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For Whom the Bell Tolls (TS) The Great Ball

#76 User is offline   Jehezekel 

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 02:22 PM

Within 30 seconds of the picnic starting, Silver had to drive off an invasion of walking-sticks which Enna had accidentally summoned to steal the picnic. This wasn't too hard, once the walking-sticks realized that there was no food to steal, but he was still concerned about what might happen next time, and then the insulin kicked in.

All was quiet on the road outside of Pnyx, where a lone little figure watched silently over the almost comatose forms of a little girl, and her friend.
Jehezekel yelped in surprise as the earthy aura of pnyx was shattered by swirling eddies of air and water power. The epicenter of the disturbance seemed to be at the front door, so he hurried in that direction.

The open doorway showed no obvious signs of tampering, no scrapes or scorch-marks, the door was simply gone. Jehezekel didn't have to wait long before a large number of people, guards and adventurers mostly, had arrived. One or two started a thorough examination of the doorway, most of the guards stood around looking very guard-like, and Jehezekel tagged along with several who went out to investigate the faint pinkish glimmer in the road.
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#77 User is offline   The Wizard 

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 10:10 PM

Wizard sat up suddenly; he had heard a noise in the hallway outside his room. He slipped his hand behind his back and felt the gash in his right shoulder. It was healing nicely. A little more treatment, and he was certain he could erase the scar from existence.

His mind flashed back to several hours earlier that evening, to when he received this wound. He had just talked with a friend; yes, with Selinus. He needed to speak to another man. He was on his way to Propontis room when all this came about. When the day turned to night and Wizard’s dark dreams came true. . .

As Wizard stretched his hand to the door knob to the room of Propontis, he sensed something was very wrong. He pulled his hand back quickly and sent the door flying open telekinetically.

“I’m too late,” he said aloud as he stared at the motionless form of Propontis. The elder had been reaching for the bell cord when a knife was stabbed into his back. He now lay helplessly next to his desk, his life ebbing away. Wizard raced over to the dying man, a growing pool of blood already gathering on the floor.

“N-nephew. . . S-stop him.” Propontis looked up into Wizard’s eyes, his own dilated with fear. “Please. . .”

Wizard jumped up and ran into the corridor. No one was to be seen in either direction. “He got away! I spent too long talking.” Extremely frustrated, and turning red with anger, Wizard returned to Propontis’ side. “Propontis, did Rapierian kill you himself? Was there anyone else here? What did he say?”

“S-s-top him,” the elder rolled around a little on the ground, summoning all the strength he had left, hoping to get up.

“Shh shh, don’t move. It’s all right.” Seeing that he’d get no answer any other way, Wizard placed his hand on Propontis forehead. He probed the fading mind for whatever information he could get—there wasn’t much. Rapierian had been here, but he had teleported away. Another person had stabbed Propontis in the back, but who was this assassin?

Propontis was fading faster now, and Wizard knew it was time to let him die in peace. Nothing more could be done. Before breaking his link with the elder’s mind, Wizard was sure to deaden the nerves in Propontis’ body. He would slip painlessly and silently into death before he even realized it.

“Farewell, my friend. I am sorry that you had to be a monkey’s uncle, but your nephew will not get away with this.”

Rapierian had been cruel, he had betrayed the group in every way, he had dared to taunt Wizard in a dream, and he had shown his face long enough to kill his uncle. Whatever his future plans, this necromancer could not be allowed to do further damage. “I will stop him!” Wizard told himself more than the dying Propontis. He stood and gently shut the door behind him.

His concern was not with telling the guards, somebody else would do that. Nor was it his job to spread the word that an assassin was loose. They ought to know by now. No, it was his job to stop Rapierian, the task appointed him as the last wishes of an elder killed by the treachery of this hated master of necromancy.

Wizard had to find the assassin and gather more information. Rapierian’s scheme would be revealed. He didn’t know which direction to go, but he knew he needed to act quickly, whichever direction he picked. He set off rapidly down the hallway.

As Wizard rounded the corner, Katerei was coming from the opposite end of the corridor.

* * *

Moments later, Wizard heard a familiar voice scream, “Guards!” followed by a brief explanation. The part that caught his interest was “. . . and the killers here!”

Instantly, Wizard turned in his steps and returned to where he had heard the scream come from. It was directly next to Propontis’ room, but no one was there. Rather, a broken window served as a sign of where the assassin had gone. Without hesitation, the ancient mage hurled himself out the opening.

In the next moment, he was floating above the city of Pnyx at dusk, trying to find the assassin. They must be on another side.

He searched, following where his mind told him to go. Finally he saw them! It was Katerei chasing some cloaked figure. He could not see any face. By this time, archers were positioned beneath them on the ground; another figure appeared. He stopped the running man and bound him in ropes. Katerei seemed relieved. The man who had captured the assassin slipped; the next thing Wizard could see was a glimmer of light reflect from a knife blade.

The assassin ran away as the man, apparently a guard of some kind, that he had stabbed sank to his knees. Katerei’s expression had turned to one of horror.

Wizard did not have time to help; he pursued the assassin from the air. Almost ther— Wizard suddenly felt a sharp pain. The archers had begun their rain of arrows. The old man felt at the arrow protruding from his shoulder. “Nuts,” he grunted to himself. He narrowly avoided being shot by another one. His concentration broken, Wizard found himself falling. He could not maintain a telekinetic hold over himself in these conditions. He dropped down and pushed himself into an open window on the side of Pnyx.

Once inside he began to treat his wound and patch up the damage to the body. He figured that the guards had not intended to shoot at him. It was so dark that they very likely did not see him, or, if they did, they would have thought him to be a trick of the light.

Fortunately, the room was empty at the time. Additionally, Wizard suspected that with all the activity, the guests would be slow to return to their rooms. He would take advantage of the time to remain here and rest for a few hours. By then, he was certain he could have this wound fully healed.

“And to think. . . I could have been home quietly reading a book by now. Hmm, to be home where it’s so peaceful.” He drifted off into a light sleep.

Wizard gathered his concentration. Slowly, the scar disappeared until it had faded out of sight.

“Much better,” he murmured to himself. “Now I think I shall go and find out what the others are —” he became silent when he heard another sound in the corridor. Taking care not to be heard, Wizard rose from the bed and crept to the door. There were hushed voices outside.

“Malis is still locked up. They say that he could have gone free after the guards were killed, but he stayed behind.” It was a guardsman whispering to his friend, another guard. Wizard had not heard of anything of this. Malis arrested? Why?

“The fool; does he not realize that he’s going to die,” the other guard’s voice was raspy and unsettling. Wizard was taken aback by this remark. Why would Malis’ own guards want him dead? Surely pay wasn’t all that bad. . .

“Fool? I don’t know; I think it shows a sort of honor about him. Are you sure we ought to be doing this? Letting this go on, I mean?”

“Look, what has ‘Lord’ Malis done for you? He’s a pompous, overbearing aristocrat. He wouldn’t care about us; why should we care about him?”

“I don’t know. It just seems so. . . cruel. I mean, what if somebody finds out? What if we get caught? What if they —”

“Hey! Stop worrying. We won’t get caught. Everything has been planned perfectly, and nobody suspects a thing. I’m beginning to think that you’re getting cold feet.” The guard’s grating voice became even more unsettling towards the end of his statement.

“Uh. . . no. I’m just a little tired is all.”

“Glad to hear it.” After this brief discussion, the two headed off down the hall.

Wizard peeked out his door. So Rapierian’s not the only one. He must have bought the whole city; these guards are closing their eyes to everything. And Malis imprisoned? I need to go speak with him.

Grabbing his staff from the corner it had been in, he silently edged into the hallway and down the passage. He descended flight after flight until he had reached the second story of the pyramid. This was the level which contained the great library of Pnyx, complete with its spell books, journals, and other important manuscripts.

The old man detected a presence here that he had not felt in a long time. “Is that. . it is!” Wizard raced to the library door and pushed it open. “Avatara!” he shouted with glee as he ran to the startled man.


“Yes, of course. I cannot believe that you’re still all right.” Wizard, being relatively large, virtually engulfed Avatara in his robes with a hug. “It has been many months since I’ve had any news of you, and I was beginning to think that some ill had befallen you. I am relieved to see otherwise.” Wizard stepped back and examined the pale form before him, “Granted, you don’t look too good, either.”

“Well, thanks. I just got out of prison, if you must know.”

Wizard didn’t look surprised; he seemed to be expecting the comment. “What exactly have you been up to? N... nevermind, I’ll refrain from knowing. Hello, Katerei. I am sorry about your loss.”

Katerei stared into the mage’s sincere eyes, “What?”

“I was on the roof when it happened. I curse myself for not having acted faster. I did not know the man, but I can see that you had care for him. For his death, I am sorry.” Wizard looked down, not sure if he could face Kat’s watering eyes. Katerei turned away and moved next to the wall, obviously fighting tears.

“I felt another presence in here. Where did he go?” Wizard thought it best to switch to a more comfortable subject. He began to glance around puzzled, "Where is he?" The unseen assassin remained silent as always. Wizard was surprised by something he saw next to the door to the eighth-degree hall. “Why have you killed that guard?”

"Somebody thought he was behind today's problems," Avatara glared at an unseen person. "Was he? I don't know," Avatara's voice turned cold, "But I do know that there are guards who are conspiring with the killers."

“Ahh. . . then that is why I have been hearing guards whisper odd conversations in the hallways. Lord Malis has been locked up then for a crime that he did not commit?” Everything was beginning to become clear in Wizard’s mind. Avatara did not have to answer. “So then, what we need to do is expose these traitors, clear Malis’ name, and end this mischief.”

Avatara nodded, “Yes, but we’re not quite sure how to expose them yet. We need to force them to confess to Lindus.”

“Perhaps Ascertainment is all we need and a mage capable of performing it on them.”

“I’m fine with that, but we need to get moving. As for the third presence, I don’t think he trusts you yet.”

“Very well, then he is welcome to shadow us, we may need his help. Kat, come on.”

* * *

It was boring here in the dungeons.

“We’ve been standing here for hours,” the guard complained to his companion. “When does our shift end?”

“It’s only been two hours, Ron. We have to stay here for another four still. Roderick gave strict orders: everybody takes six hour shifts, and nobody is to leave their post until they are relieved.”

“I know, I know, but I was just wondering if there could be any reason why we could leave our post and maybe join the search party upstairs. There are still some escaped prisoners on the loose, you know. Besides, why do we need to stay down here and watch this ‘Lord Malis’ anyway? He already had an opportunity to escape earlier.”

“Yes, but I doubt Roderick wants to take any chances. Anyways, he wouldn’t listen to any of our excuses. It’d have to be an emergency of some kind. What sort of emergencies do you have in mind?”


“It’s a good thought, but we’d be expected to put it out, not run away.”

“No, fire.” The guard seemed to be intently staring at something.

“I heard you the first time.”

“FIRE!” He shouted, watching the enormous flames leap about at the end of the passage.

“What?! How can a fire have started down here?” The two guards ran down the hallway to see if they could find the source of this fire.

* * *

“Lord Malis,” Wizard approached the bars to Malis’ cell. “We need to talk. You know that half of your own guards have been bought?”

Malis was startled by the sudden voice from the dark, but he answered, “Yes, I do know that.”

“Then I need to know what you know. How could they have framed you? What have you been up to?”

“I. . . I can’t say.”

Wizard took another step nearer the bars. “Malis, we cannot help you if we do not know the truth. I believe that you are innocent, but perhaps I am wrong?”

“No, I am innocent. I would no sooner hire someone to kill someone else than I would do it myself! But who are you?”

The old man hesitated then stepped forward again, this time through the jail door. “I am a mage. You may call me Wizard.”

Malis jumped back, “How did you—”

“Malis,” he stood directly in front of the man now, “I am not really here. I am an illusion, seen only by you, so that we may converse more easily. Please tell me, what have you done?”

Malis began to pace, “All right, I will tell you. I knew that there would be trouble tonight; I received a threat from someone. That’s why I called Sideline in, I suppose you’re with him?”

“Yes, me and my party have all come under Sideline’s name.”

“I guess it was wrong to do, now that I look back at it, but I hired a man, an assassin to ensure that my enemies’ schemes were thwarted.” Over the next few minutes, Malis unraveled the tale of that evening to Wizard’s illusionary ears.

When he had finished, Wizard paused. “Fine. You do need help. We must capture your corrupted guards and hand them over to Lindus. Do you know which ones are still loyal?”

“No, for all I know, none of them are. Except, Byran is a very loyal man; I find it hard to believe that he would have betrayed me.”

“Was he not the one who arrested you?”

“He was just doing his duty. That’s entirely different from betrayal.”

Wizard smiled, “Yes, it is. Where shall I find this Byran?”

“Somewhere upstairs, he may still be searching for the assassin. Oh, and, Wizard, you may wish to inform Lindus of what you’ll be doing. I doubt he’ll like it if he receives reports of his guards being captured.”

“We’d have to appear before him without evidence if we did that. He may not like it, but it’s a chance we must take. We cannot risk letting the men know that we’re onto them.”

“Some of them know already. But if you choose not to take this to Lindus yet, do me one favor: do not kill any more people. Enough innocence has died on my account.”

“You are an honorable man, Malis, but these men are hardly innocent.” The illusion vanished into nothingness, leaving swirling traces of magic in the air.

* * *

“I could have sworn that I saw flames,” the guards were returning to their posts.

“It must have been a trick of the eye; I guess it’s true that if you’re down here to long you begin to see things.”

At the top of the stairs, where he had been this whole time, Wizard chuckled to himself.

* * *

“Roderick must have escaped. We can’t find him,” Katerei explained to Avatara. Seralcard remained silent.

“Okay, then here’s the plan: Wizard, you go and round up the rest of the group; the other two are with me. We’ll meet you and the others outside of Lindus’ room in one hour. If Roderick has escaped, then we’ll just go for his lieutenants.” After Avatara had laid out the plan, he, Kat, and Seralcard went off in search of the other guards. Wizard went in the other direction to find the rest of the group that had come.

* * *

Sécundus had been dosing for a while in a chair in the ballroom. He had had a relaxing evening until the news of the deaths had been announced. The mood of the entire party had dropped, and most guests had gone to bed by now.

“Sécundus,” Wizard entered through the large doors and beckoned. “We need your help. Where are the others?”

Within twenty minutes, Wizard and Sécundus had successfully gathered most of the group from all around Pnyx, some even outside.

“Our objective is to find the corrupt guards and bring them before Lindus. That should clear Malis name. . .” After a brief explanation by Wizard, they set about to fulfill their objective.

This post has been edited by The Wizard: 29 May 2007 - 11:55 PM


#78 User is offline   Selax 

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 11:50 PM

Asran continued down the hallway, hoping to find a healer who would rid him of his headache. Instead, he walked into the ballroom to find Wizard and a couple of other group members finishing their talk.

Seeing him, Wizard lowered his voice as he spoke to the others.

Not low enough, however, Asran's elvish ears still caught snatches of the conversation.

Hmm, he thought to himself when they were done, that's interesting, very interesting.

Quietly, he watched them leave. They left separately to avoid attracting attention, and he guessed that they planned at some certain place to start their work.

Asran considered the situation. He had nothing more to do here, and it was none of his affair. In any case, he'd look very suspicious if he were to start assaulting the guards.

The elf decided to wait and see what happened. He would act later only if the situation warranted it...

This post has been edited by Selax: 30 May 2007 - 12:19 AM

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#79 User is offline   Jehezekel 

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 06:27 AM

"Do you know," asked a voice as Jehezekel's group neared their goal, "if punch stains are permanent?"
Silverfish leaped lightly into the air and bowed, "But first: Can you help me get these girls back inside?"
Jehezekel chuckled, perhaps a trifle hysterically, he was still unused to the chaos of a basically balanced Cythera. "What happened to the door?"
"Turned into a moth." Silver nodded toward Enna, "She doesn't know what she's doing with magic." and he shuddered.
Jehezekel nodded sympathetically as he carefully lifted Enna, and they hurried after the others who were already nearing Pnyx with Retsy.


Jehezekel walked quietly out of the ball-room, and began his search for corrupt guards. Step, step, turn, look, step, look, turn, look, step, step, turn...
A passing maiden stared at him with utmost quizzicality.
More than slightly embarrassed, Jehezekel stammered out an explanation, "I'm thinking about a -a play!"
She obviously didn't believe him.
"It's an operatic ballet skit, to be precise, called Ratlizard in the Kitchen" He produced a sheet of parchment from his pouch, and held it out to her. "I haven't made much progress yet."
She read the paper, "Enter stage TOP: The Broom."
"Not much at all." he admitted ruefully, and continued his search en pointe. Step, step, totter, *gasp*, *collapse*. "I guess I'll have to pass on that idea," he lightly declared, and continued his search, while the maiden proceeded to wherever she was headed.
As for Silver, he was acting as a distraction, to keep Lindus from hearing anything odd. His report about the missing door, (and contextual events,) was lively, meticulously detailed, and mimed in three different languages.

This post has been edited by Jehezekel: 03 June 2007 - 02:39 PM

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#80 User is offline   Pallas Athene 

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 10:51 PM

Upon re-entering the dining hall, Menexes fell to his knees and wept. Every tablecloth–each the 12 by 12 foot pride and joy of his linen closet–had been despoiled by punch. The damage had been done in varying degrees; some appeared to have been thoroughly doused, while others exhibited almost deliberate-looking patterns around the edges. All, however, had been thoroughly ruined. Never again would they grace the surface of a table.

Quickly he began to formulate a plan of action. The tablecloths had been made unclean by the red stains–evil, even. And there was only one place in Pnyx to relegate something of such vile nature: the dungeons. Yes, Menexes would lock them in a cell somewhere where they belonged (he could return for them later when there were fewer people about, and convert them to a more suitable purpose, such as bedsheets for the apprentice mages).

Menexes grabbed two of the tablecloths and began trudging towards the starway to the dungeon. He left the door ajar as he stepped down onto the first step. After all, he would be making many more trips before the night was done. He reached the bottom of the stairs and rounded a corner, only to bump into two mean-looking guards in no mood for his shenanigans.

One growled at him, "Hey! What are you doing down here?"

"Oh!" Menexes replied. "I am simply disposing of the dishonorable rabble of Pnyx, in the form of... these tablecloths!"

As one drew his sword to threaten him (the other guard still puzzling over the previous statement), Menexes let out a shriek. He dropped one of the tablecloths, turning to run. He scrambled up the stairs as quickly as he could, but as he leaped out of the stairwell, he hit his head squarely on the top of the doorframe and collapsed to the ground with a thud. He twisted as he fell, pulling the punch-stained tablecloth around his body, and ending up lying with his glazed eyes staring blankly at the ceiling.

The sound of the impact drew attention from a nearby guest, who screamed as she saw Menexes' crumpled body lying on the ground and covered in red stains. "He's bleeding! ...somebody help him!" she yelled.

Unfortunately no healing mage was within earshot, and as the crowd grew around Menexes' unconscious body, so did the rumors about how he had come to be that way. Some said a terrible prisoner had escaped; others that the guards had turned vicious; and a small but vocal minority that a demonic army was marshalling itself in the underbelly of the city.

Yet, even as the call grew for brave men to find the evildoers, none would suspect that this evil resided in the punch stains that lay before their eyes...

This post has been edited by Pallas Athene: 04 June 2007 - 07:10 PM

#81 User is offline   Selax 

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 09:51 PM

Noticing the commotion, Asran ran over and, pushing his way through the crowd, bent down to examine the unconscious Menexes.

"What do you think?" one of the anxious bystanders asked him.

"I think he's an unconscious human. Why do you ask?"

"No, what happened to him?!"

"Well, I'd say he hit his head on something or had it hit."

Just as the bystander was about to become violent, Asran mused, "Of course, one wonders how that happened to him...or what happened to these sheets..."

He picked up one and examined it.

"This doesn't seem like blood, almost more like punch...but that's silly...who would want to vandalize tablecloths?...I guess there's only explanation..."

"Someone spilled punch all over the room?" someone suggested.

"No! These are actually rare blood-sucking tablecloths, cursed by a dark mage in such way as to become active when somebody spills punch on them!"

Due to the fact that most people were already worried and listened to only part of this theory, the area burst into a panic.

"I must go and confront this villain!" Asran declared. He drew his sword and started for the stairs. Unfortunately, he missed the first step and fell down the stairs.

"We must burn them all!" a voice yelled above the din he left behind and the idea was quickly taken up by the rest. People quickly made torches and ran around the hall setting fire to the tablecloths. One of them threw a torch onto the pile in which Menexes was still wrapped.

"Shouldn't we get him out first?" one of them wondered.

Asran didn't really mind falling down the stairs. Granted, it hurt a bit, but one got used to it eventually (provided he managed to avoid falling on his drawn sword). As he fell, he gained momentum. By the time he reached the bottom of the stairs, he was rolling along at quite a good pace. He had a glimpse of two guards standing there, obviously trying to figure out what was falling down the stairs.

"Look—ouch!—out—ouch!" the elf managed.

Too late.

He plowed into the guards and sent them flying apart.

Asran staggered to his feet. Actually, the guards had broken his fall: his head didn't ache nearly so much as it had before.

"Thank you, sirs," he said to the stunned guards, as he picked up his fallen sword. "Now, has either of you seen a dark mage around here?"

The guards looked at each other, nodded, and charged him from both sides...

This post has been edited by Selax: 04 June 2007 - 09:59 PM

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#82 User is offline   Avatara 

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 11:31 PM

Seralcard made a small gesture with his hand before moving further out of sight. "Its clear," Avatara whispered to Katerei as they crept around the corner and jogged lightly down the empty hallway.

"Wizard said we might be able to get some help from this 'Byran' Malis mentioned, but he conveniently forgot to tell us where we might find him," Katerei mused gloomily.

"Oh, I'm sure we can find him. I'm more worried about running into someone else," Avatara muttered.

"I was under the impression that all guests were asked to remain in their quarters," a voice cut in from a storeroom they were passing. Avatara froze as a man in his early twenties quietly opened the door and stepped out. He was wearing the decorative body plate marking him as a guard for one of the houses, but his helmet was off, revealing a freckled face, reddish-brown hair, and a serious glare. "What business do you have with Guardsman Byran?" he demanded, blocking the hallway behind them.

"You know Byran?" Avatara heard Katerei ask as he looked down the hall to signal Seralcard. Seralcard wasn't there. The hallway in front of them was empty. Which meant...

"Don't!" Avatara shouted, jumping in front of the guard as a black blur materialized out of the shadows.

"Why do you stop me?" Seralcard glared.

"He knows Byran."

"He could be a traitor, we can't trust him."

Avatara's thoughts wandered to the guard in the eighth hall. "What if he isn't?"

"If I may..." the guard attempted to interject, "If you are talking about Byran, the guard from House Attis, I do indeed know him."

"You work with him?" Katerei asked.

"He's my brother." There was a brief pause.

"See? If you had killed him-"

"Then we wouldn't be in any danger," the assassin interrupted Avatara.

Avatara's stare turned cold, "I won't have you running around killing innocent people. Yes, you broke me out, but now that I'm here, we're going to do things my way."

"This is foolish," Seralcard warned. "You know nothing about this man, or that other man. You don't know how many traitors are here, nor who they are. A dead person can't betray you."

"He's the brother of the man we're looking for. If you don't like it..."

"It was a mistake to trust you," Seralcard growled. "But I'm not the only one who has made a grave mistake." He paused for a brief moment, then turned and vanished back into the shadows.

Avatara couldn't sense his presence lurking nearby anymore. He let out a deep breath as most of the thick tension that had been hanging in the air faded away. He turned back to the guard standing patiently behind him, "Well, um..."

"Simon," the guard introduced himself, but then returned to his previous strict tone. "You still haven't explained what you're doing running around...with murderers. Nor what business you have with my brother." Avatara noticed Simon's hand was creeping towards a knife sheath.

"We're not assassins, we're trying to help find them," Katerei interjected, also having noticed Simon's movement.

"That sounds like the job of the guards," Simon turned so he could face her as well.

"But the thing is, some of the guards are working with the killers from tonight. We can't be sure which ones are traitors or not," Avatara explained. "But, we have reason to believe Byran at least is still loyal. That's why we need to see your brother, he may be able to help."

"That's true, Byran would never think of betraying his lord," Simon muttered to himself. "Very well, I'll take you to see him," he bowed.

"Thank you," Katerei sighed in relief, a heavy sigh Avatara noticed. Seralcard must have had them on edge more than he had thought.

Avatara had started following Katerei down the hall, when suddenly someone grabbed his shoulder roughly and pressed a cold metal object against his throat.

"After all, I can't have my brother ruining everything."
"Sometimes I get confused whether I'm posting on ATT or in the War Room. But then I remind myself: If it's moderators acting scatter-brained and foolish, then it's the War Room*.

*Unless it's Avatara, of course."
-- From the memoirs of Sundered Angel

#83 User is offline   iKaterei 

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 11:36 PM

Katerei whirled around. "What are you doing?" she demanded of Simon, a sentiment echoed on Avatara's expression. "Let him go!"

"This is a dangerous place to be wandering about," the guard answered, holding the blade firmly against Avatara's throat. "I'm going to have to take this man with me."

"No, you're not!" Katerei said, looking outraged, while Avatara muttered something that sounded like "It'd be a lot less dangerous if you weren't threatening me."

"Release him and then we can talk this over," Katerei said, making a visible attempt to remain civil. "What do you want with us?"

"Miss, let me make this clearer. I am taking him with me, and you are not going to interfere. Now stand aside, or-" Simon pushed the dagger closer against Avatara's throat- "he gets it." A drop of blood oozed out from underneath the dagger's tip.

Katerei half-raised her arm as if to cast a spell, but she hesitated, not wanting to risk hurting Avatara and unsure exactly what the guard was intending. "Where are you taking him?"

"I told you not to interfere," Simon said roughly, and Avatara, seeing the glow of magic forming in Katerei's palm, cried out "No!"

"Just do what he says," Avatara said, sounding weary, and Katerei lowered her arm, the glimmer of the spell disappearing. Her expression was unreadable, seemingly a mixture of worry, fear, confusion, and traces of an almost animalistic madness.

The guard eyed Katerei suspiciously. "I don't trust you to stay out of affairs that do not concern you. Leaving you free won't do. Come here." He gestured with his free hand, and Katerei stepped forward, glaring balefully. Keeping the dagger in its place, he removed a coil of rope from his belt and handed it to Avatara. "Bind her wrists behind her back."

Avatara looked at the blue woman apologetically, but she just lowered her gaze and turned around, putting her arms behind her. When the rope was knotted and Simon had confirmed that it was secure, he handed Avatara a strip of cloth with the instruction to gag her, and when that was done, he indicated the open door nearby. "Wait there until I return for you."

Katerei entered the room, and as she turned back to look at them Avatara caught just a glimpse of the pained look in her eyes before the door shut, and Simon's key clicked disconcertingly in the lock.

#84 User is offline   Avatara 

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 11:37 PM

"You betrayed us," Avatara said coldly as Simon's free hand locked the door.

"I only offered to let you see Byran, and I fully intend to fulfill that offer." Simon replied simply. "Now move," he held the point of his dagger between a pair of ribs, pressing the metal against Avatara's back, "and don't think of trying anything stupid."

Simon led him down the hall, around a corner to the right, and up a flight of stairs to the third floor. Along the way they passed a pair of guards who simply smiled and nodded at Simon.

"I see you have quite a few friends," Avatara remarked as they rounded another corner.

"This marriage affects us all. It is an unprecedented shift in the balance of power."

Avatara frowned, "Doesn't this marriage make your lord's house more powerful than the others? You see that as a bad thing?"

"If only it was that simple," Simon smiled bitterly. "Yes, perhaps it would have strengthened my lord's position in the eyes of the other houses. But he would be no more than a puppet for the old magus."

"So instead you falsely convict him of crimes he did not commit?"

"We hoped it wouldn't come to this. He wasn't supposed to get involved. But if you could spare the many by imprisoning an innocent man, would you do it?" Avatara didn't answer.

They came to an ordinary-looking wooden door when Simon told him to halt. He shifted the knife to his other hand so he could unlock the door, but the key jammed halfway in the lock. Simon grunted as he attempted to ram the rest of the key in. This was his chance!

Avatara took in a deep breath, and then slammed his left elbow into Simon's stomach with as much force as he could muster. Simon gasped in surprise and dropped the knife, but maintained enough control to grab Avatara's shoulder and pull them both backwards away from the door. Avatara struggled to get free, but his kicking and clawing wasn't as effective as he had hoped. A strong punch to his face left him dazed, and he staggered back against the far wall.

Simon recovered first, picking up the dagger and advancing with a menacing look in his eyes. "I warned you to not do anything stupid! Now you'll just be another victim among many!" he leaned in to slit Avatara's throat, when suddenly a blue creature of teeth and claws crashed into him, knocking all of them to the floor, and sending the dagger clattering down the hallway.
"Sometimes I get confused whether I'm posting on ATT or in the War Room. But then I remind myself: If it's moderators acting scatter-brained and foolish, then it's the War Room*.

*Unless it's Avatara, of course."
-- From the memoirs of Sundered Angel

#85 User is offline   iKaterei 

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 11:38 PM

Katerei leaned against the door, seething to herself in silence. They had gone through all that, only to be captured again- and worse yet, they were separated.

She twisted her wrists experimentally, but the ropes were bound fast, and a quick survey of the room showed nothing upon which she could cut them. She grimaced to herself. There was one way out of this situation, but it was extremely difficult.

Closing her eyes in concentration, she blanked her mind of all thoughts except for one- wolf paws. She needed wolf paws. Her expression contorted as she focused, the bones in her hands shifting and blue fur rippling across the skin, but stopping just below her elbows. As the paws formed, they become small enough to slip out of the rope bindings, which she shook off to fall lightly on the ground.

Partial transformations were an experience Katerei preferred to avoid when possible, but had she taken on the entire wolf form, she would have been locked in an awkward position as the joints changed direction. Her forelegs would have been forced behind her back, likely breaking multiple bones, before the paws would have shrunk enough to be free of the rope.

Shuddering with the effort of regaining her hands, Katerei loosed the gag from her mouth and tossed it aside before examining the door. It was too sturdy for her to bash down, but the lock itself looked worn. Katerei touched her fingertips to the metal and water flowed over it, encasing it; then, with a gentle shift of her hand, it froze into solid ice. She directed it so that it froze inwardly, putting pressure on the lock, adding more water and ice until she suddenly stepped backwards as the pressure grew too strong and the lock exploded in a flurry of metal and ice shards.

Now things would be comparatively easy. Propping the door open, she took on her full wolf form and trotted out into the hall. Simon and Avatara were long gone, but the scent was clear as ever. Sniffing the ground to follow their path, she took off into a loping run.

The situation almost turned disastrous when the route led her directly past two other guards, but she saw them a split second before she turned the corner, and dashed into the shadows instead until they were both looking away. She treaded past on light feet, hurrying as much as she dared, carrying on up a flight of stairs. Her sharp wolf's hearing could now pick up the sound of Simon's voice, and as she rounded the last corner the breath seemed to freeze in her lungs to see the two men fighting. As Simon drew back his arm, torchlight glinting wickedly off the blade gripped in his hand, Katerei gave a tremendous leap and barrelled headlong into the both of them.

The guard's dagger went skittering across the floor, and Avatara managed to loose himself from the fray first, fumbling to seize it. Still trying to contend with the biting, snarling wolf, Simon gave an almighty heave and threw her against the wall. Katerei yelped as she hit it and resumed her normal form as she crumpled to the ground.

"Simon!" Avatara finally managed to grab the dagger and moved to guard Katerei. "Back off! You don't have to do this!"

Simon drew his sword as he got to his feet, which was more of a reply than any words would be. Behind them, Katerei half-rose and started forming a spell, but the fall had shaken her concentration.

"Blast him, hurry!" Avatara whispered as he circled around, blade raised to fend off an attack.

Summoning her remaining strength, a long, razor-sharp shard of ice appeared in her hand, and she threw it at Simon. It pierced his armour and embedded in his side, scarlet drops of blood raining across them. Simon let out a shriek and lunged forward in a desperate strike. Avatara parried with the dagger, barely avoiding being cut by the larger blade, but then the guard's other hand twisted the knife free of Avatara's grip and buried it hilt-deep in his gut.

"That...hurts..." Avatara gasped as he slid to the ground, a pool of red forming underneath him.

"No!" Katerei shrieked in horror and lunged at Simon. Without taking time to aim, she reached for him and her fingernails slashed at his face, leaving behind small streaks of blood. Startled, he looked at Katerei and saw only cold fury in her eyes. He backed away in fear, then turned and fled down the corridor.

Katerei knelt by Avatara, barely noticing the blood soaking through her dress as she reached out to examine the wound. "Are you okay?" she asked, her voice shaking.

"I don't think so," he rasped, blinking as if he was trying to stay conscious.

"Hold on, maybe I can help..." Katerei held both hands above the bloody gash, trying to cast a healing spell, but she couldn't muster the strength to concentrate. Frustrated tears welled up in her eyes. "I can't do it!"

She felt his hand weakly clasp hers. "Its okay," he stared up at her, blinking as if trying to focus. "Thank you," he whispered quietly.

Fighting back the lump that was rapidly forming in her throat, Katerei rubbed her palm across her damp eyes. "You- you'll be okay-" she choked on the words- "you have to be. I'll be right back... I promise." She squeezed his hand, rose from the ground, turned and ran in the direction that Simon had gone.

Though it'd have been faster as a wolf, the thought of changing did not even cross her mind this time- indeed, the wolf's instincts were already so predominant in her mind that at the moment, she was not even aware of the difference. The line was blurring more and more every time, and with exhaustion and panic tugging at her very core, she was functioning more on a wild, animalistic level than conscious thought.

Blood stains spattered the floor, forming a perfect path for her to follow to Simon. Despite her weariness, he was hampered by the wound in his side, and after ascending higher yet into the pyramid she finally caught sight of him as he vanished around a corner. Increasing her pace, she soon caught up with him in a long corridor.

A vicious, wolfish growl emanated from her, and Simon turned to look behind him, suddenly terrifyingly aware that he was being pursued. He quickly changed directions and fled down another passageway, only to realize that it was a dead end.

The wall at the far end was blank except for a single window, and as he raised his sword to smash the glass, a faint recollection flashed through Katerei's mind- an inkling that this had happened before, not so long ago- but it passed for it had time to properly register. Simon sheathed his sword and grabbed the window edge, swinging himself up and out onto the slanted roof, followed closely by the tempestuous blue woman.

In the moment that it took to gain his balance on the slope, Katerei had flung herself at him and they crashed to the roof, grappling with each other. Stars twinkled in the night sky above them, heedless of the desperate battle going on below. The guard had drawn his sword again and was succeeding in doing some damage to her, but Katerei- scratching, kicking, and biting with a fury that would strike terror in any soldier- did not care what happened to herself anymore. She was only bent on blood, on killing this vile traitor.

Simon's strength far outmatched her own, however, and as she found herself pinned against the roof, he raised his sword to strike. Curling into a ball, she rolled over, throwing him off balance. The edge of the sword hit her leg as it fell, slicing through her dress and leaving a deep cut in the flesh. Simon caught hold of her with his free hand to keep him from falling, and she bit down hard on his fingers. Crying out in pain as her semi-wolfish teeth pierced the flesh, he released her, and Katerei scrambled away as he lost his balance. She watched, breathless, as his body tumbled down the slanted roof, smearing blood behind him. His voice echoed disconcertingly through the night as the darkness obscured his fall.

Katerei was still for a long moment, unable to move or think coherently. It was over. He was gone. As her mind slowly cleared, the intensity of the pain grew. She looked at the gash on her leg and winced. Her entire skirt was soaked with blood. Gritting her teeth, she pulled herself up the roof and back through the window, collapsing into a heap inside. There was no way she'd be able to make it anywhere like that, so she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. One last transformation, and then back again, and hopefully she wouldn't have do it again that night.

Several minutes later, a small blue wolf came limping on three legs down the hall towards Avatara. Katerei staggered up to him, whimpering quietly, and slumped into the pool of blood, resuming her usual form for what she prayed would be the end for now. She looked down at Avatara and rested her hand on his arm gingerly. "It's okay now. He's... he's dead."

Avatara couldn't hear her, so she put her head down and lay next to him in silence.

#86 User is offline   CrazyChick 

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Posted 16 June 2007 - 05:21 AM

*OoC* Getting rid of a lieutenant for you, since no-one seems to want to.*BiC

Enna, Retsy and Wolfie had managed to evade their guardians, and were wandering around the halls of Pnyx, giggling at half-real, half-imagined things.
Passing a staircase, a shadow slipped down to meet them.
Coming into the torchlight was a man in the uniform of Pnyx's guard, and as he saw the children, he smiled. His smiled faded slightly at the sight of the enormous wolf.
"Are you lost, children?" he asked.
Enna and Retsy started giggling again, before one of them said, "Yes!"
"Come with Uncle Rysion then, he'll show you the way out." continued the man, smiling even more broadly at the children.
He turned to lead them up the stairs again, when there was a small noise, a bit like ffft, and he vanished.
A mouse scurried around in circles on the lowest step.
"Wow! A mouse!" said Enna, and picked up the Rysion-mouse by the tail. She put it in her pocket, and the children continued aimlessly walking down the corridor.
And the winner of the text only entry goes to CrazyChick for "Watch for B&B on bridge." Encountering the B&B anywhere is dangerous enough. Throwing a bridge into the recipe is an equation for disaster. - Ragashingo

#87 User is offline   Jehezekel 

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 10:30 PM

Jehezekel padded softly down a long corridor toward yet another doorway. He had long since abandoned his search-walk, but he wished he had chosen a companion to aid his search.
Lindus was impressed with Silver's obviously high level of talent, and absentmindedly scried him to see what his potential for the magical arts might be. Mana twisted through Silver like a raging flame...

Lindus' stare wandered from the empty space where Silver should have been, to the shattered door beyond. Very interesting. He started writing an essay about the incident.

A shrill scream, like a banshee's, echoed through Silver's mind as consciousness returned. Kitran! No, Lindus. Lindus had cast a spell on him. Why would old Lindus cast Terrorization on him? Silver felt through his body. No, Terrorization was different. A school-master's spell probably, perhaps ascertainment, that would explain it. Satisfied with his conclusion, he opened his eyes upon a strange scene. A broken window.

Silver could not think of where a window could be, he had not seen any earlier, but then he had not strayed from the wedding party either. Looking around, he noticed a trail of blood leading from the window, and gory beast-prints proceeding inward. He followed in the direction of the prints.

Frightened voices muttered behind closed doors as Silver skimmed along over the trail of blood. He paused when he saw Katerei and Avatara lying on the ground, and approached cautiously. Katerei he recognised, though he wasn't sure that there wasn't another blue elf-ish lady around. He guessed her to be a companion, rather than a combatant of the man she was lying beside. Silver called her name softly as he approached. She tensed, and turned quickly, but relaxed when she realised it was only him.

Silver saw Katerei's blood-stained dress, "Are you okay?"

"Yes," she replied, wincing in pain, "but Avatara is badly injured."

As Silver crouched beside Avatara, and after a brief examination turned his focus wholly towards repairing Avatara's wound. At times he could fuse the flesh back together seamlessly, and at times he had to suture gaps together. The gory blood-puddle beneath him turned slowly from red to a pussy white, as Silver absorbed the iron from it to aid in the repair, and to foster an accelerated recovery of hemoglobin.

Some minutes had passed, and Silver was still busy, when Jehezekel entered the corridor, and being recognised by Katerei, joined them as guard. A door opened, and two guards emerged. It only took them a moment to realise that they were not alone, and they hurried forward to deal with that inconvenience. What they weren't expecting was a flaming machete... Jehezekel sighed as the weak-willed guards fled, it reminded him of another time ruffians had fled from him; he quickly fortified the area with a few randomly scattered chairs and tables.

Silver finished the repair, and absent-mindedly retrieved a strip of Jehezekel's tunic for a bandage. Then he looked around in a disoriented manner, and half-noticed Jehezekel, "Good, you can, um, uh, that thing!" he waved randomly and fell into the deep sleep of the unconscious.
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#88 User is offline   Selax 

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 09:14 PM

Not even noticing the two guards charging at him, Asran stepped forward just in time. Behind him, the guards accidentally ran each other through, and their bodies thudded to the floor.

Asran turned when he heard the sound and stood, staring at the bodies and scratching his head. Then, he shrugged and headed off through the tunnels.

Moroeus was getting worried. His men had been giving him strange reports, and he was beginning to get the idea that not all was well. With three of his men with him, he was searching the dungeons, trying to find the escaped prisoners or some of the other guards who seemed to have disappeared.

Suddenly, one of his men whispered to him, "Someone up ahead, sir."

Nodding, Moroeus signaled the men to spread out and halt.

"Alright, we know you're there," he called. "Surrender now, and you won't be killed."

"What did I do and who are you?" a puzzled voice asked. Presently, an elf stepped into the circle of light generated by the torches that two of the guards carried.

Uncertain who this elf was, Moroeus decided to play it safe and kill him anyway.

"I am Moroeus, lieutenant of the Pnyx guards, and you are under arrest for trespassing," he stated. "Now, hand over your weapon, and you will not be harmed."

"I don't know–that seems—" the elf started to say, when one of the other guards stated, "Sir, I think that I saw something up there."

Moroeus turned toward the man who had spoken and opened his mouth to speak.

Taking advantage of the distraction, Asran darted into the shadows to Moroeus's left. One of the guards lunged at him, but the elf spun and let the guard impale himself on his sword.

Asran parried a blow from the second guard nearest him and then ran him through. Catching the torch that fell from the dead man's hand, he threw it at the third guard who dodged the flaming projectile.

Moroeus charged the elf. The other guard quickly joined the fray and for a few moments the hall was filled with the sounds of clashing swords.

Suddenly, Asran somehow managed to stab the last guard, and the room was plunged into darkness as the torch that he had carried fell.

Desperately, Moroeus lunged at the elf. He knew that elves had good vision in the dark and that he had to finish this fight now.

All he succeeded in doing was impaling himself on Asran's blade.

This post has been edited by Selax: 25 June 2007 - 10:02 PM

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#89 User is offline   ~vIsitor~ 

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 02:19 AM

[OOC] I'm going to end this on an open note. I'll let whoever is in charge of the guards respond [/OOC]

The Sun rose over the horizon as if a well-polished bronze mirror, shining blinding rays of light from the East to the farthest reaches of the West. Although at so low a point in the sky the Titan's Spine mountain range shielded Cythera's far shore from the light, the small box canyon granted passage to the intangible, and the Mages' City was illuminated as if made of purest diamond.

Nearly blinded by the display was Shanadar, who struggled to stay awake after running towards Pnyx since midnight. Averting his gaze from the proverbial gorgon, the wayward Enforcer tried not to look too far down, lest he not see the path he treaded.

He ran for a while longer, his legs aching and his eyes sore, before he was close enough to safely see the front door.

Closing the distance, he realized the guards were looking away for the light, and did not yet see him. In response to their inattentiveness, he announced his arrival with a shout.

This, of course, startled the guards somewhat, who strained to see the person who originated the hail. Their efforts were soon rewarded, as Shanadar then after arrived at their doorstep.

"Halt!" One of the sentries, clearly a superior officer, ordered with a gruff tone, "If you have business in Pnyx, I am afraid it will have to wait."

This certainly did not bode well. The guard should have been asking for invitations; the fact that he had not clearly signified that something had occurred within the walls. Shanadar only hoped Rapierian, may Alaric curse his name, had been lying back at the Tavern.

"My only business here is if there is trouble, soldier" Shanadar replied, panting as he caught he breath from running for so long, "If what I have heard is correct, then Propontis has been murdered and Malis had been framed for it."

At this, the guard, as well as those with him, reached their good arms to their weapons. This was definately not a good sign.

"And how would you know if there had been a murder here?" the lead guard asked accusingly, "No one has come this way since the wedding started, and no one has yet come out."

"I had an encounter with an individual who let slip the fact that the Patriarch of Strymon had met his end" Shanadar explained carefully, "If it is indeed true, then I fear that he was the mastermind."

The officer relaxed, although his subordinates remained at the ready.

"Indeed, elder Propontis has been murdered, as well as the majordomo of Nicander. And more deaths are threatened if Malis, who has been arrested, is not set free" The sentry confirmed, "Had that you brought the fiend with you, his innocence might have been proven."

"Alas, no. When, on my authority as Enforcer, I attempted to apprehend him, he escaped for the interference of a third" Shanadar admitted, "I came to aid you, so that this crisis might be resolved."

At the mention that he was an Enforcer, the doubts that plagued the guard's suspicions were immediately alleviated. Most of his command returned to ease as well, although a few remained unnerved, which the Enforcer made silent note of.

"That is regrettable" The guard replied, "But your aid is welcome, Shanadar."

So, the guard knew his name. Probably an Attis guard then.

"Indeed, and I thank you" The Enforcer said as he drew close to the man, "I need to speak with the Captain in charge, or are you he?"
"The art of war is about legs, not arms." - General Maurice de Saxe

#90 User is offline   Jehezekel 

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 06:12 PM

Jehezekel waited for what felt like hours for something to attack, when he was suddenly awakened by the sound of someone struggling to get past his barricade.

"Is the dragon really back there?" Asked one voice.

"Dragons -always- hide behind tables, of course it is." Replied a second voice.

"Is dragons nice?"

"Yes," replied the second voice, with confidence, "they always give sweets on days that start with 'T'"

"YAY!!" *fffmmm* The table sprouted tenacious roots, and dark branches spread across the passageway, fruits like gems sparkled in its branches, and a chair that had been beside it turned into a ladder, and fell on the floor with loud clattering. Silverfish twitched painfully in his sleep.

Jehezekel stood as two girls and a large dog peeked through the opening, "Welcome! Retsy, Enna. To what do I owe this pleasure?"

Enna looked around confusedly, but Retsy squealed with delight, "It's the Lolly-Tree Giant! He guards the tree so nasty ruffians don't get to eat its yummy fruit!"

They all grasped hands and twirled around under the odd tree, yet Jehezekel kept alert for motion in the passage beyond. And after a breif inspection of the sleepers Wolfie joined them, and out of excitement put a tooth-scratch on Jehezekel's leg. They stopped twirling around pretty quickly after that, and sat around under the tree as Enna exhibited the Rysion-mouse. Then they taught him tricks 'till the poor villainous ex-guard was quite tired and confused.

And still the guards didn't return to attack Jehezekel, "Perhaps," he muttered to himself, "they were distracted by important business."

This post has been edited by Jehezekel: 13 July 2007 - 10:16 AM

My Cythera Boards characters:
Silverfish: 1.52ft/46.3cm Tall
Mitsos/Pirro: Canonically statted
Don't forget to write Cythera Chronicles!

#91 User is offline   The Wizard 

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 08:37 PM

“No, sir.” The Attis guard frowned, “Currently Pnyx’s guards are in charge of the investigation, and most house guards have been assigned the duty of securing their noblemen or women, nothing more.”

Shanadar noted the man’s tone,“Pardon my asking, but you don’t seem very pleased with such a turn of events.”

“I can’t help but feel that there is something more I should be doing to find the assassin. I mean, I’m sure that the guards here at Pnyx are doing a fine job, but I was not happy when they came along and assigned us duties. I’ll protect Lady Thura in the manner I think best, not in the manner Roderick thinks best.!”

“They do indeed sound trying, but I’m certain that they’re just trying to keep everybody safe.”

“Hmph!” The guard snorted, “At times. . . I wonder if Roderick’s doing anything to catch the killer or clear Malis.”

There was a pause while Shanadar thought about the possibilities. Could the guards be in on this?

“Well, this Roderick you mention, may I speak with him?”

“I haven’t seen him for a while, which is what makes me think he’s just sitting in his office twiddling his thumbs. . . If I were you, I’d speak with Lieutenant Tinius. He came by here recently. He should be somewhere down that corridor.” The guard pointed down one of Pnyx’s vast hallway. “Good luck, Shanadar. I’m sorry to have troubled you with my burdens, such is the life of a lowly guard. I intend to obey my orders, despite how foolish they seem.”

“Yes, that would be best I think, for now anyway. And thank you.”

* * *

“A mouse? Really?” Wizard examined the gift somewhat critically. He couldn’t help but smile though, “Well, it really is a wonderful present. . . I suppose. Thank you.”

Impishly grinning, Enna looked proud, “He’s not just a mouse, silly. He’s Uncle Rysion.”

“Oh? Uncle. . .” Wizard’s expression turned more serious as he sensed thoughts. “This mouse is intelligent, remarkably so for a mouse. In fact, I’d almost say that it’s human—”

Retsy giggled.

“You girls didn’t—” The old mage studied the creature more closely. “You did. Well I only hope that you can turn him back into a human.” Now he turned his attention to the mouse he held in his hand, “Lieutenant Rysion, I hope that you’re prepared to confess everything.”

There was a squeak or two that came almost as a reply.

Wizard was taken aback. “Don’t you take that tone with me! I could kill something twice your size without even giving it a thought!”


“Well!” Wizard shoved the mouse into one of the many folds in his robe. “A rat would have been more appropriate for that annoying little man!”

“You can talk to him?” Retsy sounded suddenly more mature at the prospect of speaking with animals.

“Yes, all too well. It’s really very simple, most animals have such weak minds that you can not only read every thought, impulse, or instinct, but influence them to do just about anything you can imagine. Come to think of it, many people have weak minds, too.” Wizard began walking down the hallway in the direction he sensed would lead to Tinius.

“I wonder why I can’t understand him. I’m a powerful sorceress.”

“I’m sure you are, but this is more in the line of telepathy.”

“Maybe I’ll learn telepathy then,” Retsy said to herself more than anyone else.

Sécundus had been watching Wizard and Retsy converse with a worried expression. “Talking to mice. . . sorcery. . . telepathy. I seem to have gotten myself involved with an even weirder bunch than I had realized. . .”

Wizard gave him a sharp glance; Sécundus responded with a mere shrug. “You have to admit, most people don’t walk around talking to mice.”

“Yes. . . well, I’m sure we can discuss that later, but right now, I sense Tinius is nearby. In fact, I hear footsteps.”

“That’s the sort of thing I’m talking about. How can you know where someone is without ever having met them? Seems a little strange—”

Retsy cut Sécundus off in a somewhat silly voice, “But I can hear footsteps too!”

“That’s because he is there,” Wizard was looking at Sécundus. “Now, let’s wait for him to come around the corner and tackle him.”

They waited as the footsteps grew louder. “Lieutenant Tinius! I must speak with you.” The footsteps suddenly stopped.


“I am Shanadar, an Enforcer. I heard about the assassinations, and I’ve come to help.” Shanadar panted.

Tinius was very sly and only smiled. “Really? And how did you come to ‘hear about the assassinations?’ Perhaps you were involved in some way?”

“No!” Shanadar did not sound pleased at the accusation. “I’ve explained all this to the guard at the gate. I encountered someone. . .”

Wizard was not listening very intently to Shanadar’s explanation, he already knew—Rapierian.

Tinius looked skeptical. “You told this whole story to the guard at the gate?”


“And he let you in?”

“Yes, I only want to help!”

“Well I’ll have a word with that guard about what a ‘lockdown’ is, and as for you, the best way you can help is to stay uninvolved. Believe me.” After the abrupt ending to their conversation, Tinius turned on his heel and started down the hallway again.

Shanadar was shocked by Tinius’ unfriendly treatment. He was about to pursue him when a bulk leapt out of the shadows of another hallway.

“Now!” The mass slammed into Tinius, knocking him to the floor.

Tinius was surprised but scrambled to his feet quickly, drawing his sword.

Wizard also climbed to his feet, but he was older and slower than his opponent. Tinius’ blade was already at this throat, “I don’t want to have to hurt you, old man. Stand down, and tell the others to do likewise.”

Wolfie was just about to leap onto Tinius and tear him apart, but Enna stopped him. “I wouldn’t do that,” Tinius pushed his sword deeper into his captive’s flesh.

“Wizard?” Shanadar took a step closer.

“Hold it!” Tinius waved a finger, “I would hate to have to hurt anyone.”

“Shanadar, good to see you here,” Wizard was eyeing the sword at this throat cautiously. “As you can see, there’s not much investigating left to do.”

“What’s it going to be, old man? I don’t have all day,” Tinius was getting impatient with all of this.

“How did I let myself get into this position?” Wizard said, frustrated by his situation.

Sécundus was the only one to answer, “You should have let me jump on him first!”

“Well, fortunately, there’s a way out of this.”

“What are you talking about?” Tinius began to be concerned when what he thought was a defenseless old man closed his eyes. “You don’t want to die, do you?”

Tinius’ sword, starting at the tip, began to fall apart. Wizard’s mind worked it’s way down the blade, systematically tearing the metal to shreds. Tinius watched as the hilt slipped through his fingers and tumbled to the ground, joining the rest of the sword in a pile of dust.

Wizard, somewhat overexerted by all the telepathy and telekinesis that he had performed recently, became too weak to stand and fell to the ground as well. “Are you okay?” Shanadar ran to help him.

“Yes, yes, I’m fine,” Wizard had a hand on his forehead as if suffering from a severe headache. “But get him!”

Tinius had set off running. He didn’t know how much this group of vigilantes actually knew, but he did not intend to be around when the assassination scheme was unveiled. Wolfie was after him in a moment, though, and the wolf easily ran down the man.

“I’m arresting you, on my authority as Enforcer, for suspicion of accessory to murder,” Shanadar said as he approached Tinius, who was pinned underneath Wolfie.

“That will never hold; you have no proof of my involvement!”

Wizard was getting to his feet now, though still weak. “I think we do. We have you and Rysion who are going to testify to Lindus. That will free Malis from his wrongful imprisonment.”

“I-I-I’m not going to say anything to incriminate me!” Tinius stuttered. The wolf’s breath was beginning to get hot.

“That’s your right, of course, but it won’t matter. Even you know that mages can use Ascertainment to get the information they want. Speaking of which, we’d better make sure that he doesn’t have any kesh on him, that dulls the mind and makes it immune to some spells.”

* * *

“Unfortunately, we have not caught the assassin who actually did the killing. I’m certain that he would have left by now, but we do have something else. We have uncovered a plot by several traitors to arrange the assassinations,” Wizard began to explain their case to Lindus.

Lindus thought for a moment before responding, “What traitors?”

“You’re not going to like it, but your guards are the traitors.”

“My men? But why would they?” Lindus was willing to listen, though, “Have you any proof?”

Wizard gestured to Shanadar, “Yes, sir.” Shanadar dragged Lieutenant Tinius into the room.

Lindus leaned back in his chair and sighed, “Well that explains the reports I’ve been receiving about some group of people attacking the guards. . . I hope you’re right about this because I don’t generally approve of people taking the city’s guards captive. Oh well, there is fear in his eyes. Have you brought me anyone else?”

“This,” Wizard set a mouse on the table in front of Lindus.

“That. You brought me a mouse?” Lindus frowned.

“Enna, if you please.” Wizard stepped back against the wall and let Enna approach “Uncle Rysion” the mouse.

Enna giggled and began to move her hands in a complex pattern, but nothing happened.

“Umm. . . Enna, he’s still a mouse.”

“I know that,” she was still giggling uncontrollably.

“Well, can’t you make him human again?”

“I can’t remember exactly how. . .” continuing to wave her hands around, Enna took a few steps backwards and lost her footing on the small set of steps that led up to Lindus’ table. As she rolled down to the floor, the mouse suddenly disappeared. In its place, Rysion was left sitting on Lindus’ desk.

Lindus jumped up, “Get off my desk!”

Wizard leaned over and pulled Rysion off the table and onto the ground. “Headmaster Lindus, if you would care to speak with these two men with the use of Ascertainment, I’m certain that you’ll find their guilt.”

* * *

A few minutes later, after a whole delegation of mages had filed into the room, they had finished interrogating the guards to their satisfaction.

Lindus meandered over to the group, “Well, we’ve all reached the same conclusion: they’re guilty. Apparently Roderick is the ringleader, but many, many of the other guards were in on it. Some from particular houses, some from cities, and, much to my own chagrin, some from here at Pnyx. Under the circumstances, I’d say that Malis is formally cleared of all charges and free to go. He seems to have no involvement with any of these crimes. All the notes that we received about killing more people as long as he is held and other such nonsense were apparently distractions to keep the spotlight on an innocent man.”

“His new bride and his mother will be glad to hear that,” Wizard smiled

“I thank you all for bringing this matter to my attention; although, I’m very distressed by this. The idea that our protectors would turn against us so easily, not to mention their engineering of a scheme like this one. Killing a nobleman! Falsely accusing another! All the treachery and deceit, all the hurt they’ve caused. . .”

Wizard looked down, “I know, we must be sure to honor all those that have died by their hands—the nobles, the other guards who were doing their duty, and the innocents that have died.”

Lindus took a deep breath, “Yes, we are having a ceremony for Propontis and others tomorrow. You may come if you wish to pay your last respects.”

“We’ll be there.”

Lindus only nodded before wandering back to speak with the other mages.

“What will they do now?” Retsy tugged on Wizard’s robe.

“They’ll round up a group of guards who are still loyal to them and find the others who are not and capture them.”

“Can we go get Malis?” Enna asked the question this time. “I want to break him out of prison!”

Shanadar chuckled, “Well, I don’t think we’ll be breaking him out, but we could go tell him he’s free.”

“I’d like that,” Wizard said as they began to make their way to the door.

* * *

“My son!” Thuria ran into the cell, reunited with her son.

“Oh, Malis, I’m so glad you’re all right!” Danae was the next one to run into Malis’ cell as soon as the door was opened. She stood for a moment hugging and kissing her husband, “I was afraid that they were actually going to charge you with murder!”

“I was too, my love, but we have these people to thank that I was not,” Malis approached the group, a tear in his eye. “How can I ever thank you enough; I am in your debt.”

“No,” Wizard shook his head. “This was never your debt to pay.”

“Thank you,” was all Malis could say.

“Thank goodness you’re here!” Silverfish came leaping down the stairs. “Lindus said you’d be here. I found Katerei and Avatara, they’re both in pretty bad shape.”

“What? Where are they?” Wizard and Shanadar followed Silverfish up several stories and into a small room. On the floor, both Kat and Avatara lay wounded.

“I’ve closed all the wounds that I can, but I can’t heal all the internal damage,” Silver explained.

Wizard knelt beside Avatara, determining the damage. “Silver, why did you wait so long to find us or did you just discover them yourself?”

“No, I found them a while ago, but I lost consciousness after all the exertion of closing their wounds. I just woke up, and I’m very glad to have found you guys so quickly.”

“Well, I can’t heal all of this either, at least, not in my own state.” Wizard began to lift Avatara, “Come on, help me, we’ll take them to Pheres.”

* * *

“How are they?” Wizard asked as soon as Pheres came out of the medical quarters.

“The elvish one is going to be fine. Her internal organs were not really damaged. The other one has me concerned. The bleeding is stopped for now, but he’s already lost a lot of blood.”

“Is he going to survive?”

“I wish I could say. I’m going to everything I can to heal him, but don’t get your hopes up. . .”

* * *

The next day, Katerei and Avatara were still in the process of being healed. Neither one was conscious again yet.

Most of the corrupt guards had been captured, and many people felt free to wander outside their rooms again. Those of the group that could come, including Shanadar, Enna, Retsy, Wolfie, Sécundus, and Wizard, were currently in attendance at Propontis’ funeral.

“Too bad he was killed,” Wizard remarked. “I’ve always felt sorry for him. Being Rapierian’s uncle must be one of the hardest burdens to bear in this life. . .”

Shanadar leaned over, whispering, “He was his uncle?”

Wizard nodded.

“Oh, poor man.”

“What sad irony,” Sécundus noted as many friends and family were approaching the coffin to pay their last respects. “We came to celebrate a wedding, but here we are, mourning at a funeral.”

#92 User is offline   Selax 

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 10:51 PM

Finally, Asran emerged from the tunnels and entered the main hall once more. From a short investigation, he deduced that the rest of the guards had been caught and that the bodies of those that he himself had killed had also been found. Soon after, he went to see Lindus and explained his part in the men's deaths.

It also seemed that enough pressure had been put on the mages to cause them to lift the ban entering or leaving the city. Many guests planned to leave as soon as the funeral was completed.

He arrived late to the funeral and took a position at the back of the mourners.
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#93 User is offline   ~vIsitor~ 

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 11:41 PM

As Propontis' casket passed, he let out a long, deep sigh. Although he had helped to stop the tide of blood, he still felt a sense of failure. After all, the assassin was never caught, and Rapierian had likewise eluded him, and both remained free to disrupt the fragile peace that the Enforcer worked day and night to defend.

And the guards at fault, although numerous, could not have hoped to fell Propontis in so clean a manner, or Nicander's Majordomo for that matter. But if it was not they, then just who was it that killed them? He could not be sure, but Shanadar had his suspicions. And if he was correct, then this was now a personal grievance. One that Shanadar feared might never truly be put to rest.

And then he he felt something poking him uncomfortably from within the confines of his cloak. At first he merely tried to rearrange his gear so that he could mourn Propontis' passing comfortably, but then he realized that the offending object was a scroll. And not just any scroll; it was the scroll that Rapierian had left behind in the Tavern. The scroll filled with dark prophecy and mumbo-jumbo. The other reason he had come to Pnyx. How easily it had been forgotten in the face of the action before!

The burly Enforcer moved with renewed purpose, scroll in hand.

"Lindus, sir" he greeted the Headmaster solemnly, "Now that crisis had passed and the guards have been dealt with, I have another concern that I fear I must bring to your attention."

Headmaster Lindus stared for a moment, a little perplexed, before he recognized the Enforcer, "Ah, Shanadar is it? I remember you helped bring in Lieutenant least I think you helped bring him in. My memory is starting to fail me in my old age, I'm afraid. What is it that it that you want?"

"When Rapierian escaped me at the Alraeican Tavern he left behind this" Shanadar said respectfully, handing over the faded parchment, "He said it was a prophetic document, but I don't know if he was telling the truth or not."

Lindus scanned the parchment. If he was solemn before, now his face seemed downright grim.

"If Rapierian is being truthful, then these prophecies have dire implications for us all" Lindus said in a worried tone, if he was solemn before, then now he was downright grim, "I'll have Selenius look over these. If there is any truth in these words at all, then it would be best for this to be left in his care."

"Then I shall leave it in your care" the Enforcer replied, "Let us hope that they are merely another snare from Rapierian's mind games."

"Indeed" the Headmaster replier, "Else Alaric help us all."
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#94 User is offline   Jehezekel 

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Posted 14 July 2007 - 08:19 AM

Jehezekel sat in the courtyard with the children, listening to the old people tell tales of their far away youth. Soon everyone would return to their places, but for now it was nice to be gathered in Pnyx, in spite of the wedding-night tragedy.

Sometimes for a bride,
And sometimes for a corpse,
But only those who listen know
For whom the bell tolls.
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