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Posted in Flameweaver
Lost Days - Chapter One
The cold water hit his face like a wall of ice, jolting the man from unconsciousness back into the unforgiving light of reality in an instant. He coughed and sputtered, hacking and sniffling to try and clear his mouth and nose of the liquid. Instinctively, he tried to move his hands up to wipe the remaining moisture away...

... only to find that his arms were bound.

"Good, I only need to fill the bucket once." In front of the bound man a half-elf placed a stool on the floor, taking a seat in it just after. "You can lock the door now."

Behind him a man in worn leather armor and clothing closed the door, sliding the bolt into place and turning his gaze back to the half-elf. Taking the sound of the sliding bolt as confirmation, Dornan turned his attention back to his prisoner. "Tell me your name."

A surge of emotions crossed the face of the prisoner, surprise and confusion giving way to rage, vindication, and searing hate. Saying nothing, the prisoner shook his head.

"You understand Common. That isn't a defense you can try here. I know you understand the words I'm saying to you now just as much as you do." Mitch leaned forward, letting his hands come to rest on his knees. In front of him the prisoner was trying without success to force his wrists to budge. All the while he stared angrily back at Mitch, shaking his head with admirable fervor.

"They're not coming."

These words caused the prisoner's motions to stop, almost on a dime. For a brief second naked shock showed on his face, swallowed up by the anger again just as quickly. The half-elf leaned back, considering the man in silence. He didn't talk, he didn't move, he didn't so much as blink for nearly a minute... and would have continued to do so if the prisoner hadn't tried to spit a wad of mucus and saliva at him.

"The men and women you associated with, the ones you are now expecting to come and rescue you from this imprisonment are all dead." There was no emotion present on the half-elf's face and his tone remained level, almost soft for the moment. If he felt anything for this supposed loss of life, it didn't show.

"I have watched them as I watched you. I learned their habits, comings and goings, what have you. And when I knew enough of both their routines and their roles in your plans I overtook and disposed of each and every one of them." The half-elf's eyes were a cold and dispassionate gray as the words were spoken, looking so fixedly at the prisoner that they almost seemed to bore through him.

"I know how you enlisted them, how you threatened their lives and the lives of their loved ones, their families." Without ceremony Mitch crossed his right leg over the left, letting his hands come to rest atop the knee. "You used fear to gain their cooperation, making them believe that should they disobey or refuse that you would appear at the doorsteps of their loved ones in the night like some fairy tale creature made up to scare children. They believed that you would hurt, even kill their loved ones to ensure cooperation. They believed it, as do I." His eyes refocused, marking something on the man's neck before continuing. "As do you."

Another wad of spit flew from the prisoner's lips towards the half-elf, though this time he did nothing to dodge it. The snot-slick substance hit him squarely on the right cheek.

Mitch didn't react, didn't so much as flinch. He acted as if the event had never happened, continuing to consider the prisoner without passion in his features.

"I do not doubt for one moment that you would have killed everyone they held dear to achieve your goals. What I doubt, and rightly so, is your ability to do so." Almost in response to this the prisoner strained against the bonds, the muscles in his forearms sweating with the effort as his fingers tensed and pointed towards the half-elf like accusatory knives.

"That isn't the ability I'm talking about, though in your current state it is true that you cannot kill so much as a housefly, let alone me." Mitch half-turned to one side, pulling a worn and leather-bound book from the satchel that rested against the stool. The prisoner quieted instantly, watching the half-elf with eyes that now understood a piece of the larger picture.

Resting the spell book gently on his lap, Mitch turned his eyes back towards the prisoner before continuing. "You do not have the resources, is the point I am trying to illustrate." His eyes turned downward as he opened the book, thumbing idly through it while speaking.

"You knew one or two of their relations by circumstance, enough to threaten them with. However, you lack the connections or coin to learn the extent of their living families, their in-laws and associates." Apparently satisfied with his perusal, Mitch closed the book quietly and looked up once again. "That isn't a question. You know the truth of it just as plainly as I do."

"I however, have both of those items." A slight tilt of his head punctuated the statement, the half-elf apparently content to let it hang in the empty air between them for a moment.

The prisoner cleared his throat angrily, sounding like a Goblin trying to swallow a mouthful of rocks in the process. "Bfddwmuz."* The single word was spat just as angrily as the dripping substance on the half-elf's face, and accompanied by a newly defiant glance back from the prisoner.

He had rallied, believing that his captor was merely trying to use his own trick against him. Mitch considered him without comment, letting the man stare back at him in silence for almost two minutes.

"I believe the word you are fumbling for-" The half-elf leaned forward, speaking gently as the prisoner's face was now mere inches from his own. "-is palwzyr."**

He paled.

"You believe that if you stall me long enough someone will come for you. You believe that others will come to save you, that your black and terrible god will send emissaries to retrieve you." Mitch kept his tone level, conversational. "You are going to tell me everything I want to know. You won't remain silent. You won't be rescued."

"And why is that, filth?" The jump from Abyssal to Common was sudden, but not so much so that it took Mitch unaware.

"Because I have the two assets you lack." He sounded almost bored as he spoke to the prisoner, folding his hands together atop the weathered book in his lap. "I have and have used my contacts to learn the locations and identities of the people close to you, and I have used considerable coin to have those individuals taken into custody."

The prisoner stared daggers back at him, clenching his teeth in anger.

"You are here acting on orders from someone, someone willing to let you threaten bystanders and innocent families for the sake of earning cooperation. Perhaps someone who is willing to do these types of things themselves to get what they want. In this sense they are practical, but very much still monsters."

His hands opened in a self-indicating gesture. "Just as I myself am a monster, by the same definition. You can start talking to me now and they will leave my custody in safety. I'll even put a little coin in their pockets in exchange for their time." The half-elf's eyes fixed him to the spot, reflecting the icy determination behind them.

"Or I'll leave this room, and start working on them. I'll interrogate them, torture them, break their bodies and minds until they tell me anything I want to know. Your mother, your father, your wife and child. Every living relative you have is in that room. To find out what you refuse to tell me?"

Mitch paused, letting the words hang in the air between them for a moment.

"I will kill every last one of them. Then, I will come back in this room and you are still going to tell me what I want to know. The only difference is you will do so knowing that your actions cost the lives of your entire bloodline. And after I've gotten as much out of you as I can, you'll die as well." The half-elf leaned forward once again, gently lifting the prisoner's head with one hand on a sweat-soaked cheek. He was mere inches away, looking at the man with the eyes of someone truly committed and ready for the horrors to come.

"I am prepared to erase you from this world, or any other. Any relation or trace of who you were will be gone. And your benefactor will not care. It will not come for you." His hand receded as the half-elf leaned back on the stool.

The prisoner continued to stare madly, making it clear that his bonds were the only thing stopping him from flying into a blind rage and laying waste to the room. For his own part, Mitch merely sat silently, considering him under a weighted gaze.

A number of minutes passed, with the idle shuffling of the doorman serving as the only sounds in the room. By his own internal count, the man had taken nearly eleven minutes to break. Impressive, but not a record.

"Fine." His prisoner practically vomited the word out, apparently trying to choke back the brunt of his emotions behind it. "I will tell you, once my family is freed. If you let them go-"

"No." The reply was flat, not bothering to wait until the man was finished speaking to interject.

The prisoner looked back in shock, letting the anger and indignation bring some color back to his features. "No? No?! I will do what you want, didn't you hear me? Just free-"

"No. This is not a negotiation, and if it were you would have nothing to offer." Mitch folded his fingers together as his words cut the man short once again.

"'re fucking dead. Dead, do you hear?! I have power, power beyond anything you have seen before!" The prisoner was getting his hackles up, reenergized as the rage within him was stoked. "The old one has given me a gift. A gift! You will burn to ashes, you will scream in agony and beg me for death! The power I command is unl-"

The half-elf said nothing, instead letting his hands separate and hold a churning black flame within them. Upon seeing this the prisoner's words died in his throat, deprived of the breath they needed.

Mitch let the flame sputter and die after a quiet moment, then rejoined his hands together before speaking. "You know what it is that I just did. You're a smart man, after all. If you choose not to talk to me now I will use that power on your loved ones. You know that if I do that, you have no hope of ever seeing them again. You know that no healer will be able to restore them."

The half-elf seemed to scratch a fingernail against some unseen burr on the surface of the spell book, looking down as he continued to hide the smile that was creeping onto his face.

"You're a smart man, after all."

"You FUCK! You GODLESS FUCKING ANIMAL! You had better kill me! You had better kill me! If I get out of this chair I am going to-" The prisoner was rocking back and forth violently in the chair, trying to tip it, trying to knock it over, trying to do anything.

"I am not going to use that power on you."

"Fucking monster, fucking bullshit monster, fucking-" His momentum increased, almost getting three of the four legs off of the floor before it clattered back to stability.

"I have told you that I will not shy from torture, and I meant it." The half-elf's words remained calm, as if the prisoner wasn't about to tear free of his bonds and go berserk. "I have tools, chemicals, and more than one apparatus dedicated to that singular purpose."

Without warning the prisoner managed to get onto his feet, still hobbled by the bonds of the chair but able to move about by means of a ridiculous jumping motion. He hopped towards Mitch with murder in his eyes, and behind the half-elf the doorman could be heard reaching for steel.

Saying nothing, Mitch merely raised one foot and pressed it firmly against the seat of the chair between the prisoner's legs. The sudden jolt of force sent both the chair and the man bound to it directly to the floor. The prisoner's face hit the floorboards with a meaty thud and fell still.

Behind him, the doorman cleared his throat. After a moment of consideration, Mitch nodded and made an upward circular motion with his right hand. Wordlessly, the doorman came around and picked up both the prisoner and chair with relative ease. He set them back in the correct position and stepped away, returning to his post.

"Your benefactor is willing to torture, kidnap, and murder innocent people to accomplish their goals." The half-elf started talking before the prisoner could continue his tantrum. "I am willing to do all of those things and more in order to stop them."

Mitch continued to look keenly through the prisoner, watching as the last dregs of resistance were bled out of him. "I will start with your family, and I will not spare anyone on the basis of them being a woman or child. They will die because of your refusal to speak to me. And unlike you, I will not take steps to see that they are brought back. They will be erased, and their souls will be beyond the reach of any priest of any deity. They will cease to exist."

The prisoner was spent. He tried to put the same measure of anger behind his eyes, but it had been all but gutted. Mitch resumed, sensing that the moment had tipped heavily in his favor.

"You are not going to anger me into using that power on you. If I have to torture you, I will. If I kill you while doing so, I have a priest in one of these adjoining rooms on hand to bring you back. I will torture you, kill you, and bring you back. I will complete this cycle as many times as I need to. I will get the information I want out of you." The half-elf let his tone take on a softness that was wholly at odds with the words he was using.

"I have studied torture. I know the sciences of fear and duress. I have an unfortunate aptitude for it, and the end is always the same." If his eyes were icy before, they now teetered on the verge of being glacial. "Everyone talks. Every. One."

"Look at me." Despite their severity the words remained soft. The prisoner turned his eyes upward, meeting the half-elf's gaze.

"You are going to talk, just as everyone else has. You will not escape. You will not die until I allow it. Death will not save you from this conversation." Mitch let his head tilt ever so slightly to one side.

"It will not save you from me." He propped his elbows on the book, knotting his fingers together and waiting. To his great credit, the prisoner still held fast to his silence for nearly four whole minutes.

The stillness of the room was broken when the prisoner managed a weak nod, keeping his eyes downcast and saying nothing.

Mitch smiled inside, knowing that the battle was over.

"I will begin again." The tone snapped from the prior softness to the businesslike demeanor that the interrogation had started in. He leaned in, lifting the man's chin once again.

"Tell me... your name."

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Posted in Andulhaven
A Day in the Sun
“Wait for me guys!” Tully screamed, as he chased his friends

Tully and his friends, The River Raiders they liked to call themselves, were racing towards the river where their village gleans its daily water from. The adults said they could play in the river, but only if they went down stream. So off the children raced.

Finally caught up, Tully counted who was left to see if he was last... again. After muttering to himself and numbering off his fingers, a huge grin crossed his face.

“YES! I wasn’t last this time!” Tully nearly shouted as he jumped for joy.

However, Tully became even more excited when he realized he had beaten a boy named Pete–with which he would never admit his true respect for. As Pete puffed, attempting to bring air back into his aching lungs, Tully stuck his tongue out and shot a cheap remark,

“Hey Pete, you didn’t actually do too bad, for last place!”

The other boys, and even a few girls, began to snicker and sneer.

“Well at least I made it, unlike you last time!” Pete shot back

Tully, quite phased since technically Pete wasn’t wrong, decided to quickly change subjects and jump in the river while screaming,

“Last one in’s a pansy!”

This caused everyone to suddenly scramble in as one blob of giggling, clambering limbs. The children swam for what seemed like hours. Jumping off the bank to perform their best aerial maneuvers, having splash wars, and even seeing who could hold their breath the longest underwater. Soon the children got board and decided to go on an underwater treasure hunt. The one to come back in an hour with the best treasure wins. As they counted down from three in unison, Pete snuck his leg behind Tully’s ankle, and as soon as they all broke and ran their opposite directions, Tully tripped over Pete’s foot. Pete then took off, yelling behind him,

“I bet you won’t even find a broken bottle!”

Determined now, Tully knew he had to find something–if anything, an intact bottle. After searching for a while, Tully felt as though he was starting to get close to their hour time limit; and if he didn’t find something quick, he’ll be made fun of for days. Tully began diving down under the banks of the river attempting to see if anything got pushed under by the current. Behold, his hand knocked something hard. And Tully knew with all his experience, this would be the find of his life. It would be this one item that would insure his total rule of treasure hunt king. He propped up his feet and heaved with all his strength until the mud started to bubble and pop as the item lifted off the river bed. Tully could feel it was really hard and sort of heavy, and shaped like a pole. After wiping off all the mud, he could see that there was a leather belt loop on the side and a thin slit on the top. Tully’s eyes widen as he realized it looked exactly like a scabbard for a sword. He ran up to the bank and marveled at his find, imagining it being holstered to his side with a belt.

It was then that a glint something shiny caught his eye from across the river on one of the higher up banks. Tully squinted and saw four boys.

“This is the perfect time to show off my find, maybe I’ll even convince them I’ve already won.” Tully pondered, as he made his way to the other side

Upon reaching the bottom of the bank, Tully looked up once more, and to his shock, it was actually a sword that had caught his eyes. One of the boys actually found a sword and Tully couldn’t believe it. He raced up the hill and reached to the top where they were. Tully hadn’t realized however, who was up here, but now he saw it was Al and his goons picking on Pete. Al was always mean, but he seemed even more mean to Pete, and Pete never fought back. Mostly that was because everyone knew Al always got back at you, and he always tried to do worse to you then you did too him. Tullian slowly approached the scene, as he saw Al was trying his best to hold the sword up towards Pete’s face.

“Now I can really be in charge.” Al said boisterously as he strained to hold the sword “With this, no everyone will know who’s boss, right guys?” Al said as he looked back at his two companions, which began to quickly nod and encourage him. “But first, we need to make sure everyone knows their place, just like poor ol’ Pete.”

He looked over towards Pete who was on the ground against a tree, terrified for his life. Al hefted the sword over onto his shoulder, grasping it by two hands.

“Wait Al, what are you doing!?” Tully screamed from beside the tree.

“Oh, hey Tully!” Al respond, “I’m giving it good to Pete, so he knows who’s the real boss!” He said, even more excited about the idea than before

Al then hoisted the sword above his head and began to drop it towards Pete’s skull. With everything set in motion, Tullian knew there was no way Al could stop the blow, not even Al was strong enough for that.

“Maybe if I yank Pete out of the way?” He thought, but Tully knew he couldn’t muster that strength. “What’s even gotten into his mind!?” Tullian began to scream in his head. He was beginning to run out of options. The sword was hurtling towards Pete’s head. Tully didn’t want to lose Pete, he liked Pete–even if they made fun of each other. Tullian began to act solely out of instinct. He wasn’t thinking anymore, there wasn’t time to think. Tully slid on his knees past Pete and threw up his forearms above his head, and everyone’s eyes began to go wide. Al tried his best to pull the sword upward, but he couldn’t muster the strength. The sword made contact and everyone’s eyes were closed shut in fear of what might happen. Tully felt something hot drip over his forehead. He opened his eyes and realized it was his it was his own blood. The sword had dug itself off to the side in the dirt, glancing off the scabbard which Tully had forgotten he was holding; however, not without first breaking it into and slicing into a small portion of Tully’s arm. Tully looked at his arm, slowly going through a process of realization. First, that his plan had worked. Second, that he was alive. Third, he was bleeding. Tully let out a high-pitched scream and fainted on the ground.

“What the heck was that Al!?” Pete screamed, as he went to hold Tully’s arm.

“I swear, I wasn’t actually gonna do anything! It was a joke I swear!” Al frantically responded.

“Well hurry up and help me, we need to get him back home to our parents, his arm doesn’t look good.”

The boys hoisted Tully above their head and ran as fast as possible for home. Upon reaching Pete’s house, his mom called the village doctor, who easily fixed the cut on Tully’s arm. However, the parents didn’t let the boys off with any slack, even Tully, after he felt better, got a good lecture about playing with sharp knives. After handing in the sword to the head guard, Al apologized to everyone about being mean. He eventually befriended Tully and Pete, and the posse eventually became even more tight nit.

After one grueling day of adventuring, the boys went their way home and bid each other goodnight,

“Night Pete, night Tully!” Al yelled as his mother ushered him in their front door.

“Night Al!” The other two yelled back in unison

“I’ll see ya tomorrow Tully.” Pete said, as he turned his back to walk home.

“Not if I see you first!” Tully jeered as he ran home. After eating dinner and finally getting settled in, Tully’s mother tucked him after he said goodnight to his father. Tully looked at his mom as she walked towards the door, “Mom, I don’t ever wanna leave this place.”

“Don’t worry hun,” She replied in a soft voice, “We are going to stay here as one happy family.”

Tully turned over towards the candle that lay on his bedside table. Leaning forward, he gave it a quick puff, and the room began to grow dark. Tullian lay there and let forth a small smile as he fell into a deep slumber.
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Tags: backstory
The Path to Brimhaven
'Crow lord'

As I approach Brimhaven I have acquired no information on cultists activities and will press on and hope for a lead in the town itself

The side job you issued me on the way here has been completed however

The sparrow will no longer be singing songs and any of your stolen tweets will not be reaching the ears of other birds, I will however need a clean up crew sent to the location where 'the sun rises and a new rock is born', of importance on his body is currency which bears a kraken insignia, in regards to solving this infiltration I would suggest you task the 'Boar' and his team to dealing with the traitors but as always your commands take precedence

I trust you will find this report satisfactory

Signed, The Mutt
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A hidden past: Coded message #6
'Crow lord'

He has a way to go adapting to our training and regimen style but takes the lessons learned to heart

He is however rebellious and receives multiple beatings weekly for breaking curfew and rules, no stealing though, he seems to understand that would cost him his hands, so as of now I would characterize him as an unruly yet intelligent mutt

I have witnessed a showcase of his talent for improvisation in which he got into a fight with one of the young deckhands and blinded him with the sand at his feet and then struck the other boy whilst defenseless, many would call this cowardly, however in our line of work this is the sort of thinking which can determine the difference between victory and defeat

The boy shows promise

I will keep an eye on him for now, but know that given time he could become a welcome addition to 'shadow' company

I trust you will find this report satisfactory

Signed, -REDACTED-

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The Road to Brimhaven
“‘Peace magic’?” Lark’s bright eyes gleam with curiosity.

Gabe shifts his weight in the saddle and nods. “The art of pacifying and protecting. It isn’t a very popular path focus. It’s archaic, abstract… Not very flashy.” The older wizard’s features pinch in a faint grimace that suggests he is accustomed to unpopularity, but with a small shake of his head he regains his measured composure. “But it is more potent than many suspect; it is elegant in its simplicity, and has proved a boon in some of our assignments.”

Gwain, riding a short distance ahead, twists his heavily-armored torso to throw a grin and a friendly salute over his shoulder towards Gabe. “Saved my hide more than once, that’s for sure!” Gabe smiles slightly and dips his head towards the knight in acknowledgement.

Lark responds to Gabe with a cheerful laugh. “I know what you mean; I’ve been studying Knowledge magic for years!”

He looks at her in surprise. “Knowledge? Really?”

“Mm-hmm. I found a tome in the archives when I was… eleven? No, ten. Anyway, Professor Athens helped me analyze it and re-create some of the spells.” She reaches into her bag, pulls out one of her notebooks, and passes it over to Gabe. “Sometimes when I watch the kids practicing the Lower Elements, I feel a little envious because their magic is so tactile. My friend Cherise, for example, is focused in Air magic, and her spells all seem much more fun and practical than mine. Like, she showed me how she does her Flight spell once. It was amazing!” She briefly digresses, smiling enthusiastically at the memory. “But Light and Knowledge magics are both good for revealing interesting things, so they’re useful too. I’d like it if maybe someday I could join an archaeological expedition, maybe even help discover something completely new.”

Gabe’s eyebrows rise as he leafs through Lark’s study notes, each page filled with diagrams and annotations of magical theory in dense script. He glances over at the 15-year-old, with her earnest, unguarded demeanor and the soft blonde curls of a child, looking small atop her storm-grey horse. He had assumed that Lady Averland must have had compelling reasons to send such a young, inexperienced wizard out on official duty. Now he understood. After all, he had been just as eager, filled with purpose and passion, when he finished his own training early and started working as an agent of the college six years before.

His expression is warmer as he returns her notebook. “I think you’ll find many opportunities to make a difference out here.”

“I hope so,” she smiles, casting her gaze over the expansive plains, the green smudges of forest groves, the distant peaks of the Abel Mountains away to their right, as if expecting opportunities to appear on the horizon at any moment. She turns back to Gabe. “I am looking forwards to seeing your Peace magic in action.”

He chuckles. “Peace magic is only called for when natural peace fails. By the Lady’s favor, I hope I shall prove to be entirely useless on this mission.” He pauses, thinking, then calls to the fourth traveler, an aged man in distinguished robes riding near Gwain. “Elder Listair, would a small demonstration for our newest member be appropriate?” The old wizard smiles and nods, and Gabe turns back to Lark. “If you would like?”

At Lark’s eager agreement, Gabe murmurs his spell, gesturing in the air and drawing power from his internal reservoir of Zeon. At the last syllable, a pale aura radiates out from him, enveloping the entire party, and near each person’s body a pattern resembling an ethereal kite shield draws itself in the air in glowing white filigree. The shields circle their targets slowly, accompanied by drifting motes resembling shining goose down, then vanish seconds later as Gabe releases the magic and ends the spell. Gwain had glanced back at the sound of Gabe’s incantation, but gives no acknowledgement of the appearance or disappearance of the shields themselves.

“This spell is called the Shield of Salvation, and it—“ Gabe looks back to Lark, but finds that the young wizard has already begun gathering her own Zeon, concentrating intently as she meticulously mimics Gabe’s words and movements. In the next instant the shields materialize again before the three wizards’ Gifted eyes, but while Gabe’s spell had appeared seraphic in it’s exquisite detail and delicate purity, Lark’s is radiant; the lines are simpler but shine bright and golden and throw off iridescent sparks like a crystal in the sunlight.

The spell ends and she turns to Gabe with a smile again. “How was that?”

Gabe blinks, and after a silent moment shares a glance with Listair up ahead. The elderly wizard’s eyes twinkle. A smile tugs at Gabe’s lips as he returns his attention to Lark, nodding in approval. “I think you will do very well indeed.”
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Tags: backstory , Journal , Lark
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