by Firetalon, Shadow of Light and Sapphire Night
OOC means Out Of Character. Anything written after OOC is not a part of the story. The thread is largely unedited, so you'll get a few of these comments... along with mistakes and grammatical errors. Enjoy!
Posted by Firetalon on July 17th, 2000 10:32 PM:
OOC: Yes, the steel dragon. SOMEONE's got to be the villain. And since
no one else here seems to know where the steel dragon should go, I'm taking
the steering wheel for a while. Perhaps I'll have better luck with this
road trip... Now, where's the seatbelts on this thing...
The steel wings, immune to any weariness, pounded the pounded the night air steadily. The steel creature continued in its flight, oblivious to any pursuers...not that it would have mattered much even if it HAD known it was being followed.
Unlike living dragons, this creature had no concern, nor ability, to remain silent. Stealth simply did not register in its dim consciousness.
The only thing guiding it was the nagging voice directing its actions.
The creature (since it could not really be called a dragon) knew only that it must fly farther. It didn't occur to it to ask, or even wonder, where it had to fly. The voice simply told it to keep going, and so it was so.
It would keep going, past the woodlands below, past the rocky crags of the Thal'drakkali Mountains, past the rolling foothills and plains... Past all this and more. And eventually, it would reach the place the voice said it would. A place of fire.
It will all be made clear in time, the voice promised. Just keep flying.
And so the creature did.
It blindly flew toward this 'place of fire', its dim instinctive consciousness guiding it as well as any dragon of flesh and bone. After all, it had the soul of a dragon, even if it did not have the mind of one. Instinct was more than enough to guide it to the Heart of Flame.
And all dragons knew that FLAME was a dragon's lifeblood.
[This message has been edited by Firetalon (edited July 17, 2000).]
Posted by Shadow of Light on July 18th, 2000 10:43 AM:
OOC: For the sake of sparing the War Scrolls from further cluttering, and since the character is evil...
At the Stronghold of Shadows...
"The plan is underway, Master Assassin," Valyna said with a low bow.
"The dragon is awake, I know." The figure seated in the dark alcove nodded, his midnight cowl concealing all features. "Any resistance?"
"As is always the case, Master." Valyna held out a scroll imprinted with the seal of the High Wayfarer. "I was able to intercept this, which was on its way to one of the Elemental Temples."
The Master Assassin read the scroll silently and nodded. "So, High Wayfarer Wolfe of the Blood That Binds is summoning his Master Wayfarers."
"That's not all, Master. He has been joined by others not within the Wayfarer guild. Firetalon of the Wyrmguard and Shadow of Light who seeks the Paladin Citadel."
"You've even uncovered their names." He sounded slightly impressed. "You are one of our youngest, Valyna, yet one of our most talented. For that reason, I'm sending you out again."
Valyna's hand clenched eagerly around the hilt of her katana. She thought she knew what task she would be given even before it was spoken.
"The slavers will be seeking to kill all within the village where the steel dragon was raised. I want you to stop them."
"Stop them," the Master Assassin said, the hint of a smile in his voice, "and make sure the Bloodbound see you do it, or at least know you're responsible."
"For what purpose?" she asked, brushing black hair from her dark blue eyes.
"When they arrive at the village, which they surely will, I want you to go with them on their quest. I trust you will bear with their company for an appropriate length of time before eliminating them."
"Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer," Valyna whispered, smiling.
"Very good. May the Shadows hide your passing, and Death favour your blade."
Valyna bowed low at the ritual dismissal and left the inner chamber of the Ninja Assassins to prepare for her departure.
Posted by Sapphire Night on July 18th, 2000 01:36 PM:
"We have been hired," said the high Shadow Warrior of the Council of 13 to the other members of his sect. "As there is no need, I will not tell you by who. We are to protect this time. While I would not normally accept such a mission, the payment is very good. 7 times what we normally charge was offered, so most likely they expect several of us to die carrying it out. The catch is this. Our mission is in direct opposition to that of the Assassin sect," he said with a grimace. "We are going to send a relatively inexperienced member to start off with, to help him learn our ways. The Council has decided to send Karrigan, bonded of Darnok. Darnok is well versed in our ways, and will be able to direct Karrigan should he need it."
Karrigan stood, as he was supposed to. A hot flood of happiness shot through him, though he gave no outward sign. He had long since learned to quell any emotions within him. They did nothing but interfere with one's work. "And what is my mission Great One?" he asked.
"You are to protect the Bloodbound," said the High Shadow Warrior. "The Assassin sect will most likely send in someone, so be on the lookout. You leave within the hour."
Posted by Sapphire Night on July 19th, 2000 04:20 AM:
Karrigan packed the belongings he would take with him on his mission. The last speech of the High Warrior still played through his mind.
"A steel dragon has awakened, we know not by who. It has the soul of a dragon, and is said to be invincible. We are told that many plan to attack them, and that the Shinobi may join in, helping out with the "good" side. We may, if things get bad, join a side. Which side we may join will depend on where profit lies. Do not fail us Karrigan."
With such thoughts running through his head, Karrigan drew out his weapons of choice. As a Ninja, he had learned many different types of combat, as well as the use of countless weapons. While he had excelled at all, his personal favorites were his double-bladed kitana, a fearsome weapon of 2 blades emerging from a single hilt, his throwing knives, and his bo, an object most simply thought of as a walking stick. He also carried a bow, complete with a set of poisoned arrows, just in case someone managed to run.
Karrigan, as all Ninja's, was also highly trained in hand to hand combat. Learning many different styles, he had chosen to specialize in one of the most difficult, that of the Tiger Claw. Hard to learn, and extremely difficult to master, Karrigan had achieved high excellence, constantly practicing, until he had defeated his teacher, a Master. The benefits, to his mind, had far outweighed the amount of work put in though. The result was that he looked rather non-threatening. Standing about 5 foot 6 inches tall, he was of a lean frame, seemingly skinny when one saw him clothed. Should one see beyond the clothing, they would find nothing but muscle, lean, pure, and powerful. He had blond hair cut very close to his scalp. Dark brown eyes, a rather ordinary face, he was very nondescript. Nothing about his appearance showed that he knew every pressure point to bring pain and/or death to a human.
Karrigan knew why he had been chosen for this particular quest. One of the reasons anyway. He was bonded, and could pose as one of the Bloodbound. The Ninja's of the Assassin Sect rarely bonded, considering it beneath them. This would give him a slight advantage...and an easier way to observe anyone who just "happened" to join in...
Posted by Shadow of Light on July 19th, 2000 12:03 PM:
Valyna ran swiftly through the forest, almost no noise marking her passage. It hadn't taken long to get ready as she liked travelling as light as possible. Clothed from head to toe in black (a hooded mask, padded black boots, black gloves, pants and arms, and ninja battle armour - constructed of black leather and specially treated bamboo), her katana strapped across her back in its dark scabbard and an assortment of shuriken (throwing stars) at her belt, she could run for a long time and with little difficulty.
All she'd have to worry about was running into another Ninja, particularly if he or she was from the Shinobi sect. There would be no hiding that Valyna was a Ninja, and she was hoping to impersonate that sect. It would be easy if she saved the village from the slavers - no Assassin or Shadow Warrior would do that unless they were paid to or, in the case of the former, unless they were on a killing spree, in which case they'd most likely kill more than just the slavers.
Valyna pulled yet another potion of speed from her belt and drank it down without slowing. She was making good time, she decided as she jumped a fallen log, and she wouldn't even have to stop and rest when she reached the village to get rid of the slavers.
Poison was a wonderful weapon.
Posted by Sapphire Night on July 19th, 2000 12:47 PM:
Karrigan and Darnok flew on, planning together in mindspeech as they went, perfecting their cover. They had been told to impersonate a Bloodbound Guardian, as they wore any color and he would not be questioned for his lack of metal armor.
As they approached the village, they saw smoke rising from it, and hastened their approach...
Posted by Shadow of Light on July 20th, 2000 03:09 PM:
OOC: Linked to the Paladins' RP thread...
Valyna stalked the edge of a clearing, eyes on the great black and silver dragon who could obviously sense her presence, though not see her thanks to a Ring of Invisibility. VERY rare was the talent of a Ninja to walk with such stealth as to evade detection by a dragon.
The dragon, whom she almost instantly recognised as the Bloodbound Shadow of Light due to her previous assignment of espionage, bared her teeth and growled, golden eyes flicking around at the trees to search for, but never find, her watcher.
Valyna noted that the creature was wounded in the left shoulder before she drifted away into the forest to find the village nearby. She hadn't gone far before she heard voices.
"Slavers," she thought to herself. They must have heard the dragon and be coming to investigate. She quickly pondered her options, then opted for the best one and hid behind a tree...
The first slaver approached...
Valyna's poisoned katana whipped out in silence and slashed the man's throat out, then vanished back into its sheath in under a second. The second and third ones were killed just as swiftly and noiselessly, but those following were grouped closely together so she knew she wouldn't be able to pull the same tactic off.
She ran back to the clearing and removed her ring, flickering back into view even as she shouted, "Dragon, save the village! I'll handle the slavers! Go!"
"Who are you?" the dragon growled, eyes taking in the Ninja garb suspiciously.
"I'm of the Shinobi sect," Valyna replied quickly, "sent to help protect the village. Listen, the main force of the Slavers are holed up in a large building with a weather-vane shaped like a serpent. Destroy that and the rest should be easy."
Shadow of Light's eyes narrowed, but she nodded. "Virtue be with thee," she said, then leaped into the air with a mighty downsweep of her wings.
Valyna put her ring back on and smiled to herself as slavers poured into the clearing and stared at her sword, which to them seemed to be moving by itself.
Then the killing began.
Posted by Sapphire Night on July 20th, 2000 10:53 PM:
Karrigan and Darnok arrived in time to see that the slavers had already been taken care of, by a dragan. Karrigan did not recognize the beautiful colored dragon, but Darnok did.
"Tarsheeva," he whispered as they approached, still out of hearing. "Bonded of the Paladin-in training, Shadow of Light. They are bloodbound. I do not see her bonded however. I wonder how she was wounded..."
Darnok landed, and Karrigan dismounted as they faced the obviously on guard dragon. "Hail Tarsheeva! I am Karrigan, a Bloodbound Guardian. This is Darnok, my bonded. May we aid thee?" said Karrigan as he bowed...
Posted by Shadow of Light on July 21st, 2000 05:23 AM:
Shadow of Light stared at the pair closely. "Bloodbound? Hm, I must have missed the Soul Seeker's last report... I confess I don't recognise either of you."
"You can help," she continued. "I've taken out the main building, but there are probably other slavers in there and someone has to find the villagers. I'm a bit big to be fitting through any front doors," she added with a grin. "Then there's a human I met down in a clearing just east of here." She raised her head and glanced over in that direction. "A Ninja. She might need some help with the slavers that went down to attack me."
As she finished speaking, a sudden brilliance of white light erupted around her like concentrated lightning. A force lifted her off her feet and into the air, a sensation she had not experienced since bonding with Sha'o'el.
A voice spoke in her mind...
"The journey to seek the Citadel of the Paladins hath two parts: the physical and the spiritual. One cannot be completed without the other.
"Thou hast passed the spiritual quest to become a Paladin, Shadow of Light. The path to the physical Citadel now lies open to thee.
"In recognition of thine achievement, receive now the Light..."
The light grew to incandescence and Tarshaeva, awestruck and silent, felt a sudden jolt. Then she felt all her wounds heal as if by themselves.
"Virtue be with thee, Paladin."
Shadow of Light felt the floor under her feet once again, and the brilliance faded.
"Well," she mused aloud. "That was enlightening."
[This message has been edited by Shadow of Light (edited August 03, 2000).]
Posted by Firetalon on July 26th, 2000 07:37 AM:
The Heart of Flame
The Thal'drakkali(or Dragon's Flame in human) mountain range is home to many a dragon clan.
Draconic legend has it that it was in this place that the first dragons emerged from the underground caverns and met the sky. Legend also has it that this is where the Firstborn, as they were called, gained the gift of flame.
No one knows exactly whether these myths are true, but still the story stands.
This is, perhaps, due to the presence of a large crater in the heart of Thal'drakkali. In the center of this crater rises a crystal of fire... The Thal'raen. The Heart of Flame.
On the eve of a dragonling's maturity, he or she is guided by instinct to fly to the Heart of Flame and claim the dragon birthright. The Heart of Flame is part of the magic of Drakan, as just as the magic of the world gives Flame to the dragon, part of the dragon is given to the world.
Upon completing this pilgrimage, the dragon will keep the magical fire until his or her death. When the dragon dies, he or she returns to the Heart of Flame, becoming one of the stone Guardians resting on the rim of the crater.
Thus, the Thal'raen is both a birthplace and a graveyard.
And this is where the steel dragon went.
"The Heart of Flame..." said the voice, surveying the crater through the steel creature's eyes. "Excellent."
The steel dragon surveyed the scene just as indifferently as the stone dragons did.
"Go," came the voice. "Retrieve the Heart."
As the stone Guardians watched silently, the metal creature glided toward the Heart.
The Thal'raen remained silent. In a live dragon, the Thal'raen's power would seek the life force automatically.
However, this was not exactly a live dragon.
Flames billowed around Heart, but it did not harm the steel dragon's impenetrable hide. With metal talons, the dragon reached toward the crystal and grasped hold of the artifact.
"Excellent..." murmured the voice in the dragon's head.
No living dragon had ever touched the Thal'raen.
But then again, this was not exactly a living dragon.
The corrupted soul crystal within the steel dragon's chest flared to life. A halo of dark energy surrounded the dragon, and spread down the metal forearms to the Heart itself.
The Heart of Flame flickered briefly, brilliantly, until a cloud of darkness engulfed the crystal sapping its energy into the dragon's form.
The steel dragon's eyes glowed with life. The wingbeats were no longer an automatic movement. They had purpose, and a goal...
"Ahh, how do you feel?" the voice asked pleasantly.
The dragon thought.
"I...am...alive," it replied, its voice harsh and metallic.
The stone Guardians watched silently.
"Very good," said the voice, quite pleased with itself. "Congratulations on your new life."
The dragon didn't reply. It's unblinking gaze ran over its surroundings before finally settling on the dim crystal in its claws.
"Oh, that," the voice said indifferently, watching through the dragon's eyes. "We don't need that anymore. You can drop it."
The dragon complied. The metal claws released their grip on the large crystal, which fell to the bottom of the crater with a sullen thud.
"I wonder..." murmured the voice. "Do you have the power of flame now?"
The dragon's metal jaws opened, and it effortlessly sent torrents of flame billowing outward in a continuous stream. For several minutes, the rivers of flame flowed from the metallic jaws. The steel dragon had no need of air, so it had no need to stop for breath.
"Excellent..." smiled the voice.
The dragon continued flaming.
The voice chuckled. "You can stop now."
The dragon complied. The fire stopped, and the metal jaws closed with a slight creak.
The voice smiled inwardly. Although the dragon's consciousness was far less than even the simplest of children, its strength more than made up for it. It would make an excellent weapon.
Especially after it acquired the Essence of Earth.
"To the Temple of Earth, my metallic friend," the voice said cheerfully.
The dragon's great wings beat purposefully.
Posted by Sapphire Night on August 2nd, 2000 01:25 PM:
Karrigan went off in search of the Ninja, of the "Shinobi" sect. "What do you think Darnok? Any way we'll be able to tell if she's really of the Shinobi?" he asked the dragon.
"It's possible. We'll have to meet her to see," he replied. "For now, let's nail any surviving slavers we can find and keep an eye out for her."
Posted by Shadow of Light on August 12th, 2000 11:27 AM:
OOC: I'm baaaackkk....
Valyna's battle was quick despite the number of foes she faced. Invisibility had its advantages, and so did the quick acting poison that coated her katana. Most of the slavers were dead after ten minutes, and the rest were doubled up, convulsing and vomitting as the first stages of the venom hit them.
Dusting off her unseen hands, the Ninja Assassin slipped her Invisibility Ring from her finger and put it away. Her katana she kept ready, though, for her highly trained senses detected someone else approaching the clearing... and they were taking great pains to avoid being heard.
Inwardly grinning, Valyna stepped into the shadow of a tree to see who it was.
Posted by Sapphire Night on August 12th, 2000 11:56 PM:
Karrigan and Darnok quickly took care of the slavers. As they worked, Darnok suddenly let out a roar of surprise and supreme upset. Karrigan stared at the back of his head in surprise, urgently asking what was wrong.
"I have lost the power of flame. Something had happened to the Heart," said Darnok in a rage filled voice. "And whoever it is shall pay in blood. 'Tis a good thing I have other breaths," he commented as he let loose several huge balls of ice towards a group of slavers, followed by a round of poison gas for good measure.
"There's the Ninja. I can just barely make her out, can't tell yet what sect she's from though. Shall we land and introduce ourselves?" said Karrigan. "We'll solve the mystery of the Heart in good time, with the Blood. I'm sure they'll be as after it as you are."
"Let's go," said Darnok, and began to glide down towards the trees, and a small clearing not far from the skulking Ninja.
Posted by Shadow of Light on August 13th, 2000 05:44 AM:
A dragonrider... normal clothes... Valyna watched through the mesh of her hooded mask as the stranger and her mount spiralled down into the clearing. If they were Bloodbound, they must be new or unimportant for she didn't recognise them.
Her brow furrowed as she noticed the human's weapon of choice - a katana.
She might be in trouble if these two were of the Shinobi. Nevertheless, she still had her part to play.
Sidestepping a dying slaver, Valyna stepped into full view and raised her right hand in greeting, palm open to indicate peaceful intentions.
Posted by Sapphire Night on August 13th, 2000 05:56 PM:
She claims peaceful intentions. Mayhaps she truly is a Shinobi. Still, we'd better keep our guard up. sent Darnok.
The pair spiraled down, and Karrigan raised his own hand in greeting.
"Hail Lady!" he called out as they came within hearing distance. "We are
of the Blood, and the dragon Shadow of Light sent us to aid thee! Might
we be of service?" said Karrigan, with a show of boyish excitement to be
out in the field.
Posted by Shadow of Light on August 25th, 2000 04:55 AM:
OOC: Woops! I'm sorry! I forgot it was my turn to post!
Valyna allowed herself to smile and made room for this so-called Bloodbound to land his dragon. Indicating the clearing and the dying slavers, she said, "I think I've taken care of most of them." Then, with a careful show of concern, she asked, "Are the people alright? I came with the knowledge that the slavers intended to burn the village."
Posted by Sapphire Night on August 30th, 2000 09:19 AM:
Karrigan, with the proper boyish enthusiasm, bounded down off of Darnok. "Nice to meet you!" he said with a huge grin. "Heard of you guys, never actually got to meet one. SoL's back at the village kicking some butt, and she sent us to find you. Ready to head back?" he said, giving every appearance of a very active, slightly hyper young Bloodbound.
Posted by Shadow of Light on August 31st, 2000 03:41 AM:
Valyna gave the boy a tolerant smile and nodded. "I can walk back easily enough, unless you're offering a lift?" She'd never ridden a dragon before, so her request was half of curiosity.
Posted by Sapphire Night on September 1st, 2000 01:02 AM:
"Have you ever ridden before? I don't want to have to worry about you falling off," said Karrigan with an impish smile.
Posted by Shadow of Light on September 1st, 2000 03:46 AM:
"No, I've never had the opportunity." Valyna shrugged. She'd seen other Ninja ride them, certainly. She'd even killed one with an arrow tipped in praemin venom, but never ridden one.
There were few Ninja, draconic or human, who bonded in any of the sects. Most preferred to do their business alone, and Valyna was no exception.
"How do I get up?" she asked.
Posted by Sapphire Night on September 1st, 2000 05:41 AM:
Karrigan gave a light chuckle. "Hey Dar, help the lady up!" he said with a wide grin on his face. Darnok turned towards Valyna, lowered one forearm, and calmly picked her up, placing her between two of the ridges on his back.
"Answer question?" asked Karrigan, trying not to laugh at Darnok's preemptive move. Before she could answer, Karrigan climbed up to sit in front of her.
"Hold on to me with your arms and him with your legs. Our bonding helps prevent me from falling, but since you're not bonded, you'll tumble real easily. Ready?" he asked.
Posted by Shadow of Light on September 2nd, 2000 06:58 AM:
Valyna did as she was told and let her eyes survey the dragon's broad back, ostensibly admiring him. In fact, she was looking for vulnerable areas - places a sword might easily go through to the vitals.
"My name is Valyna, by the way," she said, knowing there was no harm telling them. No one but the Master Assassin knew that information, and everyone else who found out never lived to make use of it.
She held on tight. "Ready."
Posted by Sapphire Night on September 4th, 2000 04:41 AM:
Darnok took off, achieving altitude as fast as possible. As they took off, they heard a roar as SoL leaped into the air, immediately heading away from the village.
"Whoa!" exclaimed Karrigan in surprise. "We'd better go see what's up. See if you can catch up to her Darnok," he said as the dragon soared after her.
Posted by Shadow of Light on September 4th, 2000 06:13 AM:
OOC: Hi, Sapph
The Assassin narrowed her eyes slightly at the departing dragon, her black scales gleaming opalescent in the sun. She wondered what was up...
Tarshaeva'd barely gone anywhere before something caught the corner of her eye. Craning her neck around slightly, she noticed the Bloodbound dragon and two riders following some distance behind.
If they catch up, then they catch up, she thought to herself, and turned her eyes resolutely forward again. If the dragon was young, it was about time he learned to speed-fly anyway.
Shadow of Light grinned and flew on like an obsidian arrow with silver feathers.
Posted by Sapphire Night on September 4th, 2000 06:57 AM:
Shall we pick up the pace Dar? asked Karrigan through the mindlink he and Darnok had spent years developing.
All right, but make sure the ninja-wench doesn't fall off. I don't want to lose Tarshaeva because I had to dive and catch her replied Darnok.
"Valyna," said Karrigan. "Hold on as tightly as you can, and whatever you do, DO NOT let go," he warned as Darnok dove into a draft of wind and began picking up speed at a very fast rate.
Posted by Shadow of Light on September 4th, 2000 08:24 AM:
OOC: Ninja-wench, eh?
Valyna wrapped her arms tightly around Karrigan's midsection and didn't comment. It would be interesting to see how fast these dragons could fly, and how they compared to those in her sect.
Posted by Shadow of Light on September 7th, 2000 09:26 AM:
The Thal'drakkali mountains loomed up ahead. Shadow of Light locked her wings and glided, letting her knotted flight muscles relax a bit. The sun was sinking, and she used the waning light to crane her head around and take in the surroundings. The Bloodbound dragon was still following at some distance behind, his two riders perched on his back. There was no sign of another dragon, though... much less a steel one.
Tilting her flight slightly, she gained some altitude and flared her wings, fore-and-hind-legs stretching out to catch the protruding ledge on the top of one of the mountains. Barely waiting to fold her wings across her back, Tarshaeva crept forward into the darkened crater ahead. It was odd, she thought, for when she'd last come here the crater had been alive with burning colours of red and amber. Now there was nothing.
Her own scales, white in the darkness, gave off a faint light of their own, however. She could see well enough in the dark (most dragons could), but blackness where there should be light... was unsettling.
She passed between two stone dragons, took a bracing breath and looked down into the depths of the crater.
The Thal'raen, the Heart of Flame, lay at the bottom, as cold and dead as ashes.
Posted by Sapphire Night on September 7th, 2000 04:40 PM:
Darnok soared straight up when he saw Tarshaeva disappear. He knew where she had gone. When he reached a height he liked, the spread his wings and glided/dove straight at the place where she had gone into the crater, picking up horrendous amounts of speed as he went.
Having fun back there? he asked Karrigan.
The wind feels nice after flying in the sun was Karrigan's reply, as Valyna gripped him tighter. Although I think she's trying to cut off the flow of blood to the lower half of my body he commented wryly.
Darnok gave a mental chuckle at Karrigan's long-suffering tone. As they approached the crater, he gave no signs of slowing. Just as it looked like he would crash, he switched his wing angle and badkpedaled, slowing himself rapidly and landing neatly, immediately making his way into the cavern.
He saw Tarshaeva. Then he saw the Heart. "This is not good," were the only words he said as Valyna and Karrigan began to dismount.
Posted by Shadow of Light on September 8th, 2000 06:35 AM:
Valyna kept behind Karrigan as he dismounted so he wouldn't see any betraying glimmer of delight in her eyes. You couldn't be too careful.
Schooling her face to a disturbed expression, she stepped forward and looked at each dragon's face in turn. "I think that steel dragon I've heard about did this."
Shadow of Light touched some deep grooves in the edge of the crater, no doubt made by metal talons. "Yes," she agreed in a strange, empty voice. "And without it, all living dragons will eventually die. We have to figure out a way..." she added, leaning forward and picking up the dead Heart, "...to light it again. Rekindle the Fire."
Posted by Sapphire Night on September 8th, 2000 11:40 AM:
Karrigan looked upon the heart, and felt a sinking in his own. Darnok had once told him of it, and to see it as it was now compared to those stories was almost painful.
Keeping his face and voice calm, he turned to Tarshaeva. "Where do we go from here?" he asked.
Posted by Shadow of Light on September 12th, 2000 01:47 PM:
The white and silver dragon stretched her aching wings and shifted the Heart to one hand.
"First, I tell my bonded what we've seen." She touched her Circle of Binding and called Sha'o'el's name.
"Here." Her human sounded so tired. She wondered what could have happened to dull her spirit.
"We found the Heart of Flame."
Ignoring the 'we', SoL immediately focussed on the more important topic. "And?"
"It's dead. Someone or something has drained all the fire out of it. It's cold and lifeless and..." Tarshaeva quickly tried to calm the rising panic in her voice, and settled on a hopeless tone. "...and I don't know how to fix it."
"It was the steel dragon, Tarshaeva. We found out that the four elements of Fire, Earth, Air and Water are needed in unison to destroy it, so it's taking that threat away. Fire was first on its list."
Tarshaeva shivered. She didn't want to remember her encounter with the steel dragon.
"It's on its way to the Temple of Earth as we speak. The Wayfarers seem to think they can still stop it."
"Is there anything we can do?"
"Who's with you?"
Tarshaeva glanced at the others. "Two Bloodbound: a dragon Darnok and his rider Karrigan, and a Shinobi Ninja named Valyna."
There was a long pause, then: "Meet us at the Temple of Earth," the Paladin said. "And be careful."
Then she was gone.
Holding the Heart carefully in her foreclaws, Tarshaeva again looked at her companions. "If you wish to come... Valyna, you will fly with me. If not-"
"I'm coming," the Ninja said.
Tarshaeva arched a ridged brow at the other two and waited.
Posted by Sapphire Night on September 12th, 2000 05:17 PM:
"You know you don't have to ask Tarshaeva. We go with you. However, you need some rest. I suggest we leave after you and Darnok rest your wings," said Karrigan.
"Do you think we should take what's left of the Heart with us or leave it here?" inquired Darnok.
Posted by Shadow of Light on September 13th, 2000 03:49 AM:
"Bring it," said Tarshaeva, and at the same time Valyna said, "Leave it."
The dragon blinked at her.
"Well, what are you going to do with it?" Valyna pointed out.
"The Wayfarers may know how to relight it."
"Is it heavy?"
"No, I'll manage. And I'm good to fly for a few more hours yet. I don't need to rest unless you want to, Darnok."
Valyna nodded as if agreeing to everything, but inwardly fumed. Meddling Paladin-dragon. Leave the Heart. The Assassin's don't want it relit. Or...
"We can still go on ahead of them," she said to Tarshaeva.
Then when they're out of sight, out of mind, you might enjoy the kiss of a poisoned blade. That will take care of two Bloodbound.
Posted by Sapphire Night on September 13th, 2000 12:11 PM:
Karrigan looked to Darnok. "Do you want to rest?" he asked.
"No. We need to get the flame relit as soon as possible. If the Wayfarers can relight it, we need to get to them quickly. Is there a temple near here?" he asked as he turned to Tarshaeva.
Posted by Shadow of Light on September 14th, 2000 02:52 PM:
"The Tempe of Fire," Tarshaeva said, eyes narrowing in thought. "But if the source of their power is the Heart itself, I don't know what they can do. I think we should just go straight to the Temple of Earth - only three hours flight east, I think."
Posted by Sapphire Night on September 14th, 2000 06:47 PM:
"Sounds like a good idea to me," said Karrigan. Her eyes showed that she was fuming about something.
Most likely that she won't have the opportunity to be alone with
Tarshaeva...I don't trust her. Better keep a sharp eye out he thought.
"Shall we get going? We need to get there as soon as we can." Darnok commented.
Posted by Shadow of Light on September 15th, 2000 03:45 AM:
Tarshaeva nodded and tucked the Heart in the crook of one forelimb so she could exit the cave three-legged. Valyna followed closely, aware that the other human had been watching her.
Maybe it would be simpler to just kill all three of them.
But no... if Karrigan and Darnok were Ninja, as she suspsected, it wouldn't be so easy. She would have to be patient.
Tarshaeva stepped into the bright sunlight and her scales shifted from white to black again. Lowering her neck and one wing, she instructed Valyna to climb up.
"Do you want me to hold the Heart while we fly?" the Assassin asked as she complied.
"I'll manage," Tarshaeva replied. "Besides, you'll need both your hands to hold on to me."
The dragon pitched herself off the mountain ledge and snapped out her silver wings to catch the wind. Swooping up, they waited for Darnok and Karrigan before winging east toward the Temple of Earth.
OOC:This'll probably be my last post here for a few days, as I'm going on a much-need holiday. See if you can get Firetalon to write a part for the Steel Dragon itself.
Posted by Sapphire Night on September 15th, 2000 03:58 AM:
Karrigan climbed atop Darnok.
"Let's go," he said.
Darnok shot forth from the cliff, catching the wind in a powerful downbeat of his wings and bringing himself up next to Tarshaeva.
"After you," said Darnok.
OOC: Have fun!
Posted by Shadow of Light on September 19th, 2000 03:01 PM:
They sped on their way, and it wasn't long before Valyna felt the dragon beneath her jerk slightly, and a growl rumble up her long neck.
"What's wrong?" the Ninja called.
"My bonded must be fighting. Again." Tarshaeva kept beating her wings and craned her head down to examine one leg. "I'll be ok," she added, her voice muffled from coming beneath a wing. "Just a leg wound."
Too bad, Valyna thought to herself. Someone could have done me a favour. Then she remembered who she was riding, and decided it was just as well she wouldn't be plunging to her death.
Posted by Shadow of Light on September 27th, 2000 02:46 PM:
"There!" Tarshaeva shouted, pointing forward with her head. "Do you see it?"
Valyna peered in the direction, but didn't have the eyesight of a dragon. "No. What do you see?"
"The Steel Dragon." Tarshaeva's body trembled slightly, though with dread or anticipation the Assassin couldn't tell. "It's almost at the Temple of Earth."
Valyna caught a glint of sunlight off something highly reflective. Chances were the creature would do what it had gone to the Temple to do, then either go to the next Temple or engage anyone stupid enough to challenge it. "What will we do?"
"If we get there in time to stop it from defiling the Temple, we'll delay it as long as we can. If we don't... we'll see which Temple it heads for next." She glanced back at the other two. "Let's fly!"
Posted by Shadow of Light on October 4th, 2000 05:55 AM:
"Tarshaeva, where are you?" Sha'o'el's voice whispered.
Tarshaeva touched her Circle quickly. "Not far! I can see it... and you!"
A speck had appeared in the sky off to the south flying in hot pursuit of the steel dragon, which was almost at the Mountain.
At her words, she felt the hopes of her bonded rise. She longed to be with Tarshaeva again, and to be shelted by her silver wings.
In turn, Tarshaeva wished desperately for Sha'o'el's companionship. The understood each other like no other human or dragon could.
"There they are!" Tarshaeva shouted to her companions.
Posted by Sapphire Night on October 4th, 2000 07:48 PM:
"There," said Darnok as Tarshaeva and he both spotted not only the steel dragon, but the others approaching it. "We'll be in combat soon I believe...are you ready?" he asked Karrigan as the specs grew closer.
"As always," was Karrigan's reply.
Posted by Firetalon on October 6th, 2000 09:38 AM:
A mountain, stolid and unmovable, came into view.
Unmovable only to some… the dark figure thought to itself. It saw the horizon through the steel dragon’s unblinking eyes. The Temple of Earth lay before them, and within it, the next part of their quest.
"The Temple lies below the rock," the voice explained to the steel creature. "It is there you will find the Soulstone."
The steel creature didn’t reply.
The watcher pondered at the sight of the mountain. The closer the dragon got, the clearer the mountain’s image became. The essence of Earth could be clearly felt, even through the secondhand medium of the steel dragon’s sight.
Below the dragon, the puny figures of the would-be adversaries scurried about insignificantly.
The darkness smiled slightly at the warriors. So another Master Wayfarer had been chosen, hm? And it seemed he was accompanied by the High Wayfarer of Water.
A faint ripple in the darkness showed that the Wayfarers were communicating through mindspeak.
A dark chuckle echoed through the blackness. Though the watcher could have easily done so, there was little reason to eavesdrop on them.
Things were progressing quite nicely as it was…
The ground suddenly lurched and buckled, pushed aside by some great force.
The watcher’s smile widened. "Yes…"
The mountain boulders blocking the entrance fell down as if they had never been supported at all, swallowed by the pit that had suddenly appeared below them, pressed together so closely that they seemed almost a long paved road.
A road that led to the curved and glistening steel arches of the open entrance to the Temple of Earth.
And the steel dragon continued flying.
OOC: Ok, here’s a few ideas I’ve had about where to go next:
1) Steel dragon arrives at the Earth temple before the WF/Paladin party
gets there. Temple has to be closed by WF of Earth. Soulstone saved, but
party has to fight and will lose (since the dragon’s invulnerable right
2) Party arrives first. Temple closed before steel dragon gets there. Soulstone saved temporarily. Problem: Party is trapped. And the dragon will burrow anyway.
3) Party arrives. SD arrives. Party and dragon fight. Party loses (since the dragon’s invulnerable right now) and Soulstone taken. Dragon gains power, and WF of Earth kicks the bucket big time. (Well, ok. Maybe the WF of Earth doesn’t have to die. )
4) Everyone gets tired of this decides to go to the Firetalon’s Disco Club down the road and- j/k.
5) Other. Someone else have an idea?
Anyone have a question? Anyone reading this have an idea? You don’t have to participate to have an idea, y’know…
Posted by Firetalon on October 6th, 2000 09:44 AM:
OOC: I can't remember... Did someone mention there were villagers to be saved?
Anyhoo, even common people can be heroes.
Time for some ambiance... Cue the extras!!
Generic Villager Bob
Bob rubbed his eyes to clear the smoke from them. He didn’t know where the smoke came from, but he knew it couldn’t be a good sign.
The sound of screaming emphasized that thought.
Smoke billowed into the barn/makeshift prison. Glancing upward, Bob could see the old timbers smolder with flame.
The roof was on fire.
Bob rushed to wake the others. There were no windows, so it was impossible to tell whether any of their jailers were outside…
Bob frowned. They were probably responsible for this.
Several villagers were beating on the heavy wooden doors. Some women were trying to comfort the children, who had become alarmed by the flaming timbers and started crying.
Bob choked on the heavy smoke. He could hear screaming from the other compounds.
He just hoped someone would help all of them… before it was too late.
OOC: To be continued tomorrow. I'm tired.
Btw, no extras were harmed during the typing of this post.
Posted by Firetalon on October 6th, 2000 09:47 AM:
OOC: PS: Any resemblance to persons living or deceased in purely coincidental. (ie. I just used the name 'Bob' because it sounded neat. This doesn't mean Bob the Hysterical is Generic Villager Bob. Besides, if I used the name 'Steve', we'd have MORE problems.)
Posted by Firetalon on October 9th, 2000 02:26 AM:
OOC: I was under the impression that the SD and the party were at the same distance on different direction... Pfft, bah. I'm just a little slow. Heck, MY character's still wandering around the woods!
Anyhoo, I'll be typing something up...
Posted by Sapphire Night on October 9th, 2000 01:11 PM:
OOC: I thought that the Marcus group was ahead and the Tarshaeva group was a bit behind...I figured one could delay, make an escape, that sort of thing...up to the brilliance that is FT though.
Posted by Sapphire Night on October 20th, 2000 11:07 PM:
The stone of the Earth Temple lay open, a gate leading toward the depths of the world... Toward the healing Altar that contained the Soul Stone, the essence of Earth.
"Retrieve the Soul Stone," commanded the Voice.
The steel dragon veered suddenly toward the open gates.
Posted by Sapphire Night on October 20th, 2000 11:11 PM:
Darnok saw the others landing at the Temple.
Someone's already there. And the steel one is approaching. he said to Karrigan.
"Tarshaeva!" he roared to the dragon and her current rider as he pulled up side by side with her. "We need to try and get there first, or at the least delay the creature. What say you?"
Posted by Shadow of Light on October 21st, 2000 08:13 AM:
"We won't have a hope fighting that thing alone," she roared, keeping her grip on the burned out Heart of Flame. "And I doubt we'll delay it long. We are no threat to it. Let's get to the Temple first! Hold on, Valyna!"
And she streaked through the sky toward the Temple of Earth with all the speed she could muster.
OOC: You can write us arriving, if you want.
Posted by Sapphire Night on October 21st, 2000 09:17 AM:
Darnok roared in response to Tarshaeva and dove after her, straining his wings to reach the Temple opening before the steel dragon...
Posted by Shadow of Light on October 23rd, 2000 12:05 PM:
She saw a blue dragon take wing from the Temple Gates and groaned when it attacked the steel dragon with a breath of lightning.
But when a tiny human form conjured a massive blast of ice that froze the metal creature into a dragon-shaped iceblock...
"This is our chance!" she shouted, and put on a final burst of speed. As the dripping iceblock plummetted toward the rocky ground and shattered (with the steel dragon still intact), she was speeding over it and straight for the Temple Gates.
A cloud of flames issued up from the fallen dragon, but she was past it... and going a bit too fast than was healthy.
"Out of the waaaaayyyyy!" she roared and, tucking her wings close to her body, shot neatly through the cavernous opening to the Temple of Earth. Hindclaws lashed out and screeched across the ground to reduce her speed and finally stop her.
An instant later, Sha'o'el dashed over to her with a wide grin and grabbed her around the neck. "It's good to see you again."
Tarshaeva wrapped one foreclaw around SoL's shoulders, mindful of her still slightly-smoking talons. "As it is to see you." She lowered her head so Valyna could dismount. "This is the Shinobi I told you about. Valyna, this is my bonded, Shadow of Light."
Valyna gave the Paladin a slight bow, her calculating eyes never leaving Sha'o'el's. "A pleasure."
"The pleasure is mine," SoL returned, inclining her head. "I heard how you helped Tarshaeva. My thanks to you. And what is that?" she added, indicating the huge and dark object the dragon held in her other foreclaw.
"This," came the sad reply, "was the Heart of Flame."
Posted by Sapphire Night on October 24th, 2000 01:02 AM:
Darnok saw the dragon begin to enter, pushing himself to the limit to get there as he saw a shining blue dragon take wing and attack with a blast of lightning.
Nothing, save a momentary pause. Darnok was inwardly amazed at the steel dragon's resistance.
Then he saw the small human, who appeared to be female, raising a staff.
A stick? he thought. If that blast of electricity didn't do anything, I don't know what... his thoughts trailed off as he saw the blue glow emanate from the woman, and the ice overtake the steel dragon.
Ah, magic. I should have guessed he thought.
"Hold on!" he roared back at Karrigan, bringing his wings in close to his body and diving for the entrance, very close to Tarshaeva. Unlike her, his luck didn't hold. The flames loosed by the fallen steel dragon caught him as he went through the entrance, causing a roar of pain as Darnok's legs shot out to stop himself, Karrigan holding on for dear life.
They slid to a stop right next to Tarshaeva. Karrigan slid down, determined to help Darnok despite the pain wracking his body from the bond they shared. The damage looked painful. Darnok's right back leg had been very badly burned, and parts of his tail singed.
"I'll live," he said. He turned to Tarshaeva, who was obviously glad to finally be with her bonded again.
"Now what?" he asked as the steel dragon began to pick itself back up...
(continued, sort of, in the Paladin thread, but it never really finished.)