Journal Posts

A Remorseful Devil.
A blinding light is the last thing Anamils sees as the beholders madness sweeps him away.

He watches his body from his mind’s eye, witnessing his attacks on his companions. His actions are thoroughly controlled by the sheer strength of this outsider. Its power is overwhelming and in its wake he is helpless.

The power however has the taste of familiarity, and its wild madness is like a beacon to a long lost memory. Anamis is pulled from the present to relive the damnation of his past.

________________________________________________________


Les kneels before Anamis blood hemorrhaging from a wound that looks fatal. “Damnit Anamis, it didn’t have to be this way, you could have just given us the conduit and no one would have had to die. Tell me brother, is that artifact really worth so much to you?”

Anamis looks a Les and sighs. “Sorry friend, you chose your path. He is mine and only I shall have his power.” Anamis steps beside Les, bringing his blade beside the elder mercenary’s throat. “There is no turning back now.” Anamis wrenches his knife deep into Les’s throat, opening his veins and letting his life’s blood spill forth.

Les’s blood runs thick over the intricately carved symbols circling Anamis. The runes begin to glow a deep red as they absorb the old man’s blood. With the last sacrifice completed the requirements for the binding ritual were fulfilled. The land itself seemed to scream as the binding began. Anamis’s focus merged with the eye of Deoric in a black and green union. The powers flashed brightly as the artifact seared its brand into the right palm of Anamis. Tendrils of life essence followed this union, as they were pulled from the land itself to act as mortar and brick for the connection with the devil Biblios. The dead Redblade Mercs unwillingly offered up their souls to complete the bridge to the devils power.

In those brief moments after the finality of the ritual, Anamis remembers feeling a pang of remorse. He knew there was no going back after this. After willingly defiling the land and sacrificing his brothers he would become an outcast. His ambition had driven him into the arms of the devil, and the power he had gained would be a constant reminder of his moral failures.
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To Awaken in the Dark
Kalinth looked over the slain beast that resides in the corner of the room, it's many eye stalks still and it's menacing aura no longer present. After a momentary discussion they had all agreed to take a much needed rest and recover from the ordeal. Kalinth watched Mala move to the side of the room and slump down, Theoak quietly hanging off her in a makeshift sling. He moved over to inspect the small halfling, noting that the ointment they had used on him had seemingly run its course and hoped he would recover from the after effects of its use with simple rest. He looks up to Mala after his examinations only to realize that sleep had claimed the goliath. With a simple sigh Kalinth sat down beside the goliath and slowly let fatigue drag him into a restful oblivion.
-----
Solaris woke with a sudden start to darkness. After a moment's panic he channeled a small amount of energy into his arms, relieved to see them light up with a ghostly glow and prove he wasn't blind. He was about to call out when he sudden felt a large hand suddenly grab his shoulder. Panic again surged through Solaris's body as he readied to defend himself only for a gruff voice to speak out, "Be at peace, You are safe." Solaris recognized Mala's voice instantly and grew still. Solaris looked over towards the giant and simply asked, "Where are we, what has happened?" Despite being unable to see the goliath, Solaris felt a slight bit of envy in Mala's tone as she began to fill Solaris in on what had happened, knowing Solaris had been spared from directly experiencing the problems they'd faced till now.
Session: Session 25 - Sunday, Mar 03 2013 from 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM
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Epic!
Sand. Why does it always have to be sand?
I only like a few things, so by default, I suppose that means I dislike a lot of things. Rapidly, raising on the second list is things that mess with my head. Frankly, I have enough going on in there already without some freaky...Beholder(Great, now I remember what those things are called!) messing around in there. Seeing that Anamis is still among the living must mean that I was able to mostly stave off the creatures powers. Some of my other companions were not so lucky. My accursed gifts seem to have been our savior this day, as until I was able to dominate the beast, things were looking quite dire.

I have always had an aversion to tombs, and this one is no exception. They remind me of things I actively work to forget and there is just no way around it. This one in particular has been exhausting, both physically and mentally. All things considered though, I am holding up pretty well. My...friends(?) either are more willing to trust me, or are better at hiding their distaste of me then I gave them credit for.

I must have awoke with the loud gasp for air that signifies I had been having a nightmare, (Being trapped and buried alive for all eternity in that accursed sand.) as Pak'cha sends a quick motion for silence, and gestures towards the others, still dozing.

Pak'cha speaks in soft tones, his common is better then usual. "I understand that you missed a chance to understand more about your... kind?" Pak'cha's head tilts slightly, and stares at me for a moment. "I know what it's like to be...separated from your kind. It doesn't matter what you were. It only matters what you are."

"Says the guy who is constantly trying to push people into the mold of what he thinks a good clutch should be like," Sanguine snaps. Sighing she goes silent for long enough for Pak'cha to wonder is she had gone back to sleep. The stillness is finally broken with Sanguine's soft voice, "Sorry, that's not fair." Sanguine gives a sad smile to Pak'cha, even though it is lost to him in the darkness of the room, "I think I understand what you are trying to get at Pak, but it's not the same. For you, even though you are different then most Kreen, you know you are different because you have something to compare yourself to. For me, I just don't know. Maybe, somewhere out there, there are more of...whatever I am. If those little dioramas depict the birth of my people, then it doesn't look very pleasent. And even then, I was born and raised in Kalinday. I was human, I am sure of it. I remember living there...at least I am pretty sure. I just don't know. My memories from that time are...a bit gray..." Sanguine's fingers trace the lines of the golden mask in her pocket, as she gets lost in the memories of a time long since dead.
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Epic!
Chapter 7: The Eye of the....Nope, too easy



Yep, and it was awesome.
Session: Session 25 - Sunday, Mar 03 2013 from 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM
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A tormented Kreen
Pak'cha moves amongst his friends, before he takes his rest. He mentally berates himself as he gently goes over every wound they carry. He recalls the traps he set off, and the things that were set into motion because of himself. He adds each wound to his mental debt, his mandibles clicking almost silently as he binds their wounds, or changes their bandages.


If you had a strong leader, then none of you would have been harmed. You need to break them, and bind them to the clutch, as you are. They must be made to see the wisdom in obeying.

They are not Kreen, and so they are not bound in the same manner. We have discussed this. They will break before the learn to bend.

If they cannot bend, then they are unworthy of a clutch, and unworthy of the life you allow them. They should be broken. YOU Should break them.

The devil, would break easily. He wouldn't ever see you coming. Likely you could just stop saving him, as well. His...magics are strong, but they can be planned for.

And the pale human, with two minds.. He wouldn't know he was dead until his other mind told him. But his other mind seems keen enough, and he is the closest to a kreen that there is in this pitiful attempt at a clutch.

The thing that looks like a girl, she would be difficult... But it is possible. Her abilities to heal would mean that in order to beat her, she must be utterly destroyed. Like the other one, they spoke of. Removing her head. And the resy of her limbs. Burning them until nothing is left but ash..

The large dark human, wouldn't see you until it was too late. His fighting style is no match for yours. he wouldn't know he was right were you wanted him, until it was far to late for him. His...endurance may prove troublesome, but only for a few moments.

The drawf is difficult to plan for. There are times when he seems unstoppable, and other times, that he seems ineffective at anything. Swiftness, and fury will do to quell him. He is as fearsome as any of the others, though I doubt he would stand long against the fury of a Kreen.

The halfing would be the easiest to kill. Such small prey, and that would show the little fool why it isn't wise to trifle with a Kreen.


I will not harm my clutch mates. It's true that they are not Kreen, but they offer a unique perspective. They do things differently from the Kreen, but that doesn't mean they do things poorly. Be silent, Bug. Your anger is noted, but for now it is not needed, or wanted.


**********************************

Pak'cha sits next to Sanguine, waiting for her to rise. He meditates until she does, focusing on his control. When she stirs, he quiets her with a motion, and gestures towards the others, still dozing. He speaks in soft tones, his common better then usual. "I understand that you missed a chance to understand more about your... kind?" Pak'cha's head tilts slightly, and stares at her for a moment. "I know what it's like to be...seperated from your kind. It doesn't matter what you were. It only matters what you are."
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Epic!
Embracing Darkness 2
"Enjoying the serenity of this environment Anamis?" The words are spoken smoothly, with only a hint of arrogance in its tone.

Anamis turns slowly locking eyes with the devil Biblios.

“I would be foolish to think this would be an afterlife for one such as myself, but you are here aren’t you. Are you tired of me stealing your power devil? have come for revenge?

Biblios merely chuckles before speaking. “This is not your death Anamis, only an illusion I have made. You have been unconscious for some time, and your thoughts have been wondering. Your mind has been like an open book, a book that I do admit to enjoy reading. So this environment, this Façade is simply your goals in physical form. Your imagination could not manifest it, so I merely helped you out. Consider this a gift Anamis, one amongst friends. “

"You see Anamis, I saved you. Right now you lay unconscious in the bottom of a cave that is slowly losing its breathable oxygen. You would have likely died fighting top side, so I simply helped the already weakened temple floor crumble beneath you. I could not direct your companions fall, but I could help guide yours. Plainly put I like to protect my investments."

Anamis stares past Biblios, his thoughts not entirely grasping the situation at hand. He feels the cool grass beneath his feet, and the smell of fresh earth lingering heavily in the air. The environment is euphoric and incomparable to anything he has seen before.

"You are distracted and that is reasonable, but you must understand this land Anamis illustrates the past, a place that once was and that may never be again. Your hopes and dreams are but a memory, and reality is a nightmare even better than death.”

Biblios Pauses for a moment, a smile spreading across his thin face. “I have a confession to make Anamis. Part of the reason you’re still alive is my simple fascination with you mortals. You creatures amaze me, the things you are willing to do to achieve your goals are nearly as ambitions as us devils. Take you for example, the only reason you have my power is though defiling magic. You corrupted the land and sacrificed the only people you ever considered family to steal my essence. I still remember their screams friend, it was like a chorus!!

Biblios takes a moment to compose himself before continuing. “My whole point Anamis is that we work well together. I can make this vision of yours a reality, but it will require much from you. Nothing is ever free, and there is sacrifice in everything we do. The path you walk will not be easy, but I will be there to guide you. Walk with me friend, and together we can make this nightmare slowly disappear.


Anamis wakes coughing feeling the air become thiner and more toxic. He slowly gains his compusre and fumbles to light torch. It is pitch black and he can hear sounds fast approaching
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Epic × 2!
Of silt, blood and time.
Crusher wipes the ichor from the iron blade and moves to hand it back to Sanguine, "Here's your blade back."

Sanguine recoils as if Crusher is handing her a bouquet of snakes, "I want nothing to do with that traitorous thing!" Sanguine slaps the offered blade to the ground before stalking off, thoughts deep and dark, "Who would want the blade that killed someone who called them sister?! Damn it, have some fucking common sense Crusher!"

***

Sanguine wraps her misery and self pity around her, like she wraps her heavy robes around her to body. In her dour mood, she elects to avoid dealing with the god-creature, who tried to kill her, and stays back in the hall with Solaris. Solaris walks over to Sanguine and eyes to the ground, is unable to meet her gaze, as he speaks softly it becomes apparent that it is not Solaris who is in control, "We've not spoken before Sanguine... You and I, but please know, I understand the pain you must be feeling. I know not what I am and it has only been through blind luck that I know what I was... or at least partly. Whether you know it or not you do have a true ally in me."

Sanguine's eyes narrow and glow, as her nostrils flare, "You are the spirit that inhabits his body then? I have heard your voice, seen your marks upon his body, and above all, smelt your presence. Solaris smells of hard work, worry and battle. You smell of sadness, scars, and...lightning." Sanguine eyes Solaris' body up and down again, eyes lingering on the glowing blue marks, "You have never sought to harm me, though you have ignored me before. What is it that you want from me? Why do you reach out to me now?"

Emotion rolls off Solaris as thick and heavy as the poison air of the tomb. Already feeling as if she is drowning in darkness, Sanguine seems to not even take note of it, while Malla seems to be hit hardest and collapses to the floor, "I'm so sorry, mother...I wasn't strong enough..."

Glancing over at Malla, Sanguine sees her look at Solaris in anger, then regret. "Gwen, I truly did not mean to hurt you. I am burdened by my failures in leadership. I do not ask for your forgiveness, as I have done nothing to warrant it. But I promise you two things. First, we will get out of this pit alive. And second, I will help you discover what you are and where you come from."

"Malla, I know you didn't do it to hurt me, but to protect everyone. As much as it hurts me, I wont lie, if the situation were reversed with anyone here I would have done the same thing. Perhaps, you've learned a thing or two more from me then you will admit," Sanguine takes the kneeling Malla, and holds her to her chest, their heights almost matching in this position.

Blood-red streaks line Sangiune's cheeks as she continues, "I know I haven't really lost more than anyone here, and I know I'm selfish, but I can't help it. Malla, I've been wandering this plane and the next for over a century. I'm old Malla, and sometimes I just get so tired. Tired, like I want to lie down in the dust and just become one with it."

Sanguine has to stop and compose herself before continuing, "But then anytime I am that close, the other part of me is there. Just a foolish little girl almost missing her own birthday party over some stupid argument. I don't think we even got to celebrate before..." Sanguine shakes her head as if trying to push back that memory. "I didn't know anything about the world, or people, or life back then. I still don't. As old and wise as I am, on the inside I'm just that little girl and...and she, no, I am scared. So scared. This whole world frightens me. The things, I've seen. The things I've done. All of it."

A small, sad smile plays across Sanguine's face, "I'm not some hero. I'm not really strong, or brave, or smart, or any of the things that you and the others are. I am just too scared to stop. If I stop everything will catch up to me, so I keep running. Day and night. Day after day. Year after year. If I slow down the avalanche of silt and blood and time will bury me. That's why I have to find out why. Why did I become this monster?! Why am I still alive?! My heart aches...there is this void that wont fill, and answering those questions...even if it doesn't mend my heart, then maybe I can finally rest..."

Malla and Sanguine cry in each other's arms, "But you, Hargo, and our friends, both here and already gone, you are what keeps that heart from disappearing completely. Without you, I'd be no better then Tloques-Popolocas or a tembo, or any of those other cursed beasts. Today, I lost a chance to get a clue, but at the same time you kept our family safe from my obsession. There will be other opportunities for me to learn about myself. Besides, the one thing I do have enough of is time," Sanguine smiles, hugs Malla tightly again and stands up wiping the bloody-tears from her face.

"I'm going to hold you to those promises though, Malla!"
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Epic!
Chapter 7: Oooh That Smell, Can't You Smell That Smell?
The world has stopped tumbling. The air roils with dust kicked up from the collapse of the earth; it is humid and smells putrid, choking the heroes; save Harbek, who was used to the poisons of the deep; and Sanguine, who was, well, too dead to notice...

The heroes survived the fall only to find themselves trapped in some ancient underground building. Writing on the walls, and strange sculptures marked this as some ancient shrine or temple to long-forgotten deities. That was of little interest, however, as the air was literally killing the party, forcing them to act quickly and find an exit.

In their Search for an exit, the party encountered a strange primal spirit in the form of a giant hermit crab. It called itself Kalka-Kylla, and was once a god to the primitive peoples above ground. Kalka-Kylla attempted to defend its prison against the intruders, but was severely outmatched. In fact, it would have been killed were it not for Harbek wishing to spare its life. Solaris (or was it Kalinth) talked the beast down, and the heroes attempted to communicate and discern a way out.

There's a sex joke here somewhere...


Kalka-Kylla advised they go through the eastern door, though it was unaware that a cave-in had blocked the exit completely. While determining their next course of action, Theoak noticed a stone that was out of place and Malla forced it aside. Their hopes of another exit was crushed when Pak'Cha triggered a gas trap that left most of the heroes unconscious and awoke a vampire from her repose.

Anyone got any silver? I heard vampires are vulnerable to silver...


The creature called herself Tloques-Popolocas, and was eager to enjoy a meal after centuries of sleep. She was surprised to see another vampire with the party, and offered to share in the food if Sanguine aided her. Unfortunately for Tloques-Popolocas, Sanguine wasn't hungry, and the still-conscious heroes made short work of the vampire. Sanguine begged the party spare its life, as she had never encountered another of her kind. Malla and Solaris would hear none of that, however, and ordered Crusher to sever its head.

Solaris then used an unguent on Theoak to revive him, hoping the Halfling knew of a way to wake the others. Unfortunately, the Halfling was planning on duplicating the very same unguent for that very purpose. They were running out of time. Pak'Cha appeared to be seeping whatever thri-kreen had as blood from all over his chitinous body.

Crusher and Solaris hauled their unconscious comrades back to the chamber containing Kalka-Kylla and implored it to help them. The creature knew of one way to aid the heroes and performed a ritual at their behest. After a few minutes, Harbek and Pak'Cha were back on their feet, only to witness Kalka-Kylla expend the last of its primal essence and begin to fade and die.

Theoak took little notice of this turn of events as he was busy scribbling strange symbols in the mud while asking some bones for the way out. Once he was finished the Halfling pointed to a mud-filled doorway and the heroes started digging. As the heroes entered the next chamber they heard a strange alluring sound. Much to their dismay, some creature was attempting to wrest control of their thoughts!
Session: Session 24 - Sunday, Feb 24 2013 from 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM
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Death and Darkness
Kalinth walked through what he could only assume was a tomb with his party and fought an increasing feeling of unease as they pressed deeper and the walls seemed to press in. Images flashed through his mind, images he couldn't place properly time wise in the fragments of his life, images of another dark, dank and slick area that at his core he knew held only death. Extended control of Solaris's body, while useful in resisting the harmful environment, was starting to wear at Kalinth slightly; a subtle wrongness that was felt more and more as they pressed on and forced Kalinth into withdrawing more and more from full control and become more of a remote operator to keep himself operating Solaris's body. I hope Solaris's mind returns sooner rather than later...

---------------------------------------

Kalinth looked over the canopic jar he held in his hands, trying hard to steady Solaris's hands as he looked at the unconscious forms of Harbek, Theoak and Pak'Cha. They had all fallen victim to a trap in the room, set off by an irritable Pak'Cha not getting to keep the very jar Kalinth held now held in his hands. Ironic that the jar he so wanted to have for no reason other than 'having it' holds the only means to revive him at this moment. Kalinth briefly looked up towards the nearby hallway as waves of muted anger and frustration came from it, knowing them to be from Sanguine and hoping that Mala was being successful in calming their comrade after the fight they had just been through.

It had ended almost as quickly as it began, after Pak'Cha's unwitting mistake of setting off a gas trap, a trap that likely would've claimed Solaris's body were it not for the fact Kalinth literally stopped it from breathing for several seconds after realizing what had occurred. Mala and Crusher fortunately were either far enough away from the gas to not be affected or were able to control their own breathing enough to avoid inhaling enough to be effective while Sanguine was as unflappable about breathing as ever. Would that I could stop Solaris's breathing permanently without killing us, would be most useful down in this hell. It was mere moments later that a crashing noise was heard and they were set upon by a new danger.

Kalinth had found himself suddenly aware of a being radiating a murderous hunger as Sanguine spoke out to something in the room beyond the doorway they were standing in. After hearing this new being refer to Sanguine as a sister and the rest of them as food Mala had rushed in to assault the threat, only to literally be stopped in her tracks by some mental ability of the threat. Kalinth and Crusher both quickly moved to help Mala only for Crusher to be attacked by the.... creature.

Looking at the hallway still, Kalinth thought of what it was they had fought. A bestial creature that seemed to have the same abilities and to a lesser extent appearance of Sanguine but who's mind was lost to the very hunger he had felt radiating from it. He had also felt the pleading desperation from Sanguine though when she asked that they not kill the creature in the hopes that she might learn more about herself from it, a desire he wholly understood. Kalinth surprisingly found himself to be the one to strike the blow that would determine life or death for the creature and after a moments introspection he found he could not bring himself to end the creature, knowing full well what it would mean to Sanguine and instead incapacitated it with a powerful psionic blow.

Kalinth's memories were interrupted by Crusher suddenly speaking, "We revive the small one... He recognized the contents of that jar for what they were, Perhaps he could make more." Kalinth looked to Crusher for a moment before nodding and spreading the contents of the jar upon the diminutive naturalist. Minutes later Theoak was standing and conscious and quite capable of telling Crusher and Kalinth he could not replicate the jar's contents, he did however suggest that a primal entity they had recently encountered might be of help. Upon hearing this Kalinth growled slightly and grabbed Pak'Cha and began hauling the bug in the direction they needed to go, cursing the bug in draconic multiple times.

As he drug the Thri-Kreen he remembered the final part of what happened to the creature they had knocked out. Mala and the reality of their situation quickly broke down any hopes at a meaningful chance to interrogate the creature with the hazardous atmosphere bearing down on them all. Mala pushed to execute the unconscious creature so they would not have to watch their backs from here on despite Sanguine's continued pleading not to, the necessity of the act however soon became clear and Sanguine soon left the room. It took one stroke to sever the beasts head, despite that however it let out a death knell that he knew was heard by Sanguine and more than a fair level of guilt filled him.

------------------------------

Kalinth stood in the hallway with Sanguine listening to Theoak beseech the primal entity for its help in restoring Harbek and Pak'Cha. He walked over to her and looked to the ground, unable to meet her gaze, and spoke softly, "We've not spoken before Sanguine... You and I, but please know I understand the pain you must be feeling. I know not what I am and it has only been through blind luck that I know what I was... or at least partly. Whether you know it or not you do have a true ally in me."
Session: Session 24 - Sunday, Feb 24 2013 from 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM
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Epic!
Just...Wonderful
We come to this isle. We are chased by crazy fleshlings. heavily armed, and alot of them, as well. Just...wonderful. Then we fall down a hole into some terrible den of... stinking danger. We fight a rock. A talking ROCK. We don't do so well. It manages to drag poor Sanguine under the...mud(?) and hold her there. She is under the surface for far longer then any of the rest of us could have survived. The stone keeps talking, and Harbek discusses with it. As if we hadn't had enough of that as it was...

The air down here is terrible. Hard for me to breathe. Hard to focus to, at times. The ground is all...slick. It's so wet. I don't like it. And the deeper that we go, the colder it gets. The cold isn't terrible, but I'm not used to it. So exhausted. We move through some hallways, and there is a jar. I want it. It smells good interesting, and it's wet. But Sanguine says to give it to the stupid Halfling. I really don't like him. I don't like any of this.


Giving the Halfling the jar, Pak'cha turns to the door... and starts to fiddle with the lock, eager to find a way out of here, and to give himself something to occupy his mind. He fiddles for a while, with Sanguine busily trying to instruct him on how to manage such primitive locks. A subtle hissing sound, and Pak'cha hits the ground, faintly hearing a heavier thud, as well as a smaller one. Just... wonderful.

**********************************

The tall heavy set bug slams into a human, blue psionc power flashing as they collide. His mentor snarls, and throws back his own attack, countering Pak'cha's attack. Cursing, Pak'cha attempts to parry his mentor's counter attack with little success. Landing heavily on his back, he rolls with the direction of the throw, and bounces back to his feet. Before he has time to settle his weight, and launch another attack, his mentor is once more upon him. Pak'cha once more hits the ground, the air rushing out of him as his mind sparks suddenly, as he is knocked out. A few moments pass, and he feels himself being sat upright. Water is pressed into his hands, and he takes a slow drink. "Stupid bug. Do not press so hard to attack when you know that you are at the disadvantage. You know better then to let your emotions rule you. Again. We will build on your natural endurance, or at least try to. You can never take half as much as you dish out. That is a major weakness for you. Long fights are not something you are made for. Short and brutal is your style."

Wilhand offers him a weathered hand, and gruffly pulls him to his feet. "Now... Again. This time, with more control!"


**********************************

Pak'cha awakens to the sight of the big talking stone moving one of it's...hands... over him. He tenses for a moment, until he senses, and then sees his clutch mates, all standing at ease around not only himself, but the big stone as well. His fists unclench for a moment, as he rises, and gruffly asks "What just happened?"

Ugh.. Difficult to breathe. So little air. It is terrible down here. I need to get out, into the air. Stupid halfling says that the way out is down the wetter path. What about the dryer one? Evidently there was something like Sanguine down there... but what could be like sanguine? She is one of a kind. Nothing is like her. She is like a Kreen without a clutch. Like I was. How that must ache.. I must talk to her about this, eventually.

We move down the wet pathway, and as we go down, it gets wetter, and smells even worse. It feels like I am burning inside. I wonder if dying hurts this much. Maybe I could ask Sanguine that as well. Would she even know? Malla shoves a block of stone out of the way, and there is a...beautiful sound. Kreen! The pain forgotten, I round the corner and see a sleek, light brown female. Her patterns are pretty, and coincide nicely with her frame. She is softly hissing, a haunting tune that melts away the pain. Just... Wonderful.
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Embracing darkness
His demonic limbs scramble to catch hold of the rock as large chunks break free from his grip. A large piece tears from his grasp and he is sent spiraling into the darkness. The last thing Anamis hears is a crunching sound as his head smashes into a rock.

Anamis awakes on a soft field of grass, the sun setting lazily over a hill. Clouds of different shapes and sizes can be seen in the distance, each one picking up bright vibrant colors highlighted by the falling sun. Anamis breathes in the fresh air and exhales slowly feeling a wave of euphoria rush over him.

He is so captivated by his environment he never notices the devil watching from the shadows.
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Interlude:
You're all lost. You never should have abandoned the skimmer and struck out into... what did Theoak call it, the marshes? A large group of savage warriors that inhabited the isle are hot on your trail. Far too many to fight and they have terrain advantage. Stumbling through a fen, you race toward higher ground ahead. Harbek and Crusher take up the rear, battling back the closest warriors. Theoak guides the rest up the hillside. Strangely, as you draw closer, it becomes apparent that the craggy hills are actually the ruins of an ancient ziggurat covered in creepers and carpeted with moss.

Pak'Cha thinks you can make a stand there.





What appears to be hundreds of warriors crash through the underbrush into the clearing. Crusher and Harbek have retreated up the hill and formed a perimeter around the party. The warriors rush up the hill, eyes wild with rage. Among them is some sort of witch. When he lays eyes upon you all, he throws his fetish into the sky, convulses wildly, then dramatically catches the implement and smashes it onto the ground...

...The ground begins to tremble, and you feel the earth give way. Anamis summons forth his demonic legs to grab ahold of the wall, but it too crumbles. You all fall and the world goes black.

A rain of small rocks and dust descends upon your heads, but you were lucky enough to have survived. There is no sign of the sky above...
Session: Session 24 - Sunday, Feb 24 2013 from 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM
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More human than human
Later...

Hour after hour the monotony of traveling in the hold of a sand skiff starts to grind at you. Harbek had settled into cleaning his weapons, taking the utmost care of them as he always did. "If he can find an axe that can handle all the power pent up in him...he will truly be a force of nature," Sanguine mused.

Harbek had just finished polishing the iron short sword when the reflection caught Sanguine's eye, "Did you even draw that Harbek?"

"Nope."

"But you polish it anyways? Every time?"

"Yup."

"Mind if I take a look at it?" Harbek just grunted as he moved on to his favorite blade. Turning the polished blade over in her hands, Sanguine stops suddenly and gasps (which is extremely unusual!). The blade has been cleaned and polished to a nearly mirror like level, and in the impromptu mirror Sanguine gets a good look at herself, something that has not happened in a good long while.

Healthy looking skin. Flushed cheeks.
Blue eyes. Not bloodshot.
Sandy blonde hair, curling just slightly.

"Harbek...I...I...look great! I look better then great, I look healthy!" Sanguine couldn't stop turning the blade this way and that, not even caring about the odd bleeding nick to her delicate (and flesh colored) hands. "Harbek, I'm beautiful!"

"Yeah, that was a tough fight. Didn't know if I was going to pull that one out..." Harbek replies automatically, not paying Sanguine the slightest attention.

Sanguine's mind races, thoughts warring with her excitement, "How is this possible? What changed? I haven't looked this good since I met Hargo, and stopped wandering..." Glancing over to make sure Harbek was still distracted, "Since you aren't using this, would you mind if I hold on to it Harbek?"

"When we get to this mine the first thing we are going to want to do is..." Sanguine takes that as a yes, and spends the afternoon memorized by her beautiful reflection.
Session: Session 23 - Sunday, Feb 17 2013 from 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Viewable by: Public
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Pushing On.
Fatigue. That was the only word to describe what was settling in on Solaris's body. The fight with the crystalline spiders had been... difficult and for the first time since that fateful night he met Kalinth he had been close to death. Only by Mala's timely intervention and the fact that the death knell of the spider 'queen' caused the swarms of the little beasties to disperse did he survive. He sat quietly in the hold of their sand skiff and felt the knitting of cracked ribs and reformation of torn muscles as Kalinth healed the wounds done to their body. "What are we doing here? Why do we keep going forward..." he muttered quietly to himself.

He retreated into his mind and found himself standing upon a dais above a lake of clear liquid and thought back to the night the Desert Shields had been destroyed, his memories clearly shown and reflected in the liquid's surface. He thought of going to the battle with his squad mates, of the defiler that had claimed so many that night and the feeling of retribution he had when he destroyed the vile creature. He thought of when his father, after learning of his 'fusing' with the then unnamed Kalinth, bade him leave what remained of the Desert Shields and follow through with the 'contract' he had with the entity that had saved his life, a contract that was all but fulfilled now. Fragments of the grief felt that night at the death of so many comrades and close friends surfaced within him resulting in disturbances within the pool, "We set out to find out what... who you are.... or at least were. To find out the reasons behind the attack on my people that destroyed what they were and what I was."

He thought of all that he had accomplished in the pursuit of these tasks, "In pursuit of such goals we have subdued a Silk Wyrm, fought a cylops, slain a tembo, brought down an Id Fiend, rescued an innocent from the hands of a corrupt praetor, brought to an end an attempt at opening a demonic gate and saved a legion fort in the process and even fought side by side with one of Balic's most famous gladiators, Crusher." Images of these events and more played out on the surface of the liquid and as he watched he felt the emotions from them surface as well. Repressed fear, rage, hatred and even the literal thrill of combat surged within him and the images within the liquid began to become more and more obscured until all that was left was a broiling sea of emotions, "I have done things that would have been held as little more than fanciful talk in my old life. I have experienced things beyond even the most seasoned of my former comrades. Why do I push forward knowing that likely there will be little more than pain to come, why press on when there will simply just be another obligation or another person who's thumb I shall fall under?" The sea of emotion below him was reaching a fevered pitch in its activity when suddenly a strong voice spoke beside him "Because Solaris, pushing on has its rewards."

Solaris looked beside him and saw Kalinth standing there, no longer a faceless entity but suddenly in the form of a white dray, Kalinth gestured at the sea below them and suddenly saw an image within it, "Brinna..." he spoke quietly. The sea below them suddenly began to calm and within moments was as still as it had been when he first looked upon it. Kalinth placed a hand upon Solaris's shoulder, "It was by pushing on Solaris that you first met her and your continued pushing on let you meet with her again." Kalinth then suddenly cocked a toothy grin, "Speaking of that second meeting, If I didn't know better I'd say the Shields had some excellent instructors in 'unarmed' combat." Solaris laughed lightly at the joke, "They certainly had a few, you'd be amazed at how many would be 'students' there were." Kalinth continued to smile and looked down into the pool, "Life is about chances Solaris, we have few certainties except that it will be hard and if we keep at it we may find rewards within it. I don't know about you but I'd rather see you continue onwards and have a chance at meeting Brinna again for some additional sparring, than sit here and mope around."

Solaris opened his eyes and looked out into the hold of the skimmer and listened momentarily to the creaking as it travelled. He looked down and realized his hand had come up and was holding the small memento that hung around his neck from Brinna and a smile slowly came to his face.
Session: Session 23 - Sunday, Feb 17 2013 from 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Viewable by: Public
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Epic!
Power Overwhelming
The skimmer continued it's trek through the treacherous terrain. Everyone had returned to their posts, except those lost in the heat of battle. There was a grim look upon the faces of the other dwarves. Harbek's too.

"Later we'll do a toast to our fallen friends! They will not be forgotten. I killed that horrendous creature, it never should have come out of the silt. None of them should have shown their many eyes. NOT to ME!" Harbek's personal victory in battle didn't seem to have the same savory sensation of glory, as it did for the others.

The boat jostled. Then shook hard, before creaking loudly and, coming to a halt. The sides of the hull bent inward, as the noise grew louder. Harbek heard Malla shout down, "GIVE IT ALL YOU GOT!" Harbek's veins bulged as he planted his feet and pushed on the axle. The skimmer lurched and landed hard onto some rocks. The walls split. Silt began pouring in.

Harbek looked around, to find himself alone. Neither Crusher, nor the two other dwarves were down below with him as usual. Harbek began to climb out, as a burst of silt slammed him down. It took all he had to raise himself up and out of the mess. Looking up to see if anyone was waiting for him, he saw his companions. Sanguine, Solaris, and Pak'Cha all turned away, shaking their heads. Solaris glanced back, "Why should I, when he wouldn't for me?" Theeoak lowered a rope to help Harbek up, while Crusher grabbed his shoulder. Crusher gave Harbek an angry look, "C'mon Harbek, this is no time to nap!!"

"I... I wasn't napping, what?! Where were you down there?! I was the ONLY ONE who was trying!!! WHERE WERE YOU?!?! HUH?! It was MY strength that got us out of that mess!" Harbek was on top of the skimmer, shouting, raising his arms up as if it were the games in Balic again. Yet it wasn't, he was sinking slowly into the silt, as his friends stood on the rocky shore watching. Theeoak, gave him a concerned look "I tried..." Crusher called out again, "C'mon Harbek!!
GET UP!!"

Harbek was startled as he woke up on the floor of the skimmer. Crusher, now with his foot on Harbek's shoulder, "This is no time to nap. Help us out here!" Dain was on the axle by himself. Sweat rolled off of Harbek's head, wiping his brow he wondered if it was like this in those jungles he heard about from Theeoak. The halfling stared down at Harbek, with a concerned look on his face, then dropped the flap and walked away.

Harbek stood up and returned to his post, in silence, lacking the usual confident smile.
Session: Session 23 - Sunday, Feb 17 2013 from 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Viewable by: Public
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Tags: Defiling
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