Lord of the Hope Wastes

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Lord of the Hope Wastes

Postby Ben » Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:36 pm

Harwood blinked and the letter fell through his fingers as he looked around. He knew this places instantly, his father had told him all about it, the grey shadowy world was unmistakable: he was in the Hope Wastes.

But how had he died? He'd been opening a letter one moment...

He bent down to pick up the letter and read it for the first time.

Lord Harwood,

The Elves have been ordered to steal a vaste cache of rava from the remnants of the bank of Sanga.

They plan on obtaining this within the week.

We should act, m'Lord


Teysa, Everni Scout

Teysa? Hadn't he been Haran? Or was that someone with a similar name? He reached out with his senses, rudimentary though they were he could detect no magic from the paper. His heart began to beat faster and faster...should it still be doing that? He felt his pulse, strong, fast and he was breathing. Did all the dead do this? Force of habit? Did you still need to in the Wastes...he'd never thought to ask his father.

He began to feel dizzy, in pain, his soul was being drained slowly and then he blacked out.
"And unconscious people always count as willing"

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Re: Lord of the Hope Wastes

Postby Ben » Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:11 pm

He awoke, inside, lying on a straw mattress. Looking down at him was a face he recognised, it was Quayle.
"Your Majesty"
"Harwood. Or William. Either is fine. What are you doing in the Wastes?"
Quayle looked at him with a pitying look reserved for fools "I'm dead."
Harwood looked shocked, "How? When?"
A look of understanding crossed Quayle's face, "I think you're under a misapprehension. I'm not a god, I'm a part of Quayle that died prior to his...our ascension."
"Don't worry about it. The sun god's not dead, just think of me as the ghost of his mortality."
Harwood nods and tries to pull himself up.
"I'd stay there if I were you, the wastes aren't a good place for someone in your condition."
"My condition?"
"I'm alive?"
"Don't you know?"
"Yes...well...no...I've never been dead before."
"You're still not." the voice was familiar but came from across the room. Harwood turned to see the other occupant, it was also Quayle.
"Don't bother trying to understand, suffice to say we're both parts of Quayle."
"Which parts?"
"The parts he sacrificed to win." they replied simultaneously.
Harwood looked at the pair, identical and then pointed at their swords, "You both have one of those?"
"We were both holding it when we died. It's part of us."
"Consider it one of a limited edition."
"How limited?"
"Five actually." another voice. No...the same voice...he turned to see another Quayle.
"Five?" the original Quayle asked and the new Quayle nodded, pulling two identical swords from his back.
"Where did you get another from?" the second Quayle asked.
"Someone destroyed one so it came here and I thought it was better to be in my...our...hands."
"And the fifth is in his."
"Him. The God."
"So now what? You said this wasn't a good place for someone alive."
"It's not. There's no real food or drink, the water is poison and the air is almost unbreathable."
"I thought that was just me." Harwood tried to take short, shallow breaths.
"It probably is. No one living can stay here for long without food and water."
"Can you help me?"
The three Quayles looked at each other solemnly, "Yes. Yes we can."

Several minutes later the three Quayles surrounded Harwood and began their ritual.
"I call upon the power of Danahil to flow from me to those who share my name and face. Link us as one and form this circle. Open ritual circle 1000.
"I also call upon the power of Danahil to flow between us. Bring forth your blessing to aid this man, his freedom stripped, imprisoned in these Wastes. I add 500 of my own essence to the circle and with your blessing double it. May the power be increased to 3000."
"I take the power of this ritual and guide it to form a link between the Hope Wastes and Velmaneth, a golden path between these two worlds. Danahil I ask your blessing, increase the circle to 3500 then twofold to 7000."
The ritual circle intensified, a beacon in the Hope Wastes capable (perhaps) of anything.
"William Harwood is trapped here, alone, away from friends and family and his time is running short."
"We seek to aid him, to grant him strength and bring him life."
"Hear us. Forge the link between worlds. Allow travel between."
Harwood was bathed in bright light and he closed his eyes, he felt good, warm, alive. As the light faded he opened his eyes and looked down at his hands. And the sandwich within them.
"A sandwich?"
The Quayles nodded.
"I thought you were going to get me out of here!"
"With a ritual? If you could get out of here with a ritual everyone would do one."
"But 7000 essence! For a sandwich?"
"It should be a really good sandwich."
Harwood took a bite. It was ok. Not worth 7000 essence though.
"Is it good?"
"It's ok."
"Only ok?"
"We should have done a longer ritual."
The others nodded.
"Look. How do I get out of here."
The Quayles looked at each other before exchanging a few murmured words.
"We should probably go and see Kan Slaar."
Harwood nodded.
"But finish your sandwich first."
"And unconscious people always count as willing"

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Re: Lord of the Hope Wastes

Postby Ben » Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:26 pm

They headed east towards the Hopewastes geographical equivalent of the Heartlands. There was no giant mountain though, just the circle of mountains that surrounded the land.

In the Hopewastes version of Nuuta they met the souls of dozens of halflings, driven to madness by their time in the wastes before joining an old track, covered in putrid slippery fungus the colour of sand. It wound it's way north towards Pathway and was easier than crossing rough country.

"Do you really need two of those?" one of the Quayles was referring to the swords.
"I mean...it annihilates whatever you hit with it...what's the point in having two?"
"He might parry?"
"He might parry? He'll lose his arm if he does. Did you get killed with a blow to the head?"
"He might dodge then."
"So hit him again."
"Besides," the third Quayle cut in "who are you expecting to need to destroy in here?"
The twin sworded Quayle shrugged, "You never know."
"Definitely killed with a blow to the head, I think we need to have your brain examined."
"Sure. Next time we find an underdweller we'll do that."
"Or Kan Slaar."
"What's a wizard going to know about getting his brain checked?"
"He's the archmage of the hopewastes." He looks back to where Harwood is lagging behind.
"Why are we helping him anyway?"
"Where's you compassion?"
"Died from soul damage. To the leg. Find it difficult to care about this guy."
"This guy is the Haran of the four tribes and he's stuck here. Have a heart."
"Is this definitely wise?" the third Quayle cut in again "I mean...what if Kan Slaar is angry?"
"Between us we have four swords that can reduce him to nothing."
"No...just apprehensive."
"I'm sure Kan Slaar will be fine, you'll see. Then you won't need to be scared any more."
"I'm not scared."

The three Quayles hung back so that Harwood could catch up before continuing along the yellow slick road. They were off to see the wizard.
"And unconscious people always count as willing"

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Re: Lord of the Hope Wastes

Postby Ben » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:20 pm

"Can't you just let him out?" Quayle asked Kan Slaar, it seemed like a reasonable request but the conversation wasn't going well.
"He's not supposed to be here." Added Quayle. A different Quayle.
"Actually, he is." the vampire finally replied.
"Is he?"
Kan Slaar nodded.
"But he's not dead."
Kan Slaar frowned "Of that I am aware."
"So why does he belong here?"
The Lord of the Hope Wastes signed "He should be dead. Teleporting into my realm should have killed him."
"But it didn't." This hung in the air, it was a pointless addition but seemed important.
"So..." Quayle said, trailing off.
"So." Kan Slaar echoed.
"So?" another Quayle added.
"You can leave. And take him with you." he indicated Harwood, lying some distance away. He was pale and his breath was laboured.
"But he's not dead!"
"It looks like he's close though." added Quayle.
"Our ritual is keeping him alive."
Kan Slaar let out a hollow laugh "Your ritual was a waste of time."
"It was pretty short...waste of essence maybe..."
"No one is dying." hissed the vampire.
"No one?"
"No one."
Kan Slaar sighed "There is an imbalance in the world, no one is dying."
"No one?"
"No one."
"So...can't you just let him out?"
"No. I have sealed the Wastes from teleportation."
"Can't you unseal it?"
Kan Slaar gave him a withering look, "He can fight his way out in Decus."
"But he's alive!"
"Yes. He is. He is the last soul to enter the Wastes, perhaps the last soul ever. He'll never pass the Night of the Nearly Living. He cannot be resurrected as he's not dead. He is stuck here forever."
Two of the Quayles helped Harwood up.
"You know who we are?"
"Were." corrected one of the Quayles.
"Whatever. Telling us we can't do something just makes us more determined to succeed. We'll find a way."
Kan Slaar considered this, "That's probably true. Fine, you're welcome to do whatever you want to help Harwood leave the Hope Wastes, I won't try to stop you. You have my blessing."
Quayle slumped slightly, "Where's the fun in that?"
Kan Slaar just smiled.
"And unconscious people always count as willing"

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Re: Lord of the Hope Wastes

Postby Peter Levy » Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:49 pm

A group of daemonic creatures stalk the Quayles. They can smell that Harwood's alive. They can smell that he's weak. The perfect target...

Feral humanoid creatures, dressed in fur, their faces scrunched up, wide nostrils flared, beady eyes loosely gazing at the area. They're not unfamiliar in the Wastes: the Gorgers. A family of daemonic vampire-bat-kin. These are the lesser daemons: feral hunters, trappers, ambushers, stalkers. Their larger cousins' claws are the sharpest edges known. Not even a man-who-would-be-a-god could stand up against the blow; his limbs would still be severed.

The Feral Gorgers begin to encircle the four men. As their eyes attune better to the darkness, the Quayles become aware that there are dozens of them. Three or four at a time, they fling themselves at one Quayle. The first to attack is cut down in a couple of blows; no need to draw on the full power of the sword. Burning daemon flesh begins to pile up around each Quayle as the Feral Gorgers relentlessly fling themselves upon them. Attrition's less fun when your enemies can't really hurt you...
"We can keep doing this" thought Quayle...

In the midst of the combat, there'd always been six eyes on Harwood, who seems unaware of his surroundings, but the other six eyes noticed the larger shapes approaching. After a little bickering, one of the Quayles took up guard over Harwood, while the other two prepared to receive the charge of the Gorger Beasts.

The first beast meets 2-sword Quayle. He swings both swords at the creature, unleashing their full fury. The first blade meets the creature's arm, instantly turning the beast's massive bulky claw-arm to a grim, dark vapour. The second blade swings through the cloud of what used to be arm, striking the beast squarely in the chest. The Gorger Beast crumples to the floor, utterly defeated. Quayle wasn't surprised, but he was certainly relieved that that worked; not that he could keep it up forever...

The second beast fights with the other Quayle, who is less inclined to spend that much essence in one go -he's not a Meta-mage. Quayle deftly avoids swipe after swipe from the creature, occasionally landing a blow that should send any living creature reeling; sufficient force to cut your average goodman in two -and he's still holding back. The fight continues with the Gorger becoming more and more frustrated with its inability to land a blow. The creature is blind, it's feeling for smells, for sounds, for the changes in heat as his opponent moves. It makes it easier to dodge the beast, but not all that much...

A third Gorger Beast approaches 2-swords Quayle, surrounded by more of the smaller Feral daemons. Quayle lands blow after punishing blow, ignoring the smaller opponents, who really aren't hurting him at all. Slowly, the Gorger Beast is worn down. Then, suddenly, a pain in the side. One of the Feral Gorgers has used a blade made from a Gorger's claw. Piercing through Quayle's armour, the blow had finally made an impact on Danahil's high priest. By the time Quayle can respond, another blow lands in his side. As he turns to take bloody vengeance on the sneaky daemon, he notices his left arm has become significantly lighter... Glancing briefly at the ground, he saw half of his arm, still clutching Velnashar's Bane. The Gorger Beast almost seemed to smile.

Other Quayle defeats the Beast he has been fighting, and turns to see Quayle's injuries.
"No, not you! Harwood!"

Both Quayles turned to their third self, who lay slumped on the floor where Harwood should be. They made a fighting retreat to him just in time to see him regenerate the wound across the side of his face that had rendered him unconscious. Both his arms and one leg had been cleanly severed. The other two gave him a disappointed look, before restoring his limbs. The Gorgers were withdrawing; they got what they wanted...

"Now what?"

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Re: Lord of the Hope Wastes

Postby Ben » Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:03 am

Silently two Quayles gathered up the arms and head of their...brother. It was all fun and games until someone loses a chest and his was nowhere to be seen. Nor was his sword. These factors were probably connected.
"I can't believe he's gone."
"He truly was the best of all of us."
Silence "Really?"
"Not really, no. But it's the sort of thing you say when someone dies."
"What do you think happened?"
"Gorgers...almost certainly."
"And now one has his sword?"
"Looks that way."
"And Harwood?"
"I don't know. Not here."
One of the pair begins to incant and after half a minute of mentioning life a lot finishes with the words True Heal. They watch the unpleasant process of bone growing from the severed head of their comrade, a new spine snaking down to the legs, new shoulder bones towards the arms. The activity continues as ribs, organs and flesh are regrown and then covered in skin. One of the Quayle's takes off his own green tabard and lifts his other self's head to slip it over his bare chest. With a nod the pair lift the corpse and head down into the crater to bury him in the soft earth.


Unseen by the pair, another almost identical pair stand watching. They share a face, with each other and with the burial party but one is wearing red while the others wore green.
"I was expecting someone else."
"I'm not sure. Someone else though."
"Well, you've got me."
"Are you going to usher me into the Deep?"
"Do you want to go?"
The green clothed man considered this "I was hoping for paradise. Heaven. Eternal rest."
His red robed counterpart laughs "And you think you deserve that?"
"I died, sacrficing myself to save that orc."
"No. You died a year ago on a field of battle risking everything for glory. One of the final acts on a long, dark path paved with acts of evil. Paradise is not an option."
Quayle slumped at the other's words "But my existence here...my chance to escape...to live again...I lost that trying to save Harwood and saving that orc."
"I meant to ask about that."
"Because he's the leader of mankind and he shouldn't be here."
"Not Harwood. The Orc. Why put yourself in harm's way for him?"
Quayle looks up at himself, confused "You've forgotten?"
Quayle looks down at himself, equally confused "I haven't met him before. Nor have you. I don't think we owe him anything, have made no oaths or agreements."
"No. You're forgetting something else."
"And what is that?"
"Your humanity. I risked myself to save others, even a stranger I'd barely said two words to, because I'm human. Before we went searching for our...no...your destiny...you understood that. A couple of years ago you would have done the same."
The red robed man remains silent for a few moments "Perhaps."
"In order to survive. To succeed. To win. I...you...created the other three of us. You sundered your soul. The power of Velnashar has made you so much more than you were. But you have lost so much more and become so much less because of it."
"You know nothing of what I am now."
"Perhaps not. Perhaps if I had been the part of our soul left alive at the end of the fight with the gods then the outcome would have been different. Perhaps I would have been a different god. A better god. A more human god. But we'll never know because I was just a part of your soul you shed in order to fight on..."
He is cut off suddenly as the hand of the god of fire snakes out and grabs him round the throat.
"Silence. You have made your case. I accept your arguments. I accept...you."
The green clothed Quayle's eyes widen as the pair are wreathed in fire and as it burns hotter and brighter the pair seem to merge and then, just as suddenly the fire disappears and one man is standing where previously there were two. He takes a deep breath and smiles, his mind feels clearer, he feels more in control of the darkness within him. His attention flickers to the burial still in progress before disappearing, there was work to do.
"And unconscious people always count as willing"

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