[ORP] Arrival

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Varann
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Re: [ORP] Arrival

Post by Varann » Mon Sep 02, 2019 12:29 pm

Xie walked along side him munching the berries and listening to his words as they made their way. Xie wasnt upset about him declining dinner not when he had a real problem that he needed help with. Helping people always took priority over xer social activities. And xer shadow whispered constantly in xer head.

"humm can you remember anything else about the creature like the time of day, or something that could help us figure out more about it. Dark creatures are numerous and alot have fangs it could be any of them including shadow mastiffs," xie thinks for a moment "I'll check in with my fellow hunters see if they've come across anything like that. If some new has moved into the area I'll have yo organise a hunt,"
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Klavak
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Re: [ORP] Arrival

Post by Klavak » Tue Sep 03, 2019 6:25 pm

- "Shadow mastiffs..." - I repeated absentmindedly. Even xer first disposable idea was leagues ahead of my advancements so far.

The name had a dark ring to it, that is for sure. By the tone of the conversation such a creature isn't necessarily as strange or terrible as I have been imagining. Those monsters of the night had been studied by someone, even named and catalogued. I find that as it tends to be, knowledge of something beats back the fears of a wild imagination. Such is the power of study, of the written and spoken word. Some legends placed the elves as the first singers - and in doing so, the first ones to understand, and learn, and share.

- "There's not much I can remember." - I admit, a sudden shadow for an instant crossing my face. - "Rows and rows of ivory teeth, sharp and long as arms and legs. Darkness around it, a black form which is not constrained to a single shape. I must find it Varann, and win. I am really grateful for your help, as I'll be of anything you can find."

It's not the most cheerful of topics, but after a while I try to bring back the conversation to something more pleasant. Casual comments on the weather, food or peculiarities of these lands fill the rest of the path to the forest; And at the proper place I stop my steps and nod a very welcome goodbye.

- "I live this way, through the trees. I tend to be easy to find when I want to, and not so much when I don't." - I smile. - "You can visit anytime, but I guess we'll see each other plenty around town!"

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Klavak
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Re: [ORP] Arrival

Post by Klavak » Thu Sep 05, 2019 5:27 pm

A few mornings later I was repeating that same trail, returning to my camp after attending the affairs of the city for the day. I ponder about my fate, confident that I'm advancing on my purpose, slowly but surely. Things are going well and the only pressing for time seems to be my secretly wounded pride. I am happy with this new way of life, satisfied on a balance between new discoveries within the city and honored tradition out in the wilds. But there is always something stabbing at the back of my mind. An uneasiness, a sixth sense that rings when sighting any gathering of trees. It is a feeling that I'm familiar with, and one of the most vital tools of a scout. It screams at an unbalance in nature, a faint beg asking its children to correct course.

It happens in a moment. Darkness appears out of nowhere, a black mass coalescing between two trees. And its speed is no match for any mortal's reflexes. No amount of learning, no quantity of ancient texts and powerful friends made during these weeks can do anything now. One tendril erupts from the black mass as the demonic spawn stops being able to contain its shape, crashing against the ground like a massive, rearing hind leg. It jerks, and spasms, and rolls forward with every vomited arm that smashes forward to be swallowed again. It is now that I can see its teeth - Countless enlarged shards engorged in rows, arranged in patterns of chaos without sense.

I turn around and run. I'm alone. There's no way I can face it now, even more disarmed and surprised than on our first encounter. I leap, and stride, and dive with the wind. My feet barely touch the ground under the reddish carpet of autumnal fallen leaves. This time I don't move in a straight line, but getting lost within the trees. The fiend, the beast, crashes as an unstoppable force, slowing down to tear through their wooden trunks under thunder of splinters. "I'll avenge you." I swear in anger, frustrated at the sacrifice of such noble trees. But to do that I must first survive myself.

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Klavak
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Re: [ORP] Arrival

Post by Klavak » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:58 pm

The furious worm writhes and slithers like a mass of concentrated destruction. Wood, rock, earth crumble and crush under its dark black weight. It stretches, disturbing, a never ending snake of teeth sown together by the absence of light. Fangs ripple open and shut like grinding waves of sanded bone. And then, coiling up, it rises from the ground. The shapeless being stands tall and crashes through the foliage, rearing, charging up like a terrifying interrogation sign. With the essence of a screech devoid of sound, its jaws slide open and it dives down.

At this point I am finished, that's a fact. Debris falls everywhere in a confusing needle storm, and even while being able to run for days my legs will eventually give out. This is not a creature bound by the rules of nature. I can't outrun it, track it nor lose its trail. But I, for sure, am not going to give up without a fight. Before I join them, I will make the forest and the spirits of my ancestors proud. The whoosh is deafening as its awful mass pushes out the air above me, ridiculously fast. There's not even time to breathe as I step aside. A last moment, a last chance. What in an earthly hound would be a snout hits the ground. It feels like a mountain toppling down. An earthquake, a blast. My vision is clouded immediately by a raging cloud of dust and I can feel the pain of multiple splinters cut upwards from where I was recently standing up.

And that's finally my time. I plant my feet hard, roaring, lifting my right elbow to ready a fist under my eye. It's absurd. As I put my whole weight in the strike, as I turn to coil up in return, the disappointment of my fighting master crosses my thoughts for an instant. What carelessness and lack of style. Desperate, on edge, I punch forwards with everything I have. Pain shoots like lightining up my arm. I can feel my fingers break, my wrist crack, my forearm snap. But the dark, stone-hard texture gives in to my attack; Yet not cracking, not bouncing or bursting back as I could expect any genre of skin. My wasted arm sinks all the way up to the elbow in a black, cold tar - Oozing, spraying my face with a nameless ichor of coagulated death.

Senses sharpened by pain, the dust dies out to reveal a terrifying sight. The rows of teeth rearrange, move, sink and emerge around my arm. From up close, what I thought to be sets of mouths look appear an indescriptible, chaotic sea of fangs welded by nothingness and hate. Hunger. That deep, soul consuming hunger. Two concentric circles of teeth form around my trapped arm and snap shut. My voice cracks. I fall into the void of nothingness.

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Klavak
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Re: [ORP] Arrival

Post by Klavak » Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:17 pm

I wake up to the ingravid feeling of weightlessness. A strange sensation of being hooked by the stomach, without knowing if I'm prone or standing, up or down. I don't know where I am, and there's nothing around me to guess either. No walls, no sky, no ground. Only a faint flicker of light illuminates me, with an unnatural lack of shadows offering no clue as to its secret source. And I would have rather never seen what it shone upon. What used to be my right arm is nothing but a rag wrapped mangled mess, bleeding and torn. I can see the lifeless silhouette of a hand on the far end, disconnected from the rest.

Such an injury should be my death. Is this what the mysterious passage was like? The idea of eternal nothingness sinks in as a nightmarish concept to understand. - "You're not dead." - A disembodied voice rings suddenly from everywhere. - "Feel for yourself." - Pain hits me so hard that I cramp and bit my tongue, the taste of blood invading my mouth. I shout, and cry, and shake ungracefully like a broken doll. Something keeps my mind from fading at the edge of sanity and it all stops with the same haste with which it came.

- "Such a delicate thing, life." - It follows, in poisoned jest. - "Klavak of the Northern Forest, I am your test."

I don't recognize the voice. The pitch hints female, yet would fit no woman or elven maid. It's coarse like gravel, reverberating around the empty space like a whisper in a well. Confident, bitter. It seems to approach and go with every sentence, my sharpened ears never placing it anywhere.

- "Who are you?" - I yell, finding my own voice distorted and strange. Blood runs down my lower lip, my strength lacking too much to even spit it away. - "What do you want of me?"

Something materializes right before my eyes. A body, thin and long rises a couple steps before me as if climbing out from an invisible lake. It is impossible to tell if the vision walks or glides over a floor that doesn't exist. It shifts and changes shape, cocking with curiosity a dark mysterious head. I focus on it my gaze, to receive in return the terrifying gaze of an inhuman face, plain and devoid of features. Black masses of the tar-like substance hang around her and stretch, hellish mockery of such concepts as long hair and a dress. They float like tendrils, like underwater kelp, and then lash back arrythmically like angry whips or wolven tails. Her hand rises and is placed hard against my chest.

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Klavak
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Re: [ORP] Arrival

Post by Klavak » Fri Sep 20, 2019 9:08 pm

When her black hand touches me it rages aflame. The dark flares, fades. It becomes a red of such brightness that my eyes lose focus, a crimson blur extending up her risen forearm. Effortless, the tips of her fingers charr my flesh and sink within my chest. It hurts. The pain comes back with such an intensity that no air comes out of my lungs. My mind breaks, collapses, would have left my body if it had been allowed. Yet I'm still forced to grab upon that last thread, to live through a hundred deaths. Snake-like spirals melt under my skin. I can feel how they coil and slither, digging deep. They grow, they cross, they cut and multiply like the roaring heads of the hydra.

It's hard to know where they start and where they end. Strange geometric designs cast a net across my body, like a spiderweb of fire spread thin and tight all around. I lose track of its movement around my neck, bewitched at what's going on with my right arm. Trails of red cascade down the torn shoulder, pooling, flooding its remains. They worm their way through the air, linking one by one each broken bone to assemble like a chain. The substance pools, congeals, gives birth to newborn shapes. A new arm is formed through the fire and the pain, fingers curling in a fist at my command. Blood pumps anew through my veins, swelling in a volcanic blaze.

- "I couldn't tolerate your weakness." - The voice explains in an insulting tone. - "And you were useless like that. Pay attention, now."

I'm confused, my voice lost. What was once a body on the brink of final collapse now feels strong, reinforced. Rebuilt. It's an unnatural sensation, almost as if a tight mesh of steel threads had been bent to shape and forged shut under my skin. Slowly, eternally, the terrible heat fades away and disappears. Or at least that's what I tell myself, hoping it wasn't due to my senses finally faltering forever. I am able to stand upright now, bones and muscle supporting the overall structure of my being as they were supposed to.

When I look up I'm somewhere else. I blink, and my pupils contract, adapting quickly to the change of light. It's still cold, though. I'm standing at the edge of a broken cliff that rises high before the horizon. The sun is setting, the sky tinted a by an ominous violet of dark sorcery. At my feet spreads the most unbelievable landscape in the world. An everflowing mass, a limitless expanse of vegetation grows wild as far as the eye can see. Even at this distance the titanical scale of it is obvious. Great masses of wood and green leaves tower over each other at multiple levels, fighting, mixing, overgrown with an unchained desire of life.

- "This is your land, Klavak. Ancient ages ago." - The voice without direction catches me unawares again. I have to cover my face from wind when the ridiculous wingspan of a golden scaled bird flies up the cliff. - "Before the kingdoms. Before humans. Before the mages. There were no rules for the forest back then."

As if to prove her point a thunderous rumbling becomes evident. Aware, alert, I point my gaze. The source is obvious, but never could have I been more amazed. A colossal creature, a titan of the forest strides wide and deep between the tallest trees. Each hand holds into one of those pillars of the earth, and pulls them apart with a strength that could have reduced mountains to gravel. Untangling branches that could have held cathedrals, letting them stand upright.

- "A tree shepherd." - I whisper, amazed. Its amber, moon-like eyes stare from the distance and turn aside. - "But why... Why show me this? Who are you?"

- "Answers will come in time." - The voice seems closer now. Every pause between two sentences stretching distatesful, judgemental. - "I am too old to have a name you would understand. You are going to help me bring this world back."

Blackness.

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Klavak
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Re: [ORP] Arrival

Post by Klavak » Sat Sep 21, 2019 2:27 pm

I wake up suddenly, coughing up black tar that sticks against my face. I'm uncomfortable, constrained in a tight space. As little more than an instinct I react by blindly pushing and kicking at the opressing environment. Fists land, kicks push against the darkness. It's the same disgusting feeling that sank my arm into the beast that first time. However, this time I don't have the same opposition. There's no movement of devilish teeth around me, and in fact no resistance is at all presented against my fury.

Moonlight finally breaks through an opening crack. I reach, pull, throw myself squirming outside from its edges. This is a world I'm familiar with, this is where everything had ended - or started - on this fatidical date. Dust has fallen as had the sun. And it is now when I find out that what I'm crawling away from is the melting corpse of the shapeless nightmare that's been constantly on my mind. This is strange, and my confusion and anger twist inside me without finding an escape. I kick it again as a way to vent, splattering across the broken crater a trail of black remains.

I don't only feel stronger, I am. There's no way I could have done that on the past. Was everything I saw real? Furiously, I tear off the shredded shirt and wipe off the foul ichor from my face and arms. It's there. Just now, as the violence ends, rows of geometrical designs fade under my skin as if they had never been there. Only one exception ignores this return to reality: my right arm. It stays inked, a series of contoured armbands climbing up towards my shoulder like scars. No text, no runes, just simple figures fill the covered areas with the same blackened colour. Many of them rows of interlocking, zigzagging triangles that remind me way too much of certain sets of fanged smiles.

In any case, the need to leave is imperious. Quickly, looking around, I crouch to pick and tie a bundle of ivory tusks. Most are useless, melting quickly in a foul lake of rapidly decomposing mass. I don't understand anything, but I don't care right now. Whatever happened, my test is passed with the means to prove it. I won't reach any counclusion until I have had the time to meditate and relax. But even in the chaos of it all, I stand up and smile. I am alive.

End

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