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Pale and Felina: The Road to Understanding
Co-written by Clint and Amanda

Felina's Thoughts
Pale's Thoughts


Felina finishes putting on the last of her armor. Never in a million years would I have dreamed that I'd be doing this. This morning I'm preparing to spar with a man I want nothing to do with for the sake of another man. A musician fighting for the sake of a warrior... how'd that happen? She looks over at Agnor still sleeping in her bed. You deserve better than this... better than me. She sits down on the edge of her bed and watches him sleep for a while. He knows I can never love him... at least I hope he knows. It's not that I haven't tried. In the heat of passion... in the quiet moments alone here in my room... I tried to summon some love into my heart. Nothing came. She sighs. He is my friend though, and I promised to guard him. This is the only way I know how. I have to convince Pale to help him, and to do that, I'm going to have to convince Pale that I'm serious about getting stronger. Agnor's running dangerously low on medicine, and I can't afford to run away from this now. I can't fail him again. Her mind drifts back to the day before.
………

Facing Pale I hear him start to pray again, and before I can react, my world goes silent. How dare he. I run at him rapier raised, rage giving strength to my strike. He blocks it effortlessly. I'm too angry to be accurate. He turns his face away from me and begins speaking. I look to see Cervil. They're talking, but I can't tell what's being said. Angry at being dismissed so easily, I snap my fingers at Pale to get his attention, and he looks to growl at my interruption. I motion at my ears. I want my hearing back! Pale speaks some words and suddenly I can hear again. Fury fills me, "Do you really think I'm deaf?! Do you really think I don't hear you?! That I don’t take this seriously?! I come out here to spar, to get stronger, and all you want to do is incapacitate me! How am I supposed to get stronger if you keep doing this?! What do you want from me?!"

"You need to understand that what comes will take away everything you love. Your freedom, your sanity, your body, your soul! You don't understand!" You are lucky it is me incapacitating you! Go ahead and think I am a monster doing this to you if you must, but this is the only way I know how to make you see!

"I'm trying to understand! I'm out here sparring with you! Is that not enough?!" It is not enough, and it may never be, but we must do everything in our power whether it seems hopeless or not.

"You need to know what it feels like to lose everything you hold dear."And learn to fight anyway, and if we fall, then maybe those that come after us will not have to endure this, Pharasma willing!

"I already know what that feels like!!! Don't you dare stand there and try to lecture me on loss!"

Something changed in Pale's expression then. I can’t think myself the only one who has suffered. I must not play the victim, or I am surely bound to fall. This is not the way! All I will do is drive them away, and alone I can do nothing. Surely I should have realized this by now. I have seen anger and bitterness destroy before, and it is not the way He went to his knees in front of me, "I apologize if I have over stepped my bounds. I only wanted to impress upon you the seriousness of the situation. There's just no way for you to understand what's coming."

Barely containing my anger, I bend down and grasp him by both arms and make him stand back up to face me. "I don't know if I can understand, but I promise you I'm trying. I just wish you would believe me!" As she grips my arms roughly, I am somehow angered, but isn’t this what I wanted? As I strived to do, I have enraged her, but I see now that it only served to turn us upon one other. We will have enough enemies without fighting among ourselves. Pale shoves my hands away. It's only then I realize how hard I'd been gripping him. I back away a step. "Let's try this again tomorrow only don't deafen me then."

"Shall I blind you instead?" Better it be done by magic that can be cured, than having some ravenous ghoul clawing at your eyes.

"Is that a joke?"

"No, I'm simply trying to be clear."

A shiver runs down my spine. "No, I'd prefer that you don't do that." At least I asked, but others will not be so kind I sheathe my rapier, the shaking of my hands making it difficult, and I walk out of the courtyard.

As I round the stone wall, I find myself alone, and I slump against the wall for support. All my adrenaline is gone, and I'm left feeling hollow and shaken. Tears blur my vision. Sadness fills the empty space left behind by the anger. I slide down the wall to the ground where I sit and weep. So much anger, so much loss, so much failure. And I'm helpless against it all. Like a leaf torn from it's safe bower and blown haphazardly into the river to be tossed about by the rushing current. I don't know how long I stayed there. I eventually got up and walked back home to the guild hall, defeated.
………

She shakes the memory from her mind. She looks over at Agnor again and rises. I can't afford to be angry or sad or afraid. I have to do this. I'll be back, Agnor. I won't fail you again.

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

Felina stands staring at Pale’s room door. She’s been standing there a couple of minutes already just trying to make herself knock. Agnor’s depending on me. Setting her determination and taking a deep breath, she finally knocks.

Breaking himself from his quiet contemplation, Pale rises and answers the door. Hmmmm, who is at my door?

Felina stands there dressed once again in her armor. "You ready to spar again?"

"If you want to continue, then I am ready as well" Interesting. She has returned already. Perhaps she is beginning to take this seriously after all. Pale is already wearing his armor and pickups up his shield and morningstar from a nearby table. "So, are you still angry at my previous actions?" We might as well bring this out now before it is allowed to fester.

Felina raises an eyebrow, "You give a damn?"

"Of course..." Pale sighs and places his shield and morningstar next to the doorway. I suppose I do seem selfish in their eyes. In a way, I suppose I am, but I cannot forget what I have seen, though perhaps my selfishness lies in that I wish I could. Although it may be that I want others to suffer in sharing what I have seen rather than simply making them understand. Maybe I am deluding myself. I am not the hand of Pharasma here in this mortal world, I am simply a servant. My actions have hardly been representative of such. I am succumbing to my own pride. "Despite what everyone may think, I do have a heart beating within this chest. Otherwise I might as well be one of the unliving creatures I have devoted myself to destroying." With a highly formal bow and sweep of his arm, he motions for Felina to enter his room. Perhaps she will see this as a gesture of respect. "If you would hear me out, I have much to explain to you that perhaps I should have long ago." I cannot do this alone, and down my current path lies only failure. That is unacceptable.

Felina pauses for a moment, somewhat taken aback. She looks at him searchingly. He seems sincere... After a moment she walks through the door and into the room. At least she is willing to hear me out. Pharasma, I ask only that I speak true.

He motions for her to have a seat at his table and opening a nearby cabinet, he retrieves a small bag. "Would you care for some tea? Hopefully, I won't make it too bitter." I do not forget an act of kindness. In this world, it is a rare occurrence.

Felina's eyes widen at the sight of the Sallamir tea that she gave to Pale a few weeks ago, and she stands back up. "Perhaps I should do that... That particular tea takes a very practiced hand to keep the bitterness out." She blushes a bit. Strange, she hardly seems the type to be embarrassed so easily. "...I didn't get around to telling you about that..." I feel ashamed now... I was angry then too. I had gone to make amends after our fight the night of the horse show. I apologized. He didn’t. So instead of brewing him the Sallamir tea, I handed it to him knowing he’d never be able to get the bitterness out. A veiled slight that he’s mistaken for kindness.

"The old fools at the temple made it far too bitter. They always seemed to think it should be that way, but this is neither here nor there" To them, medicine should always be bitter to swallow. I believe they see anything akin to even a slight enjoyment as a sin. Old fools. He pulls another sealed container from the cabinet and sets it down in front of Felina. "I know I cannot take back what I did to you, but please understand I did not do it lightly, but this is a 'peace offering' I guess you could say. Though I was planning on giving it to you in the future regardless of the recent series of events. I stayed up quite late making sure I created a large reserve of it. It is a large supply of Agnor's medicine. Well, actually it is a better revision of his medicine that should be far more effective." Hopefully, she will not think of it as a bribe. I can no better read her face than I can read any of the elven stories she might sing. He takes the seat across from her and slumps a bit. Why am I so very tired so suddenly?

Felina's jaw drops open, "...How did you know? I mean... I was hoping to come here and have to convince you to help me, but you already knew... Pale... I don't know what to say..." The smell of the compounds used in its making are unmistakable, and for a powerful combatant in the arena, he lacked a certain confidence one might expect. The right questions from the right people confirmed my suspicions. She looks up at him. "Thank you."

"You're welcome" He lifts his head up and stares deep into her eyes, the vivid blue glinting in the light of the continual flame that fills the room. So blue… like cobalt glass. How is it that I only just noticed that? If you are to be strong enough, you must face your own fears. You must open yourself up, or you will die alone. Your death will be meaningless if your life has been as well. "I just want you to understand how difficult what I am about to say you really is. I have buried my emotions deep down inside since the night I left my home. I felt it was the only way I could maintain my sanity and survive the madness that might one day inflict me as it had inflicted my father. True, it was a tremendous trauma that drew his to the surface, but I fear it was always there, lying dormant at the very least. The 'Ritual of Fates' was far more taxing than I had imagined it would be despite everything I had ever heard or seen of it. I thought I was strong from all those years of relying on myself, but what I saw tore that down as if it was some poor family's thatched hut. I once again felt as if I was that completely vulnerable child with no one there to protect me. I know how that feels. The notion that everything I thought I knew was simply the misconceptions of a foolish mortal mind that was nothing more than a grain of sand among infinity." Simply a servant of the Goddess, but I still have my part.

Sweat has begun to form on his face among a pain wracked expression. I know that expression... have seen it in the mirror. What happened to him? Claws tearing my flesh apart…tearing me apart. The stench of death far denied…its unnatural movements. I cannot stop it. Why is this happening? I want to forget, but I cannot. I will not! "Even talking of it seems to draw me back to that moment, but I must use it to become stronger. It is about so much more than me. I realize that all the horrors that I have seen in my life have been leading up to a crossroads. For those who have not seen what I have, I know it must seem as if I am going mad, but the horrors that will bear down upon us will drive us mad before they tear us apart if we are not prepared to meet them. I thought what I needed to do was show you the possible horror that could happen from our future, but I realized that was not the right thing to do. I realized that I was ignoring the greatest part of my visions. That our futures are tied together because I need them to be. He needs us? The answer does not lie within a thin shell of detachment, nor in the flames of anger. Our strength must be born of our ties to one another. No, he doesn't need us... We need each other. The undead are abominations because they are the antithesis of life. Death is not the end of life, it is the natural transition into the next part of our mortal journeys. Undeath tears away all that we are and makes us nothing more that destroyers of life. We must hold strong to each other if we are to stand against the tide of the unnatural that will wash over this city." Pale stops abruptly and looks down at his hands, which are wringing together. "I am sorry. I don't know what came over me, but that is all I have to say I suppose." Maybe I was the one who did not understand. Maybe I need them to show me what I could never see on my own.

Felina's expression softens. So that’s been it all along… He’s angry and impatient because… he’s scared. Just like me. She reaches across the table to take hold of his hands. Strange… "Pale... it's ok. We'll get through this thing together. You know... you're not alone now. You have friends. Cervil, Aleth, ... me." Friends? Is that really possible for someone as me? She looks into his eyes, "Pharasma wouldn't have given you that vision if all was already lost. She believes in us. Now we have to work on believing in us... and getting stronger. But when we can't work on getting stronger you know what that leaves?"

He looks down at her hands and says softly, "What does that leave?" Show me the way, my goddess.

"Life." She says it softly as if it is a holy word. Pharasma, she brings us into this world as she takes us away from it. I am beginning to understand, and for this I am truly grateful.

"I must always remember that. Life is what gives death meaning. That is one of the most holy of tenets, and you have reminded me of that. You have helped me understand much Felina, and I thank you for that." In a moment, his face changes back to its original calm state, and he pushes back his chair. "Shall we resume our sparring now? We must help each other grow strong." I will grow strong. With each other’s help, we will become as strong as we possibly can.

Felina looks up and smiles and stands up. "Yes, let's go... my friend."

The gypsy woman's words came again to her mind. 'A man dressed in black with white hair... his fate is undeniably entangled with your own. His presence will be a positive force in your future... Keep him close.'
I will.

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Pointer-left Madlenersandstorm10_thumb

Grit
Posted in ShadowSEA
Getting Fixed
I nearly killed myself this job.

Granted, I didn't have much choice. The people I'm working with opened fire on the target's location before we could even get a good layout and fix on the security. Bullets, explosions, spells - all thrown around like candy off a parade float.

I tried to do some clever shit - throwing around grenades and generators with spells, but that's all retarded. You can't overthink in a fight, you need to go with what you know.

I just dug deep down inside myself and threw a sandstorm at the fuckers. I went way beyond my own abilities - the last thing I remember seeing before passing out was an orc's skull being sandblasted down to the clean, shining bone.

I woke up in Chrys's car, blood pouring out of me from holes I didn't even know I had. Chrys and Faust managed to keep me from dyin' right there, but I was messed up bad, omae. The memories come and go in flashes, but I'm pretty sure I took a shot at Mojo with a Slab round. Dude might have been pissed, but I tossed a grenade off the hood of his car so whatever. We're even in my book. The rest of the team grabbed the data and talked to the researcher, so my busted ass wasn't required for that. I mostly just wandered around looking at the corpses I shredded.

It's fucked up, man. I hate blood but to keep movin' and shakin' in this world I have to spill it.

Anyways, they debated droppin' me off in a hospital - SINless and shot up like I was, the Star would have been all over me. Faust was able to hook me up with a medico who doesn't ask too many questions and has a passion for tax free nuyen. That guy patched me up enough to look presentable, and I autocabbed it back to the Plastic Jungle.

Lookin' like I did, I can't say I would have reacted any differently. The night watch had me on the ground and manacled before I could tell them who I was. When they flipped me over, I saw one of them was the driver who ran down a ghoul a couple days ago, and he recognized me. Thank god.

They let me in and sent in one of those native style healers - shit's working. I guess they want me alive and kicking so I can continue to fulfill the contract I signed.
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RE: Upcoming Session Planning (4/17/09)
Kref
Anybody have any ideas for what to do next?

I was scouting out the iron works while people were interogating the prisoner. Since the thieves' guild attacked us, we may want to handle them first. My only issue is how are we returning the items (the china, etc) that were stolen the previous evening.
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