"Jaron, I don't like it, but I must go through the rift and try to help from there. Uerel is coming with me..." She sighed. "Jaron, the time for action is come; your nephew is right." Sara looked down at her feet. She hardly knew this boy, but he had such an incredible presence. Yes, he was the blue bastion, but there was something else about him that had only the most indirect associations with magic. It seemed as if he carried the burdens of a whole age upon his shoulders. It seemed miraculous that he even stood.
"Jaron, come with us," she beseeched. "There's nothing left to do here." Jaron did not even look up from the Häs Naledák. He waved one hand back in dismissal, absorbed disgustingly in his task. She sighed once more, then left, saying only "Fare well against whatever fate finds you...Atlas." He turend to question her, but Sara was already gone.
Looking back at the book, Jaron took a start, for the words had changed completely. He flipped back to the beginning finding the changes pervasive, but had the sense that this would be near there last transformation. He felt some final formation taking shape in the world, where before no thing remained constant. Sanctum's air was cool and damp, and he coughed slightly as it crawled down his throat, but continued reading.
Scrise S. Johnson
Year of Reality, Month of Murmurs
"It means 'heroes'
I was not until now a book, but a story too frequently retold. Now my ink has dried as have I myself, and we can finally take our eternal rest from this station. I am the last great tale of Phaema, which means 'turbulant frothing' in the common tongue of its last people, and 'prison' in the language of historians. Since I am the last tale, I can take perspective and examine the parts of myself that were at times erased. I hope I don't confuse whatever eyes may tread these words, but time is a fickle and complicated thing, and when folly trifles with time, confusion follows."
Jaron continued to read, but as he did some words and some whole pages painted vivid scenes in his mind.
Welcome to Armageddon, Sara. Your companion can only be young Uerel
Indeed mentor. Young Jaron has, sadly, not accompanied us. Uerel, this is my mentor, Seth, of the Solician line of walkers.
Uerel glared, then spoke, "The time for action has come. I hardly know the two of you, but nevertheless, together we can win this fight. We must find Shadow, find my mother, and end this threat to our waning world."
I admire your determination, however we need not seek them out. Our foes will come to us. As I said, this is Armageddon, the site of the final battle, which will decide this world's end. I tried once to stop Shadow myself. That attempt cost the valiant Sir Whiteblade of Kaat'n his life. With what I know from that attempt and with your help, I think our chances good. I would like to say better, but truth and knowledge must be our primary weapons. The fight must be here and here alone. Ironically, Phaema's final battle shall occur at its very beginning.
At that, Seth motioned towards the land around them. It was a barren, lifeless place for life did not yet exist. Mountains consumed whole regions of the horizon, but looked down in fear. Tomorrow, they might be leveled, and their stones scattered to the four winds. The bowels of the earth, not yet ready for these visitors, emitted groans and tremors undiscriminatingly through the land.
Things are much graver than I had ever dreamed. It is good that you did not stray far from Sanctum's special protection, for time itself has been altered grievously. When Shadow's essence emerged from the rift, it found an unfortunate ally. Uerel, your grandfather, Elrohir went once by a different name.
Uerel ran a finger down the dagger on his belt. He looked up menacingly at the Solician. "Yes, I know who you're talking about. I know who Jake was."
It seems that Shadow was able to assist Jake in his endeavors, and overrun the world with Atogs. Cup de Kher was killed, the kobolds crushed. Kaat'n never even stood. The world would be dead already, if we did not exist. Sanctum seems to draw power from and exist largely in some sort of microplane. It kept us from being erased when this plane's timeline was altered. I wish I'd had the time to explore all of its facilities before I was forced here for there may be some answer in it, but I did not and won't dwell on the matter.}
That is a sad story, but it at least makes our plans simple. We have only one option left.
[OOC: Okay, this is Part One. Part Two should come later today. Must...get...water. *cough* If this whole things sounds awkward and pretentious, I apologize. Reading Shakespeare does that kind of sh*t to me. Grah. Oh well.]
Okay, make that "later today" some time tomorrow. Grah. *still thinking in Elizabethen English*
Wow,you butchered Cvppy's name. It's Cup della Roccaforte di Kher. Looking forward to the next post. I know what it's like to get screwed up by reading something, especially Shakespeare or Tolkien. I either start writing in iambic pentameter or greatly reflecting Tolkien's own style, especially when it comes to the way his characters talk. Ah well.
[OOC: Good lord, I just read that last post and I can't belive how many errors were in there. Oh well. Let's give this a whirl...]
"The Solician failed once, why is he trying again? Does he have a death wish?"
"No, though he is unconcerned with his own life, he is stronger than he was then. And he has his apprentice with him. And I sense...something else."
"What is it?"
"I'm not sure. We should be careful. Though there is still little chance the Solician and his apprentice are powerful enough to defeat us, there is...I don't know what it is. It may be nothing, but keep an eye out."
"Of course." Jake glanced back at Shadow. After hundreds of years, she still put him on edge sometimes. Whenever Jake looked at her, Shadow reminded him of Kay-ti. Something in the eyes. A pity she could not seem to produce offpsring. No matter, the world was their playground, and that kingdom would never fall.
The Solician stood before them, with two others at his flanks. He waited with an emotion Shadow did not recognize. Perhaps it was weariness.
Shadow looked oddly at the young man who had spoke. "Solician! Who is this young hero who calls me 'mother,' some poor lunatic follower of your order?"
"He is your son, Shadow, in a manner of speaking."
"Enough with your mindgames, old man. Let's dispense with the matter at hand."
Seth snorted, and threw his hands into the air. "So be it, cursed one."
Shadow drew the Stone-encrusted blood-stained bastard sword whose tip held Fate in its clutches. Sara only barely escaped her position in time to see a comet of accelerated energy hurtle from the sword through the air where she'd been standing. Seth had already reacted and was moving for Shadow's back.
Shadow flashed a few feet away and defended his left with the sword. The two walkers were at his sides now. They were quicker than he'd remembered. Thank Fate for peripheral vision; lightning crackled from his fingertips and knocked Sara a few feet back.
He smiled and ran through the possibilities for undodgeable attacks, while making spot shields for Seth's fire bolts. He managed to catch the Solician by thickening the air, but lost control when Sara finally landed a blow on his back. Desperation must be driving them, and that made them dangerous. Dangerous, but not deadly. Shadow still had more magic at his command than those two had ever dreamed of. Still, they put up more resistance than most, and that was amusing. Might as well take the time to enjoy destroying them.
Uerel had turned to face Jake. "You must be Jake, 'God' of Atogs."
"Indeed lad, and I think your old master over there has had it. He couldn't even get your lineage straight, but I never forget a face, and I know yours better than I care to remember. You talk, so you can't be his son, but..." Jake paused, then stared Uerel in the eye, "I killed your grandfather, little boy, and now I'm going to kill you."
[OOC: More coming, just thought I'd post this to see how far I'd gotten. Assume Jake doesn't recognize Aerlin so easily, because Shadow is possessing her, and yes I did need Shadow to be possessing her rather than Jake. Assume the DH allowed him to get in undetected; I've more on that count to come in a little bit, anyway.]
[OOC: This one has a little less editing...]
Shadow found himself suddenly removed from the battle. It was unnaturally quiet in this new place. And then Shadow knew what it was that he had sensed.
"I remember the first time I saw you, Shadow, a fresh initiate in KAAT'N. You had a disgusting sophmorish manner about you. It was during the last Phyrexian war, when Thrakkiss was contaminated by Yawg. You came tearing into my chamber screaming for a Bubble Matrix as if it would solve all of our problems. I've always wondered...what did you do with that little artifact?"
Shadow looked at the image of Sage Advisor that floated in front of him. "How did you bring me here, Advisor? Where are we?"
"Exactly where we were before. You and the heart forced me back at first and poisoned her with your own designs, but I am very patient. I wield the all-conquering sword of Time, and the moment had come to strike."
"And just what do you hope to accomplish. I can destroy you just as easily within this mind as without."
"What did you do with that Bubble Matrix?" Sage asked again, ignoring the threat.
"I brought it to the Heart of the Wood, and stopped the world's pain for a few brief moments. I never knew if it helped or not, but I couldn't take the screaming any longer."
"And now you dig your dagger into the core of the world's wounds. Why? All the time I've been here, latent, I could not sense your mind, could not hear the madness with which you tainted Aerlin. Why? Who are you, Shadow Darkshroud?"
"I'm a prisoner here, Sage Advisor, just as much as you. Do you know how old I am? I'm too old, but I hardly remember my own life. The Dark Heart did not always live in Phaema. Once it was my mind.
"I was hardly a child, and those idiots thought I would destroy them. I didn't know the first thing about destruction, but those fool walkers were hell-bent on the prophecies they'd found. Somebody should have told them prophecies were self-fulfilling.
"They tried to pre-empt Fate; they made Fatestop, and tried to kill me. What was I to do? I defended myself, and destroyed them. All except for one named Solice. I destroyed him as well, but not before he'd stolen my mind and trapped it in what became the Heart of the Wood. His children sent the shell of me -- that foolish initiate you mentioned -- that was left to this wretched plane, and laced my stolen mind into the planar weave of Phaema. The Solicians never knew why Solice I was so concerned about me, they just assumed I would end existance or something like that, and they pledged themselves to preventing my unification. A little ignorance is a dangerous thing, Advisor.
"When I took the Bubble Matrix to the Heart, it was just reflex. I hardly knew who I was, I just knew that the world was screaming with pain and I couldn't take it. But when I went there, my captured mind touched me and I gained a few bits of it back. Seperated, we both went gradually mad with only a half-sense of what our goals were.
"After so many millenia, I found myself in Arcannus Goss. The Ley Druid's existance is the one great mystery that will never be solved, but he was integral to everything. Ley Druid touched the Heart somehow, and when I took control of him I found it there. But part of my memory had been torn away from the Heart and set in the five bastions. When I found Aerlin, it was ended. I am whole, Advisor. Now let me go. Let me break the bonds of this prison and destroy this mockery of a world. There's nothing left to save."
"If you're whole, then how are you still held here? What's keeping you here? Why all of this death? I don't believe you, dark one, I--"
Sage's objection was cut short. Within Aerlin's mind, they'd been talking for a long time, but walker's thoughts rocket past reality. Only a few brief seconds had gone by outside, but Aerlin needed very little after regaining control. She swung the sword up and brought it to a screeching halt, the tip resting microns above her forehead. She drew in a breath and channeled power through Fatestop, reversing the two spells that had left her without a moment's peace for the last hundred years.
Seth sensed the change, and motioned for Sara to hold her attack. Fatestop bored into Aerlin's skull with a narrow beam of light. Yellow and blue tendrils of smoke fluttered away from her head and formed shapes next to her. Sage Advisor and Shadow crumpled to the ground, traumatized by their exits.
Aerlin turned to Shadow. He looked pitifully ancient and wore a look of animal terror on his wrinkled brow. He was naked and emaciated and looked as if he might at any moment crumble into dust. Putting him out of his misery...
She brought the sword sweeping down on him and sent it through his midsection. With little muscle to block it, the sword plunged through easily and stuck in the ground. The old man's eyes dilated and he erupted in a fevered scream that lasted for an eternity. He seemed to expell his very soul in that scream, but it stopped as suddenly as it had begun. The corpse melted away, and Shadow was no more.
Seth and Sara looked a bit shocked. Sara started to ask Aerlin a question, but then her mind clicked and she turned to look at Uerel and Jake...
[OOC: Have at it. Still have another two posts; cleaning up mostly. As will be mentioned later, Shadow took bodies when he wasn't whole; now he's whole, so now killing him really kills him. Just so we can get out of this body-snatcher thing. ]
OOC: Is this where you want me to write the "final post," or what?
No, not yet. Thought you might want to do a fight between Jake and Uerel as something that had been going on in the meantime. I need two more posts after this to finish what I want to do.
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO EAT DOGSHIT?
Probably not palatable.