When shadows creep on you suddenly, it surely must be a magicker.

Started by Nyr, October 31, 2008, 06:24:13 PM

Stories of horror and terror can send a chill down the spine. 
Perhaps a well-told tale makes fear well up in your throat, or leaves memories in your mind that haunt you for nights to come.

Perhaps these tales will do the same. 

Welcome to Zalanthas...
We've been expecting you.
Quote from: LauraMars on December 15, 2016, 08:17:36 PMPaint on a mustache and be a dude for a day. Stuff some melons down my shirt, cinch up a corset and pass as a girl.

With appropriate roleplay of course.

Quote from: Shalooonsh
The sky was blistering over the putrid oasis which gave life to the stark, broken lands stretching out
as far as the eye could see. The morning shade from the Shield Wall just a faded memory, the air was
filled with a droning chaos of hundreds of flying, stinging insects. Troh, ever cautious of poison, hunched
over his work, scraping the mud aside to form a shallow pit so he could check the water's reflection.
Rippled and wavery, he stared hard at the small pool as it reflected the green and blue warpaint of his tribe.
This was not his land, but he was welcome here, he hoped. A single safe place during The Walk is a
treasured thing, for no time in the life of an Akei are things more deadly.

The snap of a twig told Troh of the arrival of someone who obviously wanted their presence known. Clawed
gloves, red and brown streaks, and a bright crimson claw inked on the right shoulder reflected above and
behind Troh in the murky water. From behind some broken stones lurked two compatriots of this distant,
fierce tribe, all of whom then approached with weapons down.

The chin of the first to appear jerked skyward, and a resonant voice inquired, "What blood y'claim, runnah?"
Troh left his work at the water, rising with confidence, his hands open to face the three elves. Meeting eye to
eye with the leader, Troh dipped a return nod.

"Akei'ta Var from the far grass. I am Troh, seeking truths of the distant stones." Glances were exchanged
among the three, and a suspicious squint took the face of the leader.

"If this is so," the leader growled, "then you will show me the scar." Without pause, Troh peeled aside the
left side of his duskhorn jerkin, revealing an aged burn scar near the shoulder. The leader nodded to this.

"It is you. Have you the tent?" Troh laughed.

"Eyes like a rock, Kaja Hallan. Did you not see it upon my back when you lurked up?" A quick flush of the
cheeks, ended by laughter from the three Soh.

"Come, let us run then, Troh. The Sun Runners have spoken of a place great glory can be gained, and since
we are swift, we can make it there by night fall."

The quartet turned; two men, and two women, confident in youth and vigor.  They lit out across the barren, rocky sands on silent feet.


"This is it? The place of glory?" Troh eyed the aperture suspiciously, feeling something was amiss.
An ancient stone border, hewn in years long past and adorned with symbols yawned hungrily in the sands. The wind whistled hollow as it swept within.

A snuff and a grunt from Kaja came as he planted his spear's butt on the ground, taking a knee. "Doesn't look
like much. Not even that deep. Look...stairs." With his left hand, he cast a few small stones down into the darkness,
the clattering ending not so long after the release. Krath was going down, leaving long shadows from the four
elves stretched taut on sands the color of old blood.

Yuun stepped forward as she flared her nostrils. Her build short and stocky for an elf, she took a knee nearby
and scowled into the darkness. "Water." Never one for many words, Yuun unwrapped a crystal from her belt,
and tapped it to glowing life. As Troh turned to set up the tent, Yuun ventured down the dark stairway, the sickly
greenish glow of her crystal slowly fading and being swallowed by the darkness.

The wind howled and continued to throw red dust, and moments became minutes as the elves waited the return of the young, beautiful Soh.

Kaja frowned, brow furrowing as he touched his temple. "She's found water," he said, then laughing. "She's spiced,
she says it's falling from the very stone in thick sheets."

"Yuun doesn't lie, Kaja," Iri spat, tension in her voice from the insult to her sister. "If she says there's water, there's water."
Without a moment more, Iri snapped her crystal out and ran down the stairs. Exchanging glances, Kaja and Troh followed
a minute later, leaving the tent alone. After a pregnant pause, a lone, lanky figure strode out from the shelter of a nearby
dune, clad in brilliant colors. Laughing lightly, the Sun Runner slipped a quartz-tipped fighting spear over his back, and
approached the tent. Ducking his head inside, he took stock of what was left behind, and crouched down to wait.


The elves stood slack jawed, staring at the naked elf girl as she danced through the falling water. Whooping with laughter,
the remaining three quickly began to shed clothing and rush forward. Never before had they felt something so cold, or seen
so much water. The laughter continued, and grew drunken as they were consumed by joy, washing each other's hair and
wiping the grime of ages away from tanned, scarred flesh.

For most of an hour this continued, and it wasn't until Troh left the water that anything was seen as amiss. Kaja continued
to laugh, and Yuun danced her silent dance, but Iri made no voice or breath, for she was gone. Troh's eyes cast rapidly about,
searching through the dimly green-lit cave. Nothing.

Kaja noted the stance of his friend, and sobered immediately, giving his tongue a loud click. Yuun snapped to, moving quickly
to her fallen clothes and grabbing a shortblade. As her fingers folded around the grip, there was a soft crackling noise, and Kaja froze.

His skin slowly turned blue, life fading from his eyes and leaving his face in a permanent rictus of incredible fear. Troh felt
the cold begin to overtake him, and shouted a warning to Yuun, who bolted into motion just steps behind his already
fleeing feet. Naked and driven by fear, one holding a knife, the other a guttering glow crystal, the elves raced down the
stifling, narrow, twisty corridor until they came upon a large chamber not so far from the entrance.

Crouched in the hallway that led to freedom and sanity was a singular elven figure whose reflection was held by a pool of
liquid spilled recently from the waterskin which fell from her fingers. With the swiftness of a hunter, she pulled an arrow,
her voice lifting with "Yuun! Run low!" Yuun ducked, just as the quartz tipped arrow took Troh straight through the heart,
the crystal falling from his dead fingers before his body hit the cold floor. Yuun came back up just in time to see the elf
in the doorway kick the torch at her feet into the pool, which exploded into a wall of flame. Laughter filled the air,
along with the crackling whooosh of burning oil, and a long, mournful moan.

The details of Yuun's demise are best left unwritten, for horrible in the extreme are they. When the flames finally faded,
the Sun Runner was gone, as were the three intrepid Soh and the one young Akei.


Gindram finished taking down the tent, chuckling all the while as Krath reared burning and hateful into the sky. Picking up his
pack, the tent, and the rest of the scattered goods of the foolish elves, he took one long look back at what he called Coin's Lair,
but pronounced far closer to Coinslayer. His most recent profits realized, he stood and stripped off his gloves, wiping the
sweat from his forehead with a dagger-tattooed hand.

Laughing, his long legs began to scissor as he raced back to his homeland, shaking his head, and wondering how the
Soh could have lived so long while being so foolish. The Akei was just honey on the ginka. His soul dagger didn't
taste a drop, but perhaps next time his profits would not be so easy.

Not that he was complaining.
Quote from: LauraMars on December 15, 2016, 08:17:36 PMPaint on a mustache and be a dude for a day. Stuff some melons down my shirt, cinch up a corset and pass as a girl.

With appropriate roleplay of course.

Quote from: Shalooonsh
There he was...my quarry. I'd been tracking him for hours through this hellish brick canyon, and I was
ready for my hunger to abate. His eyes heavy with spice, his posture relaxed, it was little problem for
me to slink in from behind. One hand full of obsidian, the other empty and grasping, I had him. My fingers
closed around the bounty, the glorious hunk of brown that it was, as my other drove the jagged, chipped
triangle of black forward. I heard a shatter, even as I gained my prize. Left with no other option, I took a
serious grip and drove my prize towards his neck. My will as my guide, I struck true, and I felt a shift and
a break as something sheared off. There was a gurgle, and a spray which amused me, and I turned my
swift feet away even before he stopped breathing through his ruined throat.

It was just past high sun, and I had just stabbed a man to death with a stale loaf of bread. In my lot in life,
it was not uncommon for death to come to those who held food, but this was a distinct death in the way it
had been performed. At least, I thought so. I'd never heard of it before, and that gave a slight spring to my
step as I lurked off down the alleys.

To say the air was heavy would have been unjust. There was no wind, and the stale aroma hung like a rotting
velvet curtain over these twisting byways which were home to so many unsavory elements. Clambering halfway
up a broken wall, I perched, and began to dine on the bread which was now growing soft under the application
of certain juices. Half way through my third bite, I saw it. Hulking in a way that few half-giants do, it took up
most of the alley. Clad only in its own pride, and a loincloth... well, more of a sling, really, for its genitals, it still
cut an impressive figure. Twelve to fifteen cords in height, its head was even with my own from my lofty perch.
It was watching the ground, and I was watching it, which provided me with the advantage. The shoulders scraped
on the alley walls as it lumbered onward, rocks and bones crushing to dust under its feet. The closer it came
through the miasma, the more I noticed about it. Odd symbols played all over its flesh, and its too-round head
swayed searchingly from left to right with glowing, flickering eyes. A single, curved horn jutted up from the top of
its crown, broken at the tip, jagged, and a nasty green in tone.

You don't survive long unless you have a very healthy respect for things that can kill you. I would drop to a bow
before this creature long before any nobly-born person I had ever met, and my reflexes helped with the decision
to stay breathing. I was up, and ready to leap across the open air to the wall opposite when I noticed its flaming
gaze upon me. I didn't so much get a shiver as a low-level convulsion. The thing held my gaze for a few moments
as I stopped breathing, and I felt inexplicably drawn to it. Lucky for me, I'd met with more than a few whores who
had a talent like this, and here I was: still alive. With a flash of will and anger, I broke my gaze, and vaulted to the
wall opposite.

Scrambling the few remaining cords upwards, I breached the roof and began to sprint. I was about halfway across
when the whole building contorted, and began to crumble. Driven onward by determination, I strove against the
falling ruins to get to the next roof, and success was my only option. Leaping over six whole cords of open air
recently occupied by a roof, my toes gripped the failing wall, and served to send me forward, tumbling unevenly
across the remaining gap to the top of the next building. Not taking a breath, I continued onward.

I felt pebbles and dust spatter my back as the thing came through the remaining wall of the building like it was
built of stacked silt. Racing forward, I put a whole building between myself and it, then half of another before I
saw my option for escape. Huddled on the corner of a ruin was a small humanoid figure. Unfurling my tattered,
rat-hide cloak, I kicked the figure in the head, sending it to harsh sleep, then threw the cloak down over it without
a second glance. Turning, I stepped over the edge of the wall, descended, then ducked down to street level and
past. The sewers had been ruptured here by some great upheaval, providing an uneven entry and safe haven for
those brave enough to descend.

With sure hands and feet, I moved, knowing that one slip would put me in a situation far worse than the
one I was in. I moved until I could block all the light with my palm, and I waited. Eventually, bits of rubble
rained down, I heard a roaring, a scream, and then a lot of sniffing and crunching. Something large and wet
fell past me after a while more, and splashed down in the murk so far below. It smelled of blood. After
hearing the retreating footsteps, I decided to wait all too long before climbing back up.

By the time I reached the lip, it was almost night. The rubble that was left in the wake of that giant thing
was being picked over by the fine inhabitants of the area, and the destruction was truly impressive. Giving
myself a brief moment of mirth, I chuckled, and reached for my bread...which was in the cloak. Damnit.

My stomach howled.

Stalking off, I passed a plethora of unfortunates who were whispering of the giant crashing figure, most
going silent as I neared, and then resuming hushed conversations when I was supposedly out of ear shot.
I heard no mention of my own involvement, which pleased me. I headed home.

Several twists of the alleys later, I came upon that rancid place that I and mine defended. Seven of us strong,
we had an edge in that we never had to buy water. Cursed, they called Ol' Jinx, but to us, he was a blessing,
and I could almost now taste that cool liquid on my lips. Tired, hungry, and crashing from the rush of my earlier
experience, I went in through the back entry which was once a window.

Something was wrong, and that something was the fact that the roof seemed to have caved in. I could see Ol' Jinx's
broken, inked leg jutting out from under some rubble, pale and bloodless. Our barrels were shattered, and there was
no other sign of life other than a rat which fixed me with a hungry gaze. I was hungrier, and, as it proved, quicker. At
least I would eat something this night.

Normally, when you break a neck, there's some kicking involved. The rat kicked, but then it kept on doing it. Using
a sharp rock, I severed the head, and began to dine on the back legs. Its eyes were fixed on me, so I turned it away.
Not bad, for a rat, meaty and moist. You learned to be a connoisseur of such things. Some of them are tough, some
are gamey, some are actually partially rotted. This one was a good, pleasant meal.

Except for the fact that it was looking at me, again. I reached for the head.

It chittered.

I'm not easily unnerved, so I decided to not let this get to me. I simply stood up, and took another bite of the ratleg.
At least, that was my intent. The leg had turned to a length of feces, covered in maggots.

Tossing it down, I took a deep breath, rapidly made the decision not to think about it, and turned to lurk away.
No friends, no home, no food. Great. Well, they were thugs anyway. Meat and hands with which to protect myself
and gather what I needed. Now they were gone, and I was still alive.

Summoning up my will, I forgot it all, and turned a corner. My hand still stunk from the non-rat, and the night
was horrible and still. Not a scream, not a cough, not a tumbling brick anywhere to my ears, and even my own
footsteps seemed muffled. Kind of creepy, but I was not easily unsettled. I caught a glint of shine from near
some rubble, and pulled free a still-bloody shard of twisted obsidian. Wrapping it in my stinky grip, I kept on.

The silence was starting to get eerie. I'd turned several corners, and had yet to see a glimpse of movement not
caused by my own legs or fleeting shadow. No rats. No flies. No stupid elves. No whores. Not even the wind moved.

The whole place smelled like blood.

You ever get that feeling that you're being stalked? That's a reflex you learn not to ignore in my kind of life. I started
to feel that edge race along my nerves. I stopped, and resolved myself to the fight I knew was coming. Casting
my eyes around, I peered through the black for any sign of motion, and found none. High eyes see far, so I climbed.

From the top of the wall, I could still see no motion. The blood moon was high and full, casting crimson down on
the dark alleys, and nothing continued to move. Crouching, I waited. Nothing could catch me by surprise from up here.

In the time I had, I cut a bit of cloth from my ratty trousers, and wrapped the obsidian to give a better grip. Still
nothing. No sound. No movement. I steadied my breathing, working against the creeping anxiety that I felt from being
hunted. My nerves didn't shatter. Loss of control was death, and I did not lose control. I was no where near out of
resources, and I had the advantage from up here. Patience.

Jihae continued to slowly creep across the sky, I continued to breathe evenly, and the alleys continued to make no sound.
The knife was steady in my hand. I again took stock of my position...no food, but my hunger was still. My heart was steady,
my wits keen, and I had pants, shoes, tattered leather on my torso, and a good knife. It was all I needed. Yet something was
still very, very wrong.

And then I realized that I'd been crouched here for about three hours, and Jihae had been moving the whole time. It's said
that you can always catch some people by surprise if you just go up. Hit a roof, come down hard. They never look up.

I had been glancing up the whole time, feeling that things were more and more wrong the whole time, before I finally
realized what it was. Jihae was moving, but it was moving the wrong way.

That almost unnerved me. I wouldn't let it.

I stared at Jihae. It stared back, bald, round, and red, with a baleful gaze. As I watched, the form began to contort.
A jagged green plume shot up from the top, curving ever so slightly, and two eyes opened, full of fire. A mouth with
four jagged, blocky teeth ripped through the red, completing the idea of a horrible visage, and it howled.

I sat entranced, unable to move, unable to respond, as the corner of my vision caught sight of an arm larger and
longer than the Shield Wall swinging over the edge of the world and reaching towards me. Fingers thicker than a
brace of mekillot sought to close over me, but I was not yet broken.

I spoke five simple words, and felt the lifeforce wrench within me. I was gone.


Blackness surrounded me, nothing moving, and no feeling. I drifted for what seemed an eternity, and every time
I closed my eyes, I saw again that horrid, too-round head full of fire and hate. Something I would control, if given
my chance. I somehow sensed that this was the point...that this whole thing had been a test of some sort. My life
had been truly in peril, but now that I had gained success, and proven I was capable, I was no longer in a position
to be threatened. I had confidence, I had strength, and I had patience. And so it was that I waited for the results.

Eventually, after the eternity and a bit more, I heard it speak. One, simple word, a word which I had forgotten long ago.
A word which I had been called in my youth. A word which would gain so much more meaning in the days to come, for
both myself, and for the world. The word echoed around, bouncing through my black tomb, reverberating until it became
my very heartbeat, and I gained complete control over it. A word, a name, which I vowed would spill from the lips of
every young human, every old dwarf, and every stupid elf. A name which would inspire fear in even among the high
places of the world, for I no longer had to hide my strength. I could grow within this name, and cause it to shatter mountains.

Quote from: LauraMars on December 15, 2016, 08:17:36 PMPaint on a mustache and be a dude for a day. Stuff some melons down my shirt, cinch up a corset and pass as a girl.

With appropriate roleplay of course.

Quote from: Nyr
"Down the hatch it goes!" I yelled, and tilted back the gith-skull cup.  The firebreather seared the insides
of my mouth with its acrid, raw taste, and the cheers of my mates deafened my ears.  I slammed the cup
back down beside several empty bottles and cups on the agafari bar's surface.  The sudden motion made
me lose my balance, sending me to the wooden floor with a thump.  I woozily grabbed at the stone-seated
stool, dragging myself back up onto it with significant effort.
"Don't let it get to ya so fast, Runner!" yelled my Sergeant.  The grin on my face must have been the expression
of the happily drunk, for he just slapped me on the back and shook his head, laughing.  This time, I braced my
elbows against the bar, keeping my rump firmly situated on my stool.  I wiped at my face where some remnants
of firebreather still remained.
I deserve a break.  I deserved that drink...
A casual glance down the bar--the regulars, mostly.  Mercs, the occasional 'rinth-rat, a few shadier-looking types
hanging near the edges.  I had to squint to keep them in focus.
I deserved all of those drinks I'd had earlier, too.
We had just come in from a rough bit of a contract, guarding a caravan from Luir's to the Black.  Along the road
we ran into gith, and if those weren't enough, we had to deal with a pack of sand-raptors.  Nothing new for a merc,
but we weren't ready for the gith in the first place.  We weren't ill-trained, we just--
Hello there...
My eyes latched onto a woman with blonde tresses, dressed in expensive cotton.  Her figure was exquisite and
made me long for the supple curves that were hinted at, rather than overtly displayed.  Kohl-smeared eyes, a
scar-free face, a slender neck...was that a silk collar?  Oh, she's high-class, that one.  Noble's aide, not a
  Her eyes locked with mine for just a scant moment before she turned up her nose, looking elsewhere.
I deserved HER.
No, you want her, you don't deserve her.  There's a difference.
Willing to concede the point, I gathered my composure and some greater amount of courage from a swig of
firebreather in the dregs of a cup.  I hopped off of my stool and stumbled over to where she was standing. 
"Hello!" I called out loudly.  She retrained her green-eyed gaze on me, and a quiver of longing swept up from
my stomach, or thereabouts.
"Can I help you, Runner?" she answered after looking me over.
"Oh, yeah--yeah..."  I paused, and blurted out, "I'm pretty sure I've got enough 'sid to impress you."  That was
partially a lie.  I was pretty sure I had enough 'sid to pay a whore.  I wasn't sure it'd be enough to impress her. 
Sure enough, she lifted one of her elegant eyebrows.
"Impress me?  Why would I be impressed with you?" she responded.  Her lips were quivering at the corners, but I
couldn't tell if she meant to contain a frown or a smile.
Probably a smile.  You're charming.  Be charming.
"I've got 'sid, and you're definitely in need of the good times I can offer you tonight," I retorted.  Very charming.  Who's better than me?
"Do you think someone dressed like me would ever stoop so low as to--" she started.  I cut her off.
"Yes, yes--you would, because whatever Lord Borsail or Lady Oash or whoever-the-fuck you're kanking is like,
they can't hold a candle to the sandstorm I got."  She stared at me oddly.  "In my pants," I added.  Without any
warning, her facial features resolved their conflict and presented a genuine smile.  "You know, because I'm talking
about my little Tek, which isn't so little, and comparing it to your, um, employer, and how they're not really anything
in the sack compared to me."  A light-hearted chuckle escaped her lips, and the sound of it send another jolt of
longing through me.  "Er, not to say anything bad about your employer, since, well, they are nobility, and they are
better than me, understand, but you know, I--"
She spoke.  "Let's head to my apartment, and save the discussion for later, hm?"  I was all too pleased with
my drunken performance, and hooted a cheer as I followed her through the press of people towards the carru-hide
tarp covering the northern exit.


Her apartment was nice.  She had done an exceptional job (whatever her job was, apart from occasionally
scrounging for virile young mercenaries like myself for a good kanking).  It was clean, and it smelled wonderful. 
I set my bulky stone warhammer down by the door.  She walked to her bed, a sturdy-framed contraption, and
stood there, staring at me with those soft green eyes.  She lifted a finger and pointed a slender digit at me.
"Take off that cloak, Runner," she breathed.  Oh, how I wanted to, even through the haze of lightheaded drunkenness! 
I stripped it off without preamble, and tossed it to the floor, standing in my armor.  She frowned.  "That wasn't
exactly what I would consider...seductive," she intoned.  I shrugged my shoulders and smiled widely at her.
"All the 'seductive' is under my belt," I responded.  She stared at me like she had before, an odd look on her face. 
"By which I mean my--"
"Take off your boots," she interrupted.  I complied, but made sure to take as much time as I needed to in order
to bring some pleasure to her.  I wanted to see that smile on her face again.  "Now your belt."  Carefully, making sure
not to lose my balance, I unhitched my belt and slowly slid it off, letting it dangle from my fingers before it hit the floor. 
A small smile crossed her lips, those luscious, too-red and too-tender lips.  "Do you have any weapons?"  I nodded and
pointed down at my boots.
"Yeah, I keep a longknife in my left boot," I replied.
"Grab it."  I frowned at her, not sure what she meant.
"I don't really--"
"Grab it, now."  I snatched the knife out of the bootsheath, holding it up by the leather-wrapped hilt.  She walked
closer to me, and smiled broadly.  "I want you to slice your hand open, from the index finger to the base of your palm."  I
opened my mouth to speak, but my hand was already moving--shaking--
"No!  I--"
I want to slice my hand open.  Now.  Do it.
My hand shook as I resisted the urge, but it was overwhelming.  No...now I wanted to do it.  I wanted to please her...I wanted to do whatever she wished of me.
I carved into the palm of my hand.  Blood welled up from the cut, spilling out dripping to the wooden floor, forming
a small puddle.  Once I was finished, I waited.  She smiled.  "Good.  You're listening now..."
Take a coal from the brazier, and place it in my mouth. 
Smile at her. 
I will enjoy it.

I smiled and walked to the brazier, reaching a bare hand into it to grab a burning coal.  The scent of seared flesh
covered up the pleasant, aromatic incense in the room.  The coal turned the bleeding cut in my hand into even
greater pain, pain that radiated outwards in throbbing bursts of agony. 
I wanted to drop the coal, but I wanted to hold it. 
I wanted to feel the pain. 
I wanted to enjoy the pain.
I lifted the coal up in front of my mouth.  My lips parted, and I stared at her.  She had a sweet smile on her face.  She was so happy!
I wanted her to be happy.
Quote from: LauraMars on December 15, 2016, 08:17:36 PMPaint on a mustache and be a dude for a day. Stuff some melons down my shirt, cinch up a corset and pass as a girl.

With appropriate roleplay of course.