Monday, October 31, 2011

SCI-FI FANTASY FRIDAY! ACTION SOCIETY #8

Fantasy Friday

I play Dungeons and Dragons every Friday. That is to say I run a 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign every Friday set in the country of Beniro. As such I've decided to chronicle the hero's adventures from the perspective of different characters my friends play. Each week and each short chapter I will rotate the perspective so you can get a feel for all the characters. I will try my best to capture my friend's characters and the adventures they go on. I might change some elements but know I do it for the story.

A lot of the art I will be using is not credited, so if you know the artist, tell me and I'll label it appropriately.
CHAPTER 1- Lorafaine 
CHAPTER 2- Aramil
CHAPTER 3 - Ryjac
CHAPTER 4- Lucius
CHAPTER 5- Nadarr
CHAPTER 6- Lora Faine II
CHAPTER 7- Aramil II
THE ACTION SOCIETY
BOOK 1
Rise of the White Spider
CHAPTER 8
LUCIUS II 
            Lucius missed the laughter. He was happy they had not run afoul of another centipede but a week of tromping down the damp tunnels had dulled everyone’s spirit. Lucius was not entirely unaccustomed to low morale. A warlock, especially a tiefling warlock, furthermore a tiefling warlock with a lot of enemies and machinations against their respective lives, had to develop a sense of humor about the unfortunate and the macabre. He had treaded many fine lines between mania and depression in his journeys through the insane studies of long-dead and long-damned scholars. His heart, mind and soul had been chipped away by beings and substances of every foreseeable dimension. He had suffered in the fiery maw of the Nine Hells, walked past vaults of burning souls and witnessed the inventiveness of a pit fiend’s punishments. He even had to entertain demons for tea. He had taught himself to look back at the long and ever twisting road of his life with a laugh. It came with the territory. Yet, Lucius could find little amusement in the weariness of his new comrades.

            After a week, they all showed small quirks in their demeanor and actions. Lucius heard Lora Faine mumble to herself in a disjointed scramble of elven. Aramil would wander off from the camp fire at night and not return for several hours. He always came back looking intense but without any idea what he was intense about. Their guide, Ryjac kept assuring them with ever more fervency that she knew where they were headed but was not sure how long it would be, “But it surely will not be too many days longer.” The last one to show any signs of cracking, was Sir Nadarr, Lucius reckoning he was too stupid to show conventional signs of fear, the paladin just seemed to grow more and more boisterous and loud. The one thing they all shared was being dreadfully tired. Lucius was just dreadfully bored.

            “Shouldn’t be too much longer,” Ryjac called over her shoulder.

            “Wonderful. Shall we be expecting to arrive in minutes? Or months?” Aramil snapped at her.

            “Days,” Ryjac answered.

            “It’s raining again.”Nadarr said with a deep rumble in his throat.

            Lucius rolled his eyes, his magic flame turning a warm auburn color, as he heard Nadarr announce the weather for the hundredth time. He was not sure how proficient the dragonborn paladin was in predicting the weather and he neither cared.  These announcements did little but annoy Lucius. After all, what use was it to them to know it was raining miles above? Lucius took a breath and his light turned a soft orange color, “Does any one of you know any good stories? I have grown sick of the narration of our progress and the weather?”

            “I might.” Lora Faine said, from behind Lucius.

            “Is it about a talking animal or a princess?” Aramil asked, “Cuz I have never been fond of those kinds of stories.”

            “I like those kindsof stories,” Nadarr called from the back, “Do you have a story like that my fair lady?”

“I hear tell that half-elves are the best story tellers,” Lucius replied, “but I suppose since our half-elf is too busy being a big grump, we will have to make do with the lovely voice of a fair elven maiden.”

“Well, I am not so sure about whether you would like one of my stories,” Lora Faine muttered.

“Please, m’lady. I am sure whatever forgotten lore or epic tale you have would be more than enough to sate our attentions for a few moments?” Nadarr entreated her.

“Well, alright,” She took a breath for a moment, Lucius noting that everyone’s walking seemed to slow down just a little, as Ryjac and Aramil slowed their pace to be closer and better able to hear Lora Faine.

“It’s a bit of a scary story. The story begins in the pine forests between Nohdaria and the Fedlands. There was a humble abode in the woods home to the widow of a huntsman and her seven nearly identical daughters. To help tell them apart when they walked out into the snow to perform chores and work their little farm she had named them all after colors and given them a cloak that matched their name. Though so alike, the girls were all very different in their personalities, and often bickered and fought. The best behaved of them was the smallest of the girls. A responsible but sweet child, they called her Little Violet.

Little Violet was a little thing and, at the age of ten, stood head and shoulder shorter than the other girls. Yet, she acted like an adult, doing more than her part and never quarrelling with her siblings. She cut the wood, looked after the chicken and took the most important job- taking food and the like to their elderly grandmother who lived across the river. She was as tough and unbending as a White Pine.

One day, her mother met a man traveling through their woods. He was a huntsman. He too was a widow and cared for his son, a red haired boy, named Sparrow. The Huntsman and Sparrow were invited to their home. The girls had never met any man besides their late father and were excited to greet them. Little Violet did not like the way the Huntsman looked at her mother or how ill-mannered they were. They did not take off their boots at the door and had tracked snow into the house. She hated wet floors.

At supper that night, the Huntsman told stories of their travel. They had been to the Fedlands and the Feywild. They had hunted displacer beasts and ridden unicorns. The other sisters kept asking questions about the various pieces of fur he wore, the bones and bits on a necklace around his neck and the weapons he carried. The Huntsman noticed Little Violet wasn’t amused by his stories and asked her if she had a question. She looked him over and then asked about the sprig of mistletoe on his hat and the other one pinned to his jacket.

The Huntsman grew grim as he then told Little Violet that it was a special protection against a demon from the North. The demon was called the Garrül.”

“I haven’t heard of that demon?” Lucious interrupted, but paused, and laughed apologetically, “Sorry, please go on.”

“Um, right, as I was saying the Garrül,” Lora Faine took special care to over pronounce the word, “is a special and terrifying monster of the Feywild. It resembles a great black wolf-like creature with a huge mouth filled with yellow teeth and a foul breath but the eyes of a human. The Huntsman continued, Little Violet glaring up at him suspiciously, and told them about the Garrül. The Garrül was never human and cannot make other humans into werewolves. It is a demon from a long dead world and time. It eats humans. It can turn into anyone it’s ever eaten, so it can hide its form, and gobble up unsuspecting victims. The scariest part of it all is it can copy its victims right down to their clothing and memories. The Garrül could take the form of anyone. Once you have seen a Garrül, you are marked for death, and it will hunt you down. It is immortal, cunning and cruel. The only thing that can kill it is mistletoe.

The girls all seemed a bit frightened by the tale but Little Violet just rolled her eyes. She left the table and went out to check on the chickens. She heard someone walking out to the chicken coop but it was not who she expected. It was red-headed Sparrow, the Huntsman’s son. He told her that he did not believe his father’s story either. His father told him the Garrül had eaten his mother but he was sure that his father had just created the boogeyman of a creature to scare him into obeying his word. Every time he disobeyed his father or ran off, his father told him that the Garrül would get him. He had never seen anything like his father described. Little Violet just ignored him and went about her business.

Weeks past and the father-son duo kept visiting the widow and her seven daughters. The Huntsman brought them his quarry and Little Violet’s mother gave them a place to stay. It became obvious that Little Violet’s mother and the Huntsman were in love. She hated it. Even more, she hated how Sparrow kept pestering her. He would follow her around, bring her presents like feathers and flowers, and ask her questions.

When winter came and they had not heard from their grandmother, in weeks, Little Violet volunteered to go visit her and brought along a basket of dried foods and other supplies. As she walked out in the woods in her violet cloak, the Huntsman and Sparrow insisted on tagging along, at least for a while. They claimed to be going across the river, as well, to do some hunting for elk and followed her as she made her way into the woods. She nearly dropped her basket when crossing the river, but Sparrow caught it and put a bundle of herbs in the basket. He explained that they should help her grandmother if she is cold. She smirked when she saw the mistletoe. Soon after crossing the river, she bid them a polite but firm good bye and insisted on visiting her grandmother alone.

When she got to the cabin, she knocked on the door, and heard no response. She knocked harder and heard a rasp of a voice asking her to come inside. She opened the door and saw that her grandmother was in bed, blankets up to her neck, and only a dim fire in the fireplace. She called out, ‘Granny, are you alright?’

‘Yes my dear, please come closer,’ her grandmother called her in, ‘I have a little bit of a cold.’

Little Violet closed the door behind her and took off her boots. She then took off her socks, wet from the river and wiggled her toes. She walked closer and stood in front of the fire for a moment.

‘Little Violet, come here child.’ Her grandmother called again, ‘I wish for you to see me.’

Little Violet came closer to the bed and wrinkled her nose, ‘Granny, are you okay? I smell something strange,’ She could smell the foul stench from the fire place.

            ‘That’s nothing dear.’ Her grandmother explained, ‘Now come here and give Granny a hug.’
Little Violet walked closer and stopped. Her feet had just stepped in something wet and warm. She looked down and lifted her foot.‘What is it, dear?’ Her grandmother asked.

            ‘Blood.’ Violet answered as she saw the floor was covered in the red stuff. She looked up as she heard a tearing sound as her grandmother got out of bed, ‘Granny?’

            Her grandmother laughed and smiled. Little Violet’s Grandmother’s mouth seeming to grow, red around her lips, as she chuckled at a joke that Violet hadn’t heard. Violet held her basket in front of her and backed up to the wall, ‘Granny w-what red lips you have?’

            ‘The better to kiss you with my child.’

            Violet looked at her grandmother and down to her hands which were at the end of long arms she didn’t recognize, ‘Granny what big arms your have?”

            ‘The better to hold you with my child.’

            Violet let out a little scream, ‘Grandmother, your teeth!’ As the old woman’s jaw unhinged and her mouth was filled with big yellow fangs.

            ‘THE BETTER TO GOBBLE YOU UP!’ Her grandmother’s leapt at her and Violet struck her with the basket. The old woman recoiled and howled, melting, and taking the form of a wolf.

            ‘You! What was that!?’ The creature hissed as a big red gash slowly healed on its snout, Violet looked down and saw the herbs poking through the basket. 

‘Mistletoe!’She tossed the basket at the monster and ran for the door. She made it out and slammed the door behind her. She heard the beast howl and crash through the door. She ran, screaming for help, wordlessly, mindless, terrified. She ran.

She ran through the trees and over hills. She heard the monster stop running and someone grabbed her arm. She screamed and tried to jerk away. She looked and saw it was the Huntsman, ‘Child? What is wrong?’

Little Violet tried to tell him what happened when they heard a voice. It was a woman’s voice, Northern, and fair. Sparrow let out a little noise from behind his father and as they all looked they saw a beautiful woman with Sparrow’s red hair.

‘DEMON!’ The Huntsman cried out in pain, ‘Children run!’ He ran at the woman as it shifted into a great black beast and they tumble over the hill. Little Violet grabbed Sparrow’s arm and ran. They heard a blood curdling scream and Sparrow tried to run back but she ignored him. She kept running, pulling him along, until he stopped her and pulled her into a bush. It was covered in mistletoe.

They lay under the bush for a day. Sparrow wanted to go look for his father and so they left the bush. If the monster had found them, it would have made its presence known, they assumed. Little Violet led them back to the cabin where, to their horror, they found near the hill from before, blood on the ground. The Garrül beast had gotten the Huntsman. Sparrow and Little Violet looked about and saw wolf tracks turning into boot tracks going in the opposite direction from the cabin. 

‘Your family!’ Sparrow and Little Violet ran. They ran over hills, through forest and over the river. They followed its tracks. They ran harder and faster than they had ever ran. It wasn’t fast enough. When they got Little Violet’s cabin, there in the snow, were the tattered remains of five cloaks. A red cloak, an orange cloak, a yellow cloak, a green cloak, a blue cloak, and a pink cloak lay in the snow, covered in blood. 

They heard laughter; the laughter of six little girls and their mother. They looked up and there standing in the doorway was the Garrül. It had grown fat from its feast. It mocked them with its laughter, as it dabbed its lips with a red cloak. It then said one word, ‘Run.’

And they did. For years they ran. Little Violet and Sparrow grew to depend on each other as they had no choice. Like Sparrow and his Father, they could never be out of the sight of each other, because if they did the beast could kill one of them and use the form to get the other. Whether it was from fear or desperation, the others kept moving, and made a partnership to survive and kill the beast. Sparrow taught her everything he knew and she taught him everything she knew. They eventually fell in love and swore to marry each other once the Garrül was dead and they had avenged their families.

Years later, as they walked through the forest, a blizzard had begun to swell the snow in the air. They had no seen the beast for over a year but they still feared it. They knew it wanted to find them as much as they wanted to find it. A Garrül cannot cease a hunt once it has begun. It can prolong it but one day it must end its prey’s life and gobble it up.

The blizzard got worse and as the winds struck them over and over, they held onto each other. Yet, as a large gust struck them, and they tossed through the snow, Little Violet lost her Sparrow for the first time in years. She searched for him, shouting his name, but to no avail. Shivering, frozen to the bone, she stumbled her way into the mouth of a cave and made her way into the back. She made a makeshift fire and warmed herself by it. Her violet cloak had gotten knocked away in the snow, along with her bundle of mistletoe she kept in it at all times. She only had one sprig left.

In the morning, she heard something at the mouth of the cave and got up. She searched for her crossbow but found it too had been lost in the snow. Cautiously, she crept toward the mouth of the cave with her sprig of mistletoe. She saw a figure standing in the mouth of the cave, looking out. It was Sparrow.

She nearly ran forward as he turned around, ‘Violet,’ He cried, ‘I thought I’d never see you again.’

She stared at him, searching for anything suspicious, she had no weapons.

‘What’s wrong sweetheart?’ He asked, stepping forward and grinning, ‘It’s me! I promise.’

‘Where is your mistletoe?’ She asked, hiding hers behind her back, as Sparrow stood there without a single spring on any of his clothes.

‘I lost them in the snow.’ He explained, ‘Now give me a kiss.’

She warmed her hands with her mouth and walked forward, taking his hands and kissing him.

Sparrow let out a scream and recoiled in agony. He grabbed at his throat, as he melted and took the form of the Garrül. It hissed and sputtered, as black blood spilled from its mouth and eyes, ‘You! What have you done!?’

Little Violet didn’t say a word. She had just pushed her last piece of mistletoe into its mouth when they kissed. She watched the beast melt into a puddle of black nothing. It cursed her with the voices of everyone it had ever consumed. She just watched it, not saying a word or shedding a single tear. The little girl in the little violet cloak had gotten her revenge. Little Violet left the cave and never ran, ever again. The end.”

Nadarr clapped, “That was a wonderful story, m’lady.”

“Chilling,” Lucius added, with approval, “Though it needed some more gore.” Lucius could tell the others approved though neither Aramil nor Ryjac said anything. He heard Ryjac come to a halt up ahead. Aramil stopped as well and gave them the signal to halt. Lucius dimmed his light which had turned a bright violet. He looked up ahead, peering through the dark, as Ryjac came back into sight with a little smile,

“We’re here.”
 ********

No comments:

Post a Comment