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Old 12-14-2004, 10:41 AM   #1
Riis bal-Tann

 
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The Baltannis family story will be posted in this thread in several installments. I have roughed out eight chapters, some of which will be posted in multiple parts. While I have tried to keep within the strictures of the lore of EQ2, this is one man's perspective on things well beyond his understanding...The eight chapters of the Baltannis family story are:Chapter One: Life's WorkChapter Two: A Difference of OpinionChapter Three: Wedged Between Two FathersChapter Four: The Need for Vatic HandsChapter Five: The Ends of PowerChapter Six: The Means of PowerChapter Seven: A Nobility of PainChapter Eight: MagiarchyI hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy writing them.DISCLAIMER: There is no Alik Baltannis in the games (unless someone creates him! SMILEY ). Please don't jump on Befallen server looking for Alik. You will likely harass some poor player who has never heard of me or this story.EDIT: I have changed the title of chapter four. RbT

Message Edited by Riis bal-Tannis on 12-13-2004 11:05 PM

Message Edited by Riis bal-Tannis on 01-11-2005 06:13 PM

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Old 12-14-2004, 10:41 AM   #2
Riis bal-Tann

 
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The Baltannis StoryChapter One: Life's Work"At this point in your education, my child, we normally kill those who can't answer the question correctly."I struggled to get a grip on my thoughts. Already the Patriarch of the family, THE Baltannis, was glaring down at me, sigils glowing in our bright Erudite anger response."Baltannis, please...grandfather. I am not in my right mind at this time."The Baltannis straightened up from where he was looming over me. His sigils began to fade as his own rage at my answers began to turn in his mind. Soon he was regarding me with something a little less lethal in his eyes."Alik, you have to do better to prove you belong in the family. Family is more than blood, child. Family is more than work, child. Family is the reason for getting up in the morning, but only if you are working for all of us. OUR family is never seen laying in a gutter in Freeport, drunk off OUR posteriors. Alik, I ask you for the final, and I mean final time. Are you a Baltannis?"I paused, trying to get my thoughts in order. Yes... yes, I was a Baltannis. Not one of those who was born to the family by blood, but one of those who had the guts and skill to join them in their goals. Yes, I would do whatever asked to get the family to where it needed to be."Yes, grandfather. I am Baltannis.""Then what is your goal in life?""To serve the family.""Spoken like a trained crow. This isn't Zek and I am not an Orc, Alik. Tell me, what is your goal in life?"I paused. I had always been told, "Serve the family." From my earliest memories, escaping from the orphanage... stealing into that upper floor window... the pain of being caught in the trap left for me, the child burglar...becoming a Baltannis.I thought back to that evening. I was but nine summers in age. The house had a tiny second story window that was always open. I reasoned that the occupants thought no thief would be able to make it in so tight a space.I crawled through the window. Laying on the floor of the otherwise empty room lay a ball, made of some clear crystalline substance. I looked around. Even if it was only glass, it would be worth quite a bit due to its perfection.The room was impressively bare. Only wisplight sconces set in the corners of the room broke up the monotony of bare walls and bare floors. The ball sat at a point near enough to the exact center of the room's floor as to not matter.I stepped closer, listening for sounds, looking for hidden traps. I could see, hear, smell... nothing.I crept to the ball, I remember well, congratulating myself on my high level of awareness to my surroundings. If I only had thought of the obvious sense I had at my fingertips, I would have never become a Baltannis. I would have turned tail and climbed back out that window.The instant I touched the ball, I knew something was terribly wrong. A jolt of something unpleasant and painful sheeted through my body, from toe to hair tip and back again. Trying to drop the ball, I found it rooted to my hands. The interior of the ball, which was clear before, now contained an angry looking red glow, and filled with what appeared to be clouds or smoke.My vision slipped into the aural awareness of magery that all Erudites carry as their racial vision. Had I bothered to use ALL of my natural abilities before, I would have seen the room had been criss-crossed with aural lines that indicated active magery in the room. As it was, my vision showed me the lines floating from their moorings, drifting away like broken spider strands.I still couldn't move, but felt the jolt pass through my body several more times before I noticed a face was regarding me from the depths of the ball."Hello, Alik. I see you have found our house. I hope you are not too comfortable, since you were burglarizing us. Luckily for you, that was what you were meant to do...how you were meant to come to us, as it were."I tried to say something, I remember, something defiant and witty...or at least as defiant and witty as a nine-year-old could muster. Somehow, my voice would not come forth, though I could feel all the proper parts working in my body."Don't bother trying to apologize and ask our forgiveness, Alik, you should just listen now..."I brought my mind back to the present, ten years later. The present was being on the floor, three-quarters drunk and at the feet of the head of the family. The Baltannis was still awaiting my reply, and I realized I had called those memories up for a reason...something about my first encounter with the family was the answer to the question I had been asked.What is my goal in life? Well, I had been taught to serve the family, but my own, secret goal I had nurtured since my first days with the Baltannis was to sneak into the crypt of the family and see for myself whatever treasure they guarded so jealously. Hints had been dropped so often by others in the family that curiousity burned within me to find out what lay within. I guess being a thief by trade made me consider my own family's treasury to be the ultimate goal. Should I ever steal into the crypt - it would be my death - to see the riches, the ancient relics of an ancient family, that would be the ultimate rush of pleasure...the ultimate test of my skill.I had it. THIS is what the Baltannis had been hinting at all along. My purpose in life was to steal things, for the family. Apparently, I was being led to think that I should also steal FROM the family...Boldly, I spoke up, "My purpose in life is to go into the crypt of my forefathers and steal the treasures within."The Baltannis' eyes widened, then he burst into a rare fit of laughter, a short bark that caught everyone in the room unawares."My child, you finally see it, and seen further than I had hoped. We set the trap for you a decade ago to snare the finest, most skilled thief we could adopt. You have performed admirably, but your drunken binges and voorsht habit indicate something you should have always known: you are a thief, and we picked you to steal. But we have never, ever, let you act on your impulses...your hunches. Now, we will."I started, finally feeling myself begin to truly sober up from my inebriated state. Realizing that now was not the time to interrupt, I froze every thread of my being to hear his next words."Child, tonight I am unlocking the doors to the crypt of the Baltannis forefathers. For the first time in nearly five hundred years, the Patriarch of the family, me, will be taking someone else with him. In this case, the person is you. After ten years with the family, you will finally live your life's work. The added bonus, is, of course, you will serve the family. This is right and just."The Baltannis regarded me for a moment, then snarled in famous disgust."Go to bed, clean yourself up. Be back here, at this spot, tonight. Be sober, be alert, and be ready to fulfill your life's work."The Baltannis turned away, began walking to the door. He paused, then turned back at me. His eyes glowed with a deadly glee I had never seen before."Alik, let me tell you one thing. You go in with me. You come out with me. I'm your way out."He chuckled and levelled a finger at me."I'm your ONLY way out."He loosed another short bark of almost laugher, then walked out the door.RbT

Message Edited by Riis bal-Tannis on 12-18-2004 04:15 PM

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Old 12-16-2004, 08:31 AM   #3
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The Baltannis StoryChapter Two: A Difference of OpinionI rubbed my eyes again, and stared down the shaft of the crossbow bolt levelled at my head. The tension on the leaded wire tight behind it fascinated me as much as the glistening of the adamant coating on the tip of the bolt. It was as beautiful as it was deadly. It had not yet fired, and I was frankly surprised.Behind me, The Baltannis shifted his weight impatiently. While considered mercurial by Erudite measures, his showing any impatience was a rare thing. I took it as yet another bad sign. I decided to head off any storm of temper from the Patriarch."Grandfather, it's like this. We are on a pressure plate...a device held up by gnomish coils that compress when a certain amount of weight is on them. When we both stepped on it, the trap was triggered.""Why then has it not carved a furrow through your brow and rid me of an incompetent thief?""That I do not know. With the respect of all that can apply, please be silent a moment while I ponder this mechanism."We had travelled not thirty span into the crypt of the Baltannis forefathers, and already I had identified and bypassed several traps. When this one had given the tell-tale click of readiness, I admit that I assumed my tenure with the family had ended in a most terminal manner. For some reason, this trap seemed jammed, in readiness to fire, but not loosed. I could not explain it, and said as much to The Baltannis.He shifted his weight again, and thought out loud, "Well then, this is an obvious trap if you consider our family rules. No one but The Baltannis himself may enter. The simplest way to hold that tradition true is to prepare traps that activate when more than one person is around. You should have seen this, son."I started. When he said "son", there was an unexpected softness in his voice, like I had been tested and found wanting. For a moment, shame mixed with determination burned within me...I wanted to please my grandfather... but then the cynic within me realized that the old one likely had made the comment in just that way to inspire me. Confusing indeed, when working with a man of that ancient and evil cunning.I shifted to my aural vision, examined the threads and weft of the arcane in the corridor. It looked nearly impossible to negotiate without loosing the bolt. The trap would be no trap at all unless the bolt sought out the heat of the living, so I knew that merely discharging it down the corridor was unwise, at best.Instead, I began to work in the manner that I had learned so well.Deftly, using my aural vision and my native arcane skills, I began to snip and tie the invisible magical threads holding the trap together. In one mind, I could heard a faint huffing and shifting as The Baltannis waited for me to work, but in my true mind I was lost in the threads and weave of truly skilled arcane magics.As I began snipping and tying the last conceptual threading, I began to admire the spellcrafter who created these traps centuries ago. The sort of mind that could work these magics with both art and skill staggered my more specialized mind.I can appreciate beauty, even when my job is to cut it away.As I finished, I remembered back to that fateful day when the family had first taken me in. I was rooted to the spot, a crystal orb stuck in my hands filled with a glowering face and smoke and pain. My nine-year-old self did not have experience yet in appreciating the arcane, and my aural vision showed me a miasma of red and golden wires slowly wrapping themselves around me.To my younger self, the face in the orb had said, "Now that we have convinced you to listen, I will tell you something. A child of your talents is rare. A child of use to our family is even rarer. I challenge you to a contest of a will to power. If you succeed, you will be adopted immediately into our family. You will know wealth and power. If you fail, you will die, in a way that is particularly slow and painful."In my terror, I can remember hearing my voice come out, at last, and croaked, "What if I don't take your challenge?""Then we will remove your hands and feet and leave you on the street next to the orphanage from which you escaped. We have no mercy for the weak, especially weak children of Erud.""I accept your challenge...but who are you? Why are you doing this to me?""My name is simply The Baltannis. You will learn to appreciate it well should you succeed. As for why we are doing this...well, you are but a child, so I will say only that you have a talent the family can use. We will work it hard, then loose you on the world. Rubies, emeralds, gold, platinum...all of that will be in your pockets when the family is ready to use you.""All you have to do is survive the test."My mind snapped back to the present. I had never been tested in my life so hard as that day at age nine. Now, it seemed, I would be tested again equally hard. The Baltannis seemed to read my thoughts, and began snapping at me with his words and looks."Alik, see, you have grown soft of late. Your drugs, your smoking, your drinking. I should have done this when you were nine and had you sharp like a Thexian's smile. Soft! You likely are still drunk from last night. Where is your pride?"I spun, a sudden deadly anger flushing through me. "Grandfather! Kindly shut your mouth while I work! You may think me weak, but without me, your precious plan would never come to pass."I stopped, realizing I had just spoken my own death writ.Slowly, upward from his neck, his sigils began glowing, brighter and brighter in anger. Soon, the flame of his rage had every sigil flaring in my eyes. A flicker began at The Baltannis' fingers, sparkling and deadly.And then it stopped. The Baltannis barked his laugh, the sigils faded, and he pointed a finger and touched me right between the eyes.Softly, deadly soft, he spoke."Son, you are a valuable child to my family. You will see things amazing here, but I will say this. Never again. Never, never again will you raise your voice to me. No matter how frightened you are. No matter how angry you are. Never."I began trembling, as the hallway back to the Baltannis estate faded behind me."Child, you see that without my active help, you cannot see the way back home. I told you before - I am your only way out."With a pop, the hallway came back to my regard, and the crossbow clattered to the ground behind me."Ah, you have disarmed the trap. Lead on, child, and try to do a better job of sweeping our way clear."(continued in part two of Chapter 2)
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Old 12-17-2004, 05:33 AM   #4
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great story so far i am waiting to hear the rest
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Old 12-18-2004, 06:13 AM   #5
Riis bal-Tann

 
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The Baltannis StoryChapter Two: A Difference of Opinion (part two)I was hard at work, severing the threads of another trap and mentally tacking them to the walls of the room we were in. Overhead, a large boulder quivered in place, of perfect size to crush both of us. The Baltannis looked with some disdain at the stone, and muttered angrily."Five times I have walked under this stone, and now it decides to fall today. This trap is simply a decoy. There must be another trap in here...where would he put it?"I was listening with half an ear, and, mind still in the other place, absently asked The Baltannis why he didn't look for the trap himself.The intake of breath from the old man made me pause in my work and focus on him."Son, you still don't understand who you are, do you?"I started. Again, that unexpected softness, coupled with harsh words."Sit down. We're almost to where we are going, and your toughest test is to come. I'll tell you something that no one in the family knows."I finished the ties and sat down on the carved floor. To say the grandfather was reticent about his secrets is a giveaway, I suppose, but more importantly I was intrigued by the possibility of learning something that my brothers and sisters, many of them smug in their own secrets and family rituals, did not know. The Baltannis took a breath, and started."Son, do you remember when we captured you that day ten years ago?"I nodded, not wanting to break his mood of storytelling."Then you will remember we said you had a gift...one which we did not possess. Here it is. These things you see, the lines of arcane energy that binds all magical traps together - indeed all magical constructs together - no one else in our experience can see them. Other thieves, even the few in the family, use other means of defeating security...especially with the current fashion for elaborate and deadly traps. Most use tools, arcane and otherwise. Some have hunches, which may be a spark of your talent coming to the fore. I do not know, but we picked you because we knew you could do something for the family. This...task, will require all of your ability to see these arcane threads."I pondered this for a moment, and nodded. My studies with the family has always been history, economics, magery, intimidation...I realized that I had never really been explicitly taught how to steal, how to counter the traps that the thieving trade encounters daily. Thinking of this, brought me back to that first test ever given to me some ten years earlier.My younger self, just a child riven with false bravado and grown up too fast, had found himself transported into a single room. There were no doors, windows, openings...merely a blank stucco finish on all six surfaces in the room. Floating (somehow) in the center sat a man, the one who I would grow to know as my teacher of many of the arcane arts. I noticed then, with a start, that I too was floating in the center of the room.The man spoke, saying words in a language I did not understand, but I began to feel my motions hindered...the feeling grew within me that my limbs, my throat, was being constricted somehow with invisible ropes.The man looked me in the eye and said one word only."Escape."I began thrashing around in a panic, trying to move, to wriggle out of the invisible bonds that seemed to close more quickly with my every struggle."Observe."A small bird popped into existence in the room, began flying about in a panic. When the bird brushed against the wall while trying to find an opening, it exploded into a mist of blood, feathers, and bone."Escape."I felt a rushing in my head, as air began to become scarce. I was terrified in a way that can never be explained. The disorientation and fear had become a physical force within me, binding my thoughts like the invisble ropes bound my body.Soon, a black knife edge, a shadow of nothing, began creeping around the edges of my vision. Recognizing air lack, my mind slipped into a clarity that I have experienced few other times in my nineteen years.My vision slipped into the aural vision that was my birthright, and I saw with horror the bindings wrapped about me.Pearlescent white in color, they emanated from the man and writhed about like something alive and hungry. As the man regarded me indifferently, I could see them extend further, and tighten around my neck and body. Wishing I had a knife to cut these shining ropes, I realized that I had one hovering right before me! My thoughts, turned to this problem, had created a razor thin shard of crystal: sharp and unbreakable.Cutting experimentally into one of the threads, I noted two things when it severed from the source of the man.First, he seemed to not notice the razor shard in my mind's eye, but when the cord cut, he winced and began to grimace in concentration. Second, when the cord was cut, the two pieces jumped together with great speed and tied themselves together, reforming the bond.Eight cords bound me, and I knew that I would not be able to cut them all before they retied.My brain began pounding from the lack of air. The black edge had formed a narrow tunnel through which I witnessed these shining cords and the expressionless man who wielded them. An idea struck me. To this day, I credit this idea to one of the departed gods, I know not which, but a voice, dust-thin and ancient, penetrated my thoughts and forced the thought to the front of my thoughts.I moved quickly - with childish focus - I knew that I had but seconds to complete the task.I began with the two cords on my neck. I cut both at once, and flung them away from me by the force of my will. As they shot toward the cords remaining around my neck, I pushed the severed ends together, causing them to tie together away from my body. I took a shuddering breath, and continued slicing apart cords, tying them one to another away from the cords around my own body until I was hanging upside-down by my legs, with two cords remaining. The man, who had appeared oblivious to my efforts, surely noticed that I could breathe again, and that my arms and body were becoming free. When I had cut and tied my way to my legs he said only one more word."Remember."In a flash, his word called up the memory of the bird. If I cut the last ties around my legs and fell to the floor, would I too suffer the fate of the animal?Blood rushing to my head, hanging inverted a mere span from the floor, I had one more idea, this one my own.Switching back to my aural sight and my newly discovered ability to see the threads of the arcane, I realized that the man had threads tied to himself as well. The thick, ropelike, pearlescent strands used to bind me stood in contrast to the silken topaz colored wisps that suspended him from the ceiling, preventing his fall. Imagining a dozen razors in the air, I attacked all of his strands at once, slicing with a mentally audible rip each one simultaneously.One instant, the man was suspended in the air, eyes half-closed in observation of me, the boy.The next, his eyes popped open, his sigils flushed in the scintillating pattern of the Erudite panic response, and he began to fall to the floor.It was at that moment that my revenge found its flaw. The only thing holding me up was the arcane ropes around my legs...which were attached to the man.The man...who was no longer attached to the ceiling.With a cry we both fell, and at the instant of impact, I felt the floor fade away. We fell a distance of many spans and crashed to a stop on top of a table set for an elaborate dinner. Twenty or more people sat the table, and the man and I landed right on the jumjum frappe and roast marmot.An instant of shocked silence, then laughter.The laughter, the unchecked, uninhibited laughter from the Erudites around the table! Normally not a demonstrative or emotional species, our landing was obviously a tension-breaker of the highest order.The old man at the table had stood, I remember, and said:"Son, come back from your memories. its time to learn the last piece of lore you need to know."Shaking my head free of the past and paying attention The Baltannis again, he thought for a moment, and spoke."Boy, many years ago the Baltannis family stood in high regard with the other families of the Erudites. As time went on, however, the founder of our family, a dark and evil man named Tannisoisthrad, began to perform experiments on other thinking races. Driven from our old home, the name of Tannis and his children was anathema to the first Erudites. One by one we were hunted down, and Tannis himself concocted a plan to keep his bloodline going, despite the active efforts of the other Erudites to end his work, his bloodline, and himself.""Tannisoisthrad worked hard, right through the Rending itself, and produced a mixture of magics and arts that produced a new bloodline of his own devising."He paused, assessed me, the room for a moment, and began to speak again."He knew that no Erudite women would become a wife unto him, and enslavement for love was not really his style, so he created a blending of his Erudite blood with a number of other species. The original Baltannis, the original Children of Tannis, the blood ancestors of this family we have become, were not of pure Erudite stock at all, but from the union of Tannis with elves, humans, and others.""The family history tells that he had seventy-seven wives, none of which were Erudite by birth. Each of the children of these wives looked to be Erudite, and bred true with other Erudites. Many of these children, though, possessed talents from their mothers. Some of the children had the ability to see other colors of light than we do now, such as the color of heat, or of the deep purple of sunlight. Some had hidden talents...the ability to do things no other Erudite could do."I was astounded. Even though I was not a bloodline Baltannis, the thought of the "purebreeds" in the family being the hybrid children of many races was disconcerting.As if reading my thoughts, The Baltannis continued:"Times were different then, and Tannisoisthrad was a desperate and ambitious man. The world was coming apart in many ways, and the making of half-breeds seemed a little thing in the light of the wars and pain elsewhere.""A hundred years passed before Tannis and his children came back to the forefront. With their varied talents, they exploded into the political scene of Freeport. It is said that Lucan d'Lere and Tannisoisthrad himself were on close terms. The outlying neighborhood of Stonestair Byway was re-created by fallen Kerran coerced by Tannis and his children. While we live here in luxury in South Freeport, we also have constructed a network of homes and workshops throughout the Byway for the family.""After a time, Tannis...disappeared. He chose his eldest son, who's name is lost to us, to take his place at the fore of his family. By then, several generations had passed, and the Tannis family and the mainstream Erudites had interbred once again. There was no more need to have children with other species, and the new head of the family adopted the policy of xenophobia that some claim we carry to this day. The new head of the family demanded that everyone in the family call him 'Baltannis' or 'child of the Tannis.'""With that tradition set, Alik, we have continued, persisted, and throve in this city. Lucan d'Lere himself consults with us, in council, many times. You know your aunt Sellebeth is one of his trusted advisors."With a grunt, he stood up from where he was squatting, and walked across the room."Traps or no traps, this interlude has gone on long enough. Remember everything I have said. And remember that I am your only way out."He pushed open the door, and walked into the next room. The room was best described as a throne room turned into a reliquary. Obsidian boulders, half melted and carved into disturbing shapes throughout the room apparently were the resting places of each of the previous Baltannis. Sitting in a chair of obsidian, was an Erudite man of indifferent look.The chair itself was remarkable, sharp as glass in many directions, and seemingly joined to the man's black silken robes that flowed from him and off of him. About his head was a circlet of platinum, holding a stone of the darkest jet within it. Rings of platinum and jet covered his hands, and in his lap, he fondled an orb of emerald luster. He regarded us solemnly for many heartbeats, allowing me to continue to look around the room.Suspended from the ceiling were skeletons of many different species. From my studies, I could see them all to be female, and with a start I realized if I counted them they would likely add up to seventy-seven.Drawing my eyes down, I again looked at the man enveloped by the obsidian throne."Welcome Alik."The words pounded into my head, rolling around, whispering again and again in the corners of my mind.The man's eyes stared at me intently."I am glad my foolish servant has brought you here. Now, turn, and slay him."Shock watered my bones, and I looked down to see the dagger I always carried already in my hand and ready.The Baltannis turned to me, and noted the dagger in my hands with no surprise."Alik, I am your only way out. Please put the dagger away."The voice, dust-thin and ancient, rolled out of the enthroned man's mouth and into my consciousness again."Kill him, my adopted jewel. Kill him, and know the power of all your whims granted!"I turned in place, looking from the man on the throne to the Baltannis himself, one to another, to another, to another...The Baltannis spoke again, in a whisper, "Alik, I would like you to meet our most honored ancestor, our forefather, and our worst and most bitter enemy.""Alik, meet Tannisoisthrad, the creator of our family." RbT
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Old 12-18-2004, 09:28 AM   #6
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nice 72 wives hoarny erudite huh
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Old 12-18-2004, 11:12 AM   #7
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Great Story.. Can't Wait for the next Chapter!!
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Old 01-07-2005, 09:00 AM   #8
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The Baltannis StoryChapter Three: Wedged Between Two FathersThe flames leapt higher, licking at my chest and singing the sigils on my head. Sitting statuesque within it all, the indifferent man, the Erudite known as Tannisoisthrad, gazed without expression at my discomfort.The trap, delayed by some means, had activated in the room we had just quit shortly after we entered Tannisoisthrad's presence. A cone of sticky, solid flame erupted through the door to the outer passage and coated the interior of the throne room.Everything in the room had obviously been prepared for this trap. The only objects that were at all flammable were me, The Baltannis, and Tannisoisthrad. The walls, the tombs, the throne, the bones and hooks, the very carvings and art were all made to last such an element.As soon as the trap spilt its fire into the room, a sheet of ice sprang from the ancient Erudite's fingers, extinguishing the area around his throne, keeping him safe. The elder looked around, obviously waiting to see how we would respond.Predictably, The Baltannis became angry, his sigils flashing in counterpoint to the flames around him. Snapping out several short phrases, a dim bluish aura surrounded him, in some way protecting him from the heat and fire.I, not being so arcanely endowed, had to make my own escape. Looking around the room swiftly, I realized the only way into or out of the room is the room from which we had just left...the room still spraying flames into this one. Looking around, I could see the solid/liquid of the flaming substance spreading all over the floor, oozing down pillars and seeping into the spaces behind the spray of flames.The only way I could go was up.Leaping straight into the air, I grabbed the dangling skeletal legs of some hapless woman from a more tragic age. Hoping her tendons would hold, I scrambled up her body, until I could grasp the chain and hook upon which she had been placed. Standing there, in a grotesque embrace with the skeleton, I looked down and could see the two men were engaged in a staring contest. With a flash of insight, I switched to my aural sight, and could see long strands of power extended from the two men, wrapping each strand around the other man's threads and seeking to pull them aside.The remorseless push of the strands from the elder Erudite began to take their toll on The Baltannis. He began gasping for breath, the sweat standing out on his head not from the heat of the fires around us.As I watched, riveted by the splendor of the battle and the horror of the room, I glanced over to the skull of the woman in whose embrace I was hanging.The skull blinked at me.Terror flooded my limbs as the flesh and body of the woman began growing before me, muscles reaching across her face, touching, connecting, with sheets of skin, eyes, all forming around them. Hair sprouted from her head, and her lips began working...trying to form words.The ancient voice, dry as dust, sprang out from the man on the dark throne. Skittering amongst the pillars and over the crackling of the flames, I forgot my awkward situation and strained to listen."Come Anga, Sulli....come Hyaclenna, come Svitlara. Come my wives, to treat with our guests!"One by one, the skeletons hanging around us grew, until finally their nudity was covered with a painful variety of dress -- golds shot with crimson, ambers and blacks and azure pendants over rosy sarongs. Each woman reached back, and though pierced from behind by a hook, tugged up and over and dropped to the floor. The flames, though still in full ardor, did not seem to affect the women, as they slowly made their way to the throne upon which Tannisoisthrad sat.The woman that I had been clinging to wrapped her right arm around my waist, completing our embrace. A human, ebony of skin with large amber eyes regarded me with unabashed joy. Her crimson and golden halfskirt was practically the only thing she wore, and given her apparent age and beauty, I admit I became a bit uncomfortable.Its tough to dangle from a hook with a beautiful woman smiling at you.As her arm tightened, my thoughts turned to alarm...she was not only strong, she felt as though she could snap me into two parts as easily as I snap a candle in two. Reaching back she grabbed the hook and hopped off into the flames.As I passed them, I knew I could feel their heat, but they caused me no pain. I glanced at my feet, immersed in the liquid and solid fire that still filled the room. I watched the flames curl up my legs, embracing my body as a lover would.The woman spoke, "As long as you hold me, descendant, you will not be harmed."Her voice dripped like honey, spreading into my ears and weaving around my mind like a spell of spring breezes. I smiled, and said, "I am no descendant. I was adopted into the family."The woman chuckled."Is that what they tell our lost ones now? How quaint."She began leading me to the throne. Seeing the destination, I tried to resist briefly, but her strength and calm manner prevented me from changing our course by a fraction of a span.The Baltannis had remained in his mental battle this whole time. Not moving any portion of his body, his eyes flicked to me and he shouted hoarsely."Son! That way leads to madness. Come to me! I'll protect you!"His voice broke the spell the woman had placed upon me, and I began to fight her. At this point, we had reached the ice sheet covering the floor, and my feet slipped every way as I began to fight the woman.Seemingly without effort, she continued to drag me to the throne. As I passed a pillar, I tried to twist her into it, hoping to break her grasp. Instead, I received a nasty crack to my head. With the crack my eyes popped out of focus, and I saw something...I don't know if describing it would be proper, seeing as I cannot be sure exactly how it appeared, but for a brief instant, I saw the woman in front of me not as a beautiful creature made up of flesh and bone, but a mass, a tangle of...Arcane threads.As I was dragged the last few parts to the throne, I realized now what I had to do. Wedged between my two forefathers, their feud of unknown origin and my own unknown part within it, I began to come up with a plan that would carry a greater risk of Alik Baltannis...surviving.RbT
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Old 01-08-2005, 09:52 AM   #9
macdadd

 
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nice job i love the whole trick thing with the woman
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Old 01-11-2005, 08:29 AM   #10
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when will the net chaptter be coming out
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Old 01-12-2005, 07:22 AM   #11
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As I traditionally do in stories I write for games, I pause before Act 3 of my story and ask the readers to vote on the direction they would like the story to go. I have already written most of "An Ancient Lust," but I got a little concerned that the story was moving off on a tangent, and was turning R rated to boot. To keep our PG13ish rating, and to get us back on track for the story, I ask you, the reader, the following questions:1) Should Alik side with Tannisoisthrad (the ancestor), or The Baltannis (his "grandfather") in their (unknown) conflict?2) In one sentence, try to interpret what this sentence meant above: "Is that what they tell our lost ones now? How quaint."3) Would you like to see more: a) Action b) Magic c) Intrigue I've already gotten a new chapter four more or less roughed out, entitled "The Need for Vatic Hands." What you get to decide now is who Alik will side with in the chapter...RbT

Message Edited by Riis bal-Tannis on 01-11-2005 06:22 PM

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Old 01-13-2005, 08:26 AM   #12

 
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Very good.
 
I know I'd like to see him stick with Baltannis
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Old 01-13-2005, 08:55 AM   #13
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1) i think he should go with the ancestor for a good plot twist2) the sentence is refering to how Alik isn't adopted into the family as they say because he is a blood member3)i would love to see more action, then intrigue, and finally top it off with some magic
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Old 02-22-2005, 08:47 AM   #14
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yo man wheres the rest been waiting awhile
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Old 02-25-2005, 12:05 AM   #15
y

 
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I agree, where is the rest.  And Alik should side with the Baltannis.
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