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Author Topic: "The World of Visions" : A series of inevitable events  (Read 6924 times)

GeekyBoof

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Re: "The World of Visions" : A series of inevitable events
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2019, 09:11:32 am »




::: TALES OF THE WORLD OF VISIONS :::




Tale 8 - What lurks on the hills



Itha weightlilacs was the princess of the Sheen of Lashes. Avecovema the great natural force that permeates the World of Visions had entrusted her with the duty of helping her elven kin prosper in the north-eastern lands. Itha was proud of her people, they explored their world, taming dangerous beast and learning to stablish a thriving civilization in complete harmony with nature. The young world was full of monsters that threaten their way of life so Itha became adept at the art of battle to protect her people while at the same time help maintain the balance of the natural world.

Her connection with Avecovema was so deep that she breathed at unison with the earth and all her graceful movements were one and the same with the winds and the rivers, so when she first set foot on Lemakifino she felt within the essence of her being that this was where their capital should be erected. And she knew then, that her destiny was tied to this thick, dark forest, thus, Hillstyle was born in the middle of the Uncertain Forest.

As the firsts of their kind Itha and her people sought to explore as far and wide as they could, so they learned much about the young world and their place in it.

Itha led many explorative parties and it was in one of those excursions that she experienced a sensation that would mark the start of a great source of anxiety for her. Despite having dealt with many dangers in this untamed world, even after engaging in battle with the dusk ogress Oce Shademurk who’s glowing yellow eyes burned in her mind the memory of feeling savage fear and incontrollable rage; Itha was not prepared for the dread that caused every organ in her body to stop working altogether. It occurred as they ventured on a path that took them out of the Uncertain Forest and onto the southernmost parts of the Hills of Illness.

She had expected, once they came out of the foliage to be greeted by a breath-taking expanse with view to the Points of Partnering’s highest peaks. But what took her breath away was the immense sense of horror that invaded her when she laid eyes on the desolate hills, they found themselves on. No one needed to share her bond with nature to understand how bizarre the contrast between the forest and these hills appeared. Itha’s companions felt it too, although, not with the same intensity. These hills did not belong to this world, or perhaps they did but something had corrupted them to such extent that they had ceased to resemble Teyo Asada and were now the reflection of the topography from some other unfathomably disturbing existence.

Itha’s first instinct was to turn away and return to her world, but she knew that she could no longer live her life knowing that this close to her home something so unnatural persisted. They had no choice but to explore this aberrant land and learn of its origin and how much of a danger that might be, for there was no doubt that this abnormal place did hide or was itself a threat.

The elves dared forward and as they went deeper into this bleak realm, the sense of danger intensified and their surroundings became so unfamiliar that the lack of a reference to which compare this tenebrous place puzzled them to the point they lost all sense of the state of matter around them. The ground seemed to throb, and rocks seemed to flow, and the air was so thick that it was almost impossible to breathe. And the stench was so strong and so indescribable, that, had they been able to breathe with ease, their minds would be lost to a perpetual cycle of confusion and despair.

It was only Itha’s firm determination that prevented the party to dissolve in terror or disorientation. And it was her ability to keep her wit that led the elves to what must have once been a river. There, they spied a sight that in any other circumstance would have been an unwelcome one, but here, it was almost a joyous occurrence, because it was familiar enough, to bring them back to the realization that their lives in the forest retreats and their elven families where not fabrications of their mind but real memories of what awaited them if they were able to return.

What they saw was a female goblin, she stood in a shallow part of the river intensely looking about her feet before suddenly dipping her hand, in what should have been water, and in a swift move taking it back up with a fluttering fish, that resembled more the severed tentacle of some forgotten beast than an actual fish.

The elves' reaction was uncharacteristically slow, and the goblin started to run as she saw them. Itha left an arrow fly and hit the floor in front of the goblin’s path. It made the gobbling hesitate for a fraction of a moment, long enough for Penopu Velvetylaboured to jump and take her to the ground.

Olng Blackcloud laughed defiant at the elves. “I might be the one on the ground now, with you looming over me but soon the Silty Stench will make it, so it'll be me and my kind walking over your dry and discoloured bones”. Those words did not belong to an ordinary goblin and even if they had come from a superior creature, they still were unfittingly lucid, if in form not in content, when being spat out of a mouth in the same face that wore those same delirious eyes. Perplexed, the elves interrogated the creature which continued contorting in its insanity.

“Thisosothi Epahnagnod has come forth, he mightily thrusted his jealousy for the living world in the form of a spire, from under these hills to the surface and created in this way his wondrous palace. A Palace of Boils and here his infinite power established an opening between the world of what is and the abyss, and from here he will bring death and decay to all creatures and then, him and us, his followers, the Curled Wickedness, will rule over everything”.

The hideous creature continued regurgitating words of loathing and told mad stories of monumental creatures older than time itself that lived in an immaterial prison in the depths of the earth.

These beings saw how creatures of flesh began populating the surface of their world and how elves and humans and dwarves multiplied like a plague and dominated over the World of Visions and they felt jealousy and revulsion and hate, and these feelings increased their power. Their power increased such that their prison was unable to contain it completely so some of it filtered into the living world and it consumed and twisted the flesh and blood of living beasts, thus creating ghouls and other night creatures. And that connection with the living world has given those ancient monsters a way of resurfacing and lay waste to any that opposes them.

But the time and conditions must be suitable for that to occur, and they need help from inhabitants of the surface to be able to come forth. So, these demons had told the early goblins how to perform repugnant ceremonies that they ought to complete when the time was right. Now was that time.

The pitiful goblin, with an otherworldly grin in its face, told the stunned elves that, Ijat Hobbledslunk, the colossal Thisosothi Epahnagnod had already trespassed into the living realm and infected it, establishing the place that he may use as a portal and called it Kosoth Stalkob the Palace of Boils which will soon become the centre of his dominion: Otdaamxu, Findseduced. That was the name of the place they were standing on right now.

The legendary slab Ustospon the Incidental Gutter had been found and brought to Ersimete, Helmwebbed the vault of Findseduced. Everything was ready and there was no possible way of stopping Ijat’s advent.

Sanera, the oldest and most loyal elf in the party, could not bear listening to Olng’s frenzied jabbering any longer and prepared his bow to execute her on the spot but Itha stopped him. The crazy speech of the pathetic creature was certainly the result of some feverish hallucination that had shattered its mind, but no goblin should be able to mutter anything with that level of sophistication, and the strange feeling of the place around them, too, warranted further investigation.

Sanera and the others agreed so they demanded that Olng take them to her lair. Most of them expected to find a few more of these filthy creatures, they would kill them and free the world of their immorality before returning triumphantly; but not Itha. She had felt, not long ago, a change in the fabric of nature, she had much to learn still and did not understand its significance. As time passed, she got used to the strange presence and soon was able to ignore it but now it made perfect sense. She had felt the familiarity of those vibrations when they stepped into Findseduced and now she knew why, and they no longer seemed harmless.

They moved swiftly through the sterile hills no longer stunned by its strangeness thanks to their newly found purpose. The dark clouds in the not so distant sky in front of them had a ghastly purplish iridescence and seemed to converge in a single point forming a spinning ring of nauseating patterns. Darkness increasingly surrounded them as they approached and directly below the gruesome heavens they were confronted with a terrible sight.

Nor Itha, with all her empathic qualities nor old and wise Sanera were able, once they had returned to their forest, to describe to their kin what they saw from that moment on. There are no words to express those grisly visions or those appalling sounds; for there was no reasonable likelihood of those things they saw and heard to have ever existed in the world, and that smell, for the love of Avecovema, that smell.
They saw a towering twisted megalith made of palpitating rock amalgamated with what seemed to be pus oozing, organic matter. The eerie clouds were congregating around its sharp peak.  Below, the ground heaved with the naked bodies of goblins and trolls that chanted incomprehensible words in a sickening orgy of flesh. Olng gasped at the sight of the megalith, “Kosoth Stalkob! and that chant… those are the words engraved on Ustospon… It has begun”. She wriggled trying in vain to make an escape, presumably overwhelmed by the desire to join her lowly kin. This helped the elves come out of the stupor induced by the hypnotic, ethereal visions before them.

Old Sanera, his fair wife Rayali and daring Penopu loaded their bows before Itha could react and let fly almost at unison their swift arrows, each piercing a goblin. But not the goblins that had been hit nor any of their companions, even flinched or stopped their sordid dance for at that precise moment a sickly blueish light engulfed them in a shimmering shower that encompassed the monolith.
It came from the ring of eldritch clouds as the frantic creatures below chanted in accord “Dothrem, Dothrem, Dothrem”. But something else joined them, first imperceptibly but increasingly apparent. It was a voice that no throat from anything alive could have produced. It could have not come from the goblins and trolls alone since it ended up creating a hellish cacophony so loud that the elves had to cover their ears. This was when Olng made her move and run down to join the horrible ceremony, screaming “Dothrem, Dothrem”.

The terrible light had reached blinding intensity but started to dwindle revealing once again the nightmarish megalith and above its tip, Itha saw a figure. It was a naked human female. The tip of her feet barely touching the structure, she stood erect with her arms to her sides and her eyes closed. Then she opened her terrible eyes and their hideous light seemed to penetrate Itha’s heart and she knew at once that this was no mortal woman. It was the dreadful goddess of nightmares and gambling. The horrendous ceremony had brought Dothrem forth from whatever vile world she inhabited, and she had gladly come to play her sickening game in the mortal world. Dothrem lifted her arms and as she did, a putrid cloud of black vapour raised from the base of the monolith.

The spire split at its centre exposing a horrifying cavern within it. Itha felt faint when she saw emerging from this opening a pair of massive teeth followed by a short snout of noxious secretions. A pair of lidless eyes appeared, and soon half of the monstrous humanoid rodent had emerged into Dothrem’s light.

Ijat the gopher demon turned its gaze towards the party of elves and Itha knew this, to be the beginning of something atrocious. She grabbed her closest companions unable to mutter any words but motioning them to flee. They did not need much encouragement as they had felt the same urgency and they all run, half forgetting from what, and not really knowing in what direction.

Itha eventually directed them back to Hillstyle, where she lost not time gathering Alatha Shoreadored, the queen and Inevi Mergedwaxes the Druid. They listened incredulous at her incoherent tale but seeing the state in which the rest of her party arrived they concluded that there might indeed be some dangerous threat in the barren Findseduced. It was decided to recall some of the warriors from the surrounding retreats to form an army and march against the goblins.

As the elves prepared to march Itha grew anxious. Late at night she would climb the sentinel trees and look south. Above the treetops she thought she saw that abhorrent glow in the distance, but none of the guards seemed able to see it. Her kin had unwavering respect for her, but her tale was too wild to be so readily believed. Even her party was no longer sure of what they had experienced once they had recovered. Sanera had grown stern and Rayali’s mind had not yet returned to her sweet self. Only young Penopu concurred with Itha in the nature of the danger the Curled Wickedness posed.

Penopu spend her days and nights scouting the south edge of the forest or on the sentinel trees; barely sleeping and constantly watching. There was talk between the elves about Penopu having lost her mind, but Itha knew that what tormented Penopu was not the same that afflicted Rayali, for what Penopu was expecting, Itha knew was coming too.

And come it did. The morning before the elven army was meant to set off, a cry of warning came in the form of a band of parrots Penopu had been training. Itha shouted commands to her warriors who quickly got ready to defend their home. She climbed the southernmost sentinel tree and watched intently. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary but soon she saw Penopu arriving riding her elk. She announced the march of the goblin army; she had laid a number of traps to slow their advance and was now asking for a few hands to return with her to ambush the enemy. Itha agreed shouting from her tree and Penopu swiftly left with five more elves ignoring druid Inevi’s weak protests.

Then they all heard it. A tremendous crashing of trees, an indescribable cacophony of destruction. And Itha saw an atrocious silhouette towering above the treetops, it moved fast towards Hillstyle brushing aside the trees in its way. And as it came closer, she saw the unmistakable shape of a gigantic gopher. It was Ijat, the vast monster of short silver fur, leading an horde of demented trolls and goblins.
Itha slid down the tree and led the defending force against their aggressors, they put down many goblins and trolls, but they had been only the vanguard and Ijat was coming right behind them, together with the main force. Itha knew that as long as the demon was standing the battle would not end in their favour. So, she sought him, jumping form branch to branch until she saw him. Then, she aimed all her arrows at his bulging body. But Ijat parried them away with ease and then charged at her.

When there was not enough distance between them to use her arrows, Itha threw her bow and seized her short sword, and with tremendous speed she run around the monster and using one of the broken trees as a platform she jumped swinging her sword and aiming at his head. For a fraction of time their eyes met and Itha thought she saw a smirk in those terrible mandibles of his, but before her sword had completed its intended arc, Ijat grabbed Itha by her neck, and her weapon flung aimlessly into the trees. The devilish fiend then brought Itha up to its mouth. He bit her once with those terrifying front teeth and threw what remained of her to the ground. The rest of Hillstyle fell shortly after.

The vile force of darkness had left no one behind, except for Penopu, who had attempted to ambush the demon but only managed to kill a handful of goblins before Ijat swung a terrible arm at her destroying the right side of her face and sending her, flying several meters away. She woke up hours after the obliteration of her home and having no other choice she made her way to Skinnywaters; where she received the title of acolyte of the Sheen of Lashes.

She led many assaults and defended many forest retreats against the Curled Wickedness in the constant war that had started that faithful day in Hillstyle. But never again had the misfortune of encountering that dreadful fiend Ijat again; but knew of his terrible devastating attacks on other sites. Penopu died seven years later when Osluk Aeoranges, the yeti, devoured her.

War between the Sheen of Lashes and the Curled Wickedness carries on to this day, more than 250 years later. Ijat continues gathering more and more strength with each battle. He now controls the north eastern territory: The Uncertain Forest and the Hills of Illness. The elves fought the dark army bravery and sometimes even managed to reclaim, however briefly, some of their lost sites including Hilstyle but ultimately were forced to retreat east to the Fields of Soaking where they are still being assailed. Word of a new hope has spread amongst them; they say the dwarves are coming from the west to deal with Ijat and his hordes; but very few believe such nonsense, as who on Teyo Asada has ever heard of dwarves aiding elves?


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« Last Edit: April 26, 2019, 09:20:00 am by GeekyBoof »
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GeekyBoof

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Re: "The World of Visions" : A series of inevitable events
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2019, 12:09:37 pm »

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GeekyBoof

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Re: "The World of Visions" : A series of inevitable events
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2019, 12:10:49 pm »

I tried my hand at digital art and had a blast I think I might do more, maybe for this series.
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janxious

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Re: "The World of Visions" : A series of inevitable events
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2019, 09:46:07 am »

PTW!

Loving this story, and the art is looking really solid. Keep it up!

My only criticism is you should add another new line between paragraphs to make the big blocks easier to read.
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so many orthoclase blocks

GeekyBoof

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Re: "The World of Visions" : A series of inevitable events
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2019, 09:22:15 am »

PTW!

Loving this story, and the art is looking really solid. Keep it up!

Thank you very much I am glad you enjoyed it and I really appreciate the encouragement.

My only criticism is you should add another new line between paragraphs to make the big blocks easier to read.

You are right I should have done that in the first place. I have done it now.
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GeekyBoof

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Re: "The World of Visions" : A series of inevitable events
« Reply #20 on: June 18, 2019, 05:58:18 pm »




::: TALES OF THE WORLD OF VISIONS :::




Tale 9 - Obok Tunneltheaters’ Journal




251- Early Spring

Rovod insisted I continue this stupid journal, “you gotta cover your ass in case everything goes tits up” he says. Well, I don’t see how a journal would help in that case but at least it means I have an excuse to lock myself in my office and no one bothers me for a while. It also means it’ll do nicely as a report to our queen if I see myself forced to give one.

Our initial party have more or less, resigned their fate to the, practically arbitrary, roles they have been given. I am satisfied with cooking and brewing and everyone seems happy to let me do it.
Mosus Mobbell is our doctor. She builds our mechanisms and is our architect. I don’t know how she does it but she always seems very cheerful.

Edem Sainturns is our chief miner. He seems to enjoy being on his own in the mines which makes everyone happy too. Mosus says Edem is prove that I am not, all that bad tempered. She has a way of getting away with saying things like that.

Nil Vaultpoint oversees the farms but luckily for all of us I was able to assign him some help; specially Kubuk who arrived no long ago is particularly useful.

Rovod Sizzledcopper wishes he had more materials to work on his carpentry, but I think he has done a good job with what we have been able to gather. He’s always giving me advice I don’t want to follow but when I do, my face doesn’t fall off, so guess I am lucky to have him.

Vabok Allypage has not done any armouring yet but is a more than competent miner. She is as stubborn as ever and her fervent worship of Sod, gets on my nerves. She is a constant reminder that I need to start building a temple.

Zasit Snarlingvessels is the busiest of us all as he is our most skilled mason, and rocks are the only thing we have in more abundance than problems. I also made him the Militia Commander. He wasn’t happy but it was an emergency and he is the most disciplined of all of us, and apart from Vabok, is also the strongest.

Last autumn Vucar Wallmob arrived and I made her a Militia Captain freeing Zasit to dedicate more time to his masonry. Zasit will remain the commander though it won’t do giving that place to a newer migrant even if she is more experienced than him.

Twenty-seven more dwarves arrived this week, its good, we need the hands, but it means more of them complaining to me about not having mugs, how they are sleeping in the floor, why aren’t there enough chairs. For Armok’s sake, I cannot even say: do you want a chair? make your damned chair, because, we have as much wood as I have leadership skills.

There were even two legendary woodcrafters in that lot, Ha! They can join Leteng Dreamedcheerful and cheerfully dream of crafting legendary wood items while they haul the ordinary rock ones. Although to be fair Kib Crazeink’s who arrived with them has created some masterful rock crafts.

As if having insufficient wood and a too many moaning dwarves was not enough, monster hunters keep coming too. There are petitions almost every day, I turn down every single one, but they won’t stop. I think there have been more monster hunters through our gates than migrants, they eat as much and drink even more but do none of the work.

We founded Rockstokade, supposedly in secret, to spy on the goblins of Findseduced, but we haven’t even settled in yet and the whole world seems to know we are here. I doubt the goblins will be unaware of us for long; that really messes things up even if all they wanted then, was to come to test our food and sleep in the comfort of our floors. But right now I have more pressing concerns (famous last words?).

The caverns are a crazy maze, and no one wants to go there since Kib's young husband nearly got eaten by a giant toad a few months back; Oh! The thought of a revolting toad and on top of that a giant.

The poor Mosus Guildtool is forever crippled so I assigned him to Mosus Mobbell to help at the mechanic workshop. The dwarves get confused with their name so they started calling him Toadmeal instead. I think he secretly likes it.

The monster hunters are useless in the caverns as they just go in there, poke at the beasts, and come back crying for protection. Zasit and his squad had a bit of a hard time with a giant bat trying to rescue one of those idiots and later one of them got lost there and almost starved to death.

The underground forest we had planned as a solution for our wood needs is going to take a very long time before it makes any difference. We are digging three very deep shafts and plan to have water from the river to form three waterfalls that will irrigate a large chamber at the bottom, where the trees will grow.

At first it seemed like a great idea, and I have to admit that the plan of having the waterfalls fall around the trade depot and then through grates on the tree farm level down to the dining hall and continue down to the living quarters below; would make an impressive sight. But now I think that the dwarfpower would have been better used to make the caverns safe for the tree cutters.

251 Mid Spring

More and more visitors arrive. We were forced to build an inn to prevent them from sleeping all over the place. They don’t seem to care that I turn them down, they just remain.

Food is more and more scarce we are exclusively importing unprepared food and wood and exporting prepared food and Kib’s rock crafts.

I am completely fed up being the leader. People complain more than they work and I never thought wood was this important for a fortress.  I never asked to be on this mission, let alone to lead it. Armok knows what was on Queen Shem’s mind when she chose me. I am seriously thinking of throwing it all and go find myself a family and a quiet life in a hillock or some place.

251 Late Spring

I knew that all those damn visitors would bring trouble, but I never expected such disaster. Is the world really this dangerous? We are so fragile, one minute we think our lives could do with less problems and in an instant the world turns into a tragic nightmare.

A female werelizard sneaked into Rockstockade and caused maihem. With so many strange faces coming in and out of the gates, It was only spotted once it was two levels deep inside. It was Meng Wheelwaves who first discovered it for what it was, and she wrestled it for a long time. I am amazed that she managed to survive, really, that monster was something else.

Zasit Snarlingvessels and his squad came to her aid, other passers-by joined the fight and for once all those monster hunters where of some use. However, I would have thought they’d have more skill; a farmer like Meng was better at containing the beast.

Urvad, a recent migrant died in the fight, the werelizard tore her neck apart, she was Sodel Wilfulmines’ wife, and the poor bastard saw it all. their child had been kidnaped by Findseduced and they had come here in the hope we help them get him back. Now he’s lost his wife too and we are nowhere closer to be ready for a fight with the goblins.

The werelizard bit, tore and slashed at everyone for what seemed an eternity. There was blood everywhere. I managed to get a few hits on the monster’s head, but I do not think it even felt it. Luckily, I remained uninjured.

Finally, Vabok Alleypage beheaded the thing with her pick. She has been mining for us from the beginning and has become very strong. I should consider her for our military but will have to see how fast she recovers from this trauma; she is pretty distraught right now.

I did my best to gather the injured up, you need to be very careful in these situations, you can’t have anyone infected roaming around but have to be very tactful too. Ahdo Arisen took charge of this, she arrived in early spring and somehow, she seems to have a hand on everything that happens here. I don’t feel comfortable around her. There is something off with this dwarf, why does she have a human name? and why would a famous scholar settle in a please this remote?

Anyway, I am glad she helped this time. Ahdo locked them in the tavern as most of the injured were visitors already staying there. They all claim to not have been bitten and thus far, it seems that’s the case, but they are all scared and paranoid.

Someone renamed the tavern “The Walled Lizard” and everyone is using that name now. I suspect Ahdo had something to do with that to lighten folk’s hearts at least a little.

Once we went out to the surface again, we discovered the bodies of two visitors obviously slain by the werelizard. One of them was Athel Claspcrimson, Meng’s son.

Meng had already been attacked by that toad a few months ago, then is the first to fend this monster and now discovers it had killed the son she had been expecting for days. I have to give her credit; she has taken her situation with true grit. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about her husband Tekkud or half of the fortress for that matter.

251 Early Summer

Luckily, none of those locked up at “The Walled Lizard” turned into monsters so we could let them out and everyone is now back to work. If we had to kill any of the wounded, I am sure we would lose more than those lives as everyone is on edge and something like that would send everyone too close to madness, I am sure.

I have assigned a miner to dig down in search of magma as it’d be good to start working on magma forges and fitting our military. the rest are working at the great shafts for the waterfalls. We have wells in the levels above and pumps are ready to start the waterfalls once the chutes are ready. We are also pumping water from the cavern into a cistern so we can have wells at that level.

We have a good hospital mostly well fitted and farms are yielding a good number of crops. Barracks and bedrooms are decent now and we finally seem to have enough damn mugs. Things might start looking up now, at least I am receiving fewer complains. It is good being screamed at, only once or twice a day.

Something happened yesterday that has given a boost to my morale.

Kib gave birth to the first baby born in Rockstockade: Mistem Claspedransack; we call him “First”. She had started labour in her workshop while creating a masterful rock figurine, Mosus Toadmeal was told and he limped all the way from the cavern level, where he was installing a mechanism, to see his wife and help deliver his son, but when he opened the workshop door she was holding the baby with one hand and the finished figurine in the other. Kib just keeps working as tirelessly as ever but Mosus is intoxicated with joy and seem to even limp less today.

A lot of our citizens seem to care little, but I think secretly Mistem’s birth has given them hope for the future of the fortress. Family is the true bond that keeps society thriving.





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GeekyBoof

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Re: "The World of Visions" : A series of inevitable events
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2019, 12:32:54 pm »




::: TALES OF THE WORLD OF VISIONS :::




Tale 10 - Vucar and Ahdo - Part 1






Vucar Wallmob lifted her mace with both hands over her head and brought it down with all her strength. Obok Gatetaxed, who had been trying to stand from a humiliating kneeling position, brought up his mace to meet hers.

She had expected it. In fact, she hoped he did. Had he failed to block her blow; he would be wearing his head between his legs.

When copper and bronze met, there was a clank so loud that every other dwarf in the barracks stopped pretending to be training and looked in Vucar’s direction. Some with actual curiosity and some with open mouths, blank eyes, and empty heads.

Only Meng Wheelwaves continued skilfully waving her hammer at an alarmed Stakud Syrupcraze who could not help but close her eyes and hold her baby, Alath Brownrelic, up as a shield. Alath of course didn’t flinch. She was three months old and had participated in more battles than most dwarves do in their life. mostly as a shield.

Vucar was proud of Meng, they had met in their way to settle in Rockstockade and had become good friends. She had saved Meng once from a giant toad and together fought the monster. That had awakened something in Meng and soon she had become one of the most disciplined and skilled warriors in the fortress.

Vucar looked at Obok’s eyes and saw they were full of fear and instantly regretted having been so unforgiving. Frustration had grown in her since the giant toad attack.

Disaster was always expected on the life of a dwarf, but sometimes it piled up and Vucar wondered if she was able to handle it.

After the murderous toad, came Likot, the werelizard. She attacked the fortress at a vulnerable time. Monster hunters were arriving every day, so citizens had a false sense of security and the gates were wide open.

However, these monster unters only had their eyes and yearning in the caverns, and since these were locked, they spend every hour getting drunk in the inn. That is why Meng was forced to contain the beast on her own, until more help arrived.

Meng was never the same again, Likot had killed her long absent son, who had the misfortune of arriving on the same day as the monster and being a bit dim, he was easy pray.

For Vucar that day was also deeply traumatic. At first adrenaline had kicked in and she lost herself in a martial trance that only faded, once Vabok Alleypage had struck down Likot. But when the trance had worn out, she was left exhausted and she staggered to some corner and slept in the cold floor. She had lacked a bed for so long that she forgot she already had one.

When she woke up, she noticed that anxiety had taken hold of her heart. It was different to the annoyance at having unmet needs or the frustration when experiencing some of her fellow dwarves’ ineptitude. Those were only, the common afflictions of a fortress dwarf.

Instead this apprehension grew slowly like ivy climbing a wall. It was only after moments like this, when she forgot herself and let rage burst out, that she noticed that it was there.  As if she had turned to look at the Ivy and seen that the vine had grown to the point of crumbling down the wall.

At least she had not crumbled herself, like Meng’s husband Tekkud did. He chose to let himself die of thirst instead of facing the fact that this dangerous world had claimed his son and driven his wife to become a warrior.

Vucar took a long breath and stole a glance at the sky, the surface was a few levels above the barracks, but someone had had the bright idea of leaving the training room open to the elements to get the warriors accustomed to the sunlight. All it seemed to accomplish however was to add to her irritation and make them less keen on training.

“Get up” she snapped at Obok, she shouldn’t take it all out on him, he didn’t deserve it. “If you had separated your legs further you wouldn’t have fallen”; she ignored the stares of the rest of the squad, “but that was a good block”.

Obok was a decent warrior. He had slayed Lun Dashdiamonds, a well feared cyclops that roamed the Points of Partnering. Most people thought he had been lucky but Vucar had seen him repeatedly hitting the cyclops’ head with his mace with such determination that she realized he could achieve anything if he had the right incentive; namely not being mangled beyond recognition.

Vucar extended her hand and Obok reflexively took it and stood up with her help. The rest of the squad was still looking at her as if waiting for her to say something. people often looked at her that way, and, more often than not, she had something to say. But not this time, it was her anxiety getting the best of her that had attracted attention towards her.

She felt embarrassed, but she was not about to apologise; not that any of them would ever expect that. She thought this was the perfect moment for someone to storm into the room with some revealing news….

Nobody did.

Vucar thought of ordering everyone back to training and to stop staring at her but she hesitated because she knew Edem Sainturns didn’t like it when she exerted her authority over the squad he commanded.

Suddenly Mestthos Feedpaint her nephew stormed into the room with some revealing news.

Phew!

Mestthos announced with an unnecessary loud voice. “It’s time lets go to the grand hall”

“Time for what?” she answered, still with an edge to her voice, Mestthos was her nephew but also nearly 20 years her senior. However, he did not match her in will power or charisma. “We are training right now”. She waved a dismissive hand but then realized what he must be referring to.

Vucar looked at Edem and he announced the end of the training session and instructed everyone to go to the Grand Hall. Colour came back to Mestthos’ face. He proceeded to sheepishly give way to Vucar and the rest into the corridor out of the barracks.

They walked through the rough mud stone corridors towards the central staircase. The great hall had been built 16 levels below the surface at the receiving end of three shafts that soon would serve as three great waterfalls. The barracks was four levels below the surface, so they only had to climb down 11 floors, which for a fort like Rockstockade is insignificant, compared to the magma forges which where 2 days of stairs away.

They heard the clamour of axe against log and chisel against rock as they descended past three levels of workshops. The dwarves of Rockstockade where industrious; but more than that they were pointlessly ambitious. The workshop area held room for 5 carpentries, 5 Masonries and 10 crafts workshops. Of all these only 7 had been built and only 5 had had any use.

Vucar couldn’t help but feel proud of the fort she belonged to every time she saw Sodel Wilfulmines’ woodwork, Tosid Sacklobsters’ stonework and Kib Crazeink’s crafts and she found Fikod Enteredmines’ cut gems amazing.

She had achieved her dream of having a family the day her son Tirist Glazeddrills had been born and now she really wanted to master a craft. She knew however, that would be very unlikely due to her position.

As they came closer to the Grand Hall, they could feel the unmistakable scent of mud. The fort had started to prepare the ground above the Hall to plant an underground forest. They expected it to supply the fort with wood, but it had taken so long to construct that they had relied on trade and by that point the fort was less dependent on the material.

Nevertheless, the waterfalls where a great feat of engineering and soon the hall that was already magnificent would have three steam generators that would take any visitor’s breath away. Sometimes literally.

They passed the Hall of Pillars, a long room that had been carved leaving innumerable marble pillars in order to carve on them the history of Rockstockade as it happened.

Vucar touched the pillars that told the story of the werelizards. She recognised the image of Likot initiating the ordeal and then the image of Sarvesh, a visitor who had run away after Likot bit him. He had returned carrying an artefact cabinet, strangely enough, and then preceded to devour a baby and killing everyone else who crossed his path.

That attack was the most devastating event that had occurred in the fort and one that had added greatly to her misery. Not even the time the goblins from Findseduced lay siege, and killed Sibrek’s 82 trainee wardogs, had caused nearly as much damage. That time everyone had been able to lock themselves in the fortress safely, but when Sarvesh came he was unopposed until he was deep in the fort.

The etching in the pillar portrayed Zasit Snarlingvessels, forgetting his usual nervousness and striking down Sarvesh. With uncharacteristic savagery he smashed the monster’s head avenging the brutal death of his wife Shem. Zasit then fell to the ground and bled to death on the floor, leaving six orphans in the fort.

Fatalsavior the Malicious Galls, the artefact cabinet had been installed next to the pillar. No one understood its significance and probably no one ever would but it remained there as a monument in memory of the fallen. Vucar stroked the surface of the cabinet while reminiscing.

Three years back, Ahdo Arisen had come from Trailedbelts the human city where she grew up. Dwarves tend to be slow in trusting humans and even slower to like dwarves raised in human societies, so Vucar looked at Ahdo with suspicion.

The rest of the fortress quickly grew out of their apprehension towards Ahdo and soon they started to look up to her. This increased Vucar’s doubts; it felt unnatural to her how fast Ahdo had won the hearts of the entire fortress. The truth was that even Vucar was touched by Ahdo’s gentle but firm manner and humorous but stirring words. Even the loving way she treated her family was worthy of admiration.

Iton Squidgirders, Ahdo’s husband had arrived with her. She was pregnant at the time and soon gave birth to Amost Showerink. They seemed really happy together.

Ahdo was a scholar and poet not short of talent but she also became interested in the administration of the fortress and was always involved in every important decision. Perhaps that is why everyone felt compelled to elect her as mayor.

Obok Tunneltheaters, the expedition leader had also been suspicions of the strange dwarf but he was extremely happy to be relieved of his post and thus opted to ignore his scepticism. Ahdo had diligently taken over the leadership but Vucar continued to keep an eye on her and soon noticed that something in Ahdo’s past bothered her, as she would go to great lengths to avoid talking about it.

After Sarvesh had been put down. Ahdo quickly made arrangements for the damage to be repaired, for the dead to be buried and properly memorialised and for the wounded to be rounded up and locked in a room. That was necessary because if any of them had been infected they could turn into lizard-like monsters and go on a rampage of their own.

Ahdo had also fought Sarvesh and been wounded. So, to set an example she went into the room that had been selected for this purpose and locked herself. However, no one followed because they had been injured so badly that they could not stand up. Ahdo behind the locked door gave instructions for the dwarves to be gathered in a makeshift hospital in an attempt to contain the threat.

It was too late, three of the injured dwarves turned into bloodthirsty werelizards. A great battle started, dwarves from all corners of the fortress came to eliminate the threat, including the outpost liaison and his bodyguards. All the while crazed Ahdo roared and scratched her prison door. Eight dwarves died and six were wounded that day.

After the fight the fort was in a terrible state. Their inhabitants had been forced to fight and kill their own friends and family and their beloved leader was powerless.

After that tragedy, Vucar and Meng decided that it should be the last.

With the help of the reluctant military they gathered the wounded and forced them into the room with Ahdo, who then only stood up in the middle of the room. Not being able to utter a word. A small part of her was relieved that finally someone had come to keep her company but mostly she was heart broken at how many of her friends had been cursed.

After the newly imprisoned dwarves’ imploring pleads turned into vicious threats, and into desperate pleads again, they remained silent, exhausted, resigned. 

The day of the next moon; Ahdo, who had experienced the transformation more times than she thought she would be able to endure, stood in a corner of the room with her back against the wall and closed her eyes.

To be continued...

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« Last Edit: September 27, 2019, 04:39:15 pm by GeekyBoof »
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GeekyBoof

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Re: "The World of Visions" : A series of inevitable events
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2019, 05:17:41 pm »




::: TALES OF THE WORLD OF VISIONS :::




Tale 10 - Vucar and Ahdo - Part 2




The day of the next moon; Ahdo stood in a corner of the room and closed her eyes. She did not see when her companions teared each other’s flesh.
But she did hear the cracking bones and felt the scent of blood. She made an extreme effort to resist the urge of feeding. The sound died out and Ahdo opened her eyes. only Sibrek Lancekey remained. He fed greedily from a grotesque heap of bodies. She jumped at him, bit his head and ripped it off.

when she came back to her senses she listened through the door. She was looking for signs of trouble in the fort. It was only the next day, that she heard a child talking to himself in the adjacent room.

She called out to him and asked for news. There had been no werelizard transformations outside her room. It meant she was the only infected dwarf remaining in the fort and she felt immense relief.

She needed to act fast, nevertheless.

It took a while for little Vucar Guardedpaints to be more forthcoming with Ahdo. His mother, Udil, had been killed by Sarvesh in front of him. Her body had been left where it fell. Little Vucar remained next to it.

The fort was left in great disarray after Sarvesh attack and soon after that there had been a goblin siege.

Two trolls and a few goblins climbed the wall and fell into the open-air farms a few levels below. Despite being hurt from the fall, they slaughtered all five farmers, broke into the fort, and killed two more peasants in a messy battle with the military.

This meant that Udil’s body was allowed to decompose where it lay and Vucar did not move away from it. The experience made him angry, but he still came back to that room every day even after his mother bones were removed.

Ahdo convinced him to ask his namesake, Vucar Wallmob, to come to see her. He did, but it took him several days to find her, and Vucar, took a few more to come.

Ahdo felt affection for Vucar despite her obvious apprehension towards her. But Ahdo appreciated Vucar’s leadership skills, dedication to the fort and courage. And she didn’t mind that she seemed in a foul mood all the time.

When she locked herself up, Ahdo knew she could not maintain her position of mayor from the confines of that room but until the fort had found a suitable replacement she had to do her best and the only one brave enough to come to talk to her and with sufficient authority to relay her instructions was Vucar Wallmob. And for a time, she did, but it had been a long time since she last came to talk to her.

When she came Vucar didn’t talk. Ahdo could feel her presence at the other side of the door.

I know it is hard for you to trust me” Ahdo started. “I am a monster and what little good remains in me is fading quickly” Ahdo sat in the floor with her back resting on the door.

“I did good while I could, didn’t I?” there was a long pause “I never expected to have been elected as mayor, but I was, and I tried my best to help Rockstokade, I wanted it to be a home to my little Amos and the rest of us. I wanted to Improve everyone’s lives and I did good while I could, didn’t I?”

Vucar remained silent.

“I know you never trusted me; but you still helped me. I want to know that it wasn’t just because I was the elected mayor but because you thought I was making good decisions. Because you saw that I was really helping the fort. I had never tried to help people before I came here. My life is over, but I need to know that I did good even for a short time. Please, did I do good?

Vucar paced around and after a while sat on the floor with her back against the door. “yes” she said.

Ahdo sighted in relief “Thank you” Ahdo had prepared a speech in order to achieve what she wanted but when it was time to deliver it, she had forgotten it completely. “I need to ask you something, but I need you to trust me. You have always regarded me with suspicion, and you are right. I am not who I say I am”.
Ahdo continued. “My name is not Ahdo Aricen and I didn’t grow up on a human town” at this point Vucar stood up and Ahdo, louder and with more urgency in her voice, said “I want to tell you the whole truth, I know that what I am saying proves I am a liar but I believe that you deserve the truth and only when you know it all you will be able to trust me”.

Vucar didn’t seem to have stormed out so Ahdo continued “My real name is Cerol Spiraledlabor. I grew up in Hailclasped, a Last Gates hillock on the northwest. I never met my parents, so the town took care of me.

When I was of age, I was tasked with spying on Curledwhip. As you know, tension exists between the Last Gates, and the dwarves of the Influential Torch.

So the first thing I did was I marrying Iton and move to his hometown Borderconfuce. At first I just wanted to get closer to his father Zan who had been spying on Curledwhip for many years… but…”

Ahdo had to stop and swallow the pain that was crawling up her throat. “He grew on me. He was such a simple dwarf. I loved him. I longed to be like him.” she paused again and felt Vucar sitting back on the floor and reclining against the door.

Her whole life Ahdo had been able to talk people into believing anything. It felt very strange that this time she was convincing someone of the truth.

“For 23 years I pretended to be the poet Ducim Ricevessel at Curledwhip then I was sent to Lanceslotched a human town of the Realm of Crystals. That is when I became Ahdo Aricen. I pretended to be a scholar from their civilization. 20 years later moved to Trailedbelts where I continued being Ahdo for another 19 years”.

“Do you have any idea what it is to pretend to be someone else for more than 60 years of your life? Everything I said was a lie, every friend I made I betrayed, even marrying my husband had been a tactical move and I lied to him about my travels to those other towns. I could not do it anymore. When I became pregnant with Amos, I had to get away from it all. That is why we moved here”.

Vucar couldn’t help but feeling very sorry for Ahdo. Amos had died in Sarvesh attack. Ahdo fought furiously that day but there was nothing she could do, and all she got from it was being cursed. Iton had also died no long after. He had been mining the last of the waterfall shafts and there was a cave in. Many thought it had been on purpose and his way of dealing with his son’s death and his wife being cursed. Ahdo suspected as much.

After a pause Vucar said “I am very sorry Ahdo... erm, Cerol, Rockstockade turned out to be…”

“No” snaped Ahdo “Rockstockade can be the greatest fort our civilization has ever seen. What happened wasn’t because of Rockstockade. Werebeasts are a danger anywhere and the goblin sieges are the risk that fortresses take in order to become great”. Ahdo sighed and continued in a milder tone “And please, keep calling me Ahdo Stillsaved Aricen. I have never really been Cerol and I am responsible for my past. I do not get to change my name and pretend to be someone else anymore”.

Vucar allowed herself to feel admiration for Ahdo and soon felt regret and pity again. Ahdo continued “That is the truth Vucar, I feel a lot lighter now and I thank you for listening. But I must ask you one thing” Ahdo waited for Vucar’s consent.

“Go ahead” Vucar said.

“I am a terrible danger to the fortress”. Ahdo continued. “The fortress is finally clean of the beast’s curse and I am the last that remains of it. I should stay locked for the rest of my life and I am OK with that. I knew that was my fate the day I willingly walked in here”.

Ahdo paused. She knew that once she asked what she needed of Vucar this conversation had a huge chance of ending with her begging and Vucar leaving to never return.

“I am pregnant” Ahdo finally said. Vucar immediately understood the implications of this. “take my child when the time comes please, before I turn into a monster” Ahdo had to stop, upset at the thought.

“I… I don’t know” said Vucar. “I cannot expose the fortress to the curse again”. Vucar believed in order and exceptions to the rules caused disorder. In addition, she would not be able to bear being responsible for more death.

As Ahdo feared she had to beg. She even had to make a great effort not to get angry. She could not damage the trust that she had stablished between them. In the end, Vucar promised to think about it and consult the other leaders. There was Edem the militia commander, Iden the militia captain and Obok the original expedition leader that still had some influence.

Ahdo knew that no one commanded more authority that Vucar, but Vucar would never admit to it. She would follow the orders of her lessers just because they held higher positions. Ahdo regretted not having made Vucar the militia commander when she had the chance.

Vucar left Ahdo and spend the rest of the day thinking about it. And her conclusion was that if it was up to her, she would not do it. Edem avoided giving a straight answer and Obok without hesitation decided against it. Only Iden was in favour of helping Ahdo. Vucar hands were tied the majority had spoken.

Vucar thought of talking to Ahdo and tell her, but she found herself always busy. In the surface, dwarves are very fussy and have their own bizarre peculiarities but deep down, they operate like a collective mind. So, it was very easy for Vucar to forget about Ahdo and lose herself in the work of the fortress.

Ahdo had endured the rotting bodies of her friends in her narrow room. She had endured hunger and thirst for a very long time and when it was evident that Vucar would never return, she knew that she would have to endure one more nightmare. She wished she was dead, but she could not bring herself to end it all.
Soon after, Ast was born, she held him close remembering Amos and Iton and imagining the four of them having a lavish meal in the great hall. Then the change came.

That had all been nearly 3 years back and only then Vucar remembered as she passed the Hall of Pillars. “Too late now” she told herself and did not feel regret. But not because she was cruel. It was the world that was cruel, and this was how dwarves survived it. Ahdo knew that too.

Vucar entered the Great Hall followed by the squad, her nephew Mestthos and then Edem. Being last annoyed him but he pretended to have taken that place on purpose.

In the hall almost everyone was gathered and as soon as they entered Obok, who seemed exasperated for having to wait, announced in a flat voice. “According to the Last Gates’ tradition, most of you have elected to change the person holding the title of Mayor. So, with my power as expedition leader of the Hammer of Judging, founders of Idkikrost  Rockstockade, I hereby strip Ahdo Aricen, absent due to the werelizard curse, of her title and give it to Ducim Chainedglazes”.

There was a cheer from most of those present, and Ducim stepped forward to join Obok. Vucar had liked Ducim since she arrived from Smithelder, the capital. She was a famous scholar and had written many books about the geography of economy and trade but Vucar who seldom read, only cared for her friendly manner and her dedication to Rockstockade.

Ducim was about to start a speech when screams where heard. “A vile force of darkness has arrived” they urgently repeated. Vucar run out of the great hall without hesitation. She heard Ducim scream “Close the gates” and someone else answering “they are all closed but for the north gate” and other voice said “They have taken the north gate it’s too late”.

Before reaching the surface Vucar stumbled upon a troll. She paused to take a breath and the troll swung its club at her. She dodged, spun and using the momentum she crashed the troll’s skull with her mace. She heard the rest of the squad coming behind her and went up one more flight of stairs.

She saw how a few monster hunters were being overwhelmed by three trolls and at least half a dozen goblins. She called out at them and those enemies that were not in direct combat went to her shouting in their foul tongue. Edem and the rest of the Hammers arrived behind her and a frenzied battle ensued.

More goblins streamed down and soon had overwhelmed the squad, even though, the Toad Vomits led by Iden Steamydye had arrived and had started shooting their bolts at them, from the other end of the corridor.

Vucar stepped back to catch her breath after striking down another goblin. Ingish Touchhall and Meng filled the space she left and carried on fighting.

Vucar had a sudden thought and run down the corridor away from the battle. If her squad mates didn’t know better, they would have thought that she was fleeing.

Vucar soon reached the door to Ahdo’s room. She opened it. Ahdo was sitting in a corner holding the bones of Ast Diamondstandard the son that only lived a few hours. His ghost was floating above her head.

Vucar was momentarily surprised to see Ahdo’s face so distorted with madness and taken aback by the stench of death that filled the room. Ahdo looked up not quite understanding what was happening.

“The fort might fall today; you deserve an opportunity to die honourably” Vucar said. Ahdo looked at Ast’s bones and carefully placed them in the ground. Then she stood up very straight and looked at Vucar.

Vucar knew she was making a great effort to stand and guessed she must have been sitting there for a long time. Ahdo had her hammer still with her in the room. She had spent the whole of the first year locked, training. Vucar thought she looked broader and stronger than before.

Without a word Ahdo walked out of the room. Vucar followed. They went along the corridor towards the fight and pushing aside Obok, Ahdo struck the goblin he was engaged with, before it could react. Then, she moved next to a troll and hit it repeatedly until she crashed its skull against the granite floor. Two more goblins fell to her hammer and all those who fought with her, were astounded by her ferocity. That day she earned the title of The Granite Clout of Beaches.

Soon all trespassers were dead and no more came down. Scores of enemies remained outside the fort, but the gates had been closed so they posed no threat. Vucar waited, looking intently at the stairs with mace in hand, ready to strike any enemy that came down. When no one did, she looked around her and discovered that some of her people had also fallen and more were wounded.

She helped Lokum Lanceshimmered up. He had not been hurt badly so he gestured her to help others. Vukar saw him scanning the room and his face suddenly change. She also heard someone panting behind her and she turned to look. Ahdo’s taupe skin seemed to swell and undulate. Her copper eyes where blood shot and she looked at Vucar with an imploring expression.

Vucar looked back at her overwhelmed by sadness. In an instant Lokum jumped between them and struck Ahdo in the head with his hammer. Ahdo fell to the floor and closed her eyes. Vucar thought she saw a subtle smile in her face as Lokum used what remained of his strength to strike Ahdo until any sign of live had left her. And then until his anger or fear or energy had been depleted.

It took months to bury the dead after that siege and ghosts would plague Rockstockade for years but Vucar made sure, that the first slab that was placed in the crypts, was for Ahdo Stillsaved Aricen the Granite Clout of Beaches. And that it was together with those of Iton, Amos and the one that finally gave piece to the forlorn ghost of Ast.

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