his dark chin with a shadowy hand. He was little more that a dark blotch against shadow now, standing between homes. I think it is time for some trial and error, brother.

What that meant, he had almost no idea. He thought it best to find some sort of light source and see if he could approach it without dispersing into non-being. Vypec set his feet towards home. He knew the lamp outside his own door would still be burning, as he had left it. As he began to run in earnest this time he found his speed was unnaturally swift. This was almost certainly a byproduct of the shadowy form he had taken on.

Why don't you just fly, or jump, like you did before. Vypal asked, it seemed that he was content to stay in the submissive part of the mind for now.

I don't know that it will work. That jump seemed dangerous to me. Vypec's words held trepidation. It had been exhilarating to experience the leap and the sensation of near flight in the moment. Afterward though, he thought it not worth the price of his life. Surprisingly, Vypal pressed him further, urging more attempts.

If this is somehow a gift from the Night Mother then we should figure out how to use it. He said hesitantly, as if he was unsure of this risky logic himself. And if not, what if it gets worse with the longer we are exposed to it. Either way if would be beneficial to get home as soon as possible.

Well, when you put it that way... Vypec leapt into the air, thinking about the rooftops now visible below them. They were about a hundred feet below and out towards the sea, and only three levels above his own home. He felt his body, or rather, his existence, float swiftly in the direction of the rooftops he so focused on. He drifted along at a fear inspiring speed. The rooftop loomed below him.

Most buildings were built into the cliffside in Riverfall, but there were occasional homes and businesses that stuck out defiantly into the seaside winds. This house was one of those. Vypec felt himself land with the least of sensation. He barely felt the touch of the rooftop against his feet, and felt the impact not at all. This travel, he could get used to. Vypec did not pause to admire the swiftness. He leapt again into the air, setting his focus upon the next lower tier of architecture.

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In the Shadow of the Tower

Postby Vypec on February 14th, 2016, 7:52 am

By the time Vypec reached the street in front of his home he was comfortable with how the flying seemed to work. He just needed to focus on the location within sight that he wanted to travel to. He had not originally been able to fly because there was no focus or location involved. As he leapt across neighborhoods and over avenues he became more skilled at landing and taking off.

Vypec stared at the lamp merrily burning in its sconce next to his front door. His own modest home was built into the stone of the cliffside, like so many houses in Riverfall. He and his father and grandfather shared a small alcove that served as a courtyard of sorts between their three modest dwellings. Each home was brimming with plans on the outside, as was right by Riverfallian standards. The result, this late at night, was that the whole alcove was cast in a dancing light and darkness as contrasting as black and white.

Okay, here we go. Are you ready, brother? Vypec said, staring apprehensively at the innocent looking lamp across the courtyard.

Ready to melt into non-existence? Yea let's figure this shyking mess out. Vypal answered with a stoic and dark humor.

Vypec walked forward, into the light of the lamp and held his hands up. It was a disgusting, jolting feeling to see through your own body. His hands did not disperse as the other shadows did, they simply faded into a different kind of shadow. It was a shallow visage, like the difference between looking at the bottom of a deep pool and looking at the bottom of a shallow one.

So we aren't dead, hurray. Vypal's snide remark broke the silence finally. He had the ability to lace his tone with emotion so heavily that Vypec found it his most effective way of manipulating people, including Vypec himself. It probably came from spending a majority of his time in the submissive part of their mind. I must say I thought you were about to kill us, Vy. Though he was speaking harshly at Vypec, he knew Vypal was happy. He rarely called Vypec by his nickname.

I didn't see you doing any better, brother. Vypec retorted. I do what I can, regardless of the constructivist of your never ending critique. His emotions were raging. On one hand they had figured out that the touch of light, even as close as arms reach, could not kill them. However, on the other hand they still had no idea how to change back into their normal self. This was a dilemma that he could not fault Vypal in his anger.

Vypec sat under the lamp, shrouded in the darkness that was his very essence. The light danced around him and the shadows whispered merrily. The despair of the situation was seeping into him now. So what if he could leap across buildings. So what if he could pass through walls. He could not hold a sword, he could not hold a woman! And Vypec did not have any idea how to reverse this. He sat and calmed himself down.

523 words
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In the Shadow of the Tower

Postby Vypec on February 14th, 2016, 7:54 am

It's hopeless, Vy. We're cursed for some arrogance, some offense to the Night Mother. Vypal's cynicism once again broke the silence.

Vypec did not answer. He could not take the time to console his brother. He had to pull them out of this dark place. There had to be a way to figure this out. There had been some sort of trigger. This sort of thing didn't just happen. People didn't just shift into shadows, even Night Stalkers. as his mind raced across the details of the past hour the dancing shadows and their whispers came to the forefront.

"Shadow man, why so saaaad?"

"You're one of us."

Vypec could not get their taunts out of his head. The accursed shadows wouldn't stop pestering him. Vypec felt his mind struggling against the pull of his negative emotions. There had to be a solution. Vypec was sure he could figure out how to regain his physical form. Vypec put his head in his hands. He secretly hoped Vypal would say something, give some advice.

The Akalak put his face in his hands and listened to the silence of his own breathing. Eyes closed he almost didn't notice the subtle differences for a long time. The first thing he noticed was the loss of hearing. The whispers of even the the shadows and the crackling of the lamp were both gone. He looked up. He saw nothing, his vision was blurred to the point of only seeing light and dark.

Oh shyke. Vypec whispered into the night. He struggled to his feet, trying to keep his heart from beating out of his chest. Brother, things have gotten worse!

I noticed. We need to get inside, that would be safest. Vypal said, his words heavy with stress. Vypal surged to prominence and Vypec slid back into the recesses of the mind. Vypal struggled into the door, feeling the wood against his hands. It took him a moment to find the latch to the door. As it creaked open and he struggled inside he felt a bout of vertigo. The world shook and he stumbled and hit the floor with a groan. He never managed to make it to his bed. Instead the Akalak slid into the corner and laid down. By the time his senses returned to him he was asleep. The stress of the night and the energy it took to find his way back home.

In the morning he would wake to find himself returned to normal, his body comfortably solid once again. The shadowy adventure and the change would remain a mystery, until the next time it happened...

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In the Shadow of the Tower

Postby Theo Popcampio on June 21st, 2016, 4:17 pm

XP Award!

Name:Vypec
XP Award:
  • Running 2
  • Acrobatics 2
  • Observation 3
Lore:
  • Enduring pain through devotion
  • Vypal: Wants to earn Akajia’s favor
  • Location: The Night Tower
  • The Night Tower’s eternal shadows
  • Vypec’s superpower: Shadow Synergy

Notes: Cool way to discover your superpowers! I like how you linked it to Akajia as well. In the future I’d leave a note in your signature that you have a superpower and a link to its approval, this way it doesn’t cause any confusion. Also, it would have been nice for some more description of Vypec slipping from his shadow form to his corporeal form. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns! As always, please mark this thread as graded in the grade request thread.
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