Epic Collaborative Storytelling Thread

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In an effort to boost activity on the forums, I'd like to start this collaborative storytelling thread where you can post what happens next in the story. From silly to serious, I've had a lot of fun with these types of threads in the past and I hope you do to!

Here we go to start things off!



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A crack of lighting and the rumble of thunder rolled through the foundation of the castle carved into the mountain. Deep within its stone embrace of the main hall, the Dwarf Crown Prince looked to the newly arrived, sopping wet, haphazard crew of misfits with an air of curiosity.

"What brings you through the great deluge and into the halls of Rook's Keep, adventurers?"

A tall human clad in full plate armor took to one knee before responding.

"Crown Prince Steele, I bring grave news indeed. A plot exists to have you murdered this very eve."

At that, the hall became deathly silent.

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Epic × 2!
As the hush fell over those present, the weight of the words was felt by all. Inquisitive looks were exchanged as the words echoed throughout the chamber. In that moment of quiet, a sound of cloth rubbing on cloth was heard from the curtained balcony high on the left wall of the main hall. Alert eyes darted to see what was there, only to see a dagger thrown from the hall penetrate the curtain, followed by a gasp. After a beat, the curtain began to flail about as a man who had been hiding there tumbled into it from behind, backwards over the low wall that contained it.

He landed on the stone floor below with a sickening crunch. In a tumble of curtains, his identity was unknown.

As a nearby Dwarven steward rushed to the mass of curtains, the prince shouted at the smallish man, dressed in dark boiled leather who stood not 10 feet from him, and just behind the man in armor on bended knee. This small man was the source of the thrown dagger. "These men were supposed to be unarmed!"

The guard standing to the prince's right, with fear in his eyes, quickly responded, "But sire, we checked them for weapons.....thrice!"

All eyes turned to the small dark man in leather. With a smirk, he shrugged and then the voice of the steward sounded, "Sire, this man is dead".
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The plate mail human gestured to the once-hidden intruder who lay crumpled in a heap before them. "This is just the beginning, my liege."

"I am called Joseph - Paladin of the Order of Light." he continued, his deep voice reverberated in the cavernous hall. As the torchlight waxed and waned in the hall, it's soft glow revealed dark brown human skin on the Paladin - a telltale sign of desert upbringing.

"...and Twix needs no introduction." The Halfling Rogue hero-of-the-moment perched to the side of Joeseph nodded as stout Dwarven guards swarmed around the party of four, belatedly reacting to the attempted assassination.

Joseph continued to address the room. "And this I know, these vile fiends won't rest until they've gotten ahold of the Dra'dark Slabs."
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Epic!
Meanwhile, a thousand miles away, in the surface kingdom of Elethor, within the keep of the Duke of Tintilage, the duke's daughter sat on a stool in her bedchambers, dressed in a pale, linen dressing gown and combing her flowing black hair. As Relinda tended to her long locks, humming a merry melody to herself and daydreaming of dancing at the High Summer's Eve party, she noticed something out of the corner of her eye. Turning to look toward her dressing mirror, she gasped in shock, dropping her comb to the ground.

There before her in the glass was not her reflection at all; in its place she saw as if through a fog: a dark chamber, lit by green torchlight. A stone stand was there and, upon it, slabs of jet black stone. A skeletal hand extended from the mist and touched one of the slabs. Red runic characters instantly appeared on the surface.

Then, Relinda felt terror as silent screams filled her mind. She swooned and fell from her stool to the floor.
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Epic × 3!
"Lady Relinda!" a muffled voice came from behind an ornately carved rich wooden door. "Are you alright?"

After a moment of silence, the room flashed in a bright light as a purple-robed Magi appeared from vapor.

Quickly surveying the room, the Magi's eyes darted to Relinda, dazed on the floor. As the man went to tend the maiden, a nearby paper folding fan sprung to life and flapped its way over to the couple before hovering nearby, wafting a gentle rhythm of air to the girl who was slowly coming around.

"Peace, my child. Qui-Lan has you in his arms. Leave the jade flame and follow my voice to Elethor."

An eternity passed in a moment. Soon, Relinda met Qui-Lan's eyes, tears welling.

"It's not... " she started before she broke off. "Something is different this time." she finished with a whisper.
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OOC: Nice touch with the animated fan!
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A crow perches calmly on a wind-whipped windowsill, eyeing the bent figure of a robed man within. The crow looked sideways at the bits of seed set upon the sill. In front of the bird, within the room, the man bent over a large table with a shallow bowl of water on top of it. There were candles burning and a methodical hum seemingly from everywhere and nowhere. The man was intent on the waters surface. One arm was elbow-deep within the bowl. A mirror on the table to his right showed no reflection, but a misted over view into another room. As the bent figure reached further into the bowl, almost as if to caress something, he peered into the mirror. In the mirror he saw a woman lying on the floor, with a man rushing in, a hand fan fluttering nearby. As the bent figure watched what was happening within the mirror, he finished his nearly silent incantation. His voice intoned, more loudly now, and a gust of wind blew through the window, causing the crow to take wing. It said, "Not this time.....Qui Lan, not this time.".
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Epic!
Flustered, Crown Prince Steele's Dwarven accent flourished every 'R' that passed over his tongue. "The Dra'dark Slabs?! HA! Don't be daft, Pally. If'n ya'd dun yerr research, you'd know that only she who bears the mark 'o the seer can look upon the stones without being driven into madness!"

Thunder rumbled though the mountain fortress.

Still surrounded by the Dwarven Guard, a dainty cloaked frame stood beside Joseph. After a beat, she pulled down her hood to reveal silky, fine white hair. Two long pointed ears parted the moonlight filaments and a pair unnatural purple irised eyes looked from guard to guard. "I think that's where I come in?" she nervously squeaked.
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Epic!
It was all coming together. The slabs would soon be his.

The once-startled crow had returned to finish his meal and now the man bending over his desk slowly and deliberately, as if not to injure himself, removed his arm from the water. There was a sound like suction once his arm was free of the clear liquid. Immediately followed by the cloying smell of burning pitch as all the candles were simultaneously extinguished by some unseen force. As the surface calmed, he looked down at a reflection slowly taking shape. It was of an elderly man, withered gray tufts of hair above the ears but little more than wisps upon his head. A man much older even than the 70 or so years that looked back from the surface of the water. Older than most would ever imagine. But he had needed that time. Time to plan. The machinations had taken place over nearly a century. The breeding necessary to allow a marked one to appear when the mark had lain dormant for 5 generations. The plot to assassinate Steele. The painstaking manipulation of a hearty Dwarven populace into a bovine complacency in the face of an as-yet-unseen threat. It was all taking shape just as he had hoped....more or less. That the marked one somehow fell in with the Paladin could create a problem. Having his infiltrated listener killed seemed a setback at first, but once they decided they had killed an actual assassin, things fell back into place.

The elderly man nodded to himself, seemingly pleased. Then he spoke aloud to the room, now empty save himself and the crow, "I, Zothinium Maldoon, will be the first to take hold of the slabs in more than a millennium......and then.....to destroy them".
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"What have we here, then?" The Crown Prince inquired and motioned the silver haired elf forward. The guards opened a hole in their defensive circle as she sheepishly shuffled towards the royal, bent to one knee and swept her long fine locks off her neck to reveal the blank smooth canvas of light skin beneath.

"Is this a joke?! Where's the mark o' the Seer!?"

Joseph stiffened in surprise. "What?!" he exclaimed as he lunged towards the elf. Dwarf Guards rushed to block him and stopped him just close enough to the elf to see.

"The mark! It's... it's gone!" Joeseph stammered.

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High atop a lofty room in a guilded tower in Elethor, Qui-Lan assisted Lady Relinda compose herself.

In the commotion of her vision, Relinda's large mirror shattered. A quick incantation from the Magi pieced it back together with an extra jolt to seal it against any scrying magiks that Qui-Lan suspected were afoot.

With a gentle reassuring squeeze on Relinda's shoulders, Qui-Lan, slowly took stock of the room, making mental notes of where the next intrusion may come from.

His gazed froze at Relinda's reflection in the mirror, her hair currently in a position to reveal the back of her neck, where an inked illustration of a thorn-covered eye stared back at him - the mark of the seer.
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Epic!
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