Mortals are the Shadows in the Light & Dark


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| Reader Note: This has been
| sent to Ondemeira the White.
| At the castle of King Guy the First
| in the city of Credia. This has also been
| sent to Zeelik Stonemace.
| At the caverns of the Serinan Tribe
| in the Baalgor Rocky Desert.
===================

Good Scribe of Light
&
To my noble Brother,

I am writing to you both because I am unsure after an Agreement of the “rules of engagement” between the Gods of Light and Dark was reached. As to whether the Scribe of Light would receive missives sent to you Zeelik. I have been trying to wander more and more under a Hooman guise to understand these short, frantic peoples of the world. They clearly are the dominant form among the races in power on the world and figuring out how to live with them will be key to any race’s continued survival. I shall recount the last few weeks here in this missive which might be one of the few I get off before the Lopanic Games begin and the whirlwind starts.

~ This part of the letter details events from the 13th through 20th of Selestra ~

I’m glad to hear that you and Father have been able to converse a few times while I have been away these last few days in Wisdom. I was studying with Master Kel-ed at the Tri-Arcanum Magic Guild. I had sent him my 10,000 gold earlier for ‘Magic Pigeon Fees‘ from what Southern coinage I had. Upon my arrival I did get some money changed out with the Gold Coast Trading Company notes of marque. I paid 353,000 gold and 1oz. of Gantrium to my guild leader and was graced with a spell to trade skill knowledge I possess between strong and weak skills so I am no longer very good at blunt weapons but you should see me with a sword NOW!!!

~ The 21st of Selestra ~

Master Tyvernos gathered everyone around and bid farewells because his Defiler parents are finally dying and he is going to be with them for and issue the Gods asked him to see to. My biggest little buddy may not be back for he took the Eternal Torch Ring off! As he walked out the door he vanished and we were soon met by an old friend of Master Azariel, Sister Caminata. She came directly from the Lord of Light and is a wilderness animal priestess dedicated to the Lawgiver!

Well if Master Azariel trusts her and she has a CrIsis ring then I was good at that point. Just before we could get into it any further we exited the main stronghold of the Pontiff and stumbled onto a GIGANTIC (over 10,000 people) mass ceremony for the Festival of Ra! What is even worse is we were making some jokes that were less than appropriate for the occasion! I have even begun to joke about myself such is the companionship I feel growing for my adopted tribe. However, if you want a funny image picture an eleven foot tall Minotaur looking sheepish, mouthing – ‘sorry we can come back later’ and trying to back up tip toeing!! If you both ever tell me that you did not laugh or at least grin, then Ra will burn you for liars. Oh the Pontiff did not let us off that easy, and well when the crowd begins cheering seeing you and your friends. We became enraptured (at least I did) when the Pontiff began with a story of Creation during the few more hours the festival went on.

I was hungry actually but it would appear that feasts follow festivals!!!!!! I had wanted to turn into a hooman then to hide among the crowds but I became the CrIsis totem pole for the throngs of worshipers.

“yeah over there I saw them…
…CrIsis”

“where?”

“See the giant bull of light?”

”Oh my gosh is that Apis?”

“No you dolt, its Zerkzees! The mino-tar wizard!”

“WOW!!!”

We were seated among the heads of the Church of Light and Dark as befit the Scions of Light. I wonder though, were ReSet here would we be forced to sit next to them as Scions of Dark? During these thoughts I was introduced to Father Lamriel, Bishop of the Western Empire, and for some reason feels he is a servant of that land’s leader despite his soul belonging to Ra? While using polite words (I did not swear vulgarities), I did not hide my disdain for the ‘Western Sin Breeding Haven’ he was sent to heal. The manner of our meeting was profound because he had become uncomfortable around Sister Caminata’s wolf familiar, and nearly tried to draw his mace when Master Asher let his familiar, Kupyr upon the table. I tried to appear non-threatening when I mentioned to the good Father his ‘mace’ had come loose accidentally and he might want to fix it.

– Lesson 1: You’re eleven feet tall, your voice booms and scares people no matter what you say –

I am not moping here brother, but it bears repeating even your nicest actions will come under attack due to our size. I must be getting better because no reproach was forthcoming for my words to the Father about his mace. In fact the discourse about the Western Empire has enlightened me. It is as bad off as the whole of the Baalgor Wastelands! There’s a place of wicked evil in it called, the Middle Kingdoms, that is run by foul priestess of darkness whom is also a noble among this land so named Lady Daera Kaze. Then there are good people struggling against them in another place within the empire called the Vequerrel Woodlands. This is where Sister Caminata and another former member of CrIsis came from. Master Azariel mentioned his home town as being a place of good and I agreed because he shook off his dark fetters to Bes and now worships the Lawgiver. T’would seem this land has need of the good Father as we have need of good Brother Indaris. Master Overkill tried to chime in defending their position but only managed to inadvertently insult Sister Caminata and myself regarding the nature of ‘tribes’ and his definition of them. While other members of CrIsis got caught up with the Bishops they knew far better than I did. This time did afford me the chance to repay the Pontiff for the scrolls that allowed me transportation to Wisdom and back.

Bishop Tutu of the Timiro Kingdom tried to help heal the rift between our good brother and Oathbringer by offering counseling and a story about Perfone and the holy mace. Later still was our conversation with Bishop Nodeki and her adviser from the Dark, the one and only Agent – Zizean. We did learn about his associates, the evil Lady Kaze, Helgriven -a Night Owl demon, and the dark god Bes himself.

Then the conversation changed to one of outside influence and enemies made independent of this celestial conflict. Ratel, an Arch Fiend, hates our group for stopping him in his pursuit of the Glaive of the Old Ones. Other gods are discussed and some of it is over my head, however, nothing gets past Master Azariel whom has the right of it and will explain it to me later in simpler terms spoken plainly and not this hidden language of contractual interpretations.

I sought my bed after Bishop Tutu talked with Brother Indaris about ‘After CrIsis’ and for one of the few times I thought about my own future. Thinking about the demons to vanquish and anger I have felt I see quite the bloody road before me. I think I shall try and trust the Gods will put me where I am needed most and maybe I will slay some demons along the way. Father had left me a note that he had taken my sword and an emerald for a purpose I would learn later but I was weary that night and left for dreams of the future.

~ The 22nd of Selestra ~

I woke early and changed into a hawk, there are quite a few here and some falcons I believe as well. Rather than running about the city for exercise I stretched my wings, and if I have a guilty pleasure it is FLYING!!!! I can’t explain it other than I am drawn to the air the way sailors feel about the sea. I wonder why I never became a warlock at times, oh well. When Ra’s eye began to peak up over the horizon I returned to my room knowing that much was still afoot.

* We needed help looking through the libraries regarding the pieces of the Lawgiver.
     Did you know the gods all have libraries each dedicated to their names here!
* We needed a crew since Rogtilda had lost that ‘special light’ in the in-jun room making running the ship a 12+ person job.
* We’re 5 weeks out from the Lopanic Games and we need to get to the capitol and arrange for all of our supplies, find Overkill’s crew (hoping they’re not dead), get registered, the list goes on and all well before the 1st of Thoth.

Well since we are guaranteed safety in Sekti-Abtu we opted to split up to resolve all of these pressing issues. Master Azariel was waylaid by a deific curse/affliction and was treated by the Pontiff. I am not completely sure how he came by this malady but clearly they reference the scars on his arms. Knowing we had three days before our master arcanist would be up and about once more Masters Overkill and Asher set about to hiring a crew and found two of the Redbeard Pirate crew he was looking for.

Brother Indaris and Sister Caminata helped me used Master Azariel’s contract for hiring scholars and set about to have interviews. We ended up with four candidates:

* Two hooman males,
* One elf also male,
* One of the LOST RACES! I thought I had been blessed to have met an Ashada from the Land of the Damned! But tell Mergerij I have met a Jeridu! To think I thought elves were the only fair faced race about. I was so happy for my height to stop from gawking at this rare and beautiful scholar.

They all read the contract and I put forth a test to help Brother Indaris, the two that would return with the most impressive piece of information regarding Oathbringer would get the job slots. Off they went while Brother Indaris and Sister Caminata went looking for supplies for our trip. Staying to one of our age old models of safety they went in a pair since Acolyte-Sister Nara is studying what it means to be a priestess of Horus currently.

I thought the Library of Osiris would be the obvious place to begin looking and if I could think of that then so could anyone else. So I changed into hooman form and headed to the Library of Thoth on my own. Just when I thought I had found a book detailing legends and tales pertaining to the Skull of the Lawgiver I was blocked by an errant patron of this library.

Rystrom Khejas

This famous hooman scholar had snatched and pilfered the book for his own research. Now I don’t mean to make him out to be a thief but his last appearance here was over a year ago according to the staff! I queried a librarian about the anything pertaining to the ‘skull’ and he helped me after introductions to a reference note from the reign of King Narraphon the Second and his successor and daughter, Queen Gertrude of Timiro. Both King Narraphon the Second and his son Prince Jonthul (from his first wife and queen) drown at sea due to a sea serpent attack. His second wife the Lady Delandor – is the Queen Mother of the new monarch, Queen Gertrude. Further reading of the time revealed many different reports that Queen Gertrude is deaf and mute yet rules via her mother as a living Lady-Protector of the Realm. The librarian believes he can find copies of the missing pages regarding the skull from an associate in the Libraries of the Dark but I must return on the morrow. Thanking him I leave for sword practice with the giant sized cutlass and dagger. Only in private do I shed the disguise of a hooman to use the weapons needed for the duel and I think I may have just figured out how dancing also works because a lot of the moves remind me of people dancing at the festival.

What follows is a scrap that took the librarian a day to recover, and later I will learn how lucky I was to get this information.

This next fragment is farther down the parchment and one of the few examples of Queen Gertrude’s hand writing.

So, while it now holds idols of those trying to restore the Lawgiver. The Obelisk of Osiris was originally purposed to guarding the Skull some 1,600 years ago in a Timirian town called Nisi.

~ The 25th of Selestra ~

At high sun we received the three remaining applicants that showed up, and for this I had taken my natural form. I brought them in one at a time so they could reveal what they had discovered. The first was a hooman male named Zeon Joreaven. Zeon lost his brother, who is killed by the Dark, during the competition to decide on whom would become the scholars serving CrIsis. I later learned it was his need to search in the Libraries of the Dark Gods where before the split they had never been in danger before. Now one had died for speaking to us and the remaining three would be marked for association! The lore he brought was that Oathbringer had been to Hades and back. This is great news because we will likely be headed there at some point to retrieve the Skull! Second was the elf named Tamuríl Elendil. His lore about Oathbringer was that it killed a member of the Defilers! That was unexpected news regarding the holy weapon and clearly more to that story. Lastly, was the Jeridu named Xandria, and I tried everything to keep my eyes forward. She actually brought news that Oathbringer liked which was that the more one wielded it, the more powers would manifest! After hearing about the brother we talked and then brought them back in and explained they had all done admirably and it was fortunate that there would be three slots which they were all to fill. Welcome to CrIsis, scholars three!

Rejoining the others we found out that we have a team of 14, two from Master Overkill’s old crew and 12 others, were chosen to help CrIsis and to pilot Rogtilda. This is wondrous news and Master Overkill looks overjoyed though I am perplexed I think one of the two maids either contemplated cooking me or doing things that are NOT physically possible! I don’t think I could even last seven days in some Dwarf mating ritual! PASS.

~ The 1st of Ra ~

I was getting up when I felt another hand on the Holy Femur! In the dark I can see as well as any of our kind and another Minotaur dressed in black got into the room! With a head butt and arm lock I tossed him across the room and then as he was charging back at me I snared him with a ‘Carpet of Adhesion‘ spell. Then I heard our father’s voice, “I am glad to see you learned how to hold on to your weapon son. Now drop this spell for I think it is time you got your second chance.” I did as my father requested and he removed his black robes. From under them he produced a Mologoth hide sheath with the word ‘Serinan‘ stitched in leather cording along it. Within the sheath was a sword that looked like my dwarven flamberge I had been awarded for winning the right to represent the Gold Coast Trading Company as the Swordsman Champion. Well, save for the golden cobra pommel with emerald eyes that now adorned it. My father told me of a dream where Ra spoke to him. The Pontiff had made arrangements to get him in touch with the Church of Light’s chief Dwarven Swordsmith after hearing about the dream and the spell I had learned to become a real Swordsman Champion Duelist. The old pommel was removed and modified by Rostam under the directing guidance of the Dwarven Swordsmith of the Church of Light. It is named for Ra’s chief minion, the golden cobra: Uraeus, such is the reason for the pommel’s shape when recast. The eyes on the cobra head are inlaid with two 6ct. emeralds cut from a stone that was in my former possession. The handle is inlaid with lapus lazuli to resemble the crook staff used by Osiris. The blade color forge altered to a deep blue hue like the life giving rivers governed by Apis and used by snakes to sneak up on prey. The blade was etched with eight of the same prayers found on the Flail of Prayers, and taken from the Book of Ma’at of the Pantheon of Ra!

”This is Uraeus’ Fang,” as he pressed it into my free hand he shove me back up against the wall with a stern a reproachful look to drive home his next words, “my Lord and savior, Ra the Everbright, said to tell you if you lose this one Uraeus himself will come for you!”

I gulped and asked if there was anything else needed of me other than a sure grip? Our father hinted at tipping the Dwarf Master that has decided to help him perfect his craft as well as any non-dwarf can. 67,000 Eastern gold later and change I hope satisfies the Dwarf and helps Father with anything he might need. I gave him my dwarven flail as well for he preferred that type of weapon. After getting dressed I strapped the serpentine blade on my back to get used to carrying it everywhere. If I win at the games I will likely change my own surname from Goldenflail to… um. I checked though the blade is not magicked so I won’t be cheating using it in the competition. I had won renown to get this blade, I had practiced and sacrificed to be great with it. Now it and I were declared minions of Ra himself and a celestial serpent is watching to make sure I don’t screw up his name, no pressure.

After breaking the fast of the evening our father left for his work with the payment for the dwarf wrapped up to not make noise. The Festival of the Pantheon of Ra was getting into full swing and might I say it was wonderfully more enjoyable than the other pantheon’s thieving little raid on New Crests and our ship. Heading out to meet my friends was much harder than I had thought getting through the throngs so again my Hooman disguise availed me and while greeted and bless for the holiday I moved among the crowds largely forgotten.

Around early afternoon the Pontiff, U’Selekma, uses magic to get us out to Rogtilda so he may see the wonder of our friend himself. With his visit came a map of every known sea and land location available to the Church!!! Then the Pontiff was gracious enough to consecrate our shrine in a group two and a half hour ritual! I am sorry I could not remember all of it but this was a lovely prayer we made repeated after Brother Indaris:

O Queen of Seamanship,
thank you for bringing this day to a close.
Thank you for giving me rest
in body and soul.
Your hand has been over me
and has guarded and preserved me.
Forgive my lack of strength
and any wrong that I have done today,
and help me to forgive all who have wronged us.
Let me sleep in peace under your protection,
and keep me from all the temptations of darkness.
Into your hands I commend my loved ones.
I commend to you my body and soul.
O Lady, your holy name be praised.

Afterwards Master Overkill and Brother Indaris get horses for the wagon, and we find out Master Asher has donated 1 MILLION of his share of the gold to the church, matching the largest donation ever done to date. I offered 500,000 gold and was humbled by the kobold’s gigantic heart. It appears we leave on the morrow after Master Overkill introduces the crew to Rogtilda and the Pontiff’s nephew acts as a temporary captain to get them trained while we are at the games.

Be well to you both,

Xerx’ses Goldenfang.. Goldenblade… Goldensword… Swordfang… gah this can wait till after the games,
War Wizard of CrIsis

P.S. Although I am no priest may the Lawgiver’s judgement keep you both safe.


>>> Written by Xerx’ses Goldenflail,
later upon the evening of the 1st of Ra, 70th Year of the Wolfen Empire, 2nd year of King Guy the First of the Timiro Kingdom, and 343 year of the Dominion of Man. <<<


Lady in yellow dress, picture by Nomuh.
Picture of Minotaur from DeconZR.
Picture of Tyvernos from Gaitkeeper.
Picture of Caminata from Conceptopolis.
Games picture from Conquering Corsairs.
Jeridu picture from Jessica Padkin.

 

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