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About crucifixcrusader

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    Kentucky, United States
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    Hiking, writing (of course), big-big gamer, mixology, little bit of everything really except american football I suppose.

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  1. Hey Knights, during this interesting time in our lives I'm sure many of us have turned to music to help cope. I in particular fancy synth as one of my favorite genres of the medium so to kick off a little series I want to start (And to give this blog some love .___.), I thought I'd share one of my all time favorites. It's mellow, but has a slight moment where the tempo picks up, nevertheless I turn to this track for both uncertain and dark times, and for times where I just wanna relax and let that music flow through me. As featured in the video game Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number this is Dust by M.O.O.N, hope you guys enjoy!
  2. Sooyer burst into the barracks the madness of the dispersing crowd shouting behind him, merely echoes in his shaken mind. Blood dripped from his face, as he shuffled his way towards a washing basin. The crystal-clear water, being pierced and infiltrated by the crimson blooms. The image in his mind would haunt him, the searing, stinking flesh, only overcome by the stench of his own body. “Sire?” Sooyer mindlessly pushed the guard aside, coming to his senses he rushed to his side helping him to his feet. “I’m sorry lad, just a little shaken.” He nodded understandably, crowds dispersed, for the most part, a couple of volunteers have gotten to work on the bodies-” “Very well, thank you,” he held up his hand, “I’ll be moving to my quarters upstairs, let me know when it’s done.” The soldier nodded and wasted no time. The shuttered captain made his way upstairs, upon opening the door, moving straight to removing his dirtied armor, sitting down next to a small woodstove oven he began to clean and polish his armor. It wouldn’t be long until a timid knock rang on his door. “Yes?” Sooyer asked, working on his breastplate. “It’s Kell captain.” “Oh, come inside.” Kell swooped in closing the door behind him. “Are you alright?” “Quite fine, better then I would of been if you hadn’t of intervened.” “I didn’t want to-” “I know,” He put the breastplate aside and stood up, stay awhile, have some wine, we both could use it I’m sure.” “Are you sure-” “You saved my life today,” Sooyer had already begun pouring sweet red into two goblets, “Don’t be bashful.” he handed a full goblet to Kell, Kell sitting opposite to the captain after being gestured to. “Have we heard anything from Cedar Rock?” Sooyer asked, taking a sip. “Nothing reliable, but even more strange, one of their caravans we’re hit about a week prior. A bunch of summs expected to perform for the lord Clairwhite.” “What? Why hadn’t they reported sooner?” “Lord Clairwhite wasn’t concerned they said. ‘Bunch of lazy summs a day behind’ they said.” “Figures,” Sooyer took another, generous, drink his wine, “No doubt the Magisterium has people on their way, I don’t know what we’re going to tell them.” “The truth Captain, we’re up to our necks after what happened out there today, people are scared,” Kell shuffled a bit uncomfortably, “Charles is-” “Charles? Where is he?” “He was knocked out during the madness, pretty bruised up...he doesn’t know about Ms. Honeyhall yet.” “By Helianos…” “Do you want me to?-” “No. I’ll handle it tomorrow…” he took a large gulp of his wine, grabbing the bottle to refill his cup, “Would you just look at the mess we’re in this time Kell, no count, no paramount, I may not even get the chance to talk to Charles before the Magisterium puts me in binds.” “Captain you were here in Milem when it happened to handle the Honeyhalls.” “I know I should have been with Count Leeris, maybe we wouldn’t be in this predicament.” “No disrespect to your skill but, if you had been there sir I don’t think it could have changed much,” Kell took a drink holding the goblet up for Sooyer to pour more in, “It was an ambush, I’m quite glad you weren’t present honestly.” “Well I suppose breathing is nice, nevertheless, the Paramount of Capricorn gone means so much more, it’s only a matter of time before the Sparrows start marching through.” Kell chuckled heartedly, his wine arcing in his glass. “The day the Sylloquiem army starts marching up North to Capricorn would certainly be the day.” Silence fell between the two for some time, Sooyer gazing into the flames of his stove, Kell merely laying his head back against the chair, brooding. “Funny is,” Sooyer began, topping off his glass and offering the same to Kell who obliged, “When I was a boy something eerily similar to this whole...Peter thing happened. I must confess, however, It was far more tragic.” “How long ago, and what was this?” Kell curiously asked, settling into his chair with a generous dose of wine. “I think about twenty, twenty-three years? I was about ten and my father was still captain of the guard, but there was this girl who was the daughter of a seamstress, like sixteen or so, her name was Tahlia, about like Peters age. She had this gift…” he took a drink of his wine. “Gift?” “Gift.” Sooyer finished his goblet and put it aside, “She had this strange way with animals you see, like for example, Stonecypher ranch just east of here, at the time they had a severe problem with this pack of wolves who kept butchering their chickens. The season had been poor, and they couldn’t afford a beastmeister to hunt them so they reached out for help here in town. Tahlia was one of the first to approach to volunteer. Though they declined she insisted, and the very next evening they say that the pack of wolves were found next to her sleeping in the grass, calm. Not one chicken hurt.” “No way, she had bait or something!” Kell protested, Sooyer merely shaking his head. “That’s what everyone would say, until just two months later a boy went missing and she detailed exactly where he was claiming she saw him through the eyes of a montawk that was flying.” “Creepy.” “It would only be the beginning, she often played with animals and this one boy…” he snapped his fingers in thought, “Malakai! If I remember correctly.” “How does this girl remind you of Peter?” “Well you didn’t let me finish, you see, the Magisterium hears about this girl, and a whole legion of Calvery rode in, sparrows!” “Sparrows?” “White capes and ornate armor, had to be twenty or thirty of them, they came riding into the town and their commander immediately arrested her upon sight.” “What why?” Kell finished his glass. “The laws we still have. The Laws of Light, I hardly understand them but they called what she did ‘druidry’ and held a trial the very next day, Paramount Lazus, snow-skulled as ever, sentenced her to the usual crime for such practices-” “Death?” Kell shrugged. “Yes,” the captain simply nodded as he picked up the wine and reloaded the pairs goblets, “Same one Peter would have faced, had he not of chosen the Way of Old. The flames.” “A cruel and evil punishment.” Kell spat. “Perhaps. I suppose it depends on the wood.” “Was that the whole story?” “Well no, but….I stood next to my father and watched it happen, heard the screams turn to gurgles, smelt burnt hair and searing flesh as the fire died down and they were bringing her down from the post.” “Done?” Kell gulped, turning his face in disgust. “My point is….The snow hollow in the woods, they threw those who were burnt in there.” “We still do.” “Well at the time it was just her, we hadn’t cleansed someone in years, least not in my life….her body was gone the very next day...no bones...no nothing. Even previous bones from centuries past, gone.” “How can that be possible?” Kell asked, perplexed, Sooyer, shrugging and shaking his head. “Well I suppose there was one thing.” “Go on?” “Well inside the hollow, my father said; ‘the entire floor of the inside was melted, along with the pathway up to the entryway.” Once again, quiet fell between the two, as the oven next to them continued to burn, crackle, and pop. “Malakai? What of him?” “Honestly?” He finished his last cup, “He came as he went, nobody has any idea.” Jacks eyes gently opened up, the familiar stench of salt, and rolling waves of the ocean all too familiar to him. He stared at the roof of the ship, looking around at the other hammocks dangling about. Was he simply just now waking up? Everything prior but a dream? He checked his clothing, cleaner even than the day he had even set sail! He leaned up, nearly smacking his face on the floor as he flipped out of the hammock. Scurring up and moving slowly towards a partisan separating the deck. “Sounds like the boys awake eh?” peeking through the partisan he saw two of the crewmembers, lounging next to cannons sharing a flask. “Aye, don’t think the introductions will be pleasant.” “What about that one lad they dragged with him?” Jack burst from the partisan, the crewmembers lighting up at the boy. “Ah, morning to you.” “Where’s Leo?” “Is that the boys name Kelven?” “Something like that Bram, this kid don’t need to know that though eh?” Kelven winked. “Aye,” the pair returned to each other ignoring Jack “So about that other runt, what was his name?” Jack shook his head, moving towards the stairs towards the upper deck, the snickers of the pair not unnoticed. The ship was clearly different, having double the cannons, and overall different, more elegant wood and frame. The ship was currently sailing out of port. “Ah, look who’s awake!” Jack turned towards the quarterback a gloved waving hand visible above the stairs, he stormed up the stairs ready to yell before seeing Leo, Azuel, and Malcolm all sitting at a worn wooden table with various metal cups and a large tea kettle, just behind what appeared to be the captain of the ship. “Hey Jack,” Leo smiled, “Saved you a seat!” he patted at a chair next to him, and Jack cautiously moved over to the table and sat. “So,” Malcolm began, “Jack I believe we got off on the wrong foot-” “Why am I here?” “Well if you’d let me-” “Malcolm,” Leo cut him off, turning to Jack, “He’s offering us an easy job, he isn’t here to harm us apparently. I had my doubts as well.” “So who are you then?” Jack addressed the two strangers. “My name is Malcolm Stormholt, I am a Magistrate for the Magisterium, this is my right hand Azuel Shes-Never-Told-Me, my personal bodyguard and now lucky for you yours as well.” Azuel simply nodded from across the table. “I...I’m not sure what to say honestly,” Jack kept looking around at the world around him, as the ship began to sail out of Tallisk, “How did you find me Leo?” “Funny story,” Malcolm chimed in. A tired and annoyed Malcolm had spent the past half of an hour steadily using his wand to dance a glowing needle through the various slacks of burlap he had now had, piles of salt gathered around him, and an unconscious, filthy Jack laid on the ground next to him. He was thankful that it had been late enough to limit the foot traffic, despite his sanctuary in a secluded alleyway, with only the moonlight and his energy lighting the area. The click-clack of footsteps echoing down the halls of the city, halted Malcolm from his spellcasting, as a shadow stretched across the wall running forward he ducked behind some random crates. Peeking through the rubble he saw a solid silhouette sprint towards him. “Jack? Hey is it you?” The figure stopped over the body, “Shit it is! Hey come on wake up!” Malcolm burst from the crates. “I’m afraid He’s coming with me sir, I’ll have to ask you to leave.” “Who the hells are you?” the figure scoffed, as Malcolm’s wand came alit illuminating both Leo and his face. “I’m with the Magisterium, I need him for questioning, I have no intention of-” “Yeah I know who you are, Jack told me some people were after him. I feel like you have better things to deal with no?” Leo’s fists kept clenched as the two locked eyes.asf “Name your price.” “Price?” Leo shrugged, “No, you can’t have him that’s it.” “Well look I don’t have time to play games with you so if you don’t step aside in the next five seconds, this wand is going to switch your brain with your stomach kid.” “Five.” “What?” “Four.” Leo began to step closer. “Okay stop.” “Three.” A dark grin began to form across Leos face before Malcolm pushed him away. “Enough!” Malcolm put his hand up, Leo stopping still ready to pounce, “You can come with me alright? I don’t want to hurt him, I need him.” “Why would the Magistrate possibly need him he’s just some kid trying to start a new life, we both are.” “Well besides the fact, that he,” he pointed to Jack, “at the very least is a wanted man, but I have nothing to do with that...I’m in all technicality committing treason honestly.” Leo’s face began to relax. “You can come if need be, but I need him, I’m willing to pay both of you obviously, I was trying to tell him everything before he ran from me, nearly killed us both.” “Yeah, how much?” “Enough to start that new life.” Leo gave pause, clearly pondering the proposal. “I don’t know if I can speak for him but...I’m willing to trust you as far as I can reach...what were you even doing back here?” Leo gestured at the mounds of salt around him. “Well, I needed to empty these burlap sacks so I could make a bigger sack and just say that he’s a sack of potatoes or something?” “Truly?” “Well, I don’t know I’m running on somewhat of a clock I got to [pick up a few things on the way to the ship.” “Ship?” “You’ll see. With you here now and on my payroll, however, I think I have a much better plan.” “Good evening gentlemen!” a pair of guards posted at the entrance of dock fourteen lifted their tired heads to a drunken boy, stumbling towards them, a bottle in one hand. “Get lost, no booze for you here!” one of them yelled, prompting the drunk Leo to simply raise his arms giving a hearty smile. “Looks like there’s booze here to me my brothers!” he cheered holding his own bottle in the air triumphantly. “Alright get out of here, man sober up-” the soldier was halted by the shattering of glass and burning pain of the alcohol against his facial cuts, his partner on the ground gripping his helmet, the other guard sprinted after Leo, who slipped into the denser crowds within the district. An elusive Malcolm stepped out of the shadows and moved quickly past the still babbling, and bleeding soldier. Moving down the dock he made his way to the administration, happy to see that it was locked and closed up for the night, a simple wave of his wand got him in, a thankful sigh upon seeing the horde of thugs that had jumped him crammed into the one large community cell, the bars locked in stone, and the door thick and steel. “Oh how nice to see some familiar faces in this city!” he exclaimed happily, closing the door behind him he wasted no time searching the room. “You tricked us!,” the same ringleader from before stood up, featuring a large purple left eye, swelled to the point where he practically had only one, “You said no guards!” “Probably no guards,” Malcolm opened one of the chests, finding useless paperwork and scrap, “besides not sure why you would have taken my word anyway.” “You’re not going to like when we get out silk-rug.” “When?” he began looking through the drawers of the various desks around the room, “You aren’t getting out, least not with freedom. Stealing from the Magisterium is a serious crime you should know that. Ah perfect!” he finally reclaimed his pocket watch and the red jeweled amulet with seemed to fluctuate in pulsing. “Well boys, I hope we do meet again none the less good night.” he walked out, catching one final glimpse of the evil eye that stared him down leaving, as he closed the door. Returning to the entrance he found the wounded guard gone, a mere splatter of blood in his place, taking the advantage he went down one of the alleyways, nearby and picked up a large sack of potatoes as his pocket began to vibrate. “Interesting.” Jack managed, Malcolm stood from the table, Azuel following, perhaps you two should catch up a little, it’ll be a long voyage to Sidmilia so get cozy. Come Azuel, you had something to discuss?” She nodded and the two made their way down the steps towards the bow of the deck. Leaving only the captain and the two boys on the quarter deck. “Aren’t you glad he didn’t introduce the man who owns the boat?” The captain asked, his eyes still forward, “I’m Captain Greggor by the way, I understand we haven’t been formally acquainted. Just stay out of the crews’ way and don’t bother me and we will get along just fine, Aye?” The pair simply nodded, exchanging a look between the two. “Aye?” Greggor reiterated more sternly. “Yes captain!” “Aye captain!” “Good, now get off my deck, go do something.” Jack and Peter got up moving down to the main deck, the captain sighing and shaking his head as the two left. What have I gotten myself involved with? The sun shined ever so bright down on Peter who sat, legs and arms stretched out in the summer grass, basking in the beautiful heat. The smell of lavender danced through the wind into Peters’ nostrils he felt truly in Paradise. There it was. His eyes flickering open the blue sky seemed to dull to a monochrome, all around him colors began to seemingly drain. “Why are you here?” Peter turned, the same man he had encountered in the woods after the breakout, stood at the edge of the forest, leaning against the tree, the grass wilting and steaming slightly at his feet. “What?” “Why are you here?” the voice rang in his brain, sending waves of needles along the back of his neck and down his spine sending him to the ground clenching throughout his body. “I...I seek paradise...The paradise you spoke of!” “Paradise?” another jolt in Peters body at his hip, “The road to paradise is as our relationship to the stars above. Remote. Far.” Peter felt as if his stomach was spilling out of a tear in his abdomen. “You lied?-” I did not lie!” Peters right arm twisted and deformed the snapping and crackling of bone too much as he let out a blood-curdling scream. Peter shot awake, taking in the cold night air around him, scanning for any threats. His horse stood next to a tree close to the path, Peter had taken a quick nap behind a tree, but merely feeling weaker and more tired every time he awoke. His stomach gave a growl of need, Peter merely biting his lip, the stomach-churning now painful. Grabbing a clump of snow from a taller mound he began to suck on the snow. “I didn’t lie.” Peter drew his sword pointing it at the origin of the voice. It was the same mysterious stranger, he stood petting Peters horse who grunted in satisfaction. “Who are you?” Peter stood, “Who are you really?” “Let’s call myself a...discouraged leader.” “That doesn’t answer much.” “Neither does your progress,” the stranger patted the horse before moving around and closer to Peter, “Sleeping when merely halfway through the Sin-Eater Woods, I sense weakness.” “What you sense doesn’t matter, I’m not weak.” “Then come to Paradise!” The stranger began toying with one of the many sin-eaters dangling from the trees. “If you aren’t weak you will confront the trial today then. I suggest you get moving.” “Or what?” The man shrugged, turning his attention back on Peter. “Well, let’s just say I can tell you aren’t top of your nutrition. So weak, malnourished even maybe. But I suppose you do have a fallback.” He patted the horse once again, giving a wink. “It won’t come to that.” “Your trial. I would simply suggest haste. Take it as….a hint.” “A hint? Hearing a creak behind him he turned away to find nothing, and upon turning back to find the stranger gone once again. With a deep sigh, Peter lugged himself over the horse, mounting up. It won’t come to that.
  3. Nightfall was upon the city of Tallisk, Malcolm and Azuel were on their fifth ale. “Is he still down there?” “Feels like it,” Malcolm took a sip of his ale, “He’s probably not getting out without help, I’m in no rush.” “Shouldn’t you be?” Malcolm shook his head, finishing the rest of his ale in one gulp. “Like I said, don’t think they’re going anywhere, besides would you be in a rush to wade through sewage in dark corridors alone with no sense of direction or tools?” “No, I’d like to get off this island before the council finds out your intentions.” Malcolm, took a handkerchief out of his shirt pocket, cleaning his face off. “Well, if you're so pressed for time, you go ahead and start towards the ship, I’ll go ahead and fetch him.” He threw a pouch of gold that spilled out onto the bar top, lighting up the exhausted barkeep. “Blessings upon you strangers!” he yelled as the two made their way through the dense nighttime crowd. “A city with wine flowing through the very fountains and you still spend a small fortune on imported ale.” “Wine touched by the hands of possibly millions of impoverished people, I think I’ll splurge on some untouched ale in a barrel.” He broke down an alley, “Go to the ship, this won’t take that long!” he yelled jogging down the alleys. Azuel started to yell something back but simply shook her head and made her way to the docks. After a few minutes, he began walking slowly down the alleyways, taking a red jeweled amulet out of his pocket, he observed the gem, as it faintly pulsed in his hand, he began to sweep the alleyways, waiting for a vibration or extra pulse. “There you are!” he exclaimed out loud, the gem vibrating wildly in his hand, he placed it back into his pocket, still vibrating. He took a collapsible wand out of his pocket and opened it, the jeweled tip beginning to glow as he started to wave- “Halt there!” Malcolm collapsed the wand and turned his hands behind his back. “Ah, Evening sir!” “What's that behind your back?” a second man came from the shadows in his peripherals, followed by another, as he backed himself against the wall of a building. “Oh haha, this?” he held up the collapsed wand, “Oh you don’t want this gentleman.” “Oh, but I think we do boyo, pretty things that glow always fetch a fair price,” they all began to draw various knives and a couple had clubs, it wasn’t belong before Malcolm was surrounded by the thugs, “Hand over the jewel, and the big one you put in your pocket, and we just might let you walk with just some bruises.” “Well what an excellent deal but I’m going to have to pass. However!” he held up an index finger, “I have something that could interest you, boys, though, if not turn your attention from my doings entirely.” “Ay, and what would that be silk rug?” “In. For.Mation.” the posse broke out into laughter. “Info doesn't work for us silky, no deal.” “You didn’t let me finish,” he took a pocket watch out, and held it up by the chain, “Dock fourteen, in about three hours, middle of the night might I add, a ship will be docking hauling precious elixirs and even some gold, on behalf of the Magisterium.” “You’re bluffing!” “Oh? And my hair? I know you know who I am and who I represent, thus you should also expect an inkling of what I am capable of doing.” He threw the watch to the suspected ringleader, “Three hours, the ship will only be docked long enough to haul the goods into warehouse fourteen, since it’s an overnight shipment city guard will probably assume minimal threat.” The thieves began to whisper among themselves, the ringleader stashed the watch away and pointed his blade at Malcolm. “How do we know you’re not lying.” “Insurance? Here.” He threw the red vibrating gem at the man's feet, the gem vibrating violently against the cobblestone, “Now I’m going to get that back from you, but of course I assure you the shipment they’re bringing in will pay your way anywhere, all of you.” some of the thugs began to move in, ready to rob Malcolm anyway. “Stop!” The ringleader moved forward and shoved the thugs back, “We have what we came for, let's get ready,” as the thugs dispersed he turned and pointed back at Malcolm, “We catch roaming the alleys again silk rug, better have some more tips like that haha!” they sprinted off, Malcolm took his wand back out extending it back and returning to focusing on the middle of the alleyway., the wand dancing through the air he swooped down spinning on his heels whilst pointing the flickering wand towards the ground, the bricks around him starting to dance and coil around him as the bricks under his feet slowly elevated him into the earth as the swirling bricks neatly stacked above him covering the ground above him, leaving the shifting colorful glow of his wand to light the tunnel around him, as the soil below shifted and moved to accommodate Malcolm. Jack awoke to the pebbles around him vibrating as well as the stonework around him. He stood up, the ceiling cracking slightly, as the brick wall to his right-shifted out and moved to the side, revealing a white-haired, silk dressed man. Jack moved to the edge of the waterway, nearly slipping into the filth. “Ugh, you look utterly disgusting!” Malcolm exclaimed, with a wave of his wand, light encompassed Jack, filling the tunnels with the mixed scent of juniper, mint, and the musk of the sewage. When the light expelled, Jack's clothes and face seemed clean, the smell and even the taste in his mouth seemed to be gone, “Don’t look so impressed, I just don’t want you tracking that filth on such a nice ship, now come on.” Jack began to nervously step forward, before stopping and looking back towards the tunnel. “I can't leave my friend, he's still down here, I’m not leaving him.” Malcolm sarcastically searched the outcropping. “It sure seems like he abandoned you.” “No, I was sleepwalking and the-” “Enough, we have to go, you need to come with me.” “I don’t even know you!” Malcolm sighed, he flung his wand hand at the displaced wall, and it slid back into place like a puzzle piece, “How do I know you're not here to take me back…” “What? -kid I-” “No! I know who you are!” Jack took a deep breath and dove into the water. “You fucking idiot!” Malcolm charged after him, the two dancing along the intertwining dark passages. Jack struggled to keep afloat taking what breaths he could as he buoyed and bounced against the stonework. The turbulence only followed by a sudden shore like wash, as Jack skidded across the foul undergrowth of the riverbed. Jack lifted his face from the pile, crackling blue light illuminated the curving tunnel before him, from behind. He slowly turned his muddied face to the ice blue, piercing his eyes as a silhouette, just rising, performed an orchestra, his glowing baton, fluctuating the illuminance, chilling cold winds streaking through Jacks skin straight to his bone. A sudden inhale of the blue light into the wand, leaving only the bright glow of Malcolm's wand, revealing a creaking wall of dark green ice. Jack staring starstruck at the brilliance of such power as an angered, equally filthy Malcolm turned his gaze towards Jack. With a chop of his arm a yellow dart zipped Jack straight in the face, a puff of sparkles blooming off his head. Jack fell back down into the murk. Malcolm began sludging his way towards Jack, the ice eerily creaking behind him. To his shock, a decent lock of his snow-white hair fell at his feet forcing a sigh from the disgruntled mage. "Making me lose hair, kid. Literally." He grumbled, flinging the limp boy over his shoulder, the sudden howl of the ice stopping Malcolm in his tracks, "Damn it!" He began to sprint realizing the critical state of the ice, the creaking echoing behind him as he lunged through the sludge, his wands light pushing the darkness. Skidding through the murk, halting at the edge of the tunnel, his blue light showed a vast empty dark, his light's edge marking the outlines of two worn columns. The creaking and bowing of the ice ticked at Malcolm’s mind, as he kneeled pushing his arm out, hoping to see a watery bottom to no avail. Merely darker. From his peripherals a stonework ledge, just out enough to stand on. He went to work casting Jack off his shoulder, and slapping his face, a symphony of creaking ice accompanying the panic. “Come on kid, come on now!” he shook the limp Jack, a snore erupting in response. Another shudder of the Ice forced Malcolm to stand Jack up coiling his arms around the burden and carefully navigating him onto the ledge, on the simple faith the stone would not break from under their combined weight. The horror of thundering ice, cascading amongst a symphony of rushing water, causing Malcolm to about leap next to Jack, the force of wind and shards of ice spraying out of the tunnel, flicking the two with a mixture of murky water and ice, Malcolm turning his neck as far as it would allow. As the spray slowly receded to the tunnel's normal volume, Malcolm slowly opened his eyes and straightened his neck, his glowing wand and stretched arm, still holding back a limp body from falling into the black. Malcolm took a deep breath, the sound of the rushing falls filling the wide space. “Couldn’t just listen.” he echoed into the black, before slowly moving his wrist, his wands shimmering as the brick stonework behind them swallowed them, the soil, brick, and stone melding and raising them from under. The night sky slowly formed as the bricks parted glided under the pair and rising to their feet, Malcolm catching Jack, before the stone gently pieced back together, the earth filling underneath the path. “Alright easy there now.” Malcolm gently lugged Jack over to the side of a building and sat him down. “Right, now how am I going to bring you back…” he began searching the cluttered alley, thankful no one was present, and the city had seemed to be, at the very least, slightly quieter. A cart of salt bags would catch his eye, and a smile formed on the man’s face. Azuel, was busily lighting the various lanterns around the ship, as crewmen scurried, preparing the ship for cast off. “Where has that Malcolm run off to Azuel?” An angered Captain Greggor marched down from his stern at a tired Azuel. “He’s grabbing our reason for coming to this awful city,” She shook the match out upon lighting another lantern before turning back to the captain, “I doubt he’ll take much longer.” The captain threw his hands in the air. “We’ve been hopping city after city for weeks, what makes you so sure he found it this time?” “Malcolm is sure we found him; I’m paid to be sure as he is. Just as you captain.” “Be that as it may, hopping city to city, unable to even spend long enough time to get supplies even if he lets us, It’s not efficient!” “He seems confident this would be the last stop,” she hung her head for a moment, “I know he can be a bit eccentric and demanding, but I’ve worked a good portion of my life with that prick. Despite it all I can attest to the fortune he promised you. Not that you need assurance.” “Aye, a magistrate, even one of his status could buy me a fleet twenty times. Nevertheless, my crew are not his servants, we’re confident professionals.” “You’ve made that clear,” Azuel ran her finger along one of the many cannons that lined the ship's port side, “I’ll make sure he understands, however, I can only do that if you understand something for me.” “What would that be?” “He pays us enough to ignore our opinions,” Azuel whispered whisking away to starboard, the captain trailing, dodging one of his crewmen. “That as it may, we’re going to need supplies, we can’t leave this late even if we wanted to, the seas could be dangerous, you lighting us up like this could draw pirates even.” “Well assuming we draw pirates anyway I’m sure you’ll want to see.” striking a match she began illuminating the starboard side. The captain rolled his eyes and stomped back towards his quarters. Azuel shook her head, knowing the captain was right, the beating sun on The Great Salt Sea was truly a trial let alone low supplies and an agitated crew. She returned to her task, settling that at the very least, she would try to convince Malcolm to stay long enough to regroup, resupply, and perhaps even adjust his attitude. She chuckled quietly to herself. Peter laid perched behind a large boulder, near the rougher edge of the forest, a small fire going that he hoped would not attract patrols. He looked over at his new companion hitched to a tall dark pine tree. It would have been a beautiful night had the overwhelming hunger not be a constant reminder of his predicament. He was thankful at the very least to have thick clothes, a sweater, but not thick enough for the frozen peaks, he debated on heading back to the wrecked convoy in the morning. “What do you think boy?” he asked the horse, a simple snort in response to its usual breathing. “Yeah, me too.” He rubbed his stomach and leaned forward towards the fire, gathering its warmth. “I wonder how Jacks doing, wonder where he is?” He felt as if he was asking the starry night sky, blistering with blue and pink swirls of stardust, only ever so illuminated by the moon’s light. He leaned back against the wall and closed his eyes, his last thoughts of the beautiful stars, and the memory of his face. As Peter's eyes cracked open the next morning, he slowly rose stretching his arms, feeling his stomach rumble yet again. He wasted no time mounting his horse, and riding in the direction of the wagon. The foul chemical smoke signaled the approach of the site. “Whoa, boy.” He halted his horse a good distance from the road wanting to protect his escape and dropped down into the snowy foliage. The smoke was thin but odorous, as he got closer to the site, what was “summs” wagon seemed melted in a massive pile of bubbling, smoking ooze. Peter covered his mouth coughing, as amid the smoke were the remains of the horses, and some of the guards, nearly blackened bones, their bodies also seemingly a pile of the same orange ooze. Careful to go around the Count’s wagon he opened it checking to see if there were any supplies remaining, nothing of note, save for a half-empty bottle of what appeared to be brandy. Shrugging he went ahead and snatched the brandy, crawling out of the wagon, looking at the scattered bodies left behind, their weapons and chain mail gone. Setting the brandy aside he went to work removing the clothes from the corpses. Ugh, this is wrong... Repulsively, one by one, he began layering linen shirt after linen shirt, and choosing the least damaged of the gambesons to wear over his padded body. Peter halted, as the distant sound of galloping sent him instinctively into the nearest bushes, skidding along the path and down the slope, forcing him to lose his sword on the road. Damn it, no no! He mentally panicked scrambling to crawl back up, but it was too late, and he rolled as closely under one of the thick bushes as he could, relying on the dense smoke and forest. “Any sign of the boy yet Richard?” Peter recognized his Commanders voice, Sooyer! “No sire, I traveled far east, I found some horse tracks, but they were all scattered about, no way of telling who’s who.” “Damn it, towns getting restless, no count, no paramount, quarter of the guard dead!” the crunch of snow and armor, sent Peters hairs raising... “What about that one survivor Kell?” Nyx inquired, “The one with half his face-” “Dead now,” Kell interrupted, the shuttering of armor seemed to be marching closer towards Peter, “Kept screaming about summs.” “Captain what are you looking at?” Nyx asked, Through the tiniest peaks through the foliage he could see Sooyer kneeled studying the sword. “This sword is the only weapon left behind.” “A bit odd,” Kell commented, “Who’s do you think it is?” “Doesn’t seem like one of our smiths’, hilts a little poor, blades a bit sloppy.” The captain stood still gripping the sword, “the both of you ride back, I’m going to stick around see what I can find, I’m sure the town watch needs all the help it can right now, I won’t be far behind you two.” “Be careful sire.” Nyx bid, the sound of horses signaling a retreat from the ruins. “You can come out now.” Peter froze, his breathing coming to a wrenching halt. “I won’t ask again Peter.” Peter stayed, frozen as the snow around him. Silence fell amongst the trees, the hiss of an unsheathed sword slithered along Peter's skin. “Despite it all, if you pass the trial, you will be welcomed back. I do not think you had anything to do with this, but you have two choices boy, you can own up, take the test, earn your freedom. Or run and be associated with what is happened here for the rest of your life, even if you weren’t involved. You will be because you ran.” The wrinkling of saddle leather gave a slight pause to Peter, his fists clenching to remain still. “Don’t run, defeat this trial whatever it may be. Don’t run away over a foolish act boy!” Pish! Peter took a deep exhale, the sound of galloping racing back towards what once was his home. Peter made his way back up to the road, seeing his sword buoying back and forth, impaled into the ground. Reclaiming his weapon, he began making his way back to his horse, his captain’s speech weighing on his stomach. His home seemed so in reach, the thought of wanting to come home was a distant dream, however. His vision of a home period was becoming a blur, with Jack being so far gone, this gambit for Paradise began to seem futile. Peter shook his head reaching his horse, and he began to trot towards the path and begin his ascent through the mountains. The ascent was rather pleasant, the winding and curving of the path led to a ridge, with some of its own expanse of forest, he continued the path up. Snap! The loud snap of what sounded like a branch halted Peter, as he turned his horse towards the sound. He inspected the edge of the trees from afar, noticing movement still within the woods. He squeezed his thighs, sharply turning his horse, to gallop up the path. He wanted to avoid what conflict he could, feeling as tired and weak as he did. “It would be hours, the ascent up becoming colder and colder, his winding climb, ending into a path dipping into a snowy valley, mountains seeming to get taller the deeper into the foreign lands he got. A tall rotting post, a circle of bones, with intricate weavings of strings, overlapping one another, holding a black raw chunk of a glossy mineral. “A sin eater,” Peter muttered to himself, and presumed it a sign of the correct path, and proceeded. Another sin eater followed sometime after, dangling from an arching stone claw coming out of the ground, before being amassed by sin eaters of all kinds, hanging from the trees, either side of his path. Some big, some small, some glistening with quartz around their rings, and some towering with smaller sin eaters hanging below one another. The hive of dangling webs enraptured Peter in some way, the flooding joy of childhood springing back to him. The memory of the twisting of wicker and sting by a warm fireplace filled Peter with a similar warmth. Every year, per tradition in his town the town would make one, they would hang them up on their windows, porches, doorways, anywhere. His eyes widened, as a large worn steel ring of interlaced knives merely stuck to the side of one of the larger pines. The forest of web seemed to continue forever, the path interweaving and curving, before he came to a complete halt. His heart seemed to fall out of his chest, his breath nearly halting. “Well I think smoky and white quartz would be perfect,” A grinning Jack muttered under his breath, twining hard whicker, whilst creating a loop, “I’m clearly the smoky you’re the white.” “What does that even mean?” Peter asked, studying each crystal and stone before him. “Well you know I’m a little rough, but you’re kinda pure and white I guess.” “Doesn’t white quartz get cloudy?” “I mean so does the sky.” the couple chuckled. “I can’t believe the amount of rocks you have, does your father just get you whatever?” “Usually,” he nodded, “But the ‘rocks’ mean much to him. He is been into them since mother died, all my life the servants and him would make them in the dining hall together. This is actually the first time I do it alone.” “My first time doing it away from my family, we’d each make our own.” Jack stopped his work, staring at his analytical partner. “I love it when you do that…” “What?” “That!” Jack pointed, "you just gently move your eyes to the side, but you’re still locked into what you were doing.” “Ha.” Jack wrapped his arms around Peter. “So smoky and white?” “Only if you do that thing I like?” Peter shifted his eyes at a ginning Jack. A smoky and cloudy-white chunk of quartz seemingly floated, interlaced by string, orbited by a wicker halo, a fountain of crow and crimson montawk feathers draping in the wind. Peter got off his horse, tearing up at the distant memory. It had only been a year since then, but it felt like merely a month ago, their time together too short. He cut the sin eater down. “Of all the places…” He recalled the wagon that usually came through town and collected the sin eaters to bring here every year, but of all places. Of the entire expanse of this forest… The wind seemed to make the rings throughout the woods around him dance and bounce. He carried the sin eater back to his horse and mounted, up, urging his horse to sprint faster down the path. Paradise awaited him, as it had seemed to a figure draped in black who stood in the shadow of one of the taller dying oak trees, watching as the young boy continued his trial.
  4. Happy Easter and Happy Passover to those who partake! We're just staying home, enjoying the stay at home order, trying to see it as a forced vacation. Hope everyone's doing alright, we got to think positive and look to the bright sides in times like these.🥰
  5. The drip drop of the pipes above Jack was a new change of pace for Jack, Leo finding the entrance to a sewer was a surprising choice for Jack at first but he would live. They had already traveled a decent length through the labyrinth before coming to a small outcrop, where a previous settler had made his home. Jack was tending to a fire next to an old sleeping bag the steps of a jogging Leo echoing through the tunnels. “Got away!” Leo said triumphantly holding a couple of fish in the air. “Well get them over here on the fire I’m starving.” Leo obliged and the pair claimed their meal putting it on a metal rod to cook. “You know,” Leo began after a few minutes of silence, “I don’t think I’ve seen someone look so happy to be living in a sewer.” “How do you figure?” “You seem to be carrying yourself alright is all.” “You seem to be carrying alright as well.” “War did it to me, constant violence and war my friend will make you ice.” “Never seen war.” “Be thankful you haven’t. Just a waste of time.” “Did you ever fight?” “I didn’t, no, my brother enlisted though when he could pick up a sword….at fifthteen.” he chuckled, giving Jack a grin, “Nah he um died his first battle, Clements Watch, or something like that. I hadn’t heard from him in months prior, we found out when the war was over.” “Damn, I'm sorry...I knew a soldier too, but...I don’t think he’s alive anymore.” “May I ask what happened?” Peter checked his fish before turning it on the otherside. “Well, It’s hard to explain, not a very good story either.” Jack gulped, Peter narrowed his eyes. “Thought you said you didn’t have the crown on your back.” “I don’t.” “Your face is oozing with guilt,” His fish started to crisp as he removed it from the flame, citing Jack to check his own, “I mean, you know I stole these? You’re in good company I assure you.” He took a big bite of his fish, Jack held his over the fire a little longer. “We….Well-” “Go on.” “Can I finish?” Leo nodded, resting against the stone wall, and enjoying his dinner listening attentively. “We met years ago, When I was like fifthteen or sixteen my father he had wanted me to pick a house guard-” “You were a royal?” Leo nearly choked on his fish. “Were. I promise I’m not worth anything now, anyway there were like thirty something militiamen who kneeled, asking for my blessing and…” “And?..” “Well there was Peter Honeyhall, he was the least experienced, at the time he had barely picked up a sword, his father had forced him to cast his name in to move up the family name. But when I first saw him, It wasn’t political or even skill, it was….him...his stark black hair, his eyes had these deep pools of green...He was beautiful.” Leo was more intently listening now, leaning in slightly. “I chose him because of his beauty, and of course he was my guard so we talked daily, practically glued to one another until one day we were just getting done, drinking ourselves under at the tavern, and he’s helping me back to my home so we crossed through an alley. The snow kept coming down, it was already knee high so we fell and he landed on top of me and that's when it happened…” “...That's when he?” “Kissed me?” “What?” “He kissed me and I didn’t stop him, I actually pushed into him..” “You’re both…” “Yeah I know it’s not a common occurrence. Common enough to be an executable offense.” “Wait so let me get this straight, you’re on the run for kissing a man?” “More than kissing but yes.” Jack took his blackened fish off the fire and took a bite, the warmth of both the food and memories giving him a slight grin. “Well, Didn’t even know people could...be capable. Tells you how much I care about law customs and shit.” He took the last morsel of his fish and put the rod back over the fire. Leo got up and moved over to some old wooden crates, most of which had broken into pieces already for previous fires. “You’re not going to claim my head are you?” Leo turned a bewildered look on his face. “Of course not, your past sins are not mine, as mine are not yours. We survive by being together, that's how it is.” he fed a few more pieces of wood to the flame. “That’s how it is.” Jack mouthed to himself. “Now that little revealing story and dinner was just my call to sleep, you should get some rest yourself when you're done. I heard down by the docks a rum shipment was coming in the morning, figure that they won’t miss a couple of bottles.” he winked curling up in his sleeping bag. “Hell, grab a few more extra so we don’t have to wait for the next shipment.” Jack grinned, Leo nodded. “Like the way you think my lord.” he sarcastically said, rolling over. Jack finished his fish and gazed into the warm fire, the smoke wafting past him through the dark tunnels. He leaned against the wall, taking in the mixed stench of sewage and smoke. The new life Jack had become a part of was vastly different. No more servants, probably no more silk beds, no more Peter… “Jack..” Jack shot his eyes open, searching for the origin of the whisper. “Jack…” He stood up, looking into the dark void of either direction of the tunnel. Nothing. Jack moved back to the fire, and sat, his wits now about him. “The flames…” Jack slowly turned his gaze to the flames, a coriolus of smoke enveloping all around him. The sewer began to wisp away much like the smoke, Leo rippling into oblivion as the warm glow of the fire became a blackened, charred pile of wood, frost overgrowing the wood. Jack kicked himself away from the pile as the frost grew across the cavernous floor. Jack jumped to his feet and ran into the void, the tunnel, their camp, was gone replaced by darkness, darkness Jack sprinted blindly into, hardly able to see past his hands. He stopped at a gargantuan wall that seemed to ascend endlessly into the shadowy sky. “Jack…” a pool of oozing black began to bubble from cracks in the floor and surround the space around him, the ground vocally sizzling upon the stone. “Jack...Why do you run?” Jack covered his ears, the voice scratching against his brain, The ooze bubbling higher, and higher in front of him until it towered above him, the stone around him, cracking more and more, seemingly melting from the ooze. “You can’t run from what you are…” The black tower began to take humanoid shape, the head morphing into the silhouette of a goat's head, a frantic Jack feeling his heart drop as he tried to climb the cavernous wall, his left hand slipping and scratching the wall, warmth enveloping his hand. “What you are!” Jack gazed and the bubbling black from his mangled seemingly shattered hand, and a scream erupted from him, amongst the sinister cackling of the demon. “Jack!” Jack snapped to reality, balancing off an edge, a panicked Leo reaching for his hand as he fell off the edge, plunging into the dank, dark water below. “Shit! Jack!” Leo screamed from the edge, a Drowning Jack caught in the current and moving down the dark stream. Jack struggled and broke the current grabbing on to a pipe along the wall, his body practically gliding with the current, the reeking stench almost too much for Jack to bear. Across the stream, amidst the dark, an outcrop signaled a welcome respite, and with all his might he kicked against the wall to catch the edge of the outcrop and pulled himself up, the sewage stench shooting straight up his nose, forcing him to cough and gag. A draft of cool air chilled Jack as he moved as far from the stream as he could, he bundled himself up, as tears began to fill his eyes. He felt disgusting as did his mouth, and even his soul. He began to wipe his tears before stopping inches from his face recalling his nightmare that had yet to end. Pushing his forehead into his knees he tried to get his brain together, figure out what to do next, how to get back to Leo. Meanwhile, in Tallisk amongst the bustling commerce, two travellers sat at a bar outside a man and a woman, taking a pint for themselves. “This was a mistake Malcolm, We’re going against the Magistrates wishes.” She took a gulp from her tankard. “What was a mistake, dear Azuel was not searching earlier, when He. First. Died.” “That much has been established, but the council has to know where we are, has to know what we’re looking for.” “They know I’m in the Blue Isle attending to Magistrate business, specifically the crime wave. That's what they ‘know’.” Malcolm finished his tankard. “You're not even the least bit afraid you’ll stand out with that white hair? A dead giveaway who you are.” “I assure you dear Azuel,” he got up from his stool, “There are much stranger things in this world that will gather twice the attention. He took a few steps into the road. “Besides,” he started, “I think I have an idea where he is.” “Hmm?” “I can feel it, he’s below us…” “How? The sewers?” “That or dead and buried under cobblestone rock at a busy crossroad.” “Never lost your wit, cockhead,” she tapped the bar, the barkeep nodding in compliance, “Assuming he’s down there how you want to go about it?” The barkeep brought back two more tankards of ale, and Malcolm returned to the bar. “I’ll fetch him after my drink, and after yours you can get the ship ready.” “Oh, all the rush to get to the Blue Isle and now you’re in no rush to leave.” Malcolm shook his head whilst taking a sip of his ale. “No, I’m changing out of my silk clothes before going into a sewer. Just because he’s probably covered in shit doesn’t mean I have to be.” Azuel nodded in agreement and the pair returned to their drinks. It was a cold morning, The feeling of home lingered in the air of Peter's childhood room, yet, as the minutes passed and the sun began to show its beams above the treeline. He could hardly sleep the night before, even with his mother's locally famous beef stew still setting in his stomach the future continued to bore into his psyche. He wasn’t really sure what judgement from the old gods even amounted to, but in past town trials over, in Peters opinion, more serious crimes such as murder, he had seen accused claim the right themselves. He would be one of the townspeople who would watch as a caravan of guards and an entourage of both the victim and accused families begin their ascent into the mountains. Known of the accused ever came back, but more important, It would keep Peter from the flaming stake, and at the very least, give him the opportunity to run. There was a banging sound in his home, followed by a knock at the wooden door, before the door burst open, several guards coming in, Peter's mother nagging behind them. “You can’t do this, it's barely the break of dawn!” “Break of dawn, dawn has broken, stay out of our way ma’am.” “Can you give him time to pack he holds the-” “Change of tradition, Lord Leeris commands he only has what's given to him at the beginning of the trial.” “This is outrageous! Peter-” “Mom please...remember..” His mother looked at her boy, then back at the guards, and walked from the doorway. “Right this way Peter.” Peter recognized the guard, the same one from the trial, he seemed less intent on hurting him then he was the day prior. Walking out of the house, sure enough the town too was already wide awake before the torches were snuffed even. A convoy of three wagons sat waiting, He could see the Count and Paramount in the front wagon, speaking until the Count's eyes fell on him. That same anger from the great hall had merely gotten riper with time it seemed. He got into the wagon, the guards closing the doors and sealing deadbolts on the outside. His mother and father stood outside, his mother near the guard line his father still by the front door watching from afar. He held the wagon to himself at least, Time to think how he was going to make it through this, seeing he couldn’t just run anymore, they’d only let him out when they got where they needed to go. Peter couldn’t allow that, he took one final look at his mother before the caravan began to move forward. His mother put two fingers in the air, nearly knocking over the guards as she thrust forward past them, running near the side of the wagon she slammed her hand against the glass, Peter doing the same. “Be brave son-” another soldier grabbed her and threw her into the snow beginning to beat her with clubs, anger surging through Peter as he banged the glass. “Get your hands off her! Get off of her!” The last thing he could see as the caravan picked up speed and began to pass through the portcullis was his father intervening and the couple standing, as twice the amount of guards dispatched to handle them. The wooden gate closed sealing the new chapter of his life. Peter's face was glued to the glass, tears cascading down his face, anger boiling inside of him, all he could think of was his parents and if they were alright. Escape seemed pointless now to him, let alone surviving whatever trial lied ahead. Peter awoke from sleep, it seemed as if hours had passed, when he truly wasn’t sure. It was daylight, yet the treeline obscured the sun's origin. “What's the meaning of this?” He leaned as close to the window as he could, all he could see was a wrecked wagon, a Summers mark on the side. “We have important business to attend to dear summs,” The paramount stepped out of his wagon, “We will be right back through if you could just move the wagon-” “Well milord that's just the thing,” a meek yellow robed girl moved to the front of the summs party, “Two of our four wheels snapped on the ice, we don’t have the strength we’re but summs.” she bowed respectively, her party following suit. “Well,” he gestured for the several guards to move forward to the wreckage, “Perhaps we can gather your things and load them on our third wagon, you would have to travel on foot however.” “Yes! Yes thank you kind sir!” the party cheerfully sprinted towards the third wagon, passing Peter who watched behind the glass. The summs all seemed adorned in gold silk, one of the men carrying a thick book. The meek girl who represented them turned her head at Peter as she walked past, giving him a wink. Peter grinned at the irony, if only she knew. The guards began to unload the wagon bit by bit, chest by chest. “These are heavy books,” one said, carrying it to the leading wagon, “Where are these summs even headed?” “Probably some cliff camp to write songs and shit, you know how their order is.” a loud click as one of the men pulled a chest from the cart, silenced the conversation. Tick, tick, tick. “Everyone get the hell!-” the wagon exploded into an inferno, the flames engulfing the first wagon and it’s horses, and shattering the glass on Peter's wagon, sending a surprised Peter cowering to the floor. The door burst open, the same girl pulling a sheathed short sword from her dress and throwing it at the boys feet. “Be free!” she yelled as she drew her own blade, charging towards one of the remaining guards. Peter watched her comrades rush past his wagon, blades of their own, as they cut down each surviving man. Peter grabbed the blade and rushed out of the wagon, moving to one of the panicking horses hitched to his wagon, he cut the ties, and patted the horse. “Down girl, down, we’re getting out of here!” he threw his leg over the saddle, blade still drawn, “Yah!” The horse interweaved between the fighting of the guards and attackers, galloping past the fire, he broke a hard left into the wilderness, and kept riding. “Faster! Come on!” he turned his head back, the image of the count and paramount being dragged out of their burning wagon gave him the first real smile he had held in a long time. He rode until the sun cast down at him, above the trees, the combat far behind him. He slowed, patting the horse on the side, as he looked around him, he breathed deeply, finally knowing he was alone, and he started to chuckle. He sheathed the blade, still chuckling, harder this time, attaching the sword to the saddle, he got off the horse and simply sat in the snow, still cackling, before slowly morphing into sobbing and tears. “Now what the fuck!” he yelled at himself, standing up he kicked the snow as hard as he could. He was lost, confused, he couldn’t go home not after gods know what happened to the count and paramount. He began pacing, the horse, feeding on a chunk of grass poking out of the snow. “That's a fine horse.” Peter drew the blade without hesitation pointing it at a man who stood sparkling before him. He stood at the edge of the clearing, merely a black silk tunic and pants, his feet steaming and melting the snow around where he stood. “What do you want? Who sent you!” Peter moved closer, blade ready, tears still leaking from his eyes. “I want,” the man moved closer, gushes of steam melting the snow as he moved forward, “a lot.” He moved close enough for the blade to touch his pale young face, his seemingly glowing crimson eyes merely bringing Peter in with their mystery. “Who I am on the other hand,” he caressed the blade with his hands, manipulating the steel like liquid as it melted into the snow at their feet, leaving only the hilt, “I’m the one that can give you your freedom.” “What-” he held a finger to Peter's lips, vibrating against his lips, as the eyes seemed to dig further into Peter's eyes, and heart. The strangers lips suddenly seemed so kissable, so perfect, as Peter bit his own lip, the finger still vibrating against his lips. “You don’t need to speak, merely, listen.” Peter nodded, his eyes locked into the man's crimson pools in his eyes, as they seemed to churn and rise like the waves of the sea. “You will go to the trial of the old gods, you will take the left path, you will find me again, and when you do you will be in a place that will love you, hold you to your own standard. Paradise.” The man removed his finger, and his gaze, moving through the parting snow back to the edge of the clearing, Peter’s trance broke. Peter shook his head shaking off the numbness of his brain. “Can’t you take me there yourself?” He looked to where the man had been, there was nothing. The snow where he had stood was but a puddle still, as was where else he had walked, but no trail leading away from the clearing. The trial of the old gods….follow the left path. Peter thought upon these words, thought it could be a trap...but nothing about that encounter could shake the feeling he held, a strange feeling he hadn’t held since the night Count Leeris had burst in on him and Jack: faith. He mounted his horse, and looked towards the mountain peaks towering over the forest. The path of the caravan had led straight there. He turned his horse and began to gallop through the woodlands. A new intention was pulling his heart, to pass the trial, to achieve access to this paradise, a future began to build for him in his mind's eye, the vision of a place Jack and him could go, could live. Paradise first, then you Jack. Then. You.
  6. Jack awoken to the sound of bells, the unfamiliar stench of salt, and bob and weave of the ship's bow. “Alright ya lot!” a large man moved down into the hold, ringing a tiny bell of his own, “We’re coming into port! Get up! Get up!” around him the many hammocks began unloading their refugees, Jack himself included. “Don’t forget any of yer belongins, we split anything you leave amongst the crew!” he chuckled, still ringing his damn bell. Luckily for Jack he had practically nothing, minus the coin to get him on the ship, just barely enough to escape his home. He ascended to the deck of the ship, and his jaw dropped slowly witnessing the beautiful city, Tallisk capital of Sapphire, a city nestled within the Blue Isle, a place forever in summer, a stark contrast to Jack's origins of cold, bitter winters. As other travellers made their way up, he moved forward to the front of the ship, still gazing at the tall white marble buildings, one in particular stood higher than the rest, shining with sunlight bouncing off it’s crystal top, projecting a spectrum of colors, and spinning as if a lighthouse powered by the sun itself. I wish Peter could see this, so incredible….his demeanor began to change thinking of Peter's fate, how the White Cloaks had dragged him off beaten and bloodied. His eyes began to water at the trauma. “Um, hey,” Jack's mind shifted back to reality, another boy looking around his own age of twenty-three, tapped his shoulder, “Sorry, never really travelled before, you’re the only one here even close to my age.” he laughed nervously, his hood was up, but face was visible, the stranger seemed just as much in the same boat as Jack. Broke. “It’s no problem, better to travel with someone I suppose,” Jack held out his hand out of instinct, “I’m Jack, I’m new at this whole travel thing too.” “Do I look that conspicuous?” He returned the gesture to Jack, “I’m Leo by the way, Like the province.” “I doubt we blend in too well with the rest of the passengers.” Jack turned looking at the various vagabonds, migrant workers, and even a couple of summs writing near the various corners of the deck.” “We could pass for summs,” Leo protested. “If we had better clothes.” they both chuckled. The ship pulled into port, after various maneuvers to avoid various smaller ships and canoes, and threw their bridges over the side at dock. “So why did you come here?” Leo asked as they stepped off the ship, Jack was hesitant to really say. “Just running I guess.” “The Crown.” “Oh, no, no, no...guess my own life?” “Ah,” Leo nodded “Plenty of that in the world.” “Why did you come here?” “Got tired of the constant wars in Onyx Head. Wanted somewhere new, somewhere warm.” “Wars?” They bobbed and weaved through the mass of people, Jack nearly running into a one of many women with baskets on their head, selling various fruits. “Yeah, they have these constant border disputes with those wolf freaks in Vellaris, unfortunately, my village just so happens to land right on the border.” They broke out of the crowd, moving down a wide channel leading to a courtyard, adorned with a tall statue of a woman Jack didn't recognize. “Can imagine it being a rough upbringing.” “Quite.” he nodded, as they carved through the courtyard, the fountain began to profound the pair, At first believing it to be almost blood, but instead, the sweet smell of berries filled the air, as they moved closer. Wine… “By gods! Their water is wine?” Leo ran to the edge of the fountain, spouts, along ornate stands on the side, flowed their own wine. Leo held his hand under one and drank from his hand. His face melted into pleasure. Jack followed suit, as the various notes of red berries, and juniper leaves dancing in his mouth. It was the best wine he had ever had. His home never had wine, save for various rituals. “It tastes incredible,” Jack beamed, “We sure this is even allowed?” Jack scanned the plaza, various peasants and strangers filled their own hands and flasks. “I’d say.” Leo remarked, before, taking a leather flask of his own out and filling it at the spout. “You don’t have one?” “Hmm?” Jack returned from his sightseeing. “A flask. That trip was almost thirty days.” “Kinda just scorounged here and there...I’m surprised I didn’t see you on board.” Leo scratched his head, taking a swig from his flask before turning and notioning Jack to follow. “I wasn’t really a legal passenger, I stowed away, I didn’t really have a choice in the matter. Not even sure where to go at this point. What was your plan?” “Don’t have one.” The two, stopped against a stone wall, as the sea of crowds churned around them. “Suppose it would be better if we stuck together?” Leo offered, Jack simply nodded in agreement. “I have no coin.” Jack grinned, Leo, nodded. “Me neither.” Leo moved closer next to Jack. “Well, what's the plan then?” “A roof I suppose, I’m sure we can find a-” Jack was cut off by the screams of a man just down the street and the shattering of glass. “Please, there's been a mistake!” The voice of desperation flew above the gathering crowd, Leo and Jack winded their way through the crowd, a window between some heads opened to the scene. A bloodied man, stuck with glass across his body, a man towered above him accompanied by two guards, his majestic white coat, stained with fresh crimson. “You dare lie in front of these people?” He kicked the peasant across the face, as the noble, bent down and ripped a pouch from the man's tunic, presenting it to the crowd, “This man is guilty for the crime of thievery! Thievery of magical tools at that.” The man tried to crawl away, towards Jack's direction, but seemed to hardly have the strength. The noble drew his blade, “Let it be known to all of you, this is merely the fifth wretch caught stealing from the Magisterium! I sincerely hope it will be the last!” As the beaten man tried to lift himself, the swoosh of steel would see his head severed, the crowd, backing desperately to escape the projectile red, Jack wasn’t so lucky. His face had gotten the majority, missing Leo entirely. The two guards picked up the corpse and dragged it through the streets towards the tall tower Jack had seen on the ship, a red path following. The nobleman would soon follow, but not before glancing at the bloodied Jack and giving a snarky grin. “That is common here I wonder?” Leo struggled to ask, Jack merely shrugged before slowly turning and sprinting to the nearest wall and hurled. Leo followed and patted his back. “Get it all out, get it all out.” Jack struggled to catch his breath, the stench of death seemed glued to him, and it infuriated his senses to no end. After a few minutes Jack simply fell back to the ground, his back to the wall and merely a few feet from his waste. “Gods what have I done?” Jack asked himself, “Why am I here?” “Don’t be hard on yourself, not often you get to see beheadings, anyone else would have gotten sick like that,” Leo held a hand out, Jack grabbed it and pulled himself on, still feeling woozy, “Lets just, try and put that in the back of our heads, same place we’re going to put the idea of stealing.” Leo grinned a little, Jack merely gave him a look, as Leo helped him down one of the alley ways. “Plan?” “Survive I guess.” Miles away to the north, across the cutting seas and the jade grass and trees, near the base of the mountains held a small hamlet, a cold and frozen town known as Melim, a town at the edge of Capricorn, at the base of the mountains that filled Gemini. It was Peter's home, at one point at least. Now it was his hell, he sat on his knees, his wrists chained upward, just barely dangling him off the ground, he wasn’t sure how long he had been in the temple basement, but he was sure of his eventual fate. The creaking of a door echoed down the hall, and light spilled into the dark prison, splitting between the shadows of the bars of his cell as boots marched towards him, a torch nearly blinding him as it came into view. “Your time has come, The Paramount shall hear your plea.” The cell door opened and shadows came in, and unchained Peter, who could barely keep his eyes open from the torch light. They escorted him through the prison, the whispers and murmurs of other prisoners and victims filled the hall, jeering and teasing Peter. A man charged the bars, startling the entourage, “Little brownies gonna get stuck like a pig!” “Enough!” a guard shoved a nightstick into the man's eyes through the bars, Peter wanted to cry, but held true, following the men, he looked at his hands and wrists in the torchlight, dried and cracked with some open sores on his arms. His confidence chipped. The entourage brought him into what appeared to be the entry room, two heavy wooden doors holding many whispers and conversations, all about him he was sure. “Put these robes on.” one of the guards said, It was then Peter had realized he was naked, he did as he was told, a thin practically see through white gown. “When the doors open, you will follow us down the aisle to the altar, your case will be spoken to the Paramount. Your judgement will be passed after.” The guard nodded to the other two, and they went on either side of the gateway, before opening the doors, a pin drop silence falling upon the entire congregation. It was practically the entire town, all turned and staring at a barely naked, barely breathing Peter. Amongst the crowd his family sat at the altar near the paramount. Peter swallowed, before being shoved forward, made to walk towards the Paramount, eyes digging into him, some head shaking in utter disgust. Peter arrived at the foot of the steps to the altar, where a long table had been set up in front of a stone statue of Helianos. The Paramount in the center, Count Leeris on his right, and a scribe on his left. The guard gripped Peter's shoulder and forced him to his knees. “All rise for Paramount Lazus Krythem, twelfth member of the Magistrate Council, and Paramount for Capricorn.” The guard holding the boy down still as all but the paramount rose to attention. “You may sit,” he gestured for the room, “Peter Honeyhall, only son to your father Charles Honeyhall is this correct?” Peter nodded, the guard went to smack the boy, but the magistrate simply held his hand up again. “You stand accused of browning by the county of Milem, a serious charge, and one that, unfortunately, holds execution as an acceptable means of punishment.” Peter's heart began to sink, he fought to not show it. “Now Peter,” Lazus continued, “I’m going to ask you some questions, and we can work from there understand?” Peter nodded. “Will you be honest with me Peter?” He simply nodded. “Do you understand the ramifications of the charges against you today?” “Yes si-” Peter's voice cracked and he coughed, specks of blood hitting his hand. Lazus began to write. “Do you hold any knowledge on the whereabouts of Jack Leeris?” Peter glanced at the count who bore into Peter with eyes of dread and hate. “No..” He could hear the sharp breath of the count. “Lastly, are there any persons you wish to write should this court find you guilty of said charge?” Peter shook his head. “Very well. Lord Leeris, you may stand and speak on behalf of the people and county.” The count stood and cleared his throat. “My son, he was corrupted by that man, twelve sols ago I walked in on him...forcing himself-” “That's a-” Peter’s dry raspy voice was cut short by his handlers hand, nearly knocking his face straight into the stone floor. “That's enough.” Lazus dismissed the brute, forcing him to, hesitantly, move to the side of the hall. “Continue please, Count Leeris.” “He forced himself upon my son,” tears began to well in the lord's eyes. “He was clawing his back and biting his neck even…” He looked down at the attentive judge. “We ask you Paramount to extend the full power of the crown's justice upon him, he defiled my boy, it is only fitting for a beast such as him!” He urged the count to sit, the lord accepted, his fists clenching in rage. “Thank you for your testimony Count Leeris.” He took note down on his paper. “Alright Charles Honeyhall?” Peter turned to look at his young father hesitantly standing up, not seeming to look as angry as he looked before but more so melancholic, and conflicted. “Yes Paramount?” “Do you have any to say in defense or in tribute to your son's charges?” Peter hardly wanted to lift his head up, feeling the shame and carving feeling of stares of condemnation. Despite this, his peripherals could make out his father's anxiety. He simply sat back down. Peter broke. “Very well,” a simple dash with his pen across his page, “Now Peter?” “What?” Peter began to choke, his eyes beginning to fill with tears. “As a defendant you hold the right to call upon anyone in the room to testify on your behalf of your character. The whole town has been gathered.” the quietest whispers could be heard amongst the attendees, but one voice in particular, moreso, a feeling, turned his head slightly towards the left, in front of the crowd along the side of the temple, a man in a hood in between them, no one seemed to notice despite him standing in front of some of the townsfolk's view. The stranger's lips formed a slight smile, urging Peter to form one of his own. “Peter, please call forth a witness or I shall move on with this trial.” “Why?” His sandpaper-like throat coughed between what sobs his body could produce. “Pardon?” “Why should I bother? You made up your mind-” “I bid for his release milord!” The voice of Peter's voice jolted him from melancholy and a teary eyed Jennifer stood, clutching his old blanket when he was a baby. “He is a good man-” “Jennifer what are you-” she shook off her husband's grip and continued. “He was training to become one of your militia! Ready to die for his lord surely he can be spared the flame!” “Please sit down ma’am, I will not be so polite next time.” The paramount gleamed at the woman, who defeatedly, sat back down. “Does the accused have anything further to say?” Peter took a deep breath knowing and struggled to stand, the vanguard moved to apprehend before the Paramount, once again, simply raised his palm. “I ask for judgement by the old gods lord Paramount.” he coughed, nearly sending him flat forward. The crowd began to stir amongst whispers and hushed tones, the Paramount slamming his palm into the table in the attempt to maintain order. “Enough! Enough!” Count Leeris stood “He has held enough of the court's time, and now he demands a second trial!” “The old gods judge different Leeris you should know this, now by order of the Magisterium remain silent for the remainder of this trial or I will throw you in the same cage as him and have it dealt with all around.” The count stubbornly sat. “It is clear to the court Honeyhall, after everything discussed, and amidst the disappearance of Lord Leeris with no way of finding him. I’m afraid this all boils down to you and your doings. It is, however, also clear your best interest is not shown by the majority of your peers, and in light of this I allow you to be judged by the gods of old. Your trial will begin at dawn, please escort the tribute to his family's home.” The vanguard began immediately, guards surrounding the frail boy and escorting him out of a still silent hall, the eyes of the townsfolk piercing into Peter's heart. His death was earmarked but delayed, a delay Peter would allow, if not to see his family one last time. They would waste no time, locking Peter away in his room, the sounds of chains being put onto his door, and the two guards posted outside his house would happen before Peter could even sit down on his bed. His soft, and warm bed, it had felt like months since he had felt such comfort, since he had felt the graze of the warm fire in his wood stove. His stove was already burning before he had come in, giving Peter some comfort in his parents having at least a little care for him. Knock knock. “Peter? It’s mommy, are you okay?” Peter could still hear the sobs under her breath. “Yeah, I’m-I’m okay mom,” he moved a little closer to the door, “You can come in can’t you?” “The guards won’t let us, Count Leeris’ orders. No one can see you until tomorrow.” Peter bit his lip, one of his only motives for agreeing to an elongated death sentence gone. “But, we can talk like this, the guard captain said.” “Captain Sooyer?” Peter lit up just a little, the name of his teacher bringing him to his short, long days as a swordsman. “Yes! That's him, that's the one, he also said he wanted you to know that, he knows you’ll survive tomorrow. He seemed pretty confident.” She sniffled. Peter smiled a little, for the first time in a while creating a slight whining pain along his lips. “That sounds like him...Is father out there?” “Your father is...taking some time...Peter?” “Mom?” Peter slid down to the floor, his back against the door. “Did you...do that to that boy?...Did you force yourself upon him?” Peter wanted to explain it, wanted to break down how it wasn’t forced how it was a mutual feeling. At least to Peter it was a mutual feeling, a feeling he felt even up to that point. Even when he ran away. “I...It’s not what you think.” “What am I supposed to think, Peter?” “I want you to think about me before today okay mom? I don’t want you to think about what I did, just...remember me okay? Can you do that Mom?” There was pause minus the quiet sobbing, the feeling of scratching by Peter's hand turned out to be his mother's index and middle finger. Peter met his fingers with hers. “As long as you promise to survive tomorrow.” Peter silently nodded, before resting his eyes.
  7. In a mystical world, where light and dark fold and interlace, two hearts Peter and Jack are caught sharing in forbidden love, forcing the two to escape down starkly different life paths that will test both the two hearts, and the very world of Dar-Klite.
  8. The judgement of equals, a fate to behold all, for the shattered afterlives from east to west. Both the bold and the craven await this fate, Like scattered souls lost to space. But one, a Bright Soul, One whose heart laid in light. His love for his alluring Spark, Forever changing his life's ark. They danced, and drank, adorned in white. Peers basking in the Bright Ones smile, and his sparks beauty. Until the departure, a sooty evil would see. Lust took the shadows heart, jealous of the Sparks light. Assurance of election to The Deep. It would come after suns and moons, his need grows, It would creep into the Bright couples lives. A spark without light, his spark suffered alone. Behind the cloak of night, the evil would strike. “Don’t! No!” the Spark fought to become flame, The heartless rite would overcome. Extinguish the flame! Beat the embers! The glow faded, the deed done. The Spark had died. To meet the Bright One one final time. As the rain cascaded over the onyx tomb, The Bright One toiled. His anger would boil, And succumb to the doom that had stained him. Betrayed you were, by the jealousy of your own kin. “How do I know?” the Bright Ones skin raised. Only one to know, who else? His lonely heart fell, as did his knees. One hand on the black, he prayed over his fallen. “Behold this word spoken from my lips.” “This world is guilty, rest assured it is.” It is! “Mark my words as iron.” The fire held by your own andiron. “In exchange for my absolute revenge,” The route to justice, I shall pave. “I’ll grant you any wish spoken from your tongues.” Chant the hymn, let it be known “Make everything I see, fall down to meet me.” Destroy them all, let their walls fall, and hear the call! A hand met the Gray One, one of red. If what you said holds true, open your soul to me, rise as my Black Prince! “If only you knew my pain, my anger, my hate!” The hole you dig is yours, but your faded spark rests there nonetheless. He opened his soul, the coiling snakes envelope. To cope with his loss, the brightness gone, innocence lost. It would be mere hours after, a strip laid with decadence Neon, and skin glistening against pale moonlight. His kin would meet him for drink, The end of his brother nigh, no good to the world. “I’m sorry for you brother,” the falsehood would be too much, For the Black Prince, his thirst for murder would take it’s toll. Later at the Kin's lair, he would strike, A mere knife in the back, to bring the evil down. “You sent them to their final gown!” the symphony of screaming, Mere music to the Black Prince. He stole the victims seat, thinking over the atrocity. “What have I done?” he would mutter, the crimson fading from his eyes. Justice, what you had sought. “Not yet.” He looked at his kinslayer, Coated in blood he saw himself in the red reflection. No prayer would save him, he assured himself. A flood of sorrow washed over him. One last glance at the lifeless man, Red and Blue filling the room with light, One chance to make amends. He would pass his own blight on.
  9. Hey I'm curious, does anyone use some ambiance when writing like music or a specific you-tuber? I personally, quite often have music that fits the mood of what I'm writing, or listen to Fredrik Knudsen.
  10. Drums, moans, yells, and screams! The dreams of many fades. No longer at peace, at the mercy of fearsome hordes, The kingdom begins to rumble. Broken without sympathy the King falls A token of fate, he had risen to meet his foe. The Lich, his soul stolen, his husk leading the charge Calls of resistance, among the walls to push the foul plague Women and children run yet die, For what lies the fate of after-death is forever marching The dead rise to meet their ancestors, their keepers Deeper in the halls of the castle, a champion born. Bang, groan, crack! The gates pulse and bend Many soldiers awaiting their well assured end The Champion rises, a lone light among the ranks. “Heroes and men of God!” “The throes of war, have locked us here!” “The legion of bone and slain have arrows and knives! ” Bang, groan, crack! “Adhere to your teachings and stand!” Bang, groan, crack! “The command of God wills it, to stem the flood!” “Their fangs hunger for your lives! Your Blood!” Bang, Groan, Crack! “Raise your swords, your shields, your wills, your hope!” “For we wield our souls, our pulse, our families, our thoughts and lives!” “Atone, and prepare for the coming trial will surely drag you to hell!” A symphony of swords and roars fill the keep Bang, groan, crack! The doors fall, as life and death meet. The stacking of the toll rises! The champion charges through, His dance of blades, thrashing and cutting The Lich overlooks from the wall, His chance just ahead Bashing the dead he pushes through. The rotted memories of men, women, and children grasp his armor The leathery dead hands tug and scratch, He shoves the damned aside, The war now fought outside. His comrades rally and fight! The valley of dead pour in nonetheless! Bless the champion for he stands steadfast. “Bask in the glory of death, Champion!” The demon cries! Cling and clang, their swords met A duel of light and dark, “The fall of life and light has come!” He barked The stain of undead, grew below “All around the dead rise!” To the surprise of the champion, this had been true, the kingdom would crumble, the pestilence would win. “For the time has come for a world anew!” The Champion of light, crestfallen. The sea of flesh and bones rise and fall like waves, The might of apocalypse too much to bare. He stands, a fresh spirit takes him! “With my God as witness you will not live to see it!” He throws himself at the black king, blade piercing his noble veil. The tide of wickedness breaking against the wall below. As the Champion of light, fades, but so too does the champion of death. Such is the nature, of light, and dark.
  11. Evening Knights, Today's post I wanna focus more on the player end of things specifically role play. Now, I come from an interesting place in that before I started to actively write and hold a passion for the craft I obtained some valuable skills just playing table top games. By this I mean when I ran games, I went in with a basic plan of how the a session would go, I would normally have at least 2-3 maps of different locations to give them room to roam and on special days even more, however, and any Dungeon Master would agree with me on this: Players are unpredictable. More specifically characters are unpredictable. If one has a decent group in which the players role play their characters, from a Dungeon Masters perspective this can teach a lot about how characters react and feel about the environment their placed in. For example, I was once a player in a game of Call of Cthulhu (CoC for short, I know right?) now the basic premise for this game is a group of people of various backgrounds and occupations investigating strange mysteries and lifting the veil on conspiracies, secret cults, and ancient knowledge all set in H.P. Lovecraft's literary universe. So during the session it was me, a journalist, a lawyer, and a thief and in the game we had to break into someones house to look for this journal of a man we suspected was apart of a local cult to Dagon. We we're role playing of course, so it played out something like this: Thief: Alrighty, so we just gotta get inside, take the journal and scram before he gets home. Lawyer: You know I can't be apart of this Thief: Why not? Lawyer: Well besides my license, the charge of breaking and entering would change that. Me: We really just need a photo of it and I can handle that. Lawyer: Look I'll keep watch and run interference if someone comes along, but I can't be seen in there. This was a very distilled version but the point is, shortly after the game the player who played the lawyer even apologized because he felt he held up the game when this wasn't the case at all. In fact, this gave good realism to the game and introduced a pretty intense scene where the owner of the house did come home early and it created a fun espionage sort of session. This change would never of happened if he had just gone with the flow of the game and continued on the predicted path the Dungeon Master had made. The characters our players make can teach us a lot about choices, and perspective, which of course is what we as writers strive to do constantly in our craft, to achieve great, balanced, and beloved characters and I feel table top is a great way to emphasize this. So for your consideration, maybe look into the hobby or at the very least heed the emphasis of characters and what makes us fall in love with them: The realistic and rational thinking that makes them so real and dear that they become moreso, they become apart us and change the way we feel and see from the moment we close that book and say goodbye to them. Thank you for reading, you guys have a great day!
  12. Reading through the answers they all seem to boil down to the authors goal. Personally, I haven't written a prologue in any of my stories simply because I didn't feel the need too. I see them more so as a hook but more in depth, because whether the reader decided to skip it or not, it is the first words put to the story structure regardless of chronology. Like most techniques It's about the execution and purpose, and not necessarily something needed or not.
  13. The silence we hold dear, Echoes a march for the coming year. Mere men with plans, rise to the new order. As hands of sauntered masses border the fine line of life and death. The men of red, pierce through the line. Dread fills us as we panic. Manic calls to action raise militias. To blaze the perspective darkness. The men of blue hold the wishes of desperation. The damnation of past sins drive their future. In this light, the twins both red and blue, Slew the olive tree and seek anew. The fist of revolution makes its battle cry. Glistening blood spills, and many die. The dilution of goodwill hits it’s apex. As the flood of violence drowns out the complexity of peace. Corpses line the streets. Sheets fall over the lifeless men. A fortress of fear rises. The size is, truly, too large to bare. The bleakness of dread blankets still. Behind the fortress walls, Obliqueness holds true. The grind of war had just begun. Near the end we pray, To keep the violence at bay. To hold true to the peace we’ve built. To cease the twins fighting, to lay the foundation of hope. Break the chain of sin, For the line draws evermore thin. Between the colored twins. A screen of peace stands poor, and feign.
  14. Hello Knights, This is my first blog post, so I figured I'd cover something along the lines of ethics, but of course not really. Ethics being in short the guiding compass of ones morals, however, in this case I figured I'd cover unofficial social contract between a dungeon master and his players. Now, what I mean by this is the symbiosis between these two roles that allow these sort of games to function, the two ends of the staff that each hold up. Without both ends holding up, the staff falls. To delve deeper into this, lets say I call my friend John ask him and a couple others if they're up for a game of D&D this Saturday. The moment they say yes is when this metaphorical contract is forged. A contract that can be summed up as 1.) The Dungeon Master promises to build the game, flesh it out, and make it as good as he possibly can. 2.) The player(s) agree to take the game as serious as the game allows and to give in as much as the Dungeon Master puts in himself. The reasoning behind this contract can be applied to anything social really, hence the name, it's no different then lets say, same example as before except it's a party. There is still going to be a gathering for a number of hours on a Saturday, with the host making all the necessary preparations, and on the other end, the guests being respectful and attempting to have a great time. Both examples rely on both parties giving it their all. Really in such a niche hobby that is table-top gaming this is important because a Dungeon Master can create a kick-ass adventure, have the maps, monsters, and antagonist to back it, but this falls flat if the players just decide to rob the local shoppe, or start killing any NPCs without a regard for the world. This works two ways of course, if the Dungeon Master barely worked on his adventure, and didn't prepare the entire week before the game that Saturday. Well, simply put your players (more often then not, your friends) are gonna get bored and try to make the game fun on their own terms or even just leave. In short, both sides of the coin cleared their schedule in order to enjoy a game that, at least in my experience, they were looking forward to playing. In conclusion, I'd take the idea of this contract for your consideration if you decide to run or join a game, or even just planning a social outing in general. Both sides need to have fun and have their heart in whatever they're doing, because the other end of the staff can get heavy when being dragged along. That's all for tonight, thank you for reading, and have a great day Knights! I took heavy inspiration from one of my idols in the table top community, and he posts his own video about the social contract and elaborates more then I did, the link is below.
  15. I've reached the end of the second chapter today and I must say it's certainly roped me in, I'am looking forward to seeing how it unfolds.
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