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Ember's Tale 87: Release


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#1 Guest_Cel_*

Posted 11 December 2007 - 11:42 PM

I'm not too happy with the endings of this chapter.

Chapter 87: Release


"Tell me, Lady Knight, whom have you brought for me this time?" the Shade Lord asked. "More unlucky adventurers to swell the ranks of my dark army?"

"Far from it, fiend. We are the light that shall dispel your darkness!" Anomen called out. His voice did not seem to carry well, as if the darkness swallowed sound as well as light.

"Bravado. Tiresome, and predictable." The Shade Lord gestured towards the far end of the courtyard, and one by one, several shadows emerged from the gloom.

"Sssssthhh... Mazzy... you left us here....," the first shadow whispered. "No matter... come... join the delightful darknesss..." The other shadows made some disturbing chittering sounds, almost as if they were trying to laugh.

"Patrick!" Mazzy cried out. A look of anguish passed over her face, then she seemed to steel herself. "No, not Patrick, only his twisted spirit. My poor friends, what has he done to you?"

"He's given us back... our existence..." another shadow said. "Sssthhh... we're all here, Mazzy."

"Ready yourselves," Valygar whispered.

"Join us..." Shadow Patrick hissed. "Embrace the master... give the gift of flesh..."

"Never! Every fiber in my being would resist such a thing, and Patrick - my Patrick - would never have asked it of me!" Mazzy turned to glare at the Shade Lord. "Twisted fiend, only death will stop me from avenging the brave souls that you have stolen!"

The shadows chittered, and the Shade Lord laughed. "So noble! A night on this altar would have made you a worthy consort. Don't look so harshly upon me. You would be a most evil Shade. The Laws of Chaos subvert. The noblest souls in life make for deliciously evil undead..."

"You will be fully dead when I am through with you," Mazzy growled quietly.

"Is this is how you will have it? Regrettable. We would have ruled these weak fools together. Come, my shades, make short work of them! They shall join our army if not our family!"

"Now!"

On Valygar's cue, everyone sprang into action. Ember closed her eyes and chanted a few syllables, short yet powerful, that would bond her and her companions closer together in combat, allowing them to fight in defensive harmony. Mere moments after she completed her spell, a haste spell cast by Edwin descended upon her, speeding up both her senses and her reactions, followed by blessings from Anomen's god, strengthening her body and spirit. Hefting her staff, she hurried to join Minsc and Yoshimo, who were fighting the Shade Lord's minions.

Just like they had planned - and on his insistence - Valygar was the only one to confront the Shade Lord up close, pitting his katana against cruel spells and a shadowy blade. He was assisted from afar by Mazzy, who sent burning arrow after burning arrow through their enemy's incorporeal body, and Edwin and Anomen, who attacked with magic. Jets of flame and bolts of holy energy flew through the air, each spell illuminating the courtyard with a flash of red or white for a brief instant before striking the Shade Lord.

And somewhere within the Shade Lord's ghostly form, the ranger Merella was still alive.

Ember could feel her.

The sensation was far from the acute awareness of life that came with her druidic mediations; instead, it was Ember's blood that whispered to her about Merella. Something within her core longed to take on the only enemy who was still alive, the only one who still had blood to spill, the only one who could still be murdered. But she is not the enemy. Gritting her teeth, Ember ducked so that Minsc could swing his blade over her back, and rammed the end of her staff through a ghostly head. There were so many shadows, and they were moving closer to where the casters and Mazzy stood...

One of the shadows broke off and lunged at Mazzy, but it never reached her; in one fluid motion, Yoshimo threw his katana at the shadow. The blade slashed through the shadow's torso and embedded itself in the ground, standing on end with its tip wedged between two of the tiles that covered the courtyard paths. The Kara-Turan winced as he pulled the blade free, but evidently, it had not been damaged by the contact with the ground; with a sigh of with relief, he spun around to cut down another shadow.

"Arvoreen protect me," Mazzy whispered, and dropped her bow.

A split second later, the Shade Lord released his host and rose up like a pillar of black flame, leaving Merella's body crumpled on the ground below him. The writhing mass of darkness coursed straight past Valygar and flooded into Mazzy.

"No!" Valygar shouted in despair. Tendrils of shadow weaved around the halfling, trying to envelop her as she staggered back and forth, clearly trying to fight off the Shade Lord. Then, she lurched towards the dark altar. Her right arm, completely wrapped in shadow, reached out and touched the altar. The Shade Lord laughed, and consumed Mazzy.

"Thaxll'ssillyia!" the Shade Lord shouted. A deep roar, loud enough to make the ground tremble under their feet, came from the direction of the pit.

The dragon!

Raising her staff to strike, Ember ran towards the Shade Lord. Valygar's plan to protect the rest of them had proven futile, and they would not be able to stand against the dragon; their only chance was to somehow end this before the dragon got there. But how? She aimed her staff at the Shade Lord's head, but was violently knocked to the ground well before her blow landed. Shaking her head to clear it, she looked up just in time to see the Shade Lord send Minsc crashing into one of the few trees that stood in the courtyard. The fiend that had taken Mazzy no longer held a blade, but evidently, he had no use for one.

But he was still leaning against the altar. His right hand never broke contact with it.

She looked towards Edwin, and their eyes met in understanding. The wizard immediately started to pelt the altar with lightning spells, the noise almost drowning out the sound of giant, beating wings, while Ember closed her eyes and whispered an incantation to the dull, starving grasses and shrubs in the courtyard. Her words woke the plants from their daze, and they quickly sent creepers and tendrils towards the altar, using their last reserves to probe an object they had so far avoided touching at all. Tiny roots found minuscule cracks, and began to work their way in.

With a snarl, the Shade Lord turned towards Ember. Valygar and Yoshimo went between them, holding him off with their katanas.

"Anomen!" Ember shouted. "The altar!"

The cleric nodded, knocked a shadow away from him and towards Minsc's waiting blade, and started praying. Bolts of white light struck the altar with an almost palpable force, adding to the effect of the plant roots and Edwin's lightning.

The shadow dragon, with wings of darkness and eyes that burned black, appeared over the courtyard wall.

The dark surface of the altar shattered, revealing itself to be nothing but a crust. An older altar of pure gold lay beneath it.

"NO!!"

As the Shade Lord screamed, his body withered and shrank. Mazzy's form reappeared, surrounded by wisps and strands of darkness that seemed to be trying to pull away from her and away from the golden altar, but it could not escape; grimacing with effort, Mazzy seemed to be holding the Shade Lord within her even as she clung to the altar. A high-pitched wail escaped through her mouth. The dragon hung still in mid-air, as if confused.

Above them, the dark clouds churned wildly, then began to break up. Beams of midday sunlight shot through the gaps and tore through the shadow dragon, ripping it to shreds that burned away to nothingness. Sunlight fell upon Mazzy; the darkness fell away from her, much like a fine dust being blown away from a surface, and vanished. The remaining shadows dissipated as daylight flooded the courtyard for the first time in months.

"I knew," Mazzy muttered as she crouched by the foot of the altar, shivering. "I knew I was the one he'd try to claim, no matter what we did. I knew."

"Free..." a hoarse voice whispered. It was Merella, breathing quickly and shallowly. "Myself again... Thank y..." Her words trailed off, and her breathing stopped.

Yoshimo kneeled over the ranger's dead body. "She is smiling," he said quietly.

---

While the forest woke up around the temple, the small group gathered around the golden altar.

"It is done, though the vengeance is empty," Mazzy said bitterly. "Patrick and my companions had to serve in death as slaves to the Shade Lord."

"They died with honour, regardless of what the Shade Lord did to them afterwards," Valygar said.

"They were good people, who fought always for justice." Mazzy sighed. "Theirs was a truly evil fate. I would that I could honour their sacrifice..."

"The god that this altar stood for is long dead," Yoshimo said. "Would it not make a fine memorial to your fallen comrades?"

"Boo agrees! Light and justice and righteousness belong here, and Boo tells me that happy birds will soon also belong here again. It will make a very nice memorial for such great friends!"

A trace of a smile crossed Mazzy's face. "I... I think they would appreciate that."

The group returned to the dragon's lair, where they found Mazzy's friends' weapons scattered across the floor of the pit, and brought the gear back to the altar. Valygar and Minsc wrapped Merella's body in her own cloak - she would have preferred being buried near her cabin, Valygar said - while the rest cleared ancient leaves and dust away from the base of the altar.

"My lost companions, my boon friends," Mazzy said as she solemnly placed her friends' weapons in front of the altar. "May your souls rest in peace. I shall always carry your courage and your honor with me; I shall strike down evil in your name. Know, noble heroes, that you are not forgotten. May this altar always stand as a monument to your unselfish courage." The halfling let the last weapon, a short sword, rest in her hands for a few lingering moments before gently placing it beside the others. "Farewell."

For a short while, Mazzy just kneeled in front of the altar, then she stood up and wiped her eyes.

A horrible suspicion filled Ember. "The last blade... was that Patrick's?"

Mazzy looked at her. There was a deep sadness in her eyes, as if she had lost something vital and didn't quite know what to do without it. "He was my husband."

---

There were no shadows left in the temple, and as the group made their way back to Amauna's tomb, the only traces they saw of the undead were small piles of bone where the skeletons had collapsed, their spirits freed through the destruction of the Shade Lord. Gaps and cracks in the ceiling of the temple ruins let more than enough light in to dispel the gloom that had filled the chambers before; they no longer felt like a part of a dungeon, but rather like someone's home, abandoned an eternity ago.

Amauna herself was the only spirit that lingered in the temple. The ceiling of her tomb was still sound, and the chamber lay in darkness, but the ghost's face was radiant with joy.

"You have done it!" Amauna exclaimed. "The Shade Lord is no more. My duty has been fulfilled." She waved a transparent hand towards the glass doors set in one of the walls of the chamber, then backed away as the doors slowly drifted open, revealing the altar of the Eternal Sun.

The golden altar in the courtyard was simple, rigid, logical; a table upon which offerings could be placed. The altar of the Eternal Sun was not a table, but a statue of a robed woman. Her gentle face looked down upon her lap, where she cradled a giant, multifaceted gem that seemed to pour out sunlight, bathing the room and most of Amauna's tomb in a brilliant golden-white light.

"I will go, now, to rejoin my Keeper of the Eternal Sun," Amauna said from the only remaining shadowed corner. "I owe my freedom to you, and will always be thankful. Live, my friends... live long and live well. May the Light be forever victorious."

With a smile on her face, Amauna stepped into the light from the sun gem. The light shone through her, like sunshine on a delicate veil, and gently washed her form away with it until only the gem and its radiance remained.

The child prophetess had gone home.

#2 Guest_Arkeus_*

Posted 12 December 2007 - 10:36 AM

Nice!!

I am sorry that my memeories fail me, but i always mix this story with the manic depressive one...so in this one ember is a Fighter duelleddruid, and edwin was "obsessed" with Imoen, right?

#3 Guest_AlphaMonkey_*

Posted 12 December 2007 - 06:33 PM

"Bravado. Tiresome, and predictable." The Shade Lord gestured towards the far end of the courtyard, and one by one, several shadows emerged from the gloom.


Yeah, but you need it. :)

The shadows chittered, and the Shade Lord laughed. "So noble! A night on this altar would have made you a worthy consort. Don't look so harshly upon me. You would be a most evil Shade. The Laws of Chaos subvert. The noblest souls in life make for deliciously evil undead..."


Unfortunately, they don't make the evil bastards into nice undead. :lol:

"Free..." a hoarse voice whispered. It was Merella, breathing quickly and shallowly. "Myself again... Thank y..." Her words trailed off, and her breathing stopped.

Yoshimo kneeled over the ranger's dead body. "She is smiling," he said quietly.


Can't say as I blame her. She died free, as it were.

Mazzy looked at her. There was a deep sadness in her eyes, as if she had lost something vital and didn't quite know what to do without it. "He was my husband."


(Sniff)

#4 Guest_Theodur_*

Posted 13 December 2007 - 07:56 AM

"Bravado. Tiresome, and predictable." The Shade Lord gestured towards the far end of the courtyard, and one by one, several shadows emerged from the gloom.


Gloating. Cliched and boring. :(

"He's given us back... our existence..." another shadow said. "Sssthhh... we're all here, Mazzy."


It must suck to be her right now.

"Never! Every fiber in my being would resist such a thing, and Patrick - my Patrick - would never have asked it of me!" Mazzy turned to glare at the Shade Lord. "Twisted fiend, only death will stop me from avenging the brave souls that you have stolen!"


How naively self-evident. :( Why do Lawful Goods feel the need to make such pointless statements? :)

The shadows chittered, and the Shade Lord laughed. "So noble! A night on this altar would have made you a worthy consort. Don't look so harshly upon me. You would be a most evil Shade. The Laws of Chaos subvert. The noblest souls in life make for deliciously evil undead..."


I must say, I like his way of thinking here!

On Valygar's cue, everyone sprang into action. Ember closed her eyes and chanted a few syllables, short yet powerful, that would bond her and her companions closer together in combat, allowing them to fight in defensive harmony. Mere moments after she completed her spell, a haste spell cast by Edwin descended upon her, speeding up both her senses and her reactions, followed by blessings from Anomen's god, strengthening her body and spirit. Hefting her staff, she hurried to join Minsc and Yoshimo, who were fighting the Shade Lord's minions.


Buffs are Good. Even better when you donít have to cast them when already in combat. :?

A split second later, the Shade Lord released his host and rose up like a pillar of black flame, leaving Merella's body crumpled on the ground below him. The writhing mass of darkness coursed straight past Valygar and flooded into Mazzy.


Oh! *looks interested*

"Thaxll'ssillyia!" the Shade Lord shouted. A deep roar, loud enough to make the ground tremble under their feet, came from the direction of the pit.


Now this has a potential to turn from a crappy situation to a hopeless one.

She looked towards Edwin, and their eyes met in understanding. The wizard immediately started to pelt the altar with lightning spells, the noise almost drowning out the sound of giant, beating wings, while Ember closed her eyes and whispered an incantation to the dull, starving grasses and shrubs in the courtyard. Her words woke the plants from their daze, and they quickly sent creepers and tendrils towards the altar, using their last reserves to probe an object they had so far avoided touching at all. Tiny roots found minuscule cracks, and began to work their way in.


Gust of Wind! Use Gust of Wind! Itís a great spell for the occasion! *nodnod*

"Anomen!" Ember shouted. "Smite the altar!"


:D For some reason it sounds funny.

"I knew," Mazzy muttered as she crouched by the foot of the altar, shivering. "I knew I was the one he'd try to claim, no matter what we did. I knew."


Maybe you should have brought that up when Valygar introduced his Cunning Plan, then. :lol:

Yoshimo kneeled over the ranger's dead body. "She is smiling," he said quietly.


Unfortunately that doesnít change the fact that sheís, well, dead.

Mazzy looked at her. There was a deep sadness in her eyes, as if she had lost something vital and didn't quite know what to do without it. "He was my husband."


Aww.

With a smile on her face, Amauna stepped into the light from the sun gem. The light shone through her, like sunshine on a delicate veil, and gently washed her form away with it until only the gem and its radiance remained.


The child prophetess had gone home.


And the temple was empty.


And the world peace was upon us. :lol: (Nah, the ending seemed fine.)

#5 Guest_Cel_*

Posted 13 December 2007 - 11:16 AM

Nice!!


Thanks :)

I am sorry that my memeories fail me, but i always mix this story with the manic depressive one...so in this one ember is a Fighter duelleddruid, and edwin was "obsessed" with Imoen, right?


Yes.

The manic depressive one has Willow the wolfish ranger, a cute Edwin, and a lot of Red Wizards.

#6 Guest_Cel_*

Posted 13 December 2007 - 11:19 AM

"Bravado. Tiresome, and predictable." The Shade Lord gestured towards the far end of the courtyard, and one by one, several shadows emerged from the gloom.


Yeah, but you need it. :)


I think Anomen would be quite miserable if he didn't get to posture a bit every now and then :lol:

The shadows chittered, and the Shade Lord laughed. "So noble! A night on this altar would have made you a worthy consort. Don't look so harshly upon me. You would be a most evil Shade. The Laws of Chaos subvert. The noblest souls in life make for deliciously evil undead..."


Unfortunately, they don't make the evil bastards into nice undead. :lol:


Yeah, I guess the evil bastards subvert the Laws of Chaos :lol:

"Free..." a hoarse voice whispered. It was Merella, breathing quickly and shallowly. "Myself again... Thank y..." Her words trailed off, and her breathing stopped.

Yoshimo kneeled over the ranger's dead body. "She is smiling," he said quietly.


Can't say as I blame her. She died free, as it were.


Yeah. And I didn't want Valygar to feel any more guilty about it than he already will.

Mazzy looked at her. There was a deep sadness in her eyes, as if she had lost something vital and didn't quite know what to do without it. "He was my husband."


(Sniff)


Does that mean her paragraph wasn't too corny/melodramatic?

#7 Guest_Cel_*

Posted 13 December 2007 - 11:24 AM

"Bravado. Tiresome, and predictable." The Shade Lord gestured towards the far end of the courtyard, and one by one, several shadows emerged from the gloom.


Gloating. Cliched and boring. :)


Shade Lord: Sarcasm. Trite and... where are my shades?!

"He's given us back... our existence..." another shadow said. "Sssthhh... we're all here, Mazzy."


It must suck to be her right now.


Oh yes.

"Never! Every fiber in my being would resist such a thing, and Patrick - my Patrick - would never have asked it of me!" Mazzy turned to glare at the Shade Lord. "Twisted fiend, only death will stop me from avenging the brave souls that you have stolen!"


How naively self-evident. :) Why do Lawful Goods feel the need to make such pointless statements? :lol:


Bravado :lol:

The shadows chittered, and the Shade Lord laughed. "So noble! A night on this altar would have made you a worthy consort. Don't look so harshly upon me. You would be a most evil Shade. The Laws of Chaos subvert. The noblest souls in life make for deliciously evil undead..."


I must say, I like his way of thinking here!


I thought you might :)

On Valygar's cue, everyone sprang into action. Ember closed her eyes and chanted a few syllables, short yet powerful, that would bond her and her companions closer together in combat, allowing them to fight in defensive harmony. Mere moments after she completed her spell, a haste spell cast by Edwin descended upon her, speeding up both her senses and her reactions, followed by blessings from Anomen's god, strengthening her body and spirit. Hefting her staff, she hurried to join Minsc and Yoshimo, who were fighting the Shade Lord's minions.


Buffs are Good. Even better when you donít have to cast them when already in combat. :)


That is true, but then they wear off when you need them the most.

A split second later, the Shade Lord released his host and rose up like a pillar of black flame, leaving Merella's body crumpled on the ground below him. The writhing mass of darkness coursed straight past Valygar and flooded into Mazzy.


Oh! *looks interested*


:lol:

"Thaxll'ssillyia!" the Shade Lord shouted. A deep roar, loud enough to make the ground tremble under their feet, came from the direction of the pit.


Now this has a potential to turn from a crappy situation to a hopeless one.


Just adding a little spice to an otherwise disappointingly easy fight.

"Anomen!" Ember shouted. "Smite the altar!"


:) For some reason it sounds funny.


True, but how else to phrase it in as few words as possible?

"I knew," Mazzy muttered as she crouched by the foot of the altar, shivering. "I knew I was the one he'd try to claim, no matter what we did. I knew."


Maybe you should have brought that up when Valygar introduced his Cunning Plan, then. ;)


Mazzy: I tried. He wouldn't let me speak my piece.

Yoshimo kneeled over the ranger's dead body. "She is smiling," he said quietly.


Unfortunately that doesnít change the fact that sheís, well, dead.


Well, you win some, you lose some.

Mazzy looked at her. There was a deep sadness in her eyes, as if she had lost something vital and didn't quite know what to do without it. "He was my husband."


Aww.


Wait. Did I just make you sorry for Mazzy? :)

With a smile on her face, Amauna stepped into the light from the sun gem. The light shone through her, like sunshine on a delicate veil, and gently washed her form away with it until only the gem and its radiance remained.

The child prophetess had gone home.

And the temple was empty.


And the world peace was upon us. ;) (Nah, the ending seemed fine.)


Even though there were three endings, as it were? :)

#8 Guest_Phoenix_*

Posted 13 December 2007 - 03:00 PM

"Far from it, fiend. We are the light that shall dispel your darkness!" Anomen called out. His voice did not seem to carry well, as if the darkness swallowed sound as well as light.

Hehe :lol: that sucks if you are a paladin, but it makes for a nice atmospheric touch.


He was assisted from afar by Mazzy, who sent burning arrow after burning arrow through their enemy's incorporeal body

Well that's useful :)


And somewhere within the Shade Lord's ghostly form, the ranger Merella was still alive.

Ember could feel her.

Now that *is* useful!

The sensation was far from the acute awareness of life that came with her druidic mediations; instead, it was Ember's blood that whispered to her about Merella. Something within her core longed to take on the only enemy who was still alive, the only one who still had blood to spill, the only one who could still be murdered.

This is a very nice passage ;)

A split second later, the Shade Lord released his host and rose up like a pillar of black flame, leaving Merella's body crumpled on the ground below him. The writhing mass of darkness coursed straight past Valygar and flooded into Mazzy.

Ooh, and so is this! Good battle scene, and a bit of suspense as well.

"Thaxll'ssillyia!" the Shade Lord shouted. A deep roar, loud enough to make the ground tremble under their feet, came from the direction of the pit.

The dragon!

Sod ;)


"Anomen!" Ember shouted. "Smite the altar!"

Err, yes. It does sound funny. Esepcially if he shouts: Take that! at it :lol:

Yoshimo kneeled over the ranger's dead body. "She is smiling," he said quietly.

Aw. Now he would know a thing or two about freedom in death...

Mazzy looked at her. There was a deep sadness in her eyes, as if she had lost something vital and didn't quite know what to do without it. "He was my husband."

Hm, I never liked Mazzy much, not with her judgmental attitude, but you might be able to pull it off :)

"I will go, now, to rejoin my Keeper of the Eternal Sun," Amauna said from the only remaining shadowed corner. "I owe my freedom to you, and will always be thankful. Live, my friends... live long and live well. May the Light be forever victorious."

Simple. Rigid. Logical. Well, have fun :lol:

The child prophetess had gone home.

And the temple was empty.

Maybe if you make this one sentence? Or one paragraph? Other than that, I have no problems with this ending at all.

#9 Guest_Futurist_*

Posted 13 December 2007 - 06:25 PM

"Far from it, fiend. We are the light that shall dispel your darkness!" Anomen called out. His voice did not seem to carry well, as if the darkness swallowed sound as well as light.

"Bravado. Tiresome, and predictable." The Shade Lord gestured towards the far end of the courtyard, and one by one, several shadows emerged from the gloom.


You almost have to give the Shade Lord that one.

"Patrick!" Mazzy cried out. A look of anguish passed over her face, then she seemed to steel herself. "No, not Patrick, only his twisted spirit. My poor friends, what has he done to you?"


That is always sad... Poor Mazzy.

On Valygar's cue, everyone sprang into action. Ember closed her eyes and chanted a few syllables, short yet powerful, that would bond her and her companions closer together in combat, allowing them to fight in defensive harmony. Mere moments after she completed her spell, a haste spell cast by Edwin descended upon her, speeding up both her senses and her reactions, followed by blessings from Anomen's god, strengthening her body and spirit. Hefting her staff, she hurried to join Minsc and Yoshimo, who were fighting the Shade Lord's minions.


Nice descriptions.

The sensation was far from the acute awareness of life that came with her druidic mediations; instead, it was Ember's blood that whispered to her about Merella. Something within her core longed to take on the only enemy who was still alive, the only one who still had blood to spill, the only one who could still be murdered. But she is not the enemy. Gritting her teeth, Ember ducked so that Minsc could swing his blade over her back, and rammed the end of her staff through a ghostly head. There were so many shadows, and they were moving closer to where the casters and Mazzy stood...


Seems the taint is still having its merry little way.

"Boo agrees! Light and justice and righteousness belong here, and Boo tells me that happy birds will soon also belong here again. It will make a very nice memorial for such great friends!"

A trace of a smile crossed Mazzy's face. "I... I think they would appreciate that."


Yay! Boo is correct!

The golden altar in the courtyard was simple, rigid, logical; a table upon which offerings could be placed. The altar of the Eternal Sun was not a table, but a statue of a robed woman. Her gentle face looked down upon her lap, where she cradled a giant, multifaceted gem that seemed to pour out sunlight, bathing the room and most of Amauna's tomb in a brilliant golden-white light.


Nice!

#10 Guest_AlphaMonkey_*

Posted 13 December 2007 - 07:08 PM

Does that mean her paragraph wasn't too corny/melodramatic?


Not at all.

I've never been much for the whole "Oh my God, we have to torture these characters, let us see their pain, because only then can we relate to them." approach. The way I see it, there's a pretty huge different between genuine drama and just plain ol' angst.

Personally, I don't like angst for the sake of angst. And even using the term "angst" implies that it's overdramatic/melodramatic/what-have-you. However, I've never known you to step over the line from something that's genuinely hard-hitting to corny, sappy "THIS HOLE IN MY HEART JUST WON'T HEAL" nonsense. :)

So you needn't worry. :lol:

#11 Guest_Cel_*

Posted 14 December 2007 - 06:16 PM

"Far from it, fiend. We are the light that shall dispel your darkness!" Anomen called out. His voice did not seem to carry well, as if the darkness swallowed sound as well as light.

Hehe :) that sucks if you are a paladin, but it makes for a nice atmospheric touch.


A muffling kind of darkness struck me as scarier.

He was assisted from afar by Mazzy, who sent burning arrow after burning arrow through their enemy's incorporeal body

Well that's useful :lol:


He's actually quite vulnerable to fire. Heck, aside from the fact that he Finger of Death's people every now and then (and then turns them into ghouls), he's embarrassingly easy to fight :lol:

And somewhere within the Shade Lord's ghostly form, the ranger Merella was still alive.

Ember could feel her.

Now that *is* useful!


Edwin: Except, of course, that the so-called Shade Lord (Lord? Hah!) would not still be there if she were dead, so it stood to reason (for anyone with a brain capacity larger than a simian's, anyway) that she was still alive.

The sensation was far from the acute awareness of life that came with her druidic mediations; instead, it was Ember's blood that whispered to her about Merella. Something within her core longed to take on the only enemy who was still alive, the only one who still had blood to spill, the only one who could still be murdered.

This is a very nice passage :)


Thanks :)

A split second later, the Shade Lord released his host and rose up like a pillar of black flame, leaving Merella's body crumpled on the ground below him. The writhing mass of darkness coursed straight past Valygar and flooded into Mazzy.

Ooh, and so is this! Good battle scene, and a bit of suspense as well.


I was concerned about the battle scene, as I wanted to write as little actual fighting as possible, without making it too trite...

"Thaxll'ssillyia!" the Shade Lord shouted. A deep roar, loud enough to make the ground tremble under their feet, came from the direction of the pit.

The dragon!

Sod :)


:)

"Anomen!" Ember shouted. "Smite the altar!"

Err, yes. It does sound funny. Esepcially if he shouts: Take that! at it ;)


:lol:

I've edited it slightly.

Yoshimo kneeled over the ranger's dead body. "She is smiling," he said quietly.

Aw. Now he would know a thing or two about freedom in death...


Or, at the very least, he will know :)

Mazzy looked at her. There was a deep sadness in her eyes, as if she had lost something vital and didn't quite know what to do without it. "He was my husband."

Hm, I never liked Mazzy much, not with her judgmental attitude, but you might be able to pull it off :)


Other than her lecturing, I've always had a soft spot for her :)

"I will go, now, to rejoin my Keeper of the Eternal Sun," Amauna said from the only remaining shadowed corner. "I owe my freedom to you, and will always be thankful. Live, my friends... live long and live well. May the Light be forever victorious."

Simple. Rigid. Logical. Well, have fun ;)


Oh, she's the type who'd enjoy it :)

The child prophetess had gone home.

And the temple was empty.

Maybe if you make this one sentence? Or one paragraph? Other than that, I have no problems with this ending at all.


Mostly, I'm bothered by the fact that the chapter seems to end three times :) But I went ahead and removed the last sentence, as it was added as an afterthought.

#12 Guest_Cel_*

Posted 14 December 2007 - 06:24 PM


"Far from it, fiend. We are the light that shall dispel your darkness!" Anomen called out. His voice did not seem to carry well, as if the darkness swallowed sound as well as light.

"Bravado. Tiresome, and predictable." The Shade Lord gestured towards the far end of the courtyard, and one by one, several shadows emerged from the gloom.


You almost have to give the Shade Lord that one.


Anomen: :)


"Patrick!" Mazzy cried out. A look of anguish passed over her face, then she seemed to steel herself. "No, not Patrick, only his twisted spirit. My poor friends, what has he done to you?"


That is always sad... Poor Mazzy.


Yeah :lol:


On Valygar's cue, everyone sprang into action. Ember closed her eyes and chanted a few syllables, short yet powerful, that would bond her and her companions closer together in combat, allowing them to fight in defensive harmony. Mere moments after she completed her spell, a haste spell cast by Edwin descended upon her, speeding up both her senses and her reactions, followed by blessings from Anomen's god, strengthening her body and spirit. Hefting her staff, she hurried to join Minsc and Yoshimo, who were fighting the Shade Lord's minions.


Nice descriptions.


Thanks!


The sensation was far from the acute awareness of life that came with her druidic mediations; instead, it was Ember's blood that whispered to her about Merella. Something within her core longed to take on the only enemy who was still alive, the only one who still had blood to spill, the only one who could still be murdered. But she is not the enemy. Gritting her teeth, Ember ducked so that Minsc could swing his blade over her back, and rammed the end of her staff through a ghostly head. There were so many shadows, and they were moving closer to where the casters and Mazzy stood...


Seems the taint is still having its merry little way.


Oh, absolutely.


"Boo agrees! Light and justice and righteousness belong here, and Boo tells me that happy birds will soon also belong here again. It will make a very nice memorial for such great friends!"

A trace of a smile crossed Mazzy's face. "I... I think they would appreciate that."


Yay! Boo is correct!


Boo is always correct :lol:


The golden altar in the courtyard was simple, rigid, logical; a table upon which offerings could be placed. The altar of the Eternal Sun was not a table, but a statue of a robed woman. Her gentle face looked down upon her lap, where she cradled a giant, multifaceted gem that seemed to pour out sunlight, bathing the room and most of Amauna's tomb in a brilliant golden-white light.


Nice!


Thanks!

#13 Guest_Cel_*

Posted 14 December 2007 - 06:30 PM



Does that mean her paragraph wasn't too corny/melodramatic?


Not at all.

I've never been much for the whole "Oh my God, we have to torture these characters, let us see their pain, because only then can we relate to them." approach. The way I see it, there's a pretty huge different between genuine drama and just plain ol' angst.

Personally, I don't like angst for the sake of angst. And even using the term "angst" implies that it's overdramatic/melodramatic/what-have-you. However, I've never known you to step over the line from something that's genuinely hard-hitting to corny, sappy "THIS HOLE IN MY HEART JUST WON'T HEAL" nonsense. :lol:

So you needn't worry. :lol:


Well, thanks :)

Main reason for my concern is that the chapter goes:
Merella dies - Mazzy's lost a husband - Amauna gets to leave. It seemed like at least one Dramatic Moment too many.

#14 Laufey

Posted 17 December 2007 - 05:34 PM

I'm not too happy with the endings of this chapter.


Seemed all right to me at least. :twisted:


"Far from it, fiend. We are the light that shall dispel your darkness!" Anomen called out. His voice did not seem to carry well, as if the darkness swallowed sound as well as light.


*pats Ano*

Well, he is rather sweet when he goes all paladinny, isn't he? :)


"Patrick!" Mazzy cried out. A look of anguish passed over her face, then she seemed to steel herself. "No, not Patrick, only his twisted spirit. My poor friends, what has he done to you?"


I do feel sorry for Mazzy over losing Patrick, I always did. Unfortunately I can't stand her comments while in party.

The shadows chittered, and the Shade Lord laughed. "So noble! A night on this altar would have made you a worthy consort. Don't look so harshly upon me. You would be a most evil Shade. The Laws of Chaos subvert. The noblest souls in life make for deliciously evil undead..."


So...does that mean the really evil people would make for lovely un-undead? :D


A split second later, the Shade Lord released his host and rose up like a pillar of black flame, leaving Merella's body crumpled on the ground below him. The writhing mass of darkness coursed straight past Valygar and flooded into Mazzy.


*looks hopeful*


The dark surface of the altar shattered, revealing itself to be nothing but a crust. An older altar of pure gold lay beneath it.


"NO!!"


Ah, this was clever!


With a smile on her face, Amauna stepped into the light from the sun gem. The light shone through her, like sunshine on a delicate veil, and gently washed her form away with it until only the gem and its radiance remained.


The child prophetess had gone home.


As I said, ending seemed fine to me. :twisted:
Rogues do it from behind.

#15 Guest_Cel_*

Posted 17 December 2007 - 09:57 PM

I'm not too happy with the endings of this chapter.


Seemed all right to me at least. :twisted:


Even though there were three? :evil:


"Far from it, fiend. We are the light that shall dispel your darkness!" Anomen called out. His voice did not seem to carry well, as if the darkness swallowed sound as well as light.


*pats Ano*

Well, he is rather sweet when he goes all paladinny, isn't he? :)


Sometimes, yes :?:


"Patrick!" Mazzy cried out. A look of anguish passed over her face, then she seemed to steel herself. "No, not Patrick, only his twisted spirit. My poor friends, what has he done to you?"


I do feel sorry for Mazzy over losing Patrick, I always did. Unfortunately I can't stand her comments while in party.


It depends on who you mix her with, really. She and Aerie get along well, for instance ;)


The shadows chittered, and the Shade Lord laughed. "So noble! A night on this altar would have made you a worthy consort. Don't look so harshly upon me. You would be a most evil Shade. The Laws of Chaos subvert. The noblest souls in life make for deliciously evil undead..."


So...does that mean the really evil people would make for lovely un-undead? :D


I guess so ;)



A split second later, the Shade Lord released his host and rose up like a pillar of black flame, leaving Merella's body crumpled on the ground below him. The writhing mass of darkness coursed straight past Valygar and flooded into Mazzy.


*looks hopeful*


Mazzy: So many people look hopeful! Of course, they hope for my victory. For the sake of Patrick and my friends, I must prevail!

Anomen: (Why must she always speak like a paladin? By Helm, it is not to be endured!)


The dark surface of the altar shattered, revealing itself to be nothing but a crust. An older altar of pure gold lay beneath it.

"NO!!"


Ah, this was clever!


Thanks. I wanted the altar to actually make a difference in the fight, and it let Ember do her thing with plants again.


With a smile on her face, Amauna stepped into the light from the sun gem. The light shone through her, like sunshine on a delicate veil, and gently washed her form away with it until only the gem and its radiance remained.

The child prophetess had gone home.


As I said, ending seemed fine to me. :twisted:


Thanks ;)

#16 Guest_Ananke_*

Posted 19 December 2007 - 07:02 PM

"Patrick!" Mazzy cried out. A look of anguish passed over her face, then she seemed to steel herself. "No, not Patrick, only his twisted spirit. My poor friends, what has he done to you?"

Aww. I always imagine her like this, in this moment...

The sensation was far from the acute awareness of life that came with her druidic mediations; instead, it was Ember's blood that whispered to her about Merella. Something within her core longed to take on the only enemy who was still alive, the only one who still had blood to spill, the only one who could still be murdered. But she is not the enemy.

Whoa. That's... fascinating.

No, really. It just is. It springs at you, like this: she is a Bhaalspawn. Wow.

One of the shadows broke off and lunged at Mazzy, but it never reached her; in one fluid motion, Yoshimo threw his katana at the shadow. The blade slashed through the shadow's torso and embedded itself in the ground, standing on end with its tip wedged between two of the tiles that covered the courtyard paths. The Kara-Turan winced as he pulled the blade free, but evidently, it had not been damaged by the contact with the ground; with a sigh of with relief, he spun around to cut down another shadow.

Er. Heh. Well. My first thought: Cool! My second thought: It looks cool in description, but No Way. No way is anyone letting go of their sword like this.

Still, in a description, it looks cool... :)

This is a crazily dynamic and beautifully flowing fight... Either you wrote it all at once, or it must have taken a lot of tweaking. I salute you.

Above them, the dark clouds churned wildly, then began to break up. Beams of midday sunlight shot through the gaps and tore through the shadow dragon, ripping it to shreds that burned away to nothingness. Sunlight fell upon Mazzy; the darkness fell away from her, much like a fine dust being blown away from a surface, and vanished. The remaining shadows dissipated as daylight flooded the courtyard for the first time in months.

Whoa. And the special effects are cool, too. :)

"I knew," Mazzy muttered as she crouched by the foot of the altar, shivering. "I knew I was the one he'd try to claim, no matter what we did. I knew."

"Free..." a hoarse voice whispered. It was Merella, breathing quickly and shallowly. "Myself again... Thank y..." Her words trailed off, and her breathing stopped.

Yoshimo kneeled over the ranger's dead body. "She is smiling," he said quietly.

Aw. Now, let's see about these endings... Ending 1...

A horrible suspicion filled Ember. "The last blade... was that Patrick's?"

Mazzy looked at her. There was a deep sadness in her eyes, as if she had lost something vital and didn't quite know what to do without it. "He was my husband."

Ending 2...

With a smile on her face, Amauna stepped into the light from the sun gem. The light shone through her, like sunshine on a delicate veil, and gently washed her form away with it until only the gem and its radiance remained.

The child prophetess had gone home.

...and Ending 3. I loved them all, and the peacefulness of this part provides a nice counterpoint to the first part of the chapter.

Although, in a way, there were a bit... many. But I don't really see how else you could have done this!

One question, though... So... mmm... Just what happened to the villagers? Because that was the one bit which I found funny while writing this quest: the game never answers this. Were they eaten by the Shadow Wolves? Or were they kidnapped into the temple? Any theories? ;)

And one nit to pick, if I may...

The golden altar in the courtyard was simple, rigid, logical; a table upon which offerings could be placed. The altar of the Eternal Sun was not a table, but a statue of a robed woman. Her gentle face looked down upon her lap, where she cradled a giant, multifaceted gem that seemed to pour out sunlight, bathing the room and most of Amauna's tomb in a brilliant golden-white light.

I sometimes read sentences to see if they... sort of flow right. Sound right. That's why I loved the fight... It felt dynamic. But, um, here, on that very vague basis, it sounds a bit wrong to me. That is, the 'multifaceted'. It sits there, in the middle of this phrase which would otherwise flow perfectly, standing out, looking for all it feels to me like this very ugly, rough-edged, black, spider-like robot with multiple appendages sitting in the middle of something very smooth, warm and soft-edged and organic... I think that the word has too many syllables, sort of. Too techie?

Must it be there? [/whine]

(And yes, it DOES feel that way to me!)

So, all in all, a wonderful chapter. Thank you. :D

#17 Guest_Cel_*

Posted 21 December 2007 - 10:07 PM

"Patrick!" Mazzy cried out. A look of anguish passed over her face, then she seemed to steel herself. "No, not Patrick, only his twisted spirit. My poor friends, what has he done to you?"

Aww. I always imagine her like this, in this moment...


I suspect most people do :P

The sensation was far from the acute awareness of life that came with her druidic mediations; instead, it was Ember's blood that whispered to her about Merella. Something within her core longed to take on the only enemy who was still alive, the only one who still had blood to spill, the only one who could still be murdered. But she is not the enemy.

Whoa. That's... fascinating.

No, really. It just is. It springs at you, like this: she is a Bhaalspawn. Wow.


Well, she is! :roll:

One of the shadows broke off and lunged at Mazzy, but it never reached her; in one fluid motion, Yoshimo threw his katana at the shadow. The blade slashed through the shadow's torso and embedded itself in the ground, standing on end with its tip wedged between two of the tiles that covered the courtyard paths. The Kara-Turan winced as he pulled the blade free, but evidently, it had not been damaged by the contact with the ground; with a sigh of with relief, he spun around to cut down another shadow.

Er. Heh. Well. My first thought: Cool! My second thought: It looks cool in description, but No Way. No way is anyone letting go of their sword like this.

Still, in a description, it looks cool... :P


I couldn't fight my way out of a paper bag, so my Yoshimo gets to be unrealistically flashy :P

This is a crazily dynamic and beautifully flowing fight... Either you wrote it all at once, or it must have taken a lot of tweaking. I salute you.


I don't remember how I wrote it. A combination of tweaking of short strings and just writing the short strings, I think.

Above them, the dark clouds churned wildly, then began to break up. Beams of midday sunlight shot through the gaps and tore through the shadow dragon, ripping it to shreds that burned away to nothingness. Sunlight fell upon Mazzy; the darkness fell away from her, much like a fine dust being blown away from a surface, and vanished. The remaining shadows dissipated as daylight flooded the courtyard for the first time in months.

Whoa. And the special effects are cool, too. :P


The first thing I knew about this fight was how it was going to end :D

With a smile on her face, Amauna stepped into the light from the sun gem. The light shone through her, like sunshine on a delicate veil, and gently washed her form away with it until only the gem and its radiance remained.


The child prophetess had gone home.

...and Ending 3. I loved them all, and the peacefulness of this part provides a nice counterpoint to the first part of the chapter.


I'm glad you like them.

Although, in a way, there were a bit... many. But I don't really see how else you could have done this!


True, true... that's pretty much why I ended up with all of them. Too many things to wrap up at once, and all of them deserved attention :P (Although I supposed I could have meshed dead Merella with Mazzy's loss)

One question, though... So... mmm... Just what happened to the villagers? Because that was the one bit which I found funny while writing this quest: the game never answers this. Were they eaten by the Shadow Wolves? Or were they kidnapped into the temple? Any theories? ;)


Shadow army!

The golden altar in the courtyard was simple, rigid, logical; a table upon which offerings could be placed. The altar of the Eternal Sun was not a table, but a statue of a robed woman. Her gentle face looked down upon her lap, where she cradled a giant, multifaceted gem that seemed to pour out sunlight, bathing the room and most of Amauna's tomb in a brilliant golden-white light.

I sometimes read sentences to see if they... sort of flow right. Sound right. That's why I loved the fight... It felt dynamic. But, um, here, on that very vague basis, it sounds a bit wrong to me. That is, the 'multifaceted'. It sits there, in the middle of this phrase which would otherwise flow perfectly, standing out, looking for all it feels to me like this very ugly, rough-edged, black, spider-like robot with multiple appendages sitting in the middle of something very smooth, warm and soft-edged and organic... I think that the word has too many syllables, sort of. Too techie?

Must it be there? [/whine]


Heh ;)

I'll take it under consideration.

So, all in all, a wonderful chapter. Thank you. :D


Thanks!




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