Tablelands Mega Plot

Started by Rathustra, November 10, 2015, 02:40:21 PM


The ground shakes beneath Tezne. Tezne Du'Kayee Al'Hagon, hunter of the Arabet. Sand sprays across her field of vision and someone screams and dies. Memories rise up, unbidden and crowd out the red sky...

What does it mean?

The tents were so far away. A mosaic of faded, wind-blasted fabric - of tassels and adornments in every colour her kin could find. Streamers snapped in the wind, praising the wisps of windblown sand coaxed into flight by whira's caresses along the dune. Her vision sways with the gait of the inix between her thighs and she touches at its shell. Tezne touches along the painted designs, tracing the intricate, colourful swirls as they follow the natural pattern of the beast's carapace. Ready for the desert and whatever the spirits had to offer. Looking back she spies the tent of her mother and father - one of the sombre, black shapes that stands - proudly she thinks - amidst the riot of bleached colour. She smiles at the pennants and shreds of colour lashed to its peak, to its ropes - her mother's touches, begrudgingly permitted by a doting Seik father.

Numbering eight, the hunting party sought braxat dim enough to wander out of the canyons. But they were ready for anything - carru, durrit - even dujat, if the sands fancied it. Laughing was easy at a journey's birth and Tezne knew to drink her fill before her good humour was tested by the desert and the unseen. Kadir had cooked the stones and seen success, her brother had passed her his best spear and she'd taken her father's bow - without asking, but she knew he'd understand. She needed his skill now - to prove herself to everyone and everything watching. Tellingly, her mind wanders to the back of Kielan's black cloak and the styrax spear strapped across his shoulder. Prove herself to some more than others.

A sky so broad and held by cunyati boughs...

It hurts too much to move. The ground shakes again and something scuffs the rocky ground beneath her. Her neck, her back - red hot points across her legs - all scream out as muscles seem to strain and fray - twisting her neck as she struggles to see. Her shattered nose spills blood over her eye as her head tilts and she blinks away the blood. An arrowshaft - less than a handspan from her head - sprouts from the lifeless soil. Fletched black, black like the tent on the hill. Crying out, her tendons slacken and her vision falters.

The fruit that fell to earth in mother's blood...

A storm put them to ground. It raged for a night and a day all around their tents. The pleasures of the road faded fast - sucked from each of them along each arduous turn taking watch. Drink and the choicest picks of their provisions staved off what boredom swapping stories couldn't. Tezne smiled her share and passed the time, making ready apart from the other Arabet. She felt the pleasure of silence like her father - sharpening and checking her gear once, then twice in the same way she had seen him do a thousand times before. Then came her watch and she drew past Kielan as he struggled back inside, coated in the Pah's dusty kiss. She just smiled the smile her mother taught her - the smile for the world and drew up her facewrap.

She squats before the tent, in the depression of sand that built up around Kielan and stares outwards sightlessly, eyes all but closed behind her sunslits and her nose plugged with scraps of sandcloth. "The storms are the realm of the A'iminir" - her father had taught her - of 'there' - the place of spaces, breath and pauses. She believed him, even though she knew he was half-teasing: the shifting, billowing expanse of blinding sand and choking dust seemed to dance and swirl in every direction. Unseen shapes disturbing a billowy veil from beyond her sight. Whira roared and Ruk hissed in response, the wind and earth whipping and cutting at one another, the former lifting the latter, throwing it here and there. The sound made her deaf - teased at her senses with half-heard cries of alarm, of roaring beasts just beyond the cord or two she could see - of voices, just beyond perception - behind the veil. If only she could understand them...

And from the furrows and Ruk's embrace rose the first men and women...

Figures lurked in the shadows around Tezne's vision, moving erratically as they cut and parried each other's attacks. One of the spirit's movements are all wrong - hunched and ambling, with fleshless arms and legs that keep it springing just beyond it's foe's reach. A black cloak and a styrax spear rimed with gore. More and more detail draws in as Tezne's swimming thoughts clamber for something - anything solid: There are more figures all about - some standing - others unmoving on the ground. Her legs burn and everything comes apart at the seams. Screams and hate-fuelled curses echo about the pit, reverberating back and forth as the rise towards the sky.

Their bodies were tough with the goodness of life - their skins dark like the cunyati that bore them...

The storm changed everything. No more laughter punctuated the heavy thuds of their inix's pace and the teasing, wry jokes of her sisters and brothers were silenced beneath the difficulties of navigating the changed landscape. Everything had dug itself in - the desert was empty, curving from the distant shield wall in the east, around to the shorter spires of the canyons in the west. They would have to go further south, they decided - but no further south than the Gem. Beyond the gem was gith country - and gith were poor eating. Everyone managed a smile at that - even if the thought of facing the bent-backs made her grip her brother's spear more tightly.

Their luck stayed poor for the next day and a half and then they were unpleasantly deep into their provisions, chewing Krath-dried scraps of meat that hadn't felt life in a season. "It makes the water sweeter." they joked around the dung fire as the last of their spirits put them into their furs. It was then, at high sun on the third day of their journey that they spotted the trail of two sunback. One roved around, the clawed prints twisting back and forth from the tracks of its partner - tracks made awkward and asymmetrical by a limp - slowed by some injury. Hopes were high and a little of Tezne's true smile cut the surface in what felt like a beacon fire toward Kielan's own smiling countenance, the sun catching the darker spots of the freckles on his dark-skinned face.

These people knew nothing about anything...

Her legs - something was squeezing her legs. They burned with agonizing pain - gripped and bound by something that held her on her side. Bile washes her mouth as she screams again, clawing at the immense mass pushing down at her thigh. Something screams back nearby and she forces her eyes open, summoning up every dreg of strength to move her head, points of agony along her spine squeezing at her empty stomach. Swirls and bloody handprints on tan shell - a leathery hide - stretches away from her. It stretches along to bloody rends in her inix's throat and the wide, lizard skull flattened by a fallen boulder. Trapped beneath her mount she recoils and nearly succumbs to the pain again. Her fingers close around something solid and familiar - the smooth styrax of her brother's spear. The spear of an Al'Seik. Gritting her teeth she sprays flecks of blood with a forced, steadying breath. Quickly, assessively - drawing on a rush of adrenalin - Tezne twists her neck - scanning the broken floor of the pit. She counts too many brightly-cloaked friends, too few strangers. The sunback are there too - broken like her mount - and so is Kielan. Holding off  two nightmare parodies of humanoid form. He flags, fighting like a rantarri with wild, desperate cuts of his spear, being pressed further and further back. Growing weaker and weaker, slower and slower.

...and they suffered under Suk-Krath...

All thought went with the sunbacks and the party kicked their beasts into a swift lope when the two distant shapes were spied on the horizon. Spear at the ready long before it'd be any use, Tezne let her hood fall and tried to enjoy the wind. She wanted to be in the moment - with her cousins - bright and unconnected. The sunbacks refused to abandon each other, even as they panicked and pushed themselves past exhaustion. The lame beast's flank was stuck through with a black-fletched arrow and all remarked on how another hunter's loss was their gain. The chase went on as the Arabet and Seik pushed their lumbering mounts to close on their quarry. Suk-Krath was setting as they herded the sunback between two towering dunes, towards an incline that would put them within striking reach.

Tezne, seeing her chance, dug her heels into the painted flanks of her inix, drawing back the reins to push it harder. She was to take the first strike and show what the child of the Arabet and the Seik could do. High in her saddle with a spear in her hand she was joined by her kin as each silently accepted the challenge. Fools all - they only saw the danger when the sand and scrap wood covering the pit collapsed and plunged them into darkness.

and the hands of elves and gith...

Something beneath her dead mount snaps as she forces herself to -bend-. Tezne's fingernails split as she claws the rubble and strains with every ounce of strength her family gave her. The spear overhead shakes in her grip, its tip swaying unsteadily as she coughs blood her eyes straining to focus on her target. Kielan's spear catches one of the gith and in desperation he pushes it home - sinking his weapon up into it's armpit and out of its neck. Tumbling together, the other bent-back makes its move, hissing and pouncing.

The spear thumps into the thing's ribcage and throws it off balance, making it tumble, scrabble and fall. It groans as the butt of the spear catches its weight - empty, black eyes widening in emaciated sockets as it impales itself, sinking with a hideous, wheezing gurgle onto Tezne's spear - a Seik's spear. Its scrabbling hands spasm around the smooth grey wood, slick with its blood and it can only curse silently as it slumps onto its side.

What did it all mean? Kadir's stones, the voices warning her in the storm. What did it mean? Kielan's smile, his touch - the spaces between. The breath, the gaps and her thoughts. Fraying, fraying - coming apart as the warmth leaking from her side numbs her, cools her and takes her beyond her shared life in the black and colourful tent on the dune. To the boughs of the world tree with her father's ancestors. Takes her to the wind to flow with her mother's blood until the world dies.

This is the first of many teasers to come, involving a large scale, Staff-run plot in the Tablelands. In order to have the plot succeed and be ultra exciting and fun, it needs an audience -- You, the players.

Besieged on all sides, and living in a land where they survive only by their wit and true skill, the Arabet and Seik have fused as one to stave off extinction. The desert has taken much from the Seik, giving only enough sustenance to eke a living out of their trade in Luir's Outpost and among the other tribals. Important customs and sites of pilgrimage are on the brink of being lost forever to the horrors of the waste and the cruel passage of uncaring time. The Arabet's mercurial outlook on life leave them dancing upon the edge of a knife, with division among the tents a persistent drama, especially when it comes to fully assimilating the Seik's tents and culture. The future is uncertain, as it always has been.

If you haven't played a human tribal before, they have a rich cultural history, freshly revamped documentation, and are a refreshing change of pace from city-life and RP. Their beliefs are some of the closest one can get to spiritualism and ritual belief, offering a new perspective to an otherwise non-theistic landscape. Whether you've played a human tribal in the past, or you're trying them for the first time, we invite you to give them a try -- For there are many conflicts and hazy, blood-red sunsets in the future for these tribes.

You may submit Role Application requests, directed to 'Al'Seik' or 'Arabet', with your proposed concept. We are also accepting up to two (2) Magickers for the al'Seik tribe -- A Rukkian, or a Vivaduan. There are careful considerations for these roles -- Culture and maintaining appearances and functions are more important to the Water Carru and Stone Braxat than being codedly powerful.

If you have further questions about documentation for these tribes, feel free to submit a 'Clan Related Question/Request', where we can clarify answers.

We are closing the Magicker applications portion of the Seik / Arabet as we've gotten a slew, and there are only two slots for this tribe. Stay tuned for further Tablelands teasers -- There are a few more on their way. The mundane roles of the Seik and Arabet are still open (and we've gotten a few of these as well)!

Exciting stuff coming up.
ArmageddonMUD Staff

November 14, 2015, 01:02:47 AM #3 Last Edit: November 14, 2015, 01:06:54 AM by Eurynomos

Fire floods the desert. The canyons are inundated by liquid heat - their aged, fractured ridges put white hot by the blinding illumination. A point becomes a curve and the curve widens with Sejah's invigorating warmth, it's gravid form shimmering as it banishes the feeble grasp of night - peeling away fingers of darkness clinging to the Shield Wall one by one.

Outal smiles, eyes closed to the sun's embrace and flexes where he sits, cross-legged at the apex of the Sunspire. In his mind's eye he plays out the dawn as he's seen it every single day since he was old enough to remember: The rising light cresting the canyons that spread out in every direction, washing down into the depths until only dregs of shadow remain; the spreading mirages, blinking and sparkling amidst the dunes;  the creeping heat haze radiating out from Suk-Krath's form, unfurling like wings until it hangs in all its glory. His smile splits his thin, perpetually-quirked lips and he cherishes the memories before opening his eyes and brushing back his braided, reddish hair.

All is as it should be. Everything in its right place. Outal's smile broadens up at Sejah, eyes fond as he stares directly into its incandescent immensity.

"Welcome home, kin." He bows his head, as if to an elder and spryly pushes to stand. Lank and lean, his bared body is tan - krath-touched - and corded with a runner's physique. He flexes his long-fingered hands and dips with his long legs to scoop up a burnt earthenware cup. Not bothering to snuff out the flickering blue flame that dances around the mouth of the cup, Outal quaffs the raw spirits after a toast to the ancestral embodiment of his blood - his tribe. But most importantly - him.

Loping down the narrow track to the spire's peak, he has quick smiles for cousins, aunts, uncles making their way up to bask and enjoy the dawn and more respectful nods for others inked like him, with black flames about their dusty, bare feet - or painted further, with intensifying and more spectacular renditions of pure flame. Each band coloured like a hotter fire, each band creeping further up the elf's body. Outal's fire had only been kindled up to his knees - the leaping yellow flames on his ankles fluidly transitioning to a cascade of orange.

Skipping a switchback by skidding down the rocky scree, Outal lopes into camp - passing between large, sprawling tents sewn from cloth and heaped with hides, each dyed a single, intense hue. Desert reds, vibrant yellows and greens mark the biggest tents, grown large from generations spent in the same position. The camp slumbers as he steps over tangles of elves in pairs or more, sprawled in furs around the low-burning fires that dot the plateau. He makes for one of the biggest canopies, slipping into the volatile air of the distillery. A few other Bahak dozed in the shady space - content, Outal thought, with their sooty feet and nothing more. He doesn't waste much time, gathering up a travelling cloak, a skin full of yezzir and a lenghtier pause as he lashes sandals to his calloused soles. Then he's out again, cloak bound around his torso as he quits the camp, the plateau and ducks down into the shadowy tunnel that leads to the floor of the canyons.

Round bottomed from countless eons of gradual collapse at whira's touch, the canyons weave and spread out from the foot of the Sunspire in every direction. Tall, unclimbably tall and baked brown by Suk-Krath's touch, the roving path Outal takes is blessedly light, wonderfully free of darkness save for the deepest crevices that the elf doesn't even think to glance at. Single minded in his run, he mentally prepares himself for what lies ahead - the gem, its stifling verdancy and unpleasantly damp heat. The pool. But all that lies across the desert between here and the Shield Wall and, Outal reminds himself, what is beyond the horizon lies beyond Bahak's care. 

Dust streamers behind the elf as he coasts across the sea of dunes. His hood back and with a straight sprint ahead of him, he loosens his cloak and lets the sluggish wind wrap around his body, legs pumping, pushing himself faster than he should. The burning in his sinewy limbs causes him to laugh - a lonely, swallowed sound beneath the fathomless red sky. He wasn't far now - the sands were thinning. Here and there the tips of colossal slabs of stone crested the frozen waves, pointing accusingly at the growing face of the Shield Wall. Pausing atop one such rocky island, Outal stopped to gutter his dry throat with a wash of yezzir, letting the whisky burn its way into his heaving chest. Flicking away blinding beads of sweat, Outal steadies and reaches down, deep into himself, his mind's eye tracing around the familiar shape of his power - his link to Suk-Krath and his ancestors. The sweat evaporates from his skin as he tightens his hold, drawing the power up and out - letting it loose like a catching spark. "The spark begets the flame."

Five words call the magick and a careful flexing of his fingers shape it, the roiling flames of his elemental fire washing down his forearms to wreath his hands in fire. His fists clench and he falters, seeing his father do the same - seeing his violet eyes burn bright. The the vision is gone and his flames have guttered out and Outal is left with his thoughts and an empty space inside. Cursing the sky he lets his control slip and rages for a while. By the time he's run on, the sand scattered across the stony protrusion had been fused to glass. He will have to travel on without the protection of fire.

The Gem is a dirty streak on the horizon as he approaches, all but hidden by the diminishing dunes and increasingly rocky terrain. Buzzards wheel overhead, riding on the shimmering updraught, lazily climbing higher or swooping down to harass rivals. Pech grass is the first sign of something alive that Outal comes across, the ruddy, waxy blades hidden beneath a thin dusting of sand from last night's storm. The grass thickens towards the central cluster of gnarled, bent trees, pushing up to rake at Outal's ankles and brush beneath the tail of his cloak. The silence of the oasis is a world apart from the silence of the desert or the sequestered solemn sounds of the canyons. It hums with tiny, irritating life - the buzzing of flies or the jostle of dry stems, amplified and held by the windbreak of cunyati trees and numut vine. The dampness in the air tested Outal's patience, but he controls himself - he holds back his disgust as he picks his way around the lonely few hillocks of wind-blown sand towards the heart of the Gem, the murky, hot pool at its centre.

Shedding his cloak on the thicket of grass and wildflowers, Outal tilts his head towards the sun - judging the time has left before Sejah becomes Bahak - when dawn becomes high sun. He had time. He had practiced what he came here to do a thousand times before - meditating on the form, the feat he had to achieve. The mastery demanded by the Aht'Bahak - the mastery of the rage within. He would purify himself and add the imperfection within his body to this foetid place. Pass back part of what kept him apart from his tribe's fiery ancestors into the land that nourishes those of his kin not blessed to be as close to the flame.

Suk-Krath's immensity reaches its zenith in silence, burning Outal's shadow away until it huddles, stunted and deformed at his feet. Outal stands in silence, baking in the heat uncovered - literally in his element. His eyes peel away and down - to the blazing circle reflected up in the oasis' still waters. Stepping out, Outal supresses a shudder as the tepid fluid washes about his inks and beyond - over his knees, soaking his breechcloth. His anger flexes and tests at his resolve. He pushes on, trying not to pause, trying to force his revulsion and distaste to the back of his mind. Flame within. Fed Without. He lets the riddle cycle in his head as he wades into the sun disk, its surface turbulent from his wading. He sinks an inch or so, and desperately hates the sensation of silty sand coating his feet.

Arms outspread, he curls his fingers into his palm (and sees the violet-eyed, white-haired figure do the same in his memory) and lets his nails bite hard with his grip. His nostrils flare and he feels a twinge of fear - the desiccated leaves, insects and gimpka rats of his prievious experiments shaking his determination with their brittle forms and agonizing deaths. The hesitation disgusts him far more than the touch of water ever could and he can only push on to avoid losing himself completely in a firestorm. More hurriedly than he'd have liked he taps into the spark of Suk-Krath - peeling away his control with careful, deliberate breaths. Channeling the torrent of energy as it flows out he hisses through his teeth, seeking through great effort to turn it back on himself - to push the power of flame inwards into his own body. His sprayed spittle evaporates, his face contorts as every muscle tenses.

He, Outal - Bahak of the Sun Runners - purest link of his fallen kin to the ancestors - was flesh and blood. Wet things. Weak things. The ancestors had no need for water and while his kin drank only the product of their stills - those stills drank from the gem, sucked moisture from fruit which dragged water from the land. Water was weakness, fit only for gavram slaves. If he could not escape the flesh entirely - then Outal, Burning Dawn, son of Sky Alight would push as much corruption from himself as his body could stand.

The water about his thighs was steaming now, the wisps of steam redirecting away from the roiling heat washing along his straining body. Shuddering he casts out his magick, parching himself, pushing his elemental energies through his flesh again and again. The agony dizzied his mind, it felt as though he had run for a month. He was burning for the first time since his birthright asserted himself. Your father knew what you were the moment he saw you. You were first amongst his children. A column of water vapour billows from Outal's mouth as he clenches his eyes, his burning lungs issuing forth a ragged, wounded cry that draws out into a scream. His nails pierce his palms and blood boils over his fingers, adding to the shimmering column of heat haze surrounding his body. He clamps his teeth together, struggling to stay on his feet - struggling to stay conscious against the blinding light.

He breaks. The pain is too great. He topples forward and thrashes to catch himself, striking the bubbling surface of the pool. The wash of agitated water over his torso drags his mind to the present. Anger, frustration, pain - all coalesce in that moment into a sort of clarity. The water on his face, in his nose - in his mouth. It is nothing. Empty, he struggles to support his own weight, slowly collapsing across the oasis to collapse on the sandy shore. Empty Amber eyes stare across the settling skin of the pool, seeing only the flashes of reflected sunlight. He had failed. His will was too weak - the degradation of his ancestor's power too far gone. But that didn't matter, Outal was sure of it now. It didn't matter at all because he could burn it all away if he wanted to. The power within him could snuff out the flesh that surrounded it, if he let it - in a firestorm, or within a pillar of fire conjured by his hands. It is the fire that burns and the mind that kindles it. Yes - he had learned what he needed to and proved it too.

Outal removed the Karai Situn mask and tossed it to the corner of the tent, hissing as he regained control over himself. Memories flooded back to him of his journey through the terrors of the night. The stench of the blood of Gith clung to his nearly naked body, glistening and becoming one taste with his sweat. The demon mask seemed to glint and glow in the red and white light of the moons above, peeking through the top of his tent.

The Skoto is...Dead?

Flashes of flame in subterranean tunnels...The smoked ruin of scaled flesh surrounding him, intensifying his visions and memories into vivid imaginations and actual reawakenings. He gripped at his long ears, pulling them hard, gritting his teeth as he shouted in agony. The curse of the mask, inviting Situn into his body...It was almost too much for him to bear. Now that he could see what he became, now that he could remember it clearly...

Calling flame to his hands, he focused his gaze and his breathing slowed. He closed his palm around the candle flame and it disappeared, issued forth and away from his own elemental channeling.

The Skoto...Is Alive.

Outal knew this for certain. He had come upon the creature deep in its lair beneath the Mesa, surrounded by charnel reminders of its occult dealings with Nilaz and worse. Skull garlands wrapped around undead companions...All seated in a circle, chanting in the language of the dead...Fire and flame took them all, but he saw the melting Skoto scream and laugh in unison, and disappear in a puff of ash and smoke. Not one relic remained from his body...He knew in his bones that he had failed in his mission.

The demon mask offered no consolation, staring wild-eyed into the night sky, the triumphant return of dawn coloring the sky above a light pink hue. Outal cursed, clenching his fists, wary of his conversation with the Aht'Bahak that he knew would be coming. But not before he found his mate...
ArmageddonMUD Staff

November 14, 2015, 01:13:46 AM #4 Last Edit: November 14, 2015, 01:25:53 PM by Eurynomos
Welcome to part two of our blanket advertisement for the Tablelands, and upcoming plots that will be taking place there. We've gotten a great response to the Arabet and Seik, and now we're looking to the Sun Runners.

To call the Sun Runners proud would be like calling the Sun Hot, or the Sky Red. The number of tribes that have challenged the Sun Runners and failed can be counted in the glass slag puddles left in the wake of their powerful Bahak, though they were not without failures and defeat, and retreat from their sacred Sun Spire, during the time of the Dragonsthrall. Complacent in these times of fattening and burgeoning, trouble awaits on the horizon, just beyond the canyons surrounding the Sun Spire -- Political and Violent in nature. Will you answer the call of Sajahain, of the Ir'rinazah Elders?

Intensely, fiercely loyal to each other, they also fear and respect their Bahak, whose renowned temper has left overly argumentative Runners with more than surface level burns. Known for their wild attitudes, their wild stories, and their wild ability to drink pretty much any round-ear under the table, these elves are as colorful as the clothing they wear and trade. If you haven't played a Sun Runner before, or you are looking for a new experience and mentality in a PC, now is the perfect time to buy in, and get involved with some plots that your PC could have a real effect in and on.

Whether you want to play a Sana Pah -- A Crafter -- A Zarajiri -- A Trader -- Or a Naza Pah -- A Hunter -- There are plenty of roles to take on in the tribe.

Apply today! Our Magicker positions for this tribe are currently full -- Mundane Applications Only. You can submit a Role Application with the Sun Runners Clan, and if you need more information on their recently revamped documentation, we can add your GDB to their board to see it there. Thanks!
ArmageddonMUD Staff

November 23, 2015, 04:37:43 AM #5 Last Edit: November 23, 2015, 04:52:03 AM by Rathustra
Squirming, the meat whimpers and chews at its gag, rolling its eyes at me, at the darkening sky and at the ring of silent shapes around the mound of sand. It tries to speak so I hit it with one of the clubs, glancing the rounded tip off its temple. It shudders and contorts and goes still. It isn't dead - but it wouldn't matter if it was - it will still be fresh enough.

I stride about the mound, drinking in the deepening, desolate silence of the canyons. There is a wind tonight, a storm building walls of windblown sand to the east that toy with and scatter the dying light of dusk. I look at my sama - our faces are covered, bound up in sandcloth and hide - but I know the eyes, the posture. I know each of them as well as any prey in the Pah. The shadows lengthen, an aura of crimson light lining the canyons to the west and soon all that is left of Suk-Krath is a bloody smear on the horizon. I turn and squeeze the chitin-lashed handles in my grip, my eyes joining the eight other pairs watching the advancing blade of shadow as it rises up the sandy hillock like something alive, seeming to sway this way and that along the ridges of rock and sand, pooling around the ruts left by the meat's struggling, bound limbs.

Once the darkness takes the meat we begin. In shadow our light feet become heavy as we stomp and drag our weight. I curve around, between the ring of elves and the meat, letting my body, my posture shift - my shoulders hunkering forward, my arms hanging, weighted by the cunyati clubs in my grasp. My vele and veli follow suit - their silhouettes hunching and bending as they begin to mill about at the edge of the hill, their gait shambling and heavy. We breathe as one - deep, whistling breaths and bellowing exhalations. The volume builds as we become something else in the darkness. We are joined in our thudding and our hissing.

The skull over my face becomes my face. The chitin over my hands become my hands. My arms fling up to the sky and I barely feel myself anymore. I am behind it all - behind the holes in the skull, peeking out from within the beast. The meat's eyes flutter open, align on me and the fear there empowers me. The prey is ready. The sama is ready. All that remained was to call our kin. So I begin. I slam the clubs down into the sand, kicking up sprays of dust. The flattened lengths are still only for a moment before I strike out again, slapping at the earth with the broad faces. Stone scrapes against wood and pebbles rattle and cascade, but all this and the wind is drowned out by the deep drumming of the clubs. The echoing blows lace perfectly with the scraping, scrabbling stomping of my kin. The cacophony builds like a feeding frenzy. Even the meat joins in, playing its part - screaming and pissing itself in the dirt as my stumbling gait draws the threshing clubs closer and closer.

The revelry is cut short when Kiozk screeches. A high, elven sound. Suddenly, everything stops. I am no longer the mask. The power borrowed from my ancestors is immediately gone - replaced by an icy chill. They were here. Twisting my head about I see the sign - the eruption of deep, fresh sand off in the murky darkness, followed by a rapidly lengthening streak of soil stretching like a wezer trail straight for us. Another keening cry, then another and another. Five of them, five departed cousins come to our call. More than is safe. If I don't act quickly some of us would be joining them tonight, accepting that final embrace.

I bark an order and take flight, quickly choosing a route away from the channels of churning earth and, Lannah be praised, all of the sama leap into action - their bodies elven and lithe once again as they almost dance across the Lirathu-bleached sand. Soh bound over the meat or dash around it, heedless of its increasingly desperate cries and I give it one last glance, committing its blunt, human features to memory. Then I'm away and the meat is just screams and the stench of dried sweat in the wind.

Perched up on the butte with my sama and the huddling, terrified shapes of the unproven tew I thank the moons for their light. From here I can see the entire clearing - each footfall from our flight filled in with shadow. A hush goes over the assembled elves as the first anakore erupts, its hooked claws seizing the meat's legs. The thin, distant wailing and the unintelligible screams in its tongue dance on the cool breeze as the chitin-clad bulk of the dune freak propels itself from the sand. A second claws upwards and embraces the meat, tearing into its chest as it crushes it close, trying to drag it straight back down. The beasts tousle, each trying to claim our gift and the screams more and more desperate. A third 'kore silences it with its claws, twisting the meat's head at an unnatural angle as it joins the fray. Each creature struggles with the others, dorsal fins catching the moonlight as the meat ruptures and paints the mound red. Settling for the broken scraps, each anakore twists and burrows into the disturbed ground, withdrawing to feed. At last the night is silent once more.

The journey back to camp is slow and filled with hushed, excited whispering. We travel high and keep to stone. We respect our sleeping cousins. I am silent, content to ponder the future. Every year more and more come with our call. Every year more and more children survive the harsh life that the wastes demand of the Soh. The pride in my blood warms me from within long before we spy the tents nestling in the deepest dark of the canyon wall. All the signs were coming true - with every sacrifice and every scalp taken. The coming of Lanah was soon and I and all my kin would be there to see it.

The Soh Lannah Kah are the Pah. They are the desolate wind, the unforgiving sky and the endless wasteland of blasted stone and rocky canyons. Where the Soh tread, others part – their mastery of the landscape and the art of guerilla warfare has let this small tribe constantly strike above their weight class.

Possessing a unique belief system and wholly player-devised history, the Soh Lannah Kah have stood the test of time, surviving where others have fallen. They are the archetypical desert elven raiders – self-assured, infuriating to their foes and deadly against those who don't respect their power.

The Soh have slowly come into their own after a long period of uncertainty. Their numbers are finally increasing and  life and prosperity has returned to their hunting lands. While many actors in the Pah seem to be in decline, the Soh are slowly but surely going from strength to strength. Emboldened by this success, the Soh have begin to range further afield, encountering new challenges and attracting the jealous eye of enemies old and new...

If you have never played a Desert Elf before and want to experience life as a gritty survivalist that embody the xenophobic and territorial nature of the race, or are an old hand who are looking to give the tribe another try – now is a good time to give the clan a shot. Applicants who join the tribe will find themselves ready to take part in plots planned for the Tablelands, helping to decide the future of the tribe.

Apply today! The Soh accept any mundane desert elf concept. Those interested in building a character concept around recent events can submit a Role Application request and work with staff on character creation. Less patient players can submit a clan documentation request and then apply in-game!

Just wanted to let you guys know that we have an opening for a Bahak (that would be a Sun Runner fire elementalist for those not in the know) -- so if you fancy setting some shit on fire, send your role applications my way.  :)

December 16, 2015, 04:57:44 PM #8 Last Edit: December 16, 2015, 05:07:02 PM by Rathustra
Somewhere in the southern Tablelands...

Quote from: Rathustra
The sun rises and fresh, hellish heat washes across the dunes. Empty slashes of shadow drink deep of the kindled light, pooling and stretching long behind the scalloped crests and undulating humps that march in chaotic ranks northwards - north towards the mesa.

A twisted shape huddles tighter into the darkness, as if struck by the light. Beneath its ragged aba it clutches at a split in its scaled flesh, probing at the blood-stained rag forced into the wound. None of the other creatures surrounding it stir, staying tangled in their filthy wrappings atop slicks of crimson-soaked sand. The survivor hisses and gnashes its jaw of broken teeth. Twisting, it claws towards and claims a spear, gripping it tightly and levering itself onto its knees. Bent-backed and scrawny, the gith callously examines the corpses of its pack-mates, grinding its teeth against the pain. Loping low to the ground on its hands and feet the gith moves swiftly, propelling itself with sinewy strength; An old waterskin, scraps of dried meat, Kelzuk's dagger, the necklace Agazuk wore - the one made from a straight-back's brain pan - all taken, all claimed.

Laid out, it is obvious there is not enough to carry the survivor back to their place. The heat increases as the gith stares at its loot, at the ants drinking from Agazuk's eye, at the shimmering horizon, at the shrinking shadows and then finally towards the mesa. The heat oppresses the gith. The dust lines its slit-like nostrils and the sand grits its various cuts and wounds. All like flies against the overpowering apathy and undirected hate simmering in the elongated skull of the survivor. It pushes at the wound Pogluk dealt it in its side, coaxing it to bleed again and it hisses at the former warko's corpse, his grotesque face rended uglier by the broken axe wedged in its brow.

The pack had been heading back to their place. They didn't have any water, no food - nothing but the dust in their mouths. Travelling at night as if hunting, they had slipped out of the mesa as soon as Pogluk had returned with the news that the chieftain had killed Kalaga for her poor tribute. His stupid smile had said enough - he was warko now and his bared, jagged teeth silently challenged the pack to disagree. Disagree so he could string them up from the cliffs. Dragged out of their memories for a moment the survivor scrapes clotted blood and sand from another cut with a nail before flicking the sludge away. So, with the new warko in control, the pack went to drag what was ours back to the mesa. To raid their own for the weak chieftain and his ash-smeared retinue.

It had been hunger that finally did it. Hunger made gith strong - it wormed into their resolve and devoured their cowardice. It pushed Kelzuk to loose his spear square at Pogluk's back and tackle the warko as the pack crested the dune. The pair tumbled head over heels down the avalanche of red sand and the rest of the pack steadied themselves and exchanged dangerous looks through the gloom. The survivor remembers acting last - the fraying bonds of fear and abuse keeping their axe sheathed as their black eyes strained to read something in the hooded faces of the rest of the pack. Agazuk screamed and slashed at the one Pogluk liked to lay with and was set upon by another - the darkness ate their identity and the survivor almost went to his aid. But thirst and suspicion kept them steady until a spear blossomed from Agazuk's back.

The dune slope descended into chaos as fractured lines of loyalty and mutual hate splintered the pack into a vicious melee. Kelzuk and Pogluk grappled at the base of the dune and the other half-dozen gith fought wildly against enemies both real and perceived. The survivor remembers killing two as they rushed to Kelzuk, loping, crook-backed down the slope - their axe took one across the gut - and looking now, the survivor sees that it's Helzuk that lays amidst streamers of offal. The second victim, the survivor beat with the blind face of the axe until they stopped moving after blundering into them and earning several deep cuts from a serrated blade. Ragged screeches and half-formed curses in heshrak filled the still night and the survivor briefly remembers a pang of fear bubbling beneath the rush of killing - what if a dune beast found us now?

But no dune beast came. No horror from the wastes found the massacre as the sounds of fighting grew fewer and more desperate. The survivor didn't look back - they felt oddly drained - had the knife been tainted? But they kept dragging themselves towards the tangle of biting, clawing and straining gith. Blood flecked the sand even in the light from the white moon. Kelzuk's eye was put out, but he continued to struggle - sharpened nails gouging tracts over Pogluk's throat. Everything was so heavy - the axe seemed a boulder in the survivor's hands, grinding a channel through the sand underfoot to the cool, welcoming stone below. Watched in a daze, Pogluk exalts, pinning and blinding Kelzuk with his gore-splattered fingers, tearing away the eclipse-emblazoned gorget from his foe's throat to wrap his hands around and crush the life from him.

The axe fell as heavily as it felt. Down, down - seeming to fall for an impossibly long distance - from the empty sky, from the ring of darkness at the edge of the survivor's vision. Even through the heramidic haze leeched the weariness and hunger from the survivor's flesh, even though they felt nothing of the cooling sands or the torn gashes in their flesh - they still despaired to feel a familiar, coiled hate and emptiness. So their face was contorted in fury as Pogluk twisted and hissed, lashing out with the snapped head of Kelzuk's spear. Punching through the scrab chitin of a cuirass made for a dwarf two heads shorter than the survivor, the would-be warko's black eyes glittered in the darkness as he twisted the haft, shredding muscle. But the survivor felt nothing and the axe still fell true on a head bared by the tumble down the dune. The flaking obsidian of the axe's head cracked as it bit through Pogluk's skull and the twice braced handle snapped for the last time, being pulled away as the force of the strike made Pogluk's body fall back, arms spread and eyes empty.

All the was silent as the survivor dragged itself away. Enough sense remained to tear and plug their meat, to clutch and hold their blood in as the poison swallowed reality and left them insensate there, alone.

And they were still alone. The red, baleful orb of the sun baked their back and dried the spilt blood of his pack. The survivor could not reach their place - they would die of thirst or by some creature's claws. The survivor could not return to the mesa without tribute - they would be flayed and fed to the dark things that lurked in the caves. But perhaps that death would be better than being alone or being consumed by the wastes. With bloodless and unsteady feet, the gith rises and leans their curled shoulders onto their spear, unblinkingly staring towards the chieftain's domain. Yes - that would be better than dying with their pack - unless...

Her - maybe -she- would take them. Maybe she could give them that most beloved of things for a gith - maybe she and her pack could give them revenge.

Watch this space.

(Also a reminder that if the wastes are more a place you want to visit and not live in - check out the Kadius First Hunter Role Call!)

Quote from: Eurynomos


Two days.

Two days the yiksha elves leave me here to die and choke on my own blood. But the red orb and hot earth bake my wounds shut. The sand cakes the life back into my body. The need for water makes me gasp for breath so that I might have my revenge. My dreams were of blackness and pools of ichor, moving through a haze under the Black Moon. Revenge.

The warko abandoned me, but I have no revenge for him in my body. I save that glorious taste for the one who put a spear in my gut. I grasp the spear where it is still lodged, the old blood caked around it. As long as I leave the spear, I know I will not die. Not yet. Revenge.

I struggle to my clawed feet, digging into the packed earth and drawing energy from its warmth. My blood has dried and stained the ground around me a lighter orange. There is one action I can complete -- Revenge. It drives me forward, down the crumbling road, towards death. Revenge.

I come upon their filth pond to see them gloating, drinking their fire-drinks from a barrel and laughing over the headless corpse of my nest mate. They are skinning his head and turning it into a skullcap to drink from. My vision is blurry, my thoughts hazy, but I remember that I have fire and oil. I feel no loss, only the desire to inflict pain. Revenge.

Behind a rock I hide as I pull the ember case up and blow through its depths, sending away the black ash and finding a sole red ember which I bring back to life. My gut feels like a thousand fires, wrenching with every breath around the obsidian spearhead lodged there. I touch the gourd's oil slicked fuse to the ember and it ignites. I send it as a gift to my yiksha elf friends, and they yowl in surprise and confusion when the flame takes them. I howl, in my tongue, "Revenge!".

I pull the spear from my gut, knowing I will have only a few seconds to decide which elf it belonged to. I search their faces as they bat out the flames on their arms and bodies, and see the blonde-haired one that smiled over my body. I pause in my advance. I pull my arm back and release the bloodied spear, penetrating his throat and nailing him to the ground with the force of my swing. The last thing I see is the blade that cuts my eyes, but I die with the thought...Revenge. And through my grimace of pain is a smile of satisfaction.
ArmageddonMUD Staff

Quote from: Eurynomos
The dying sun held low against the horizon, a swollen mess of purple and reds like a bloody bruise, casting its wan light over the group of cloaked figures on their precipice, a shallow cave set into the Shield Wall. Two stood erect, loosely grasping long spears, while the third seemed to consult some portents and omens. This one held a long, clawed hand, moving a gnarled index finger between small chunks of bone and symbols traced in the sand that collected from the gusts that howled against the massive plateau.

"Here. They will make their stand, below us, at dawn,' he said, in a rough, gravely voice. The Warko, the leader of this pack, tapped on a small piece of bone. It was misshapen and yellowed, a knuckle bone of some large humanoid, probably an elf or human.

"How do you know this to be certain? Nothing is written in your sand and bones, it is just a ruse. Perhaps they have run off to their Pit." This sentinel, Graznit, had an ill-temper even for a Gith. He reeked of the human scalps he enjoyed keeping and idly chewing on as if it were jerky.

"You claim I am some trickster?" The Warko unfurled from his curled length, showing that he was not the least bit scrawny or puny. Muscle unfolded on muscle, pressing against the bandolier of knives tethered about his scaled flesh. He snorted a breath through his slit nostrils, yellowed eyes seeking Graznit's own. Though Graznit looked away, in quick deference.

"Good, then you will listen to what I have to say or you will choke on my blade. The shitcloaks will try to rescue him. They honor money and codes of honor, like fools." He kicked a lump of unmoving flesh with a bag wrapped around its head -- For it was hardly a human being, with all of the lacerations, bruises, wounds, and a missing arm that bled profusely. It did not respond to the kick in any case, though the aba covering its form pulled up in the strong wind.

"So you say, Warko. So you say." Griznit turned back to look to the horizon as the sun finally set, leaving an afterglow that lingered barely at all. "But if you are wrong? Would you stake our lives on it?"

"Gladly. Your lives are mine. And if you are cowards, then you will flee in the morning. But the shitcloaks will take you when you reach the bottom of this chasm. And I will laugh as you die, throwing spears into your cold body."

The third sentinel, Hazanitzi, thumped his spear dully against the stone shelf, the bone charms shackled about the spearhead clattering, the first movement he had made in many minutes. He perked his head, and held up a scaled hand to pause their yammering.

"Enough. Listen. The spikes."

The wind howled and moaned like a dying beast, deep undercurrents of painful sobbing mixed with high-pitched wails as the air slipped and slid through the cracks of the Shield Wall. But through the din, the howls, and the yowls of the wind, the Warko heard what Hazanitzi spoke of. The clinking and chunking of stone -- one, after the next, after the next, piercing like a knife through the wind.

The trio stood tall, looking to one another, their rancid cloaks flapping. The Warko spoke first, amidst these sounds.

"Sounds like ten, maybe."

"Twelve, by my count," responded Hazanitzi. He did have a good ear for these things, thought the Warko.

Griznit cursed, idly rubbing a somewhat fresh scalp at his belt. Hazanitzi thumped his spear again, setting the charms to rattle. The Warko turned his yellowed eyes to the unmoving body with a bag wrapped around his head, drawing a jagged knife from his belt.

"I suppose we'll give them a welcome present, then." The two other Gith yowled in pleasure, readying themselves for the twilight battle on the shallow stone shelf, as the Warko began to saw the man's neck.

Somewhere in the northern Tablelands...

Quote from: Mordiggian
Yigash pulled himself up the steep face of the butte, claws finding purchase in small cracks and divets in the worn, reddish-brown rock. A dozen more gith were fanned out on either side of him on the cliff face, some with spears lashed to their backs and others gripping jagged blades with their teeth. The night air was mostly still, and the climbers moved toward the torchlight spilling over the precipice some ten cords above their position with special care.

Not so far away, on a twin butte to the northeast, Kazrak the Maggot and his warband would be undertaking a similar task. If Yigash and Kazrak survived the coming violence, one of them would kill the other. Yigash knew this, and determined Kazrak must die at the earliest opportunity. She would be furious, but perhaps Kazrak's share of the spoils would appease her.

Yigash and his gith reached the ledge, and Yigash stretched out a gangly arm to snare the first sentry. The elven man's gaze shot down as he felt a clawed grip wrap around his ankle but before he could shout, Yigash yanked hard and the sentry was falling, skull clipping the edge of the cliff and cracking with a wet sound. Yigash didn't waste time watching the elf plummet toward the dark sand below.  The distant, muffled thud told him all he needed to know.

With that, Yigash and the warband were over the ledge and atop the butte. Elven sentries turned to face the cloaked figures coming at them too late to matter. Yigash watched as the spawnmates Vizat and Kezat fell upon a woman clutching a spear, like a pair of dune raptors. Wickedly-sharp obsidian knives slipped between the gaps in her chitin-plated vest and she crumpled, spear clattering to the ground. Yigash turned to see another pair of elves, a male and a female, making a break for the far end of the butte, and the elven camp below. Unslinging his shortbow and drawing several grimy arrows from the quiver at his hip, Yigash sighted the female as she shouted something to the other elf.


"Zinger, we need to wa-!"

Zinger kept running, but he looked to Avya just in time to see a crude arrowhead sprout from her throat. She toppled and her momentum brought her face smashing into the rocks, hard. Zinger opened his mouth, but no sound came out. He kept running, toward the edge of the butte.

As he reached the cliff, a sting in his right calf barely registered in his mind, but sent him careening off the edge nonetheless. He sailed through the air, limbs flailing, the face of the butte rushing past in a dark blur. The precise angle of Zinger's fall, or perhaps sheer dumb luck, led him to crash through a layer of sandcloth canvas and into one of the N'kala tents.

The tent broke his fall, but only just. Zinger wheezed, trying to breath, trying to process his situation. He struggled to form anything resembling a rational thought, struggled to take a breath, struggled to see through the haze of pain and blood and tears blurring his vision.


Nix leapt up from her furs when the elf came crashing through the top of her tent. She looked on in shock, but only for a moment. Crouching beside him, she could see his left arm twisted at an impossible angle, and a jagged rib bone pushing through his bare chest. His body shook with every attempt at breathing. In spite of all of his, he seemed conscious. Unsure of what else to do, Nix wiped the blood from his eyes and face, her own jaw dropping in surprise as the broken elf tried to focus on her.

It was Zinger. One of the scouts. He tried to cry out, but blood welled up from his throat and he began to choke. Nix grimaced and looked away for just a moment, when she noticed the arrow protruding from Zinger's leg. A horrifying realization dawned on her. It was an arrow all elves of the Abi'li'Pah knew.


The gith drew out screams into the night air with the edges of their blades, the tips of their spears. The elves that ran fell prey to arrows, coated in shit and death. The elves that could not run were set upon by the youngest spawn, the gith fresh out of the creche who were brimming with violence and rage and hunger afters years of abuse by the rest of the tribe. Yigash and his warband swept down from the southwestern butte, their assault on the N'kala camp heralded by a rain of fire in the form of Ghorog's gift - gourds full of liquid immolation and stolen from the false tribes of the Desert Above. From the northeast, Kazrak's pack came down in a fury of anger and blades, howling for blood.

The fatal mistake of the elves was complacency. They thought themselves safe, so far north.

Nobody is safe.


Yigash moved through the remains of the camp, taking short breaths and revelling in the bite of the choking miasma in the air, strong with the stench of charred elf flesh. All around, dregs of both warbands picked over the corpses of gith and elves alike, fights erupting and ending just as quick as it was decided who would take choice pieces of loot. Yigash paid no heed to the spoils, his warband knew to bring forth the best tribute if they wanted to avoid his terrible fury. Yigash had killed sixteen gith within his own warband since becoming Warko, and he kept their jawbones for totems. Few still challenged him directly.

His eyes, orbs black as obsidian, were searching. Looking for Kazrak, who would surely challenge Yigash to claim the victory over the yiksha elves as his own. Yigash circled what was left of the camp twice over, with no sign of the other Warko. Yigash felt a probing otherness beating against the inside of his skull and Vizat's voice echoed with clarity in his mind. "This one has spoken to one of Kazrak's spawn, traded words and deep cuts. The Maggot was never here, never with his pack. The spawn was weak, did not last long enough for all the answers. This one and Kezat will go, will find where Kazrak the Maggot hides."

Yigash hurled the presence from his mind and felt the subtle push of Vizat's loathing recede. That was no surprise to Yigash, he knew even his closest enforcers coveted his riches and his cloak. But what Vizat said gnawed at his thoughts. Like a maggot through corpseflesh. As Yigash raised the ragged cowl of his filthy rantarri-hide cloak, one pressing thought bubbled to the surface of the roil that was his consciousness.

Kazrak the Maggot must die.

Watch this space.

(Also a reminder that if the wastes are more a place you want to visit and not live in - check out the Kadius First Hunter Role Call!)

We have room for one more Bahak in the Sun Runners. Send Role Applications via the Request Tool -- This will close in a few days if not sooner.
ArmageddonMUD Staff

This is now closed.
ArmageddonMUD Staff