The Note Desolation Plays

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The Note Desolation Plays Empty The Note Desolation Plays

Post by Oblivion on Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:02 pm

So I had an idea today that I just up and ran with - basically, in place of a flashback arc like Hivebent, we have a record of the Trolls' session from a journal. Or perhaps multiple journals, if others feel like writing out their own PoVs on things. For the sake of sanity and ease of writing, I'm going to ignore quirks and color for this (unless I choose to include a log or two, for some reason). All of this is subject to me getting massively headstomped by the rest of the group if I do something they don't like, so feel free to yell at me. :)

The title is taken from "The Note Desolation Plays" by Imbrog. Which I may be claiming for Lygara's theme. >_>


======>

My name is Lygara Ranith, and this is my epitaph.

Perhaps that is an inaccurate term, as I have never been known for being particularly laconic. Memoir may be more precise. A record of my life, proof of an existence beyond the deeds and creations I shall leave behind. Though I suppose one such as I needs nothing so simple as words to leave my mark upon reality, there is little to be said of me and my companions personally from the fruits of our labors. We have done many things, great things. But save vague shadows and echoes without source, there is little or nothing of us, truly us, that remains to be seen when we are gone. Thus I have chosen to take note of the passage of time and events that led us to this unfortunate state, a final testament of our deeds and accomplishments.

I suppose this is the duty of a Bard, to etch forever into the stone of memory the tales and truth of the unfolding of events. It is a task I shall perform to my utmost capability. We have left our signature upon spacetime, and now I will leave behind the knowledge of what those emblems represent.

This is our story.


======>

As I stated previously, my name is Lygara. At the time of this writing, I am seven sweeps of age and immeasurably removed from all manner of familiarity. My location is irrelevant, and subject to change at a moment's notice, if at the time of this reading I even continue to survive; by the time another sentient soul discovers this record, I may well be long deceased. Though the flow of time in my current predicament is transparent at best. I will expand upon this later; for the time being, it is irrelevant and I have allowed my mind to wander. This, I fear, will occur regularly. I will apologize in advance, and request that you bear with me.

I am a Troll, native to the planet of Alternia. It is likely none who read this have ever heard of such a location; those who have are likely among the myriad planets and galaxies ravaged by our warlike kind, and are likely somewhat aware of our fate. Let it be known I bear you no ill-will for the likely level of hatred you bear my kind and your appreciation for our impending extinction. I am a goldblood, of relatively low caste but not so low as the final levels of the hemospectrum. Likely this is also meaningless to you, unless you are intimately familiar with my species, but it is currently of very little importance, and included only to encompass a sense of completeness and accuracy. I am possessed of a certain level of psionic capability, which allows me to manipulate matter in a conjurative and transmutive manner; in layman's terms, to create matter and objects seemingly from nothing and to move and alter objects through mental power. Such powers are commonplace for lowblooded Trolls, for the unfamiliar, and vary in scope, power, and usefulness. To speculate on the full potential range is nigh impossible, and distracts yet further from the tale to be told.

I have spent the last few spans - I would be more precise in my timeline, but alas Space and not Time is my domain, and I must confess I have managed to lose all internal record of the passage of time since my departure from Alternia - involved in a series of trials and challenges best referred to as a "game" of some sort. It is this game that has been the major deciding factor in much of my and my companions' current situation and perhaps that of all our species. But once again I have managed to become ahead of myself, and must retreat to explain my point in more detail.

Everything changed of our lives in a matter of moments. Six young trolls, only a few more sweeps from the dreadful day of either conscription or culling, seeking only a momentary escape from the rigors of our harsh and relentless existences. Or so we thought at the time. Though perhaps my view now may be tainted with nostalgia or longing for my current situation to relent, I cannot in full confidence say whether or not our lives were truly as horrid as we once lamented. But regardless as to the truth or illusion of that claim, we sought an escape and found it. A stray document lost in the myriad winding paths of electronic memory, an ancient and fragmented collective of code, easily reassembled by myself and one of my companions whose skills both challenge and compliment my own. Its discovery was equal parts fortune and fate, or so we have become convinced in retrospect. And from this, we derived the means by which if but for the space of a day to escape into a realm of entertainment by which we might allow ourselves a peaceful oblivion from the impending future of our own culture.

Little did we know how true that expectation was, and how literal that escape would be.

But I should start at the beginning, perhaps, and expand in greater detail. I will begin with my companions. The last surviving members of my race.
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Post by Oblivion on Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:18 pm

======>

We were once a vast race. Alternian armies conquered world upon world, enslaving or obliterating countless other species in their unending quest for dominance of all within sight. The Empress's hand would rule all, and the weapons that filled that hand were the armies of willing trolls and the towering weapons of war they created. We were feared - feared for our numbers, feared for our skills, feared for the wild and unpredictable powers of our lower castes, feared for the heedlessness of the higher castes who would send their lessers on suicide assaults without so much as a thought.

Now only six of us remain. And we are the last. Without a Mother Grub to lay the eggs that would contain our offspring, or a Matriorb from which another Mother Grub could be hatched, our species is sterile. Had we that, perhaps with time and the assistance of the mechanisms and alchemy provided by the game we could manage to preserve our kind, but we have neither. We will live, and then we will die. And all that will be left of Alternia is our records and a vague memory. Our kind is doomed, and we have accepted this - all that is left is for the time to pass, as one by one we fade away, and leave behind something to make sure that our names are not forgotten.

I will begin with Sigrun. Sigrun Baasch, an azureblood who had things gone without the interference of destiny likely would have become a notable warrior... if her personal codes of honor and restraint did not draw the ire of a military superior and result in her culling, that is. In all honesty, that is exactly what she has become, though her notability is limited to our small circle of survivors it does not change her capabilities in the slightest. Sigrun is in all parts my equal and opposite, and I hers. When one is volatile, the other is tranquil and focused; when one wavers, the other stands firm. It has been so since we met, and the sweeps have not eroded nor unwound the truth of the matter. I suppose, in some sense, the same could be said of all successful moirallegiances. I have often theorized that were it not for Sigrun's encouragement, my reclusive nature would have become even more seclusive, to the exclusion of all contact with the world outside my woods. Were that the case, I would not be here now, and quite possibly none of us would have survived the coming of the end. But such theories wear on the mind and in truth there is little of worth to pursue in them.

Sigrun is the stone upon which our group is anchored, I believe. Ever unyielding, a noble warrior to the last. Willing and ever able to stand and observe death face to face rather than flee. Most of the time, her advice is sound and her direction sure; of all my mistakes I must admit that choosing to ignore her word was my gravest, and one that I have yet to truly atone for. That it also was the mistake that brought about our current predicament has only supported this contemplation of error.

Guilla Alnasl. His brazen impatience and immediate tendency to draw attention demands that I delay no further in his introduction. Guilla is a greenblood and a skilled marksman. His weapons of choice are crude and old-fashioned, though I suppose I have little space in which to judge given my own selection of armament; furthermore he is exceptional at the use of them even if they are an odd, outdated option, and thus result in no loss of efficiency. If Sigrun is our rock and anchor, Guilla is the tempest which drives us, the crash of the waves which heralds our arrival, the bolt of lightning that sets the stern ablaze. He is loud, brash, and filled with force and energy. And yet he is not a fool, nor is he without pride. He fancies himself a leader, but only succeeds a portion of the time; his greatest flaw is his lack of patience and willingness to operate on any terms but his own.

Perhaps it is that which caused him to be given the task of Time among our number. His willingness to act first, if sometimes without thought, demonstrates an initiative that much of the time the rest of us lack. His capability for self-autonomy allows him the freedom to move within his own expectations and outside the boundaries set by any other, giving him the freedom necessary to perform the tasks assigned. It is these same qualities that bring him into conflict with ever-stable, ever-organized Sigrun; in time, perhaps with the wisdom of maturity and the grace of a life not resigned to oblivion, they may have found equality in kismesitude. Now? I believe Guilla still seeks it, seeing Sigrun as his true and worthy rival, but the relationship is not reciprocated at this time. As Sigrun's moirail, it is not my place to step in; my own opinions are obviously too biased to serve as an adequate auspitice. And regardless, in our current situation, it matters very little.

Glenys Silexa. One of the sea-dwelling caste, the once rulers of Alternia. Glenys is, in all ways, everything I once desired to become in my youth: graceful, proud, and confident in all things. Unphasable. Unattainable, in a way. She has a distant nature, as I suppose is the purview of the seadwellers. And yet, since the end she has become not a lording conqueror but a steadfast companion and equal. I must confess that my own views of the castes of the hemospectrum and the rulership of the highbloods had tainted my opinions of her and her kind, but I was nevertheless surprised by her willingness to follow rather than lead when necessary. This has not ceased her from speaking of her position, but there has been less strife caused by its presence than I would have otherwise estimated.

Glenys does not fight. Sigrun fights, charging into battle with spear drawn, shouting battlecries at the depths of her windhole, eyes blazing cyan and sunset with constrained fury. Guilla fights, substituting the roar of his ancient firearms for speech, brutally clubbing enemies over the skull if they venture too near to be defeated by a weapon traditionally designed for ranged combat. I fight, moving with mobility not designed for one of my height and seeking advantageous positions to attack with a tool in each hand. Glenys does not fight. Glenys dances. Her movements are as liquid as the sea she once called her own, flowing and graceful, without hint or sign of jagged edge or blunt force. Her armament of choice is selected not for traditional reasons nor for efficiency of use, but for practicality and for a minimal tarnishment of her appearance. Glenys is one of few who has found a way to make battle into art.

Foraii Moraxx. I must admit, none of our companions surprised me more than he. Prior to the beginning of the game, only Sigrun and Guilla I had met in person; the others I had known through various technological contacts but never observed directly; I could have remedied this using the viewing options in our communication console but the thought never crossed my mind as necessary until after the need was no longer so. From my communications with Foraii prior to our first meeting, I had imagined him as a small, almost helpless creature, not truly a troll at all but merely a similar being, a facsimile of our kind with the appearance to match but naught else. He was too quiet, too timid, too passive, even compared to myself. Many of these things were true. He was quiet, timid, passive, and friendly, enamored of the plants he tended and oblivious to the castes of the hemospectrum and his position therein, where his orange blood - despite the green text he used, which more reflected his interests than his personal state - placed him at the bottom as far as the membership of our tiny cluster of survivors was concerned. But he was neither helpless nor small.

Foraii is a towering figure, well a span over my own head and twice as wide, and I taller than all other trolls my age that I have encountered and many within two or three sweeps my elder. But for his size and girth he remains meek, never aggressive, rarely driven to anger and loathe to engage in any level of combat. To battle the enemies within the game took encouragement and pleading from all of us in addition to the constant assaults on him and his gardens by the enemy. He is a gentle giant, content to live in peace with the world regardless of its status, easily entertained and happy with his simple pleasures and calm pursuits. In a way, I envy him. He appears to be immune to terror or anxiety. He shows no fear as to our current predicament, and insists all will be well, and continues encouraging the rest of us to relent our aversions. His plants still grow, he says, and as long as they remain there is still Life. Such is his place in the world, and in the game. If only I could agree.

Vircen Flaqus. How do I describe that which I do not understand? How does one elaborate upon enigma? I know almost nothing of Vircen. His dwelling was remote, and even those of us who communicated with him prior to the game, such as myself, had never met him in person or learned much of him. Even his caste is a mystery, as he communicates behind a veil of grey; in person he shrouds his presence in cloaks and hoods, shielding his face from view, as if to hide even his tears should he weep. Yet I will share what I do know. His knowledge of technology is much like my own, yet different and complimentary. I am a creator, a designer, a builder. He is an author, a weaver, a dreamer. I work with hardware, solid objects manipulated under the skill of my hands and the sharpness of my eyes. He works with software, data and information processed through a swift and calculating mind. I make things work, repairing and building and creating and adjusting until it acts as intended. Vircen takes what I have created, and makes it do whatever he desires.

He is also possessed of immense pride. He stands apart from the hemospectrum not by accident of birth nor cause of another but by choice, and his choice alone. He has declared himself beyond its limitations, and moved himself aside. He judges the acts of himself and others alone, basing ones worth and rank not by caste but by word and deed. Unlike Foraii, who seems simply oblivious or apathetic to the caste system, Vircen has chosen to reject it and whatever boons or banes it might have provided him. He judges himself as harshly as any other, and his existence has become a constant struggle to prove himself worthy of the greatest position in a hierarchy of his own making. His influence is likely responsible for the meritocratic nature of our operations as we proceeded through the game; were Alternia to re-emerge from the void upon the dawn of a new day, I question whether or not our group could so easily re-insert ourselves into its culture without second thought after his ideals have been so strongly impressed upon us. Glenys mayhap, and possibly Sigrun, and Foraii due to his lack of observation of the spectrum in total, but the rest of us? I doubt it would be so simple.

This is us. We six, the last survivors of a dead race, the heralds of a forgotten world. We are all that remains. These are our names, forever etched on the endless sky of spacetime.

And this is how we became as we are.
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Post by Oblivion on Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:20 am

Start from the beginning.

The first seven sweeps of my existence, all variables considered, were what one might consider average for a young troll. I was hatched, dwelt in the spawning caves, and emerged from my cocoon state. Or so I presume, having no memory of that early portion of my life. I do recall my trials, and the danger I was placed in despite so early an age, a traditional part of the brutality of troll culture. Upon passing these challenges I was sent out into the wild as every young troll is, encountered and was taken by my lusus Demeter, and departed into the woods from whence she hailed. With the aid of the Carpenter Droids we turned her tree into a suitable hive for a young troll and her loyal lusus.

Between the distance from both civilization and from any other form of intelligent life, the dryad species' own seclusive nature, and the eventual chaos of my developing psionic capabilities, I made little interaction with other trolls as I aged. My primary contact with others was through the extensive network of electronic data that covered Alternia, allowing constant and instantaneous communication across the globe. The one troll that dwelt anywhere within a reasonable travel distance was located in the mountainous range to the north, at the feet of which my woods rested; it was in these peaks that Sigrun made her hive. Our meeting was entirely chance, and given Demeter's defensive nature had she been accompanying me on that particular wander I doubt Sigrun would have lived to see the mountains once more; as it was what little initial hostility there was between us - at first each seeing the other as an invader into their territory, a perception that lasted no more than a few moments at most - quickly faded and was replaced by a cordial friendship. Even so young, no more than three or four sweeps of age at the time, there was so much that was different about us. Sigrun was a dweller in mountains, adapted to the scaling of fierce slopes and cliffsides as a matter of daily course, taken by a lusus that demanded great strength and martial capability from its keeper. I on the other hand was a creature of the woods, maintained by a lusus whose answer to danger was not to strike out (unless the enemy was of significantly weaker stature) but rather to retreat and hide or defend itself behind an impenetrable protection. Sigrun was a warrior and a hunter, I was an artist and a wanderer. We were nothing alike, a status that persists in many ways to this day. In some ways, were we more similar things may have been quite different: we may have become rivals or even kismesises, or on the other horn simply ignored one another. As it was we developed a steadfast bond of partnership, each of us complimenting and compensating for the other, forging the links of our future moirallegiance.

It was not until my fifth sweep that I encountered the first of the others - again, Guilla, demanding his presence be made known. He was approaching Sigrun's hive shortly after my own arrival there on a visit, and I forget the reason for his appearance. His lusus had accompanied him, a gargantuan beast with three heads and displaying all the visible marks of a foul temper. It is quite commonplace for trolls and their lusii to display similar traits, observing myself has been more than enough proof of that; thus I believe this initial encounter is much to blame for my original perceptions of Guilla as an angry, impatient brute. As stated I do not recall the reason he came, and Sigrun very strongly implied that I should remain within the hive out of sight until he had been dealt with before taking her own lusus Sleipnir into the lawnring to meet with the approaching intruder. I followed only half the instruction, curiosity overcoming caution - a flaw of mine that will tend to repeat itself, as you will likely be swift to notice - and remained at the entrance of her hive to observe. Guilla did take notice of me, as I had made no attempt to conceal my presence; I could think of no way to do so that would not further obscure my own view. I know not what words were exchanged during that meeting, save that Guilla inquired who I was and what I was doing here, and that after some badgering Sigrun had agreed to give his contact information to me so I could speak to him on my own terms. We began conversing some time shortly later, and while he has always been curt and his relationship with Sigrun severe, our interactions have at least been civil if not pleasant and barring some recent issues we have always been cordial. I would consider him most of the time at the least a friend.

The next with whom I made contact was Vircen, due to our mutual interest in technology. Specifically, I was in need of a particular piece of equipment for a project I was preparing to operate on, and he was in possession of such an object without personal necessity for it and willing to negotiate a trade. Our interaction, as they always have been, was simple and official; there was little said outside of the arrangement of delivery and payment and a short inquiry of what it would be used for. We remained in contact, in a constant state of trade - each would express a necessity to the other as they arose, and a frequent system of exchanges of equipment, data, and favors arose. This continued through the sweeps until we discovered the game. It was a joint discovery, both of us picking up on odd bits of code and data fluctuations in the stream of process in the network; the ancient server upon which the data was stored took both our efforts to piece together enough to retrieve anything, and once we were able to collect enough to work with we both set to operating on reassembling the broken information. Vircen handled most of the code directly, while I operated on the server itself - tracking its location, journeying to reach it and the strange ruins within which it was stored, repairing it, and retrieving more information, data, code as I found it. Eventually between both our efforts we were able to reassemble the data into the functioning SGRUB code, and the game was brought to a functional, playable state.

It was shortly before this event when I encountered Foraii. I believe our original conversation was an accident on his part, a misfiled attempt to communicate with someone else that was routed to me for a reason I do not know. Nevertheless we managed to strike a chord with one another, and remained in touch even after proper connections were established. I found him somewhat endearing, and very unusual for a troll, especially one that appeared to proclaim himself a greenblood; all the more surprising to meet him in person and see how all my perceptions of him were misinformed.

Glenys I did not meet at all until the early preparations for the game, at which point I was informed by one of the other players that she would be among our participants. I was honestly somewhat perplexed and surprised that a seadweller would choose to participate in such an activity, or even that one would have friends among the landbound. We communicated some in preparation for the entry process, but much of our interaction was simply cordial greetings and sharing of just enough information to identify one another until we met in person within the borders of the Incipisphere.

But once again I get ahead of myself.

In the later spans of my seventh sweep, Vircen and I completed the reassembly of the game, which the code identified as being entitled "SGRUB". It was proposed among the six of us that we allow ourselves a respite from our daily chores and tasks and entertain our illusions with the aid of the game. The data was copied and distributed to the other four, and a process of arrangement set in place: Guilla, on his own demand, would be the first to "enter" the game, with I set to serve as his server, an assistant and guide to facilitate his progress; in perhaps brutal terms, an auspitice between a fellow player and the game. There were several points at which it certainly felt like mitigating a caliginous relationship. I would follow in his footsteps, and Sigrun would operate as my server. Then she, aided by Glenys, who would follow and be aided by Foraii, then he aided by Vircen, who would remain until last to make sure there would be no necessary last-minute edits or adjustments needed to the code. If all was operating as intended, Guilla would complete the circle by operating as Vircen's server.

It was then that everything changed.

To this day we remain at odds as to what exactly happened. Some of us believe it nothing more than destiny, that fate had already staked its claim on us six and there was naught we could do to change its course. Some claim the game was a danger lay in wait, the damage to the server upon which it was stored intentional to keep its threat at bay, and we foolish enough to unleash it. Whatever the cause, it was shortly after the game was begun and arrangements started to set Guilla as the first on his way that the meteors were sighted. And with them came devastation. Save Guilla, all of us would see our Lusii perish before the day came to an end. Demeter was severed by a collapse, snapped in twain as my hive was, her death and the destruction of her tree in perfect unison. Sleipniir was crushed in a rockslide. The others would face similar fates. Only Guilla was spared this, as his Chimera leaped willingly into the kernelsprite in fierce defense of its master; the result however was the same, and our Lusii on Alternia became our Sprites in the Medium. Only later would we come to regret this, as at the time we were too overcome with the sheer miraculous capability of the game to restore life to the dead, and allow active intelligent coherent communication between Troll and Lusus.

And in our wake, sealed with Vircen's entry, we would see Alternia no more. The Reckoning would continue to ravage our planet, and unchecked the devastation would reduce our species to naught. Though the true nature of our extinction could not be discerned from within the Incipisphere, our Sprites and later the Exiles confirmed our greatest fear: that Alternia as we knew it was no more, and that the only remaining trolls in existence were the six of us, safe - from the ravages of our universe, at least - within the Medium.

There was nothing to go back to. The only way to go was forward. So we pressed on, into the world of Sgrub. Into the realm of the Incipisphere. Into the war of Prospit and Derse. Into the skies of Skaia.
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Post by Oblivion on Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:36 pm

Evergreens and Ebony.

I know not what the planet whoever reads this may call home is like, in any manner. It may be quite tame compared to the wilderness and brutality of Alternia. It may, if I dare to contemplate it, be far more harsh and unforgiving. I cannot speculate, thus I will presume neither. I will simply attempt to convey my responses and perceptions as they came, as the experience of the game and its reality unfolded. I am persuaded that regardless of my capability for description, I cannot truly convey the complete atmosphere of Sgrub to someone who has not played it and experienced all the wonders and horrors it has to share.

Upon entry into the Medium, I found myself in a strange mockery of my own woods. The vast trees remained, and my broken hive among them; as far as the borders of the woods extended at first glance all appeared to be as it was prior to my entry. Even Sigrun's mountain remained, or perhaps simply a reflection thereof, though the stones had been shattered from its peak to reveal a gaping crater. But there was an obvious difference, even at a simple first observation. Everything was black. Not simply dark, as the fierce dusk of the Alternian night or the deep dark ash of the old woods; truly obsidian, onyx as the deepest sea, completely devoid of color. The only things that were not charcoal-shaded were the occasional twinkling star in the endless ebony above, and the creatures that inhabited the land - the reptilian Consorts and the Frogs.

It was at this point that I learned not only that Demeter had been revived from death by the fusion with the kernelsprite, but that she was now capable of direct linguistic communication whereas before we had only been able to converse via gestures and the sort of non-verbal understanding most trolls and their lusii develop over the many sweeps they spend in one another's care. Demetersprite was able to inform me of much of the game's basic information. The primary knowledge I received from her was that Alternia as we knew it was no more, we had been transported away from it to a location known as the Medium, and that I was now within a place referred to as the Land of Ebony and Frogs. This Land was my domain, one of six such worlds - one for each of our game's participants - that orbited the planet of Skaia at the center of the Incipisphere. We were to use the various Gates to travel first between myriad points on our worlds then to one another's domains, circling the Incipisphere and making our way through ever greater challenges until at last we reached the final Gate and set foot upon Skaia's Battlefield. There, we would be required to face the final challenge - our enemies, the Black King and Queen of Derse, and the might and devastation of the Reckoning.

Of course, it was never so simple as that. The path between the gates and leading to the Reckoning would be thronged with the threats of enemy Underlings, the looming danger of the wilds of the Incipisphere, the devastating power of the Denizens, and the might of the Black Army. The Medium was a reality of secrets and stories, of legends and roles, of heroes and villains and wars without end. An ageless stalemate, played out for countless eons on the lanceboard of the gods. But with our arrival, the balanced scales have been tipped, and a once-ceaseless struggle now swiftly began to come to an end. Black would overrun White, and it would be left in our hands to bring about a victory for the forces of creation. Defeating the Black royalty was only to be a small portion of this task.

Upon our arrival, and indeed it was very heavily implied then later outright stated that even prior to our decision to recover the game and later to play it, the six of us were endowed with titles that would reflect our capabilities and duties within the Incipisphere: Guilla, the Heir of Time; myself, the Bard of Space; Sigrun, the Witch of Might; Glenys, the Knight of Form; Foraii, the Sage of Life; and Vircen, the Seeker of Light.

But at first, naught of this was anything but words without meaning, sound without context. The grand plans of paradox space and arrangements of Roles and Domains was something incomprehensible to us in those early days. We were stricken with conflicting emotions of ecstasy and surprise at our survival and the wide worlds before us to explore, and devastation and loss for the gone-forever Alternia and those others we had known who with it had died. Though we pressed on, we are but mortal, and in the eyes of our culture still children in many ways; to brush aside the catastrophe of our world was no simple task, even for a troll. Thus we simply focused for the most part on survival, and managing some manner of reunion.

We learned the basic procedures of the game - the function of alchemy and the process of ascending the escheladder - in the first few days, mostly by trial and error. We were introduced to the marauding Imps within mere hours of our entry, far sooner in the cases of the later players. The details of those first few days are somewhat obscured, in the light of the events that followed, but can likely be summarized as a cyclic combination of travel, combat, alchemy, experimentation, confusion, and rest.

And in that rest, I was re-introduced to a sight that I thought I had long left behind.


Last edited by Oblivion on Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Oblivion on Thu Mar 24, 2011 5:47 pm

Dreams of Derse.

Several sweeps prior to the game, perhaps even to meeting my companions, I had evaded my Lusus's care for a moment to brave the woods outside during the light of day. For those unfamiliar with Alternia's climate, the sun is a relentless beacon of scorching heat, and only the walking dead and the strongest lusii dare to brave its rays. Yet, as was to become a common theme for me, I allowed my curiosity to overcome caution and wandered out of my hive before sunset to explore by daylight. A distraction, well-placed, had taken Demeter's attentions elsewhere and for the time being I was unwatched; thus I was able to evade her gaze long enough to escape.

This resulted in one of my most unwise decisions and nearly cost me my life. The heat, even diluted by the thickness of the forest, was suffocating and drained strength from me with every step. The air was stagnant, and in its grip I quickly became delirious and lost. Surrounded by the woods, which by day made strange sounds in the wind and the constant shifting of light and dark, my illusions built into paralyzing terror. At some point the fear coupled with the delirium and the temperature became too much for me, and I fell unconscious. When I opened my eyes again, everything had changed.

I was no longer on Alternia, that much was obvious. The world about me was dark and comfortably cool, but it was not at all my woods. It was a world of crystalline violet against a black void of nothingness for a sky. Devoid even of stars, seemingly empty save the occasional shifting form of... something, my mind could not truly comprehend nor my eyes accurately see. In place of the unnerving sounds of the woods by day, I heard the distant echo of steps against stone, and whispers on the edges of my consciousness - words I could not quite make out, murmurs descending out of the oblivion and fading just before reaching my ears. I was within a spire of purple gemstone, suspended well above a city filled with tiny black figures none of which I recognized, none of which appeared to be trolls at all even. There appeared to be no manner of entry or exit of this spire, save a pair of unobstructed panels that served as viewing portholes or perhaps windows; however these proved to be all that was necessary as I quickly discerned myself to be capable of flight while on this world. My examinations did not last long, nor did I wander far, for this mysterious dream came to a swift end as I regained consciousness and found myself once more back in my forest in the heat of day.

I was being carried, that was the first thing I noted when I revived; I could taste water as well, so whoever had found me had chosen to tend me instead of leaving me for the wilds to devour or culling me themselves. I never was able to achieve a clear view of my savior, save that he - or she, from what little I heard of their voice I could not discern gender in my only partially lucid state - dressed in white and bore no symbol marking them a member of any caste. I consider that they may have not been a troll at all either, much like the creatures from my dream. I faded in and out of consciousness, but did not return to the crystal world again until I reached my hive and was left in the care of Demeter, who immediately placed me in my recuperacoon to sleep and regain my strength.

In my dreams for at least a sweep more, every day when I slept I would awake on this violet world. I traveled its breadth, and quickly discerned the presence of two more towers much like my own, inhabited by unfamiliar figures that I nevertheless quickly recognized as fellow trolls; though obscured by veils both physical and mental as to be rendered unmemorable for that time, I would later come to learn that these were none other than Vircen and Foraii, but that knowledge was to be many sweeps in coming. I traveled on occasion to the larger sphere to which my dream-world was chained, but after a few unpleasant encounters with the natives - trollian in their basic form, but lacking many of our visible traits and seemingly possessed of bodies made of a strong, reflective black carapace much like certain insectile species of lusus - I quickly learned to keep my explorations to my side of the chain. I would spend most of those nights wandering the sky of that strange place, listening to the whispers from above and attempting to enter the other two towers to wake the sleepers therein; I was completely unsuccessful at the latter until after the game had begun.

Then, once I had entered the Medium, the dreams came in full force, somehow yet more vivid than ever before. Derse, for that was what it had been all along, became the place I would reside every time my physical body entered sleep. Now, though, the veils and obstructions were gone. I could clearly see and recognize my companions sleeping in the other towers, and the whispers from the void beyond were all the more clear. These strange speakings had been a long-time influence upon my pasttimes - my art and my carvings, primarily - and this became ever more reflected as the dreams continued. It did not take long to decipher that our presence on Derse, or Prospit in the case of my three other companions, was more than simply the workings of the active mind during slumber. A second copy of us, our dreamselves, was physically present in one of these locations and a point of importance for the game contained therein. To elaborate on such now would be out of place, however, so here I will cease. For the most part, regardless, little occurred on Derse - or Prospit, to my knowledge - that directly affected the events to come. It simply seemed to be a place for our minds to wander while our bodies rested, and with the exception of braving the larger satellite to observe the Dersian citizens there seemed to be little we could do there to further our goals in the game. Thus, it served for the most part as a respite from the dangers of the Medium during our sleep.

And many dangers there were, nearly all of them of our own doing....
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Post by Oblivion on Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:31 am

The Inventor.

In exploring my Land, I quickly gained the ability to discern what was to be expected and what was an oddity, out of place. Consorts, Frogs, trees, darkness, and the mountain - the Forge - were all a standard and accepted feature of the world, and Imps, Ogres, and their ilk were not, and were to be engaged and defeated on sight. This last was never much of an issue, as the creatures in question were fairly aggressive until proven out of their league and would charge fairly frequently as they perceived us, often before we took notice of them. The larger creatures were less subtle or stealthy, but equally aggressive and prone to attack and significantly less likely to retreat if outmatched.

It was several days before I encountered something that managed to be both at once. One of the shelled Consorts, from a distance nothing looked out of place about it except that it appeared to have acquired a metallic object of some sort. Nevertheless, I was curious and determined to acquire a closer observation; at nearer distance I was able to discern that it was indeed one of the Consorts, but something inexplicable had happened to it. A third of its face, a portion of its shell, and one entire arm had been replaced with mechanical apparatuses the likes of which I had never seen, far more complex and intricate than anything my own hands had made. The creature noticed me observing it moments later and, unlike any Consort I had encountered thus far, immediately became hostile; I was forced to destroy the warped being in self-defense before it would cease its assault. Unsure what to do, I backtracked to the nearest collective of the creatures and began an inquiry as to what had occurred.

The answer was simple: the unfortunate creature had been captured and altered by the Denizen.

It took quite some time to pry further information than this from them, but after some effort I managed to unearth enough knowledge to work with. The Denizen was the mighty being that dwelled in the mountains beyond the forest and the Forge; his name was Daedalus and he was said to be a master smith and worker of wonders who had long ago gone mad. He had lived near the Forge, using its fires to fuel his smithy, working his craft by the glow of the embers. When his mind broke, Daedalus ceased creating his wonders simply of metal and wood and stone, and instead turned to using unfortunate living creatures in his creations. When the Forge went dark some immeasurable time ago, possibly as an attempt to bring an end to his mad craftwork, Daedalus retreated further within the mountains and shut himself off from the world, delving deeper into the earth in search of the vein that fed the Forge's fire. Now only occasionally are remnants of his madness found, or occasionally a Consort will wander off too far and return warped and twisted by The Inventor's technology.

According to the Consorts, only when the Bard of Space was come would Daedalus's creations come to an end. They seemed oblivious to any claims that I was the troll they sought, nor affirmations from my companions when they were present. Similar creatures, other Denizens, apparently infested their own worlds and threatened the Consorts therein, and it always fell to the resident of that Land the duty to see the Denizen removed. It would be quite some time before I faced Daedalus, but face him I did... but that is a story for another time.

Before that, there was a more pressing duty that awaited me. A task for one of my Role alone, unique to the Hero of Space in every session. The creation of a creature whose voice would shake the foundations of paradox space with the birth of a new reality.
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Post by Oblivion on Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:09 pm

Behold the Pattern.

It was shortly after this discovery that I departed my Land for the first time, having at last located and reached my Second Gate. Guilla was quite ahead of me at this stage, having passed his own and been in my Land for some time, and our paths had crossed on several occasions; some of the more difficult opponents, such as large groups of Ogres and Basilisks, we had even cooperated in defeating, two managing what one alone could not. Eventually though, as seemed to be the design of the game, we parted ways and resumed our solitary journeys. I eventually reached by own Second Gate, and passed into Sigrun's Land.

I had begun to notice a pattern in the foes we faced. It was most obvious with the Imps and Ogres, given their trollian design compared to the skeletal Liches or reptilian Basilisks, but with close observation even on the latter there were traits too blatant to be ignored. On the Imps it was fairly minor - a furred mane, a serpentine tail, a net of leaves that served as some manner of primitive clothing. On the Ogres it was far more blatant. They bore all three of Chimera's heads and not only wore the garb of plants but their arms and legs were wound in roots and vines exactly as Demeter's had been. Upon reaching Sigrun's Land, I began seeing the creatures developing hoofbeast traits, much like Sleipnir; later some would gain fins as Glenys's Lusus Thetis possessed, then the powerful musculature and deadly horns and axe of Foraii's Minotaur, and lastly the wings, talons, and beak of Vircen's Diomedes. And with each change of appearance, they would develop more and more of our Lusii's capabilities.

The pattern, by this point, was impossible to overlook or ignore. By allowing our Lusii to be prototyped, we had indeed regained them from death - save Guilla - and gained the ability to converse with them directly in a way unavailable to us before. But it had come at a grave cost: their strengths had been granted to the enemies we would be required to face. Thankfully each individual enemy rarely was granted more than two or three of the six prototypes; the variety of combinations we encountered was fairly extreme, but each singular foe was limited in capability between the minor prototyping upgrades and their own size and strength limits; an Imp, no matter how many times prototyped, was always weaker than an Ogre, and so forth. At the time, I do not believe we fully considered the implications of this; we simply contemplated the idea of the many possible conglomerations the Underlings could possess, and understood that as more players entered the game the enemies would become more empowered.

It was not until the first of us to reach Skaia laid eyes upon the fully-prototyped Black King that we truly comprehended the depth of our despair and the infinitesimally minute chances we had - or thought we had - for a successful battle victory against such a monstrosity. And it was from those thoughts of doom that the seeds were sown that would eventually bloom into a plan that would successfully allow us to overcome such insurmountable odds... only to be stricken down by a force of even greater power.
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