Category Archives: Tales from Midworld

Events that take place in Midworld, outside of Freehold.

June Prologue 2017

PrologueNews and Rumors

[THE SUNDERING TREE, DEEP IN THE AETHER; MAY 28, 2017 (WR)]

“Yes. Let me see”

At his command, the Carrionettes stepped away and their clay limbs clicked with each movement. They faded from the circle of bloody masks on the ground and waited lifelessly in the tree-line. Valtherion did not have the dead eyes and the clay hearts of the puppet-like creatures, but looking upon the macabre trophies did not gladden him. After all, there was little and less left in him when the Face-takers were done – only the burning ember of spite and the grim contentment that others had suffered.

It was not enough. It would never be enough.

Behind him, the Sundering Tree’s branches reached into the heavens. After long years, it was able now to tear into Midworld at Valtherion’s twisted will.

“The Witch-King is pleased with your work, Valtherion!” From beneath its shadow emerged a Birdkin, dressed in Gotterdammerung garments and clapping slowly as it trespassed into his domain, into his throne.

Valtherion turned his masked gaze toward the Beastling, his crown of thorns and flowers moving in tune with his movements. “What I do is not for the Witch-King, Horusath. I do this for my own cause, for my own crusade!”

The Birdkin was cautious and strode carefully around the circle of masks on the ground. From the edges of the treeline around the grove, Carrionettes watched him with dead, glossy eyes.

“The Witch-King has given you the means of your vengeance. He has given you power and the protection of a World-Lock. He has even given you leave to continue your work – instead of utterly enslaving your will. I would not be so quick to disregard his pleasure”

Horusath bent to pick a discarded favor from the muddy ground. “A Callasine favor? Do you treat with your Kingdom still? Is there something you need to tell the Witch-King of the North?”

Valtherion laughed mirthlessly. “Death-Priests of the Silver Kingdom, sent to strike me down. My former home and my liege means as much to me as this bloody mud. And at the fullness of my strength, I mean to tread upon them in the same fashion. Even the Queen of Stars will fall to the Facetakers when the Sundering Tree rends the veil between Midworld and the Aether”

“That is good” Horusath nodded his beak, looking this way and that to take the scene in. “You were Envoy for them long ago after all… just as you were once an ally to Freehold. I will remind you now that it would be unwise for you to forsake your current allegiances for your past ones.”

“They failed me after I had sacrificed so much for them” The self-style Prince of Thorns had no laughter this time, only seething spite. “They can seek me out all they like, but they will not find me or my Tree so easily. The waves of Facetakers and Carrionettes will be as an unending river – and eventually they will drown in it. Their souls will adorn the Forest of Faces.”

“Ensure that this occurs. Anubisath has little love for Freehold and less love for failure” Horusath made his way to the Sundering Tree and faded away from beneath its boughs.

How the Witch-King and his minons made easy use of the Aether and of his own creation galled him. But there were other grudges to nurse, and vengeances to be quenched.

The Carrionettes moved to allow a trio of Face-takers into the grove. They were gigantic creatures, seemingly wrought of shadows and hunger and all wearing the faces of those they had hunted. The torment of a hundred souls were stitched upon their garments – and they would only ever want more.

Valtherion shivered even now when he saw them so hungry. His fingers traced the outline of his mask, then reached inside to claw at the shattered remains behind it.

Soon, Midworld and the Aether will be joined and all will share in my glorious torment

Rumor (anyone may read this)
Lore-keeper skill only
Callas Selvarion or Rumormonger skill
Fir’bolg or Rumormonger skill
Gotterdammerung or Rumormonger skill
Ixia or Rumormonger skill
Jotunbrud or Rumormonger skill
Kali-Ishtar or Rumormonger skill only
Labyrinthium or Rumormonger skill only
Malak Travak or Rumormonger skill only
Pendrakken or Rumormonger skill only
Riverfolk or Rumormonger skill only

 

 

April 2017 Prologue

PROLOGUERUMORS AND NEWS

[APRIL 8, 2017 (W.R.); A WAREHOUSE IN PORT DAWSON]

The shadows danced with the flickering of the candleflames, lending Karasu a fearsome aspect that moonless night. Her frown deepened as her informer droned with his report. He knelt face-down before her in the inferior position that suited him as an underling, muttering secrets into the dirt. Stuck in Port Dawson and several days away from Freehold, she would have rather read a report than heard it – but times were different now than they were in Kenrei and literate help was hard to find.

He finished the report with “Karasu-sama, I hope this pleases y–”

“Pleases me?” She put one foot atop her underling’s head and ground his face into the dirt floor of the warehouse. “What kind of information is this? What kind of informer are you? You are telling me nothing that I already know!”

“Mercy!” He pleaded after she lifted her foot. His bloodied, broken nose added snivel to his pleas. “I’m just a lowly worker – I barely saw anything at the Wave-strider ship. Only shadows and feathers and screamin–”

The foot came down, strongly, repeatedly and with the mercy associated with crows and vultures.  Karasu only stopped when she heard the scrape of boot against dirt. She recognized the intent behind it and did not turn to face the newcomer.

“Boss Karasu. Black Serpent of the Dust Vipers. I heard you were second only to Boss Gemma before it all went tumbling down” The tall Elf’s shadow radiated power. Likewise, his blade was sheathed but there was a deathly aspect to it that gave Karasu pause. “But you’ve switched from carving lotuses to paddling rafts, the rumors go. What a world we find ourselves in!”

“What do you want, Gaius? I’ve no room for games” she gave her underling one final kick before turning to face the Shaedling, tattooed arm behind her with a knife. He would tell of this meeting, of course – but only what she wanted him to tell.

“I need help – as per before. A relic of my Krieger has been stolen, my brother has been gravely wounded and—“

“And you want me to find the cause of all of this? Are they so precious that you would risk coming here yourself?“

“This is everything to me, now that he has grown strong with the devouring of so many Parasites. I’m calling my favor” a coin with a black serpent fell at her feet. “Or does that mean nothing?”

She picked the coin up with her free hand, but she never took her eyes off of the Elf. Karasu touched the coin with two callused fingers and it vanished immediately into her aspect.  “Hai. It means something, even now – especially now”

“Then we have work to do and much to go over with regards to my quarry. Unlike your useless informant, I know the Black Chalice renegade who attacked the Wave-striders last night and what they were seeking”

Karasu raised an eyebrow in surprise, but she showed little else in emotion except anger and annoyance before her hands moved in a blur. She cast her throw backwards and the knife caught the underling by the throat. His gasps filled the air until the poison gave him silence.

Gaius peered at her stunned or perhaps contemplating his next move. His hands did not reach for his sword but there were other ways a Dammerlicht could kill. Expertise in Sorcery and Witchery were the hallmarks of that currently beshadowed house.

“I know this as well” her eyes narrowed and she caressed the serpentine tattoo upon her arm. “Eshuu Shadow-eater, your old enemy. How is he alive and what do you think would bring him to Freehold?”

Rumor (anyone may read this)
Callas Selvarion Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Fir’bolg Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Gotterdammerung Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Ixia Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Jotunbrud Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Labyrinthium Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Kali-Ishtar Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Malak Travak Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Pendrakken Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only
Riverfolk Kingdom or Rumormonger skill only

 

February 2017 Prologue

PrologueRumors and News

[ORPHEA’S AETHYRIC GLADE; FEBRUARY 9, 2017 (W.R)]

There is a plane that embodies true perfection. A place of sublime and ineffable beauty. In it, the firmament is forever twilight; cast in deep shades of lavender, rose and lilac. The winds caress you gently and whisper sweet nothings ‘round the curve of your ear. There, in that gracious, beauteous, perfect place — there, my darlings, even the very prose is purple!

“Uh, my Lady Orphea, may I enquire as to whom you were speaking?” the elemental courtier looked around the vast Aethyric glade for his grace’s audience.

“Well I was trying to ‘set the scene’ as one does until you had to go and ruin it,” she sighed, exasperated and folding her lavender hand-fan. All around the Aethereal were her admirers and hangers-on. While the constant deference and adoration was quite lovely and her honest due, there were times when the continuous obsequious behavior made her wish for better company.  “Tell me Cora- “

“My name is Callum, your Loveliness”

“Yes, very well Cara, now tell me darling, what news do you bring me? As vast and beautiful as this place may be, there aren’t quite so many things to occupy one’s self with.”

A short time before, this was far from true. Orphea’s realm was, until recent events, a place filled with sweet music and epic storytelling; a place of laughter and dance. But now, the court was a quiet and peaceful place. And while Orphea herself may have desired a more rambunctious revelry, she had not come so close and gained so much only to ruin her work with impatience and fleeting entertainment.

“Uh, yes of course, my Lady. Well, the Elemental Lord, Prospero is considering another ball with your particular mortals,”

“Prospero, you say? Hmm… too airy, what else?”

“Well the dwarves of- “

“Dwarves!? I should think not, too hairy.”

“Perhaps you would like to listen to an epic tale of a young mortal woman who sneezed actual bears?”

“Too bear-y, love” The Aethereal lady tapped her folded fan against the palm of her hand in thought.

“Hmm, tell me true, Carrie — what has been the latest news with my favorite group of mortals? I usually spend more time on their plane but matters of import have kept me close.  Are they well? Did any of them die? They do so at a distressing rate, I hope you realize. It’s hard enough for me to remember that they’re so terribly fragile”

“Splendorous One, my name is… never mind. My most wondrous Lady, your butterflies have returned on last evening’s wind and informed us that last moon, your town’s mortals dealt a most grievous blow to Anubisath.”

“Ha! You see, I knew they would take care of that. It was quite likely the Pendrakkens — they’re some of my favorite ones, I’ll have you know! Mortals are quite the ingenious lot, aren’t they? You know, for mayflies”

“You are, as always, a bastion of gorgeous wisdom, my fairest of Ladies, Orphea.”

“Aren’t I just, Charles dear? Tell me more”

The courtier put his hands together in thought before continuing. “Well, the Lady Lethe has been visiting mortals for some time. She has also enquired as to when she may come to one of your court’s gatherings.”

“Ugh, inviting oneself, how uncouth! She’s almost as bad as that ungrateful brat Bashira. Please send word to that bubble-headed nuisance Lethe that our next party is two days hence on the other side of the Aethyric plane.”

“Of course, my Lady, shall we begin preparations immediately or- “

“No, of course not, I’m going to trick her and then laugh about it.”

“Uh, yes, I see now. Very well, my Lady. We shall then sen–”

“Never mind, you’ve taken the fun out of it by having me explain it all! Send no messages.”

“I apologize most deeply my magnificent Lady.”

“Yes, yes.” The Aethereal waved her fan dismissively. “What other matters must you bring before me? I grow quite bored of this tedium and wish to develop my latest poetic work”

“Oh, my Lady! You will grace with another of your divine works so soon!?” The muse puffed up eagerly, drawing attention from his fellow courtiers. A crowd slowly began to gather with low, excited murmuring.

“Well I was, until you interrupted me with these trivial matters and disrupted my creative forces.”

Callum immediately fell prostrate to the ground before Orphea, begging, “Please forgive me for my grave and horrid error oh, merciful Lady!”

“Yes, yes, Calliope, all’s well darling. Do get up now, I would like get back to my work some time this decade, so please, tell me dear, what else do you need to inform me of?”

“Well Beauteous One, the kind Lady Akasha, your sister, is still missing from her glades.”

“WHAT!?” The clouds above darkened and churned. A piercing, biting wind cut brutally through the small group, gaining weight and force unto the back of the prone muse. “Why was I not informed immediately of my sister’s absence!? Do you think I have sacrificed everything, EVERYTHING, only to lose the one whom I sacrificed for!? You sycophantic breeze, I will extinguish your very essence! WHY AM I ONLY NOW HEARING OF THIS!?

Every irate word increased the gale until all the courtiers scattered from her angry winds. Above the storm, a strained voice cried out, “Lady Orphea! Please! I swear, you were informed as soon as we knew!”

The winds ceased. The moment stretched, wire thin and blade sharp, between Orphea and the piteously blubbering courtier.

“…I was?”

On his hands and knees, he crawled to her foot. “Yes, my Lady! I swear to you on my existence! When I informed you of the Lady Akasha’s departure last moon, you bid me to make ready her rooms for when she would soon return! You said she was only seeking peace from busyness of your court! I promise, Fearsome Lady, I only speak the truth!”

“Ah, yes… I did, didn’t I?” Orphea replied, masking her chagrin with her hand-fan. The skies returned to their purple hues and the winds gentled. “These days I am most sensitive about the Lady Akasha and I’m afraid I reacted in quite the beastly manner. But, chin up Clinton, you’re quite fine, aren’t you?”

“Well, actually, I’m in extre- “

“See? Of course you are! Now, since I do believe that our sister will return to us in her own time, just as I said before. Since there’s nothing else, I’ll be on my way, lovely.” She turned to leave to gaze upon her favorite lake across the way.

“My Lady! You must know!” His voice stopped Lady Orphea although she did not turn to face him. “The floodlings, your grace! They grow restless and destructive — both on this plane and within the mortals’. They cry out for your sister’s lost ones. They cry for ‘mother’. They cry for ‘Luther’.”

Orphea turned slowly, her eyes were unfocused with unease.

“Oh my, this can’t end well”

(Written by Vanessa Nichols)

 

 

Rumor (anyone may read this)
Callas Selvarion or Rumormonger only
Fir'bolg or Rumormonger only
Gotterdammerung or Rumormonger only
Ixia Kingdom or rumormonger only
Jotunbrud or Rumormonger only
Kali-Ishtar Kingdom or rumormonger only
Labyrinthium or Rumormonger skill only
Malak Travak or Rumormonger skill only
Pendrakken or Rumormonger skill only
Riverfolk or Rumormonger skill only