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Old 05-25-2007, 08:53 PM   #1
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     It seems that all the trouble stemmed from a trip he made to explore the old Gnome city of Ak...no, Klak'Anon. The clockworks had taken total control of the place; there were no organic beings to be found except for some doomed rodents which met their end due to the unceasing efforts of the extermination machinery.  But up front at the junk heap were some discarded clockworks, some of which still functioned, although they were destined to be junked and used for parts.  He found one wandering around and decided it would be a nice addition to his house. On such small things, minor decisions, a whole destiny can change.

     One particular evening he arrived home, exhausted from his hard work, and simply dumped his armor and gear in the corner as his chamberlain drew his bath.  One Human detainee had proven very very hard to break of his heresy, and the stress and screams still echoed in his mind. But Freeport must be repeatedly cleansed of such attempts at undermining it and by extension, attacking the glorious Overlord.  He shook his head as he heard the bodyservant behind him frantically picking up the clutter. "Should I clean this blood off the chestplate, Lord Inquisitor?" the servant whined.  It was obvious that the blood bothered him, the inquisitor decided. Why not just let it stay? "No, just leave it alone. In fact, go home. But be back here early, or it will go hard with ye."

    He carefully lowered his large frame into the (wonderfully huge) aviak bathtub he had adapted to use.  Ah, nice warm water. The chamberlain had been expensive but was fairly competent. Maybe this one would not need any...encouragement in doing his duty.  He would see if the man was intelligent also. "Chamberlain, you may leave early if all your chores are finished. But I want to see you back here early also."  "Aye, lord, I have finished my work to the best of my knowledge. If my lord finds it to be to his satisfaction, then I will ask his permission to go." Good, good, this one seemed to know how to act.  The inquisitor watched from his comfortable reclining position as the last servant left the house.

     Now was time to plan the next day's activities. There were suspects to ferret out, and even now he had a brigand doing some persuading down in the lower quarter of South Freeport.  The heretic he had broken today would be good for a few names, but after a couple more sessions would probably be too insane, or dead, to use.  But on the other hand, that wood elf woman was going to provide some great entertainment.  Perhaps no useful information was in that pretty head. But she might provide other distractions....

     The inquisitor left one arm dangling out of the bath as he relaxed a bit further. Careful, he told himself, don't fall asleep in the bath.  A couple of his pets roamed about the room. One that he really liked was his hellhound.  He sometimes took the mutt with him to work; some detainees could be persuaded by threat of savage dog attack.  Ah, there was that strange clockwork; it was moving toward the drake hatchling which perched in a corner. But as the clockwork passed by the bathtub, it brushed against the inquisitor's hand.  It must have had a defective proximity detection device, and it reacted to contact with organic material by discharging its stored energy. There was a crack and a flash, and the inquisitor slumped farther into the bathtub, face barely out of the water, unconscious.

    

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Old 05-26-2007, 08:33 AM   #2
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     It was a strange dream, he thought. Floating in a limbo, like in water in darkness. There was no reference point anywhere and he couldn't tell his own location or size in relationship to his surroundings. Shifting his position brought a feeling of vertigo and danger of falling, and he began to thrash about seeking purchase or stability anywhere.  He got a mouthful of water for his trouble, and came up sputtering and coughing.  Abruptly awake now, he sat up panting.  What had happened? And where was he?

    The inquisitor climbed out and stood dripping on the rug.  He turned around and around, trying to make sense of what was going on. Nothing was unfamiliar yet it was like the place belonged to someone else.  The full length mirror reflected back to him a confused, waterlogged Barbarian man with brown wavy hair, forked braided beard and rawhide-wrapped mustache.  Dark green eyes deepset under a heavy brow stared back at the almost-stranger.  Who are ye, he wondered.  Why did he live here? And where was "here"? 

     He found some casual clothing to wear. The armor in the rack was filthy with bloodstains on the chestplate. Didn't he have a servant to clean that? Very strange; he would have to find out.  Opening the door brought another shock. His house was on a terrace overlooking Freeport Harbor; the torchlight was unmistakeable.  How did I ever get here? was his reaction.  This in turn surprised him because surely he had lived in Freeport for all his life. Wait, no, he came from... the memory faded like a star in morning light.  The inquisitor closed the door and went to sit down at the table.  There he found an envelope which he picked up and opened immediately. 

     "Today's assignments have to be given out before 8 AM. The following detainees are to be questioned using normal methods: Human male Malkom, Kerra female Lissida, Half Elf male Veriandris, and Gnome male Bellmon.  The following detainee is a special project, at your discretion: Wood Elf female Treissae. As always, results are expected and required. All hail the Overlord!" Scribe Avonte.

     Special project? What was he supposed to..... oh..... he felt like a spy in someone else's mind as he realized that he was expected to do some harm to this prisoner, personally.  What a concept! The very idea of forcing his attentions on an unwilling woman turned his stomach to the point he was almost sick right then and there. Not so much because he was required to. That was the nature of this business.  But his revulsion came from a more personal source. He had done such a thing before, in the name of Lucan and Freeport. And willingly.

     He did? He didn't know who did. But he caught sight of himself in the mirror again, and knew.

     Ye're one of the ones who drags people out of their beds at night. Ye are fear and terror for the populace. What kind of Northman are ye?

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Old 05-27-2007, 07:26 AM   #3
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     There came a tapping at the door which interrupted the inquisitor's muddled thoughts.  He got up from the table and padded to the front of the room. "Who is it?" he shouted. "Milord's bodyservant and chamberlain are here to serve you." He frowned at the intrusion but opened the door and allowed the Human and Kerra to enter. "First, I need ye to clean this filthy armor," he pointed to the bodyservant. "And this bath needs emptying, and the floor needs mopping up." The chamberlain bowed and bustled about his duties.  "When ye both are finished with all yer work, come see me."

     Luckily, he had kept fairly good records of everything. The filed reports, servant employment records, rental agreements, and daily calendar were stacked neatly on various shelves.  The Barbarian found most everything he expected to find in the records going back many years, but he still needed to find out more. Something was seriously wrong, like he was in someone else's place.  Why else would being an inquisitor (and wasn't he a high-ranking one?) bother him so?  It was like some discovery was just around the corner, some profound change in not only his experience but in his very soul.

    The servants bowed and scraped, hoping their work was adequate. Neither enjoyed a great deal of status and being beaten for any reason or none at all was a common occurrence in Freeport for their kind. The inquisitor stood up and inspected the rooms and decided then and there to reward both for their work. He was sure they never had been appreciated. Overworked, sure. "All right, servants, I want ye to take the rest of the day off. In fact, just head home until I call for ye." They stared at him apprehensively and he realized that they feared for their jobs. An idle servant made no money.  He opened the wall safe and took out some cash. "Here ye are, pay for the week. If I don't call for either of ye today ye may hire out on other jobs but make sure I know where ye are."

     It was getting to be time to head off to his job.  He didn't look forward to it. He was sure he had the previous day, but had no memory of what he had done. In fact, he could not remember any specific actions, although he understood the work details.  A shudder ran through him as he donned the armor and other tools of his trade. The huge mitered helmet made him even more imposing, and he could see how his appearance made him effective. He would be afraid of this apparition approaching him with questions! But there was nothing to be done except go in and act out his role while he tried to figure out what was wrong with him and his memory.

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Old 06-30-2007, 07:49 PM   #4
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     It was growing light out, he noticed.  No way to put this off any longer.  The inquisitor left his house and found a stableboy waiting for him with a horse. No surprise even to his confused state of mind; his position would come with such perks.  With a bit of effort he mounted up, tossed the boy a silver coin, and plodded on up the crooked streets toward the Temple of War.

     "Ah, there you are," greeted the Dark Elf duty officer. "Assignments need to be posted right away; we've got an inspection coming through today, representatives of Neriak. The Overlord wants to make a good impression on them," he gave a malevolent smile, "and next week we shall inspect their facilities and gain insight on their methods."  The Barbarian picked up the duty sheets for that day; luckily, the previous day's assignments were still listed on the board, and today's roster was identical. He simply assigned the same persons to the same jobs.

     After he posted the day's assignments he informed the duty officer. The Dark Elf rang a bell, and several people came running. "Assignments are posted. Get to work," he advised. The inquisitor turned and headed into the prison complex. He wanted to see for himself.  "This ways, this ways," wheedled a Ratonga guard. "Would yous like to sees yous work from yesterdays?" The Barbarian followed the guard to a cell in which languished a Human male. The wretched creature caught sight of him and shrank back against the filthy cell wall, eyes wild. The Ratonga chuckled. "You dids a number on hims; we's got a lot of informations from hims."

    The inquisitor stifled his revulsion and asked, "Such as?" "Oh, more traitors and spies. And we's just early this morning caughts a Kerra familys trying to leaves Freeports." The inquisitor ground his teeth together in an effort to check his rage and shame. How could he be part and parcel of Lucan's reign of terror? The Ratonga didn't notice his discomfort, luckily, and kept rattling on. "This ways, look in heres, looks!" The Barbarian did, and saw a frightened but defiant Wood Elf woman. The Ratonga leered. "She is yours for the day, Lord Inquisitors."

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Old 06-30-2007, 08:05 PM   #5
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okay I have a question are you the original from wow leeroy? or are you an imposter? lol btw read thru all your story, not bad..will lurk occasionaly and see if you have added to it..
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Old 07-01-2007, 08:38 AM   #6
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[email protected] wrote:
okay I have a question are you the original from wow leeroy? or are you an imposter? lol btw read thru all your story, not bad..will lurk occasionaly and see if you have added to it..
Indeed I am not.. am female in RL.  Did play WoW but gave it up as too simplistic and full of chat weirdos.  Also I have a story in here called Heart of a Warrior; it is more involved and revolves around the lives of an unusual couple... have a look. It is also a work in progress.
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Old 07-01-2007, 02:43 PM   #7
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yea I def do not miss wows barrens chat at all SMILEY will check out your other story...thanks for answering SMILEY
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Old 07-01-2007, 07:53 PM   #8
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     Decisions are often made on the spur of the moment but they can have far-reaching consequences. The inquisitor opened the cell and unlocked the prisoner's manacles, drawing her forth into the dimly-lit hallway.  She swore at him in her native language as she moved as far away as the chain would permit. Then she spoke in the Common dialect, "You can try, you filthy Freeport excuse for a cleric, but if try to force me  you will have only a dead body and no answers." The Ratonga guard moved to strike her for her temerity, but the Barbarian stopped him. "Nay, this one's mine and I don't want her marked up."

     "Tough little lady, aren't ye?" he  murmured as he led her through the twisting maze of passageways. There wasn't a lot she could do but comply for now.  The duty officer looked up as the inquisitor marched his prisoner to the desk. "I'll be checking this one out for a few hours. Don't expect me for the inspection. But it had better go well." "Of course, of course.  Have a good time," the Dark Elf grinned malevolently. "I look forward to your report."

     He led the Wood Elf through the streets on horseback. That is, he was riding. She followed at the end of the chain. Luckily it wasn't far to his house, and she didn't try anything foolish like dragging on the chain. It would avail her nothing in this hostile city.  Once inside his house with his quarry, he turned and pulled her to a wall hanging and clipped her manacles to it as he gritted his teeth and sweat dripped down his face.  Once she was secured, he gave a strangled cry and rushed into the next room.

     At this moment he loathed himself for what he was, for his response to her proximity, for being a tool of the Overlord.  It had cost him every bit of self-control he could muster to function normally long enough to secure the prisoner.  What would he have done the previous day? But he knew all too well as he frantically shucked off his armor.  He was what ancient Halasian society would have shunned and outlawed, or killed outright. An abuser.....

  Author's note: Ain't this something.  Three years after I write this I'm compelled to go back and edit because for some unknown reason the mods added a bunch of PG-13 level words to the nono list. 

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Old 07-03-2007, 06:06 AM   #9
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     Treissae was mystified in spite of her terror. The Barbarian had flung her against a wall and chained her there, and then abruptly had left the room. And now there were strange sounds of armor being thrown against a wall and what sounded like someone being physically ill. What on Norrath was this?  She didn't hold out any hope of escape but did plan to make sure that her attacker paid a high price for ultimately nothing.

     Some more crashing noises and a few minutes later the inquisitor emerged from the other room in a day laborer's clothing and carrying a very large crate, along with a bag of nails and a large hammer.  His bloodshot eyes didn't meet hers as he set the crate down with the open end facing her. Without a word he strode over, unclipped her chains, and gestured to the crate.  The Wood Elf took a step back, but he grabbed her arm and propelled her to the open box. "Get in," he ordered roughly.  "Feet first. Ye don't have any choice here."  She did so with a look of defiance. The big man upended the crate and nailed the top on securely.

     The bumping along and changing light told Treissae that they were outside in Freeport now. She was sure that the crate would end up in the harbor, dooming her to a slow drowning. What else could be happening here? Or didn't the Overlord expect prisoners to give some useful information?  Things had gone so badly since she had slipped into the city. It was as if they knew she was coming, and only luck had prevented her captors from finding her contacts.  Or had they? Was she expendable?

     A ship was in the harbor, and to the Wood Elf's surprise the inquisitor stabled his horse, picked up the crate, and marched onboard with it.  He flung a dirty blanket down and stowed it near the stern, and settled down beside it for the voyage.  In spite of herself, the exhausted woman dozed off, and woke abruptly to find the ship approaching Thundering Steppes dock.  She had slept for many hours, to her dismay. But she was still alive and she could hear the rhythmic breathing of the Barbarian.  The ship's bell clanged out the approach, and the inquisitor jumped to his feet and hoisted the crate. The moment the ship's gangplank dropped he was down it and on the pier, and quickly moving down to the beach with his burden.

    "Here's where we part company," he addressed the captive.  With the claw end of the hammer he forced off the end of the crate, reached in, and lifted her out.  She was disheveled, dirty, and for the moment docile with confusion. Was he toying with her? Or...no, it couldn't be. No Freeport official would let a prisoner go. Treissae wasn't sure of the penalty for failure in Freeport but it must be severe.  Then the inquisitor astounded her by handing her a small purse full of gold coins.  "Go home to yer people, and don't try spying on Freeport again," he admonished.  "But...what will they do to you?"  "I have made my decision: go. I will go face the consequences; I don't deserve to live anyway." "For failing Lucan?" "What do I care about him?" the Barbarian demanded. "I failed my own people's beliefs, I have a long trial before the Tribunal when I meet them in the hereafter. But I can make this one thing right."

     The inquisitor walked away, leaving the Wood Elf standing there in shock. Free? Really? Why would he doom himself for her? She ran after him as he was heading to the dock to buy passage to Freeport.  The setting sun silhouetted his face as he turned again and waved her away impatiently. "Girl, the word 'decide' comes from an old root form meaning to kill.  Someone has to pay, and that will be me. I don't hold hope that the Tribunal will be merciful to me.  But ye are free to live yer life and maybe some meaning will come of my death." "But... but listen," she protested, "when all hope is gone, say this phrase out loud." She chanted some strange sounds that echoed in his mind in spite of his trying to ignore her.  "Go, please. Just tell yer people that one Freeporter tried to make a difference."

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Old 07-11-2007, 10:19 AM   #10
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     Morning brought its repercussions; the inquisitor had headed home to North Freeport upon arrival at the city to find what he had half-expected: his home was ransacked and Lucan's secret police were prowling the neighborhood.  They were checking every home and rousting out the inhabitants as they searched.  Crying children huddled in the street with their frightened parents who didn't dare protest. 

     "Leave them alone," the Barbarian called out to 3 of the goons who were just emerging from one house with some jewelry. "And who are you?" demanded one. "I'm who ye have been searching for. Ye didn't need to trash the whole block looking." "Come with us." The speaker backed up his command with a sword, which he brandished at the inquisitor. "I think you've got a lot to explain.  There's no sign of the prisoner in your custody. Lucan demands your presence at his castle."

     "This is gonna be fun," smirked a guard in the castle dungeon. "Never had an inquisitor for a prisoner." With that he slugged the inquisitor in the gut and clubbed him in the back of the head when he doubled over in pain.  "Not so tough without your armor, are you?" The Barbarian's vision faded along the edges as he staggered against a wall and collapsed.  Then the kicking began, and he wished he had been knocked out.  Finally the guard aimed a kick at his head and the inquisitor didn't try to avoid it, and everything went black.

     He found himself lying facedown in filthy straw redolent of the last few victims' body wastes.  He hurt so much all over that he cried out when he tried to move. Gritting his teeth, the inquisitor carefully turned over and sat up.  Nothing was broken apparently but he was bruised up pretty bad.  He wondered how well he would hold up under the questioning to come.  There was nothing to be done but endure it until it broke his resistance or killed him. 

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Old 07-11-2007, 10:58 AM   #11
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     But what happened later on was something he didn't expect. A Dark Elf came to his cell with a couple of Ogre guards and unlocked the door. "Get out here, prisoner." The inquisitor staggered out into the hallway, where the Ogres grabbed his arms and propelled him down the corridor, the Dark Elf leading the way.  At a large door they stopped. "Lucan wants to see you. I don't envy you the privilege," the Teir'Dal smiled malevolently.  "Take him in, and make sure he shows the proper....humility."

    "Here is the prisoner, esteemed Overlord," announced one of the guards. The inquisitor looked up through blurry vision to see Lucan d'Lere, or rather a projection of the twisted once-paladin.  The story of how the Overlord had become master of Freeport was a well known one, but the inquisitor knew it had to be propaganda.  He would never learn the truth, but he knew that this monstrosity had slaughtered the honor of this city in his quest for power.  And what about himself? How was it he had worked for this...thing?

     "Ah, the missing cleric. You wasted a lot of my time, sending troops out to search for you. And you embarrassed the Dismal Rage, and the Teir'Dal in particular." "Why the Dark Elves, Overlord?" the inquisitor asked through puffy lips.  "Silence, prisoner!" One guard cuffed him to his knees. "No need to punish him... yet.  The Teir'Dal were in charge of psychological profiling in the Temple of War.  Your last profile was only a week ago, and showed no change. They may be duplicating reports to save time. If so, they will suffer the consequences. As will you.  The only reason you are not right now in an intensity chamber is that I remember the excellent work you did before you betrayed me."

    The projection paced the room, as if thinking of what to say next. Then Lucan stopped and addressed the guards. "There's not a lot of time today, so you need to bring in the profilers and squeeze them for what they know. Fraud is not to be tolerated.  As for this traitor...there isn't time for any ceremony. But impromptu events are still crowd pleasers. So, traitor inquisitor, you get to choose the method of your death."

     Choose? Choose his own demise? Not enviable, but considering the alternative of torture and lingering in agony... he knew all too well what methods were used. After all, he was a part of the system.  But this was strange. Did they know his motives already? It didn't matter now, and he would welcome a quick end.  "Just throw me in the Pit," he requested. "The prisoner is to be taken and sentence carried out immediately," commanded the Overlord. "And be sure he doesn't somehow miss falling in."

    

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Old 07-11-2007, 11:25 AM   #12
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     Crowds were gathering already around the Execution Plaza.  Word got around quickly in Freeport, and seldom was a person of high rank seen in chains.  He stood there on the ramp and tried not to duck as debris was thrown at him.  A few persons managed to kick him before the guards began enforcing the no approaching within 15 feet rule, clubbing the slow and unwary back away from the prisoner.

      "Be it known that this Barbarian was a high lord inquisitor for Freeport, until he took it upon himself to conspire with others and betray us to Qeynosian elements.  Many others are being rounded up as we speak, and there will be other 'events' for you to attend in the next few days.  The inquisitor wasn't surprised to hear that.  Making up conspiracies was an old method of ferreting out even more work for themselves, and thus keeping the officials and the Overlord satisfied with the "take".  If there were no manufactured enemies, they would drop below quota.

      He looked around at the city and the crowds. Might as well take his last look and be ready for the end. Nothing left but to face the Tribunal and his trial in eternity.  All he hoped for was that the Wood Elf would arrive home safely. The inquisitor knew that nothing he did would ever atone for his crimes.  Perhaps the Tribunal would include haunting in his punishment.  Others might learn something. Or not.  He closed his eyes and waited.

      "All right, Freeportians, this is what you have been waiting for. Time to see an execution." The guard unlocked the chains and turned the inquisitor to face the Pit once more. Then unbidden to the Barbarian's mind came Treissae's words again, so strongly that he murmured them out loud inadvertently. "In you go!" shouted the Ogre, and kicked him in the back, tumbling the inquisitor into the maw of the flames.  He felt intense heat, then a feeling of even more intense cold, then nothing at all.

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Old 07-11-2007, 01:19 PM   #13
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    Slowly, ever so slowly, he became aware he was lying on his back in a grove of trees. Where was this place? Where was the Hall of Justice? The inquisitor rolled onto his side and tried to take stock of the situation.  He could see a toppled statue, the trees, dust being flung up by a breeze.  There were bird calls, and a wolf howled in the distance.  He'd never heard of such details in the afterlife, but then folks weren't in the habit of coming back to report on their findings.  Did he have some sort of journey to make?

     With a groan of discomfort he sat up. Strange, that he still felt the beating he had taken in life. How did that transfer over? Then he saw it over the trees, and his blood ran cold. "Oh, no, no... it can't be." He shook his head in futile negation at the spectacle of Lucan's towering castle hovering over Freeport. But if that was the Overlord's lair, then this had to be... "Aaagh! Commonlands!" Then he had a frightening thought. Was he a spectre now, condemned in absentia to wander Norrath? Only one way to find out.

     He hauled himself to his feet and, swaying unsteadily, set out in the direction of the Crossroads. The heat shimmered on the dry grassy plains and he felt himself growing thirstier by the minute. Thirst...did ghosts drink anything? The inquisitor looked down at something shiny and to his relief found that someone had dropped a silver coin. This wouldn't get him anything fancy but he could at least get a drink.  Once in the merchant area he found a drink vendor and approached the man. "What will it be?" the vendor asked. The inquisitor picked up a bottle. "One silver coin, sir." He walked away with his purchase and sat by the surround fencing with the bottle of cheap beer.  Time to think about this.

     All right, he said to himself. Ye don't appear to be a spectre. The vendor acted like ye were a live person.  Either this is some sort of test in the afterlife, or ye somehow avoided death.  If it's a test, ye have a lot to figure out. If ye somehow didn't burn up in the Execution Pit, how did ye escape? The Barbarian sat pensively for quite a while, mulling this all over.  At last he resorted to replaying the previous day's events in his head. When he let the Wood Elf go, didn't she tell him something? He wasn't sure what it was. Oh, yes, she told him some strange words to recite. "I did, too, just before I fell in," he recalled out loud.  Then he laughed softly. Oh, ye fool, she gave ye the means to save yerself. And somehow ye activated some sort of random portal.

     The big man laughed louder. What a great cosmic joke on him. The Tribunal had deferred his trial to a later date it seemed. He abruptly grew sober.   There might be searchers out looking for him. What an irony; now he was trying to stay alive.  And Dark Elves; Teir'Dal: they figured into this somehow in some big way, he was certain. Some little feeling in the back of his mind told him that Neriak might be a good place to start. He got to his feet and headed north toward Darklight Woods, watching for signs of pursuit as he did so.

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Old 07-12-2007, 02:03 PM   #14
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looks for new entry...
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Old 07-13-2007, 09:23 AM   #15
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     Darklight was a strange, enchanted place. Arcane powers rippled from the pyramid and the temple, and somehow the vegetation grew even without sunlight.  It didn't thrive by any means, but it did survive. The animal denizens had learned to get along well in darkness and low light, and were surprisingly abundant.  The inquisitor knew that he needed to get some cash together, and as he observed the wildlife he got the idea to approach some nearby Teir'Dal. Their disdain was evident, but they did point him in the direction of an encampment where some merchants displayed their wares.

     His luck was good that day; a couple of merchants and a guard had some work they needed done in a hurry for customers.  Easy enough; all he had to do was bring in bounty and furs.  His pay might be cash or barterable goods.  For a skilled combat artist like himself it was no great effort to bring down the beasts needed to fill the orders. Even with a club made of a tree branch he could do some damage.  It wasn't very long before he had amassed enough gold to afford to stay in Neriak that night. 

     Once inside the gates, guarded by Dark Elves mounted on armored wargs and nightmarish horses, he looked around and saw a swirl of blue light on the floor a short ways inside. Standing near it was an Elf with a ledger.  He watched the inquisitor with amusement as the big man tried the portal and got no response. "It's not keyed to you," he smirked. "How do I use it then?" the Barbarian asked. "Ah, but it costs a bit to use this system. Not money but loyalty to my employers. You need to get this list of people to sell their businesses to us. Just have them sign on the dotted line."

     It wasn't something he liked doing, not in the slightest; somehow the brainwashed soon-to-be conscript bothered him more than the drunken ex-owner of a prosperous textile decorating business. This was a man who ranted and raved as he signed then requested the inquisitor portray him as satisfied with the transaction,  so as to not give any satisfaction to the ones taking over his life's dream. But the Barbarian did get one interesting item from a cowardly Teir'Dal ex-owner.  A most strange recipe.  Maybe there was more to it than cookies.

     He took the completed paperwork to the man who checked it over and then said some chant.  The portal shimmered a bit, and the Dark Elf motioned him to try it out. The inquisitor stepped in and got the impression that it was waiting for him to choose a destination.  The marketplace, he decided, and a momentary vertigo seized him as he was transported there.  Interesting, he mused as he moved away from the device and had a look around.  "Hey, you there! Take this crate to the dock and be quick about it!" He turned and saw a winged woman, an Arasai, pointing to a box and actually stamping her foot in impatience. "Huge lug, you can move this down there right now, and maybe I won't call a guard and tell him you were bothering me." No way he could afford to argue; the Barbarian picked up the box and took it to its destination, the Arasai following as he did so.

     Maybe there was some advantage to being thought of as a half-brained oversized laborer.  Certainly he wouldn't be seen as some sort of threat.  "Is there any work?" he beseeched the dockmaster.  "I need money." "Probably for drink, you slob, but I do need a hard worker. Take this package to the Library immediately. Go by way of the service entrance and leave this for Dirith N'Veyk.  Be quick about it and I might give you a permanent job."  The inquisitor moved as rapidly as he could to find a portal, use it, and get near the Library. He dropped off the package, then walked back out to see a strange scene. There was a knot of children with a Dark Elf herding them along. The youngsters looked grim, old beyond their years. Also, they were human, which wasn't all that strange, and definitely from faraway Shin, which was.

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Old 07-13-2007, 10:11 AM   #16
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     Children only, he saw. No adults nearby but the Dark Elf. Was it some sort of school outing? Had the inhabitants of Shin sent their children off to the equivalent of boarding school?  It didn't seem likely.  He rounded a corner to put some distance between them and himself; it wouldn't do to be seen watching too closely.  He hesitated at a street corner, uncertain which way the portal was, when a couple of Teir'Dal women walked by engrossed in conversation. They paid no attention as they chatted, and a fragment of their discourse drifted back to where the Barbarian stood.  "Ah, yet more of them for our education." "We don't have the fertility; we have to engage in J'Nyssry.  There isn't..." here the voices faded as the women moved off.

     The world around him seemed to swirl and fade as he was caught in a waking dream.  Run, child, run... don't stay here... get out in the woods and hide...no, they see me, no no mama papa don't leave me alone bad elves don't hurt them NO don't hurt me... no... what... what... am I?   He gasped for breath and sat down hard. What was he remembering? And why? That word had set it off: J'Nyssry.  Even the thought set off a pounding headache; he dared not say it out loud.  But what did it mean, and why did it evoke such disturbing images? How could he find out more? Maybe the Library held answers.

     The venerable building housed a great deal of knowledge, but not just anyone was allowed to walk in and check out tomes. No, the readers had to be Teir'Dal. No lesser races need know their arcane and practical wisdom.  But the inquisitor had seen that the service entrance was easy enough to approach as a dockworker. He did so now, carrying a crate pilfered from behind a small mercantile.  "Delivery for Dirith N'Veyk," he announced to the guard. He was motioned in and he quickly found a place to hide the box, then he carefully peered around corners, looking for some clue as to where to begin. He knew that he hadn't much time before his failure to return promptly would be noticed.  One placard read, "Arcane Arts of the Erudites".  Another nearby trumpeted the superior knowledge of the Teir'Dal themselves. The inquisitor sneaked down a flight of stairs and checked the next room. There he found a clue in the placard, "Humans as subjects of study". 

     Letter J, letter j, he thought as he checked the book spines. Or why would it be under that letter at all? No, maybe under H for Human.. or what? Ah here was a tome with a promising title. "Methods of control and subjugation of human children." The inquisitor took the book to a corner by a closet where he could hide if visitors came near.  He began to read, and what he read turned his blood cold. They kidnapped children, murdered the parents, and somehow mindwiped the young ones and rebuilt their personalities into twisted versions of what they had been.  He took the book back to the shelf, unable to stand to read farther, and replaced it as he heard footsteps. The Barbarian hurriedly squeezed into the closet to wait.

     His exhaustion might have been a factor; the big man felt his eyelids close against his efforts to stay awake in the cramped closet.  All too soon the dream took over, this time with a difference. He saw the Dark Elves, and he saw his parents slain in cold blood as he and his younger sister were dragged into a wagon. For all the terror this imagery brought, somehow he was aware that even sleeping he could not make any noise. He wanted out of the dream but he needed to know what had happened, what all this was about.  Then he saw himself deprived of sleep, deprived of contact with others, deprived until his mind went blank and was easily overwritten with what the Teir'Dal wanted him to think and feel.. and how to act. And then.. and then he was sold to Freeport as a freshly brainwashed trainee for the Temple of War and the Dismal Rage.

    

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Old 08-08-2007, 07:32 PM   #17
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      The sound of voices nearby brought him to abrupt wakefulness. "Place stinks," one was saying. "What do you expect in a Library full of old musty books?" came the rejoinder. "Come on, let's go see if what we need is on the third floor." Footsteps faded away, and after a short wait the Barbarian cautiously pushed the closet door open a crack. Fresh air rushed in, replacing the stale. Until now he hadn't realized how badly he stank.  He hadn't bathed since....was it only two days ago this had all started? No. This had started when he had been orphaned, kidnapped, torn from his family, clan, birthright, and made a servant of evil. He bit back a howl of rage at that thought. Vengeance must have its day, but how? First of all he had to get out of this place.

     As it was, he didn't have any difficulty. The Library was nearly deserted, and the door guard had left his post to answer a call of nature.  The inquisitor shuffled off toward the docks, still maintaining his guise of being a common worker.  But about halfway there he turned a different way and visited some vendors, where he made some small purchases plus a new set of clothes, and stopped at a barbershop for a shave and that much-needed bath.

     Much better, he thought as he rubbed his now-smooth chin.  His appearance would be greatly altered now that he had no beard. Too bad he would have to spoil the benefits of being clean all too soon, but his plans to get to his belongings back meant using the sewers.  He headed out of Neriak proper into the gloomy Darklight Woods and made his way back into the Commonlands under cover of night, his destination Freeport.

     Slipping in through the sewers wasn't his accustomed route, but the Barbarian was familiar with the twisting passageways and pitfalls for the unwary. As an inquisitor he had frequently investigated in Thieves Way, and even at times in Serpent Sewer and Edgewater Drains for evidence of criminal activities. Ah, here was the grate leading to North Freeport. He wrenched it aside and climbed through, drawing the bent metal back into place behind him. It wouldn't stand a close inspection but a casual check wouldn't reveal the break. 

     When he reached the shaft leading up to the sewer cover, he stopped and set his torch in a slot on the wall then opened his pack. He set a good-sized bowl on the walkway along with a small bag of charcoal and a larger one of chalk.  A trickle of water came from the wall; the Barbarian used  the bowl to catch some.  He then added the charcoal, using a rock to crush it and form a slurry. In went the chalk, and last he drew a vial from his shirt pocket and added its contents. The thick liquid began to give off an eerie greenish-yellow glow. He then removed all his clothes except for the ragged pants and stuffed them back in the pack. Kneeling by the bowl, he proceeded to smear its contents all over his body, working it into his hair and face also.

     Anyone looking toward the sewer cover in North Freeport would have been in for a shock as it rose accompanied by a glowing apparition. But at that moment no one was facing that way. This made it easier for the Barbarian as he slipped around a corner to a location a couple blocks from his house. Now it was time to create a disturbance.

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Old 10-10-2007, 09:13 AM   #18
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     If anyone had been down that dark alleyway they would have seen a weird glowing apparition cautiously making its way along the houses on Integrity Way. But no one was about, luckily for him. He made it to his destination, then flattened himself against the side of the house next to his.  He reached up into the eave trough and pushed aside the rotting leaves and debris, removing a key.  The inquisitor had to hurry; the glowing effect wouldn't last long or fool the authorities. 

     He pushed open the front door and slipped in. Was anyone aware of his presence? It didn't seem so.  The big man reached over to the wall and deliberately rattled the chains hanging there. As he did so, he rasped out in a sepulchral voice, "Who inhabits my house?" and strode into the next room. Two frightened humans leaped out of the bed and tried to get the window open. When that didn't work, in desperation the man let out a wild yell and ran past the Barbarian. The woman dashed out right behind him, whimpering in fear.

     Now he had a chance. Down to the basement he went, and right to the vault. Sure enough, it had been rifled of all things valuable. But who looks in an empty vault for more? The inquisitor had a clever hidden storage area in one of the walls; now he went and pulled the correct board and pushed a hidden switch, revealing a small cubbyhole that was previously invisible. Inside was what he was after: coinage enough to build a new life.  He scooped the money into a small bag and hurried back upstairs; even now he could be trapped inside the house if he wasn't careful.

      Noises were coming from outside; there were guards milling about. Before they could come to a consensus on what was awaiting them inside,  the Barbarian burst out the front door, knocking over two of them in his haste to escape.  Shouts and threats burst out behind him; he expected thrown weapons and arrows would be forthcoming. Back around the corner, he dragged off the sewer cover, threw his bag of coin down inside, quickly following it as he pulled the cover back into place and hung onto the bottom handle. Muffled curses above him indicated the frustrated attempts to get the cover off. But then he heard someone yell something that made his blood turn to ice water.

     "All right, if it's jammed, go start up the flashbangers!"  The inquisitor knew all too well what those devices were. The invention of a fiendishly clever gnome, the flashbangers were dropped down through the smaller sewer pipes leading from the surface. Their brilliant flash was designed to stun anyone in the sewers who was there as a fugitive from the law.  And the law was ruthless. He personally had questioned prisoners who had the misfortune to be facing these devices when they detonated. Not a one of them ever could see again; not that they survived questioning all that long anyhow.

     The big man was as scared as he had ever been his entire life. How was he going to avoid such a horrible fate? Then the answer came to him.  One that scared him almost as much as the flashbangers did.....

    

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Old 10-11-2007, 09:44 AM   #19
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doh cliffhanger ..twitch....
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Old 10-13-2007, 05:15 PM   #20
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    The inquisitor climbed down to the bottom of the ladder and stood there panting for breath.  He reached for the hem of his shirt and tore off a long strip of cloth with shaking hands, doubling it over and picking it up by the ends.  He took a quick look around, made sure the wall was on his right shoulder, then he lifted the strip to his face and tied it around his eyes, making sure it was snug. Now he would rely on memory, wit, and senses other than sight.

     He cautiously started forward, shuffling his feet to be sure he didnt stumble, and kept his right hand on the wall. As he rounded a corner and paused to listen for danger, a rattling noise startled him and he took a step back. A bright flash he could see through layers of cloth and his closed eyelids made him nearly collapse with terror; to have been looking at it would have been catastrophe.  But he continued groping his way through the dank passages; it was the only way to escape.

     The irony of it all was that his goal was the dark elf village of Longshadow Alley; those were fanatic loyalists to Lucan (as far as anyone knew).  For all his caution, the Barbarian almost missed finding the correct sewer grate. He stopped and felt for it and pulled it loose from its moorings, then squeezed into the narrow opening and wormed his way forward. The incipient fear rose into panic again as claustrophobia took hold of him, and he fought forward as his imagination went wild.

     Just when he was about to lose all ability to think clearly, the passage opened out to the small opening where the vertical shaft to the surface was located.  The big man struggled to breathe as he tried to calm himself, and it didn't help much when a flashbanger dropped down a shaft a few yards back and he caught the reflection on his blindfold enough to see it.  Up the ladder he swarmed and pushed open the cover, rolling out into the street in his haste to get out.

     Tearing off his blindfold, the inquisitor took a quick look around. The wan light of Drinal revealed Longshadow Alley in all its slumminess; only a drunken half elf saw him and that he didn't worry about. No guards were here yet, thank the Tribunal.  He hoisted the sack of coin to his back and trotted down the street toward the graveyard gate and the commonlands beyond.

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Old 10-14-2007, 01:27 PM   #21
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okay good was scared for a minute ....
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Old 10-21-2007, 09:59 AM   #22
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     Treissae had some time to think about recent events during the lengthy voyage. The young Wood Elf had hidden out in Nektulos Forest for a few days, living off the land until she was sure her trail had gone cold. But upon approaching the docks she had overheard the gossip, and wished she hadn't come back that way. For the talk among the hucksters, merchants and sailors was of the execution of a prominent inquisitor in Freeport. "I myself saw him kicked into the firepit in Execution Plaza!" "Thus to all traitors! All hail the Overlord!" "Kinda fun to see the high and mighty fall..."  These and other statements rang in her mind as she bought passage to Butcherblock.

     Her reunion with family and friends was joyous but tempered in her mind by the price a certain Barbarian had paid for her freedom.  A pang of guilt would not go away, and she was determined to make some sort of gesture to honor his memory.  At a small shop in Kelethin she found a memorial marker, with space to add a few words.  But where to place it? She couldn't possibly do so in or near Freeport, and Qeynos would never accept a shrine to a denizen of an enemy city.  Of course, it should be taken to Everfrost, the ancestral home of the Barbarians.  That would be honorable and fitting.

     Aboard ship she met a small group of folks making a trip to the same region. As Everfrost was a cold, dangerous place, she asked if she could accompany them. "Certainly," replied a Kerra male.  "We all have our reasons for traveling there; let's share them and dispel some of this boredom," added a Gnome woman.  Each had an interesting tale to tell, but the most poignant came from the Barbarian in the party.

    "For twenty-five years I have journeyed here, seeking some answers." He turned and looked out over the ocean for some seconds, then shook his shaggy grey mane. "My sister and her family disappeared out in Everfrost somewhere.  It was very soon after the Shattering, and they may have been victims of falling shards of Luclin.  But I cannot rest until either I know the truth or meet my own fate, upon my honor as a Halasian."  "That's so sad!" exclaimed Treissae.  "You said family...?"  "Aye, my sister, Leeanora, her husband, and their two young children. I asked them not to go..." The grizzled Barbarian's voice trailed off as he turned his head away from the others and stared into nothing.

   

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Old 10-25-2007, 01:43 AM   #23
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     They disembarked onto the small dock at Everstorm Bay; the glittering landscape and biting cold took Treissae's breath away.  "Here, take this extra fur," advised the Barbarian.  She didn't care much to dress herself in animal skins, but survival was survival. And she was absolutely freezing... "How do we get over there? the Gnome woman pointed toward a distant beach. "We use a skiff or a raft," the Barbarian answered. He motioned them down to the water's edge where a small boat was tucked under an overhanging ice shelf. With a grunt of effort, he pulled it free and shoved it into the water where it sat bobbing. "All right, all aboard." The Kerra grabbed one oar while the Barbarian plied the other, and it wasn't long before the small party reached the opposite shore.

     "Stay within hailing distance, and if ye get lost, don't start running about. The ice is very deceiving when it comes to distance and direction. And it's mighty easy to start an avalanche.  The workers and pilgrims out here wouldn't appreciate it."  The Northman was gruff, rather bossy, but his advice was sound and they knew it.  Treissae began her search for a suitable location for her marker.  The grey-haired man noticed and hurried over. "Ye really didn't have to go to all this trouble; ye made no promises to the man." "I know, but i made a promise to myself." She walked away along the ridgeline above the bay, searching for rocks protruding from the ice. Around the bend she saw several hooded pilgrims watching her curiously. As she pushed past, the Wood Elf bumped into a white-robed one who turned, startled.  As did Treissae, for she found herself staring into the face of the dead Inquisitor. With a cry of alarm, she backpedaled several steps. With a shriek of dismay, she broke through a small snow shelf, which pitched her down the steep slope and into Everstorm Bay.

     He had bought the supplies he needed and squirreled away the remainder of his fortune.  The journey to Everfrost had been at first a plan to simply disappear for a while in hopes that Freeport would forget he had ever existed. But now as he wandered along the ice road, dressed as an acolyte from the old times, he thought more and more about his people's origins, and  how they came to be refugees in the southern continents.  The bracing cold, the shining glaciers, the hardy wildlife all seemed so very right and normal.  He felt at home here. But no sign of Halas remained, search though he might.

     Visitors of all races came here to gawk, paint the landscape, hunt large game, and search for ruins.  He saw yet another tourist party wandering about down on the beach, muffled in furs against the icy air. "Hmph," he snorted to himself and moved farther up the ridge. They were welcome to visit; a Halasian would never deny hospitality. Still, he wished they would be about their business and leave him in peace. But no such luck. He could hear one puffing and struggling up the steep snowbanks. Then, to his surprise, the visitor stumbled against him. The clumsiness caught him off-guard and he whirled around to find a young Wood Elf woman staring at him. Before he could even put face to name, she fell backward, screaming, into the deep water below.

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Old 10-25-2007, 01:58 PM   #24
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ohhhh nice post .....more please lol
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Old 10-26-2007, 01:18 AM   #25
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     He dropped his robe and leaped in after her, the icy shock of the bay's water nearly paralyzing him. Where was she? He floundered about and located the limp form, catching hold of her fur garment. He doggedly swam back toward shore where a knot of visitors gathered. Time was of the essence, he was well aware. With a blur of motion, he lifted her, waterlogged furs and all, free of the water into waiting arms. Then he fell back beneath the surface to make his own attempt at getting out. A grinding noise above him stopped his progress: the ice had shifted, trapping him below the surface. He began searching for an opening, knowing that he had little chance as the freezing water sapped what little strength he had left.

     In the end, it was a relief to draw in a lungful of water and feel his body relax from the agonizing lack of air.  Oddly enough, he saw a patch above him and moved toward it, abruptly finding himself on the shore.  There was a bonfire, a Gnome woman and a Human man were attending to the Wood Elf, and the Barbarian and Kerra were out in a skiff, dragging something at the end of a rope.  He reached the spot just as the boat grounded and the two men pulled their burden onshore. It was a large body, marble-white with cold.  They cut the rope and turned it over to reveal a drowned Northman. Why, that looks just like me, the Inquisitor thought. The others took no notice of him as he moved closer, then looked down to find it was himself, or what had been him.

     "I think it's futile, Elder," remarked the Kerra. The Barbarian didn't pause in his efforts but spoke as he worked. "No, it's not. I feel him still here; he hasn't passed through yet."  He rolled the body onto its side to clear the lungs, chanting phrases as he did so.  He pushed a fur under and then rolled the victim back onto it, throwing another fur on top.  "Young man, I know ye're there. Let my chant lead ye back." He brought down a fist upon the rib cage, then a flurry of blows. He was rewarded by a twitch. "See there, my Kerra friend?"

     He realized he was in an incorporeal form; other spirits moved around him and watched to see what he would do.  In a detached manner he considered his death; it had been surprisingly easy, more of a short passage than a journey. He glanced at the shining portal with a city in it, then back at the scene on the beach.  The spirit of a Barbarian woman approached him and indicated, Go back, son. Ye will remember everything when ye wake.

     The Shaman's chants had opened a swirling pit, and he let himself fall into the maelstrom. It was dark, and painful to breathe, and he gasped with the effort. "I think he's coming around," said a voice.  Again, a faint light above him...he struggled to the surface and burst out into full awareness, his eyes opening wide. For the face of the worried Barbarian Shaman lit up with relief and joy, and all at once the Inquisitor realized that he recognized the man, and all his memories were restored.  "Un.... un..." he croaked. "What is it?" asked the older Northman, leaning closer.  The younger one reached up and grabbed the front of his tunic. "Uncle....Tabaar?"

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Old 10-27-2007, 02:36 PM   #26
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gah ya always leave me wanting more which for a writer is good but for me is torture lol
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Old 10-28-2007, 04:35 AM   #27
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     Tabaar the Elder Mystic stared at the younger man in shock and amazement. Could this be the little boy he had last seen twenty-five years in the past? Was this some sort of miracle? "Could it be?" he gasped out. "Leeroy?" The other nodded and tried to sit up, losing the furs around him as he did so.  He shivered and drew them back around.  "How is this possible? What... ye must tell me how ye survived!" exclaimed the grey-haired Halasian.  "But right now ye're in danger of freezing. We need to get ye dry clothes." "My robe should be over there," Leeroy said, pointing to the ridge. The Kerra trotted over and picked it up, shook it out, and handed it over.  The young Barbarian quickly drew on the garment as Tabaar rummaged for an extra set of boots. "Let's get ye over to the fire to get warm."

      He soaked up the heat from the bonfire, feeling his strength return as he warmed up.  Beside him the Gnome woman making sure the Wood Elf woman was kept warm. She wasn't awake yet but definitely looked like she would be all right.  A dull thud in the packed snow beside him announced the arrival of a pair of boots for him to use.  The Inquisitor looked up to find Tabaar watching him.  "Here ye go; these are soft boots so hopefully they will fit. Now, about ye..." "First of all, Uncle Tabaar, I wish to thank ye for saving my life. I had given up all hope of getting out of the water.   There is a lot to tell. Before I do that, let me retrieve my cache."

       Leeroy moved farther down the beach, kicked over a snowbank and started digging into a rock cairn. Soon he uncovered a heavy shoulder strap, and dragged a canvas bag out of its hiding place.  He returned to his spot by the fire to thaw out his hands. "Why did ye need to get that?" wondered Tabaar. "It has all my belongings in it. Just a second."  The younger Barbarian dragged the heavy bag over to the encampment and turned to the Elder Mystic. "I don't know how to go about this, so I'll start with what happened that day."

       Tabaar's expression grew grimmer as Leeroy recounted first the murders of his parents and his own abduction. "I never saw my baby sister again. I don't know what happened to her." Then the Elder Mystic grew outraged as he learned of the brainwashing and mind wiping techniques used by Dark Elves to enslave children of many races, especially human ones. Human and Barbarian children were the main commodity that Neriak had to offer Freeport in return for goods that the underground city could not produce.  They were shunted into various jobs as they were tested for aptitude.  This had been Leeroy's fate; it was only dubious fortune that he had been shunted into the priesthood, and thus into clerical duties.  Becoming a full-fledged Inquisitor had become a goal for him; he thought of nothing else back then. "And ye know what, Tabaar? I was stripped of memories like those of my own family, and was compelled to forget my own name."

       The Inquisitor paced beside the glowing coals as he retold the events that led to his mindwipe weakening.  "Then I found a way to help this one escape," he gestured toward Treissae, "and returned to my fate. But her magic saved me...." Tabaar listened, rapt, as Leeroy described the meaning of justice in Freeport, the library information in Neriak, and his burglary of his own home.  "I escaped through the sewers and came  here to contemplate who I am." He opened the bag to reveal a full set of Inquisitor's armor. "This is who I am, at least what I was."

      

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Old 12-14-2007, 08:23 PM   #28
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     A sound from by the fireside caught his attention. The Wood Elf was waking up it seemed. Leeroy turned away with both embarrassment and shame.  How could ye have intended harm to such as she, he berated himself. How could ye....he clenched his fists and reminded himself that he hadn't known better. It didn't help; he still felt guilty and unclean. Abruptly he strode away down the beach.

     Treissae raised herself up on one elbow. How had she gotten here? Then she remembered falling off a snowbank into the freezing waters of the bay. "Ah good, ye are awake," said a deep voice. She looked up to find the Elder Mystic smiling down on her. "How are ye feeling, child?" "Much better, thank you. But how did I get out of the water?" ""Ye see that Halasian down the beach? His name is Leeroy, and he jumped in after ye and swam to shore where we grabbed ye and warmed ye by the fire."

     She sat up and decided that she felt good enough to try standing. She got to her feet unsteadily and walked toward the robed figure. The big man was facing Everstorm Bay as the wind swirled about him. She cleared her throat. He flinched slightly but made no move to turn toward her. "Sir, I want to thank you for rescuing me," she began. "I'm sure I would have drowned, and...." He raised a hand to forestall her. "Why were ye up there on that hill?"  "I was trying to find a suitable place to put a memorial marker." "Why would an Elf be honoring a Halasian?" Leeroy demanded to know. "Well, sir, he saved my life in Freeport at the expense of his own."

     The Inquisitor felt the hair stand up on the back of his neck. Did she not know...he spun around to face her, silhouetted by the setting sun's rays. "What if ye commemorate a worthless waste of air? A fool for an evil cause?" Treissae was aghast. "You, sir, lack honor! To speak ill of the dead is beneath contempt! No matter what he was, I would give anything to have saved him from his fate." "Ye are wrong about one thing. I do NOT speak ill of the dead." The Barbarian stomped the snow in agitation and then dropped to his knees in front of the Wood Elf. "Treissae. All I can dare to do is ask yer forgiveness," he said as he drew back the muffling hood of his robe.

     Nothing mattered at that moment to her but the sight of him, alive somehow. "But how?" she squeaked in confusion. "Yer portal spell saved me just as I was thrown into the Execution Pit. I didn't even know what it was, and instead of the Halls of Justice I found myself in Commonlands. Since then I have searched for answers." She didn't reply but instead threw her arms around the startled Northman. He was astounded to hear her sobbing her joy and relief, and felt a lump in his throat. His vision blurred and he hugged Treissae to him tightly as the sunset lit the sky with red fire. 

    

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Old 06-26-2008, 12:45 PM   #29
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      He finally drew back, still on his knees so he was right at eye level with the Wood Elf.  "I don't know how to go about this but...." he cupped her face in his palm and blinked to clear his vision.  She didn't resist or turn away as he leaned forward and kissed her.  Then she did something that surprised him greatly; Treissae cupped her hands around his face and returned the kiss with interest. Then abruptly she backed away, giggling. "Huh? What?" Leeroy wanted to know. "Your mustache tickles!" she laughed.

     Back at the camp, Tabaar watched with approval.  His nephew seemed a little more confident now that Treissae had recognized and accepted him.  Now to get him retrained to live and work in either Qeynos or Kelethin.  But first they had to set up sleeping areas for the night; the boat wouldn't be back till morning.  The sleeping furs were arranged around the campfire and Tabaar would take first watch.

    Everyone was tired and hungry, so the Gnome woman doled out the trail food and some fresh water from melted glacier ice.  After that was gone, Tabaar announced the watch. "As ye all know, I will take first watch. Trethor here," he indicated the Human male, "will take second. After that, it is yer turn, Redclaw." The Kerra nodded.  "Then Leeroy will take last watch."

     Leeroy climbed into his furs and watched to make sure Treissae was well burrowed into hers.  But just as he began to drift off, he caught a movement. "What's wrong, Treissae?" "I'm f-f-freezing..." He got up and moved his furs over beside hers.  "I will help keep ye warm. This is no place to get hypothermia," he cautioned. "Once I lie down, scoot back against me."  He did so, and she eased back till she felt warmth. "Better?" he asked after a minute. "Yes, thank you." Being so close to her was distracting but he was so tired he still managed to drift off.  

     He awoke in a swirl of chaos and confusion; there were cries and yips and growls and screams. Leeroy scrambled to his feet and grabbed his hammer, trying to see the source of the noise. He shouted and ran forward as wolves attacked the group.  There was no time to think, only act on the situation.  With a primal scream of defiance he planted himself among the wolves and swung his hammer. Blood, both his and the wolves', pooled at his feet. He looked to see Trethor grabbing his sword, and Tabaar fending off the pack leader as the shaman's spells took effect.

     Leeroy felt dizzy and weak from the multiple wounds but there were 4 dead wolves around him now, leaving only the pack leader attacking Tabaar and 2 more wolves menacing him.  Trethor raced in and got their attention as Leeroy whirled around to check for skulking opportunists.  Sure enough, one was after.... "Treissae! Watch out!" Just then an arrow from the Kerra's bow caught the wolf in the flank, slowing it down. This was all the chance Leeroy needed to run up and brain it.

     The last of the wolves dropped to Trethor's sword.  "Are we missing anyone? Look around," the guardian instructed. Everyone was accounted for. Leeroy sat down beside Treissae to check her for wounds. "Is anyone injured?" he asked. "Besides me, I mean." He tried to stand up but gravity had increased. Also the world was shrinking and getting dark around the edges....

     "All right, he's coming around," said a voice.  "Leeroy, can ye hear me?"  A blurry image resolved itself into the shaman as the young Barbarian squinted. "Aye," he croaked.  There was a sigh of relief behind him.  "Yes, Treissae, ye can come over." She appeared in his field of view, concerned and anxious.  "Wha happen?" he managed to say.  "Ye lost a lot of blood so ye lost consciousness. Had to get ye stabilized." Tabaar held up a hand. "Don't try to get up yet." "The ground's moving," Leeroy observed. "No, that's not the ground, that's the deck. Ye've been out for over a day. We're on board ship."

      He struggled up onto one elbow. "A day?" "Aye, and it were a near thing. Ye were bleeding from about 2 dozen places and it took me time to find them all.  Ye seem to have all the luck, nephew.  A little more blood loss and ye would have starved yer brain of oxygen and died despite all my work.  As it is ye need to rest up the remainder of the voyage to Butcherblock. Ye'll need yer strength for the overland trip.

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Old 07-03-2008, 06:27 PM   #30
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     Treissae had been sleeping soundly when the wolf attack began.  She at first thought she was dreaming until she saw Leeroy fighting and yelling and cursing as he ran back and forth through the camp with the wolves in hot pursuit. He wasn't properly equipped and was taking some terrible slashing bites as he attacked like a madman.

     At his warning shout she had turned to see one of the pack homing in on her just as an arrow hit it and the Inquisitor ran up to finish it off. Then he turned to see if she was hurt, which was when she saw the extent of his injuries. To her horror, he collapsed at her feet. Her shriek of dismay brought Tabaar running, and the Elder Mystic took charge of the situation. She had never felt so helpless, and later when the danger was past she asked Tabaar what she could do.

     "Always be there for him, child. He is a very lonely man and I daresay a bit confused about who he is.  If ye want to help in fighting, ye need to learn a skill.  Have ye ever considered becoming a mage?" She honestly had never given much thought to spellcasting, but that was an idea. Treissae filed the thought away for later. Right now she just wanted Leeroy to recover.

     A groan interrupted Tabaar as he was about to comment further. They both turned to see the young Barbarian awakening, and the shaman moved to the bedside to tend his patient.  Treissae was very relieved to hear Leeroy respond to Tabaar's prompting, and she let out an audible sigh. "Here, help him hold this," the Mystic instructed her as he held out a mug of broth. "Leeroy, ye need to drink this. Let me know if ye want more." Tabaar supported his back to help him sit up as the Wood Elf held the mug.

     "I was so thirsty," Leeroy commented. "That's to be expected," the older Barbarian replied. "Ye were dehydrated from blood loss. But now ye should be all right. I will have some food prepared later; ye need to eat also." Tabaar laid a hand on Leeroy's shoulder. "This isn't easy for me to say, but... I am so glad ye survived, son of my sister. This has been beyond imagining for me; I gave up all hope of finding any of ye alive long ago. And to come so close to losing ye again..." Tabaar broke off and abruptly ducked out the door of the cabin.

      Treissae sat there, taking in the sight of the young Northman. He did indeed look rough after what he had gone through, but to her he was a welcome sight.  "I'm so happy you're all right," she told him. He smiled faintly and took another drink from the mug. "I suppose ye think I was an idiot  to endanger myself like that, and not treat my own wounds more quickly. But I didnt even feel them until after that one wolf tried to attack ye." Treissae shook her head. "Leeroy, not only do I not think you're an idiot, but I am grateful and am sure we all are for your quick action. Thank you for protecting us."

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