Click Here to Play "The Final Challenge"
A Writing Contest: "What If I Had Not Joined The Chosen?"
If I had not joined the Chosen, I would have most likely joined Lord Okk's following, as part of the good aspect of the following since it was more geared toward helping others and wandering. I also think that I would not have had as much interaction with Lord Okk's following, not due to dislike but there was something about the Chosen that made me want to come out of my shell and be part of the whole following and not just in name and action alone. Once Lord Okk left, I would have traveled for a while alone, but would have most likely ended up on Lord Tripper's Den step. Once joining The Tigers I would still most likely be there today, but once again I would not have become as adventurous or as open and friendly with the other followers as I am with the Chosen. I think that not have joining the Chosen would have been a major disadvanage to myself in learning the game and the mud as a whole. I feel that no matter what happens in the future I will always be part of the Chosen. "One day Lady Cordir will become a Greater Goddess. ;-} " - Ambrose
If Ananasi had never joined Fate
The alley was silent and deserted. Most alleys had at least one or two resident beggars, but the local folk knew to stay well clear of this place on certain nights. Things happened here. The shadows didn't behave.
One gifted with magely powers might have seen the patch of emptiness that betokened a spell of invisibility, but such a mage would have had to be keen-eyed indeed to spot the dark-skinned elf who stood motionless within it. Even the black-furred monkey perched on her shoulder did not so much as twitch its tail, as they both stood waiting with calm, endless patience.
She knew she had set her trap well. She'd been following this mark for weeks, noting his traveling patterns, what he carried and where he kept it concealed, the way he moved - a noble who, she judged, had had some training in swordplay but spent more time in scholarly pursuits and at the theatre, showing off his rich clothing. He might think to reach for his sword, but it would do him little good.
:Muha!: a voice whispered in her mind, and she kept her grin to herself, feeling His presence behind her. She slid easily into the focused mental state of prayer.
:Indeed. Tonight's the night, I think. He's a little drunk.: She replayed in her mind, for His amusement, the image of her monkey imitating the noble's slightly off-kilter swagger, and the look of "shock" on the monkey-"noble's" face at the fate that befell him. She felt His mental snicker.
:I could - :
:You keep your Boogas out of it, Lord,: she thought, amused but firm.
:Just one, in his ear, at the proper moment :
:Would be a lot of fun, yes. But it would ruin the second half of the game. And probably his pants.: She wished she dared reach behind her to give her Lord a poke to emphasize her words, but she had spent far too long relaxing into this unseen stillness to ruin it now.
:Ah well. I'll have enough fun watching this as it is.:
The sound of footsteps carried well, approaching the mouth of the alley. Well-made, firm shoe-soles, the expensive kind. Slightly irregularly spaced, as though the walker was not entirely in command of his feet. And, as if the identity of the walker needed further confirmation, a slurred voice raised in off-key song. "A wizard's staff has a -"
"Darkness," she whispered, breaking her stillness just enough to move her fingers in a weaving gesture. The shadows of the few torches on the main road wavered, then slithered together in a latticework cage that quickly blocked the mouth of the alley and a few feet onto the street, encapsulating their prey.
His song stopped abruptly, and they heard him stumble. He hiccupped, and muttered to himself, "What in Darkmoon's name -" By the time he finished the phrase, they were on him. She quickly chewed the bit of leaf she had been holding in her cheek, and felt the immediate changes in her body. She spoke in her - now his - new voice, in a rough low murmur. "Don't move, don't cry out, don't make any noise." His expensive cape was the first to be neatly swirled off his shoulders, and then the monkey went after his boot knife and belt pouch while s/he relieved him of his sword, rings, golden armbands, and neck chains. Her Lord accepted the immediate sacrifice of the jewelry and sword, while the monkey scampered off to hide the cape, boot knife and belt pouch (after emptying it) in the alley. S/he spun the man around a few times, lifting one of his hidden money pouches but leaving the other - he'd be wanting it, and it would hardly do to be cruel, after all. He groaned, trying to hold his head.
S/he let the mark feel a dagger against his neck, and grinned to her/himself as the monkey returned. She mouthed the next words, letting them flow into the ventriloquism spell she'd prepared earlier, coming out of the monkey's mouth in a gnomish accent: "You know what ogres pay for our nuts? What do you think they'd pay for yours, smart boy?" The man whimpered in fear; probably the monkey was poking something sharp into a sensitive area.
S/he shook the man roughly and dropped him without another word. Time for the real fun. They heard him hiccupping and whimpering as they slipped silently away and around the corner, still under cover of darkness and invisibility. S/he leaned against another convenient wall, letting the monkey climb up to her shoulder, and scratched under the monkey's chin while they waited a few minutes. Only a few; it had only been a tiny piece of leaf, after all. Soon she was herself again.
Banishing the invisibility spell, she shook herself and settled into a hunch-shouldered, stooping, slow lamed shuffle. She'd considered the idea of a wig, ragged clothing, and a cane, but had rejected it. Better, after all - more pure, in this so-very-fun way of worshipping her Lord - to use only the abilities she carried within herself.
She moved slowly towards the still-darkened area, then mimed halting in surprise. "What's this!" she cried, and hastened forward as quickly as her "infirmity" would allow. "Sunlight!" The latticework of shadows unknit itself, and in its place, light rays from the torches wove a blanket of illumination that hovered over them.
"Good sir!" she cried, kneeling clumsily by him, putting a hand to his shoulder. "Sir! Are you all right? What has happened here? Sir, who has done this to you?" She noted with carefully concealed pride that he bore no bruises. Leaving a bruise would have been so uncivilized. Besides, it would have been evidence. She heard His laughter in her mind, but ignored it. She would laugh, too - later.
The man looked up at her blearily. "They stole m'things. Two a huge hairy man," he paused for a moment of theatre-goer's reflection, "with a bass voice any actor would kill for, and a gnome." Another moment. "I think the gnome had a head cold." Despite herself, she was impressed; she wouldn't have thought he'd notice that little detail in her ventriloquism spell even sober. Perhaps he would bear watching as a possible recruit. But that would be for later. Much later. He managed to summon up a bit of muddle-headed outrage. "My father's sword! That sword's been in my family for ten generations! It was a master-work!"
:Then I think someone replaced it with a fake about seven generations ago,: His voice murmured to her alone. :It had that sort of taste to it. The steel hadn't been folded more than twenty times, I'm sure.:
She gasped in righteous indignation. "Thieves! In this city! Outrageous, good sir! With the taxes you and I pay for the Watch, too!" She snapped her fingers, and her monkey approached immediately, bowing to her. "Monkey! Search the area! Perhaps the miscreants may yet be apprehended!" The monkey scampered quickly off.
She shook her head sadly, patting the man on the shoulder. "When I think of all the good people like you and I try to do, and they go and repay us in such a manner," she sighed.
He nodded, then stopped abruptly in a manner that told her his head was making him regret it. "I fund charities, I give generously to the poor - why, only yesterday I gave Bishop Mordith a thousand gold pieces! He told me he was setting up a service to take the baker's unsold bread at the end of each day and distribute it to the city's beggars."
:So, you're not the only one who's noticed this man is a little gullible.:
:Unfortunately. I hope his earlier giving hasn't soured him on the idea :
"Sir, that is most admirable of you - and of His Excellency Bishop Mordith as well." She thought she succeeded rather well in not snickering over the title. "I myself came from these streets - you can see I bear yet the limp from a childhood injury for which I could not afford treatment - and have determined that I shall raise others to follow in my path. If I can find but one poor, ignorant child, desperately yearning for the light of knowledge, and help him slake that undeniable thirst, I shall count my life well spent."
:Am I laying it on too thick?:
:If he weren't drunk, you would be. As it is, I don't think he'd get the message if you were any more subtle. Watch the mixed metaphors, though, you can't afford to get him confused.:
The monkey returned, chittering excitedly, waving the cape (somewhat dirtied from its stay in the alley). He carefully laid the cape over the man, then set the boot knife and belt pouch in the man's lap, and bowed. The man gasped in delight. "My cape! And my knife! I've had that since I was a child!"
:Don't tell me. It's a masterwork.:
:Hush, Lord. If you make me laugh and spoil this :
"Were you able to find anything else, monkey? Did you see the ruffians who did this dastardly deed?" The monkey shook his head and shrugged elaborately, empty palms up. She shook her head again, regretfully. "Sir, I'm so terribly sorry we were unable to help you more. But here - take this -" She fished in her clothes and extracted a single copper piece from the money pouch she'd taken from him. "I had intended to use it for some poor child's dinner tonight - I'm afraid it's all I have - but truly, you are in need " She pressed it into his hand.
He looked as though his head was finally clearing. He struggled to his feet; she helped him, staggering herself as he leaned on her and her "infirmity" left her unable to support him well. He finally took a good look at her - clearly young, but lame, wearing clothes that while far from rags were equally far from the fine garments on his frame. He blushed.
"Ma'am, I thank you for your generous assistance, but truly, I cannot take your money," he said. She protested, but allowed him to insist on returning the copper piece. "Indeed," he said, "such generosity of spirit as you have shown, coming to my aid in a dangerous place like this - you must have some reward!" Again, she murmured abashed protests, making as if to leave. "Ma'am, please," he said, with the earnest puppy-dog look that had doubtless been the lure "Bishop" Mordith found so irresistible. "If you won't take it for yourself, think of the children! You could save some poor soul tonight!"
"But sir, what have you left to give? If they took your childhood knife, they must have taken everything!"
He chuckled. "I keep my money well hidden." He extracted his one remaining money pouch, and she reluctantly permitted him to gift her with it.
"Thank you, kind sir, on behalf of the many children this will help feed and clothe," and she even sketched a clumsy curtsey, before shuffling away, monkey in tow.
:OK, Lord, you can say it now.:
A small cozy cabin.
Anyway, I felt that I had to share this with you, because without becoming part of the Chosen of Fate the life of this gnome would look more or less like this:
A smelly grotto.
Need I go on? It's hard to say how things go when you make different decissions. But this might have been an option. I guess there's no need to say more: Hundreds of people have asked me to join their following...none of them knew me well enough. There's not a chance that I will leave the following that raised me, that made me what I am. I am proud of this following and its members, and will keep doing anything I can to make them proud of me!
She muttered angrily to herself. The voices grew louder within her mind. She picked at her wing, seeking the specific feather that had been poking her for the last hour as she walked back and forth across the sheer outcropping of cliff. It kept breaking her concentration.
Days and weeks had passed without sleep. The voices changed pitch, now lilting, and then screaming in rebellion against their imprisonment. She would not meditate and give them control. She would not sleep and give them control. Each time she tried, they trapped her within the cycle and would not release her mind back into the world. She had learned young that meditation was the key to her undoing. Sleep was unnecessary. Coffee, once she trekked her feathered tail to the darling little Inn in Midgaard now that was necessary.
She gazed out over the cliff. Waves beat relentlessly against the shore of the beach below. Much like the voices constantly fighting, sometimes gaining, and sometimes losing. For a brief clarifying moment, she wished she had been born human. If she had when she threw herself forward .her wings would not save her. Then again, why die only to be reborn into this dismal life of sneaky servitude?
Her thoughts turned inward at the call of the High Council member. Yes, I will info for you. On way to guild the lilt of her voice streams across the minds of those belonging heart and soul to the ArchLich. Muttered to herself, were the words for her and her alone. I know, I am nothing more than some subordinate bitch here to do your bidding. Here, Tybird, fetch me a scroll! Here, Tybird, unlock this. Here Tybird, kill them. Thankfully they dont ask me to drop to my knees. I bite.
She turns towards the crater and dives in, barely making the narrow marble doorway. A flurry of feathers drift through the air as one wing slaps into the entrance arch of the Guild Hall. Sadow gazes at her, the smirk that twists the corner of his mouth already making her skin feel as though it could crawl right off her and escape.
How many times do I have to tell you, silly bird bitch? Pull the wings BEFORE you hit the ground. Cmon. Follow me, Ill guard while you info.
She followed him; rolling her eyes the instant he turned his back. It was decidedly un-cool to get slapped around in the guild, so she didnt tell him he could shove her wings up his astoundingly large ass. Thankfully, his lack of wit meant she didnt really have to follow him far. Hed have to come and get her first.
She sat on the Crater floor. Info. Info. Info. Whoz. Cloak of Protection, Absorb, Pass without Trace and Attunement keeping her senses on alert. Wait. Stop breathe. He did not leave the guild. He never leaves the guild. Ahhhhh. The irony. How could she resist?
Up, into the air. Where the hell did she put that potion? One container, then two, it has to be here, dont rush her hand wraps around the small corked glass bottle. She smiles evilly as she pulls the cork, tossing it to the side. Upending the lip of the bottle over her mouth, in goes the potion. She shivers as it takes hold.
A white aura surrounds her and she vanishes from sight just before he enters the room. Watching him, she follows in his footsteps, her talons registering no shock, no alarm, and no notice at all for their silence. Into Wizris shop he steps, speaking the guttural human-speak by her guess, for the disgusted look on Wizris face and inability to comprehend the mutterings of the flip-top headed hou-man.
He pauses. A moment later, her language, minus the lilting gentle tones, the happy chirps, the melody or anything else that gives the language its beauty, comes out of his oddly shaped mouth. He manages, barely, to stumble through buying several red potions.
Wizris eyes go wide as she fades into view, wicked katana raised above her head. Pez reels from the attack, falling to the ground in a pool of his own blood. A few more quick brutally damaging strikes and he moves no more.
Will you return anything? His voice travels to her ears. It is just another voice to her now. It is dismissed. The dead do not speak to her. She does not iste
Walking back into the guild, Sadows voice invades her mind again. Where the hell are you, stupid bird?
Sorting a new bag, Sadow. One moment please. Spoken aloud. Piss off, bossy prick. Spoken quietly, with a wry smile. If only they knew what she really thought. What she really wanted to say. But one does not speak that way to the High Council the High Mucky Mucks of all the mucky mucks.
Stepping into Gretas she looks in the corpse. Picking this item then that, examining them all, one by one they are sorted, until nothing is left but a lifeless husk. Two simple words, a frisson of power passes through her hands and the bag is created. Distorted, lifeless, his now lidless eyes gaze back up at her. She pats her pretty new bag lovingly. So much better this way. They are all so much better this way.
Walking into Mishs room she looks pointedly at Pez, and steps heavily out of the room. Quite an oddity to see a thief deliberately stomp. She hopes he picks up on the hint.
When he enters her space she moves forward again, until she reaches the Pit. One by one, the items from his corpse are deposited into the pit and quickly retrieved by him. When her inventory is again sparse, with the exception of a pretty amulet she refuses to give back, she returns to Gretas.
Thank you. His voice speaks within her mind.
No thanks are required. I returned nothing. I placed your things in the pit. If you found them, all the better for you. She smiles to herself.
Never will she really be able to be the wolf type. She only really favors her pretties. Her bags. Faces without voices are far better than voices without faces.
She begins again to info. Info. Info. Only a thief knows true monotony. Info. Info. Info. Still, it is a useful skill. If you like to know how much gold they dont have. What theyre wearing. Who theyre grouped with. Most of the time, its all about location. Thankfully, that happens to be her specialty.
She nails the location on the 7th try. Nodding to herself and relaying the info, she moves to visit Mish, the only one who will willingly store any freshly killed booty, and with a smile no less. Of course, it might be because she just took half of your pocket and most likely the lining as well, but thats the price you pay for her terrific lack of scruples. There. Now the amulet will be safe for a time.
Rath glares at her. He always glares at her. He glares at everyone. Pity really. If you changed the face, gave him a personality transplant and reworked his psyche .well, then youd maybe have one worth consideration. Heart given to a woman that didnt care, and hes still bitter. Still. Its been eons. Shes never really going to come back. Dude .get with the program. Beyond all of that, he was a remarkable thinker. He thinks in circles if you follow long enough he makes perfect sense. Trouble was she didnt usually have the patience to finish the circle.
She blinks. What did you say? I missed it.
He smirks at her. It is time to learn. Follow me.
She nods and follows, wondering how exactly he will teach her to be a bitter butthead. Out and into the crater she barely touches the inside of the doorway before her wings lift her into the air, up past the walls of the crater to the cliff where she stood before. Where she often stands. A respectful nod to the place that is her hearts true home, and she flies straight into the swirling gray of the vortex. Blown about as though she weighs no more than the feathers that blanket her wings, still she manages to land in Hovelton. There he is again. And off they go.
One hometown looks like another when you are being dragged by a creature as large as he is. All the people screaming and fleeing. It makes them all seem so predictable. Even the guards cower in fear when he passes. Pathetic.
It doesnt even occur to him to bother with polite conversation. His mind is obviously elsewhere. Cloak and fly.
She extends a wing, touching his shoulder and a cloak of iridescent net covers his form. It fades quickly, invisible to the naked eye unless struck. Then she makes a small gesture upwards with only the tip of her wing and his feet lift up off of the ground. The spell is little comparison to the flight of a bird, but it will do.
Whoz. Ahhhh. Learn, eh? She follows him still as he seeks out Abender. Softly muttered curses as he realizes he has left the zone again. This time, rather than chase him halfway across the world, he waits. She considers polite conversation and dismisses the idea as futile. Moments later, Abender returns.
The attack is instant, and of course, Abender was fully spelled. She cloaks, and waits. Cloaks and waits. Grouped, but not assisting all, she manages not to get her feathered tail kicked. Granting health to Rath and watching with a critical eye, she waits. Rath flees and she holds her breath, following him as quickly as she can.
He falls as she enters the room. Quite well aware that his body will weigh too much for her to lift, she gets all that she can and flees the scene, having no desire to quibble with Abender.
Ftell goes wild with his expressive opinion of his recent death and the, of course, blame laid upon the one with him. His anger at anything with breasts is quite renown. As though she could have saved him. No one can save him. No one really wants to. Doesnt he know that?
She retreats to the guild, muttering at having not managed to lift his bigass corpse with her little birdie arms. And still he yells upon ftell.
Look, Rath. I grabbed what I could. If thats not good enough, piss off.
Again, a stream of profanity lights up her mind. How typical. Take it out on whoever is forced to listen. Spout on the one channel I cant simply shut the hell off. Blah blah, bitch this and bitch that.
Speaking with two minds is quite confusing. Typically she manages to keep it straight. Occasionally it gets away from her, but more often she simply refuses to speak at all unless directly spoken to. Seemed the easier answer when she was a talkative child. The habit carried through to her adulthood.
Spoken to the followers, What was I supposed to do? Give all of my health? Then Abender can take me down in half a round instead of a full round? Sounds like fun. I am sure youd do it for me.
Spoken to Abender, If you do not mind, I wish the corpse. Not the items. Not anything but the corpse.
The silence upon ftell is momentarily deafening. Hell make her pay for that later, she is quite sure. Still, it is worth a moment so thick with resentment you could almost cut it with a knife.
Abender asks a simple question. Why? He has always been quite to the point. She respects that about him, and hopes he realizes she kept out of the fight on purpose. She does not wish to get squished later by this cleric type from hell. Her response is equally simple. I like him better as a bag. Much less lip.
She stands in the guild. Abender walks in, drops Raths lifeless corpse and leaves. She cannot help but jump up and down happily, snatching the corpse up before Rath can see it. Another frisson of energy and the skin of the Judge is transformed. His lidless, hopeless, often flat and unseeing eyes seem so much more appropriate for a bag than a face. She pats the bag proprietarily before hiding it within the bag of Pez. It would not do her any good to flaunt her new pretty.
She turns inward again. Of course, Rath. Ill Info. Info. Info. The life of a thief, set amongst the wolves. Now, somehow she is responsible for his reequipping. Hmmm. Maybe his wench left because of his incessant bitching? She digs a hand into one bag and softly pets the Rathbag. Her little secret. So many of them.
The voices grow louder and she heads for the marble archway of the Guild once again, seeking the peace of her native cliffs. There, the water seems free, and she can dream of better places, handsome gnomes and things that might have been.
I know my entry is late, but here it is anyway:
He then went on to a life of boozing and womanizing. He tried many illicit drugs provided by Pippenswort. (You know those "odd" colored loaves you sometimes get? Yeah... now you know.)
Eventually he tired of this life and fabricated a complete history of ancient heritage, powerful birthright, and Godly responsibility. These were, in large part, stolen from various writing he'd read in popular literature.
He then set out selling The History of My World According To Khore. It sold millions. The masses were bamboozled and entranced. Then he gathered a small group of them, the most bamboozled of the lot, and formed a cult. These little monsters spread out far and wide across the land, killing things and dancing strange paganic rituals when they believed no one was watching.
Khore saw all this and was happy.
And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend, legend became myth, and for two and a half thousand years, the Ring-- er, the cult, passed out of all knowledge.
But, before that happened, Khore grew bored with the bamboozled lot and cast them away from him. The first time he did this, the most brainwashed of the bunch remained. Khore hunted them down and lo- he did give them A SPEECH.
Then, of those, Khore attempted once again to cast them out, and lo- he did give them ANOTHER SPEECH.
Some, still, so addled were their minds, survived.
Then Khore had enough and got promoted, and unto the land, ANOTHER SPEECH.
Still, those rare, still, addled, most-loved of his still bear the imprint of his madness. The maddest of these are Cirth and Darkclaw, Palmer and others.
Then, Khore got back to the task at hand, resplendant in his power, and began boozing and womanizing again.
In short, had Khore not joined Fate, the world would be much like it is now.
Thank you. I'll be here all week.