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Post subject: Loose Pages in a Moldy Book
Posted: Jun 25, 2009 - 04:50 PM
Joined: Sep 29, 2007
|From Rats to Void Images to Lying Insanities
Moons ago, the sewers of Andris were invaded by rats and gooeys. A magical rat summoned the beasts in dozens. I happened to be in Andris at the time and helped to put an end to the plague. On one rat we found a moldy book and a jar. Daesyl gave me the moldy book for my studies. I never found out what the book was about. It didn't even remotely look like any other languages I had studied or stumbled upon, yet it seemed so familiar to me.
I was snoozing at the bank of Marali when he came to take it from me. Only Jade's cry of astonishment startled me out of my sleep. She was talking very quickly and it was hard for me to grasp a word. "Useless," I heard him say before he vanished. A mage, dressed in purple. And all of sudden, he was gone. A void image! I shaked the words out of Jade.
"She does not have it. Tell me who does. Useless." It. I was thunderstruck. How did they know? How did they get in here? Where did I put it? Cassandra. I gave it to Cassandra the night before. If the Void was looking for the book, she was in great danger. There was just one way to keep her safe: Take the book from her. I looked up and cast a glance at a red-robed figure.
(Claire): They want the book!
(Cassandra): Which book?
(Claire): The one I gave you.
(Cassandra): There is no book anymore.
I stopped breathing. Where did the beat of my heart go? And then I passed out. I was in such a state of shock, I can't remember a thing.
Later on, I found myself back at the bank, alone with Danery. I felt an overwhelming presence all around me. I tried to find its origine, but there was nobody else. Only the two of us.
"This one has the stench." - "Burn everything that is dear to her."
I looked at Danery, but she was entirely focusing on her woodcrafting. The feeling washed away, let me there all on my own. Confusion isn't even a word to describe my state of mind. The ranger beside me clearly hadn't heard anything, and we were surely alone. Knowing the ranger's hearing, I sensed something was utterly wrong. I didn't dare to say it out loud. Was I hearing voices? I was exceedingly alarmed.
When Cassandra came in, she tried to reason me. She would protect me, she said. But this time, it didn't give me the usual feeling of safety. She wouldn't be able to shelter me. I was feeling the urge to protect her. Not only her, all of them.
It had begun. We heard screams coming from the North gate, and I could tell all of us did. I won't forget the look on their faces. And the look on my face, reflecting in a pool of blood. Five of Marali's bravest men - dead. Murdered. I muttered a prayer.
Meredith beside me was getting nervous, people were gathering around, not certain about what they should do. None of us knew who or what had attacked Marali. With the fall of rain, burned trees appeared. Black as the ash I keep for my wizard. It was a message, they would burn everything dear to me. I wanted to tell the voices in my head, I didn't have it anymore! It was gone, she had told me!
(Claire): I don't have it!
(Kwesyther): Have what?
(Cassandra): It has been destroyed.
(Claire): Their damn book. She lies. I don't have it anymore. She who calls herself your best friend lies to you. What! Why would she? She has no use for it! Does she? Cass? Do you? Doubts.
(Claire): Where is it?
(Cassandra): Burnt, and dissolved in the green waters of the sewer.
She lies. Such a demonstration of friendship.
(Claire): You lie.
That is when it became clear to me: I would have to obey the voice, and I knew it was the right thing to do. But they wouldn't, wouldn't understand. I did not know who he was, softly in my head, and I knew they would mistrust, fear him till death. I had merely a few seconds to decide on what to do. Would I be to die, it would be easier for all of them to believe I had gone mad. Would I be to live, my friends would rather understand me being possessed than blindly following a voice in my head.
On the other hand, they would burn everything dear to me. Could I protect those who are dear to me by making them hate me? It was worth a try. I did and said terrible things that night, especially to the ones I love the most, but it was necessary. Maybe they shall forgive me someday.
I needed to take the book from Cassandra. She wasn't safe with it. But her anger was growing and each word she spoke was a thrust into my heart. I would stay strong, no matter how much I would have to suffer.
I followed her inside the bank, but as soon as I smelled smoke, I rushed outside. Cassandra didn't burn it, but had given it to Kwesyther, and the Blue Wizard was burning it now! This was the end, I had failed. Or had I? Cyric went after me to tell me the book wouldn't burn. Of course. It was protected by spells. They had tried to take it, but it wouldn't let them come close to it - luckily.
Thinking about it now, I hope I didn't scare them too much. I sounded rather insane, and it took me some guts to scream as I did. But seeing the reactions of my friends scared me more. Many were taking out their daggers and swords. The air was crackling, and I feared to be bolted by one of the many wizards. Especially Kwesyther, who I knew as calm and staidly, was being violent, threatening to kill me. Lenne alone tried to soothe them, bless her.
Suddenly the riot around me seemed so far away. I felt dizzy by his presence in my mind. He was talking to me again.
You need rest young cleric. This realm I can not visit you in...
... But the other, I shall.
I did not understand these words at first. In this realm? What was his realm? Maybe I could find him in Mirith! I would pass through the rift if I had to get to him! Yet, he had left me again. I recognized the ranger's voice. Danery. She proposed that I could lead them to him. I had of course no idea where I was going to, but it was into the direction of the closest realm I knew.
Marthonis The Scholar
* Mora Olsa Preldian *
They weren't part of the plan. Kwesyther seemed to regain his senses and stood between the Bone Lord and I. Of course Marthonis would want the book. It had to be 'studied' as they said. Studied? Bah. He probably would use it for his nasty business.
(Bone Lord): This book is required.
(Claire): You're not the one I'm looking for.
(Kwesyther): State your business and begone.
(Bone Lord): My business is the book.
(Kwesyther): As it is mine.
(Kwesyther): We'll have to fight over it.
(Bone Lord): I am aware of you.
(Kwesyther): I would not mind if you take it from Claire if you would. You see, I hate killing my comrades.
Had he been killing comrades before? I was slightly confused. Was he protecting me or was he protecting the book? Was he trying to get me killed, or was he saving me? I'd have given anything to change the voice in my head against Kwesyther's thoughts. However, I would not have given it to Marthonis or whoever would have asked it from me. Then, there was a misunderstanding.
(Bone Lord): But there is no reason why we should not merely bring you to us.
(Claire): To you? Bring me to him.
And with 'Him' I meant the voices in my head, not the bloody necromancer. The Bone Lord didn't seem to understand. I ended up close to the rift right in front of Marthonis. Shortly after, my friends and the people who had joined us arrived and surrounded us.
(Marthonis): Now, this book of yours?
(Claire): It's mine.
(Cassandra): Claire, come to your senses.
(Marthonis): She has full grasp of them.
Damn him. I knew it wasn't a good idea to be around him. He was revealing my tactic! Fortunately nobody ever seemed to listen to Marthonis.
(Marthonis): Now, the book.
(Nasrith): Excuse me, but, why should you have it?
(Marthonis): You wish it for yourself?
(Claire): He does!
(Marthonis): Of course he does, Claire. He is a rogue, and desires whatever he sees. It is simple. He does not appreciate its value, as you do. He wants it for its worth in gold, in petty material goods. Far below your knowledge of its worth.
Accusations, accusations. What was he trying to do? To manipulate me? Did I look so pathetic? Even better. I would prove him wrong. He should believe I had gone insane. I was improvising, I was babbling as much as I could. I even reminded myself of Kharoon.
(Claire): And he will come... And burn you.
(Marthonis): You speak of that? You have knowledge of that which seeks to burn?
(Claire): He talks to me... *speaks softly* He tells me the truth!
(Marthonis): The truth is just lies in guise. Do you know what he will do?
I admit, making him believe I was in contact with the Legion was quite mad, but it seemed to worry him enough to call me a cultist, which gave me some time to think about what I would do next. I was in the Kingdom of Mirith, close to the rift, and hadn't gotten any messages from the voices yet. Marthonis would try to set them against me, and I was quite trapped between friends and fiends. The dilemma was solved when Beleth came in sight.
(Beleth): What do you want from these people?
(Marthonis): Her book, my learned friend.
(Claire): Won't give it to him!
(Marthonis): You will want it soon too.
(Beleth): You heard her. She said she will not give it to you.
(Marthonis): She will not give it to you either.
(Beleth): I do not want it.
What a relief! Finally a person who did not want the book! My savior. I shall protocol their conversation as exactly as my memories allow it.
(Marthonis): Omines presaldian Aweryn.
(Beleth): Olisen mesalines.
(Marthonis): He will have it.
(Beleth): *raises chin*
(Marthonis): You remember surely?
(Beleth): How could I not.
(Marthonis): And she would deliver it unto him.
(Beleth): You are jumping to conclusions a bit too fast, fiend.
(Marthonis): I will show you one day that I am not. But your time has not yet come. Patience Beleth, patience. You have a great part to play.
(Beleth): Surely went out of control. Something disturbed. You are as clueless as we are, Marthonis.
(Marthonis): Everything comes in its time, Beleth. Everything comes. And this will come.
(Marthonis): Not you, not I, not even the Timeless could have stopped it. Even the Timeless.
(Beleth): Again, conclusions.
(Beleth): But as much as it makes my tongue hurts, I can only agree. For now.
(Marthonis): Would you see the Timeless try it?
(Beleth): Now is not the time.
(Beleth): I shall take these people to safety. Oliren m'esha, Marthonis. Do not forget.
Marthonis was alarmed enough to throw at least three lightning bolts at me. I was about to faint when I grabbed the little flask with my self-mixed full heal potion. I would have died if Beleth wouldn't have teleported me into the castle of Mirith.
A Night in Mirith
I wasn't the only one Beleth brought to safety. Until that day, I had no idea about how powerful the Royal Mage really was, but teleporting so many people at once - it was incredible. My eyes were closed, for I felt dazed and tired. All around me voices, just not the one I was looking for: The one in my head. Many were bragging, most were looking for Beleth. I believe Tuck was trying to get the book from me with their method of pressure. Mirithians are so used to get what they want! However, I was none of their usual preys, but when Beleth finally arrived, I sighed with relief.
All of us were agitated when Beleth fell to his knees. He was barely staggering on his feet, they were already over me again. "She's not safe with the book!" - "She will die!" - "We must take it from her!" - "Claire must give up the book!" I heard them shout through the crowd. Still weak, Beleth requested explanations. Half mumbling I embellished excuses and clarifications. The Black Mage of Mirith wanted to see the moldy book. All eyes riveted on us. I hesitated, took the book out of my bag, opened it, hold it up to him, not leaving it out of my fingers, and waited. He showed the same reaction as I did, the first time I opened the book. First he thought to know what it was. Then he realized it wasn't what he thought, and hurried to the library to look for what he thought. Pulling one book after the other out of the shelf and tossing one after the other to the ground. The ones who made it into the small room watched him with eager. What was he looking for? No one dared to speak, except one. Kwesyther's smart mind had guessed what Beleth was looking for.
(Kwesyther): The tome in Cecil's possession?
(Beleth): Cecil? Cecil... Of course! *picks up tome from the ground* Claire, come.
Despite many's disbelief, the patterns had a certain resemblance, whereas they weren't the same at all. It was very curious. A mystery, untill Beleth elucidated everything to us. I was close to feeling aggrieved, when he told me that I wasn't holding the book in the right direction. The book was written in reversed Ancient. Knowing what tongue the book was written in surely was a good thing, but sadly we wouldn't be able to read it without very inconvenient procedures. Beleth told us about how Cecil and him had been working with such a book before.
(Beleth): Unfortunately, that does not help us a lot. There is only one way to decypher reversed ancient. And we lost that mean moons ago. Cecil and I worked on decyphering a reversed ancient Tome, once. The Neth, surely you heard of it?
(nanasisan): The Neth!?
(Beleth): We found out that using a Golden Mirror made from the Curio itself... We were able to decypher it. *looks down* We lost the Golden Mirror during the invasion of Marali.
(Nasrith): The Twins?
(Beleth): I.. I do not know.
(Nasrith): All the more reason to go after them.
I suggested to make a new mirror, the Moon Curio had been split into three parts after all. Our hope came and faded away again when Beleth told us that many artifacts had disappeared in the bags of one or another before the invasion of the Black Hand. People around us were trying to help, some mentioned Citizens believed to be in the possession of a Curio part.
All the time I had been asking myself about what I would do if a maralian officer would ask me to give the book away. I was an Armswoman anyhow and I had to follow orders. Would I disobey to follow the voice? I didn't know, and still don't. When Commander Vaup entered the library, I tried to make a good impression. Most probably I failed. I was exhausted and could barely keep my mind clear. The Vicereine showed me the way upstairs into a lovely room. A comfy bed, food and fresh water was all I needed to feel... safe.
Safety and Mirith are two words which one should never try to put together, so far my experience tells. If I was protected? Very, even. The guards that had been assigned to my security seemed younger than the ones I knew from Marali, but it was enough for me to forget where I was and I drifted off to sleep.
Soon, my bed seemed to be floating like a raft in the middle of a strangely agitated water. Currents (Black Magic?) were coming and going in all directions, gently carrying me to (An island?) a floating room and its inhabitant, an elder, on whom Time itself seemed to have lost its grasp...
"Welcome to my realm, young Cleric."
I look. Alarming. Blurry. Abnormal. Fire? Things moving in all directions.
"Welcome to the " Void?
"I have seen things we are not allowed to."
Something (A flow?) crashes to the ground. A Beast emerges. Uproar.
"We fuel it. "
"We can't stop it."
Everything vanishes. Soothing place. Quiet sound of the waves.
"We can stop it."
The sunlight caresses my skin. My burden seems to vanish.
"Rest now, young Cleric. No one should have to carry the weight you have on your shoulders."
Shades of purple invade the sky. The day is ending. My eyes close. I am at peace.
"The Void is after me. It will come for you."
The voice of the old man is but a distant whisper now.
"Seek the Timeless."
Everything vanished. A servant opened the curtains. Sunlight bathed my room. The day was old already. She turned to me and greeted me with a smile. A quick glance at my bag revealed a corner of the book. I felt good. A new day began, and I asked the servant for some sheets of paper and ink. I took out my feather and after a short while she came back with what I had asked her for. Behind her was walking a little girl with a tablet in her hands. Food, fresh water and a little vase with a flower in it. Where had all my dislikes for Mirith gone?
Claire & Jane Hairje