The Return

Beyond Dominia: The Role Playing Mill: The Return

By Cassandra dRiveroak on Friday, June 29, 2001 - 03:30 pm:

The Great Portal beneath Riveroak Castle is filled with light and shadow, constantly moving and twisting and cascading. Suddenly, the shadows subside as the glow within the gateway grows to blinding intensity. Then, in a flash of brilliant white light, the portal returns to normal. A single figure clad in ornate plate armor now stands before it, a greatsword surrounded by a dim flame held firmly in her hand.

"Rhisiart, do you remember this place?" she asks quietly. The sword glows brightly.

Yes. We're in the Hall of Worlds beneath Riveroak's all that was left of the old stronghold after the end of the Black Monolith War.

"I see. Can you determine the local time?"

I believe so. One moment.

This can't be right. My sensors indicate that the local time is no more than few years after we were taken from this world. Phaema is slightly out of phase with the rest of the multiverse, but its timestream is ordinarily in sync.

"But you're not capable of time travel - just planewalking. What could have happened?"

I have a theory.

"Well?"'re not going to like it.

"Doesn't matter. I need to know what's going on."

*Sigh* You're worse than your mother. Very well. My spell of planar transit was meant to get us to Phaema by any means required, remember?

"Of course - get to the point."

If we're here, now, it could only mean one thing. Phaema is on the verge of collapse, for whatever reason. Whenever a plane is about to die, its timestream begins behaving erratically - compared to the rest of the multiverse, the temporal reality within that region might accelerate, so its end apparently comes within seconds after the erratic behavior begins, or decelerate, so years pass outside while months, days or even mere moments pass within.

Cassandra's face grows very grim. "Is there any way to discern when, exactly, Phaema will collapse?"

No. The good news is that there are a few people who might know; the bad news is that most of them were dead when I left, and more have likely died since. Still. The members of Oor-Tael or KAAT'N, if any remain, might be aware of the problem and its exact nature and severity. The High King of Dantimos or his advisors may be able to help us. The technology and records left by the ancient inhabitants of Phaema may be of some use. But if all else fails...look, you're going to like this even less.

"Tell me what I need to do."

If all else fails, you'll need to take me to the Black Monolith. The First Evil trapped within is the only entity in all of Phaema who would be aware of what's going on if all the rest are dead or unavailable. I know that thing yet lives, and I know it's been studying this plane very carefully. So that's our last resort - the very thing that tried to conquer Phaema may have to serve as its salvation.

"Right. Let's exhaust all our other options first, then. You've told me tales of KAAT'N; they sound formidable. Can you lead me to them?"

Perhaps. I will require time.

"Work quickly."

Of course.

(OOC: Well, I'm back...hopefully for good this time.)

By Elrohir (Elrohir) on Friday, June 29, 2001 - 06:03 pm:

OOC: Wonderful. Unravel Elrohir's spell and doom the world. Bad enough we have two evil powers much more potent than the neutered First Evil, but let him out, and everything *will* die. How annoying. Ah well. Oh yeah, and of *course* Phaema's out of sync with the rest of the multiverse; that's why Phaema is "Beyond Dominia." :P What's this about the verge of collapse? Did I ever say the world was ending? Hrm? And I *know* you're not referring to Sanctum or its similar places around the world, because only ancient Phyrexians and Tolarians might know where they're at, and now only Thrakkiss and those who travel with him are aware of it. IIRC, Rhisiart and his whole kingdom "phased in" only around 20 years or so ago, game time. I doubt in that time he would have learned one of the best kept secrets (Sanctum, etc.) in the world...

And Cassandra's older now? Egad, she had just been born, last time I checked.

By Rhisiart OOC on Saturday, June 30, 2001 - 10:21 pm:

Ok, Elro. Breathe...breathe...

First, I never said the First Evil would be released and I'm certainly not planning to do so. If it comes to consulting with that particular entity, that's all Cass and Rhisiart are going to do - consult with it. If you recall, I had actually planned to have the FE continue to interact with Phaema on some level - Elro has trapped it successfully, and there's no breaking that particular lock, but look at it this way: if someone is trapped within a cage, you can still go to that cage and talk to him even if it's completely impossible to release him. Would Rhisiart try to have the FE released if he was convinced that was the only way to save Phaema? Possibly, though I think he'd be more inclined to let the world die first. Would he succeed? No way. He might let some part of the FE's essence out, which would then form itself into a lesser being, but he couldn't do much beyond that.

Second point: everything you've said in and out of character - at least what I've seen - indicates that Phaema is dying. Perhaps it'll be saved, perhaps not...Rhisiart is judging the situation based on the facts currently before him; if things continue as they are, Phaema will be destroyed.

Third: you'll notice I did not mention Sanctum or the Phyrexians or anything else by name. I believe it was revealed to Rhisiart at one point that there were ancient inhabitants of Phaema and they left behind some nifty stuff. I could be mistaken. Regardless, that is the extent of his knowledge on the subject, and it may be more "strong suspicion" rather than actual knowledge at that. Again, consider this: there are two people before you who have some knowledge of Atlantis. The first has studied everything available to him and chosen to believe it, and therefore believes - and thinks, in fact, that he knows - that the Atlanteans possessed highly advanced technology. He does not know the exact nature of that technology and he has no idea where to find it, though he has a few theories. The second has actually been to Atlantis, or at least heard a great deal of truth about it, and knows the extent of what is available. (Well, this is all based on the admittedly false assumption that Atlantis exists, but you get my drift.) Rhisiart's knowledge is even more vague than that possessed by the first person in the above example; had I intended it to be specific - which I admit is not at all possible - it would have been.

Finally, as for Cassandra's age, I refer you to the bit about Phaema's timestream being out of sync with the rest of the multiverse. (And before you sound the "age advancement to boost power" alarm bell, future posts will reveal that Cass is an ordinary fighter-jock - Rhisiart, now in the form of a magic greatsword, is the only one with any substantial power.) Now, bear in mind that this conclusion is based only on Rhisiart's direct experience - for all we know, he's jumping to the wrong conclusions, it was in fact the plane last visited by the pair that is out of sync, and Phaema isn't dying after all. You'll note I haven't yet described their experiences, so 20 years could have been spent in the last world, or whatever. And perhaps Rhisiart actually has less experience with Phaema than he thinks and it is indeed naturally slower temporally than the rest of the multiverse.

Hopefully this justifies what I've said and done in-character?

By Elrohir (Elrohir) on Sunday, July 01, 2001 - 08:28 am:

Okay Spencer, breathe, breathe. ;)

Already assumed as much; check sat aye. I'm no fool and was giving you just a little hell to welcome you back to the RPM. *mishievous grin*

The first part of my response was sarcastic. I didn't expect you'd let the FE out; I know you better than that, or at least I think you know me well enough to expect that I'd jump all over you for such an infraction and have already planned against that occurrence. Confused yet? :) Do a Clarice with Hannibal a'la Silence of the Lambs, it's groovy with me.

Your second (and shortest) paragraph (response) is the one that kinda irks me now. Sure, I've laid out things, and Shadow has laid out things, that indicate that the world is in a deep amount of trouble. Massive storms, random megalomaniacal bad guys, etc. I don't believe we've once intimated that the world will end. Just because the mill is, doesn't mean the world will. That doesn't mean it won't, either BTW. I would think that at best, Rhisiart would recognize that a whole lot of stuff is seriously wrong, mana lines being wrenched about, storms appearing out of nowhere then disappearing instantly. Referencing your original post, Rhisiart took those problems and concluded that *only* (stressed) one thing was happening and that the world was on the verge of collapse. Hit a large enough atom with a neutron, and it will go all hella wonky. It will most likely undergo fission, but there's still the chance that it will absorb the neutron, become slightly larger, and decay to something more stable. I take offense only at Rhisiart jumping to conclusions, though he's more than welcome to take corrective action based upon his assumptions, however wrong or right they end up being.

You did not mention Sanctum or Phyrexians by name, no, but there is no one else you could have been referring to, so it was an assumption I chose to make myself. Unless Rhisiart was in contact with Thrakkiss before Tara "fixed" things, he'd have virtually no knowledge of any such technology. However, I think it's plausible that since Phyrexian War Machines have been used in the past to cause extensive damage, in such a time as the present that Rhisiart departed from, he may have heard rumor of strangely foreign machines, and made the conclusion that someone or something created or introduced them. That's me, for every way I knock you down, I can try to think of a way to make it work, neh?

As for Cassandra, I noted the time-dilation effect thingy, and assumed this was what you were using. Again, that last sentence in my original reply was meant sarcastically. I couldn't care less that she's older now; hell - according to Phaeman time, Aerlin and Jaron are...a year or two old now. It was explained away, and I feel confident you have reasons for the age change (such as a prior notice [NASS] that they had left the plane; time can easily pass differently elsewhere).

By Rhisiart OOC on Sunday, July 01, 2001 - 03:53 pm:

Well, sarcasm doesn't always come across well in text, as I'm sure you know all too well.

At any rate, I'd say Rhisiart's pretty stressed out, given all he's faced in the past several years of game time, so he is jumping to some rather wild conclusions. Whether he comes to his senses, or Cassandra realizes that her Yoda isn't altogether there...that remains to be seen. I'm pretty much playing it by ear.

As for what happens with the First Evil, well, all that depends on how accessible other potential sources of information turn out to be. On the other hand, I hadn't given much thought to Silence of the Lambs while considering that particular option...hmmmm...

By bob on Sunday, July 01, 2001 - 11:15 pm:

And the BAM, all of a sudden....

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