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The Wending Path (Quest Thread)

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Comments

  • Give us fire! Give us ruin! Give us our glory!

    with [E].

  • All that really matters is we could be friends~☆

    , [D].

  • If you must eat a phoenix, boil it, do not roast it. This only encourages their mischievous habits.

    I just wish to point out to everyone, before I write up a post, that 'a vial of silver flakes and a silver knife covered in your own blood' does not a very intimidating weapon make.


    If you wish to go ahead anyway, then I will proceed. I do not wish to have you sabotage yourself this early in the story, however.

  • edited 2013-01-11 01:01:38
    OOOooooOoOoOOoo, I'm a ghoOooOooOOOost!

    Yeah, that's why I said we need to talk out our plan more before bursting into camp if we're going with rituals as our specialty. Evidently other people did not agree :/

  • If you must eat a phoenix, boil it, do not roast it. This only encourages their mischievous habits.

    [Two votes for B; three votes for D. The combination of B and D wins.]


    The tree is not the best place for you to prepare a ritual, but it will have to do. You withdraw a small vial of silver flakes.


    Generally, a ritualist mage will carry more equipment than you do. A board, one square foot by one square foot, that can be laid out on the mage's lap, for instance. A large square of cloth, to allow them to see their focus material easier.


    Unfortunately, you have neither time nor the necessary materials. You lack time, preparation, and advantages; you're going to have to brute-force this ritual, make it work through sheer willpower.


    You carefully sit up and turn around, so you can do your work. The area of the branch closest to the tree trunk is thick- thick enough to hopefully provide you with a large space to work with.


    Generally, when making a ritual, you want a fairly large space to work with- several square feet is usually best. The smaller the area is, the easier it is to make a mistake with your symbol, leading the ritual to go wrong.


    You start by sprinkling silver dust in a circle. Within the circle, you sprinkle dust down in a square shape, then another square, turned forty-five degrees. An eight-pointed star; your symbol.


    Every ritualist mage has a focus material they work with, and a symbol. The symbols and materials used are irrelevant; it is not the actual materials used that is important, but rather, the mage's belief that the symbols will help them to work. This is why most ritualists are taught from an early age; it is easier to get a child to believe in symbols than it is for an adult to come to believe in them.


    You close your eyes, trying to shut out the sounds around you. You focus your thoughts on your intent- I do not want to be seen. You cannot see me- and then you press your finger down within the circle.


    It does not feel like it usually does. Often, you can feel the magic like a net- constricting around your body, or around the area you cast it on. This time, it feels more like a blanket has covered you; not tight, kind of loose. A result of the improper ritual, you suspect.


    Still, it worked, to an extent. Which is good; you're not particularly good at stealth, and this notice-me-not charm should make up for your failings in that area.


    Your first action is to drop out of the tree and circle back around to where you had seen the first Fae, the guard. He has moved- circling around the perimeter, you hazard a guess. Sneaking up behind him, you reach up and cover his mouth, bringing your knife around to slice into his neck. You sever his jugular with one swipe, then carefully bring your knife up to cut his carotid arteries.


    It's grisly business, and your arms are soon dripping with the Fae's blood. You're going to have to bathe before you sleep tonight, unless you wish to sleep covered in blood.


    It takes over a minute for the Fae to bleed out.


    You creep forwards to get a good look at the clearing. There are half a dozen Fae standing near the campfire, dancing with the figure- and half a dozen Fae standing in the clearing, talking with each other and moving around, to complete the illusion for anyone trapped in there.


    You sneak around to the right, where one of the solitary Fae is walking around. Sneaking up around him, you quickly snap forwards with your knife- severing his spine. He collapses in a gurgle of blood, trying to speak up, to warn the others- but he can't vocalize properly. He soon collapses, twitching. You reach up to wipe the Fae's blood off your face.


    Sighing, you lean down and begin to drag the Fae's corpse backwards. You've been lucky so far, and nobody has noticed the disappearances.


    You are under the cover of a notice-me-not charm, but that only prevents the Fae from seeing you directly- and, with it being improperly applied, you can't trust it to hold up if the Fae grow wary. You have murdered two of the thirteen Fae already, and although the Fae have not yet noticed, you know they will soon take note and raise the alarm.


    You know you have to do something. You...


    [A] ... continue to sneak around the camp, assassinating the Fae around the perimeter. It's risky, but you'll halve the number of remaining Fae if you pull it off.
    ... retreat into the woods, pulling the corpse with you. Blood is a powerful component, and you can use the Fae's body as a stable ground for preparing a ritual. It's grisly work, but you could probably call up another ritual with it, although in the time it will take, the Fae will probably notice the disappearances.
    [C] ... retreat into the woods, hiding the corpse as you go. You may be able to find a flat surface you can prepare another ritual on. It won't be the strongest ritual, but it will be stronger than the notice-me-not spell you cast in the tree, as the ritual symbol won't be curved and you will be connected directly to the ground.
    [D] ... walk straight over to the Fae surrounding the campfire and attack them directly. It will probably degenerate into chaos, but they can't pinpoint you currently- you may be able to kill them all with just your knife.
    [E] ... walk straight over to the Fae surrounding the campfire and stab the figure in the black cloak. Waking him from the glamour should provide enough of a distraction to allow you to kill the remaining Fae without as much chaos as killing them directly.
    [F] ... do something else. (Please specify what. 


    If you decide to cast a ritual:


    Please specify what effect you would like to create with the ritual.

  • OOOooooOoOoOOoo, I'm a ghoOooOooOOOost!

    B is a little bit evil, and we don't know that the guy is armed.


    So for me, the options I'm most interested in are [A] [C] [D] and [E].


    Pros of A: Decent chance of halving the number of opponents.


    Cons of A: Doesn't do anything about the Fae near the figure, might piss them off.


    Pros of C: Makes us more powerful for the fight.


    Cons of C: Takes time, so they'll be on their guard once we act.


    Pros of D: Direct, takes out some Fae around the campfire.


    Cons of D: Puts us in the center of the remaining ones and kills our glamour without snapping the figure out of it.


    Pros of E: Ensures that our rescuee knows what's up, and gets us an ally for the fight.


    Cons of E: Kills a portion of surprise.


    Also, E relies on the assumption that the figure is here unwillingly.


    But that assumption is why we're here, so I'm assuming that we're assuming that.


    So I'm going with [E], though I wouldn't say no to [D].

  • If you must eat a phoenix, boil it, do not roast it. This only encourages their mischievous habits.

    Okay, time to talk about rituals.


    Rituals have one simple rule: You must know what you want to do with the ritual before you do it.


    Willpower- the mental fortitude required to force the world to bend to your whims- is the only necessary component to casting a ritual. A ritualist with sufficient mental power could, theoretically, cause someone to die just by willing it to happen. Nobody with such staggering mental fortitude has ever been born, however- which is lucky, as such a powerful ritualist would likely be able to destroy the world on a whim.


    After that, there are many factors which tie you to the world, essentially rendering you as part of itself- and it is easier to change something from within than from without.


    ritual, which defines the ritualist mage, is the simplest of these tools. It focuses the caster's will, and the symbol and materials used tie the user's will to the real world. Many ritualist mages- yourself included- find that a ritual is necessary to affect any but the simplest changes on the world.


    Preparation is also an important component. The longer the ritualist has to work on their ritual, the more time the world has to accept the ritual as a part of the world- and thus, make it easier for the ritualist to focus their will and affect change.


    Other important components are known as 'advantages'. These involve acts that tie you down to the Earth and the magic contained within. Casting a ritual in a space which is known for its connection to the change will make it easier to affect that change; casting necromantic rituals is often done in graveyards, for example, because of the graveyard's connection to death.


    Casting a ritual while standing or sitting on solid ground is also important. This ties you to the Earth, again making the Earth consider you a part of itself.


    This is why preparation is so important; the longer a preparation time you have, the more you can stack the odds in your favour. Using materials related to the change you wish to affect makes it easier; using areas related to the change makes it easier; standing on the ground makes it easier; and drawing your ritual symbols accurate to the way you imagine in your head makes it easier.


    Ritualist magic is the hardest magic to master, but it also has the greatest potential for changing the world around you. It can literally redefine the way the world works.

  • Give us fire! Give us ruin! Give us our glory!

    [F], Lure the remaining Fae outside the camp then sneak around to the figure, snap him out of the glamour, then get out before they come back (if this is possible).

  • If you must eat a phoenix, boil it, do not roast it. This only encourages their mischievous habits.

    It is possible, but as it stands, it would be extremely difficult.

  • A. At the first sign of suspicion, run like the devil.
  • All that really matters is we could be friends~☆

    [E]

  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"

    sounds like a thing our witch wouldn't be above, but it'll take time. I'll try [A], if it can be pulled off safely enough.

  • If you must eat a phoenix, boil it, do not roast it. This only encourages their mischievous habits.

    [Two votes for A; A wins. Sorta.]


    You let out a ragged sigh. Ordinarily, you would retreat and try to summon a ritual, but you're not sure what would actually affect these Fae.


    You return to the clearing. None of them have noticed the missing Fae- yet. There is still one more Fae walking around the perimeter of the camp.


    You follow him, trying to avoid making any loud sounds- your notice-me-not charm is not foolproof, after all, especially as weak as it is. You wait until he's in a position that the other Fae aren't looking at him, then strike- once again, burying your knife in his neck. This time, you don't give him a chance to even gurgle an alarm- you quickly slice your knife to the left, then slash back through the ruined stump of his neck, completely decapitating him.


    The thunk of his head hitting the ground draws the attention of one of the Fae standing next to the other Fae, at the perimeter of the camp. His eyes grow wide, and he warbles out an alarm. You let out a soft curse.


    The Fae split into four, each moving, twisting their heads from side to side, trying to see the killer. This is bad news- they're alert now, and actively searching for you. This will make it much easier for them to penetrate your notice-me-not spell.


    You wait for them to draw closer to you, then you kick the dead Fae's head at them. They are, understandably, extremely distressed.


    You take the opportunity to duck to the side, throwing yourself to the ground. The Fae turn back, searching for you again.


    A moment passes, and you sit up again. You're behind the four Fae now- they are searching for you, but they're looking in the wrong direction, and only occasionally looking behind them.


    You breathe slowly and evenly, then wait for one of them to turn and look behind them. When they turn their heads back to the front, you strike- your knife sliding easily into the Fae's neck again, severing its spine. It falls bonelessly, pathetically warbling at its fellows.


    The other three Fae are nervous now. In the corner of your eyes, you can see the six Fae around the campfire stiffening.


    The three hunting you begin to back away nervously. You can see them heading for the woods- excellent; although it would be easier for you to make a sound in the woods, the trees also block their sight, and the many animals of the woods would startle them every time they made an unexpected move.


    You duck to the side, then run for the trees, hoping to arrive there before you. No such luck, but you do arrive at roughly the same time as them.


    The Fae at the sides are walking with their hands outstretched beside them, as if to catch you in their arms. You simply slide in behind one- avoiding its arms altogether- and bury your blade in its back. It collapses, urgently warbling. The sound is sick, and wet- blood is filling its lungs even as it tries to warn its comrades.


    The two remaining Fae break. They turn blindly and run- away from the clearing, and hopefully away from their unseen killer.


    Back at the campsite, four of the Fae break away. You can sense their general hostility- they are not as afraid as the two that fled.


    You're fine with that. You are not here to kill every Fae, after all; in fact, every time you kill them, you risk being discovered, by an accidental flail, or by their fellows turning, alert.


    Instead, you circle some several dozen feet to the left, then slowly begin to walk back into camp. You give the four Fae leaving the campsite quite some time- you count three hundred breaths- before you sneak over to the two remaining guards.


    You breathe in, a shuddering breath, then leap into action. Your blade slices out- drawing a thin, deep cut in the figure in black, where you think his arm is. He cries out in pain, and the two Fae around jump back, warbling themselves.


    That's fine- you have a couple of minutes before the other Fae return.


    You dart forwards, plunging your knife into one of the Fae's eyes. The Fae's body stiffens, then falls to the ground, flailing.


    However, before you can retreat, the Fae's flailing fists catch you, right in the eye. You grunt as you are knocked painfully back, your hand automatically coming up to hold your eye.


    You hear a hiss behind you, and you freeze. Your spell failed. The remaining Fae can see you now.


    Out of the corner of your eye, you can see the figure, still clutching at their arm. They haven't looked up yet.


    What are you going to do?


    [A] Continue to fight. You might only have a small knife, but you can probably take on one of these Fae without invisibility to hide you. Maybe.
    Call out for the figure. Maybe they can lend you a hand.
    [C] Call out for the figure. You need to run- now. The other Fae might be more concerned with the fate of its comrade than immediately checking on you.
    [D] Just run.
    [E] Something else. (Please specify what.) 

  • If you must eat a phoenix, boil it, do not roast it. This only encourages their mischievous habits.

    And... there we go. Long post. I think I'll avoid adding fighting scenes as much as possible in the future, too, I kinda suck at them.


    And, again, sorry for the length.

  • All that really matters is we could be friends~☆

    [C]

  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"

    [C]. I also have a question. At that point where we had to choose how we approach the Fae, with a sword, daggers, or spells, was it a branching point? I mean, if it means our heroine still has that sword in her pack. 

  • If you must eat a phoenix, boil it, do not roast it. This only encourages their mischievous habits.

    Yes, it was a branching point. It defined a point in your history, which I'll type up and finalize before posting tomorrow.


    You no longer have any weapon but your silver knife.

  • OOOooooOoOoOOoo, I'm a ghoOooOooOOOost!

    [C]

  • If you must eat a phoenix, boil it, do not roast it. This only encourages their mischievous habits.

    [Four votes for C; C wins.]


    You duck to your side. Hopefully, the Fae will be more concerned with checking out his dying fellow than immediately chasing after you.


    "Come on!" you yell, grabbing the black-cloaked figure by the arm.


    You begin to run, pulling the figure behind you. They stumble for a few steps, before righting themselves and beginning to follow you in earnest.


    Behind you, you hear the Fae warbling over the body of its comrade. It is several long moments before you hear footsteps beginning to follow you- you have a small lead, possibly a bit over a hundred feet on it. Unfortunately, your leg is still injured, and running will only exacerbate your injury.


    You need to...


    [A] ... Keep running carefully until the Fae behind you catches up, then turn around and assassinate them. After that, try and find a hiding place.
    ... Keep running carefully until the Fae behind you catches up, then turn around and assassinate them. After that, keep running.
    [C] ... Run faster. You can deal with the injury on your leg later; you need to get away from the Fae now.
    [D] ... Something else. (Please specify what.) 

  • Give us fire! Give us ruin! Give us our glory!

    [A]

  • All that really matters is we could be friends~☆

    [A]

  • If you must eat a phoenix, boil it, do not roast it. This only encourages their mischievous habits.

    [Three votes for A; A wins.]


    You continue running, but the limp in your leg is slowing you down. Thankfully, the figure in front of you is slowing their pace to match yours; they're not completely ungrateful, then.


    Behind you, the Fae is catching up. You grit your teeth, trying to put on an extra burst- but the muscles in your leg spasm, and you stumble.


    You manage to turn your stumble into a roll and continue on, but you've lost distance, and you know it. Up ahead, you spot a growing tree- one without a trunk that is too thick. You swallow, knowing you have no real choice. Palmig your knife, you lick your lips nervously.


    When you reach the tree, you throw your left arm out, causing you to collide painfully with it. Your speed swings you around, and around- until, suddenly, you're facing the Fae, who is almost upon you.


    You recklessly throw yourself at the Fae. It snarls in response, and goes to claw at you. You throw your injured arm up- the one you hit the tree with- and let the Fae's claws catch in your robe. Your right hand, holding the knife, slams downwards.


    Your arm catches on the Fae's arm, and your aim skitters off someway. Unfortunately, all that means for the Fae is that instead of a clean kill, your knife slips sideways, entering the Fae's other eye at an angle. It screams in agony, and stops clawing at your arm to hold its eye.


    You slash across, opening the Fae's throat. It gurgles, still clutching at its eye.


    Panting, you extricate yourself from the dying Fae and stand. Your left arm is shredded- dozens of cuts, where the Fae's talons had torn into you, are bleeding everywhere.


    You shrug your robe off and wrap it around your arm. It's a waste of a good robe, but currently, you're not overly concerned with that- you're more concerned with not bleeding everywhere and giving away your position.


    You turn back to the figure. Their cloak is still up, the hood covering their face. They point to the left- their right.


    Looking over in that direction, you nod. Your leg still pains you, and your arm is flaring in agony, but you force you to ignore the pain and take off running after them.


    You know you don't have long before the Fae are after you. You scramble after the figure, scanning the forest for anything resembling a hiding place.


    There's a small depression in the ground. You hiss at the figure and point at the depression. They look at it, then look back at you. You can almost see their incredulity. You ignore it and throw yourself down there anyway.


    The figure crawls down there with you, laying flat beside you. You know you're still not done, however.


    Biting back a groan of pain, you unwrap your robe from your arm.


    Blood magic is usually considered a very dark art. The rules are somewhat different when it is your own blood you are using, however; it is still dark, but you are not at risk of losing your humanity.


    You reach to your arm with two fingers from your right hand, smearing it with a liberal amount of blood. Reaching to the ground, you pat it down and let your blood drip down, forming a very shakey circle.


    You reach over again, squeezing your wounds to draw more blood. You can't bite back the groan this time, but you palm is fairly covered in blood.


    You let it drip down again, forming two shakey squares in it- an eight-pointed star.


    Trying to concentrate through the pain in your arm, you imagine the Fae coming upon you, staring down in the depression- and not noticing you.


    You press your fingers to the circle, and feel the blanket of magic wash over you again.


    The black-cloaked figure tries to speak. You shush them, squeezing your eyes tight. This spell is even weaker than your previous spell, but... well, you can only hope.


    Indeed, several moments later, you hear the pitter-patter of swift feet crossing around you. You hold your breath when one of the Fae peers down into your depression. For a moment, you're afraid you will be discovered- but then, no; the Fae snarls and turns to run away.


    You start counting your breaths again. At six hundred breaths, over ten minutes, you slowly sit up, wincing.


    As you wrap your robe around your arm again, you try to decide what to do.


    [A] You should head back to town. One of the hedgewitches staying there might be able to treat your arm.
    Head back to your camping spot. There's a stream nearby where you can wash your wounds, and you can treat them after you get some sleep.
    [C] Head back to the clearing. You left your pack hanging in the tree there. It could take a while now, though-you're heavily wounded, and will probably need to ask the figure to climb the tree and retrieve your pack for you. After that, head back to town.
    [D] Head  back to the clearing. You left your pack hanging in the tree there. It could take a while now, though-you're heavily wounded, and will probably need to ask the figure to climb the tree and retrieve your pack for you. After that, head back to your campsite.
    [E] Something else. (Please specify what.) 

  • Give us fire! Give us ruin! Give us our glory!

    [C]

  • All that really matters is we could be friends~☆

    [C]

  • OOOooooOoOoOOoo, I'm a ghoOooOooOOOost!

    [C]

  • If you must eat a phoenix, boil it, do not roast it. This only encourages their mischievous habits.

    [Four votes for C; C wins.]


    You stand and offer your hand to the figure. They take it, standing gratefully.


    Turning, you begin to limp your way back to the clearing. Even if the Fae are back there, you should be fine to collect your pack, at least; your notice-me-not is weaker than ever, having been shakily drawn in your own blood, but if you stay out of the clearing and avoid any signs of your presence, they shouldn't be able to pierce it.


    "What is your name?" A raspy voice comes from behind you. It sounds like the figure hasn't talked for some time.


    "My name is Urien," you reply genially. "What is your name?"


    You hear the figure stepping closer to you, walking just behind you. "My name is Lien," they reply softly. "Lien Kaldin. I am- was- the son of Baron Kaldin."


    "You were?" you ask curiously.


    The figure nods. "Certain- revelations, about my birth, have created a schism between the Baron and I."


    You nod. You're not going to ask, yet, at least; that is an intensely personal matter.


    It takes you some time to walk back to the clearing. Thankfully, you don't have to put your spell to the test; the Fae haven't returned yet.


    Eventually, you arrive at the tree you had hidden in. You can see your pack hanging there. There is... there is no way you can climb up there yourself.


    You reluctantly turn to the figure behind you. "Could you please retrieve my pack from up in this tree?" you ask softly.


    The figure stares at you for a moment, then nods.


    The figure goes to shrug off his cloak. The figure revealed is... not what you had expected.


    The person's hair is a silvery blonde. Their features are delicate, but not feminine. Their limbs are slender and graceful- they look strong, but it's a contained power, not a muscley one.


    It's their eyes that intrigue you most. They are a pale blue- extremely pale. Like someone had dripped a srop of blue dye into a cup of milk.


    He is Fae. A changeling, if you don't miss your guess. Some "schism".


    He scales the tree easily. You are dismayed when he climbs down the tree and hands you your pack- the wind picked up while you were gone, and several valuable items (primarily, sheafs of paper you had written ritual preparations on) are gone.


    You sigh. "Thank you."


    "It is no problem," he replies. Even his voice confuses you- it is low, but not so low that it could not be a woman's voice.


    You turn, and begin to walk back in the direction of town. It is not long before you feel Lien step up behind you, slipping your arm around his shoulders. You'd normally complain, but it's getting kind of hard to walk.


    You can barely pay attention to the rest of the walk back. You only raise your head enough to hear when you hear voices around you, murmuring.


    "... in the forest," Lien's voice murmurs.


    Another voice- older, deeper- replies. "I see. Please, bring her in."


    You try to protest- you can walk for yourself- but you're exhausted.


    You slip into unconsciousness a moment later.


    ---


    [A] Fight against the unconsciousness. You know your body needs time to heal and rest, but you can't afford to waste any time.
    Rest. You can't rest for too long, but you are sure you can be awake by midday, and your body needs the time to heal and rest.

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