Legends of Divinity IC

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AuthorTopic: Legends of Divinity IC
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Kalandha is a world that defies a simple description. It is a world of breath-taking natural beauty: soaring mountains, expansive oceans, enormous forests, scorching deserts. It is a world filled with men and women from all races and cultures, existing sometimes in peace, sometimes in discord, sometimes in open warfare. It is a world where guild mages ply their trade in bustling cities, where strange tribes dwell in steamy jungles, where minstrels sing of legends in village taverns.

It is a world where gods hold sway over the lives of mortals.

Sometimes the debates between scholars over precisely when the first historical reference to a deity occurred can get quite heated. Some say that the first allusions to gods were written in manuscripts over one millennium old. Others state that the oldest reliable records clearly referring to a divine being date back only eight centuries. Regardless, all agree that the presence of gods is a modern phenomenon, and one would be hard pressed to find someone in Kalandha who refused to believe in their existence. The gods are actively involved in the lives of mortals: prophets roam the land spreading the message of their god or goddess and clerics in the upper echelons of their religious hierarchy wield strange powers that they claim stem from their patron deity. Miracles - though rare - occur whenever divine beings feel the need to actively protect their charges, decide that the progress of mortals is too slow, or just whenever the whim strikes.

Playwrights often compose elaborate tales of how devout mortals overcame incredible trials only to discover that they had become gods themselves. Such common stories could have a basis in reality; after all, no one knows how the gods came to be whom they are. The fact that gods come and go is also undisputed. Though it may seem that the pantheon is fixed to a certain generation of mortals, history shows that sects appear and disappear frequently, usually having a lifespan of two to three centuries. Whether the religion withers because the deity disappears or the deity leaves because the religion fades away is unknown to mortals, and if the gods know, they aren't telling. Rarest still are the legends of battles between gods; some tales centuries old tell of epic battles between the divine beings, of how some dark god or goddess was vanquished forever (at least, the mortals hope so).

One thing's certain in Kalandha: it's never hard to find followers. Whether it's new devotees to the Goddess of the Arts or new templars following the God of Valour hoping to defeat the barbarian worshippers of the Goddess of Slaughter, proselytes are easy to come by. For better or worse, the fate of Kalandha lies in the hands of the gods.

The premise is simple: you get to play a god.

Kalandha is your standard, cookie-cutter fantasy setting. However, you won't be playing adventurers or controlling factions like a 'normal' role-play (RP). Instead, your character will be a god or goddess. The 'portfolio' of your character could range from Olympian-esque (Goddess of War or God of Death), to virtues or ideals (God of Wealth or Goddess of Deceit) to a god or goddess of a specific nation or race. If you really want, you could also play a mortal who is ascending to godhood. Keep in mind that while it might be interesting to have two gods with similar portfolios (think of Ares and Athena's differing views on war), it won't be good to have four Gods of the Ocean. To be safe, private message (PM) a person if you want to have a deity like the one they already posted (in fact, PMing is always a good idea).

Some basic rules:

- Please keep all posts in this thread 'In Character' (IC). 'Out Of Character' posts should be placed in the OOC thread.

- This RP has nothing to do with Exile. This RP has nothing to do with Avernum. This RP has nothing to do with Ermarian. This RP has nothing to do with Geneforge. Get it? Got it? Good.

- Most RPs have a "don't be a god character" rule. Obviously, that won't work with this RP. Instead, let's make it a "don't be a God character" rule. Your character, though powerful, can't be omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent; make him or her more in line with Zeus or Thor instead of YHWH or Allah.

- As with other RPs, killing other player characters without their consent is not allowed (presumably, the gods are immortal). Players giving their gods too much power are also a concern; however, it will also be easier to solve these problems In Character. A God of Completely Unnecessary Chaos and Death can expect every other deity to act against him. Of course, please respect what people tell you in the Out Of Character thread.

- Related to this is the guideline that you can't control characters belonging to other players. Obviously, your character is going to interact with the other gods, but there is a difference between using another character for small talk and having another character raze a city for your benefit. Obey the Golden Rule: ask yourself if you would mind other players using your character the same way you're planning to use theirs. Once again, use the OOC thread or PMs, especially early on in the RP when the other players are still developing their gods' personalities.

- Finally, this RP is bound to cause philosophical and theological discussion. While the Out Of Character thread is fine for this, it would be more fun to address them In Character.

[ Thursday, March 15, 2007 20:36: Message edited by: Dintiradan ]
Posts: 1509 | Registered: Tuesday, January 10 2006 08:00
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From whence does my power come? What is its source? How was it bestowed upon me, and is it possible that it can be taken away? What are its limits? Most importantly, what am I to do with it?

All these, and many more, are questions that should and must be answered. Many gods, previous and current, have taken it upon themselves to shape the workings of Kalandha. I ask: by what birthright? Does our great power entitle us to such mastery over the affairs of mortals? Are we so infallible that we can dictate to them how they shall lead their lives?

Only by probing into the very nature of divinity can we hope to shed light on the tangle of morality that every being, mortal or immortal, needs to navigate through...
- Ashataro
Treatise on Divinity, Preface

The dark skinned man was already up and dressed by the time the magister came to knock on his door. "Are you certain you want to leave this morning?" the man asked as the traveller shut the door to the guest room and began to walk down the hallway. "It's not often we get scholars passing through here, especially ones learned in such an esoteric field as mathematics."

The other man shook his bald head as he adjusted the pack on his shoulders. "Our discussion last night was interesting, Master Wilkers. I'm glad I could help you out in the small way I did. But no, I must be off this morning." The two entered the cloister's main foyer, already lit by the sun's rays. Three of the magister's apprentices were working at small desks in the corner, their quills flying silently over their parchments. The traveller turned back to Wilkers. "I do feel guilty about enjoying your hospitality without reimbursement, though. Perhaps I could make a donation at your cloister's altar?"

Wilkers snorted. "A donation would be appreciated, but this cloister has no altar."

"Really." The other man raised an eyebrow. "I was under the impression that this building was dedicated to Ashataro."

"Oh, it is," the magister stated, "but we don't worship him here. Truth to tell, I don't believe Ashataro is to be worshipped. All the teachings attributed to him speak of the need for mortals to chart their own course, guided by the universal need for knowledge and learning." Wilkers gazed at the floor for a moment, lost in thought, and then continued. "Personally, I view Ashataro as an impersonal force that embodies these characteristics, and many here feel the same way. That's why we dedicate the places of learning in this region to him."

The traveller stared back at him for a minute silently, then finally nodded. "I see. Well, take me to your strongbox then. I'll be glad to donate what I can."


Half a mile from the cloister, Ashataro glanced back and shook his head ruefully. So I'm an impersonal force now, eh? It probably was to be expected; it was more than a century and a half since he had any major contact with mortals. Most of the scattered academies and other places of learning he had helped institute still viewed him as a god, if a rather minor and withdrawn one. However, others he had visited on this journey, like this last one, had begun to develop their own views on him and his teachings. Ashataro turned and began walking up the path again. It would be against all he stood for to correct them. Besides, this was what he was eventually hoping for.

The morning sun was now fully above the rolling horizon of the Zsarim foothills. The crisp wind wound around Ashataro, as he walked and reminisced, gazing at the landscape about him. He always ended his travels here; it was home. At least, it was home nearly two and a half centuries ago. Ashataro glanced skyward. One more visit, and he would return to his current home. His book could use a few more chapters.

[ Friday, March 16, 2007 10:24: Message edited by: Dintiradan ]
Posts: 1509 | Registered: Tuesday, January 10 2006 08:00
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In the temple of the most divine Gorgantha, High Priest Niorsim prepared for the morning services. The altar had been scrubbed clean after the previous day's services. Gorganthas liked His sacrifices, but worship rituals also involved cleanliness. Niorsim checked to make sure everything was in place one last time before striking the enormous gong that called the people to worship. The doors to the temple swung wide, and the devout filed in. Once they had all been seated, two underpriests came in through a side entrance, carrying an unconscious prisoner. The man was laid on the altar, and Niorsim placed several hot coals from a nearby brazier on the man's chest. He awoke immediately and began to scream and thrash abot. The two underpriests held has arms down as Niorsim began the holy chant. "Almighty Gorganthas, receive the heart of this unbeliever as a token of our great love for Thee. In THy name we will crush all those who do not follow Thy ways!"

There was a resounding "Amen" from the devout.

At that instant, Niorsim pulled out the ceremonial knife and made an incsion in the middle of the coals. He then plunged his hand into the man's still-living body, enduring the terrible heat, and yanked out the pulsating heart. A terrible gurlgling scream came out of the prisoner's mouth and abruptly died. Niorsim then threw the heart into the brazier. The underpriests carried the dead body away as the heart blackened and smoldered in the hot coals. Another unbeliever had been purged from the world.

Gorganthas reveled in the ceremony. At the moment of the man's death, his life force flowed into the God. A deity does not actually need more life or vitality, but Gorganthas loved the feeling it gave Him. Besides, anyone who did not worship Him as the greatest power in the world did not deserve to live.

"It's sort of like Star Wars. Except Jeff didn't make Erika shoot first in Avernum 3, nor did he introduce annoying computer-animated aliens." —Arancaytar
The Spiderweb Chat Room
Shadow Vale - My site, home of the Spiderweb Chat Database, BoA Scenario Database, & the A1 Quest List, among other things.
Posts: 178 | Registered: Thursday, April 6 2006 07:00
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And so the great god Werien passed on his mantle to the hero Azur, who became like unto Werien.
So it was that Werien passed into the next plane, as is the course of all, both god and man, and Azur took Werien's place in the Pantheon of Lur. And there, Azur played his part in the pantheon and shaped the world for a good many generations.
- the conclusion of the Ballade of Rocks by Arthur Meyer of the Bard's Guild, circ 200 years ago.


A figure in blue robes appears on the skyline.

The man in the cowl cursed the wind and the cold mountain air. Of all the places to establish a priory, Sveltas had to pick a freaking desolate mountainside. If they were going to get this whole thing started, why couldn't they do it in public?
No, of course, Sveltas had assured him that this would work. They would begin as mysterious monks, working in that cloak-and-dagger thing that Sveltas was so good at. Then, they would begin to branch out into the Valley of Kavuk, gaining a following, and then, they would spread to the plains of Array, where the Minstrel's Guild lay. Fame (or, infamy, as Sveltas had proposed) would bring followers after that.

The cowled man finally reached the priory door. Sveltas had insisted on building inside an abandoned mine for the sake of keeping to the cloak-and-dagger theme.
Good Surita - no. No, he didn't need Surita's help anymore. Not that he thought she would give it, anyway.
He banged on the door.

The acolyte brought the cowled man to the Inner Sanctum, a room furnished in stained pine and cherry wood, carved intricately into the living rock.
The cowled man waited to remove his hood until aftr the acolyte had left the room.
"My god! Stephen! I mean-" Sveltas stopped and prostrated himself in front of the cowled man. "Good Lord Noric, how may your humble high priest serve you?"
"You can cut the bull for right now, Sveltas," Noric said, pulling off his traveller's cloak. "It's not like the underpriests are around."
"But it's been five years... how... where have you... by all of the gods, you look younger than I remember."
Noric lifted Sveltas to his feet. "Yes, all of the gods; that's what this is about, isn't it?"
Sveltas backed away. "Where have you been all of this time?"
Noric began to examine the decor of his Inner Sanctum. He noticed a bottle of brandy sitting on a nearby table, and made his way to pour a drink. "I have spent the last five years learning about who and what I now am. I've tried to meet the competition. I've tried to figure out what the hell I'm supposed to do for the rest of eternity. I have crossed from one end of Kalandha to the other and back." He look a long draw of the scotch, directly from the bottle. "And I have learned virtually nothing."
"My Lord, I-" Sveltas began.
"Sveltas, you remember where we were when Kyros Himself caused me to ascend after we defeated the bloody god Saluc? How he told me that it was my birthright?"
"I was with you, My Lord. It was beautiful."
"Beautiful, yes. And then we decided that we were going to have to work on getting a following, since Kyros never told us how it would work."
"And I have brought you a following, Lord, I have."
Noric bounded through one of the pluch sofas and immediately had Sveltas pinned to the far wall by his neck. "I do not wish to be used as a cover for your smuggling operations, Charlatain!"
Sveltas struggled for breath. "My Lord, I assure you, it has only gone to raise funding for your-"
"For your priory, Sveltas!" Noric turned away, dropping Sveltas to the floor. "Kyros told us that the Pantheon would make contact with me. In five years of visiting other shrines and learning nothing but dogma, they have not."
Sveltas stood, rubbing his neck.
"Sveltas, I am a god without a purpose. I have no patron art, I do not bless people, I don't even know how to bless people. Hell, I don't even hear prayers or anything like that." he paused, watching Sveltas rub his neck. "I'm sorry I overreacted, but you don't have to be a baby about it."
"Yes, Lord." Sveltas removed his hand.
"So I have decided," Noric said.
"You and I are going on a little trip."
"We are?"
"You aren't that stupid, Sveltas. Don't make me force you to be that stupid, either. I probably won't get it right on the first try."
"What are you planning, Ste-I mean, Noric?"
Noric retrieved his travelling cloak from the chair. "Tell the priory that you're going on a pilgrimage. I do know that we thieves and smugglers have never had a patron god. Until now."
"I thought you said-"
"I'm tired of your lying, Sveltas. Now this priory will really be doing my will. Oh... and giving twenty-five percent of all income back to society. Call it social work."
"What the hell would we do with all of the money that we're going to make anyway? Hide it? Spend it?"
"Both?" Sveltas suggested.
"Possibly. We'll get there when we get there." Noric donned his cloak. "We leave for the valley as soon as you make your announcement. It's time to build us a religion."

-Lenar Labs
What's Your Destiny?

Ushmushmeifa: Lenar's power is almighty and ineffable.

All hail lord Noric, god of... well, something important, I'm sure.
Posts: 735 | Registered: Monday, January 16 2006 08:00
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Kulo stared long and hard at the object on the table. A single coin, upon which the face of his emperor stared back at him. This small bit of gold was all he had left. Kulo had been secure in his financial position for some time, owning a small general store right in the center of town. Yesterday it burned down, his own fault, probably, since he vaguely remembers leaving a lamp lit the night before. It was low on oil, it didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. The fire combined with the emperor’s recent taxes to support the war had ruined him. He would lose his home soon, and all that he had left for certain was the single gold coin in front of him. How could fortune abandon him so? Kulo fell to his knees and asked why, why was this all happening to him?

“Oh, don’t give me that. How is it my fault that you were too careless to blow out your lamps at the end of the day? I know it’s convenient but don’t go blaming all your little problems on me.”

Kulo turned around. In his one room home, his bed was against the wall opposite the table he was sitting at, and on his bed lay a man he had never seen before. No, this was no man. He wore the most ridiculous outfit one has ever seen, very colorful, all elaborate frills and ribbons, and they floated in the air around him as well as if he were under water. This being liked to make it clear he was divine. And there was only one god that was as vain as this on. He was Fallian, god of ambition, fortune, greed, it all depended on your point of view, really. As was expected, Kulo groveled, Fallian looked down, pleased.

“Oh, forgive me, Fallian! I only wished some relief from these hard times. I meant no offense!”

“Of course not.” Fallian’s voice had an arrogant yet cheerful tone. “Well, is there something you would like to ask me?” Fallian liked interfering in mortal affairs, though he always made them ask first.

“Please, I am ruined, I need help, just to get back on my feet again.”

“What do I look like, a money lender?” His voice was less cheerful now, “I am the god of fortune! And I am generous, benevolent, magnanimous! Lucky for you, I love giving mortals second chances.”

“Thank you, great one, thank you!”

Fallian's voice became cheerful again. “Of course, the key word in ‘second chance’ is, naturally, ‘chance.’”

“Do you wish me to spin your great Wheel of Chance? Like the Emperor once did, long ago?”

“Naw. I don’t feel like the wheel today.” Fallian stood and paced around the small, cluttered home, careful not to touch anything. It was a magnificent sight to see his robes flow around him as he moved. He stopped at the table, and picked up the coin on it with his long, pointy fingernails. “The new sewer system being built in your town. It will make a great deal of money for its investors. If you only had a few hundred more gold, you could invest, and become a very rich man. I am willing to give you that money.” Kulo’s face lit up. “Of course, we must go through the formalities first. Heads or...” Fallian glanced at the other side of the coin, “swords?”

“The emperor has brought me only sorrow. I pick swords!”

And so Fallian smiled, a mischievous smile. He threw the coin in the air, and it stayed there for almost an eternity. With lightning reflexes, he caught it again, thrust his hand outward, and opened his palm. Kulo nervously gazed down at the coin. The emperor gazed back at him. Fallian smiled, “You lose.” The color fell from Kulo’s face. Fallian, never losing his smile, shrugged, and with a burst of light, was gone.

Kulo collapsed back into his chair, his head in his hands. Then it occurred to him, he could still invest that one coin, maybe he could still make some money! Then another sickening realization struck him. The god had taken Kulo’s last coin with him when he vanished.

You lose.
Posts: 2156 | Registered: Thursday, August 24 2006 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 4153
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O Kirwood,
Thou dost rule the hills,
The bounty of Array's plain,
The life of river Eos,
And the mighty skies above.
Thou shalt rule me forever.

Excerpt from Ode to Kirwood, composed and arranged by Michael Andrickson of the Minstrel's Guild. Critics argue that Andrickson is quickly passing his prime, and should retire soon.


Sliros slept.


Another crowded afternoon in the marketplace... Zeth thought miserably. He hated these days, when it took fifteen minutes of haggling just to get a spot in line to wait an hour to buy three peaches and a week's worth of bread. He hated the city in general. But most of all, he hated the fact that in order to escape the city, he would need money, which he certainly did not possess.

He looked around him, at the haughty nobles dressed in the finest robes, at the artisans wearily plying the same wares they had for years, at the peasants just trying to scrape a living off the streets... it positively made him ill. At the back of his mind, he knew he should go back to his own stall and try to sell the meager creations he had crafted from the city's debris this week. But today, he just couldn't manage the enthusiasm. Sooner or later he would have to, as the food in his home (an abandoned apartment complex in which he squatted) was running precariously low. And his tattered tunic and robes were slowly wearing thin... he'd have to find cheap replacements. But today, something didn't feel right.

Another priest passed by him, righteously holding his head above the crows. If there was something that Zeth hated more than the city, it was the gods. They thought they had the power to interfere with the lives of mortals, and the impunity with which they did so was horrible. Perhaps worse were their disciples, who arrogantly believed that their choice of abstract being was superior to everyone else's, and frequently sought to force that choice on others. On a better day, Zeth would have retired to a well-hidden spot in the marketplace with a small pile of rocks and delivered some karmic justice... but again, not today.

Once he had believed. At difficult moments in his life, he had blindly cast out his faith to a god, any god, willing to listen. No help had ever come, and Zeth had grown numb to faith over the years.

The city had forsaken him when it closed his shop and evicted him from his home, reducing him to jury-rigging a city life from the city's trash. The gods had forsaken him when they chose to exclude him from their "greater plan" for humanity. Now, trapped in the great city of Kirwood, he thought he had hit rock bottom.

A small black butterfly landed on Zeth's shoulder, distracting him from calculating the velocity he'd need to strike the passing priest square on the skull. He brushed it off, only to have it settle again on his arm. He did this a few times, only to finally have the insect settle on his nose.

Is this some kind of sick day-dream? Zeth thought, as the wheels in his head started turning. Then, they screeched to a halt. No, that can't be it... no. They wouldn't! I don't want them!

He ran straight out of the marketplace, making a beeline for the long-abandoned Joth district where he made his home. A small black butterfly followed him.

Gamble with Gaea, and she eats your dice.

I hate undead. I really, really, really, really hate undead. With a passion.
Posts: 4130 | Registered: Friday, March 26 2004 08:00
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Profile #6
The charming and clever aristocrat, Cassius, chatted casually with another partygoer. Today the High Inquisitor of the God of Harsh Justice was the host. Or his title was something like that. Cassius didn't really care; the little hierarchies of lesser men were litterally beneath him, because he was himself a god. The God of Suffering, to be exact.

Cassius was also a vampire. Cassius found the particular two ironies, that an immortal being was made even more immortal, and that something which should spread suffering should become its upholder, to be quite amusing. He didn't know how he had become a deity, but it had been proven quite a lot since then. Cassius had no aversion to sunlight and no life-threatening allergy to garlic. He faced holy symbols without fear and had no particular weakness to silver.

Cassius had been, before, a creature of the cruelty; he still was. However, he was now given a higher purpose and also a much greater range of abilities with which to further his agenda. As his goal was explicitly to cause suffering, he was constantly on the move among the large centers of population, spreading disease and causing pain wherever he could. He poisoned rivers, infected children, and burned crops. Wherever Cassius went, famine and drought followed.

Tonight, Cassius hoped to make into a vampire a very special target: the daughter of the lord of the land, Lilah. Perhaps he would set the good lord on fire too, just to add insult to injury...

Originally written by Kelandon
Well, I'm at least pretty

Posts: 1115 | Registered: Sunday, May 15 2005 07:00
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Fourty was a demigod. He had the powers and immortality of a god, but he had no rank or followers. Instead, he worked for Burrard, patron god of bureaucracy. Burrard required lots of paperwork to carry out his job properly, which meant a lot of workers to deal with it.

Fourty had been one of those workers for the past 350 years. His office was still small, windowless, dusty, and overflowing with paperwork, and his work had never seemed so boring. He had been categorizing gods and goddesses as either good or evil for the past two years. There were literally thousands of deities in existence, and the list changed constantly as new gods rose to prominence and old ones faded away or changed their patronage, so it was a difficult and frustrating task. At least Fourty had an objective definition for "good" and "evil" by now, or the task would be even worse.

He read the description for Molter, god of self-righteousness. Why did he and his followers all have sticks up... never mind. He clearly belonged on the good list. Then Fourty read the description for Saluc, god of bloodlust. Human sacrifices, worshippers planning to conquer other nations and rule through fear and violence, a high priestess who sharpened her teeth to points so she could tear out the throats of her enemies without a weapon... a clear-cut case of an evil god. Fourty was about to add him to the appropriate list when he paused. Saluc had come up before. When? Oh, that's right. Saluc had been killed about five years before.

Fourty dropped the pen, buried his face in his hands and sighed. So much information to sort through, and who knew how much of it was out of date?

His patience suddenly snapped. Surely he could be doing something more useful than all this paperwork! He threw down his quill pen, stood up, and walked out of his office. He had nothing but the clothes he was wearing, a penknife, a few coins, and an intimate (and often unsettling) knowledge of both bureaucracy and the divine, but he would make it work.



(Dikiyoba promises he'll end up with followers right away. :P )

[ Saturday, March 17, 2007 17:38: Message edited by: Dikiyoba ]
Posts: 4346 | Registered: Friday, December 23 2005 08:00
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Profile #8
Marras stared mutely at the surrounding chaos. Houses burning, corpses crucified on to trees, mutilated bodies (some still somewhat alive) lying everywhere, children crying beside their dead parents. Someone had clearly had lots of fun. Oh well, just more food for me, then.

Silently, he walked towards one of the dying. “Cold… it feels…cold…” the poor soul spluttered in its languish. “Don’t worry, friend”, Marras replied and put his hand on the man’s forehead. “Your pains will soon be forgotten.” With those words, his pure white hand unravelled to thousands of thin threads that wrapped around the man’s head. For a moment, his body tried to struggle against them, but soon its movement seized and Marras felt how the man’s soul entered his body. For a moment, the man’s memories lingered in his mind, filling it with his ambitions, loves, fears… then they faded and the soul disappeared to the recesses of Marras’ body. “One step closer to godhood” he muttered and moved to his next victim…

Few days later, a patrol of royal soldiers found a demolished village at the edge of their kingdom. They didn’t find a single corpse though, only fine ashes where there had been some. Puzzled and horrified, they reported to their king of yet another village raided by the zealous worshippers of Gorganthas. In the same time, Marras stumbled across another village that had suffered a similar fate; no crucified corpses this time though, but a grim totem made from the bones of former villagers (probably work of one of the barbaric war gods). It got the same treatment.

It was an ungrateful job, but the alternative wasn’t any better. His strange new body required mortal souls to operate, and one way or another he needed to get them. For the new god of death, dying was unfortunately not an option…

I have nothing more to do in this world, so I can go & pester the inhabitants of the next one with a pure concscience.
Posts: 617 | Registered: Tuesday, April 13 2004 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 4153
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Sliros stirred in his sleep.


Zeth sprinted down a familiar set of alleyways back to the Joth district, risking an occasional glance over his shoulder to check that he wasn't being followed. Even though he didn't see anything, he tried to run faster. The last thing he wanted was to be caught, and yet he couldn't fully articulate why.

Left. Left. Nice mirror, shame they threw that out, need to come back for it. Right fork, straight, third door. Cut through the kitchen, say hi to Frank... Zeth thought as he cut through the kitchen of one of the most prestigious restaurants in Kirwood. He said hi to Frank.

As he burst out the kitchen's back door, he heard a muffled yell accompanied by snickering from down another alley. It wasn't on his route, but so many years in Kirwood had given Zeth a sense of curiosity that would've killed a dozen cats. It usually benefited him, if only because it meant that he'd always have something to try and sell in the marketplace.

He rounded the corner, and was greeted by the sight of three nondescript armed men standing over his friend Jerome. Like Zeth, Jerome had fallen on hard times when he was implicated in a case of government corruption that he actually had no part in. Nonetheless, his property was seized, his family all but disowned him, and he was forced to take up residence in Joth like Zeth had. The two never talked that much, despite living in the same abandoned building. There were many people living in Joth, and the same standard of isolation was practically law. Yet each still considered the other a friend.

And now, Zeth's friend was cornered by three thugs. They hadn't seen him yet, but it was probably only a matter of time. He could hear their muttered conversation from the end of the alley.

"Well, what we s'posed to do wit 'im?" a particularly thick-sounding voice asked. If Zeth could just see their mouths, he'd be able to tell who was who...

"Yeah, he's not screamin' no more. 'Sno fun," an equally dense voice said.

"Easy," the third voice said. This one sounded marginally more intelligent than the others, but it was clearly a small margin. "We takes 'im back to the altar, and we gives 'im to the priest. We takes our reward, and we goes and gets us drunk."

The other two made grunting sounds similar to that of two and two being put together. As they bent down to pick up Jerome's shaking body, Zeth stepped into full view. He loudly cleared his throat.

"Gentlemen," Zeth said, trying to put forth his best aristocratic accent. He pointed to Jerome, who had been dumped face-down on the ground. "If you will kindly excuse me, this man is a registered target of the Assassin's Guild. Please step aside so that I may dispose of him."

The three thugs, clearly stumped by the use of words with more than three syllables, stopped and stared at Zeth for a moment. One pulled a dagger from his belt and thoughtfully picked his nose with it for a moment, before speaking.

"We saw 'im first," he said. It was clearly one of the idiots. One of the others quickly picked a brick up off the ground and clubbed him with it. Amazingly, he stayed standing.

"Shaddup. 'es from tha Guild. We's got to find someone else," he said to the idiot. This was the less stupid one. He turned to Zeth. "We's awfully sorry, sir. We needs to find somebody and bring 'im to tha priest, so tha' we can gets some drinkin' money."

Ah, wonderful... Zeth thought. More of those wonderful religious types. This kind of thing truly bothered Zeth. What kind of god would actually have the stones to demand mortal sacrifices, particularly from non-believers? The 'citizens' of Joth were frequently assaulted by such caring individuals, with people silently disappearing overnight. Or sometimes, not so silently.

Zeth shifted his weight, and pulled an object from his tunic. To the thugs, it looked like a long, jagged dagger, and they reacted accordingly. The less stupid one spoke first, as the group slowly edged away from Jerome, who was slowly and painfully sitting up.

"Okay, sir. 'es all yours. We won' trouble you fer yer time."

Zeth twirled the lethal-looking object in his hand, while the thugs backed further down the alley, broke down a door, and dashed inside in a thoroughly undignified way. Zeth listened to them trip over each other with a smile, as he walked towards Jerome.

Jerome slowly sat up with his back to the stone wall of the alley. "Please, I can explain," he said, sounding panicked. He hadn't actually looked at Zeth yet. "It wasn't me. Jacobs was the real thief, I never touched a cent."

"Jerome, it's me," Zeth said. Jerome looked up, and saw a long, thin shard of pottery in Zeth's hand. Realization dawned on his bruised face, and he smiled broadly.

"How did you come up with that one?" Jerome asked cheerfully as Zeth extended a hand to help him up, stowing the pottery shard back in his tunic.

"I don't know, it just came to me. What can I say, it's been a weird day..." Zeth said, and his voice trailed off as he got a better look at Jerome's bruises.

"Zeth, you alright?" Jerome asked as he painfully straightened his back. But Zeth was too busy staring at the purplish bruise on his friend's neck. It looked exactly like a small butterfly.

Gamble with Gaea, and she eats your dice.

I hate undead. I really, really, really, really hate undead. With a passion.
Posts: 4130 | Registered: Friday, March 26 2004 08:00
Member # 2080
Profile #10
Still shaken up from recent events, James left his domain and followers in the care of his most trusted & powerful servant. He had gotten everything he ever thought he'd want, only to realize that through it all, he had lost something that was far more precious than he expected. Which is why he went on his great journey, something he had to constantly remind himself of.

After a few weeks and travel, James came across a small village within a lush and lovely landscape. As James contemplated whether or not he was going to stop in the village, a small group of muscular, heavily armed men stumbled across him. One man who seemed to be the leader shouted to James, "We don't like strangers around here, 'specially ones who look like you. If you give us all of your money, we might let you leave here alive."

"It never fails. Try to take a vacation and you run straight into trouble," James thought to himself. "Tell you what," James said, "how bout you girls go home and leave the menfolk alone." "What did you say," shouted the leader of the thugs. Without a seconds worth of thought, James waved his hand and froze the thugs in place. "That should keep you guys from bothering anyone for a good hour or so," James declared to the confused brigands. Without further talk, James just walked off.

A few hours later James came across another village, similar to the one he encountered before. James walked into the village and headed straight for the bar, hoping to find some random adventurers to tag along with or at the very least hit on a barmaid, get into a bar fight, and get thrown out in 5 minutes or less.

"I don't understand a word you just said. Try speaking American. It's the only language I understand."
Posts: 1918 | Registered: Sunday, October 13 2002 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 3377
Profile #11
Somewhere, there was a village. It was market day, and the village square was full of villagers and farmers and traders passing through. The village idiot was there too, and on a normal day he would be wandering around, talking to doors and rolling in the dirt with the scavenging cats, who tolerated him as they would no other human. But today he had bumped into three men who were not from the village or the surrounding farms. The men took offense, and when they left, the village idiot lay behind the old disused well, laughing and grinning through bloody teeth and a black eye. He had already forgotten what had happened to him, and he never knew why. Soon, he would forget that he hurt, and stand, and talk to the things that talked back to him. A kind-hearted villager would look at him with pity and give him the only scrap of bread she could spare. He did not thank her; his unfocussed blank gaze did not see her, and the bricks were talking so loudly to him.

Elsewhere, there was a room. It was a child's room: bright, filled with toys and a small bed covered in white linen. The girl sat in the centre, talking and laughing and playing. She could speak to her parents, but she would not talk to anyone else, and she did not play with her toys, but with the funny little creatures that only she could see. Her parents did not recognise her for what she was; when they worked it out, years down the road, their heartbreak would be great, and the weary lines on their faces would deepen when they looked at their poor mad daughter, temperamental and sweet as the child she would never stop being.

Elsewhere, a man wept and screamed and shouted, and no reasoning could calm him.

Elsewhere, the old grandmother sat in a high-backed wooden chair, toothless and drooling, lost in the canyons of her own soul.

And somewhere, she hunched on the corner of a street. Dirty voluminous rags covered a starving body. One arm twitched violently every few minutes, while the other whacked an old wooden bowl onto the cobblestones repeatedly. One eye was blue, piercing beneath tangled straw-coloured hair, but unfocussed and roving. Passerby saw it first, and then the golden eye, and they fled from something piteous and frightening. The kinder ones dropped a coin if they had one to spare; the ones who would kick a beggar and push aside a child without thought gave her a wide berth without understanding why.

She was as her children: mad, easily recognisable but ultimately unknowable to the sane. She had never given herself a name, but her children cried out often, in stutters and screams and laughs, and what they most often cried was Buh-buh-lah. The sane, when they thought of her at all, called her Lauraziel, the Lunatic God.
Posts: 356 | Registered: Saturday, August 23 2003 07:00
Member # 6670
Profile Homepage #12
... And may at last my weary age
Find out the peaceful hermitage,
The hairy gown and mossy cell,
Where I may sit and rightly spell
Of every star that heaven doth shew,
And every herb that sips the dew,
Till old experience do attain
To something like prophetic strain.
These pleasures, Melancholy, give,
And I with thee will choose to live.

- Johan Miltano
Poet Laureate of the Zsarim Academy of Thought
Two Hundred Twenty Three Years before Present Day

"You have a research permit?" the woman asked, and Ashataro knew that the long day was not over yet. He reached into one of his cloak's pockets, pulled out the vellum scroll, and handed it wordlessly to her. Despite the fact that she had clearly seen him receive the permit from a wizened man two desks to the right, the woman took her time examining the signature and seal. Ashataro knew better than to rush her. It had been four visits since he had last lost his patience with Burrard's secretaries, and he didn't want a repeat of the incident. At long last, the woman handed the scroll back to him. "You said you had an appointment?" she asked without looking at him as she reached to her left for a monstrous tome. Ashataro nodded, returning the permit to its pocket as she opened the book and began running a finger down the pages. Many mortals and immortals alike scorned Burrard, finding his methods inane at best, wasteful and useless at worst. In his defense, Burrard only stated that society depended on his followers to function, and that chaos and anarchy would be the inevitable result if the 'backbone of society' were to fail. Ashataro tended to agree with popular opinion, yet Burrard definitely had his uses. With a loud tsk, the secretary suddenly slammed the book shut. "I don't find you listed as having an appointment," she declared, her tone laced with irritation.

Ashataro frowned. "But I booked months ago."

"Ah." The women said as she leaned back to reopen the tome, her expression changed to smugness. "You're supposed to confirm your appointment a week in advance. Otherwise, we cancel your appointment. Burrard is busy, you know." She dipped her quill in the pot and held it over an empty page in the book. "Shall I rebook an appointment for you sometime in the next year or two?" she asked with a hint of a smile on her face. Yes, definitely smug.

"I remember having a conversation like this last time I visited," Ashataro quietly responded, trying to remain patient. "According to Article 586(e), deities do not need to confirm their appointments with Burrard."

"Oh," the secretary responded, crestfallen. Clearly she wasn't aware of Article 586(e). For a moment she struggled with accepting his word and letting him pass. "I'm afraid you'll need to go the Office of Policy Inquiries," she stated finally, a shred of her former confidence returning. "It's in the basement. You'll need to provide three proofs of divinity, and they'll give an authorization slip to take to the Admittance Office, sixth floor. Fill out admittance form AF087-51236 in triplicate; leaving one copy there and taking the other two back to me. Then I'll be able to help you get an appointment with Burrard."

Time to fight fire with fire, Ashataro decided. Heaving a sigh, he slowly shook his head. "I'm afraid that won't work, ma'am. See, I'm partaking in Survey 3964Q4549-CT454-9RYT, and one of the criteria I'm responding on is how quick I find the service. I can go to the basement office, if you want, but-"

"No, you can go right in," the woman said breathlessly, as Ashataro smiled at her and walked past her desk. "Between you and me, part of my salary this quarter century is dependant on the results of Survey 3964Q4549-CT454-9RYT."

Ashataro stopped for a moment, then continued walking, chuckling quietly to himself. He should have known better than to expect that some random gibberish wouldn't exist in Burrard's crazed bureaucracy. His long strides took him quickly down the corridor to the god's private office. Most other deities wouldn't give the old god a moment of their time, but Ashataro knew better. It was confusing to navigate the maze of obscure policies and obtuse secretaries, but once you penetrated it all, you discovered that the ancient god was sitting on a horde of accumulated knowledge. Without bothering to knock - Burrard never answered - Ashataro opened the door to the main office and stepped quietly inside.

As far as he could tell, the old god had not moved an inch since the first time Ashataro had met him. Not that Burrard was capable of movement; all that was left of him was a skull, a spine, and his arms. It was rumoured that since those were the only parts of his body that he used, the rest had long since atrophied and crumbled away. The dusty office was completely silent, save for the scratch of Burrard's ever-full pen. The deity was still occupied with the same task he had been for centuries: signing his name on a never-ending stack of paperwork. Watching him, Ashataro shivered, temporarily causing him to forget about the itch he had on the back of his neck. He had studied how the gods aged, how their behaviours changed, how many became solely devoted to portfolios as time went one. He himself had been spending more time cloistered away writing his book as of late. In a century, could he expect himself to do nothing more than write in solitude, absorbed in introspection? It was a chilling thought.

Without pausing in his writing or looking up from his work, Burrard spoke, his voice like shredding parchment. "Can I help you, Ashataro?"

Ashataro nodded. "I'm here for your information on the latest additions to the pantheon, as before," he responded. Despite his book nearing completion, there was still much more research to be done, much more to be added.

"One moment," Burrard rasped, reaching with his left hand for a dossier on his desk, glowing a sickly yellow. Despite having seen the god pull files from it a number of times before, Ashataro leaned forward and watched as with a flash of light the sheet most relevant to Burrard's search appeared in the folder. Ashataro had never understood why Burrard didn't equip his staff of clerks and secretaries with copies of the artefact, and it didn't seem prudent to suggest an improvement of the current system to the God of Bureaucracy. Burrard held the parchment to his face, reading as he continued to sign his name on the stack of forms. A remarkable achievement, though Ashataro mused that the man had centuries to perfect the-

"The report wasn't completed," Burrard suddenly stated, a hint of confusion entering his monotone voice.

"What? Why not?"

"One moment," Burrard said as he placed the file to the side and reached for the dossier again. Ashataro sat down in a small desk on the other side of the room. His neck itched again, but he knew better than to scratch it. After a minute Burrard began reading from the latest sheet. "Initial information gathered and organized by the Office of Diviners and Scryers. After verification of facts by Clerk Twenty Six, relevant information forwarded to Clerk Forty, to be scribed into a complete report. However, Clerk Forty left his post without notice and left the latest report on divinity incomplete."

"What else does it say," Ashataro asked, impatient.

Burran flipped the page with his left hand as his right continued scribbling away. "The work of Clerk Forty is being forwarded to Intern Seventy Nine. As Intern Seventy Nine has only been working for sixty-two years, no progress is expected on the report until her training ends in four years. As Clerk Forty left without the required two years notice, no severance pay will be offered. This study recommends that a committee be formed to deal with disgruntled employ-"

"I don't need to know how you manage your employees," Ashataro interrupted as he stood up. "Apparently, I'll need to locate and interview these new deities myself."

"Why not wait until the report is completed?" Burrard asked as he returned the file to the dossier. "It will be done within the decade, and you aren't exactly pressed for time."

Ashataro stared. Was that an attempt at a joke? No, surely not. After a moment of silence he simply stated, "I have an itch at the back of my neck again."

"You think another of your academies is in danger?"

"No, it's not like that," Ashataro responded. "That was more like the prayer feeling that the other gods talk about. This is more like that time five years ago."

"You believe something is stirring up in the pantheon?" Burrard asked slowly.

"I hope not," Ashataro said as he walked to the door. "I hope not."

EDIT: Burrard, not Burrad.

[ Tuesday, March 20, 2007 19:20: Message edited by: Dintiradan ]
Posts: 1509 | Registered: Tuesday, January 10 2006 08:00
Member # 6700
Profile Homepage #13
What can be said of Kavuk?
Not much.

- Horace Likert, current Imperial Governor of Dorian Province


Sveltas's promise of a great hangout to spend the night turned out to be a rowdy inn-and-tavern, and if first judgement proved accurate, -and-brothel as well, in the outskirts of a town called Narrow Creek. Not that Noric expected anything different from Sveltas, but he knew that Sveltas knew that he hated large crowds, even before his ascension. After ascension, well... Noric had made a point of avoiding larger crowds after an early incident where he accidentally setting a merchant on fire just by thinking about it.

"I told you we'd feel right at home, eh?" Sveltas swaggered back to the table with his fifth pint of the local ale. He was attracting much of the attention from the bar, and was obviously enjoying it.

"You know, I could up and decide to become the god of sobriety," Noric quietly said as Sveltas sat.

"Oh, Lord, no!" Sveltas chuckled into his drink. "So what is the plan, oh High God Noric? You told me to bring you to a place where we can stay the night, and here we are!"

"First, you're going to stop eyeing the whore in the corner," Noric growled. Sveltas scowled. "Now, you had a plan to spread worshippers through this valley. Where did you plan to start? Business contacts?"

"Proving your glory through finance, I was, and you had to bring me back and away from my little cloister."

"You were going stir-crazy, Sveltas. Admit it."

Sveltas settled, dismissing most of his half-drunken act. "As it happens, yes, the owner here is a good personal friend and supporter of your priory."

"You haven't played him at all?" Sveltas had a history of conning and stealing from prospective merchants, even while he and Noric had been hunters together.


Noric could tell that Sveltas was lying, but at this point, it would not matter. All that he needed was a way to find the right people. An innkeeper involved in smuggling would be a good start. "I want to speak with him in the morning, when the bar is closed."

"Nonsense. We will be busy in the morning." Sveltas promptly chugged the latter half of his pint. Noric raised an eyebrow. "Ah, you don't think that my friends and the good company were the only reason why I brought you here, do you?"

"I think you answered your own question," Noric said.

"This particular settlement is home to a particularly nice library. You told me yourself that you needed guidance. Tonight we wine and dine and enjouy ourselves. Tomorrow, we do research." Sveltas stood to get another drink.

"You can party. I'm going to bed."


The thugs had been hired by the innkeeper to put pressure on a whiny little bald guy who called himself a high priest. Something about being shortchanged had been mentioned, but the rationale really didn't matter. The innkeeper said that the priest would know why said pressure was being applied.

It was during the first watch that the priest's companion, a man in blue robes, possibly a ranger, had come upstairs. The three had been on alert since then, waiting.
The priest himself did not come upstairs until the middle of the third watch. The bar had been closed for over an hour, and most of the local women had either gone home or to bed.
The priest had clearly been intoxicated when the first thug stepped out into the hallway, intercepting him. "Going somewhere, Father?" he said.
The priest clearly thought it was a joke, and tried to go around. He was intercepted by the other two thugs.
"We're here to give you a sermon, priest," one of the others said.
The third promply rolled up his sleeve and began the lesson with an uppercut to the priest's jaw.
The first grabbed the priest by the shoulders, holding him in place for a breadbasket blow from the second thug.
The blow was intercepted by the priest's waiting hand, which caught the thug's fist and twisted his arm back. The first thug was shocked to find the priest's elbow smashing into his groin. He collapsed in pain.
The third thug simply stared down the corridor as the drunken priest dispatched the second.

The man in blue robes had entered the corridor and was watching them.

-Lenar Labs
What's Your Destiny?

Ushmushmeifa: Lenar's power is almighty and ineffable.

All hail lord Noric, god of... well, something important, I'm sure.
Posts: 735 | Registered: Monday, January 16 2006 08:00
Member # 2080
Profile #14
After being thrown out of 27 towns in less than 3 days, James finally can across a town that, at a glance, seemed a little more appropriate to his interests. True to his nature, James headed to the first bar he came across and began to inquire about its services. After a brief conversation with the bartender, he had all the information he needed. "Let's see here," James thought to himself, "it's a bar, an inn, and a brothel?! That settles it, I'm not letting them kick me out of this place." James reached into one of the pockets on his overcoat, pulled out a sack of coins, handed it to the bartender and asked, "Is this enough to by everyone here a drink?" The bartender opened the bag and was somewhat confused by the imagery on the coins. "Never seen coins like this before," the bartender said, "Where'd you say you were from?" "A very far off kingdom," replied James, "and let's just leave it at that." The bartender just shrugged and went back to serving drinks.

With the formalities dealt with, James reached into his overcoat and pulled out his guitar and began to play music that was surprisingly appropriate to the bar seen. As he played, he tried to listen in on the conversations around him, hoping to hear of something productive to do with his time. Somewhere in the mix, he did hear one thing that caught his attention. "Hmmm," James thought to himself, "God of Sobriety... How evil would that be. I bet he'd win a lot of drinking contests..."

"I don't understand a word you just said. Try speaking American. It's the only language I understand."
Posts: 1918 | Registered: Sunday, October 13 2002 07:00
Member # 7420
Profile Homepage #15
Emperor Thule dismissed his advisors in a fit of anger. The war was not going well. He stood alone in the room, staring at the walls, covered with tactical maps of Kalandha. The dreams of his forefathers hundreds of years ago of a united land was so distant now. The land was divided into countless Empires, Republics, and, of course, plenty of Theocracies. On principle, he was technically at war with them all, and a multiple front war was finally catching up with him. In his moment of despair, a single coin, bearing his own image, rolled across the floor. He looked to see where it had come from.

“Damn it, Fallian, I thought I told you I never wanted to see you again.”

The god glided from the shadows, elegant as ever. “Oh, noble Emperor, is that any way to talk to the one that helped you all those years ago, when your father’s throne was contested by no less than six would-be Emperors?”

“We’ve been over this. I won your game, I’m not interested in risking everything I’ve accomplished to play again.”

“No, you’d rather just drive your Empire further into the ground. I’m sure Cassius must be pleased with all the misery and pain you’ve caused throughout your glorious reign.” Fallian’s smile was as discomforting as ever.

Thule was furious. “The people suffer for the good of the Kalazar Empire! What would you know about duty, honor, love of the state?”

Fallian laughed. “These ideas are merely mortal fabrications, created to make up for irrational behavior.”

“And an omnipotent being that goes around torturing others for his own amusement is rational? You’re sick.”

Fallian’s temper took over, “You dare? I am the God of Fortune! I am all-powerful and all-benevolent! I could give you the world and you insult me?”

“I have heard too many tales of those you have ruined. Those that risked it all for your help and lost. I will make my own fortune from now on, thank you.” The Emperor turned his back on Fallian. The god’s smile returned.

“I am fortune. And I favor the bold, oh, Emperor. If you will not make use of my talents, then I will find another who shall.”

You lose.
Posts: 2156 | Registered: Thursday, August 24 2006 07:00
Member # 4248
Profile #16
So dark is the road,
But darker would my mind be
If moon wouldn't shine its silver
Upon this dying land

-Carlos Scythe


It was a beautiful autumn night; the sky was clear, letting the stars and the moon shine upon the desolate road Marras was walking. Back home in the North, trees had already shed their leaves in preparation for winter, but here in the South it was still lush and green. It made Marras feel happy for the first time in a long, long time.

Of course, each silver lining had a dark cloud in the middle; this time it was the direction he was headed to. A city, he thought, Kirkwood, if my memory serves me right. Even though he was still miles away, he could already feel it just behind the horizon. Cities weren't exactly more alive than other areas; sure, there was a lot of life in the form of humans and rats, but that always came at the cost of other lifeforms, most importantly, trees. And one grown-up pine has life force equal to ten grown-up men. So, instead of stepping from a puddle to a lake, it was like stepping from still water into a current; the amount of water didn't change that much, but you got colder much more quickly. Or, in Marras' case, hungrier.

For a moment, Marras considered turning back. He was unsure whether he could keep himself under control in such circumstances. Maybe it would be better to stay away, at least for the moment. But in the same time, the name 'Kirkwood' caused a strange echo in the back of his head. Had Tuoni said something about it? No, he said something about a sleeping god, Marras pondered. He knew Kirkwood had some kind of a patron god, but that was all he could remember. Maybe I should ask from the locals? That seemed like a good idea. Of course, he could have just asked from one of the souls within himself, but he didn't feel like disturbing them. They have a right to rest, at least for now.

So, hesitantly, he continued walking. Hopefully he'd stumble across a farm house soon, so he could turn back quickly if Kirkwood was a false alarm. Deep inside, Marras hoped it wasn't. He had wandered so long without answers that he was beginning to forget the questions, and that was never a good thing. Nothing ventured, nothing gained he thought as he strode along the pathway.

I have nothing more to do in this world, so I can go & pester the inhabitants of the next one with a pure concscience.
Posts: 617 | Registered: Tuesday, April 13 2004 07:00
Member # 5814
Profile #17
Cassius trailed behind a wealthy politician, moving from one shadow to the next; it was almost midnight with a cloudless, full moon. The politician was trying to raise support for his humanitarian platform, something which Cassius was decidedly against. When the man turned into the next alley on his way home, Cassius would overtake him and make him suffer.

Or maybe he wouldn't. Something caught Cassius near the midrift, throwing him back. The startled humanitarian hurred away. Cassius was left, meanwhile, facing his aggressor. A tall, lean, and pale figure with bright red eyes and clothing seemingly made out of night itself.

Cassius immediately reacted, conjuring up a spiky black ball on a chain and slinging it toward the beastly man. He dodged it and hissed mockingly. "Come now, friend! I know you're better than that!" The creature threw itself into the sky, and rushed down with clawlike hands outstretched. Cassius leaped forward, executing a flying tackle. He then lunged backward, jumped up, and slammed a knee into the creature's face.

"Stop! Stop! Fine, so you are a match!" The vampire stood up quickly, and began dusting itself off as if not threatened at all by the vengeful god it had just tried to ambush. Indeed, Cassius was standing warily but not moving at all to attack.

"What is it you want, Mervingorix?" Cassius spit the name out like a curse.

The other vampire grinned. "I knew you would jump at the chance to help me." He laughed coldly.

Cassius darted at Mervingorix. "You may believe yourself protected, but your facts are sadly out of date. You may be the originator of my bloodline, but I no longer have to obey you, nor will your death result in mine." To illustrate his point, Cassius kicked Mervingorix in the head and then spun around, rising and slashing the vampire's body in various places as he did so. He finished with another kick, this one to Mervingorix's chest.

Mervingorix staggered back. "Insane creature! Whose patronage do you now reside under, that you can tempt death and break laws as ancient as the vampire lines themselves?"

Cassius drew himself up. "My own. Now leave me."

Mervingorix stood his ground. "I came offering you work, and you have rejected me. You have openly defied me, and attacked me. And you have turned your back on he whom I represent. A grave mistake."

Cassius turned away. "A grave mistake? Go play among your minions, coward, and leave the realm of your betters firmly behind you."

"Bah! You've always been arrogant, Cassius, but I thought you would have known better. Your attack on me means I am now honor-bound to hunt you down and execute you. And I have made powerful, powerful friends."

"Let them come," Cassius growled. He disappeared into the night.

Originally written by Kelandon
Well, I'm at least pretty

Posts: 1115 | Registered: Sunday, May 15 2005 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 3377
Profile #18
Oh, she was lonely.

There was nowhere for her to go, nowhere for her to be. It had been a long, long time since Lauraziel had had a temple, or perhaps it will be a long, long time until she has her first. A temple. A home.

The thought was a funny one, difficult to hold on to, slithering away and dodging her grasping hands like a tailless lizard. A home. The others had them, she knew. She wasn't sure who the others were, but she knew they had them, even if she didn't know what exactly it was that they had. All except the new others, and the others that will be. But they'd have them too, soon, and even the others who thought they were but weren't would have them, and the others that weren't anymore still had them.

A home. Her children cried out for her, and she heard them and shared their dreams and their fears and their visions, but they could not find her, because she had nowhere to be. And she could not find them, because her children were many, and she walked their paths with them, all the time, but they were like the tailless lizard, and she couldn't find their hands to hold. And it hurt that they called for her and she could not be with them.

Lauraziel cried. She was not aware of it, sitting on her street corner with her wooden bowl that fed her children and her rags that kept them warm, but she cried, and another's child noticed.

The coin was nothing, really, a shiny circle of metal that glittered in the sun and looked pretty. It was the kindness that came with it, the small spark of pity and care that gave the coin to her, that warmed her and cleared her thoughts for one blessed instant. In that instant, she knew what she had to do. She had to find one. For herself. For her children. Somewhere to be.

A home.
Posts: 356 | Registered: Saturday, August 23 2003 07:00
Member # 6600
Profile Homepage #19
Fourty had been traveling for several days, following the road towards the little backwater village he had administered as an ordinary mortal, over 350 years ago. If it even existed anymore, that was. He could have appeared there instantly if he wanted to, but Fourty was out of practice with mortal ways. He needed time to observe them before he interacted with them. So he traveled slowly, completely undetectable to the soldiers, farmers, merchants, monks, and sages passing by him (and occasionally through him).

He rounded a corner and stopped suddenly. His village was still there, all right. In fact, it was much more than just a simple village. Now it was a magnificent city. The setting sun bathed it in golden light, illuminating high, massive walls, a massive palace, a massive park, a massive religious complex, a massive marketplace, and several massive slums. Fourty stared in awe for a moment and then transported himself to the front of the largest temple. It was time to meet the deity or deities of this place.

Fourty took a moment to observe his surroundings carefully. There was only one deity who had more courts than temples and who ordained that those found guilty were to be hung during worship services and then left on display as a warning. This city belonged entirely to Harath, god of harsh justice (probably because of the predictable and fatal punishment meted out to non-believers). He looked over some of the bodies. Each had a sign nailed above them with the name of their crime: "Fraud", "Murder", "Infidelity", "Theft", "Disturbance of the Peace", "Heresy", and many more. One of the executed still wore fine clothing only nobility could afford and another still wore robes that marked him as a priest of Harath. Clearly, no one was immune. Fourty shuddered.

But as Fourty looked around, he could tell that Harath wasn't around at the moment and that another deity had moved in during his absence. A deity Fourty did not want to meet. A deity who clearly belonged on the evil list.

Suddenly, a manhole cover moved. Fourty started, but only an ordinary mortal woman climbed out. She was in her late teens or early twenties; underfed, filthy, smelly, and wearing threadbare clothes. She started moving stealthily towards the bodies. She quickly hid behind a statue as two priestesses exited the temple, conversing in soft, serious tones.

"So, what did you think of the executions today?"

"We should have delayed them. No one expected the head executioner to have that unfortunate accident, or for both of his backups to get sick. We were left with an ordinary priest to fill in, and it was not clean."

"That may be true, but you know what they say about delayed justice."

"I don't care. Unnecessary suffering is not justice! If you think..."

Their voices faded away as they entered a different temple. The woman stood up again, approached the bodies quickly, swore quietly, and hurried back towards the hole. Her sleeve snagged on a jagged edge as she lowered herself into a hole, rolling up to reveal an F-shaped scar branded onto her skin--the exact same scar an especially mutilated body marked "Traitor" had. Fourty was curious. He had never heard of a deity whose followers marked themselves in such a way. Of course, it might not be a sign of a god or goddess, but there was a good chance it was.

But there was no way to track the woman except by following her, and was Fourty really curious enough to climb into--Fourty opened the cover and peered down, wincing as the smell reached him--the sewers to find out? Being a demigod wouldn't make it any less unpleasant.

Fourty hesitated for one minute more and then climbed inside, carefully replacing the cover behind him.



Edit: Typo.

[ Saturday, March 24, 2007 12:47: Message edited by: Dikiyoba ]
Posts: 4346 | Registered: Friday, December 23 2005 08:00
Member # 2080
Profile #20
Much to James's surprise, the whole bar seen thing wasn't anywhere near as appealing as it had been in his younger days. Indeed, he was no longer that man. Clearly despite his best efforts, the years responsibility that comes with divinity had grown on him, become part of his being. After several minutes of contemplation on the issue, James decided to end his little vacation early. James arose from his chair and teleported away, only to find himself in the exact same spot he was at before he teleported, only this time with a few people staring at him like he was an idiot.

"That's odd," James thought to himself, "that's never happened before. I wonder..." Without a word spoken, James teleported to just outside of the town. "Well, at least I can still do that," James said to himself, "though, this could be very problematic, since it would appear that I'm stuck in this realm. How am I going to get myself out of this one..." After a few minutes of talking to himself out loud, and several people staring at him strangely, James finally came up with a plan.

"Those guys from earlier," James said to himself, "while chances are they're just some fools who had had too much to drink, there might actually some merit to their claims of divinity. For all I know, the gods here could crush me like an insect, if that is the case, I'll definitely have to play it smart this time, since I'm clearly at the disadvantage being out of my element..." James paused as he noticed the various people around him, looking at him as if he were completely insane. Not being one to pass up a good opportunity, James continued his outer monologue, "Now, if 6 one equals huh to the ? power, then those guys will treat me like the powerful ninja bunny I am, but if 6 one is 42, than I am clearly a pirate gopher and my entire belief structure is wrong and I will not go the magical land of Van Halen when 97th month of the 35th year has a complete eclipse of all 588 suns..."

Eventually all this rambling caused the people around James to grow increasingly confused and leave so that they do not catch whatever mental illness he has. When he was alone again, James continued his pondering, "Of course, there's no guarantee that those guys could or would want to be helpful, but at the very least, it's worth a shot." With that, James quickly headed into town to find those supposed deities.

"I don't understand a word you just said. Try speaking American. It's the only language I understand."
Posts: 1918 | Registered: Sunday, October 13 2002 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 4153
Profile Homepage #21
Feeling the presence of other ancients, Sliros awoke.


It was an unusual evening in Joth, as the district's citizens had been brought together in the abandoned plaza of a dilapidated villa. The majority of them looked better off than the city's homeless, but worse off than the peasants. In truth, the homeless were simply those who had not found their way to Joth yet, as the vast abandoned sector of Kirwood had more than enough room for all of the city's squatters to thrive. The only problem was that the vultures of the city, the thieves and robbers, were more than content to prey on the weak, causing a rather high turnover of residents in the district.

But tonight, most of these hangers-on were gathered in front of a substantial fire, passing around flagons of home-brewed beer and flasks of stolen wine. None knew exactly why the gathering had been called, but nobody felt like questioning it.

The story of the evening was Jerome's escape from the thugs, which he re-enacted rather frequently. Each time he told the tale, it grew just a bit more improbable, and Jerome grew a bit more drunk. A little after his third attempt at showing off the flying roundhouse kick that knocked out all three thugs at once, Zeth walked up to the fire, catching the attention of all.

As Jerome picked himself up off the ground, Zeth spoke. "Now I know you all think there's some sort of ominous reason I called us together tonight, but I'd like to reassure you that it's just for our own merriment. I thought that it'd be enough to celebrate that Jerome's still alive."

This was met by a few loud bursts of cheers and applause, and much to his own surprise, Zeth continued speaking. "It's just that we don't deserve a life like this, one where we don't even see our neighbors unless they're being held at knifepoint. Where our loved ones and friends disappear in the night, victimized by cults and slavers."

Zeth had no idea where he was going with this, but the crowd was hesitantly drawing closer to him.

"I think of this as a beginning, the start of a life for us all where we can depend on one another to endure all that the cruel city can subject us to. The patrician takes our silence for granted, but he should fear it," Zeth said, now convinced he'd had too much to drink. He tried to steer his monologue back to something reasonable.

"Anyway, I hope that everyone's enjoying themselves. Maybe, the next time someone has a near-death experience we can do it all again. For now, I'll leave you to your drinks..." he said, before his mouth started moving again. "But first, a toast!"

The crowd was getting a little jittery at this point, but most of them were amiable enough to lift a flagon of something. Zeth, puzzled at his own drunkenness, continued: "A toast to us all, the forsaken denizens of Joth! The city may forget us, but wiser and stronger powers have not!"

Zeth glanced around at the crowd, the fire, the abandoned villa... and what he saw left him in a cold sweat. Just within the reach of the fire's light, a small cloud of black moths fluttered harmlessly. Now completely terrified, Zeth's rebel mouth plunged on: "A toast, to Sliros!"

The revelers joined him, toasting the name they'd never heard before, yet knew by heart.

Gamble with Gaea, and she eats your dice.

I hate undead. I really, really, really, really hate undead. With a passion.
Posts: 4130 | Registered: Friday, March 26 2004 08:00
Member # 6700
Profile Homepage #22
I do rather hope that no one will ever quote any of this.
- Hun Lori, a false prophet


"You must understand," the head librarian said, "as a rule, the gods do not tell mortals of the ways of godhood. It keeps the power in their favor, I suppose." He chuckled briefly, but the priest and the traveller did not appear amused. "What we do commonly know is handed down through tradition and myth," he continued. "Many bards are fond of romanticising old stories of heroes by causing the hero to ascend to godhood upon victory."

"This vein is more along the lines of what I'm interested in," the traveler in blue said. The priest nodded in emphatic agreement. "If you have any research on, say, trends or studies of cultural works involving heroes and gods, those would work."

The librarian thought to himself for a moment. "Actually, we had a scribe of Ashataro in the area not long ago, doing a study on the mortals' historical perspectives of the gods. He was kind enough to a copy of his notes upon us before he left. I'll see if I can dig it up. Wait right here." He walked off.

Noric grabbed the table for support and glared at Sveltas. "'Do you have any religious texts on the ascension of mortals to godhood?'???"

"The direct approach is sometimes the fastest with a collection like this," Sveltas pointed out. Indeed, the library was a grand, two-storied structure grouped in Narrow Creek's temple area, competing for attention with a carved marble temple of Digirid, a local agricultural god, a shrine to Fallian, god of fortune, and a bookstore dedicated to Yeahyup, a regional protector, among others.

"Fine. Fine. You win this one." Noric raised his hands in defeat.

"So now you'll tell me what the hell happened last night?" Sveltas demanded.

"A little personal space, please?" Noric asked. Sveltas was all but touching noses with him. He realized this, and backed off. "Fine, you want what happened last night, this is it. I saw the thugs in the hall, and knew they were there for you. I didn't care: I was tired, I went to bed."

"I thought you said you don't need sleep."

"I don't. But not resting does tend to make me cranky." Noric forced a smile as one of the assistant librarians walked by. "Suffice to say, I daydreamed a little bit about you fighting those guys. I went through a particularly funny scenario where you actually won, and suddenly you start yelling for help from the hallway. I go out there to find you reinacting that last scenario. That's what happened."

"I didn't yell for help," Sveltas said quietly.

"Yes, you did."

"Did not. Didn't make a sound."

"'Noric, Noric, oh god, help me, come on?'?"

"No. I might have been thinking it, but..." Sveltas trailed off. "Maybe..."

"Here we go." The librarian strode up with a thick leather-bound tome. "I'm going to have to ask you to stay at this table with it, as it's our only copy. Let me know if you need anything." He strode off again.

"'Maybe' what?" Noric asked.

Sveltas disrgarded the question and instead sat down and opened the book. "I think we may have a start here." He pulled a monocle from a tunic pocket and began to use it in scouring the first page.

Noric bent in and looked at the open pages: a map of Kalandha, annotated and marked with locations, names, and dates. "We might as well get comfortable. I don't think that we'll be leaving anytime soon," he said.

Sveltas peered up, removing the monocle. "Why?"

"Because we were followed all morning by the minstrel from the inn last night, and he's still watching us through the window."

-Lenar Labs
What's Your Destiny?

Ushmushmeifa: Lenar's power is almighty and ineffable.

All hail lord Noric, god of... well, something important, I'm sure.
Posts: 735 | Registered: Monday, January 16 2006 08:00
Member # 2080
Profile #23
"Well," James thought to himself, "at least one of them is observant. I suppose it would've helped to at least try to be somewhat stealthy... Come to think of it, these outer monologues probly aren't helping me any... Oh well... Since they know I'm here I might as well go say hello." After doing some complex math equations in less a second, James teleported straight to Noric & Sveltas and said to the two "Hey. The word on the street is that you two are researching the deities. I was just gonna spy on you until you found out something useful, but since y'all already know I'm here, I figured that I might as well join you."


"Who knows, you might actually find me to be useful, despite my seemingly endless monologues. 'specially when it comes to anything that requires a somewhat functional brain," James continued, "And of course, I can always get you some food or something, too. And by the way, I would greatly appreciate it if you never called me a 'Minstrel' that's very inappropriate. You should be... Nevermind... So will y'all accept my help, or will I have to keep stalking you until I get bored or you strike me down with lightning or something?"

[ Monday, April 09, 2007 06:15: Message edited by: LF ]

"I don't understand a word you just said. Try speaking American. It's the only language I understand."
Posts: 1918 | Registered: Sunday, October 13 2002 07:00
Member # 6670
Profile Homepage #24
It cannot be stated with certainty what percentage of gods were mortal before they rose in power. Most deities are secretive of their origins, unwilling to elaborate on their rise to power. A few, however, do share their experiences. The road to divine ascendancy is a varied one, to be sure; not one is the same. This makes locating these new gods problematic: there is no one criterion to search for, so discovery of these beings often only happens when they make themselves known by their initial blunderings with their newfound might.

Should the current pantheon seek these new gods out? At times in history, they did not. The current system is hardly an improvement. Contact with new deities only occurs when the established gods are willing to take time away from their projects, unlikely when often there is nothing to gain from such contacts.

I maintain nonetheless that efforts to contact newly ascended mortals should be made. The established gods know far too little of restraint, but the new know naught of it. They are far too often drunk on divine power that is strange to them, and all to often willing to shape Kalandha to their rash ideals.
- Ashataro, Treatise on Divinity

The bone dice made a clattering sound as they were tossed atop the cards lain in the previous round. The gamblers held their breath for a moment, and then broke out into a raucous din as they divvied the pile of small coins in the centre of the table amongst themselves. Ashataro hadn't heard of or seen the game before; it must have been invented in the last century. Surely the gamblers knew the rules, but to Ashataro it seemed the rounds switched from rolling dice to tossing coins to laying cards at random.

He took a sip from his flagon, and immediately scowled. It wasn't bad enough he had to sup with gamblers in this damp inn along the forsaken road. The wine had to be vinegary as well. He could have continued walking the Kirwood Road, but surely a middle-aged man walking unconcerned in a night of pouring rain through brigand infested country would have attracted notice. Dealing with felons would be no problem of course, but he never liked drawing attention to himself. When the time came to stop for the night, Realloc's Arms was the only tavern near, so Ashataro put up with it.

The redistribution of coins didn't seem to favour a narrow faced man sitting alone at one end of the table. He grimaced to himself a moment before sliding over half of his remaining pile to the middle of the table. A few of the other gamblers chuckled at him, and one began dealing out a pack of worn out playing cards.

He was getting closer to the new gods, Ashataro could tell. At least, he assumed that the cause of the itch at the back of his neck was some new deity. The last time he had such an itch, Saluc had just begun his bloody rampage. Five years after the fact, it still troubled him that he ignored the itch back then. How would things have changed, had he sought out the bloodthirsty deity, tried to express to him the futility of dabbling in the dealings of mortals? Likely nothing. From what Ashataro knew of the god, he would never have listened to reason. Still, he had not tried.

"You going to buy the roll, or walk away?" a gap-toothed gambler asked the narrow faced one. The cards had been dealt out and were now arranged atop the table. Narrow Face man stared down at the cards, sweat beading on his pale face, then slowly, reluctantly, pushed all that was left of his coin to the centre of the table. Gap-Tooth chortled as he passed along the wooden dice cup.

Ashataro had ignored the itch five years past, ignored it with an uneasy feeling in his gut. The same feeling he had now, as he tracked down the itch's origin. He remembered all too well what happened centuries ago the last time he had heeded the strange feelings call. The outlying buildings already consumed, the Academy itself wreathed in flame... Ashataro had not wanted to involve himself in mortal affairs, but neither did he want another Saluc unleashed on Kalandha.

"Ha!" Gap-Tooth exclaimed, exultant. "You lose!" A few of those around the gambling table laughed with him, and at Narrow Face, whose eyes were wide and staring at the dice on the table.

Gap-Tooth was already shovelling the heap of coins over to his side of the table with grimy hands when Narrow Face breathlessly said, "Hold. I get another toss." The gamblers on either side of him began arguing with him, but he vehemently shook his head and pointed at a die, lying atop one of the cards. "See, my lowest one landed on the Emperor of Coins. I'm entitled to buying a five flip."

Gap-Tooth froze a moment, and then chuckled. "True, friend, but you have no coin left to buy a flip," he stated, making a show glancing around the tabletop quizzically. He continued laughing until Narrow Face produced a gold coin from his boot. He stared at it, torn between fear of losing his hoard and greed at gaining the gold, and then began rooting through his stash. "So anxious to lose again, friend? Let's find you your silvers for the five flip. I can feel your gold in my hand already."

Half the inn, Ashataro included, watched as Narrow Face placed the five silvers atop his thumb with trembling fingers. He paused, lips moving silently, and then flicked his thumb. The silvers caught the firelight as they soared for a moment in the air, before crashing down again on the table. The gamblers were silent long after the last of the coins had stopped rolling, until Narrow Face spoke, his pallor replaced by a red flush. "All heads."

"Fortune favours the bold, it would seem," stated a voice in Ashataro's ear.

He turned. "You."

"Me," replied Fallian, a smile on his face. It didn't seem that the other patrons had noticed him, although Ashataro wondered how long that would last. "I'm sure they serve better than that swill. Let's see what they can find for the likes of us."
Posts: 1509 | Registered: Tuesday, January 10 2006 08:00