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Silver Linings

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Silver Linings

Post  Colin Marcus on Thu May 23, 2013 9:24 pm

Kuthona 25th 4710

The waves crashed loudly on the side of their small boat as Nuari gripped the side carefully. He wasn't entirely certain which he disliked more. Sailing in general... or sailing with Skook driving.

The gnome was certainly more animated then normal when he was behind the wheel, yet the tiny monk still continued his exercising while apparently doing everything else too... It was dizzying to watch, and combined with the rough water, made the elf's head spin.

Nuaria was cold. Winter was not his idea of ideal weather in the best of circumstances. As the sun crept lower to the horizon and wrapped his cloak even tighter he thought of one who did not feel the cold.

Staggering towards the rear of the ship, he saw her there, mind drifting as she stared impassively out to sea.

"I think he may actually crash the boat and kill us all..." Nuari said with an attempt at humor. "Do you think that Barl can swim? We may need to use him as raft..."
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Morelen

Post  Saoirse on Fri May 24, 2013 12:22 am

Not only was her mind drifting, but Morelen's spirit drifted just off the stern of the keel boat, stretching ever farther from the desiccating tomb of her body. It was a difficult feat, but one she had been making great strides in over the last weeks on the water. Soon, she realized, she would be able to separate the two and pull the incorporeal completely from the physical, but only if she could let go of the fear. It was fear that tied her to the body in which she'd been placed. Fear of death... Fear of what lay beyond, or perhaps didn't in her case...

But now, after their visit to Magnimar today, there was a new fear. One which she'd thought had been put behind her. Dr. Noenn was alive, and to make matters even worse, he was working with a powerful benefactor. Someone that could create and control golems made of sky metal! What did this mean for her? What did this mean for the rest of the world!

One way or another, the psychopathic doctor would need to be put down and that meant that now, the sorceress had a new purpose...a new drive. It was more than making a name for herself before she died. Now she sought to take revenge on the man that destroyed her and in doing so save countless other lives from his madness. If that wasn't a motivating reason to live, she didn't know what was.

From a distance she heard the words of her elvish companion who stood beside her body. Not wanting to worry him, Morelen sent her spirit rushing back to its corporeal frame, which manifested itself in the sound of a sharp hiss as her lungs filled with the icy winter air.

"Barl...has neither the dexterity, nor...the coordination to swim," she exhaled and inhaled rapidly a few times to set herself right again. "He cannot even float. Though he could walk along the bottom of the bay but he'd most likely be torn to bits by the jigsaw sharks. Perhaps the creatures would leave undead flesh alone? I'm honestly not sure about that."

She turned her frosty blue eyes toward the sorcerer, only to realize that his question had been meant as a joke.

"Oh..." A smile splintered across her porcelain features. "I'm sorry my friend, I was a bit distracted."

The elf looked paler than normal and he clung to his cloak like a departing lover. "Nuari, are you okay? Why don't you take my cloak as well..."
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Nuari Stormcloud

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri May 24, 2013 5:12 am

He accepted the cloak gratefully. Chivalry is kind of lost when you know the lady is unaffected by cold after all.

"Thank you... I was actually going to ask you the same thing. You've been... distracted a bit more since finding out Noenn escaped.

"Are you ok?"
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Morelen

Post  Saoirse on Fri May 24, 2013 5:37 pm

It was with some suspicion that the sorceress weighed the concern in his voice. Could he really be concerned for her personally, or was he only concerned over what she might do if this news caused her wagon to 'turn a little too sharply to the left'? If so, how could she rightly blame him? He knew what she was. Nuari knew of the tentative grasp she held on life and the fog that encompassed her memories.

Only mere months had passed since she'd escaped from Dr. Noenn's dungeon and skulked her way to Sandpoint under cover of darkness. Whatever innate trust she might have had at her rebirth had been damaged beyond hope of repair, moreso considering recent events, but for some mad reason she'd trusted the elf with her secrets. Even in doing so, Morelen almost expected for her to regret that one day.

As she noted the honesty in his sky blue eyes...the openness and friendship, she felt shame wash over her and in that shame, turned her face away and back to the churning waters of the Varisian Gulf.

"Okay is not a state that I am familiar with," the sorceress admitted, "but I'm coping with the news. I think he must have known all along that someone would come for him, for the doctor was frighteningly calm when I saw him in his cell..."

She shook her shock white mane in disgust. "I should have stayed, Nuari. I should have stayed to see him dead instead of entrusting him to those incompetents! We had to deal with the murders though...the sihedron carvings...then with Xanesha and Lucretia... It...it seemed necessary that I go! I see now that I should've just killed him then when I had the opportunity and chanced being sent to The Hells. What would it have mattered? What would they have done? Hung me?" The golem laughed bitterly. "Sentenced me to life??"

Morelen screamed in frustration and the wind ripped the sound away from her lips as quickly as she loosed it, but the effort tore at her ravaged throat and sent her into a fit of hacking coughs. When she recovered she raised a canteen and took a long swallow.

"I was a fool, my friend." She turned back to face the elf, her teeth stained a sickening crimson from her beverage of choice. "I was afraid of him. I am afraid of him! Even locked away in that cell I was too afraid to face him let alone kill him! And now...now he's loose again, and because of my fear others will know that fear as well. Others will pay with their lives..."
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Nuari Stormcloud

Post  Colin Marcus on Sat May 25, 2013 6:48 am

"It was necessary to go," he said calmly though his eyes darkened at the thought of this doctor. "How do we decide which evil to chase and when?"

He sighed as he sat down carefully on the swaying boat. He decided then and there that he did not like sea travel... he didn’t like it at all.

"If we had stayed in Magnimar... the Rangers would have been eaten. The Dam would have flooded Turtleback Ferry, and it would still be raining and... plaguing everyone up. Everything we accomplished was done 'just in time.' We did good by leaving him in their hands." He was quiet for just a heartbeat before adding "actually, part of me is glad he escaped."
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Morelen

Post  Saoirse on Sat May 25, 2013 11:58 am

"What?!" Morelen startled at his admission. "How can you say that?"

She lowered herself to the deck of the boat and folded her legs beneath her, sitting close enough to Nuari that their knees almost touched. Between their dark clothing, pale features and white hair, the two of them looked like a pair of macabre bookends.

"You say that many innocents would have died had we not pursued our course at the time. You're probably right," she considered. "Your logic may have disarmed my guilt in this, but what good...what possible good can come from that man still drawing breath?!"
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Nuari Stormcloud

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri May 31, 2013 12:23 am

"Your memories," the elf stated simply.

"He has ALL the answers. Everything that you were, everything that was done to you... He may know how to save you...

"If he had... died, at the hands of the guards while we were gone, then all the answers would have died with him." His eyes were nearly pitch black now and the air around him seemed much warmer then it was mere moments ago. "It would have been a waste.

"If you still feel afraid of him... I will ask him the next time we meet. Usually people will do what I want regardless... but if he doesn't answer willingly, I can find other ways to ask."
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Morelen

Post  Saoirse on Fri May 31, 2013 12:54 am

From the blue of a clear, summer sky and now to pools of inky blackness. Morelen stared, momentarily entranced by his eyes and the power with which he spoke.

"Indeed, your charms cannot be underestimated," she chuckled, pressing her fingers to the point on her chest where she suddenly felt her lethargic heart shuddering in irregular time. She winced at the uncomfortable feeling. "Would that I had known you under different circumstances, Nuari. Perhaps in a body that was more...functional."

The sorceress raised her gloved hand to his cheek and offered her friend a smile of appreciation. She hadn't expected kindness.

"Dr. Noenn is aware of this failing body he created for me," she said as she returned her hand to her lap. "He was preparing to save me when I escaped, having already gathered most of the parts necessary to create a new body. That's all he knows. Life by way of death."

Her voice dropped to a whisper. "And I would rather die than to be stuffed into another meat stocking. I'd rather my past remain forever a mystery, than have that man put his hands on me again...

"There may be another source of answers though." Morelen pulled a a leather-bound book from a pouch hidden within the folds of her gown. "Dr. Noenn's journal."

Just holding the thing turned her stomach more violently than could the rolling ship. There was a sickening familiarity with it that she just couldn't place and made her feel all shades of unease.

She handed it to her companion.

"The writing is in some sort of cipher. I hope, that when the time comes I build up the courage, that perhaps you could help me make sense of it..."
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Nuari Stormcloud

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri May 31, 2013 1:11 am

"Absolutely," he said as he took the leather tome and stared at it. He recoiled and nearly dropped it as the reality of the leather struck him.

"Noenn... What kind of... What IS he?!?" The darkness slipped from his eyes as horror and confusion replaced unbridled anger.

"MEN don't DO this.... OGRES do this kind of thing..." Sadly, he was getting all to used to seeing things wrapped in human flesh.

"I have not wanted to burn someone as much as I want to burn him... Even the ogres were more self-preservation... Noenn I want to... to... hunt."
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Morelen

Post  Saoirse on Fri May 31, 2013 11:51 am

"As do I, my friend... As do I." Morelen relieved him of the morbid journal and secreted it away again within the fabric of her gown. "We may yet get the chance once Sandpoint is safe and this sihedron...cult worship is put down. A sky metal golem is a rare thing indeed and a good place to begin our inquiries if Dr. Noenn hasn't shown himself by then, and provided I'm still alive of course."

That was becoming less and less likely she knew. Just this afternoon after they'd boarded the ship, the sorceress had accidentally pulled out a chunk of her hair while tying it back to protect it from the whipping wind, and much to her disgust, a bit of scalp had come off too. Every day she was more glad of her hat of disguise...

"I seem to fade as my power grows," she confided in the elf, "and lately things seem to have been picking up pace in both regards."

Quickly she opted for a change of subject, not eager to reveal how bad things had gotten. "Your own power seems to have increased exponentially, but even more impressive, your control over that power! The elf I met at the Swallowtail Festival was terrified to use his abilities."

The memory seemed so long ago now....

"Had this been three months ago, your rage toward Doctor Noenn would've set this whole boat alight, and I can't even imagine what would've happened when you were confronted with that devil at Skull's Crossing!"

Morelen had been certain that there was going to be point blank fireball leveled in that room that would've swallowed them all, but her companion stepped back from his fury and controlled the fires that burned so hot within himself.

"What changed, Nuari?" She asked curiously. "How did you learn to control it?"
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Nuari Stormcloud

Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:49 pm

"I'm... I'm not sure I have." The elf was shocked by this change of subject. "I still feel... unsure of myself. The power is growing, and growing fast... So far I've been able to find... releases for it, but if I lose focus, I don't know what will happen."

His eyes twitched as he remembered the devil sitting in the machine at the dam. "I wanted to... kill? Destroy that monster... Burning I don't think would have worked... but to hear that... thing, beg for mercy?!? I have never been so... offended in my life. There is no word in abysall or Infernal for mercy... The only thing they know of it, is when their victims are screaming for it!"

He closed his eyes and forced himself to relax. His hands still twitched, till he clenched them into fists.

"I used to dream about coming face to face with... whatever it was that killed my mother." Nuari winced at the old memories. While the word 'father' never crossed his lips, it was written on his face. "I couldn't let that thing escape..."
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Morelen

Post  Saoirse on Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:51 pm

"Nor could I." Morelen's lip twitched up into a sneer. "His release was never an option in my mind. He may have been an unwilling and tortured servant of the runelord of greed for millennia, but there are far too many beings working toward evil ends in this world. Too many even in Varisia alone! No, death was the only freedom he was to find on this plane. "

She took another long swallow from her canteen before delicately wiping the corner of her mouth with a single gloved finger.

"But speaking of hunting... Do you have any leads we could follow to find those responsible for...for what happened to your mother?" The sorceress didn't want to poke at the wound, but if she could help her friend, she would do what she could with what time she had left.

"If we could discover the name of the devil accountable for the tragedy," she considered, "we may, in that, find some power we could use over him."
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Nuari Stormcloud

Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:52 pm

"No." Nuari whispered almost inaudibly. "Atartoro Kadrethi... my uncle in the more common tongue told me that he had killed everyone.

"It was... a mistake that haunted him for years." He forced a twitch of a grin. "Perhaps not all of my temper comes from other planes...

"Regardless, he told me there were no survivors. Nothing that could tell him what they were doing or what creature was involved...

"I tried to do some research of my own... but really, there wasn't much I COULD do... I have an.. innate knowledge of things, but nothing that gives me a direction to hunt..."
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Morelen

Post  Saoirse on Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:52 pm

She grimaced at his words, understanding all too well the frustration he must feel. Simply not knowing why you are the way you are... Impotent to take proper vengeance...

"I'm sorry," was the meager support Morelen could offer, though it was given in honest sympathy. "In your uncle's place, it would be difficult not to do the same, for thinking clearly in such a terrible situation seems as if it would be impossible."

Tugging at her collar, her finger grazed against the ever-widening sutures around her neck, and Morelen grimaced again before issuing a raspy sigh.

"How have you dealt with it for so many years, Nuari? What is it that motivates you to go on in the face of such...darkness? I'll admit that there are days when I wonder why I bother fight so hard to keep breathing, and I've only been conscious for the last seven months."
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Nuari Stormcloud

Post  Colin Marcus on Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:42 pm

"Elves... see time differently," he stated matter of factly. I had already lived a solid human's lifetime before I was even told my mother's story.

"Afterwards?? It was difficult. Always being different... knowing something is wrong..." He let a long, slow breath out as he stared off into the sea.

"These last few months though? Its been easier. Helping people, being a 'Hero of Sandpoint'... having someone to talk to about this...

"It's given my curse a... purpose."
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Morelen

Post  Saoirse on Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:40 pm

Morelen nodded and in what seemed to be an awkward and unfamiliar reaction, reached out a gloved hand to squeeze his. For her, it was a show of solidarity. His story resonated so clearly. To find a purpose...a point to this life. Whether a person lives for seven months or seven hundred years, she supposed they all desired one similar thing. A life of meaning.

"Nuari, you have such promise," she began in her once silk-smooth voice, which had taken on something of a raspy quality over the past month. "I know you believe, or once did, that your powers were made only for destruction, but you've shown that to be so far from the truth! You've been helping to protect innocents from the dark magics that once threatened to consume you. Within you lies a strength and a perseverance that could only have come from your mother.

"One day, the people will know all that you've done for them and they will appreciate you for who you are. For everything you are..."

The sorceress winced as she swallowed hard. "I don't know how long I have, but I need you to know that I hope you find real happiness someday, my friend. Happiness and peace. I hope that someday you can return to your people and find them more welcoming, for living too long in a human settlement will only ensure that you are forever surrounded by death. Not a fate I would wish upon anyone..."
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Nuari Stormcloud

Post  Colin Marcus on Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:40 am

"Hmmph.." Nuari almost chuckled. "Not the first time I've been compared to the forlorn...: " He could feel the chill through the gloved hand and knew it was more then weather. The thought distressed him. Having few friends in the world, he wasn't prepared to lose any just yet.

Though that may be beyond any of their power.

"I... do believe my powers are for destruction. It's what I do... Lately, I think I've just come to accept that some things deserve to be destroyed... It's an interesting outlook to say the least.

'We're discovering new things every day Morelon... magics that haven't been seen in millenia. I haven't given up on a cure for you, any more than you were willing to abandon Aldern.

"Provided of course we survive the next couple days," he said as his eyes drifted forward to their ship's destination. They were heading back to Sandpoint with the full intention of saving it from an army of giants and a dragon....

"Have you ever seen an actual dragon before?"
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Morelen

Post  Saoirse on Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:06 am

"Well, Doctor Noenn didn't keep any in his meat locker," the golem smirked, bearing an unusually pointed incisor, "and since then I've been with you all. Before that?" Morelen pondered a moment, sifting through fragmented memories, but finally shook her head. "I can't recall that I have, no, for what little that means."

A dark shape drifted down on silent wings from the mast. Nevermore, feathers puffed up for warmth, found a less tumultuous perch upon Morelen's knee as she sat on the deck. The raven ticked his head to the side and the pair looked at each other for a moment before she carefully scratched the ruff beneath his chin.

"I assume that the dragon is of some concern to you," she continued to the elf. "Is this because you have faced them before, or because you haven't?"
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Nuari Stormcloud

Post  Colin Marcus on Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:36 pm

A pale eyebrow creeped up as he stared incredulously at his friend.

"Me? No... no I have not. I've heard the stories though. Even the people who have faced dragons, rarely claim it wasn't worriesome.

"Are you really not concerned?"
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Morelen

Post  Saoirse on Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:05 am

"Let's just say a dragon is not at the top of my list of concerns." Morelen shrugged stiffly. "I've seen us deal very quickly with single threats now that we've gotten some experiece fighting as a team. I'm not saying it can't be a problem, just that I see an 'army' of giants as a greater threat to Sandpoint. Even more than that," she went on, "I'm most concerned and curious about what they're after. What they are after and why they are after it!

"I have to assume that it is something in the ruins beneath Sandpoint. The runewell? Certainly that could be a problem if it's power could be harnessed, but that is a runewell of Wrath and it would take Wrath to power it," Morelen considered. "Maybe that's what the dragon and giants are going to do? Bring wrath to Sandpoint? But how does that tie in to the siphoning of Greedy souls?"

She wheezed out a sigh of frustration.

"I will need to speak with Brodert Quink once we reach town. He might have just the insight to connect all these pieces of the puzzle."
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Nuari Stormcloud

Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:40 pm

He shrugged as he listened to her reasoning. "Maybe it's the fear of the unknown? I mean... we've fought giants already now, and done okay against them... They're like 'us' only bigger.



"NOT something I want to fight often or anything... but it's a known 'thing'... Dragons on the other hand?? We beat a dragon, and we'll have earned the title 'Heroes."

Truthfully they've already fought impossible odds and won; earning the title repeatedly. Nuari however still felt swept along in the tides of fate. Pushed along by the machinations of others and usually not very heroic at all.

For a moment he wondered if all heroes felt that way...

"As for what they're after, your right... it's gotta be something down there. Maybe there's something else behind that locked door that Nualia was working so hard to open? Besides the demon monster of course... We never did explore it much."
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Morelen

Post  Saoirse on Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:58 pm

"Another loose end I am eager to tie up." She grimaced at the thought of the barghest, though her mind was suddenly filled with Misgivings.

Morelen very much wanted to see the accursed house purified and set right. She still held the deeds and the Brothers of the Seven had been put down or imprisoned after the Skinsaw Murder fiasco, so perhaps she could work something out with the Lord Mayor in Magnimar...for services rendered of course, and have ownership of the house transferred to herself and the other Heroes of Sandpoint.

There really was nowhere else she'd rather spend her final days than in that old house by the crashing sea. Perhaps there, Aldern Foxglove could be given a proper burial at his family's estate, or if she could discover a way to restore the man, then he would have a home to return to.

More pressing matters first, the sorceress reminded herself after chasing a brief flit of hope in a moment of whimsy. Fact was, she was more likely to be buried there herself than to take up residence. A point to include in her will.

"It's true that we need to yet deal with Malfeshnekor, but his prison lies below Thistletop, not Sandpoint. There were many things that might be of interest to them in those ruins, but the note we found on Barl indicated that what they were seeking lies below Sandpoint specifically. I can only think of the runewell. However, I've little doubt that further excavation of the site could reveal more secrets of the Thassilonian Empire.

"I wonder if they've discovered another runewell," she mused. "One from Karzoug's realm... The one below Sandpoint once stood in Bakrakhan. Alazanist's realm. I wonder what activating multiple runewells would accomplish, if anything. Armies perhaps? Sinspawn were born from the runewell we found."
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Nuari Stormcloud

Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:59 pm

"Maybe... I don't know..." He shook his head as listened to the strange names. Not a scholar of the ancient empire himself, he made no qualms about getting them confused.

"It's gotta be connected somehow... 10,000 years lost... If ONE form of ancient lost magic had been found... that could be dismissed fairly easily. Two however? Multiple sources of their empires?

"It's gotta be connected."
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Morelen

Post  Saoirse on Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:34 am

Morelen nodded slowly in agreement. "The empire was immense and there are many sites that have been found throughout Varisia, but in the last three months...so much as been uncovered. From Sandpoint to Hook Mountain, we are finding the thumbprint of the runelords everywhere.

"And these," the sorceress reached out and tapped the small seven pointed star that hung around the elf's neck. "We keep finding these."

Brodert had been so excited when they first recovered the one that Nualia wore. How many have they found since then two? Three? Even a giant sized one for Barl. Were these gifts for faithful followers or leaders in...whatever this was? If so, from whom? The name Mokmurian still hung over her like a pall. The pendants certainly didn't seem as ancient as so many of the other antiquities they'd discovered, but magic stands the test of time. Morelen couldn't believe that it was coincidence.

"Nuari, how...comfortable...are you wearing this?" Her brows crushed together in rumination. "Skookumchuk has never mentioned any ill-feelings, and I know the magic is quite beneficial, but I am curious."
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Nuari Stormcloud

Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:59 pm

Nuari looked back to the gnome steering the ship and shook his head. "I'm not sure Skook really looks too deeply at things... Gnomes seem to take a very practical and immediate response to things... Or maybe that's just our two."
 
He looked down at the amulet that he wore and supressed a shiver.

"No... I can't say I'm comfortable with these at all... I keep trying to tell myself that the benefits outweigh their... history?" His mouth tightened as he struggled with the word. It didn't quite fit, but it would do for now.
 
"I've seen this symbol carved into too many dead to enjoy having it bounce on my chest..."
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