Welcome to In to the Dark, our weekly recap of our gaming sessions on Sundays.
Here we will feature the story of Valon, Luna and Joxstier. It will be a bit rough at first as this was supposed to be a brief recap, but as things went on things pick up. So without further delay...
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Character intro Valon Hawkmoon..... The Dark Goddess's war had been thorough in the elimination of the Elvin homeland. The few elves that survived spread out into the world seeking refuge from Kamodo's wrath. One such elf was a moon elf named Valon Hawkmoon. Like so many other before him when the war came to his people he fled, losing family, friends and the innocence of youth. His Elvin instincts kicked in, leaving him with a meager survival based life style. He eventually drifted to the city streets where he perfected his ability to skillfully acquire goods from the pockets of others..using his nimbleness and speed to flee should any catch him. This was his way of life until one day, after an unusual haul, he found himself surrounded by five green clad strangers all but one wearing masks. "It is not often we find one of such skill among strangers. I believe you have something of mine?" Said the unmasked man. Valon sheepishly pulled out the crystalline orb that was now glowing in the presence of this man.If you can alleviate even me of my goods, then perhaps you show promise, what say you? Your life or come with me. With little choice Valon accompanied the men to his new life as a green ninja.
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Character intro The woman named Luna. Some groups you join because of common interest, some for mutual benefit, others still are out of necessity, and of course there is always being chased down by angry wolf people who tackle you, bite your leg and now, you turn into a wolf every full moon. So was the case with the woman known as Luna. Abandoned at a young age, Luna was feisty, smart and tough and made a name for herself as a bouncer, or crossbow for hire. Eventually she met a man. He recognized her talents and her pain, and taught her to focus them both towards the elimination of the dark demon kind that now plagued the land. His teachings were kind, encouraging and sometimes hard, but always fair. She grew to love him like a father and found a sense of peace in their relationship. Then one day a man came to visit, a man with a panicked voice. Her master quickly stood up, grabbed his gear and left, saying only, stay here. Naturally when Luna was told to do anything she fought it tooth and nail and as soon as the door closed, grabbed her gear and crossbows and followed him. As she entered the forest she noticed a quiet fell upon the place. Her master had gone this way, she thought to herself. She suddenly her a scream, and a wolf howl. she raced towards the sound thinking it would be her master but instead she saw a horrifying sight. A half man half wolf creature standing as tall as a horse. Instinctively she fired her double action crossbow. Two crossbow bolt found there target, and proceed to just fall out of the wolf creature. Knowing she was out matched she ran, but to know avail. She was chased down by the wolf and his teeth found her leg. As she fell to the ground her vision blurred, and other wold like creatures emerged, it was a bloody pack ............
When she awoke instead of finding herself the next meal she was in the company of an elderly man, but his build was strong and his voice deep and kind. he explained to her that she had been chosen, and that she would be presented to the clan by the next moon .
Though she objected the old man proceeded to show her her place and explained she was now part of the Silver Wolf Clan. Her old life was to be abandoned as now she was kin.
With the elder as her guide she learned to use her senses, her environment and her own strength. Though she often thought about her old master there was a sense of belonging her.
On her day of presentation she fared well, her already honed fighting skills even more so with the help of the elder. As a result she found herself mid rank in the pack.
Like many before her, the new life seemed comforting and despite the changes on the full moon she was happy until one day.
It happened quickly, there were some screams, and the elder burst through the door of her wagon. quickly, as he shut the door, we are being attacked. sounds of savage fighting, blood curdling screams... The elder opened up a false panel in the wagon...Hide, he whispered as he pushed her in and locked it. Suddenly there was a crash, more screams more fighting and then silence...then, the sound of feeding, the terrible sound of feeding.........
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Character intro Joxtier Von Vega...Such beauty, such grace, if you have ever wept at the sound of beautiful music, then you may have an idea of what it is like to be in the presence of Joxtier Von Vega. An ever so rare male nymph, Joxtier reveals little about himself. His days at the academy of higher learning found him the top of his Runic class, owing much of that to his particular astrology sign. As a student he excelled and often distracted those around him. He developed a love for theatrics, and showmanship and took up the lyre, a compliment to his elegant persona. Though always self praising, Joxtier is rarely rude and handles even combat with confidence and grace. His love for song, paired with runic lore, makes him a great candidate as an adventuring rune caster, seeking both runes and lost songs. Caring little about money or wealth as it is usually a performance away, Joxtier decorates himself in the lovely trimmings of perfumes,bathing, and fine clothing. Seemingly Joxtier has little need except to stroke his own ego, and acquire lost magics...but is that all there is to this character???
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 1 A meeting of destiny..Valon Hawkmoon was accustomed to being on the move through the dark, not just the kind that means an absence of light, but this plague that covers the land, this black mold that infests everything and everyone. He had gone back and forth to the ruins of Light forge, a small town south west of the Radiant kingdom...An ironic name, he thought to himself. The radiant kingdom was the starting place of The Dark, so the legend was, the center of light being the cause of soo much destruction. Now its home to an unwavering phenomena that covers the land and spreads.
Valon had not ventured this far from the base, since he was escorted to it a few years back. There he learned his training and training became his way of life. He would be taught the skills to evaluate not only combat, but valuable items. Being a green ninja now, his life was now doled out in missions..this of course being his first solo mission. He was to meet a contact in a small farm town called Lamp Lighter. The contact had gone silent and there was talk of an item of extreme interest to the clan leaders. He was to make contact, or find out what went wrong. His chief mission was to acquire the item of interest, a crystalline orb..also ironic considering it was an orb that got him here.. It was at this point Valon came across a gypsy caravan surrounded by clothing that lay on the found as if its wearers had simply vanished.
Hello? a voice called out. Is there any one there?
Valon, changing back to his elvin shape from his favoured cave lion approached and said, yes.
Introducing himself to the stunned human the two decided it was best to join forces as they were going to the same town.
After dealing with the guards and a routine darkness check the two could hear the sound of song coming from the local inn.
EAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 2 Valon and Luna approach the local tavern and hear the sound of singing. As they enter the Inn a crowd of singers singing the praise of one Joxtier the Mighty join in song and clamor around a sylvan looking man on stage. Skillfully making his way to the door and collecting a large sum of coin as he exits, the sylvan individual, smelling of apples and cinnamon squeezes by the two companions.
As they enter the bar and decide that perhaps they need to ask around town for the contact , It occurs to Luna that the man getting all the coin may in fact know the contact, and they both decide to seek him outside the bar.
As the round the corner of the building, only moments later, the two see an individual and hear the sound of trickling water..Hello" calls Valon.
A reply of just a minute! and the sound of a buckle being fastened and once again the face of the sylvan man greeted them.
Do pardon my...position, tavern drinks most certainly have a way catching up to replied the sylvan man, who then offered his hand.
No worries said Valon as he shook the presented hand, I am Valon. We seek your services.
As the sylvan mans eyes met with Luna she felt a warm shiver go down her spine..His gaze seemed to see into her very soul, intoxicating as he went to faux kiss her hand, saying...pleasure is all mine.
Luna managed to whisper a quiet, Luna as her introduction surprised and her humble behaviour in the presence of this beautiful man.
Very good then, I am, of course Joxtier Von Vega, Bard extraordinaire, how may I be at your service?
Valon, clueless of Lunas reaction pointed out that Joxtier seemed to be well acquainted with the towns folk.
Only having been in the town himself a few days It did come to his recollection that the man they were looking for was missing.
It was curiosity that caused Joxtier to join with the group at this point. When doing so he suggested a visit to the barracks.
a few short minutes later Valon and co, found themselves in front of the guard captains number two..
After questioning him, the fellow had told them the captain was most likely not lost but on patrol of which took 3 days to complete. He even gave them a map and warning to avoid the ruins. As conversation continued, it came out that the Seconds wife had fallen ill and he required coin to help her get better.
With that Joxtier volunteered an offer for him. The fancy ring that he wore in exchange for 40 silver.
The man thought about it and accepted it willingly.
As the group parted ways it was decided they would camp at the inn, and set out tomorrow to rondevu with the captain on the last day of his trip.
At the inn Joxtier took time to bathe, apply various perfumes and comb his hair.
Luna eyed him suspiciously...why must he be more maintenance than a princess?
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 3 As the group travels counter to the captains route they stop to rest. The dark mold that covers everything made the entire forest seem dead. Suddenly a strange sound which brought horrors to Luna's memory..THE FEEDERS! THEY WERE BACK!
At that a worm like creature popped out of the ground and attacked Valon, catching him off guard dealing a grievous wound.
As as a second lethal blow was about to strike, Luna lept into action placing herself and her training in the path of the attack.
Using her armor to absorb the hit Luna went into a flurry of attacks, all of which seemed to do little to nothing as they hit the armor plating of the worm like creature.
Suddenly the air felt charged and beautiful song filled the air, light as bright as the sun filled the area and in horror the creature flees.
After bandaging up Valon the group checked for infection, and proceeded to move on.
By next morning it became evident that they were not going to meet with the captain on his route. Now having recovered Valon began to search for signs of the captain and came across some tracks leading off the path..The group decided to investigate.
As the group walked down the path they came across what appeared to be ruins.. and eventually the corpse of the guard captain.
I TOLD YOU NOT TO GO INTO THE RUINS, NOW DINT I?
As the group turned around they were meet with the second guard captain..and two other town guards.
After a short dialogue the two groups began to battle.
A few brief minutes later and two guards lay incapacitated and the second was prone on the ground.
You tried to kill me, shouted Luna, I have no tolerance for such behaviour. At that a crossbow bolt found its way into his throat, killing him.
As the Bard objected profusely, the group tied up the remaining guards and began to search the grounds for treasure.
A few hours later the group came away with quite a few items and one in particular a crystal clear sphere. Immediately the bard offered 200 silver to Luna in exchange for the sphere. Valon then brought up the idea that this orb is what he was sent to find.
Valon not being in a financial position to acquire the orb from Joxtier then agreed to take the group to his base, where someone of higher rank could make a more reasonable offer.
Sensing a chance to make an exchange for runes or lost songs Joxtier agreed readily. And so the group left for the base.....
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 4 After returning to the town of Lamplighter the group left for Dead Tower. A major trading post of some repute. After arriving they went to the local bar and tavern. While Joxtier performed, Valon attempted to win a lucky dagger gambling. Luna was approached by a shady fellow who offered for the low cost of 2 BP to bring her to a rare goods seller..Figuring she would take her chances, she gave up the BP with the promise of an early morning meeting.
The following morning her contact was good on his word and led the party to "The Shady Shack" a stall in an out of the way place. He knocked on the door and then left.
A strange looking man in a turban and dark coloured skin answered in a thick Namish accent...heloo who iz knocking at my door?
The group looked around awkwardly and replied customers.
The strange man ushered them in quickly and proceed to go into a well rehearsed sales pitch. One particular item of interest to Luna was the triple shot crossbow. When she asked how much the price was 2500BP. Convinced there was no sport in bartering. Luna huffed out unable to afford the item she wanted, I dont like bartering she said as she left.
When the group went back to the tavern, They noticed a group of people not far from their table. A male and female merchant and a fellow in a large hood.
Luna's good hearing allowed her to listen in on the conversation, to which she heard these individuals lost some goods on the road, and would now have to pay others to retrieve them.
After a brief discussion the group thought the job sounded simple enough. And so volunteered to help for the going rate of 1000BP per person for 3 days worth of travel and another 1000BP for the return trip.
The group soon left to get the lost crate containing a statue which convieniently enough was pretty much just down the road going north.
As the group neared setting up for camp a familiar burrowing sound could be heard!
Three of the blood worms could be seen coming right at them. Valon lept into action, and over his opponents to come up from behind. Luna pulled out her cross bow, and Joxtier hurriedly pulled his new lyre out of its case.
As the creatures broke the surface, Valon struck his well placed attack, seriously wounding the creature, Joxtier led with his song of light stunning the creatures as they popped out and Luna, full of anger and vengeance placed 2 bolts right beside the wound that Valon had given. With this shot, severed the creature in two!
Spurred on by her success she aimed at the second creature, reloaded also killing it. The third went back into the ground and fled..
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 5 It seemed like it was time for a well deserved rest. Luna, having done so well felt invigorated, as though something had awoken in her.
The night was clear, an unusual event and for the first time in weeks the moon was visible and full.
As the group set up camp and began to get ready for bed, Luna complained that she felt hot. A few minutes later and she started to sweat profusely and take off her clothing. Joxtier made sure she had not been infected by the blood worms or the dark, but she showed no signs..
Joxtier and Valon woke up to the sound of snarled screams.
Quickly they found it was Luna making the noise. As Joxtier recalled one of his tales he quickly readied a rune.
Luna was turning into...a werewolf!!
Just as the now monster was about to attack, Joxtier placed a well aimed cut into the once Luna beast . The rune on his blade glowed, transferring its power into Luna's now bestial form. Paralyzing her.
Quickly! Shouted Joxtier, tie her up..I shall begin creating another rune.
His skill with runes as such Joxtier took ten minutes to carve a new rune, the rune in turn lasted eleven. All through the night Joxtier maintained this frantic song and dance, carving a rune, paralysing Lunas new form, and then carving another. If it had been any other, the cost of such actions would have worn him thin, but alas this was his gift, what he was well known in the academy for.
As the first rays of sunlight touched upon Luna, she began to change back..tired, confused she fell into a deep sleep with Joxtier soon to follow.
The rest of the journey was met with fair weather and no further interruptions. The group did not speak of the previous night events.
At long last the group found the wagon, now down 2 wheels, that held the precious statue cargo.
As Luna looked upon the statue her true vision sprung to life. This was no statue, this was a person...
Looking to make haste Luna used her teleport to get everyone and the statue back to dead tower...
There in the inn the group honoured their part of the arrangement. However because the group used a teleport, they were not given payment as they had not taken the agreed upon time. Disgruntled the group then pressed about the statue, who was in fact a girl.
The merchants smugly replied she would be in good hands and this transport method protected her form the darks influence.
Worried they had just sent someone to an ill fate the group decided to go back to the shady shack for answers.
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 6 After knocking on the door of the shady shack a voice answered back ...what do you want?
Luna responded we want to talk, to which the unusual merchant replied, no! I am now closed, so go away. Not having any of it, Luna used her teleportation to gain entrance into the stall. Using her detect and force portal, she opened a way in for her companions as well.
NO! NO! get away! Holy jumping codfish! You make me very very angry! Yelled the strange man.
Tell us about the statue! threatened Luna. No No he cried I know nothing!
Joxtier then, graceful as a swan moved in and activated his martyr..Nymphs charm.
Suddenly the strange man became quite co-operative.
He told them that it was in fact a slave trade, though he was no part of it..when he found out he left the organization and the group they were dealing with would meet at an abandoned tower west. Luna, now having the buckner decided to purchase that crossbow , using the rest of her pay and silver. The group also acquired a wand of petrification, on loan, which would return the statuette to its normal form.With that the group left to follow the 2 merchants and their creepy hooded counterpart.
It was a few days on the road before the group caught up to the suspicious trio.
Setting up camp, the dark trio waited for a 4rth "customer". As the heroes lay in waiting, and in hiding the customer showed. He gave the payment and seemingly charmed the two merchants, referring to them as food for later.
The hooded individual was thanked for his time and the new comer left with his new companions and the statue.
Sensing a much more sinister motive the group lay ambush to the hooded individual.
After successfully killing the imp creature and removing the group members of its influence, the group now turned their attention to that of the new comer and the statuette that needed saving.
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 7 As the group discussed the possibility of their next target being undead , Joxtier with his lack of Undead lore offered the following. The man we just saw was not see through, nor was he skeletal. He was not rotting nor did he leave a foul odor.. It therefore stands to reason, that as he is traveling at night, and spoke of feeding on those 2 merchants , he is the dread vampire. Valon and Luna looked at Joxtier doubtfully. Unwavered by his companions doubt Joxtier suggested they find this creature of the night.
As the group exited the abandoned tower to follow the wagon tracks, they came back to the main road.Looking left and right their target was no where to be seen. Luna's eyes glowed for a flash and her true vision revealed that the wagon was covered in an illusion.
As the illusion had been revealed it faded away. As if a sign, the first hint of dawn began to light the sky and the hooded figure retired into the covered wagon. The group came up with a plan. Luna and Valon would sneak up in front of the wagon which was being pulled by the two merchants. Jocksteir would come up behind and act as a distraction.
When in place Valon gave the signal.
Jocksteir announce at great volume that all in the area would be honoured to bask in the glory that was Jocksteir performing. As the cloaked figure did not appear in the early rays of the sun, Jocksteir marched confidently forward.
Naturally the two enthralled merchants dropped the carriage hitch and began to investigate. Just then Valon struck like a snake killing his male target instantly.
Luna struck her target with her crossbow, but this foe was made of sterner stuff
As Luna and Valon melee with the female merchant
Jocksteir moves ever closer to the wagon.
The female merchant was not going down without a fight and both Luna and Valon wondered if they had gotten themselves into more than they could handle.
Valon felt the strange influence of an enthrallment but shook it off as Luna yelled " YOu are soo gonna die right now! With a zealous for battle she had never felt before.
Joxtier approached the covered wagon, entered and pulled out his Lyre. There before him was a coffin. Jocksteir went into song, and light poured out of the wagon. As he sang his song he kicked open the coffin lid and a vampire instantly turned to ash as the light touched it. Satisfied Joxtier went to the front of the wagon where his two companions still were fighting.
Have you not yet finished with those scoundrels asked Joxsteir? With that distraction Valon landed a knockout blow to the temple of the female merchant. Finally the battle was over. Everyone then began to search for treasure.
Joxsteir found a magical gem that reproduced itself, while the other found nothing of interest.
As the party decided what to do Joxsteir pointed out that the female super merchant which had take the other two soo much effort to defeat was still breathing. Valon came up with the idea of placing her in the coffin in the wagon and using the petrification wand to turn her to stone. As he used the rod, the last of its magics crumbled and the rod disintegrated. The group then left to go back to Dead tower to continue their previous mission.
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 8 About a day before return to Dead tower the group decided to use their 2nd rod of petrification to revive the female slave they had worked so hard to save.
As she awoke the girl named alissa told the group of her evil father and how he wanted her brother to rule the family, and how he had turned her into stone in order to rid himself of her pressence. Of course this may have had something to do with her discovering that her father was running a slavery ring.
Having little to nothing, she begged the adventurers for help. She asked to be escorted to Hydrafel where her aunt would be able to take care of her. The group agreed and since the group was only a days travel from dead tower, Jocksteir volunteered to get her some clothing.
Upon his return Luna used her teleport spell to go back to the abandoned tower and open a portal for the others to use.
The following day the group left for Hydrafel. A few hours in Luna, now seemingly attuned to the sound of the approaching blood worms, notifies the group of the incoming threat.
When prepared Luna became a formidable force against the 3 blood worms. As they popped out of the ground Luna struck, peircing one and killing the second with one firing of her crossbow, the third then fleeing. feeling satisfied Luna began to feel more comfortable fighting these creatures and wondered what else the dark had to offer.
The following day The sun came to great them, for the first time the colour green spread across the land.
As they traveled the dark became more distant and the road to Hydrafel lay before them.
A few days of good weather and good travel the group came to the grand entrance to Hydrafel. Luna who had been pulling the cart was happy for the rest. As the guards approached the group they identified themselves and said they were required to check the group for the darks influence. While the group passed the inspection by strange glowing rods, the wagon did not, and the group was force to abandon the wagon. As Luna picked up the coffin containing the "Art peice" Joxteir wondered at her strength.
The group soon found them self in front of Alissas aunts mansion. Happily Luna put down the heavy coffin. Much to Alissas surprise the mansion was boarded up and there was a for sale sign. This meant no safety and no reward.
At this point Valon asked Alissa ...What was the date you last remember before being turned to stone. Her answer of 10 years ago shocked them all.
The group decided to split up and investigate the aunts disappearance while Alissa stayed at the mansion after having used a secret key. While Luna and Joxsteir go to the adventurers guild Valon decided to utilise some of his less obvious contacts on his own.
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 9 Having gone off on his own, Valon decided to resort back to his less well known skills. He realized he was in potentially hostile territory. However he believed his intentions were innocent enough and he need not worry ...too much
As he walked the streets of Hydrafel he noticed a shady looking fellow. As they met eye contact the man with a tooth that grew in the wrong direction gave him a knowing look. Dressed all in a black long coat the man called Valon over. After a brief discussion, Valon was sure he had made a good contact. The snaggle toothed man seemed to know everything and assured Valon that he would have info for him by that evening. Valon then left and explored the city some more attempting to familiarize himself with its streets, before he knew it it was time to meet again with the scrawny man.
Looking left and right the man said, go to room 6. Valon gave him 10 gold, to which the man gave him a disturbing, toothy grin
Valon made his way to the bar, and climbed the stairs to room 6. The door was slightly ajar and the room dark. Valon knocked and a voice told him to come in.
As he entered the door shut behind him and locked. A silhouette of a man sitting in front of a fireplace could be seen.
Suddenly Valon was aware of 6 other presences in the room. And then he was hit with the purple palm.Reeling he grabbed for his weapon but instead fell to the floor. He looked up in confusion. The silhouetted man had attacked him.
Welcome trespasser, said the shadowed man.
tell me, what brings you to our lands..green ninja!!!
Surprised at this strange mans foreknowledge, Valon replied, Have have come on a mission seeking information on a woman named Aguness. She was the wife of a local lord named Witigurr. I bare you nor your clan any ill will.
Witigurr you say...intriguing. You are messing with matters far beyond your understanding..let me give you a word of advice, leave..never come back. If you are seen with after 3 days time you will no longer have my protection.
The man then looked at Valon, now holding his chest, oh, that was the purple palm, fail to leave within the allotted time and well, i cant really say what will happen, but i believe it will not fair well for you. As the door became unlocked, the man said GO!
Valon picked himself up off the floor and stumbled down the hall and stairs and out the building. It was night now, and not surprisingly his contact was not where he had last seen him. He made his way to a bar/inn and despite a very much failed attack by a petty thief rented a room..He was tired and when he finally found a bed he lifted his shirt...a purple palm mark sat on his chest.....
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 10 As Valon leaves, Joxteir leads Luna to the adventurers guild. A mostly wooden building crowded with all types of adventurers. As people jostle and vie for position on the job walll, in attempts to get the best paying job for the least amount of work, Joxtier and Luna go to the line up to inquire about the house for sale. As the line up slowly progresses Joxteir strikes up a conversation with some lovely ladies to which he receives 2 invitations to the Yearly Dragon ball. Luna tells Joxteir to hold their place in line and goes up to one of the mission boards. Lost Dracosaur 15000 BP reward.. Just as Luna went to grab it a rather bulky orc says, excuse mee and grabs it...He then slowly began to sound out the job and when he got to the word Dracosaur put the job listing back..meh waste of time he stated. Interested, luna took the offer back into line. When it was her turn to talk to the old man at the counter he looked at her mildly imprresed..What have we here he asked..Luna looked down upon the frail looking elderly man. He wore a cap and specticales and sat at a small desk . Sitting on the desk was a green oblong lamp with no visable light source.
Job listing...and Im inquiring about the house listing on cardern and marrow...big mansion, boarded up...Og you mean the Witigur place yeah sure, ..lets see here...umm yeah, going for 12500 BP, its a steal!! Been for sale for a while now. I would like an appointment to see it, tommorrow if possible, replied Luna....Hrm tommorrow , sure thing , 10 o clock noon..I will be there said Luna, after paying him for the finders fee, oh, and um this...
Luna passes him the job listing, ..The man looked at the listing, You got 3 months before your contract expires and 100 BP$ ...finders fee, you understand.. Yes I do replied Luna..
Come with me Cried Joxteir, nearly making Luna jump , We have got to get you out of those...clothes...
And just what is wrong with my.
NO time cried Joxteir, we must go now! as he pulled her by the arm.
As the two get outside the adventurers guild, Just a minute, what are you going on about?
THE DRAGONS BALL, IS TONIGHT!!! CMON!!
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 11 Half an hour later Joxteir and Luna arrive at the clothing store...Joxteir turns to Luna and say, I should warn you , Ethal is a bit rude, but always honest. Bite your tongue if you must. Joxteir then entered the elegant building. Luna begrudgingly followed. Just what was he on about?
A series of fragrances, and colors surrounded Luna as she entered the clothing store. The building was well lit and featured many glorious gowns and other attire..seemingly not very practical.
And here she is, said Joxteir, The lovely, if not a bit of a diamond in the ruff, Luna.
My heavens cried Ethal what are you trying to pull here Joxteir? Before tonight, no less, Silarry, I will need your assistance at once!
Suddenly Luna found herself surrounded by 2 women bustling and priming and propping all around her. Luna let out a slight snarl when the ladies placed scissors in their hands but Joxteir gave her a..no no no look, and she relaxed...sort off
She even was given a bath to which Ethal was none too kind about. As time gathered to a close, the store was closed early to accommodate Luna. As Luna sat there she was caught between the urge to rip this womans throat out, and wonder at the transformation that looked back at her in the mirror.
When all was said and done Joxteir let out a cry of joy, Diamond in the ruff indeed, no man will keep his eyes of you for long this evening. Here is your payment Madame Ethal, you have earned every Buckner.
Its a miracle if I ever saw one, replied Ethal...but worth it in the end.
My apologies Madame, but we must be off...
I understand she replied as Joxsteir and Luna left the store.
I can barely move whined Luna, how am I supposed to fight in this?
Lol cried Joxteir you are not, tonight you become first lady Luna from The old Namish Republic.
Ugh i am hungry, where are we going, what happens when i have to go to the ...bathroom.?
Tonight we find out how quick a learner you are I guess laughed Joxteir come, do not tary!
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 12 As Luna and Joxsteir entered the ballroom at the Castle tower sweet music and aromas bombarded their senses. As Luna entered she noticed the eyes of many a person lay upon her every step. She was accustomed to hiding in the shadows, and surely felt more comfortable.
Luna quietly spoke to Joxteir,The men here carry swords, but the women do not..i could grab one if I needed to.
Barely batting an eye, Joxteir replied, words and information are the weapons of self defense here, not swords.
Just then the orchestra paused and the official , whale song dance was about to commence.
Take my hand, said Joxteir and follow my lead. Just then Joxteir pulled Luna clumsily on the dance floor. One two three one tow three whispered Joxteir, left left right, very good, he coached.. Although she had never danced before there was rhythm, a place for her and not long she found herself to be quite good at this dancing thing, it reminded her of a time should couldnt quit remember, she had danced like this once before..
Joxteir despite his somewhat overwhelming self loving attitude, was graceful, more so than almost any one the floor, and more than made up for her lack of experience. Strangely she found he was the perfect gentleman, his eyes gave a sense of caring , mystique as though there were an entire universe contained within his eyes..And suddenly the music broke.. Luna laughed nervously as she realized that her and Joxteir had taken the floor to themselves and garnered an audience. Soon after the sound of applause and Luna found herself , blushing.
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 13 Luna found herself once again sitting in an uncomfortable situation, as Joxteir navigated all the conversations with grace and charm while she should remain mostly silent.. She really did not care for such events.
Sensing her uncomfortable mood, Joxteir motioned towards the food tables and she readily agreed. As she began to help herself to the large platter of fine meats and cheese, she noticed once again she had gathered an audience...as she looked at all those around her holding plates and fine silver forks, she grabbed herself a wooden plate and quickly moved on.
Suddenly the lights dimmed and the announcer came on stage, I am pleased to announce a surprise for the audience this evening... The one and only Joxteir Von Vega is here to play for us tonight.
Suddenly the room filled with cheering and applause. A sad song telling the tale of a love lost began to fill the air, it flowed and rested, hung and floated and soon Lunas mood had her take in a sigh of breath. Quickly she wondered at such a voice, was he using magic, bardic song, or was this just what he sounded like. In a small eternity the song ended, many of the audience hiding tears or fanning themselves. A Humble goodbye for Joxteir and he quickly came to wisk her away.
I have found out why we are here he stated, and the two quietly exited the ball.
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 14 It was not until the next morning, after having left the hotel Joxteir rented, on their way to see Ethal for touch ups that Jocksteir mentioned anything of the night before. We have a big meeting at noon today, said Joxteir..You are meeting with THEE Lord Witigur, not his representitive.
Wait..said Luna, Shouldnt we warn Alissa?
Yes, replied Joxteir, we will do that soon enough.
After a touch up from a disgruntled Ethal, the two hurriedly made their way to The mansion.
Suddenly Valon appeared before them, he did not look well.
I found you at last, he said. Where are we off to?
We are going to the mansion to tell Alissa that her father will be there to show the house.
Valon nodded, I will take her with me outside the city
Agreed said Joxteir.
The three came to the mansion a few minutes later and Joxteir revealed at last what he found out.
The Lord Witigur was coming in person to show the house, and that he had recently been commissioning buildings all along the trade route from dead tower to Hydrafel., Equally one days apart from the other.
Valon stepped forward, to perhaps give a place of refuge for the slave traders?
Yes perhaps replied Joxtier..Regardless you and Alissa must leave at once, he is do in an hours time and it wouldnt do to have him show up early.
Outside the city gates replied Joxteir..And so Valon and Alissa left.
An hour later saw a large blocky shaped man walking up the pathway. Luna flashed a moment of true vision at the man and saw a blue skinned figure with horns, wings and a tale.
He approached coldly and Luna immediately felt as though she was about to fight.
The man showed them around and was very reserved until he entered the study. He walked over to a wall and removed a painting with little provocation to do so.
Behind the painting was a safe which now lay unlocked and empty..The man then looked around and noticed footprints and signs of a resident. I apologize for the apparent squatter..as a way to show my concern I will lower the price to 16000 BP...I imagine this shall suffice?
Yes replied Joxsteir.That will be fine, what say you madame?
Luna seeing him turn to face her, nodded and agreed, fighting the urge to rip this strange man limb from limb. Oh said Jocksteir, my lady has become faint and sweats with fatigue, forgive us, we shall be outside.
No need to meet with me again, I have some things to take care of here at the house, Make your purchase at the adventurers guild, oh, and by the way...
The man who towered over Joxsteir looked at him coldly, that girdle you wear, it is...unlucky ....to wear such a thing..
Acting innocent Joxsteir and Luna left.
After a quick stint around the market to buy Luna some new adventuring gear, and Joxsteir to sell some of his less used magic items, the two found themselves purchasing a mansion, then, deed in hand leaving town.
They found Valon and Alissa nervously waiting their return...The question being, what were they going to do with Alissa?
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 15 After a brief discussion, it was decided the girl would be safest at the newly acquired house. Bereft of unique items the house should no longer be a source of interest for its previous blue owner.
With that decided the group teleport back to dead tower to pick up on their original mission to turn in the strange clear globe now in Joxtier's possession.
As the trio left Dead tower they came across a man dressed in dull green. The man looked up at Valon and said " your father is looking for you , he is not pleased with you.
Valon replied, "Oh I know i got detoured" and strangely the man and his cart continued down the road.
Luna eyed the cart. On it lay a coffin, and the cart was the same style as the one the merchants were carrying the other day.
Though Valon recognised the cart as one that a member of his clan made, he said nothing.
As the group crossed the blackened felt covered countryside they saw large humanoid shaped objects covered in the black.
Once arriving at the gates of his base the group was surrounded by dark green clad figures, one of which towered above all the rest.
Valon! he said with a calm but loud and deep voice. Why have you come bearing, guests with you?
Valon somewhat stuttering, I, I , I thought they could be of some use, they have helped me get as far as I have, In fact one of them
ENOUGH! the large mans voice rang like thunder
You have broken the first tenant of the clan of the green ninja. Not only that...
But you have also been interfering in the very clan matters we are trying to operate.
Confused Valon stated..but I dont understand?
Perhaps if you weren't sleeping all the time during training muttered the large man, The organization has found a new trade and we are headlining its movement, and you have become a liability.
Why are you telling us this? Squeaked Valon.
Because, you will soon be quite dead
With that the dark green clad men started to pull out their weapons and move towards the group...
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 16 As the newly acquired foes closed in, Luna began casting her teleport spell. A confused Valon stood ready to fight, but still left wondering.
Luna go to the "new place" Joxtier cried, I will cover us, you know what to do!
Luna nodded in confirmation and with a Zoop disappeared.
Half out of desperation, half anger at being betrayed Valon lets fly his weapon, finding as in tune with his emotions its target, dropping the masked figure instantly. Tears welling up in his eyes as the realization that once again his world was crumbling.
With a shout, half fear, half intimidation Joxteir pulls hard on his runic abilities , summoning an impressive 32 ghostly swords.
Ninja stars fly through the air at Joxteir and Valon, each one being met with the defensive parry of the runic blades.
A portal then opened up behind them.
Joxteir seeing Valon struck with grief, yelled at him...THROUGH THE DOOR! Now! As he pushed Valon through the portal. His attention now focused on the opponents closing in a hand came out of the portal, strongly grasping his shoulder, pulling him through the portal. As the surprised looks of the ninja came to a close, as did the portal,Joxtier looked around. They were safe for the moment.
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 17 JUST WHAT IN NAME OF THE DIVINES WERE YOU THINKING Shouted an extremely agitated Luna. You just about got us killed! Now pacing Luna was pressing for answers.
I, I, Thought they would work with us, help us...I didnt know they were part of it..I . I ..
We believe you said Joxtier in a calm voice, I did not see mal intent in your eyes just now, you were just as surprised as the rest of us.
Surprised????Retorted Luna, We were just about killed!
With quiet tone Joxteir replied, but we weren't. We are here, and here and now is where we must now focus our attention.
With a growl Luna conceded.Whatever...
Safe to say I guess I should not have slept soo much in training. said Valon
What does that even mean? Luna snapped
Well as an moon elf I excel at certain skills that take others years to perfect, i haven't been the most attentive of students as I was a bit of an anomaly.
I coasted through most of the training relying on my natural gifts to get me through. It became a bit of a joke that I was sleeping while others trained.
So when they were in class saying"dont bring others to our top secret ninja base, you were falling asleep???countered Luna
...Yes? replied Valon.
Dragons teeth find you ! Cried Luna, of all the ..
Have you noticed, stated Joxtier, that our house guest is not here? In fact, it seems as she has helped herself to most of the valuables that were here...
This realization garnered Luna's attention just long enough to break her interrogation of Valon. Yes you are right
So where is she then?
Joxsteir pulled out the crystal orb and concentrated on the girl. She was dressed differently, heading west of Hydrafel.
Hrmm...I suggest we do a quick shopping spree, i am low on my favourite cologne, and need to make arrangements for the house with Mrs. Ethal. I will garner you some new clothing Valon as you should not leave the house.
After a brief shopping trip the trio was headed west of Hydrafel.
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 18 For three days they followed Alissa with the aid of the clear globe. Luna enjoyed the walk. It was good to be near the trees, in a land where everything was green again. A warm summer breeze caressed her face and in a few brief moments she found a type of peace. Nature welcomed her here. Luna awoke as if daydreaming she stopped. I can smell her...she is close!
Joxteir and Valon looked around somewhat confused.. You can smell her? asked Valon
Somewhat surprised her self Luna replied, yes, yes I can. Funny Luna did not recall having smelled people before, but now she was very aware of the smells around her, everything, Joxteir, Valon, the trees the road the grass all had its own smell.
The group traveled til night time until they came across their quarry. Valon took the lead with Luna quickly quickly following into the dark and into stealthy position.
Good evening, said Joxsteir, Fine evening for a walk. Quickly, Alissa rose to escape finding only Lunas firm grasp helping her sit back down.
I couldnt help notice I was missing quite a few things in the estate including the contents of the safe, he said with a raised eyebrow.
Alissa at first denied everything until Joxteir volunteered to bring her back to Lord Witigur.
Quickly she changed her tune admitting she had sold the silverware from the house and revealing the item in the safe at last.
As Joxtier looked at the strange highly decorated katana, Valon asked to see it in order to detect its magical powers.
After some time he stated, It looks as though it has powers against creatures, from another realm, and it is very sharp and of extreme quality.
Luna piped in, Something our Blue friend would like not like soo much.
You may hold onto the sword, said Joxteir, it will better suit your hands for the time being, Valon nodded.
and as for you Alissa. i will relieve you of your bag and stolen gains.
Knowing she had little choice she co operated.
The following morning the group began to leave, much to Alissas dismay. She insisted on following them.
At noon Joxteir announced it was time to make camp for lunch. he addressed Alissa, if you wish to tag along, then make yourself useful and gather some fire wood.
Quickly she ran to do so, but when she returned she found herself alone.
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 19 Satisfied that the teleport had rid them of their unwanted theiving associate, the group headed west. They began to discuss what they should do now as both dead tower and hydrafel had become a bit too hot. They figured for the time being west was as good a direction as any.
Nearly a week had passed when they discussed the possibility of starting a treasure hunters guild, when the group was besieged by mischievous yetis. After a back and forth with stones, the yetis seemingly disappeared. An hour later as the group passed through a low walled passage, the yetis lay ambush to the group.
Caught off guard Luna was buried in a pile of rocks, Jocksteir leaping out of the way in tandem with Valon.
Valon lunged forward with devastating attacks, but yet he yielded no corpse with his blows.
Angered by his attack the yeti foe swung at Valon sending him flying ,landing terribly on his face , crushing his skull open. Now panicked Joxsteir called forth his wall of runic blades. Using them to hold at bay the now three attacking Yetis.
with a crash, Luna pulled herself out of the rocks and tackled one of the yetis, ripping its throat out with three well placed crossbow bolts.
Taking advantage of the distraction, Joxsteir placed two lethal strikes into the heart of each remaining yeti.
panting and yelling Noooooooo! at the fate of his friend, took time to wrap his companion up in his cloak. Joxsteir skinned the beasts as part revenge and part utility, as the weather could be getting cold soon.
Discussion with Luna found the two using the orb to find a healer capable of resurrecting their friend. With that the two headed towards the unknown grove that contained the supposed healer .
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 20 Luna showed no signs of weakening her resolve while carrying Valon. It had been four days already. Only a very skilled healer could help him now. Her new found sense of smell betrayed her these last 4 days, with the body smelling worse with each passing day. Joxteir, while not complaining seemed to lag further behind as the smell intensified. Still though, Luna was firm in her resolve. He may be a dumb ninja, but he was part of their group, and like any pack wolf that meant he was her dumb ninja to care for.
Joxtier said its not far, only another day, when suddenly a dark cloud seemed to cover the sky. As Luna looked up, to her amazement came landing down a huge white dragon.
the power of its wings sent Joxteir flying into the bushes. Weighted down by the corpse Luna stood firm.
The dragon paused for a moment to look at the scene before her. My apologies, she said nodding in Joxtiers direction.
I have seen your coming, and you come carrying a corpse. Why are you on my lands, are you necromancers? Speak!
Regaining what composure he could, Joxteir Introduced himself and Luna, and stated, No we are not necromancers.
Luna replied our friend has died , we were seeking aid from a healer in a grove about a days travel from here.
I am what you seek, of this i am sure, and most fortuitous for you I have need of your services.
Are you offering a trade of services, then, a task for in exchange for our friends life?
I am , said the dragon, I will even sweeten the pot and resurrect your friend so he may assist you. What say you?
Agreed replied Luna.
Very well said the dragon, I shall carry you to my lair, and resurrect your friend there.
As the group flew through the skies, a days journey would only take a few hours. Luna wondered at the sight of the land from such a vantage point.It made her feel free and she loved it
A few hours later they arrived at a misty grove, hidden away in the forest. In the back of the grove was a cave where the Dragon lived.
Now, for my half. The dragon closed her eyes and the corpse of Valon began to stir, and out from his wrappings came Valon. That smell is atrocious, said the Dragon and with a wave of her tail, the entire party looked as though an entire team of servants had taken care of all their washing and hygenic needs.
Now, for yours... Beyond this wall, far too small for me to enter lay another smaller cave. Kobolds have taken up residence there. I want you to rid the cave of their presence. Use what ever means you have to, how ever if you can achieve this feat without killing a single one of those creatures, I will grant you an item from my hoard.
The group readily agreed and entered the cave entrance.
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 21 After a short walk through a tunnel made of uncut stone the adventures find themselves in an unusually lit cave. Both large mushroom and gem stone pulsed with light. as the trio looks around Luna tries pulling at one of the glowing stones and pulls off a chunk. While Valon comes up empty handed, Joxteir finds an ornate jeweled ring, that pictures 2 cupped hands around a gemstone. An ankh makes up the band with decorations of a Phoenix. After a quick look Valon reveals many life giving powers. The fates smile upon you regularly comments Valon.
After a brief exploration of the small cave its residents begin to stir through a series of small caves, either forming naturally or carved by the kobolds themselves.
I have a plan stated Joxteir and the group formed a huddle.
The Kobolds now interested in the unexpected guests who woke them from their sleep start approaching as Joxteir began a few test claps to check the acoustics of the room.
With charm and grace Joxsteir burst into song, slowly walking around. As the Kobolds closed in, Joxsteir pulled for the chime of fear, and in unison, hit the chime just as he activated the song of light.
the kobolds fearing for their lives started to flee towards the exit. Luna, ran like the wind towards the exit to cut them off, using her teleport she teleported out of the way.
Just at that moment some green clad ninjas sat on patrol at the ruins of light forge. A magical portal opened up and a female figure stepped through for a moment. She looked around her wildly and then stepped behind the portal. Confused the two ninja guards began to draw their weapons.
Suddenly without warning Kobolds started pouring out by the tens, then hundreds, sparked by fear of the intense daylight and chime of fear. With yipping and screaming and sheer terror the kobolds approached the open gate with oncoming speed, the ninjas turned tail and fled.
Luna, satisfied her part of the plan was finished returned to the cave via the portal and then proceeded to close it.
Well done clapped Valon, Well done.
With pride gleaming off Luna, she said, Cmon let us be off, there is a reward to collect.
The white dragon awaited their return eagerly. Yes they are gone now.
And for the time being, still alive, stated Joxsteir.
Oh, and we found a few things as well, Never you mind said the grateful Dragon. This is my lair, not in there, what you found there is your to keep. Now I believe you are owed a reward.
To Luna she gave a pearl, that allows the holder to breathe underwater. To Valon she gave a book containing skill of chi users. And to Joxteir she began to hand out a quill pen.
Um My Lady, Dragon. of all the gifts you have, it is not the ones of monetary value I am interested in.
The Dragon almost seemingly offended asked , and what is it do you request of me.
An exchange, I will return your quill, and I would like to perform a song and dance for you.
You see, I am of the bardic school of magic and your gifts are ones that I can learn if you should choose to share them.
The dragon then understood the offer.
After adjusting one of her rings that would protect her from charm, she consented to this trade.
Joxteir poured his heart and soul into a sad tale between lovers lost and finally reunited, as he danced and sang it seemed as the world went quite just to listen. Small animals and birds approached the cave entrance to quietly sit and listen.
When he was finished there was a moment of silence.
You impress me Nymph, your art is nearly perfect. I will honour your request.
With that the white dragon urged Joxsteir where she would use a limited version of her dragons breath. While the most famous of dragons breath is perhaps fire, each dragon has his own, depending on his color. My breathe is of a holy realm, now hold still, the dragon said.
As the cave lit up Joxsteir felt the pain of pure raw holy energy.
Down to his knees he felt the cool sensation of healing magic and once again stood.
The bardic way of magic allows for the bard to feel the pain of an attack, and then learn its use, stated the Dragon, while at the same time becoming immune to its effects.
Again, she stated as Luna and Valon watched on.
This time, my full effect. Holding Joxsteir in the air, so as not to damage the surrounding area the full force of her holy breath encompassed Joxsteir.
And now for my finale, the dragon jested as she activated her banish and her aura of calming simultaneously.
Joxteir smiled in a way that only he could, and offered back the feather pen.
Keep it, said the dragon, You have brought a peace unknown, but welcome to this area. Your soul is pure, put my gifts to good use.
Jocksteir nodded humbly, and the group took off for the road once more.
No more of that dieing thing guys, said Luna. i dont think we will find a dragon like that every time we need.
The group broke out in laughter as they depart fort their next big adventure.
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 22 After a short meeting between our trio, the group had decided to try their luck using the globe to find some treasure.. Bidding their farewells to the dragon the group headed north east. Joxteir had found in his reference book, mention of an old temple, by the name of the Temple of the Setting Sun. Apparently it was an old abandoned temple back before the worship of the three gods
What is it called? asked Luna?
Temple of the Setting Sun, replied Joxtier, now pay attention! We have a three days journey ahead of us...but this is an estimate, and unfortunately, as much as I love the forest, its wilderness will slow our travel emmencely.
Valon lifted up the blade loaned to him by Joxteir, I think this might speed the process, raising the bejeweled katana.
A sword to chop the foliage, queried Joxteir..Not the most effective....
Valon swung the sword at a branch easily as thick as his own leg, slicing it as though through butter.
...Very well, said an astonished if not slightly humbled Joxteir, lead the way.
On the second day Joxteir asked Valon, so what path are you choosing now that your clan has ousted you?
Valon paused, without turning back..I will seek the path of the crystal ninja.
I am afraid I do not follow said Joxteir.
Each clan is associated with a color, each color a purpose or mission. Legends tell of a secret clan, with access to all clan abilities. This is the path of the crystal ninja. It is said to be run by the ghost of the first ninja clan leader.
How will you contact them, asked Joxteir?
I am…still working on that, until then, I will seek out teachings from all clans.
Three days turned into five as the group pressed on, until finding the lost temple.
Oh at last, cried Luna, the temple of the rising sun!
That's setting sun, corrected Joxteir.
Before them lay an ancient stone building of unusual design, an obvious door and entrance hall that spanned out at right angles both left and right. The walls seemed topped with glass, now darkened with age that came to an elongated point, framed in metal girders. Five such roof tops lay in a fanned out design.
An unusual design to say the least commented Joxtier. Shall we investigate?
As the group moved to the front door an nearly impenetrable stone barrier presented itself, carved with what appeared to be a half sun symbol.
Oh look said Luna, a picture of dawn.
Joxteir rolling his eyes, I would take a guess if this is the temple of the SETTING sun, then that is in fact a symbol of a setting sun…not dawn.
Oh right, said Luna, how do we get in.
As the group looked around they came across two sconces, each shaped like the symbol on the door.
With a bit of discussion, the group cut themselves multiple torches from the surrounding wooded foliage, placing two lit torches in the sconces.
The wall like door proceeded to slowly pull back to reveal a long and very dark hallway. Torches in hand the group enters cautiously
A loud grating sound suddenly filled the dark hall as the front door shuts itself, locking in the group.
Valon looked around with his aura vision and detected the faint mechanics placed into the wall.
We should follow these, perhaps they will show us how to open the door.
As the group pressed on a loud crashing sound could be heard. The group froze, and after hearing nothing further pressed on.
Luna began to have an uneasy feeling that she couldn’t quite place the source of..
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 23 After a few minutes pause, the group continued on down a dark , cold hallway. As they came into another room at last it seemed to be some form of alter room. The room itself was round, and at its center was a pedestal containing on its crown, a large silver colored sphere. The sphere was quite tarnished.. Behind the sphere about 10 feet or so was a very large clear crystal standing about 3ft tall, and placed on a mount that could swivel. Seven evenly spaced doors lay inset to the round room shape.
So where to now? asked Luna.
Lets go this way, suggested Valon, and the party followed.
Picking the first door on the right,the group found themselves in some form of kitchen or food prep place
As Valon followed the mechanics from the first room with his Aura vision, he was led to within the room a
I found a secret door he declared, but I cant see how to open it.
The following room seemed to be a room full of broken pieces of wood, shredded cloth and little of value.
The cautious and slow progression of the group led them to the first of 5 glass ceiling rooms. As the group looked around Luna found a plaque with some writing.
Chamber of Dawn, Luna read aloud..Hrmph
The room, triangular in shape, seemed to be some form of medical room.Jars of herbs, potion bottle and a full chemistry set were placed in this room much like a lab.
As the group continued to investigate Valon pointed at the large sarcophagus in the center of the room
As the group began to theorize as to who was inside, the top cover of the sarcophagus suddenly blows off into the air, narrowly missing Luna.
The group sprung into action, with everyone stabbing in unison, making quick work of what ever threat was to be.
As the they investigated further Valon found a holy symbol that was resembled ll the other insignia's they had seen thus far.
Luna then began to say last rites for the once again dead being.
Cmon, lets go directed Valon..
After taking an alternative path, the group was in a long hall way. Old tapestries covered the walls. As Valon inspected the tapestries , the mainstay of which showed the rituals of the priests, he came across one unusual one, that showed a strange red baby with horns.
As the group pressed on they once again came back to the alter room with the silver orb.
Which way, asked Joxteir.
Might as well continue the way we are going, said Luna.
The group then took another door to the North West.
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 24 The room before the group was both large and dark. The torch light failed to encompass the large chamber. As they began to enter Luna looked around, something...something isnt right. she said
Suddenly there came the screams of someone in agonizing pain, and then another and another. The room began to fill with the screams of tens of beings. Just then a skeletal hand reached from the darkness, burnt to a crisp, then another and another.
Fall back! Shouted Joxteir.
As the group turned to exit another skeletal corpse, clad in robes like the one in the sarcophagus blocked their exit.
Seeing the danger Valon struck out instinctively at the undead and cut it into pieces with one fell swing.
Luna turned to face the oncoming threat. Pulling out her crossbow, she fires 3 shots at once, reloads fires 3 more at once, and finally a single last shot. Joxtier dropped the torch to the ground and pulled forth his runes.
As the skeletons came into melee, Joxtier pulled out his rapiers as Luna jumped in to meet them. Valon turned now to face his foe as well.
With surprising speed the skeletons closed in on the group surrounding them. Joxsteir used his runic blades to defend the party and then sprang into action himself. Almost as a dance he went forward with a lethal grace he had not yet displayed. Skeleton after skeleton fell to his blades as Luna watched in awe. I can barely kill one, she thought to herself. Now more determined she strove even harder to keep pace..
Valon found his sword seemed to have a love for these creatures as it cleaved through them as though the were not even there.
Joxtiers voice began to sing a song of battle as he, seemingly gleefully, cut down his enemies one after another.
Having cleared through so many, Joxsteir suddenly disappeared and then reappear before the groups eyes, beginning a whole new assault from the other side of the room, until finally he and his companions had finished the last of them.
That....is how it is done, cried Joxtier.
How ..did you ? asked Luna...
Remember..it is not always how you hit them, but where.
As Luna pffft in frustration, Valon nodded. Come now Luna, there are souls that need to be laid to rest. As Luna began to put the fallen to rest, Joxtier cast his spell, wise eyes.
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 25 With the worst of the dungeon behind them more rooms with more sarcophagus's were left to find. Each former priest going down with little effort. Finally Valon looks at the windows, the sphere and the mirrors in each of the 5 pointed chambers and suggests..if we perhaps clean the windows, and make sure everything lines up, we could gain access to the secret door?
The group agreed and each went their own way cleaning as they went.
After everything was cleaned they waited til dawn, and sure enough the front door and the secret door opened.
As the group rushed to the secret room they found a library and a secret store room. Much to their delight it was still intact.
suddenly Luna again got a disturbing feeling, just as the cackles began to start. The group went quiet and they heard what sounded like laughter and...coins?
Leaving the library the group went to investigate the sound. As they entered a previously unexplored area a small red gangly creature with an armful of treasure met their gaze.
EEEE said the creature as it dropped the treasure and ran off.
Get em, cried Luna.
The group then gave chase until they entered another secret room.
Cornered the creature, begged for its life, and when questioned stated it had no part in the death of those in the temple.
Valon, using his aura vision, saw the creatures aura was red and black, and when he went to question the creature it attacked Luna.
Luna was hit but the creatures blind ball spell as well as Valon...
The creature lept at Luna using the feared Touch of the dead, with her training in Slayer as her only defence , she survives the attack.
Joxtier called forth the runic blade and put the creature to death.
At last the temples remaining priest spirit appeared in front of them and bowed in thanks as she disappeared.
Well, it could use some cleaning, beside we need a nice new base to keep out of trouble for a while, as Joxteir reached for a duster.....
I think we should call it..Rising sun adventuring hall!
Every one laughed except Joxtier.
YEAR 95 TD (The Dark) Chapter 26
You know, said Valon, considering our situation and our abilities, We could turn this place into a rather effective base.
No way, Adventuring hall! Said Luna, The Rising Sun Adventuring hall, as she started to giggle.
Ugh while both of these options seem quite viable we will have to start cleaning, I cant stand this mess.said Joxtier
Just then Joxsteir places his hand on an ornate feather duster. Magically it springs to life.
What a wondrous find, he replied, perhaps I can order it to clean for me, he thought to himself.
I claim this cleaning instrument, while the others occupied themselves with their own cleaning tools. Its ornate nature fits with my personal aesthetic, he claimed.
I will start in the first chamber.
Valon and Luna barely noticed as they set about their tasks.
Happy at his find, Joxteir went to the chamber of dawn, and sure enough the feather duster began to quickly dust away. It was so effective that only a small cloud of dust would appear and when it moved on the dust dirt and grim, seemed to magically be gone!
Satisfied that he had effectively found a way out of his share of the chores, Joxteir sat down with his Academy of higher learning manual and began to study.
An hour later the duster had made the room look as new, and happy at his, lack of participation, he moved on to yet another chamber.
As the others worked hard to clean the other areas, Joxstier made his way through, two other chambers before coming to the fourth.
Just like before, he set the the feather duster to work, by mental command.
The feather duster went off to do its handy work when suddenly it stopped.
Joxsteir looked at it curiously.
What is wrong? he asked the duster.
The duster moved towards him, only slightly, then stopped, hovering now in the air.
Umm Duster? Are you finished? Joxsteir queried, in a slightly unsure tone.
Again the duster moved towards him and then stop.
Joxteir began to back away slightly.
The duster followed, step for step.
Joxteir, made a mad dash to the alter room where Valon and Luna were cleaning.
AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH! They heard Joxteir as he rushed into the room.
Just as he entered the room the feather duster seemed to envelope him in a cloud of dust, covering him head to foot in a soot like dust.
After a few seconds of this onslaught the duster calmed itself and laid itself down on the ground.
Luna and Valon looked at Joxsteir and blinked.
As the silence grew, Luna and Valon burst into laughter.
Joxsteir sat and stared at his companions before he spoke.
I think it's cursed, as he spoke a black cloud erupted from his mouth.
This sent his companions it a fit of laughter, Luna actually falling to the ground , finding this hilarious.
It's not funny he said in a meek tone.
This of course made them laugh even harder.
An hour or so worth of clean up, and Valon returned with the duster.
I normally would not touch a cursed item if I suspected it to be cursed, but you did say you claimed it, stated Valon.
Annnnd? asked an annoyed Joxteir.
Well it does magically clean, but theres a one in 10 chance, give or take, that well....that happens again.
Wonderful, said Joxteor, rolling his eyes.
The good news is, its cursed, which mostly mean it will return to you anytime you try to clean, even if you are not using the duster. You see this sort of thing all the time with cursed weapons.
So you are saying Joxtier cant clean anymore, asked Luna.
Not unless he wants to risk that again replied Valon.
This is the best news I have heard all day, laughed Joxteir.
Ahh my beloved friends, I am afraid you are bereft of my cleaning prowess from here on in. Unless.... you would like to claim the duster for your self?
Both of his companions shook their heads no..
Well then , back to my studies, perhaps I will check out the library?
Luna and Valon rolled their eyes, now stuck with the rest of the cleaning.
After a week the place was ready and the group began to sift through their hard earned treasure.
What other surprises did this new Adventuring House have in store??
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 27 As our heroes finish the last of the chores, and Joxsteir comes back with the last of the supplies, Luna and Valon are talking in the study.
So what will you do now? Asked Luna
I have given it a lot of thought and I have decided, I have always been used to being on my own, and well I can go back to my old ways..
Luna:Does that mean you are leaving?
Valon: No it, doest mean I am leaving, lol. It means I have accepted I may be out of the clan, but I chose that path for a reason, a reason I dont plan on giving up on.
Luna: Well that is good, I wouldn't want to lose my dumb ninja so soon
Luna: Seriously though, I cant help feel like you are part of the pack..
Joxtier: What a touching moment you two!
Luna: rolls eyes.
Joxtier: here are the rest of the supplies. With the base up and running, can anyone think of anything else we need?
Luna: I was thinking, I should go check out this mine I inherited from this...R, person
Joxtier: The city would probably have records of both the mine, and who gave it to you.
Luna: yes of course, lets check it out! Oh, sorry Valon.
Valon: Its ok, I will stay here and practice some of these new moves.
Joxsteir: Excellent, There is a certain bath house I wish to visit, plus I have a singing arrangement in the city.
With that Luna and Joxter teleport back to Joxsteir's house in Hydrafel, where soon after the two part ways.
Joxsteir: I will meet you at the house!
Luna: !!! Oh where should I go?
Joxsteir: The library, bunch of sweet old ladies work there.
Luna: Got it.!
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 28 Luna walked into the library amongst a kerfuffle of noise, and bartering and what appeared to be some sort of book and bake sale headed by a group of elderly women.
Almost as soon as she walked in, one of the ladies welcomed her in and offered her a cookie.
Thank you replied Luna, looking at the strangely good tasting treat.
How can I help you dear? Asked the woman.
Umm I inherited a mine from an unknown source and I wish to investigate. Replied Luna
Ahh I see, well that sounds like a job for Agna...AGNAAAA! Someone to see you, yelled the woman
Go to the office dear. said the lady as she went to help another person.
Across the room another elderly lady, with fine clothing and hair done up proper like waited for Luna, ushering her into the room full of records and books.
How can I be of assistance? She asked
I inherited an iron mine from someone known as R.
Agnus looked at Luna for a second, and then began to look for the shelf containing names with R
Ah, here we are said, Agna, yes R, the first one.
Taking the folder of leather bound parchment, Luna read eagerly.
It say, there were 3 other recipients..three other family members..There are others? She asked aloud. And they all recieved an inheritance as well? Property.
Oh and When I got my notice it came with this..Luna held up a small stone figurine with a strange bottom.
I dont know anything about that, but the mine you are looking for is about a days travel north, said Agna, while holding out her hand.
Luna took a second, and place some coin in Agnus's hand.
Thank you, may I copy this? Luna asked.
Allow me replied Agnus. With a double clap a disembodied hand , quill pen in hand, floated over, took one supposed look at the file and within seconds, copied out an exact duplicate seemingly from no where.
Thank you again said Luna, as she left both the office and the building.
As she made her way back to Joxsteirs house, he suddenly came up behind her...soo how did it go?
It went well, I think. I have a map, directions and apparently, I have family?
Oh that is an interesting development, commented Joxtier.
So let me guess, off to see a mine?
Yes replied Luna, lets get valon and we shall be off
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 29 After a day of event less travel the trio came to the place indicated on the map.However, instead of a mining camp, were a group of at least fifty or more unsavoury looking types. Bandits!!!!
As the group looked on, they noticed the mine camp had been fortified with large cut trees, their sharp ends pointed skywards.
While most of the men on the wooden walls wore furs, one man in particular stood out. He wore a white fur cloak, well carved metal armor and a helm that resembled the image of a bear.
The group decides to approach the bandits and speak with them.
And who might you be said the bear capped bandit leader.
Luna, replied Luna...Owner of this mine.
Is that so, said the bearded bear capped man, well..it seems there has been.... a change in management.
Of the 6 archers on the wall, 5 were now pointing knocked bows at the group.
Joxtier stepped forward, perhaps your men require some music, entertainment if you will?
Nah we are just fine my pointy eared friend, replied the bandit leader..YOu are lucky today, he continued
Oh and why is that, asked Joxtier.
Well you see I am feeling generous, you may leave with your lives, if you leave now.
The group looked at Luna for guidance,
Luna replied with a tense jaw, forcing herself to be restrained, more for her companions sake than any other.
Laughter followed the group as they backed off cautiously, careful not to turn their backs.
As soon as they were out of eyesight, the developed a plan and went to Hydrafel....
Less than 20 hours later 9 City knights accompanied our intrepid adventurers.
Valon slinked off to do reconnasense.Luna created exploding runes to weaken the door, Joxsteir created more 4 sword runes.
As the the knights prepared themselves with a battering ram the plan was to be as follows, the mines go off to send the signal. The knights charge the gate, Valon clears a path for the knights, Joxtier causes a distraction and uses his 4 swords to defend himself and others from archers on the wall. but how did it really go?
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 30 As the signal was set off the knights charged forward. Their battering ram however came against a gate that was reinforced better than they thought. Jocksteir used the song of light to draw fire and Luna, feeling unusually energetic that night began to fire her weapon at the archers on the walls. Valon began to assassinate any who came near him in his hiding place in the common tent.
As the bandits began to assemble, the knights at last break down the door. Luna in her excitement charges forward to take away the advantage the archers had by use of cover. Valon continues to snipe off unsuspecting passersby.
As the knights , shields raised in turtle formation charge into the camp, Valon realizes he is stuck between the charging knights and on coming enemy fire, taking an arrow to the shoulder, fortunately not the knee or his adventuring campaigning would be over, In desperation he uses a multi image chi ability to confuse his targets.
As the full moon came out, Luna changed form for the first time to her half form, a mighty combination of beast and woman. Joxsteir picked up her gun and found it both effective and useful.
Just as the knights unknowingly nearly trampled Valon, he dodged out of the way to be hit by another arrow. With the situation looking grim he looked up to see a man being thrown of the roof, and then a piece of the roof itself taking out any would be threats. With a howl, Luna took off into the dark.
More bandits began to pour out of one of the buildings, when suddenly another howl as Luna took aim at a pile of lumber that came crashing down, blocking the exit, ending the battle with several arrests.
Though it cost her a 1% tithe to the city of Hydrafel, the mine was hers once more, and the the enslaved miners once again free.
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 31 Home at last. After a few days down time the trio regroups to figure out where their next objective lay.
I think we should check out that Runic portal Said Valon, It may lead to other destinations worth exploring.
Couldnt agree with you more, chimed in Joxtier, plus it may also contain other runes as well as songs.
He guys! What do you think of my new wand? interrupted Luna, pointing it at Joxteir and making "pew pew pew" noises.
Annoyed Joxtier replied, do not point that at me until we know what it does...and even then..
Valon took the wand and examined it..I cant believe this...Strange
What is it ask Luna.
This isnt just any wand, this is the wand of infinite fireballs!!!
Sounds dubious replied Joxteir.
It is a very powerful, and unlike other wands it grows in power with the user, stated Valon.
That is strange , he continued, that and this elixer...
What is strange? queried Joxteir.
To find two such rare items in a camp of bandits...what do you suppose that it means?
Two rare items? what was the second asked Luna.
This potion, it has all the markings and responses of the potion of permanent polymorphing..a famed elixir only rumoured to exist. The secrets of which are highly sought after.
Permanent you say, posed Joxtier, A fine way to avoid recognition.
I was thinking the same thing, said Valon. It would be a great way to avoid pursuers as well.
DOO ITT! Squealed Luna. What are you going to turn into?
Well nothing too fancy, but I had rather liked the idea of a Winged elf. My MAS ( Grandmother in elvin) used to tell stories of them. said Valon
Joxtier, this should be interesting....
Well, here goes.
While Valon drank the potion he quickly thought to take off his shirt, least the wings cause him issue.
Luna looked on with expectation, while Joxteir looked on with slight apprehension.
Right before their eyes, Valons Purple ebony skin began to lighten to a sky blue. Wings sprout from his back. The feather plumage matched his still white hair. Wings fully outstretched spanned 15 feet. Valons eyes went from a deep red to light sparkly blue.
Well? asked Luna...how do you feel
Still amazed himself Valon replied, I feel different..Im not sure how, lighter....different he trailed off.
But otherwise intact I trust asked Joxsteir.
Yes Valon said with a smile, very much so.
Lol said Luna, your face...it , it looks kinda the same, you could have turned into a handsome sky elf dont you think?
Be nice, warned Joxsteir...
Now seems to be a good time to give you this, stated Joxsteir.
Oh? Asked Luna, you have a present for us?
Yes replied Joxsteir, a ring, taken from our earlier hauls..I have gone to the trouble of enchanting it with healing properties. They will function as long as you wear it.
Thank you replied Valon.
Of course Valon my friend with the risk of falling being more evident, healing may serve you well, but I had been thinking of our last adventure.....perhaps...and suddenly Joxsteir was interupted as Valon suddenly flashed like a bright light.
What was that? Asked Luna.
I..I..I am not sure, there is a flash and suddenly it must be...replied Valon
What is it asked Luna,sounding impatient.
Come close, Valon touched his chest and the hands of both his comrades. The gift of the sky elf...My MAS told me that each elf would know and understand his gift, mine is immunity from fire, and this is a gift I can pass on...
What? Like permanent fire immunity? You have got to be kidding me!
The wand of infinite fireballs mumbled Joxsteir...and now this.. Strange forces at work here, strange indeed he pondered.
Well if everyone is done giving and turning into things...I would like to test my new wand out! Shouted Luna.
As she bounded for the front door!
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 32 As the group left their base Joxteir pulled out the notes that told them the location of the portal stone. He described it as being large standing 13 ft high and 9 feet wide, give or take and made of a purple ebony material.
It is supposed to be in a grove, guarded by beings known as..the keepers, stated Joxteir.
Keepers? asked Luna, what kind of Keepers?
It doesnt say. But it is due north. Through more of that unforgivingly thick forested area.. Being only half a day away, I suspect it shall take us longer..replied Joxsteir.
Not a problem stated Valon, pulling out his magical Katana.
Somehow, I feel the maker of that sword would be quite upset at you using that..Stated Joxteir.
Maybe, shot back Valon, but he isnt trying to get through these brambles..
Nearing the close of the first day the group approached at last a clearing of well maintained and beautiful gardens to which few have ever seen the likes of. Flowers grew in swirl like patterns, trees arced to make natural heart shapes, brush was shaped into forest animals, and a sense of serene peace dwell in the grove.
Quite unsuspect the group looked on as moving vines snuck up on the group and suddenly latched on to the legs of the party.
Just before all panic developed, a beautiful , thin like a deer female presented herself in front of the party, dressed in leaves and flowers.
The feminine creature spoke a strange and shrill language.
Valon then spoke in Elvin and the creature responded.
As the minutes went by the two conversed and Valon turned to the others and said.
I have told her, our intentions and she has made us an offer.
What offer asked Luna
She says we will need a guide, but she will guide us only if we take out the green means.
What are the ...Green Means...asked Joxteir.
Green skin, long teeth. could be anything really said Valon..apparently they are attacking the forest and threaten to encroach on the grove...plus we may not want this gate to fall in wrong hands.
Sounds like some green meanies are gonna get a beating tonight, stated Luna.
Perhaps she could take us to these, green skinned individual, replied Joxteir....
So we all agree, asked Valon...with the other two nodding yes
Valon turns to the self identified, Dryad, and agrees to help.
As soon as she heard the word yes, the dryad bounded off into the woods, saying, green mean..and pointing east.
The group , making unusually good time through the heavily overgrown forest, came upon the camp an hour after sunset..
As the group looked at the encampment, the dryad seemed to melt away into the forest..
With their objective in front of them, the group looked on.
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 33 OOOh Lemme just blast em, whispered Luna excitedly. No said Valon, as he looked out over the camp. With the darkness as our cover, we should gather more intel.
As the group looked at the sizable encampment, they pondered at its purpose. It was surrounded by wooden logs, hastily cut, and sharpened on one end. There were tents, two large ones of note, and most of the camp seemed to be labourers, numbering 30 some odd.
Outside the tents two very large orcs and another who wore all black, and a horned helmet of sorts. He carried a staff with a bird skull on its end.
Definitely going for that guy, Said Luna, aiming at the robed figure.
The trees, whispered Joxteir, do not hurt the trees. our guide will probably not favour us if we set the place on fire.
Its clear in the middle, observed Luna,I could hit alot of them!
No, whispered Valon,let me go down first.
Just as Luna was about to object, four child sized being came out of the tent. The green skinned orcs began shouting as making some announcement and then both the child like beings and the black robed orc went back into the tent.
Valon gave Luna a stern look, and began to descend down the hill towards the orcish camp.
Valon remembered the look of Orcs well, as Kamodo had employed them often in her armies. This would be a fine opportunity for some payback.
As Valon walked away from the group he had noted that he was getting used to the darkness. His moon elf eyes gave him a vision he no longer possessed in his sky elf form. It was all he could do to keep quite and not panic as for the first time darkness surrounded him. Fortunately his aura vision still guided him and he was able to maintain his composure.
He also noted that the forest no longer gave way to him, he now had to fight his way through the brush. perhaps his potion would cost him more than he realized, but the gift of flight would surely make up for it...when he learned to fly that is.
As he snuck close to the wall, he could hear the large barking out orders. As he climbed over the wooden palisade he used one of the large tents as cover in order to listen in. After several attempts at listening Valon decided he would enter the tent.
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 34 As he entered the tent he quickly moved to a corner. In front of him the robed figure had just left and the four smaller beings began to huddle together.. The room had a center post and on it was tacked a skull on a rope.
As he looked around Valon saw all manner of preserved ingredients and components for spells.A few tomes lay around and quite a few bottle lay stored on a make shift shelf. All the furniture had some form of bone component, even the supports for the tent.Suddenly the Shaman returned and the four what looked to be gnomes spread out, careful not to get in the black robed orcs way.
He then began to approach Valon to sit at a desk.
As Valon bode his time the gnomes seperated and began one at a time waving at the skull. All but one. As each gnome waved, the skull surprisingly moved to stare at the one who waved. After 5 or six times of this they had established a pattern, and just as the skull turned to meet the wave of the first the last, unwaving gnome, quickly threw himself under the bed, with a staff in hand that the had grabbed on his way under the bed. The skull took no notice.
Sensing an opportunity to rid himself of one of the biggest threats, Valon struck out of the shadows, and lay his target down in one fell, quiet, stroke. Not even the gnomes noticed
Wanting to make himself known, Valon then took a dagger that would return when thrown, out of its sheath and hit the post the skull was on...His aim was soo true that the dagger pierced the post, and shattered the skull on the other side.
Surprised the gnomes froze until Valon showed himself and identified himself as friend.
As soon as they heard this, they spread out and began looting the place.. Valon, not objecting, did the same. Once finished, Valon named himself, but the gnomes insisted on only giving their group name, The Silver Fingers.
Valon was just about to escort them out when the second largest orc in the camp came into the tent.
The orc charged at Valon who defended himself, just barely. As he countered, he quickly realized the orc was a far better warrior than he, and as the next attack would surely hit him, the orcs head was suddenly surrounded in a green puff of smoke, and he collapsed to the floor.
One of the gnome looked at Valon, while holding the staff and simply said...Dagger....
The gnome proceeded to end the orcs life with the dagger and passed it back, after which the group made their escape back up the hill. As the camp became aware of the going on, and sounded the alert, Valon returned with his new companions.
Well thank you good sir, I do believe it is time for us to be leaving, said one of the gnomes.
Look us up if you are ever in town! Said another gnome and they quickly disappeared into the night.
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 35 With the camp now alive Luna took the opportunity to fire off the wand, instantly dropping many of the orcs andeven hitting their leader, though burned he pointed at the hill and barked out orders. Feeling confident Luna rushed into battle with Joxsteir and Valon following behind. It would take two more blasts for Luna to drop the leader and many more fell with him. As the battle proceeded Luna found herself surrounded and took a surprise shot from a poisoned weapon. Panicking as she fell to the ground , everything went black.
Joxsteir and Valon fought off several more orcs and Joxsteir even pulled off a successful disarm, a move he had been trying to perfect for some time now.. Just as the battle seemed to have been won a grunting scream was heard by Valon and Joxsteir.
An orc had held Luna by the hair and motioned the two to surrender, or Luna would die.
Reluctantly Valon dropped his weapons, kicking them to the side as the orc motioned.
Joxsteir dropped his swords, with elegance and grace, landing them point first either side to him. First his weapons, then his belt, he then kicked off his boots, and dropped his gloves, the next thing the orc knew there stood before him a perfect body and example of the male physique. As with all Nymphs, the beauty of the Nymph is such that it captivates most of the other races. In absolute confusion and awe the orc stood there as Joxsteir walked up in full confidence and gently disarmed him, and pushed him aside. Valon took this opportunity to avert his eyes and guard Luna while the orc was distracted. Whether by sheer will , or awe Joxstier seemed to convince the orc, it was a good time to leave. Without hesitation the orc did so.
I generally charge a small ransom for that, said Joxsteir, you can pay me later...How is she, he motioned to luna as he re dressed.
I am sure she will be sad she missed the show, but I think she will be fine....Just then Luna groaned and opened her eyes, confused, she bolted up in time to see Joxstier pulling up his pants.
What is ...going on..she stuttered.
We have defeated the orcs, time to loot! Replied Valon, happy to see she was ok.
Joxsteir seemed stoic on the way back, the only words he said were to Luna, Do not let your guards down again, you may not be so lucky next time.
Awkwardly the group made their way back to the grove in silence.
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 36 Once again in the grove the Dryad, happy to hear of their success led the group to the edge of the grove. I can no go ...The dryad said, you go that way, big stone there. Before Joxsteir could thank the Dryad she was gone.
Shrugging his shoulders, Joxsteir turned his attention to the Large three s tone structure. It was a purple ebony colour and shaped like a door way. It was more importantly covered in runes.
Look here, Joxsteir observed, that rune there...its more powerful than any I have ever seen.. We should make a copy, Luna, taking Joxstiers lead, began to copy the rune.
After securing copies of the runes for later examination, Joxsteir took out his lute and began to sing the song that should open the portal.
Magically a swirling green shimmer of light formed in the doorway.
Shall we go he invited, as he walked through the door.
On the other side the group came to another door, just like the first, and into a bright and huge forest, where the trees and mushrooms grew to gigantic proportions. A strange sound emulated from the trees, something like hammering, but by hundreds of hammers.
Suddenly a strange being stood in front of them. It looked as though it was both armor, and undead, made of blackened steel. Cold glowing green spheres stared out of sockets, and a strange helmet held a blue glowing stone. The being reached for its weapon as Luna gained the initiative. She lunged at the being as it resembled undead, but her attacks seemed nearly ineffective.
In a stroke of inspiration Valon struck at the head, hitting the gem and collapsing the construct immediately.
Nice Shot, said Joxstier
Thank you...I do try said Valon with a hint of cockiness.
We can not linger here said Joxsteir, Luna! Grab that creature and bring it with us, we are not staying...
The group went through the still open portal.
Once on the other side, Joxsteir , with a wave of his hand, closed the portal. The group then made the journey home, glad that their trip had not been worse..
Unit 604..Missing in action...Verify...Unit lost...Order replacement.... Last known coordinates... 690:234...Teleportation detected....requesting portal reopening....investigate..........
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 37 I am just not satisfied with that result, stated a perturbed looking Joxsteir.. There has to be something else to that portal. Flipping through scrolls and old tomes the trio all had their own purpose for research. Counter to common thinking research is a large part of an adventurers life. Whether it be for new skills, researching spells or runes, or info gathering to give an adventuring group the best chances of survival. With this in mind, the Library had become a common hang out for our group of intrepid adventurers..
according to this rune, there can be multiple portals link, yet as i see here in this scroll there is noth..
in mid word Joxsteir's eyes lit up.
Taking advantage of the silence, Valon commented, This strange thing we brought back, it looks almost undead ...Like someone had turned the bones into clay, and shaped them, like in a mould...and then hardened them.
Well I dont like it, I dont like it here and if it is undead, I want it to stay dead, said Luna
I cant help notice, said Valon, it was very tough...
Yeah, added Luna, I could barely even scratch it, until you smashed that glowing gem in its head I was beginning to worry!
Valon: then maybe its some form of golem? I am ,,,
Here it is! Of course, how could I be such a fool! Exclaimed Joxsteir. Just play the song at a different octave!
Luna! I must return to that portal! I believe I have a theory to try out!
Oh great, Luna's Tele-taxi service! Said Luna
Please, pleaded Joxsteir, I must know...
Fine fine...since you say please...So back to the portal?
Yes, everyone get your gear! We have an adventure ahead of us.
An hour later finds our party standing once again in front of a large obsidian doorway. Joxsteir again plays the song that opens the portal but this time, at a higher octave.
A blue shimmering light appeared in the doorway, different than the green one from before.
Excited, Joxteir looked at the group....Shall we?
As the group looked on, Joxsteir entered.
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 38 As the group enters the portal They are met with nearly pure darkness, and the sound of echoed drops of water.
With the light put off by the portal they could make out the outlines of a chamber.
As both Valon and Joxsteir activate their Aura vision, Luna takes a look around with her night vision.
It doesnt look like there has been anyone here in a long time, said Luna.
Agreed, replied Valon.
As the group began to explore, all they could hear was the sound of their own footsteps and the sound of dripping water.
As they left the chamber they came into a much larger chamber supported by huge columns mostly intact. The entire area looked like it was crumbling in slow motion..
Look here said Valon. This stone work, its very old. Pointing at the stones which were flat and great in number. Some of which were cracking or broken by the weight placed on top of them.
As the group explored no life claimed residence here..It seemed dead.
Just then Luna began to hear whispers, whispers of spirits from long ago. As she sat down to try and commune with any spirits that may be in the area.
As she entered the spirit world with her mind, dozens of spirits all clamoured about , some vying for her attention, other pulling away..Many were angry and none were able to communicate.
As Valon and Joxsteir looked on, Luna broke her connection..They are angry, but I dont know why. she stated
What a fascinating gift, commented Joxsteir..to be able to commune with the dead not quite passed on.
Yeah well its not all that great when they cant tell you anything replied Luna.
While outwardly Luna seemed confident in her ability, in truth she had not remember ever using it before. She thought back to her old mentor. How he had showed her the arts of the slayer. He had shown her much in the way of surviving, but had he been guiding her to a specific purpose she wondered?
As the others wandered the open chambers Luna came across a shiny girdle. It bore no marks or indicator of water, but instead was exquisitely decorated and pictured some variety of giant.
The girdle seemed covered with some form of perhaps dust, in the loose shape of a hand, as she examined closer, she could almost make out the remains of a skeleton.
Luna cried Valon!, I need you to come look at this..
As Joxsteir and Valon came running back to see what was going on, Valons eyes nearly popped out of his head.....
is..is..issss th that wu wu what I think it is, questioned Valon
As he took the Girdle into his hands, yes, YES IT IS!
WHAT IS IT? Asked Luna impatiently.
The girdle, OF TRUE TITAN STRENGTH!!! Valon cried
The wut? Asked Luna
The ledgendary girdle said to contain the spirit of one of the Titans of old! He stated, obviously quite shaken
You mean mean one of the creators of the world. asked Joxstier in disbelief
The same replied Valon.
Gimme! Said Luna
Reluctantly Valon passed Luna the girdle.
As she put it on, she felt strength like never before flow through her body. Even in her half wolf form the strength she knew in that form paled into comparison to this.
She then went to a fallen column and picked it up.
Rarrrrw she cried as she threw it to the ground
Three now..mumbled Joxsteir
Hungh? Asked Valon
Three rare artifacts in soo short a time....the gods certainly have a grand destiny planned for us...he whispered
Well then, he snapped, it seems this place may be worth a look around wouldnt you say? Piped Joxsteir
As the group enthusiastically looked around Joxsteir found a strange instrument that looked as though an inventor had gotten somewhat carried away with its design..Sadly the others came up with no further finds.
Finally after exploring a few more chambers the group came across a statue of a beautiful woman. She held a water urn and she seemed to be making a gesture to the heavens.
You know, guys said Joxsteir, perhaps we should make an offering...kinda to say thanks. Suddenly the group felt a sweet smelling warm breeze rush over them. As they all looked each other , Joxsteir said a small prayer over a ration tin, and placed it at the base of the statue.
As soon as the offering was made ghostly figures suddenly appeared.
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 39
It is the spirits I tried to talk to before, exclaimed Luna.
Silently the group watched as ghostly robed figure took water from the basin at the base of the statue and began to walk south..Three robed figures in total made this trip.
Maybe we should copy them...complete the ritual queried Valon...With his suggestion a strange pressure seemed to cross the temple, as though a giant sigh of relief reacting to his words.
Luna: I am gonna take that as a yes...
Bowls, we need bowls said Joxsteir.
The group searched for bowls but found none...A short jaunt through the still open portal allowed the group to teleport back and acquire some bowls.
Upon returning the group found the spirits were trapped in some kind of loop, repeating the first part of the ritual, over and over again.
As the group followed the ritualistic journey through each room, the spirits would start the next part of the ritual until finally the last spirit went to a leaver on the wall.
Valon investigated but when he went to pull the lever it was stuck. Cautiously he stuck his hand in the mechanism, hoping not to get his arm crushed in the process.
As he pulled the disconnected lever a huge and powerful set of gears, that still operated after all this time began to work once more, water came rushing in through the piping at the sides of the west and east chambers.
All at once the temple began to come alive with spirits,as they were once soo many years ago.
The ritual had begun. a man enters the temple holding a girdle, very excitedly waving it about. As he looks behind him, fear took his expression and he made a dash for the portal room.Just behind him aquatic fish men began to pour through the doorway by the bottom of the stairs.. The temple priests used magic to defend themselves, but in doing so the temple wall collapsed in on itself trapping all those who dwell within, and killing the fish men, but not before one well aimed trident found the man holding the girdle, where he fell clutching his ill gotten prize.
As the group watched on, the main priestess who knew the song to open the portal, lay dead on the ground. With the exit caved in, and the few remaining dead or dying from the cave in, the ritual could not be complete, and those that still lived would soon die of starvation...
With this vision the ghosts faded...looks of content filled their faces as they could now be put to rest.
Karma plays a big role in Titania. Stories of the kind and generous suddenly developing abilities beyond their teachings or immunities to elements also not being unheard of.
Like soo many before them who have showed kindness, the group received with out a word their own gifts.
Joxsteir took notice, that the duster which he could not put away from his person suddenly fell from its holding place on his belt...Timidly he looked at it and decided to leave it where it lay.
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 40 With Joxstier and the group home after their adventure, Valon needed a bit of down time. He had never been much for the Ninja clans way of life, following orders with no regard to ones own safety or well being. He had always just survived, what ever way he could. Even his joining the ninja clan was survival...Join or die...So he pick pocketed the wrong person, and was forced to join. Being once a moon elf his natural gifts allowed him to coast along. What took years of practice for others, was little effort for him, and perhaps because of his lazidazicle attitude he always found himself doing chores or the bottom of the Clans most wanted member..lol until recently of course, he was the most wanted dead member...
Still, he thought to himself, why had his ousting bothered him soo much? Normally he would have just left and kept on surviving, but ever since he started adventuring with Luna and Joxsteir, his life had some how changed.
He thought back to when he had gotten hit in battle, and there stood Luna, fierce and loyal, or how she had carried his corpse for days in order to save him from the Yeti ambush..And he in turn with the orcs, stood over her guarding her from harm without the slightest hesitation..Why did she and Joxsteir care soo much? They hadn't even batted an eye when he drank the potion and turned into a sky elf. Was it really him they liked, the individual on the inside? Was this what it felt like to truly ...belong...somewhere? To be a part of a team?
After a few days of this kind of thinking the group sat around the table in the base when Valon suddenly said.
I want payback...
Payback? queried Luna, to who, for what?
Payback to the clan..Ive thought about it and well, I have a score to settle, said Valon.
Don't tell me you are planning to go back...said Jocksteir..
Steadfast Valon replied, thats exactly what i am planning to do..I will take the techniques of the green clan as payback to ousting me...
So much for remaining under cover replied Joxsteir smugly..and what exactly do you have in mind, said Joxsteir
I dont care, I am in said Luna...I wanna try out this girdle
Oh..and here she said.. You better learn how to use this..said Luna as she passed Valon the Triple shot Crossbow. I have a feeling I wont be using it so much anymore.
Valon surpised at her jesture thanked her...
Well he said, I thought we would sneak in at night,make it pass the guards, and sneak into the library..
Really said Joxsteir, is that so..
MMhm yeah said Valon.
So let me get this straight, you are a ninja, and you have aura vision, and you are gonna just sneak by them....
Well I ughhh...stumbled Valon
While I of course do not wish to drag down your aspirations, I believe there is a flaw or two involved in your approach, chuckled Joxsteir
At that. the group began to explore options and here is what they came up with.
The room they wanted was inside the fort in a town once known as Light forge. The ninja clan had taken over parts of the down as it lay in the middle of the dark....the moss like growth that covered much of the radiant kingdom, and continued to spread daily via spores.
The room was guarded by 2 guards on the outside, and two on the in.
Joxsteir had expressed if possible to not kill the guards. Killing was ugly to Joxsteir and defeat sufficed in most cases.
So here is how the plan went.
Step one, use the orb to see inside the castle.
Step 2 Luna create scrolls of teleport
Step 3 Joxsteir use scroll to teleport in, naked and using his charm abilities as a nymph.
Step 4 , Valon and Luna using the orb see Joxsteir enter the room via teleport..however, they would leave from Hydrafel, in the heart of the purple clan territory, in the middle of the market
Step 5 Luna opens a portal leading from in the library, to the market with her detect and force portal ability.
AND HERE IS HOW THE REST WENT
Joxsteir sat in front of the two ninja guards within the library, making a shhhush motion with his finger to his mouth.
The confused and now charmed guards made no alarm as Valon and Luna entered
Luna then opened a portal back to the market in the Shotakanese influenced side of Hydrafel.
With the portal opened, Joxsteir motioned the two guards through and waved them silently goodbye.
As Luna closed the portal the charm on the guards fell away. With the crowd noticing the portal opened up and two ninja walked through. Being such a public display, the guards found themselves in the middle of Purple Clan territory, with nearby guards shouting at them for their illegal teleportation
Stifling a laugh the group began to go into the second part of their plan. Luna, Quietly, put her foot to the base of the door. Her new found strength from the girdle would be more than enough to hold any who would enter.
Joxsteir began to re clothe himself as Valon grabbed what he could from the techniques section...sadly the most advanced knowledge was not kept here.
Not quite satisfied, Joxsteir went to Luna and motioned for her magical holding bag, and began dumping the entirety of the library's book collection into it.
With every bit of useful knowledge in their possession, the group took one last look around.
Valon pointed at the wand of infinite fireballs on Lunas belt pouch and she readily let him take possession of it.
Luna then teleported outside of Hydrafel, and opened a portal for the other two.
Joxsteir went first, and as one final last huragh, Valon let loose an enormous fireball into the room, and stepped through the portal. A rush of fire poured through the portal as Luna closed it.
Bursting with excitement and laughter, the group pressed on for a bit and teleported home.
Home, Valon thought to himself..that's really what this was, wasnt it?..his first real Home............
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 41 Though initially He wasn't looking forward to travelling through the Dark once more, the last 14 days had gone by without hitch. No sign of life for 12 of those days. The land was covered in a soft felt like mold. They had chosen a good time to seek out Luna's relative in Shotokan. The Dark was in one of its rare sleep modes, where the sun would shine briefly, hardening the surface of the felt like black mold. His sylvan heart cried for the land as he traversed it, though he did not show it externally. It was his normal, cheerful self that he showed the world, careless and free, discussing mostly mundane concerns, and not focusing on the negative ones.
The Darkness, quiet now, had spread much further than he thought. The eastern winds worked hard to aid the darkness now, and soon would broach the very city they travelled to. Was his mission to fail? Would he figure it out in time?
Just as they made camp for the night Joxtiers thoughts were interrupted by a strange growling moan from an unknown creature.
The group looked at each other nervously.
Night time in a foreign land and sounds strange to the ears.
The night passed without incident, but the strange noises continued.
The following morning after passing an unwelcoming looking tavern on the outskirts of town, the group followed a road to the ancient city of Shotokan, City of the Chi Warrior. Trees to their right, open land on the left, saw a road littered with strange signs.
Can you read it, asked Luna?
Valon looked closely at the strange 2 legged wingless Dragon picture...Hrmmm My Shotakanese isnt very good.
It looks like it says..Walking teeth on legs...
He then shrugged..
Maybe they deliver food joked Luna.
Maybe replied Valon.
We should be on our way, pushed Joxtier, my feet are killing me, and I do believe a bath beckons.
Any idea what it will be like,? asked Luna
As a matter of fact yes, said Joxtier
I know that it is the first city to be built after the first undead war, said Valon, and that it is the oldest surviving city to date.
Indeed replied Joxtier, and was founded by a Chi Warrior.
This also explains why it is the only city that is covered by a magically inert zone.
A Wut? asked Luna
A zone where magic does not function replied Joxsteir,
so that means your runes, your potions and any other non permified magic items...no longer function.
I dont like it already, said Luna looking at her newly found girdle.
Well fortunately for you the entire city is paved with 2 different coloured stones, blue for no magic, red for magic...That way you wont get caught unawares.
I also know they have the worlds largest library, added Valon, I am going to go check it out
Just then the group reaches the front gates.
The two guards who stood in front of them wore no shirts and wide bottomed pants. each had a clean shaven face and head and wore a bandanna, blue in colour to match their pants. Each Chi warrior wore a symbol of a yin yang.
The two guards nodded, and on of them spoke in a strange language.
After waiting a moment and seeing the confused look, in a strange accent the guard said, I see, you do not speak Shotokanese, No?
Valon stepped up.
No we do not replied Valon, We seek entrance to your city.
You must know that weapons are forbidden, you may carry but you are not to use, said the guard.
Suddenly the guards eyes lit up, Joxtier....is is that you?
Yes, the one and only replied Joxtier with a bow and taking off his feathered hat.
It has been soo long said the guard how are things?
Good replied Joxtier, though I must beg your pardon, I have a performance to attend to..
Yes of course, our most honoured guest...said the guard as he rushed the group through...
As they walked away Valon inquired...performance to attend to?
It got us through the gate did it not? And it doesnt seem all that unlikely that I should end up performing do you not think? Replied Joxtier.
So you been here before eh? asked Luna.
I have been many places as a Bard, said Joxtier, it goes with the job...
Now he continued, Follow the blue path go straight down the road and go to the castle ask the guards for directions.
Luna and I are to find the location of he family member and somewhere to take a bath. In fact..Joxtier stopped to think..Go to the adventurers right arm...its famous around here, and do this motion, Joxtier then proceed to do a repetitive drinking motion with his right arm..anyone in the city will know that.
Oh...Here said Valon, you should hold onto this, especially if I am going into the magic void area...
Valon passes Luna the rune covered Crossbow.
Adventurers right arm Valon pondered...what a strange name.
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 42 A city of this size would never exist in the Elvin forests, thought Valon. A plethora of smells and sound filled his ears. Houses and roof tops as far as the eye could see, strange tiled rooftops that curved upward like the ones across the river in Hydrafel.
Numerous people weaved and ducked around him on the crowded blue path. His connections to his new sky elf form were no longer there..A natural if somewhat uncomfortable state of being as a result of the magically dead area he now walked.
The greater part of half an hour it took Valon to get to the castle. A marvel of a building, Giant white columns carved into the very mountain itself, dragons with no wings curled around the marble pillars. As he approached the white walls of the castle two guards flashed their eyes at him, indicating use of their aura vision.
Hi Said Valon, do you speak universal?
The guard, dressed very similar to the front gate guards with finer quality garments, stated NO Universal..You go!
Oh, said Valon, I was looking for the..
Suddenly the guard was holding his hands back behind as though he was holding a ball. Blue sparks began to form in a sphere
Valon backing away, Library! I was looking for the library.
The guard suddenly relaxed sphere disappearing..Ohhh
You want Monastery..You go, that way pointed the Guard.
Oh thank you said Valon nervously, um bye...
As Valon followed the road it came to a gate. Two more chi warriors stood watch. Both of them flashed their eyes.
Each looked intimidating and said nothing.
I wish to go to the Library said Valon.
The two guards looked at each other shrugged and remained standing.
Umm I want to go to the Monastery said Valon.
One of the guards looked at him and said, you cant.
Why not asked Valon.
It is the second day of the week..The monastery is closed
The other guard fails to stifle a chuckle.
Suddenly the other guard pipes up, Ha ha ha he is just Joking. If you want in, you must first fight me...at that the other guard burst into laughter.
Confused Valon began to wonder if he would ever get in.
Suddenly one of the guards stopped laughing and pointed at Valons sword..Yes you must go to the monastery, speak to the grand master.
Confused Valon watched as the guards made way for him.
As he passed through the ancient gates, the path ahead was of dirt road. Grass was to his left and wall to his right, behind the wall was a large mountains, dotted with various caves, and buildings. As he pressed on he began to make out a grand stair case, and a temple. A grand court yard lay out in front of the temple and Chi warriors numbering in the hundreds suddenly stopped their training and sat down in unison.
Come, called out a voice owning an unfamiliar accent.
Why do you interrupt our training.
Feeling flustered at being put on the spot Valon answered, I come seeking knowledge, from your library.
Very well, you must fight to gain entrance, how well you do determines your worthiness. Do you agree, asked the instructor of the group.
Yes I do replied Valon
Very well, said the instructor, he then nodded at a student who then rose. to meet Valon.
Is this to the death, asked Valon.
If you think you are capable replied the young chi warrior.
Fight! Shouted the instructor.
Valon took the initiative and created chi variations of himself. They looked identical in appearance and movement, but a single blow would destroy them. It wasnt magic, so he hoped it would work.
The chi warrior seemed to teleport right to him with a flash of his eyes, using the aura vision that chi warriors also posses, saw right through Valons False images.
A flurry of attack and defence was exchanged and again the chi warrior seemed to teleport away with multiple images trailing behind him as he did so.
As the two looked at each other Valon tried another chi technique that lashed out at his opponent.. It seemed to bounce right off of the chi warrior.
With surprising speed the chi warrior teleporting right at Valon sidestepped him landing a crushing blow to the head.
Valons sword seemed to react, knocking the chi warrior to the ground protecting Valon from further harm as he collapsed unconscious from the blow.
When he awoke a small boy stood at his side.
As Valon raised from the bed the boy excitedly tugged and pulled at Valon.
A few minutes later the boy had taken a still shaken Valon to the Library.
YOu lose fight, you get this library, said the boy.
Oh..I see, said Valon. As he looked around a rather expansive library sat before him. All manner of races were doing their research, reading or looking for books.
I think you not get in anyway, said the boy
And why is that said Valon
You have blue skin and feathers...I dont think you are human...
Disturbed at what that may mean, Valon began to search the library for various tomes and scrolls, minutes turned to hours, and searching led to more and more books written in Shotokanese.
I help you, said the boy...but, you let me see sword.
Just as Valon was going to say no. the sword jumped out of its sheath.
yes wide open with amazement, the boy picked up the sword and carefully handed it back.
Just as surprised as the boy, Valon put it back in its sheath.
Lee! Whispered an angry voice.
Both the boy and Valon looked up to see an angry monk.
Bye, said the boy as he ran off.
Bye waved Valon returning to his search.
Having not slept well Valon nodded off and was awoken by a smiling boy, l keep my word, you like this!
As he took the scroll the boy ran off down the hall, quickly and quietly.
Opening the scroll he had finally found what he was looking for. Albeit a slow start, it was a good one.
Time to go to the adventurers right arm!
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 43 As Joxstier and Luna danced around the market place, picking up various niknacks and useful items they came across a strange man. He was Shotokanese and had a pet monkey. The monkey was dressed in clothing and took the money from customers while the man sat and worked on his inventions. One particular invention caught Luna's eye. A strange medallion, made of silver, and gemstones in the shape of a yin yang.
What does this do? inquired Luna.
Verrrry pop u lar..said the man in a thick accent.
Good for restoring chi, make for successful chi warrior, verrrrrry pop u lar item...better buy now, while still here, said the man.
How much ? said Luna
For you? 4000 Buk nar
How much for me ? said Joxtier with a strum of his lute.
Suddenly he broke into improvised song, singing the praises of the mans work and suddenly customers surrounded the man.
Ok ok for you 2100 Buk Nar
With a smile Joxstier gestured to Luna then payed the man with a smile at Joxtier.
Ok said Luna lets look for my sibling.
In a stroke of fortune, it took them only 2 taverns of exploring to find mention of her brother and his address.
Luna Knocked at the door.
A beautiful scantly clad women answered the door.
May I see moon dancer...um..Seignar moondancer,? Ask Luna
Oh you want the master yes, and who shall I say is calling?
The young lady looked a bit surprised and closed the door, a few minutes later found Joxsteir and Luna in a fine office elaborately decorated in all the finest furnishings.
At the desk sat a bulky built man. Blonde hair green eyes and a big cigar. large side burns covered his cheeks.
And what do we have here he said in a cocky slow voice.
I am here about the inheritance, I am here about the death of...father said Luna
Ahh yeah...you probably dont know..you werre too young he said in an almost growling voice
The old man and I never saw eye to eye on the whole true blood issue.
What do you mean? Asked Luna
Well I am born this way....you ...sniff sniff...were made that way..
And your point, said Luna sounding annoyed...
Well no true blood ever lost to no fake blood..he said with a grin, almost wincing from anticipation of Lunas reaction
I will knock you into next week said Luna as her temper began to soar
Lol Are you willing to wager on that there belt of yours?
For the piece you need that is..
Luna began to think. What do you mean piece I need.
Hoo ho hoo Laughed moondancer You are here for my piece to the vault..its a contest, but i am busy so if you want my piece you will have to win it from me. Way i figure it, all my siblings come here, lose their piece to me, and i get to stay in my nice comfy home..so what do you say u me arena that belt ur wearing and my piece of the key?
Rage boiling up at the man in front of hers egoistical presumptuous attitude..YOu are on!
Lol Thats great, tomorrow, noon at the arena
Deal, said Luna as she shook moon dancers hand.
Luna stormed out of the room with Joxtier in tow.
Are you sure said Joxtier, the people at the tavern said he was an arena champion...and you love that girdle.
I love the idea of smashing in that guys face even more! said Luna.
Hiding a chuckle between his concern, well ok, looks like tomorrow should be interesting said Joxsteir
Oh, my its almost sun down, lets go to the adventurers right arm!
And so they went.
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 44 So all three stood at once in front of a small, unassuming wooden building. Its only discernible features were a sturdy looking door and a creepy severed arm holding an ale mug, moving up and down as though giving drink to an invisible patron. It seemed fastened to the wall above the entrance as some form of signage.
Legend has it, said Joxtier, that that is the arm of the original owner and founder, lost his arm in his last adventure, survived with a heap of loot, founded this bar out of spite for the magic void zone all over the city.
Knowingly Joxtier ushered his friends forward.
BRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING NEW GUEST ALERT GUEST 737989 HAS JUST WALKED THROUGH THE DOOR!!!!!! WELCOME NEW GUEST!!!!!
Valon nearly jumped back out the door and straight into Luna as bright lights and loud music and a disembodied voice announce his arrival.
Suddenly an Ale mug floated across the room by a dismembered hand, filled itself right in front of him and was put in his hand and went across the room.
Two steps in and Luna experienced nearly the exact same thing...I like this place already said Luna sipping her drink.
Please excuse me said Joxstier, i must arrange a performance.
Of course said Valon, as Luna grabbed a table near the stage.
LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, i AM PROUD TO ANNOUNCE, AN 897 YEAR TRADITION, IN THE OLDEST STILL OPERATING BARS IN THE WORLD, THE FAMILY TRADITION, THE SHOW YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR, FEATURING MY DAUGHTER....THE HUMAN DART GAME.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The crowd cheers..
I will need 4 volunteers to compete into days game. The prize is an unlimited drinking tab for the night.
Luna nearly jumping out of her seat, ME!!
Oh my, very eager participants today,anyone else? Valon and two others all raise their hands..
Come to the stage please, right this way come now,said the announcer.
After making the introduction of the participants, the announcer introduced his 9 year old daughter.
Luna and Valon looked at each other in confusion as a nine year old gurl came onto the stage dressed as a human dart..A handle on her back was the throwing device, her feet were the fins of the dart.
Valon: dont forget your girdle, dont throw her too hard...
Oh yeah whispered Luna
Alright contestants here is the dart. The rules are simple, throw the dart, hit the target, dont worry about the girl that outfit protects her from harm.
Elimination until we have a winner
Here is how it went
Luna, hit Misses by everyone else sit down Valon
Luna hit, misses by everyone else Sit down Contestant 2
Luna hit, misses by everyone else Sit down Contestant 3
Luna is the WINNER
After receiving her prize Luna began to have a few drinks. Also included in her prize was a bag of 1000 Dracochips.
These chips were used for betting and claiming dracochip prizes on dracosaur racing. While she had no idea what a dracosaur was she was happy to have the dracochips.
Suddenly the lights died down, and the room became a hush.
Joxstiers sweet voice filled the room, and one by one he began to play his instruments. As he sang each instrument he play lifted to the air an continued playing. His song went on for several minutes, and when he finished, the lights went out. Applause filled the room.
The rest of the night was filled with merriment and laughter until the late hours. When the tavern began to announce closing Joxstier flipped a few silvers in the direction of the floating disembodied hands staff. We will take a 3 for 1 room, of the highest quality. The hand floating in mid air game a thumbs up.
Just then a door opened up from the ceiling and a ladder came down..
Disembodied hands helped steady the party as they climbed the ladder.
As they peered above the entrance, a lavish, fit for a king suite greeted their eyes, silk wall hangings, huge beds, and even a bath with self filling water beseech their eyes.
One in Joxtier made his way to the bath , clapped his hands and said, set lighting to 2, and play ode to the unicorn if you please.
Suddenly the lights dimmed soft music began to play and water started to run out of the faucet in the tub..Strawberry bubbles, if you please!
Suddenly the tub began to fill with sweet smelling bubbles.
As Joxsteir made himself ready for a bath, Valon and Luna were amazed and the luxury and decadence of their room.
Come in, the water is fine! Said Joxstier, You have not yet lived if you have not had a bath here. In fact, he continued, This is where I first found my love of baths!
Eagerly, and somewhat drunkenly the other two made them selves ready for the bath.
As the three sat in their hawt tub, life was good. Disembodied hands brought up more drinks and the night seemed to last forever, with no care or thought to the events of next day.
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 45 The net morning was an attack on all of Luna's being. A hangover of which the like could move mountains greeted her. With a voice like a crack of thunder spoke to her.
Come now, open your eyes, and take this.
Groggily Luna opened her eyes. Joxstier, dressed for the day pointed at a small decorated shell . On the shell was a small pearl looking item. Swallow that, he said.
Luna did as she was advised.
Now imagine your favourite food.
Suddenly in her mouth was the sensations of the most wonderfully cooked food ever. And even better she was no longer hung over hungry or tired. In fact she hadnt remembered feeling this good in a very long time.
By natures will, she exclaimed, where can I get more of these??
You can't, replied Joxstier with a grin. They come complimentary with the room , and are not for sale. You would have to be a Nymph for them to sell them to you.
Dammit said Luna.
Come now, we have an arena to attend.
Valon, was already up and wearing the clockwork yin yang that Luna had gotten him.
Joxtier was wearing a secondary waist cloak that was in his own words...a necessity to traveling
And Luna picked up her crossbow. The gifts of nature were many, but that was sure a lot of fun, she thought to herself.
Leaving the adventurers right arm was filled with bitter sweet sorrow for all involved.
Like saying good by to a long lost lover, all over again commented Joxstier, as he blew a kiss in the buildings direction.
This way to the arena, he pointed, we should make haste.
Several minutes later Joxsteir Luna and Valon stood in front of the Arena, a small coliseum style building.
Fighters had guest lists that would give them priority seating, so after a bit of shuffling Valon and Joxstier found themselves up high in the stands looking at Moondancer and Luna on the field below. The design of the coliseum was such that a man could speak in its center and be heard at the furthest seating as though the man at its center was sitting beside them talking.
As the crowd looked on, the ref approached and brought moondancer and Luna together. So he said.
We have here, a wager battle. On my right is Moondancer, Shotakan arena champion for 3 years, item up for wager, looks at the piece of key for a moments, strange stone object of undetermined value
On my left, virtually unknown, apparently sister of Moondancer, item for wager...looks again for a moment, big oversized shiny belt..thing.
Ladies and gentle men please place your bets.
Having discussed it the previous night, the group had pooled together over 100000 coin. With the current odds against Luna being at 5:1 the bet gained quite a bit of attention.
Now that your bets are taken in, let us take the items for wager .
With that statement Luna realized she had been tricked. Without her girdle this fight was about to get much much harder.
Now contestants, please stand in your respective spots, marked by the circles there and there, he pointed
Luna stood a good 30 feet away from moon dancer, his smug grin silently mocking her.
The announcer then shouted, for the odd looking stone thing, and the Heavy weight Belt, lets get ready , to, TUMBLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!!!
With that Moondancer began to run forward, his fingers outstretched turning into claws, approached with amazing speed.
Luna, without a second thought reached for her crossbow, took aim and fired.
While a champion in melee fighting, this was one course of action Moondancer did not expect, in fact all of his training had been with weapons and he had not in his training prepared for an attack from a cross bow.
Even with his skill, he was only able to avoid being 2 out of the three bolts coming at him.
The third bolt bit into his shoulder with all of Luna's vengeance,and anger.
Moondancer, like Luna was therian, and therefore the effects of silver were especially effective.
In one well aimed shot, the mighty champion had been taken to his knees and gave the sign of surrender.
The crowd in response went wild, as a surpised Luna looked around her. Then taking advantage of her new found fame blew at the tip of her crossbow in a, I meant to do that kind of fashion.
As boos turned to cheers Luna raised her arms, accepting the glory that had suddenly found her.
Moondancer looked up, never having had felt the sting of defeat, grinning he clutched his arm .
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 46 Luna sat eager to collect her reward, Gems she said, I want gems. They were easy to carry, and well 500000 in gems was still going to be a great investment back home...she had already discussed what they would do with the gems when she got back to the base.
As Luna, Valon and Joxstier looked eagerly as a man brought Luna her earnings, she took back her girdle. That's is one she said, as she held up the odd stone piece.
As the group left the winning office, Moondancer suddenly appeared
A drink, for the winner? Cmon, my treat
Distrustful Luna looked at Moondancer, What, you arent embarrassed to be seen in the company of a non naturally born?
Lol, yeah, I may have been wrong about that, let me fill you in, replied Moondancer
Cautiously Luna agreed.
As they walked to a bar of moondancers choosing, a well dress, somewhat weighty man with a short mustache and spectacles approached them, saying, miss Luna, MISS LUNA!
Luna stopped to turn and face the man.
Miss Luna, he panted, I represent the arena wins and losses department, I have need to speak to you.
What is it, replied Luna
Well, I umm, about your winnings. They were quite unexpected and well, it is my hope I could entice you to reinvest your winnings in the colliseum, become a partial owner perhaps, take a share in each of the yearly earnings.
Luna looked up inquisitively, I will think about it. she said cheerfully
With a sigh the man said, oh well that is wonderfu.......
Well , Luna continued, I have thought about it and and the answer is no. she said with a smile.
The man lost the colour in his face, Is th th there n no way you would reconsider he stumbled.
Nope she said
Suddenly his face became red with anger, and he started trembling..DD DONT ssssSay II II I didnt try and warn you...oooh I hope they get you good he shouted as he stormed away.
Luna shrugged her shoulders and proceeded on to the bar.
The better part of the after noon had passed and into the evening. While moondancer was still pompus, she was used to traveling with Joxtier so perhaps that made her warm up moondancer.
As they talked he told Luna the reason he quit soo soon is that she was using silver crossbow bolts, and that most Therians suffer immensely from silver attacks. More importantly that when a therian dies, they can not be resurrected as some magics allow for other races..
As conversation flowed and so did the drinks, moondancer portrayed himself to be a not as bad a guy as Luna first thought.
Soon after dark Moondancer excused himself, and said the experience was good, and he would rethink his previous thoughts on true blooded vs non bloods.
And one more thing, said Moondancer... Watch out for thugs while you are in town. You took home some big earnings and the arena enforcers are gonna have a hard time with letting that go.
I can handle them, said Luna, I could take you, and you were the grand champion...
Lol moondancer responded, ever the sharp one, well good night then...and he left.
It wasnt long after that a man dressed in neat black armor and a strange rounded cap with a small brim, entered the bar.
He made his way to Luna and said, we want to have a chat with you out side, me n the boys. We will wait..
Luna , not impressed, shared the news with the other two, and finished their drinks. She was having none of this.
As the group exited the front of the building, Luna caught eye of the man who had spoken to her inside.
Once within earshot, the man said from about 20 feet away, YOU shoulda taken that deal, I say we teach em a lesson , eh boys.
Just then 10 other similarly dressed men stepped out of the shadows, all wielding bows.
Go for the dainty one on the end! he said, indicating Joxstier, this will teach you he said.
Caught of guard, Valon and Joxstier instictivly grabbed for their weapons, but the hail of arrows had already been let loose.
Sensing immediate danger, Joxstier began to call upon all of his training, as he moved about in a graceful dance with death. Arrows slid by his ear, pushed through his hair, torn through his clothing and found its way through his armor, yet, by either fault of the poor marksmen skill, or divine favour Joxstier survived the assault.
In counter a flurry of magical glowing swords sprung from Joxstier as though angry and ready to protect him.
Valon, surprised and relieved at Joxstiers miraculous survival skills had only managed to pull out his weapon.
Luna, taking advantage of the distraction provided by Joxstier, took three steps and closed the gap between the man who had approached her. With the full might of herself and the girdle combined she torn the man in front of her in two.
As one have landed a good 20 feet away, she turned with all her ferocity and screamed, WHO IS NEXT????
The other men seeing what happened, disappeared into the shadows.
Only one man remained. tears fill ed his eyes as he collect both parts of his boss's body.
We will KILL you for this, he shouted and then teleported away.
The anger now subsiding, Luna went to Joxstiers aid. He was bleeding, but alive. Soon after the guards came. Testimony from the bar staff and patrons, cleared the group of any wrong doing and Joxstier soon healed by practicing chi warriors.
The next day the group was released. Though Joxstier complained of his new magical second cape being destroyed his spirits seemed undampened by the previous nights events. The group now looked to where they should go next.. With two other other sibling in opposite directions, the choice would not be easy.
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 47 After a brief shopping stint, to gather supplies and replace his recently acquired secondary cape of cleanliness, Joxstier and the group set their sights on New Direhold , supposedly in the heart of the Lost Lands of Prima. If the gods had any plans for an epically long journey, it was not to be.
Luna, had suggested use of the globe that had helped them thus far. The group quickly agreed , this was the easiest way. As the trio peered into the apple sized clear crystal sphere, an image of a ruined tower and some sort of settlement appeared. The foliage was of gargantuan size and had over grown much of the area. With a last minute checking of the gear, Luna cast her teleport spell, and soon after opened a portal to their destination for the others to follow through.
It really is convenient, Said Joxstier, to be able to travel this way.
And skipping the ocean travel doesnt hurt either added Valon, I dont imagine sea water being good for my wings..
Shut up, hissed Luna..
Both Joxstier and Valon looked at her questionably
Something is here, something big..
As is on cue a terrifying roar came from the huge colossal trees surrounding the once great trading post.
Out came a huge lizard that stood on two legs..
I think that is the teeth on two legs said Valon
Spread out! shouted Joxstier
Before the words even left his mouth, Luna sprang at the huge 50ft creature. He change into therian half form was quick, so quick she didnt even notice.
Her senses came alive as her claws outstretched to meet their target tore into her prey.
The creature roared in pain as Luna slashed with her claws.
Music filled the air, speed filled her legs, and she used it to dart into hiding
Joxstier had used his chi ability to go invisible, and then started playing the song of speed.
Valon took to the air to take advantage of his temporary increase in flight speed.
As Luna went into hiding, the music of the song brought back the attention of the small armed giant lizard, to the flying elf in front.
It lunged at Valon, with everything he had dodged the over sized creature. He quickly realized that dodging a humanoids attack, and that from a creature 5X his own size were two totally different things. using all his skill he avoided the row upon rows of teeth from cutting him in two. he pulled out the triple shot crossbow.
Shot after shot hit the creature for very little effect.
With the danger now focused on Valon, Luna shot forth, running up the creatures large tail, up its back and to its shoulders.
With all her fury, she tore into the creature. She ripped tendon, and muscle, flesh and bone. She even found one of the small limbs and in her heightened frenzy, tore it off.
With its chest now open from a hole bored by Luna, she reached in and sliced at its heart.
With the strength of the girdle, and her half form, the creature was no match and fell to the ground, dead.
As Joxstier stopped playing the creature fell towards him. Use of his , innate , here then there teleport, allowed him an easy escape.
Luna, slid down the tail of the falling creature in a poetic, graceful move, dampened only by the fact she was now covered in blood, her toothy wolfish grin, making her appearance all the more terrifying.
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 48 Borris? BORRIS?, cried a strange male voice. Borris..no!!! What have ye done? My poor baby Borris!
out of the tower a man, red of hair and beard, shirtless looking as though he had spent his life in these jungles approached the still recovering trio.
What have Ye done, he questioned..Youve gone and killed my companion, Ive raised him from nothing but egg and nest. Explain yeself, RIGHT NOW, he snarled.
Luna showing no remorse, he was attacking us, we just defended ourselves...
Well of course he was checkin ye out, yer trespassing ye are, you didnt have to go and kill him now did ya?
Seeing that this was about to end badly, Joxsteir felt now was a good time to introduce himself.
My good man, he led in, It seems there has been a terrible mistake.
We meant no offence, and I may have a solution.
Am listenin, said the irate man
I have a ring, it may be able to help.. but first we need to fix up this...creature..
It's called a T-rex, corrected the man, do you never do any research,before going in to a new terrain full of creatures and fauna ye know nothin about?
Yes, continued Joxstier, this T-rex, do you have access to magic that could repair it?
Aye, I do, i dont much see the point though, replied the irate man
Well it is a long shot replied Joxstier, but we may be able to rectify this situation.
After several minutes of healing, bandaging and re attaching, the T-rex was ready to go.
Ok. said Joxsteir, here goes.
Joxsteir pulled out the Ring of Miracles which he had carried since the early days with Luna and Valon. He knew of its power that it could resurrect a humanoid, 3X a day and use some curative spells...but could it Rez a creature of this eminence size?
Cautiously he pulled out the ring and placed it on Borris's canine..one of the smaller ones.
As the ring activated under Joxsteirs will, the Borris opened his eyes, his wounds fully healed and slowly he began to rise.
Disappointingly Joxstiers heart sank as the ring crumbled to dust. He quietly shook his head at the loss.
Borris, he's back, I can hardly believe me eyes, cmer boi exclaimed the man.
After a reunion the man turned to Luna, now cleaning herself up with the aid of Joxstiers 2nd cape of cleaning....So what do you want , why trespassing on this here land?
We came to find a..Dark night?
Dark Night, aye, thats me, and who is askin?
I am...replied Luna
And who are you? challenged Dark night.
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 49 After filling the man in on their fathers death, the Dark night had told them he would co operate and give him his part of the key in echange for either a live dracosaur, or a dracosaur egg. As the man talked Valon couldnt help but notice, even when he was sitting still Dark night was always looking around him, eyes, darting every which way..It began to give Valon the feeling they were being watched, or that some great danger hid behind every over sized leaf or vine.
After getting a description of the tracks to look for the trio took off.
Days of travel found Luna naturally accustoming herself with the area and she spent the majority of her time in her half wolf form.
Valon on the other hand enjoyed his flight, making travel relatively easy..
and all the while Joxstier climbed over vine, pulled back large leaves and seemed unfit for a place where everything was huge in proportions.
Although he was of Sylvan blood his comfort was in a different kind of woods, and perhaps he still dwelt on the loss of his relic.
After days of travel the group came across a nest, that matched the description Dark night had given them.
As the group approached a small teeth with legs jumped out...Standing only a foot high, the group thought very little of it until it began to make a strange noise..
Suddenly the foliage came a live as dozen, no hundreds more of these creatures encircled the group.
With great speed Luna jumped over the creatures while Valon lifted Joxstier safely away with use of his wings.
Another days travel and this time, Valon found tracks of the appropriate size and length.
These are them, he said quietly as they all huddled some yards away.
I will go invisible, Valon said, and fly over and grab an egg. Easy peasy! And just like that Valon took off.
To everyone's surprise as he approached the strange reptilian dinosaur s known as Dracosaurs began to make a strange noise and become on high alert. As Valon approached one of the creature let out a gas like cloud and everyone heard a strange zoop noise.
Suddenly Valon was no longer flying above a nest, but flying right towards a tree.. With evasive manouvers he dodged the tree and landed safely on a branch, having no clue where he was.
Instantly Joxstier recognised a chance to learn this strange attack and ran to the creatures, telling Luna to open a portal after he left, and before she could object, he disappeared with a zoop noise as the creatures treated him much the same way they had treated Valon.
Luna did as Joxstier said and opened a portal created by the strange attack of the dracosaurs...at least she knew where they got their name now.
Luna found herself beside Joxstier in a part of the Jungle she did not recognise..
Joxstier was crouching above the crystal orb, setting his sights on Valon. Quickly, we must go to him.
Luna teleported to Valon, bring him back through a portal she then created.
Joxstier had a very serious look on his face.
What was that all about questioned Luna?
Well.. I am guessing they can see invisable things , said Valon..
And the power they used, said Joxstier, is a bit more dangerous than I thought.
What do you mean asked Luna
Well, as we have seen it can teleport you in a random direction....but when I say random, it can also mean down!
So what does that mean? asked Luna ..
It means if you teleport into the ground, you die, added Valon.
Exactly said Joxstier..I am ashamed at being so fool hardy.. However, he said as he perked up. We got the right creatures, we can teleport back.We can try again
Right said Valon and Luna at the same time.
And so they did.
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 50 Once again, the trio sat in hiding in front of the Dracosaur nesting grounds..I can do it, argued Luna...
But if that teleport goes against you, warned Joxstier.
Pfft, I got this, and without any further discussion Luna melted into the foliage...
A few minutes later Luna came barreling out of the Dracosaur area, a big grin on her face and half fear and have surprise at being able to get as far as she did.
As soon as the Dracosaurs noticed her, they gave chase warning angrily to the other Dracosaurs in the area, an egg had been stolen
As Luna yelled at the other two she stopped, disappeared and opened a portal.
Wasting no time Joxsteir and Valon hopped through. On the other side of the portal was the encampment that Dark night was at.
As angry Dracosaurs ran towards the portal, Luna closed it.
You have returned! Said Dark night.
Yes we have said Luna.
Did you get one? Did you get an egg?
Yes replied Luna, we did.
As the two exchanged treasures, Dark night filled in the group about Therianthrope lore. Of how there was once a great therian leader who tried to unite all of therian kind, and for a while it was successful, but eventually it grew the attention of the dark goddess herself and she sent a power beyond reckoning to destroy the therians. The great leader disappeared in that event, and with the outpost destroyed the therians spread out, guarding the land separately and not united.
So why are you here asked Valon.
Me? aye, I am here in case any of our brethren come to pay tribute...I am looking for something.
What is it you look for, asked Joxstier , eating off his never ending ration tin..
The cure for the land...the cure for the dark!
The dark? asked Luna..You think there is a cure.
Aye, I do indeed lass, he replied, or at least a way to fight it...It spreads even now as we speak.
The group then shared information about the use of light, and its effects on the dark.
He thanked them and asked them to one day return and he would share his knowledge with them if he found out anything new.
With this key now in their possession the group left the encampment..eyes now set...on South port of Kauldronne.
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 51 Just as before a quick scry through the crystalline sphere and a quick teleport and the group was teleported just outside of South port. A short walk found them at the front gate attempting to gain entrance to the city.
Guard; Name and Business
Luna : Luna
Luna; ugh, um,
Guard; She can speak for herself
Hey you there...whats your name?
Valon:... ugh umm
Just then the appearance of the guard, his armor, the black purple armor trimmed with white trim, brought Valon back to a time in his youth, A time he had so desperately wanted to forget, a time he had thought he could run away from
Valon was young, his mother had sounded panicked, frantic even. She had hidden him under the floor in a place reserved normally for food.
The men came in, without invitation.
As young Valon peered through the floor boards, one of the men took off their helm..It was a blonde female with cold unfeeling blue eyes.
She yelled at his mother , his mother resisted..and soon after there was a struggle, and then...his mother's body collapsed to the floor, the life ebbing from her eyes, seemed to beg him, plead with him to run to hide.
As Valon stood there, encapsulated by his memory the guards took suspicion.
They were soon taken to the jail to be "questioned'
Um what the hell was that Valon, said Luna irritated
I um..Valon began..
Now we are stuck in here. Luna said
Joxsteir looked around the room. There were eight cells, no windows and behind the door on the right was the exit. Keys were on the wall and their weapons in a box just across the room.
A single prisoner lay in one of the cells..laughing
Oh your done for now, said the prisoner, you are up for questioning, no one will ever see you again he laughed.
Shut up or I will rip you in half threatened Luna.
The prisoner suddenly backed off.
The three came up with a plan to escape.
Luna, still wearing her girdle, bent the bars of the cell and ran to get the keys, she threw the keys to Valon and Joxstier and grabbed their gear.
Before their great escape the prisoner began yelling for the guards, Escape! Escape! The prisoners are escaping!
Letting out a growl, Luna threw the other two their gear and as planned burst through the door and up the stair in to the open area above.
As Luna made her way outside, Valon and Joxsteir used their chi invisibility skills to go up the stairs narrowly avoid the guard coming down.
As Luna hid, Joxsteir use their sphere to locate Luna and look for her last remaining sibling.
Once they rejoined the trio cautiously went to Luna's sisters house.
Much to thier surprise, the house was boarded up and listed for sale.
As they used the crystal sphere once more to glean the location of the missing sibling.
A vision appeared in the globe of a half form werewolf, red in color tearing into a farmers house and attacking the inhabitants.
Just then the shout of a guard..There they are! broken the groups focus.
Without thought Luna teleported to the farm house, opening a portal for her friends as soon as she arrived.
The guards would not get their quarry this day.
Joxsteir would later comment how the wanted poster calling for his arrest didnt look a thing like him.....
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 52 Even through the all seeing sphere, tracking the red colored therian was difficult. With only a faint image and dark surroundings the group at last tracked her into a sunken tower.
Is this her lair, asked Valon?
What a strange thing, an entire tower sunken into the ground noted Joxsteir
Sniffing in the air, Yes she resides here, her scent is everywhere. Instinctively Luna turned into her half form.
We she be very careful, warned Luna, this is her lair, she will be upmost familiar with it.
As the group descended down the hatch in the one time roof of the sunken tower, they proceeded floor by floor through each level.
At long last they came to a natural cavern. The tower had slowly sank into the soft earth over a long period of time.
A small wooden sign lay cast aside on the floor, it read in terrible hobgoblin handwriting, for sale..
A strange light from a glow stone on the ceiling gave the cavern an eerie feel.
There! Pointed Luna her wolfish voice a near growl.
Back to back suggested Joxstier as Luna lept into fighting range with the other therian.
What she saw happen at the farm house suggested that this other therian, her supposed sister, was not able to be reasoned with.
Instinct led Luna as she charged into battle with this other Therian.
Obviously out matched, instead of fighting Luna she fled, running instead for Joxstier and Valon.
A dark and static aura developed around the red therian, as she drew closer Jockster dived out of the way. Valon stood there ready to meet his foe.
As the black lightening aura touched his magical equipment a chain reaction occurred. Explosions erupted from his sword, and other magic items, as Luna closed in she too experienced what happens when magic meets plasma.
After little more than the confusion, that ensued, Luna gained the upper hand and put down her sister, for ever earning her the title of Blood Therian. One who kills her own kind.
As the last moments of her sisters life, she mouthed the word....thank you and then faded to nothing
A moment of silence was held by the group as they tried to figure out what force just nearly killed them.
Plasma, Luna's brother had talked about it back at the tower..certain Therians had to cope with the development of this hidden power..She had seen now for herself, the permanent nature of a therians death...to fade to nothing...would that be her fate?
Luna's thought were interrupted by the sound of Valon finding a very powerful ring. With the adventuring spirit again filling her being Luna began her own search, both for the key and anything else of value.
After much searching she did not find the key she sought, but instead the most precious of treasure. a ring...of vicious fighting +5!! One of the most famous and powerful rings ever created....said Valon
What? Said Luna and Joxstier in unison.
Yes, said Valon..this ring was said to be worn by Shang himself! He even is said to have formed the Armor of viscous battle.
And here it is now, at this place and this time, said Joxstier...two more rare and legendary artifacts...perhaps the sacrifice of my ring was a necessary evil he thought to himself.
Luna sat down, and looked at the spot where her sister fell...after a while she got up and made a pile of rocks to mark her sisters place of death.
She had killed her sister, freed her from that aura that had driven her mad...was that her fate? Did it have anything to do with the rings they just found? Was she...supposed to do this?
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 53 Still sore from the battle with the red coloured therian, Valon stood up grimacing at the pain. The last few days had been used for recovery by all except Joxstier , who even now seemed to be fussing manically over that strange thing they found through the portal. Luna had taken advantage of her time to catch up on her sleep. Like Valon she had taken a large brunt of the explosive attacks of the strange magic wielded by the red therian. Even now he was pretty sure he could hear her snoring. As he stood up he looked at his surroundings. The temple turned base had served them well. It was a bit cool at night due to its large size, and most of it remained unused by the party.
Like breaking glass, a sound came from the main audience chamber. Valon went to investigate.
As he looked at the room lit by the glass ceiling he noticed a very plain, odd shaped dagger on the floor, apparently the source of the noise.
A voice spoke out to him.
The people I represent wish to have a proper introduction, said the voice.
Instantly, Valon used his aura vision, and beside the dagger stood a figure.
What do they want with me? Replied Valon.
Not many of your training could wreak such vengeance on an entire clan, your reputation proceeds you. I have long awaited to speak to you in person.
Who do you represent? Asked Valon with his hand not far from his sword.
Are you familiar with the colours of the clans? Said the voice
Only vaguely...each clan has its own mission and proceeds with their own way to fulfil it.
Very good, said the voice, and do you know what came before the clans?
Valon pondered for a moment. The clans were united, until the undead war..Then their leader went missing, and the clans divided.
Yes said the voice, they each fought to rule, but their leader was not missing forever, he returned, disappointed in the squabbling over leadership and so formed the crystal clan.
And you represent this clan, inquired Valon, curiosity nearly over riding his caution.
I do, said the voice, and if you wish to know more...a piece of paper suddenly appeared out of no where falling to the floor, then I suggest you come meet us.
Valon, was not surprised when the aura of the voice then disappeared..
Suddenly Valon heard a yelling coming from one of the other chambers.
As he ran to investigate a skeletal like body walked through the doorway, eyes glowing blue with a likewise blue glowing gem in its head.
Valon quickly drew his katana.
Isnt it great? cried Joxstier
I finally got it up and running, he continued as Valon sheathed his weapon.
Now we have someone to guard the mine!
Joxstier was beaming with pride as he hurried off to show Luna his work.
Valon went over and picked up both the paper and the strange plain dagger.
He could barely notice Luna's alarmed screams and Joxstier begging her not to destroy his creation, as he looked at the paper. It was a map.
This time he would go alone.
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 54 As the group sat around and ate breakfast Valon discussed the visitor. While Luna was more curious how he got in, Joxstier seemed to care very little. His past week of research had led to an astounding achievement that allowed him to boost his own magic casting capabilities. He also was eager to share his idea of creating a ring that could teleport others and the wearer. Of course he would need Luna's help.
Since Valon would be going alone the group decided to split up at dead tower . Valon would go alone, taking the newly designed ring with him. Joxstier and Luna would stay low key at dead tower.
Teleportation at the ready, the group packed once more for adventure and took off.
As Valon waved goodbye to his friends going to Dead Tower he set his sights on the map. It clearly marked out Hydrafel, Light forge to the north and Shotakan to the east. In between Shotokan and Dead tower was a tree with a lightening bolt symbol, and a cave north of that.
Valon looked down the road which was a dividing line between two separate worlds. On his left the black covered dark mold that covered much of the radiant kingdom. Across the dirt road lay green grass, and trees off in the distance. All to threatened by the slow moving dark mold.
Valon traveled for three days, no sign of other travellers until at last he found what he was looking for.
A tree, hit by lightening...North of that should be his destination.
The dark, as Valon found, is difficult to navigate in, he would not find his target for another 3 days. During this time he found an abandoned farm house. He stayed the night and checked himself for any signs of the darks infection on his body. If he found any, he would teleport back to dead tower, and have Joxstier remove it. Yet despite his time traveling through fields of mold, he was unaffected. What ever resistance Joxstier displayed to the mold, he seemed now to share.
At the end of a weeks time he had finally found what he had been searching for...A cave between two trees.
Just as he began to sigh in relief, Valon reached for his blade.
If I had wanted you dead, you would be so already said the voice coming from above.
Valons aura vision turned on, but in the mold filled dark aura vision was not very effective. It was his ears, not his eyes that gave away the location of the voice.
Adventurers never look up taught the voice, sitting in a tree. So why have you come?
Valon still on guard, slowly pulled out the strange shaped dagger..
OOOooooh said the voice who did not take form. Key hole is in the inside of the cave entrance.
Valon then stepped inside looking for a keyhole. Instead he found a sliver shaped hole that the strange blade fit in perfectly, of course it was a key.
As the secret passage revealed itself to him he went in.
He noticed first off, that he was very high up. a long winding and thin ledge snaked its way down to level floor some 50 ft below. He was in a cavern that was in part covered by the dark. down below people dressed in ninja garb walked about, did their daily tasks seemingly unaffected by the darks influence..
When at last he got to the bottom of the cave he looked around and noticed a table, covered in black mold. Sitting on the table was a strange mechanical looking sword also covered in mold.
Valon was then greeted by another ninja .
Welcome honoured guest, as the man bowed. Please come this way..
Curious, Valon asked, why do the people here seem not bothered by the mold?
Our white ninja training keeps us safe. If luck is with you, you will share in this knowledge.
Impressed , Valon watched as a bustling village went on with its daily activities.
I am your sponsor, said the man, I have heard much about your....endeavours..
Your group seems very well informed, replied Valon.
Yes, replied the sponsor, however even with the secrecy of the ninja way of life, setting an entire storehouse of ninja knowledge a flame is big news.
A shame, continued the sponsor, to have lost such a treasure trove of knowledge..A crippling blow to any clan.
Valon thought back to Joxstier pulling out a magical holding bag and stuffing book after book inside.
A loss to anyone Valon replied.
As your sponsor, my presence will be limited until you gain membership to our clan, but now...he stopped suddenly, you must speak to my master. With a slight quick bow, the sponsor stopped at a door way.
Valon entered the constructed walls of a room.
As the cave had gone further, rudimentary sections had been set up forming rooms, doorways and areas dedicated to various tasks. People had begun cleaning of the mold by hand...a daunting task in a cave where it grew unceasingly.
After a traditional bow to someone of higher rank, Valon was motioned to sit down at a desk.
A human sat in front of him, of Shotokanese descent.
He was clean shaven, short hair with hints of grey at his sides. A large scar found its home across one eye.
You know who we are yes? said the man in a Shotokanese accent...although it had a twist to it, like it was from someone where other than Shotokan.
Yes Replied Valon
Do you know what we do?
No, replied Valon.
We gather knowledge of all the clans, and in time will reunite them, said the master.
You are here because we are interested in acquiring your membership to our clan. Before you can Join you must perform 3 tests...
If you are sure you wish to join, then first will be the test of loyalty.
Valon wondered what it would be.
Please place your left arm on the table, continued the master.
Valon did so.
The man drew his sword with speed and grace.
As he raised his sword in the air, he said, are you willing to take the test?
Valon, suddenly realized that the man intended on cutting of his arm!
A thousand thoughts went through his mind, 100 different scenarios played out but at the end, he realized...an oath of loyalty meant he would be willing to forfeit his life at any time, an arm wouldn't be any different...with a sigh , he said yes.
With speed again that impressed Valon the master sheathed his sword.
An answer of no, would have resulted in that blow striking your head, not your arm, said the master in a perfectly calm voice. You have passed your first test.
As Valon let out another sigh he didnt know he was holding in, the Master began to explain his next mission.
The Purple Palm has gained ownership of a powerful scroll in Hydrafel. You are to retrieve it. You will know which one it is due to its unusual color...pink
Return the scroll by what ever means required.
I travel with companions, they will want to help, said Valon.
I know who you travel with, use their aid if it is available. Tell them nothing of the location, do not reveal our secrets.
I suspect however, they know a fair amount already, continued the master
Yes, replied Valon.
We have a way of dealing with that kind of risk said the Master..If we are compromised, it is your friends who will pay the price, not you..
Understood said Valon.
Well then, said the grand master, it seems we are done here. You will be taught a technique of your choosing upon your successful return.
With that Valon stood, bowed and left the room.
There his sponsor waited and showed him around the base. Before Valon left he looked again, and much closer at the strange sword sitting at the table.
Strange isnt it, said a female voice from behind..
Valon did his best not to seem surprised.
They say you are not allowed to touch it. It is said that the owner will one day come to claim it and rid the lands of a great evil.
Valon remained silent.
I am Akasha. The clan awaits your success in your test .
Though she was fully encased in ninja garb her eyes, a bright purple, looked out at him from beyond the opening in her head wear.
Valon, yes i know she replied, interrupting him.
She then turned and walked away.
Valon soon left the base, and used the newly made ring to return to the out skirts of Dead Tower.
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 55 Luna grudgingly walked up the hill towards dead tower. She didnt really like this place...surrounded by walled, closed, gated and her memories from before didnt add any luster to the experience. Joxstier didnt seemed to mind. He was still showy as ever. Nothing ever really seemed to get him down, he just soaked up all the attention..At least he would make a good distraction if any of those green ninja types were here.
Joxstier went to the inn and tavern, arranged for a room for the two of them, and for him to perform later that evening.
Luna followed him up to the room.
How long are we going to be here asked Luna looking around at her room.
As long as we need to be replied Joxstier, I will perform here each night and we can keep an eye on Valon with this, said Joxstier making the crystal sphere pop out of his hand as though it was somehow embedded in him..
How did you ? said Luna.
Oh you mean this? continued Joxstier as he pulled the Rod of parrying out of his arm.
I created a spell, that let me cast this spell.
And what spell is that? asked Luna
It was listed as Bio weapon...a spell that allows the caster to place items inside and out of his body. I created an amulet that keeps the power on constantly.
What stops you from sinking into the floor asked Luna.
It functions on only the things I want it to, plus there is a cap on how much I can place in.
Sounds weird said Luna
Saved me a fortune in enchanting replied Joxstier obviously proud of his achievement.
I'm bored, stated Luna as she sighed.
Go down stairs and have a drink invited Joxstier as he got ready for his soon to be performance..
Ugh fine complained Luna
A few minutes later Luna was sitting at the bar with her already paid for ale. Just before she took her first sip a man sat down beside her.
Come here often? asked the man, I havent seen you around before.
Leave me alone, or I will cut off your arm and chew it to pieces..said Luna without even looking up.
The man paused, went to say something, and then decided against it, leaving Luna to herself.
Luna smiled to herself as she began to enjoy her drink.
As the night passed Joxstier came and went, and ale after ale found its way to Lunas mouth until it was finally time for bed.
As she made her way upstairs, Joxstier was already in bed. She layed her head down on her pillow, and suddenly her eyes went wide.
She heard a noise..a repetitive, almost torturous noise.
Tick tock tick tock tick tock
Joxstier, she hissed, what is that noise?
Tiredly and somewhat annoyed Joxstier replied, it is called a clockwork time piece, and it shall wake me in the morning at a designated time in the morning.
Almost growling Luna complained of the noise.
Cover your ears with your pillow and go to sleep said Joxstier sleepily.
Tick tock tick tock tick tock
Tick tock tick tock tick tock
Ugh, it was like a bad song that never ended.
Joxstier has obviously underrated her therian hearing.
She waited until he went to sleep and crept over to the blasted contraption, slipped over to the window and placed the timepiece on the outside ledge and closed the window..
She went back to bed , now content with her silence, and went to sleep.
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 56 a rattle and a stir woke Luna up in the middle of the night. As she looked around the room, her eyes were drawn to movement at the window. A strange owl like bird was there, seemingly threatened by the time piece.
Oh, no thought Luna as she walked towards the window.
The bird like creature let out a strange sreeeeeeeeeeeeech and attacked the time piece, carrying it off.
Luna jumped at the window, hoping to get to the window before it flew out of reach but to no avail.
Not having this, Luna used teleportation to follow the bird.
She followed the creature for the better half of an hour until at last the creature stopped and landed in a nest.
As she looked up at the tree she realized the next was too far out, and the tree to high to jump or climb. Instead she looked around until she found a rock and threw the rock.
The nest came down with a tumble, clock piece and all.
The screech bat took to the sky and prepared for a counter attack. Luna found the clock piece and gave the oncoming screech bat a rude gesture with her finger, and teleported away.
Back in her bed at last, timepiece broken resting on a desk, Luna at last fell asleep.
What happened? Cried an obviously upset Joxstier.
Humm? replied Luna
The time piece , its ruined. It was a one of a kind!
Uh oh, Luna thought to herself..Yeah, i am sorry..some weird bird thing attacked it when i put it on the window ledge.
You what? Ugh I dont have time for this...I was supposed to perform.
Luna stifled a laugh as Joxstier flew around the room like a tornado, trying to get ready for his performance in 10 minutes.
That timepiece was on loan, said Joxstier.
Dont worry about , reassured Luna, I will take it to the market and get it fixed.
Fine said Joxstier as he raced to get ready.
An hour later found Luna in the market standing in front of a worktable and shop operated by a gnome by the name of Jinbo.
Yes, yes assured Jinbo, I will need a day or so to fix it.
Jinbo had a way of stuttering much like many gnomes, their minds always full of thoughts being present not only in the here and now but usually at least 3 other places.
I will have ev ev everything just hunk dory by tomorrow. I will of course require payment now.
Luna handed over the coin, happily, and soon to be rid of this entire mess.
The day seemed to fly by, until the next day had arrived. Joxstier accompanied her this time around.
Oh, hello said Jinbo, how may I assist you today?
I am here for my time piece....
Jinbo seemed confused...
My name is Luna, I came here yesterday getting a time piece fixed?
OOOOooh yes, yes of course said Jinbo
Luna rolled her eyes
Yes yes, continued Jinbo, it should be right...right...here..oh
Luna raised her eyebrows...
Hrrmm thats odd, continued Jinbo
Whats odd asked Luna impatiently
Well it, it , it seems t th that its not here.
Honeyyy called Jinbo.
A plump angry looking female gnome poked her head around the front of the storage unit behind the work table.
What is it?
Honey dearest,started Jinbo, have you seen the clock piece i was working on yesterday.?
Its on shelf b12, she responded sounding exasperated.
Jinbo looked on the shelf but only found a strange glass music box.
rmm no honeyyy, its just a music box.
The female gnome came out into the open sounding annoyed and irate. She took one look at the shelf, You sold it to that customer this morning, you were supposed to sell them the music box.
You what?? said Luna
by the 3 gods, how are you even in business, are you a complete idiot? Berated Luna
well well I ..have this music box for sale, sputtered Jinbo
Yes, you are a complete idiot replied Luna.
Joxstier stifle a laugh with a face palm.
Well, time to close up shop, and come help fix this declared Luna
Well, I um, cant leave the shop unattended said Jinbo.
who is that, Pointed Luna, at the female gnome
My wife, said Jinbo
Then she just became your shop keeper..
Now just a minute objected both gnomes in unison...
That, said Luna threateningly, or I rip you in two with my bare hands...
A moment of silence....
Ok, honey, take care of the shop, i will see you later said Jinbo.
It seemed she was from Shotakan, I suspect they will be not far down the road.
Luna, grabbed the gnome by the back of the shirt and headed for the front gates.
Joxtier looked at the female gnome and bowed politely.
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 57 The three went down the road, making good time with Joxstiers song of speed. As soon as Luna saw the carriage that most likely carried the person who bought the time piece she dropped the gnome and ran towards it , leaving her companions behind.
She now ran beside the horseless carriage and knocked on the door of the shiny black carriage.
A curtain barely pulled back...no answer
Luna knocked again loudly and explained her situation, holding up the music box.
Go away , said a quiet muffled voice in a Shotakanese accent.
Frustrated, tired and no longer taking it, Luna ripped the door right off the carriage. The beautiful woman inside screamed and suddenly 10 fully armored Samurai appeared out of thin air as the carriage came to a stop.
Leave me be , said the woman again. Kill her said the woman pointing at Luna
As ten samurai surrounded Luna the carriage once again began to move, at a heightened pace.
Luna pulled out her wand of infinite fireballs and aimed it at her feet, trusting her fire immunity to protect her.
Joxstier and the gnome looked on in terror as the event in front of them took a turn for the worst.
A huge plum of fire and smoke and the flailing bodies of the now dead samurai were strewn about.
Luna had seemed to have gone mad as she raced towards the carriage once more, anger and fury filled her eyes as she transformed mid step. With a growl and snarl, Luna tore the woman in half with the sound of screams coming from the carriage.
Jinbo turned and ran, I am having no part in this! he cried as Joxstier stood in horror at what unfolded in front of him.
what is she ..............?
Luna awoke to the sounds of a screeching noise outside her window. As she bolted up, she realized she was still in the tavern, for only a moment she was confused.
Her eyes suddenly fixed on the window, she lept across the room, opened the window and grabbed the time piece before the strange bird could take off with it, and closed the window.
As she placed the time piece under a blanket, she laid back down, thankful that it was only a dream.
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 58 Ten days or was it eleven? Unsure Luna looked around. Joxsteir was looking for that blasted clock work device..Again. Luna had taken to hiding it . The sound drove her crazy. Joxsteir had found it at last, saying he needed to return it. It was his day off.
Valon was in some sort of underground cave. She had been watching him for nearly an hour. Her not leaving the room was starting to gnaw at her, and spying on Valon was a slight distraction from her ever increasing boredom.
As Joxstier left the room to return the time piece and returned, Luna looking into the orb of seeing watched with excitement as Valon pulled out the ring of teleport that Joxstier made last week.
I think Valon is on his way back, she said excitedly
Good replied Joxsteir, while it has been profitable, I am eager to be on my way.
Just then there was a knock at the door.
Luna lept up to answer it.
A young female, all doe eyed was there with flowers and gifts.
Joxstier politely asked her to put them over there, signed his autograph and sent her on her way.
After rolling her eyes and closing the door Luna inquired, Dont you ever get sick of that?
Not in the slightest replied Joxstier, adding her gifts to an ever growing pile.
The door suddenly opened and there stood Valon.
Closing the door Valon said, Greetings!
So? How did it go? Inquired Luna, eager for the change of subject.
Very well, I am now doing my initiation test lets say.
Cool, replied Luna what test is it?
Oh well that , you may not like soo much. said Valon I have to go to Hydrafel and acquire something from the purple palm.
The Purple Palm, said Joxstier in a concerned tone, Havent you already had a run in with them?
Just then there was another knock at the door.
Rolling her eyes again Luna opened the door.
Instead of an adoring fan, stood in front of her a familiar looking gnome.
E E ee excuse m me , He stuttered.. Would there perhaps be a a an individddual nnnamed MAxtrox here?
Matrox, repeated Luna...Who is askin?
Umm Umm , My name is Jinbo, he said nervously
Suddenly on guard Luna asked in a quite voice, you wouldnt happen to have a shop in the market would you?
WwwHy yes, I do, have you been? Replied Jinbo
Quickly Luna replied no, and more loudly said, No Matrox here...sorry bud you got the wrong room., and then shut the door.
Who was that inquired Joxstier.
Ahh no one, just some lil gnome guy I have definitely never seen before. replied Luna.
As the trio began to open up conversation once more there was another knock at the door.
Letting out a slight annoyed grrrr Luna opened the door.
There in front of her was Jinbo on his knees, gagged with hands bound behind his back. Four green clad ninja, one of which held a thin sword at the back of Jinbo's head
Jinbo looked scared, his eyes meeting Luna's in a silent plea for help.
Luna moved fast, to fast for even the ninja's. Within a split second she had cast a teleport other spell on jinbo sending him to the safety of the market, and closing the door.
Guys we got company, yelled Luna in warning as she went into her half form.
Joxstier and Valon pulling out weapons.
Suddenly four ninjas entered the room....zoop zoop zoop zoop! Teleporting from the hallway
The battle commenced.
Valon stood before one of his former clan, fairly sure they would not recognize his new skyelf form.
With the skill of a master he took the oncoming poisoned attack of the ninja and redirected it back into his assailants gut. With a few gargled complaints the ninja foamed at the mouth and died.
They are using poisoned blades called out Valon.
Sit still you cried Luna as the ninja danced about the room evading her attacks.
The room lit up as Joxstiers four swords began to dance about the room defending both himself and his companions.
As the remaining ninjas used their skills to add multiple image copies of themselves, Joxstier hit them with his four swords, dispelling them easily.
Luna finally landing a solid blow sent one ninja, through the bedroom door and several metres down the hall, neck broken. Gotcha, she laughed with a wolfish grin.
The two remaining ninja started to glow with chi energy, as Valon pulled out the auto crossbow..The brightness grew as Valon fired and missed all but one of his attacks.
As the chi ability hit him, he felt stunned and lowered his crossbow, only to feel Joxstier add him in firing once more, this time, the auto crossbow finding it mark, felling its target.
Why you little, cried Luna as she cut a ninja in two, blood covering the room entirely..
Just then the sound of footsteps as Luna quickly changed back into her normal form.
The guards, with Jinbo in tow, looked in disbelief as Joxstier in complete and utter shock, stood covered head to toe in the blood of the ninja Luna had just part in two.
With a nervous smile, Joxstier gave a little wave and said....Hi!
YEAR 96 TD (The Dark) Chapter 59 After explaining to the guards, and back up from Jinbo, the trio was allowed to go. By the time they were allowed free the gates of dead tower were already closed, and the Tavern had made arrangements for them to stay the night. Joxtier himself was made the offer of a life time of free stays, due to the attempt on his life, as surely that is what explained the attack.
Sitting in their new room, with guard posted outside, the trio began to discuss the real reasons for the attack.
I know said Luna, I will commune with their spirits, and ask them.
Do not be abashed when they do not co operate said Joxstier.
As Luna sat down and began to focus, her mind entered the spirit realm. As soon as the spirits of the ninja saw Luna they faded into the ether.
Before Luna could follow them through the misty clouds, Luna was surrounded by several spirits. Soon more and more spirits surrounded her, tens, of dozens.
One spirit came to her, seemingly passing right through the others just to speak to her.
Help us, he said quietly
How, asked Luna
The gate......and then the spirits were gone.
Luna stood up and said, we are to go to the gate...there is something else wrong here.
Valon and Joxstier equally confused gathered their things.
The trio left the room, nodding at the guard on the way out and made their way to the gate without incident.
The gates of Dead Tower were not in fact gates at all. A large underground passage would open and close itself off depending on the time of day. At night only a single torch lay in the passage leading from entrance to exit.
Whispers led Luna to the torch as she examined it closely.
Here, she said. Its here somewhere.
Did you try pulling the torch asked Joxstier?
Luna looked at him briefly and proceeded to pull the torch.
Surprised she stood back as a secret door opened up.
The group walked in to find a stone worked hallway. As they entered the door closed behind them and another torch could be seen mirroring the one on the outside.
As the group utilized their own vision types a dim light could be seen ahead and to the right.
A greenish glow met thier eye as strange skulls lined the chambers, adding the light to the room.
The hallway gave way to a large chamber, a circular tower rose from the ground...was it supporting this place?
Much to the horror of the group they found the large room was full of , the corpses of the dead, standing, nearly motionless.
Undead whispered Joxstier.
Luna reached for wand of infinite fireballs...a simple enough solution .
I.....would not do that .....if.....I were you whispered loudly a voice.
Just then a skeleton , wearing bone armor that had also bone like wings, came into view.
I...am Riga Morte.......and this is my tower...you....are trespassing here..
Yeah? Well you are about to be re-dead said Luna holding her wand of infinite fireballs.
Annnnd.......what of the people above? rasped the Lich in front of them....would you doom them all as well...this structure will not survive an attack on its very foundation....
You are bluffing, said Luna, now less sure of her current actions.
Am I ? asked the Lich Are you willing to gamble the lives on your arrogance? asked the lich
As a matter of fact ..................I am.............. interrupted Joxstier pulling out his Lute.
Strumming softly Joxstier began to play the song of repair.
Luna looked at Joxstier confused....
Go for it, he whispered..
With a grin Luna let lose the wand of fireballs.
Never before had she seen a fireball so, big, come from the wand. A huge explosion broke in front of Luna as the waves of heat washed over the room.
The trio, protected by Valons skyelf gift from before, now stood amazed.
Not a single undead was affected by the blast.
What???? cried Luna in disbelief.
Fire....chuckled the Lich....How predictable
Luna looked back at Valon and Joxstier, Looks like we are doing this the hard way she said, as she changed form and bounded into combat.
Valon began to give her cover fire with the auto crossbow as Joxstier called forth his four swords.
Do you ever run out of those? Asked Valon
No, I do not, replied Joxstier with a grin.
You will have to show me that , said Valon
Sure thing smiled Joxstier
As Luna finally sunk her claws into undead flesh, she note how charged she felt. This...this is what she was born to do...it felt right..like she had found her calling. As the bodies flew away from her, one of them landed against the wall. Her Titan strength sent the zombies flying but when they hit the wall they exploded!
This in turn set off a chain reaction killing several dozen more. Now if she could just line them up....
Seeing Luna getting far ahead Joxstier announced proudly, and for my next trick, I shall play not one, but two songs at once!
Valon noticed that even in combat, Joxstier had an air of performance about him. While fun to watch, Valon couldnt help wonder if there was something more to Joxstier than met the eye.
Annoyed at his unseen weakness in his undead, the Lich cast three bouts of Paralyzation balls at the group, Just as Valon fired off 3 shots with the auto crossbow at the lich.
Valon was struck by the paralyzation and fell to the ground.
The lich to was struck and critically hit, losing his head.
As the Lich fell the magic paralyzing Valon wore off and he stood back up with the aid of a foot from Joxstier.
The song of speed in combination with the song of repair, filled the room.
Luna taking advantage of the new found speed dashed back and forth, sending undead into each other, setting them off in explosive chains.
Valon regained his composure and began sniping off any he could get to explode.
In a matter of minutes the force of undead were gone.
With that , Luna put the dead to rest.
We are missing some she said.
And here I am, said Joxstier...as usual..Playing the support role.
Luna and Valon chuckled at that.
Just then a small sock like ghost popped its head out of the floor and pointed at the tower room.
The remains of the Lich suddenly turned to dust and a strange essence floated into the tower room.
Quickly the group followed.
Inside the tower was a common area of lavish design. The dusty room had not been used for comfort in sometime.
As the group searched the room, Valon using his aura vision, came across a powerful gem.
As he touched the gem, his mind clouded. Quickly he pulled back his hand in time to avoid being possessed by the evil spirit in the gem.
After some discussion the group decided that the magical holding bag was the key to safely transporting the gem to Shotokan for proper disposal.
Again the sock like ghost appeared this time directing them to an enchanting room with many alters and pedestals.
Each one contained a gem. These are the missing souls stated Luna as she placed them as well in the holding bag.
For the last time the sock like ghost appeared. Luna asked it if it wanted to be at peace.
The sock like ghost just waved and sank into the ground.
Now the time had come for Luna's favourite part.