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The Antonius Chronicles - Echoes of the Past

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The Antonius Chronicles - Echoes of the Past

Post by AJ.Wisteria on Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:06 am

Goooood afternoon my dear friends, yes, here I am, back again from the VOID that is college. Uuurgk kill me now.

That aside, as you've noticed by the title, I have yet another story coming out: Echoes of the Past, which will detail what was supposed to be the Winter Story but.... stuff happened.

>.>


<.<


Moving on. If you haven't already, I suggest you check out the prelude featured here:

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It will make you a lot less confused when reading about the characters and the premise. Also...this story might give a few hints into the futures of my characters themselves because, believe me...stuff's gonna change.

So without further adieu, let us begin! Welcome, my friends, to Echoes of the Past!

Edit: Right! Forgot to mention this: Please, while I'm writing the story, don't post replies on this actual thread. Message me about theories, questions, etc. etc. Thanks a bunch! I think I'll try to put out at least one story a day, starting today.

Also, "cast and crew" thank you's will be put up at the end of the story proper.
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Re: The Antonius Chronicles - Echoes of the Past

Post by AJ.Wisteria on Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:05 am

Chapter 1 – The Lonely Road


“Sidney – ”

“Kai, I do not care if you are feeling fine. You are NOT fine, I can see it in your eyes – look at you! The shadows under your eyes, the nosebleeds and hallucinations? Do you think I am blind?!”

“No! I Jus’ don’t want’cha worryin’ about it! You worry about too much stuff, an’ y’know what? Y’need to stop! Fae needs you more than I do, okay? I can function jus’ fine for this trip.”

Rissien leaned in the doorway, listening to the sisters bicker, waiting a few moments before he finally spoke up. “Ahm, Kai? I have the port runes set up, if you and Tanna would like to go.”

She glanced at him and sighed, nodding. “A’ight, let’s do this.” Kai looked at Sidhiel and set her hands on her sister’s shoulders. “Lis’n Sidney, a li’l time home an’ by the sea will do wonders fer me, okay? I promise. Jus’ you wait. I’ll be back in no time, an’ feelin’ right as rain!”

Sidhiel raised an eyebrow and rolled her eyes, but nodded as she gave her sister a hug. “Take care of Tanna and yourself, Kai, alright? Please be careful.”

“Pfft. Careful’s my middle name!” Kai gave her sister her best reassuring grin and a thumbs up. “You go have fun with Fae on yer li’l treasure hunt, okay?”

“Can do!” Sidhiel’s eyes brightened at the mention of that excursion, and Kai chuckled as she grabbed her bags. “You take good care of them, Rissien!”

“I will, sis, no worries!” he replied as the three of them stepped into the rune. Tanna jumped excitedly from foot to foot, looking a bit like a child who’s had too much sugar, her magic sketchbook clutched in her hands. Just like usual, a beam of light shot up from the center of the room, enveloping Sidhiel’s family, before it dissipated and left nothing behind.

“Take care, Kai.” she said quietly, as she headed back inside her house. “Take care.”

~**~

It took them only a few minutes to make the transfer and, pretty soon, the three of them were standing on Bluestone Keep’s Great Porch. The cavernous hole in the side of the mountain that Corman’s bomb had created still gaped, though now it was equipped with a portcullis, in case of another attack like that caused by the Scylla during that past winter. Tanna jumped up and down excitedly and ran towards the opening, her backpack swinging from side to side as she ran. “Tanna! Wait up girl!” Kai called, jogging after her “niece”. She knew Tanna viewed Sidhiel, and recently the little girl had taken to calling Kai “auntie” instead of just “sis”. She was so full of energy, Kai almost had trouble keeping up with the little girl. Soon enough, the three of them – or rather, the two of them, since Rissien had retreated into Bluestone Keep to take care of some ally-related business – had reached the Antonius home.

It was a modest two-story house with lovely bay windows and a little porch out front facing the sea. Martin’s nets and fishing gear rested against the guard rails, still smelling of fish and seaweed from that morning’s catch, while a brown-haired woman in a long skirt and a simple blouse was watering the plants on the porch. She turned to face the two as they approached the steps, her lips curling into a wide smile. “Hey mum.” Kai said softly, throwing her arms around Emilia as her mother scooped her up into a hug. “Missed you.”

“Kai, I had no idea you were coming! If you’d’ve let me know, I’d’ve set up the living room, tidied up the extra room – “ she stopped abruptly. “Gods! Your eye, Kai!” Kai grinned and blinked a few times, showing off the arcane eye that now sat in place of her real one. “Oh Kai, look at you! How does it feel?”

“It’s weird! I’ve dealt so long with one eye that havin’ two sometimes seems like an overload.”

“I can imagine so…and look at little Tanna! Growing up so quickly.” Emilia knelt down on the porch and held out her hand to Tanna, who shrunk back behind Kai’s legs shyly. “Oh you remember me, no need to be shy, little one.”

Tanna finally nodded and ran into Emilia, throwing her arms around the woman in a hug. Emilia finally stood up, her hand still clasped in Tanna’s, and nodded towards the door. “Come on in, I’ll set the kettle on and get some tea brewing.” Emilia led the two of them inside, showing them to their rooms as she waited for the kettle to boil. “Your sister didn’t come along?”

“Nah, she’s helping a close friend find a magic sword of some kind.” Kai replied, taking a sip of her tea once it was done. “She wanted to come and see you, but…he’s…been through a lot lately. She really wanted to make sure he was okay, wanted to make sure he didn’t get hurt.” Kai rolled her eyes and chuckled. “You know how she gets.”

“Of course, of course.” Emilia smiled and patted Kai’s face. “I’ve missed you both so much. Your father and I worry about you both, what with all the stories we’ve been hearing… it’s good to hear that that bastard is dead, though. Finally.” Kai nodded.

“Finally, the lost souls are at peace.” She muttered, taking a sip of her tea while twiddling the ring around her left fourth finger. “Where are dad an’ Dorian?”

“Martin is down on the docks, he’s got a fishing business now, and Dorian is up at the castle studying with Rissien. they should be by in about…an hour or so if you’d like to get your room set up.”

“Hey Kai! Kai! Can I see the sea, Kai? Can I? Can I?” Tanna begged, jumping up and down while pulling on her sister’s arm.

“Maybe a little later. We still have to get our rooms set up – come on, Tanna, let’s go!” the girl nodded and ran up the stairs, grinning. “And then, tomorrow, we can take you to visit Vaerk.”

“And he can help me? Train me?”

“I hope so!” Kai replied with a nod and a grin, but those faded as her mind began to wander. “Maybe he can help me, too.”

~**~

Like Emilia said, the missing family members arrived around noon for lunch at the house. They exchanged their greetings and enjoyed about five minutes of peace before Tanna dragged the entire family down to the beach. It was Tanna’s first time seeing the ocean, and the new sensations seemed to overwhelm and amaze the girl like nothing else. She laughed uncontrollably and ran through the waves, picking up seashells while kicking up sand, avoiding Martin and Dorian’s attempts to catch her and toss her in the waves altogether. She was such a bright-eyed, eager child, probably not unlike Sidhiel when she was that age, Kai thought to herself as she sat on the beach. She let out a contented sigh and laid back, trying to relax through the nagging sensation at the back of her mind.

She knew why she had come to Kalvan in the first place – she needed help. She pushed these thoughts out of her mind until later in the evening, when she finally asked Rissien to lead her back to the castle instead of escort her home. “I need to speak to Vaerk, if that’s okay.”

“Uh yeah, sure. Come on, this way. He’s been doing a lot of research on that bomb Corman detonated a few months ago, and I think he’d be happy for some company. He’s also been trying to figure out why Corman’s still around in spirit form – duck!” a pan flew over their heads and smashed into the wall. “This is what we deal with on a daily basis.”

“Ick. Anyone been hurt?” She asked.

“Luckily no,” Rissien continued, as they walked down the stairs and towards the residential district. “Well, maybe one or two people have, but usually it is nothing more than a slight concussion. Although, he did manage to steal one of the cook’s cookie sheets and embed it in someone’s front door.”

“Wait, really?” Kai asked, incredulous.

“Indeed. Quite the aggrivant, that one, can’t seem to get rid of him.” Rissien sighed and shrugged. “We keep hoping he’ll stay quiet, but his tie to this world is too powerful.”

“Anythin’ I can do?”

“Not at this point, not really.” He replied as they reached the residential district. “At this point, we Corman is completely cut off from the Ethereal Plane, so we have to find a way to kill him permanently or send him back. Unfortunately, we can never figure out where he will strike next.”

“Gods. Well that sucks.” Kai stated very matter-of-factly.

“Agreed…ah, here we are!” Rissien nodded and looked up, nodding to the house they had just arrived at. It was a simple one-story with two cacti sitting out front and a carved, wooden, snakelike-dragon above the door.

She thanked him and knocked, then waited. Nothing happened for a good three minutes, and she had to knock once more…but still nothing happened. She sighed slightly and nearly turned to leave before the door slowly creaked open and Vaerk stood before her, clad in his normal dark red and black robes. “Uhh…hi!” she said with a wave and a smile.

“Ms. Antonius. I never would have expected you to visit me. Please, do come in.” Though his words were surprised, his voice was monotonous and controlled, and he waved her inside. “I do believe you are fond of tea, shall I set a kettle on?”

“Ah…ok, sure. I didn’t…really come for a ‘personal’ visit though.” She sat down awkwardly in one of the chairs, hands folded in her lap.

“Something has you bothered, and it does not pertain to your…’guiding light’. How interesting.” He muttered once he had returned with a mug of tea.

“Wh – how’d’ja know that?” She scowled as Vaerk tapped the side of his head gently. “Right, telepath. Y’know, I like it that Sid don’t read my mind ev’ry time she sees me. Maybe y’should take some lessons from ‘er.”

“My apologies for invading your mind, Ms. Antonius. Now that that is out of the way, tell me, what weighs on your mind?”

Kai shifted uneasily in her seat and sighed, staring at the ground while taking a few sips of tea. “I think Sid already knows, but…you…y’won’t tell my family will you?”

He shook his head. “Certainly not. What happens here stays here, Ms. Antonius. I will keep this quiet.”

Finally she raised her head and looked him in the eyes, the fear in her own easily readable. “My mem’ries…they’re resurfacing.”

DUN DUN DUUUUUUUNNNNN okay yeah, there wasn't really a need for the ominous music cue. Anyways! Chapter 1 is up and running, hope you like it, and if you haven't been online...well okay, some of you have been online, but I don't know if you've noticed. Yeah, Kai's been having hallucinations, nosebleeds, the like...for those of you who have been keeping up and have been wondering why, well, that's the reason. Stay tuned for more exciting adventures!
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Re: The Antonius Chronicles - Echoes of the Past

Post by AJ.Wisteria on Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:54 am

Chapter 2 – Towards Adventure


“Yes, yes, I know you were looking forward to a long day in the pasture, but you have had four days of lazing about and I need a travelling companion.” Sidhiel muttered to Mikael, her large – and rather annoyed – draft horse. He huffed a few times and kicked his feet out as she checked his saddle, snapping at her shoulder as she tightened the girth. “Nuh uh! No. Don’t you dare!” she growled, looking him dead in the eye as he flattened his ears at her. “It is not my fault you woke up on the wrong side of your hay bale this morning!” he shook his head and allowed her to finish.

A five-minute, awkward, spinning dance took place after Sidhiel bridled Mikael up. She would put her foot in the stirrup and attempt to throw her leg over his back, only to have him swing his hindquarters away from her and give her a look that seemed to say, “I’ll keep doing this until you give up…I’d suggest you do so now.” she heaved an annoyed sigh and grabbed his bridle, bringing his head down so his eyes were level with hers.

“Ok, you listen here. I’ve no idea why you are acting so…odd lately, but I have plans today and you are an integral part of those plans. So, stop it right now.” his ears flicked in annoyance and he let out an annoyed huff, but he seemed to comply and relax enough for Sidhiel to make another attempt. It worked, and as she shifted in the saddle Mikael seemed to relax even more, swishing his tail once or twice before mouthing the bit. “Good boy. Now come on.”

It was still winter in the Dawnlands – she had woken up four mornings before to find ice around the doorframe and Tanna building a snowman out in front of their house with a few other children. If there was one thing she could count on in the world, it was Mikael’s disdain for colder climates, which was probably what had him so bothered that morning. “Living by the sea weakened your hide, Mik.” She muttered, chuckling at the annoyed huff he gave as a response. “All right, I will get out the heavier blankets and open up the stables in back of the tavern. Maybe I can have Rissien create some longer-lasting heat potions, hm?” Mikael threw his head up in response, whinnying happily.

It didn’t take as long as Sidhiel had expected to arrive at Faelar’s sanctum, and she supposed this was because of the lack of bad weather that usually plagued her trips there. She shrugged this thought off and shook her head, staring up into the jungle that stood before her. Near the top of one of the larger trees, through the thick foliage she could make out the soft glow of a few torches as well as the glint of light off of a metal doorknob.

“Well, here we are…and he did say I could come by any time.” She dismounted and took a few steps towards the forest before stopping. “But what if he’s not there or busy? I’d hate to bother him.” there was an impatient huff and a nudge as Mikael pushed her forward with his head. “Ok, ok, fine. If he’s busy, I’ll just head back to town.” She shot a sideways grin at Mikael before stepping into the forest and making her way towards the sanctum.

It was a bit difficult at first for her to even find the gateway to the sanctum itself, since everything in the forest was so overgrown. Finally she caught sight of the door and the stables, beckoning for Mikael to follow her. She reached the door and knocked gently, rocking back and forth on her heels as she waited. “Faelar? I hope I am not bothering you. I ahm…” she cleared her throat and continued. “Just thought I would pay you a visit? It is Sidhiel.”

At first only silence greeted Sidhiel, and she wondered if he was out meditating. She sighed and took a step back, but paused as faint footsteps made their way towards her from inside the sanctum’s walls. Finally the doorknob turned and Faelar appeared at the door, looking a bit less melancholy than usual, a glint in his eye as he noticed her. “Sidhiel, it’s…so good to see you. Please, come inside.” he stepped out of the way and beckoned to the inside of the sanctum with his hand.

She nodded and gave him a weak smile as she stepped inside, staring around at the inside of the Sanctum. “I ahm…how have you been? Well, I hope?” she heard the door click behind her and followed as Faelar guided her into a sitting room of sorts.

“I have been alright as of late. How have you been? Can I get you anything?”

“I have been well, actually, just balancing making preparations for the Haven expedition with guard work. I had to bid Tanna and Kai farewell a week ago, so things have been rather quiet in Hearthfire.” She smiled coughed slightly. “I ah…I could use a drink, do you have any water?”

Faelar nodded and hurried over to a sink, filling a glass up with water before setting it on a nearby table. He took a seat next to it and nodded for Sidhiel to sit in one of the adjacent seats. “They left, did they? To where?”

She took a seat in the chair next to Faelar and nodded, taking a sip of her water. “Yes, they went back to Kalvan to visit our family, or rather introduce Tanna to the family.” She chuckled and leaned back a bit. “Kai plans on having Tanna study with Vaerk, to help her learn more about her abilities.” Suddenly a serious look passed over her face and she fell silent, taking a sip of her water as she stared at the floor.

Faelar gave her a concerned look and frowned. “What’s troubling you? That is, if you don’t mind me asking.”

“Hm? Oh, just worrying about Kai, that is all.” Sidhiel looked up and gave him a bright, reassuring smile. “Misplaced worries, I am sure.”

Faelar nodded in understanding and shifted in his seat. “Well, let me know if I can do anything for you. You're welcome to come by here whenever you'd like, and stay for as long as you'd like."

“I am glad to hear that…I rather like these visits with you.” She stared up at the ceiling before taking another sip of her water. “The tavern is still open to you as well, Faelar. Just so you know.”

“I’m sorry if I haven’t visited as much lately…I have been researching and preparing for a trip.” As he looked up and caught sight of Sidhiel’s interested gaze, she felt their eyes lock momentarily. Suddenly he cleared his throat and nodded a bit awkwardly. “If you recall my research of the artifact known as Dymondheart, I believe I have about all of the information I need to seek it out, assuming it exists. Would you like me to show you?”

Sidhiel nodded vigorously in response and he stood, leading her into a nearby study room. Bookshelves lined the walls, and sitting near an open window was a rather large wooden desk covered with papers of every size, type, and age. Sidhiel caught sight of a few tablets sitting on the desk or leaning against the walls nearby as well, accompanied by a few books stacked in piles on the floor. A sword sat in its scabbard on the desk as well, and as she looked more closely at it she realized it was Faelar’s old sword – or at least, it looked quite a bit like his old sword.

“Back in my homeworld,” Faelar started, stepping over to the desk while looking over his findings. “Dymondheart, should it exist, should currently be located in a plane known as the Beastlands – a vast, infinite, untamed wilderness.”

Sidhiel’s eyes scanned the papers and tablets, realizing most of them were in different languages. “Do you have any idea where in the plane it might be?” she asked, trailing a finger across the lettering on one of the tablets. “Searching an entire plane for a sword might be quite an undertaking.”

“Yes, I believe I have located its approximate whereabouts. I also found something that makes me a bit more…reassured of its existence.” Sidhiel nodded for him to continue, and looked intently at the tablet he rested his finger on. “These are in druidic, but I can translate them for you. ‘They who wield the living blade and destroyer of the corruption shall, if the blade deemeth them worthy, become the next Nentyarch.”

“Ahm,” Sidhiel chuckled and gave him an awkwardly confused look. “Forgive my lack of knowledge but…what is a Nentyarch?”

“Ah, according to my research,” Faelar said, his eyes darting to the other papers and documents. “The Nentyarch, back in the region where the blade first took form, was the most powerful druid in that region.” Sidhiel’s eyes widened and she nodded in understanding as he continued. “I believe I have everything to make the journey.”

“It…it sounds like it will be quite an adventure. When will you be heading out?” she wondered about asking if she could accompany him but shook the thought from her mind.

“That’s the thing, I was hoping you would come by so I could ask you something.” Faelar folded his hands in thought and locked eyes with her momentarily before continuing. “Were you still interested in coming along? If so, we could go whenever you wanted to.”

“I would love to come along!” Sidhiel replied with a vigorous nod, her eyes gleaming before she drooped in embarrassment. “I ahm…I do not have any of my things packed though. I think I left most of my supplies back at the house.”

“Hrmm, well, what do you need?”

Sidhiel began to count on her fingers, staring thoughtfully at the ceiling. "Let me see... food and water, a bedroll, travelling cloak - wait, no, Mik has that in his saddlepack - I know I brought my weapon along, though I think I may have left my armor at home." she rubbed the back of her neck. "Things have been so quiet in Hearthfire that I did not think to put on my armor before I left..." she grinned and pulled out a pair of leather gloves, each with a sparkling lens on their backs. “I did, however, remember these.”

Faelar’s eyes gleamed momentarily as he caught sight of the gloves. “You brought those…I’m…flattered.” Sidhiel gave him a slight smile and put the gloves on, wiggling her fingers a bit to adjust the fit. “Well, we have a couple of options for you. We can stop by Hearthfire to get what you need or…”

“I do need to stop by Hearthfire, just so I can tell Ed where I will be going.” She chuckled slightly and shrugged. “I have a feeling he would be rather cross with me if I suddenly disappeared from Hearthfire without a bit of warning."

Faelar shrugged and nodded, watching as she walked towards the door. “I should have everything packed up when you’re ready to go.”

“I will be back soon, I promise! And this time, fully equipped.” She muttered, still feeling rather embarrassed about forgetting her items. She shrugged and walked out, casting a sideways glance over her shoulder as she headed down the catwalk. “See you soon.” She said quietly, catching the little wave Faelar gave her as she departed. “See you soon.”
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Re: The Antonius Chronicles - Echoes of the Past

Post by AJ.Wisteria on Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:27 am

Chapter 3 – Rebuilding the Wall

Kai learned that night that, though Vaerk was a difficult man to read, something about her statement had perturbed him. His pupils constricted at the mention of her memories, though only briefly, and he seemed to stiffen almost imperceptibly in his seat before relaxing. “So. Your memories, hm?”

“Yeah. I…I’m not sure what t’do…I’s scared outta my wits.”

Vaerk nodded thoughtfully and leaned back in his chair. “Start from the beginning, Ms. Antonius. Describe what you mean by ‘resurfacing’.”

“I – uh…” Kai paused. “D’ya mean like, what I’m seeing, dreams…what?”

“Yes.” Replied Vaerk, completely serious. She slowly began to explain what she was seeing, but before long the words rushed out of her mouth like a waterfall, an unstoppable barrage of descriptions and dreams all flooding out of her at the same time. When she finally paused to take a breath, she looked up at Vaerk, who seemed unfazed. “No hallucinations, though?”

“Yeah, hallucinations. An’ nosebleeds.” Even though Kai couldn’t see Vaerk’s whole face, she could read his eyes very easily, and the look that crossed them was one of surprise…and perhaps fear.

“How bad are the hallucinations?”

“Enough to send me chasin’ after ‘em. Sometimes I ‘member, sometimes…sometimes I wake up an’ I can’t remember why I’m out there in the first place.”

“Do you recognize the people in your dreams or hallucinations? Names or their relationships to you, perhaps?”

“Not really…” she trailed off as Vaerk walked towards the fireplace, hands clasped behind his back. He beckoned for her to go on and she did. “I mean, sometimes I’ll look at someone an’ feel…somethin’ deeper. Like…” she paused, thinking of an example.

“Like what?” asked Vaerk.

“Ok. Sid an’ I met an’ made friends with a guy from the Dawnlands about…six or so months ago. His name was Richards, an’ he was a real quiet guy, kind but quiet. Well, whene’er I looked at ‘im, there was somethin’ deeper. Like, a hidden emotion. I felt…” Kai laughed awkwardly and shifted.

“Ms. Antonius, there is no need to feel put on the spot. I will not judge you.” Vaerk said quietly, puffing smoke rings into the rafters from his pipe. Kai wasn’t quite sure how he managed to get the pipe’s shank past the cowl around his face, but she guessed there was a hole or something cut into the cowl itself.

“Well, I loved ‘im.” She grimaced and rubbed her temples. “Not like, love love, y’know, that’cha feel fer a lover. More like…more like what I feel fer my dad. An’ I got th’ same feeling when I saw that big burly guy in my dreams.” She paused as her mind drifted to her mentor Teremus and she chuckled slightly, nodding. “Guess it applies to ‘im, too…”

“So Richards reminds you of your father, hm? Interesting.” He set the pipe back on the mantelpiece and sat down across from Kai again. “You have often mentioned that your “guiding light” is like a little brother to you too – “

“Yeah! There’s this li’l red haired boy in my dreams too! Younger than me, an’ there’s this girl standing next to him…she’s always outta focus, but she’s there. Anyways, I get th’ same feelin’ when I see him. It’s the same sort of love I feel fer my dad…like, family or somethin’.”

“A brother, perhaps. What of the girl standing near him?”

“She’s always blurred out, can’t ever get a clear view of her. Th’ girl’s always th’ one I see in th’ hallucinations, I can’t catch ‘er face, but she’s always runnin’ like she’s scared…” Kai let out a tired sigh and rubbed her face with both hands, casting a helpless look at Vaerk. The latter was staring off into nothing, his bright copper eyes out of focus and glassy. “Y’ok?”

“Yes. Simply thinking.” He replied distantly. “Do these memories frighten you?”

“Not really, not yet.” Kai replied, frowning. “Well, there’s th’ nightmare.” She caught Vaerk’s interested look and continued. “I’m usually sittin’ out in th’ middle of this huge pasture…it’s filled with tall grasses, little herds of cows, an’ it’s covered in cosmos – y’know, th’ flowers?” he nodded and beckoned for her to continue. “Well see…all of a sudden, there’s this wall. An’ it’s always been there in my dreams, but it’s been crackin’ o’er the past few years. Massive chunks falling out an’ stuff…” she trailed off.

“This is a recurring nightmare, I take it?”

“Yep. Sometimes I go up to th’ wall an’ I don’t hear anythin’. Sometimes these…hands reach out an’ try to grab me, then pull me into th’ wall. Other times I just feel searin’ heat an’ I hear people screamin’, sometimes th’ cries of a terrified child.” Kai paused and bit her lip. “Those are th’ worst. The child’s always screamin’ fer help, askin’ someone t’ stop as it cries.”

Vaerk stood again and paced for a few moments, hands clasped behind his back as he walked. “It appears, Ms. Antonius, that the wall holding back your memories is breaking. Do you wish for it to break and allow the memories to escape? Or would you rather the memories stay silent?”

“I…I dunno.” Kai replied quietly. “I really dunno. I’s always wondered ‘bout my past but…I’m not sure if I’s ready to face up to it.”

Vaerk nodded and gracefully walked towards her, sitting in the chair across from her. With slow and deliberate movements he removed his gloves and wiggled his fingers as a soft copper glow began to emanate from them. “If you wish, I can rebuild the wall, Ms. Antonius. At least, to a degree I can. If you wish for me to do this, then I shall.”

“Y’can?” Kai asked, then nodded. “Yeah, I’d like that.”

“Then empty your mind, clear your thoughts, and stay calm. This may hurt a bit.” With that he reached out and touched his fingers to her cheeks and forehead, his eyes and hands glowing copper as Kai’s vision began to darken. “Sleep, little one.” she heard him say softly as she felt his presence move through her mind. A faint melody accompanied him, familiar, yet somehow distorted, and she watched as the aura surrounded the wall, slowly sealing the cracks and missing pieces in the glowing stonework. Soon the wall itself faded and she slipped into nothingness, borne away into the shadows on a soothing melody.

~**~

When Kai awoke she found herself curled up on the couch, a blanket wrapped around her body. She jolted upright and stood abruptly, looking around for Vaerk before she caught sight of him in an armchair near the fire. “It took you long enough.” he muttered quietly, standing. “Usually most people awake within ftve or twenty minutes.”

“How long was I out?”

“Nearly…” he looked at the clock on the wall. “One hour. Then again, your lack of sleep and overall mental state may have affected this outcome.” Kai scowled as Vaerk stood and walked over to her. “And how do you feel?”

“Uhh…rested? I mean, I feel calmer an’ a little more…I dunno, at peace?”

“That is the general feeling I was hoping you would receive – it means the procedure worked.”

“Oh. Well, that’s good.” Kai muttered, standing and swaying as all the blood rushed from her head to her feet. She stumbled a bit but caught herself. “What now?”

“Do whatever you wish, now. I have done what I can for the moment, though I would like it if you contacted me if anything else bothers you.”

“Gees, y’sound like a doctor or a psychiatrist or somethin’.” Kai chuckled awkwardly, then cleared her throat. “Thanks again fer uh, y’know, makin’ things work up here.”

“You are welcome.” He replied. “Is that all you needed?”

“Uh yeah, I think so…” she nodded awkwardly, and made her way towards the door as he opened it. “Oh! My sis an’ I found a new friend – a li’l girl with some really simple psionic abilities…I was wonderin’ if I could bring ‘er by tomorrow an’ have you evaluate her abilities?”

Vaerk simply nodded. “Bring her by tomorrow morning around eight o’clock.”

“Ok, thanks Vaerk!” she stepped out the door and breathed deeply, hands on her hips. “Thanks for ever’thin’.”

~**~

Vaerk nodded and watched as the redhead walked – well, more like skipped – down the street. A small smile tugged at his lips but it was soon replaced with a grimace as a painful old ache returned. He rubbed his chest and walked inside, locking the door behind him telekinetically as he headed towards the bathroom.

“Been a while since you rebuilt a wall like that.” he muttered to himself, splashing some water onto his face from the sink. He noted the stubble on his chin and cheeks and momentarily thought about shaving, but shook his head. His hands were shaking too badly, and if he tried to do anything with a sharp tool, he would end up cutting himself. Vaerk sighed and replaced his cowl and hood – he felt ‘naked’ without them now – before leaning against the wall with a heavy sigh.

He wasn’t sure how long he stood there, fading in and out of consciousness as he leaned against the bathroom wall, but by the time he found enough strength to stumble back into the hall he knew at least a few hours had passed. The ache had returned, this time more powerful than before, and he gritted his teeth against the pain, clutching at his chest.

There was something in those memories…something terrible, something that had him scared…not only for the young woman and her family, but also for himself. He had heard the screams as he rebuilt the wall, he had seen the carnage Kai had witnessed, the cruel laughter she had heard, and seen that face…a face that had haunted his dreams since he was a child. She was too innocent to be a beacon, too young -

“Agh!” a wave of white-hot agony overtook him and he fell to his knees, clutching his chest as terrible memories overtook his own mind. Hot, wet liquid began to spread from under his hand and across his chest, and he fell over backwards, his head connecting painfully with the floor. His hand fell limply to his side, and in his failing vision, he could see the deep crimson staining his fingers. Then his vision blanked, and he was thrust into peaceful darkness.




Ah, right, I almost forgot to mention: these chapters will be split up by even and odd numbers, up until we get to the main Arn/Haven expedition. All the odd chapters will be dedicated to Kai and why she's missing, all the even ones to Faelar and Sidhiel's escapades in the Beastland. Anyways, hope you liked Chapter 3....heheh, the plot thickens.

What IS Kai a beacon for? Who IS Vaerk? Will we ever find out? Well, you'll just have to pay attention...and stay tuned for more!
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Re: The Antonius Chronicles - Echoes of the Past

Post by AJ.Wisteria on Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:51 pm

Chapter 4 – To the Beastlands


Sidhiel reappeared a few hours later at the door to Faelar’s Sanctum, shuffling awkwardly under the dark green cloak she wore. A patchwork satchel hung over her torso and under the cape, while a simple leather rucksack with a bedroll attached was draped over her shoulder. She stared out over the landscape as she knocked on the door and called out Faelar’s name. The door swung open to reveal Faelar, completely packed and ready to go, his sword strapped to his side. “Welcome back, Sidhiel.” he said with a nod. “That cloak…very much suits you.”

Sidhiel was a bit confused and cocked her head sideways, frowning slightly. “Ahm…thank you!” she shrugged her shoulders and adjusted the cloak, smiling slightly. “I usually do not wear cloaks, but considering where we are going, I thought it might be appropriate.” She noticed Faelar’s stare and shuffled her feet, glancing at the ground once or twice before looking back to him.

“Well uhm…are you ready to set out?” he finally asked, clearing his throat. She nodded and took his outstretched hand. “Thank goodness. I didn’t really want to do this by myself, honestly.”

“I am honored you asked me to come along, and happy as well.” she replied with a smile. “Anything I can do to help.”

Sidhiel had never found interdimensional travel that strange. Granted, the concept itself was strange – traversing entire realities, planets, and dimensions in only a few seconds was something she could barely wrap her mind around – but the actual act of interdimensional travel? She found it oddly exhilarating. She blinked and felt a slight tug on her hand as the pair was pulled away from their world and into the ‘interdimensional void’, as Sidhiel had begun to call it. Planets, dimensions, realities, even entire gaseous bodies full of brightly glowing stars rushed past them in a blindingly colorful array, streaking across the sky like meteors on a dark night. Suddenly the lights began to slow, the tails shortening as a pair of pearly white gates came into focus in front of them - Starfire. Sidhiel took a breath and looked at Faelar.

“This is just the first stop.” He said quietly, and the two were pulled back onto the astral road briefly before great trees began to materialize all around them and the sounds of strange animals and birds echoed through the forest. “Welcome, Sidhiel, to the Beastlands.” She stared around her in awe and amazement, taking in all the wondrous sights and sounds that greeted her eyes and ears.

“Gods,” she breathed, trailing her fingers over the leaves of a rather large fern nearby. “This place is amazing!” she stared up into the treetops, shielding her eyes from a stray ray of sun as a brightly-colored bird flew overhead, squawking out a greeting. She felt a slight tap on her shoulder and turned to see Faelar standing there with a map in his hand.

“According to the map, we will be heading north first. This might be quite the walk, are you ready?”

“Ready!” she replied with a grin, shouldering her pack before following Faelar’s lead. They traveled for hours, traversing heavily wooded areas, wading through rivers and streams, occasionally making conversation as they trekked through the jungle. Sidhiel spent most of her time staring at the world around her in awestruck wonder, feeling a bit like a child on a school field trip. They paused after a few hours, taking a break in a clearing for a few moments.

“We’re getting closer, but things are going to get colder where we’re passing through.” Faelar stated, studying the map.

“Hence why I brought along my cloak, just in case.” Sidhiel replied, patting the cloak around her shoulders. Just as she leaned in to get a better look at the map a loud boom echoed off of the trees and she jumped, looking for the source of the noise. Her eyes widened as she caught sight of an odd, blackish-purple rift standing upright near the center of the clearing simply… floating in the air. It spewed forth some sort of chaotic energy – blues, purples, golds, even black particulates seemed to twist and spin around each other as they poured into the ground in front of the rift. After a few seconds the rift closed and all was silent in the forest. Sidhiel turned and gave Faelar a confused look, eyes darting from the spot where the rift once stood back to Faelar, then back to the rift.

“Odd, that looked like a – “ there was a loud rumbling sound as the ground shook beneath them, cutting Faelar off mid-sentence. Sidhiel readied her greataxe and stared on in shock as four, massive, hulking creatures made out of barren earth clawed their way out of the ground, staring at the pair menacingly. Before either of them could say a word, the creatures surged forward, striking at the two with their massive earthen fists. Sidhiel dodged the first attack, rolling out of the way just in time. She crouched and stared in shock at the crater in the ground next to her, then raised her greataxe over her head as the second creature slammed its massive fists down on top of her. Bits of dirt and rock bounced off of her head and shoulders as she blocked the blow, ducking under the creature’s legs before turning to slice it with the blade of her axe.

Suddenly a massive column of green fire lit up the ground in front of her, vaporizing the first earth creature while sending the other stumbling backwards, rather badly damaged. Her eyes darted to Faelar momentarily before she hefted her greataxe over her head and brought it down on the second earth being, smashing it to bits. Suddenly a loud whooshing sound and a growl echoed off of the trees around her as bits of earth and rock flew past her face – Faelar’s draconic form stood over a pile of rubble, his claws covered in dirt from the attack. She noticed the final creature strike him in the shoulder and chuckled as its fist crumbled to dust from the attack. As she sliced into it with her greataxe, the creature turned to attack her…only to be smashed to smithereens by Faelar’s claws.

“Well…that was interesting.” She muttered, poking at the rocky leftovers with her foot. “Are you all right? Did they hit you?”

There was a soft gust of wind as Faelar shifted back into his normal form, dusting off his hands nonchalantly. “They did, but not hard enough.” he turned to her and gave her a slightly concerned look. “How about you? Are you all right?” she nodded and gave him a reassuring smile, then turned her gaze on the remains of the earthen creatures that had attacked them. “Earthfiends aren’t normal for the Beastlands…it looks like they came out of a rift to Limbo.”

“Limbo? That is another plane, I suppose?”

“In the planar cosmology of my homeworld, Limbo is the plane of chaos. It is a place of constant change and disorder. In Limbo, the elemental forces practically wage war with each other, and it’s not a very safe place to stay for long.”

“Well that sounds less-than-pleasant.” She muttered quietly. “What would have caused a rift to open in the first place? I mean, unless this happens normally.”

“Well…” Faelar said thoughtfully, rubbing his chin. “This is definitely some sort of planar anomaly of sorts. This isn’t supposed to happen. Something might be happening in one of the two planes to cause it when it shouldn’t.”

“I hope this does not cause many problems for the other planes.” Sidhiel said, grimacing.

“I may have to look into this later.” He replied, nodding. “For now, let’s continue our journey, but keep an eye out, shall we?” Sidhiel nodded in agreement and beckoned for him to lead the way. They trekked through the forest, both deep in thought and quiet, and slowly their surroundings began to change. The foliage became thinner and thinner, diminishing in size and height until it was nothing but simple tundra grass. The balmy weather inside the jungle slowly decreased until Sidhiel felt the cold of winter bite through her gloves and the wind pierced through her cloak like a thousand knives. She shivered and shoved her hands in her pockets, trekking through the snow behind Faelar as the light slowly began to dim.

Mountains sprung up around them and loomed over the pair, massive shadows in the blizzard barely visible through the blinding wind and snow. The wind blew Sidhiel’s hair into her face and she pulled the hood up over her head, shivering all the while. “There!” she suddenly heard next to her, and followed Faelar’s pointing finger to a dark crevasse at the base of one of the massive mountains. She followed him inside, shuddering as they set up camp for the night. She took a few bites off of her jerky stash all the while attempting to light a pile of sticks on fire with a psionic flame spell, though it worked just about as well as trying to build a fire in a rainstorm. Finally she sighed and drew her legs up to her body, pulling her cloak tightly around her as she buried her face into her knees.

“Uhm..Sidhiel? You must be so cold…” she heard from beside her, and she looked up.

“Just my feet, Faelar.” She said with a reassuring grin, curling her fingers into a thumbs-up. Suddenly a blast of cold air pierced through her cloak and she shuddered, curling into an even tighter ball. “Ok, maybe I am just…a little chilled…can you start a fire? I apparently have no skills in doing so.”

“I normally would, “ he replied, unfazed by the cold. “But we seem to be at a major shortage of fuel and heat around here. But…uhm…” he folded his hands and shifted nervously as Sidhiel placed her head back on her knees. “There is…another way…”

“There is?” she replied, shuddering violently as the wind bit through her boots, chilling her feet.

“Yes…I uhm…I don’t know if…you uhm…” he faltered in his speech and she looked up at him, concerned. “I’m just trying to find a way to explain this…” he swallowed nervously, twiddling his thumbs as he continued. “P-perhaps you’ll understand if…if I show you.” in the blink of an eye Faelar had shifted into the form of a massive puma and stood awkwardly a few feet away from her.

“Ahm…oh. Oh!” Sidhiel shuddered and she felt her cheeks turn red as she realized what he was suggesting. “Are…you sure? I mean I…I would not want to invade your ahm…personal space.”

“N-no, I…you don’t need to fear that. I just want to…keep you warm in the cold.” He trailed off as his tail and head drooped. She felt his confidence falter and she looked down awkwardly at the floor.

“Ahm… t-that would be nice, actually…th-thank you, Fae.” She said, finally looking up at him. He looked up, a look of surprise on his catlike face as he nodded and moved towards her, circling around her before wrapping his body around hers.

Immediately warmth spread through the entirety of her being and she ceased shuddering, enjoying the closeness of the living blanket that now surrounded her. She reached up and began to scratch him behind the ears and between the shoulders, a soft smile on her face as she stared out of the cave’s maw and into the blizzard. He looked up at her momentarily, then rested his head back in her lap, purring quietly as she continued to pet him. She took another bite of her jerky, then set it aside, shifting her position so she was curled up into a ball at Faelar’s side, her cloak pulled tightly around her body and her head resting on one of his massive paws. His purr felt almost like a massage on her back, and after a few minutes she drifted off into a contented slumber.


Gah, excuse me while I have a cute-induced seizure. *dies* Right, okay, I'm good now. We're about...halfway through now, I think, with this first part. This part of the story is actually based off of a Pathfinder campaign, and it was my first time converting a Pathfinder to a written story, so I hope I did well. I don't think I tweaked it at all, but in rereading the next chapter, I realized I had to.

In other words, chapter 5 might be a little late in coming out. Well, okay, it'll still be out tomorrow, but...ahh, whatevs. Anyways.

Oh! I should give you the heads-up that this Beastlands expedition, DoT-Timewise, occurred sometime Monday-ish, and there's about a three day long break in between the events occurring in the Beastlands and the two-week Arn/Haven expedition.

I'M BLATHERING. GAH. SHUTTING UP NOW.
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Re: The Antonius Chronicles - Echoes of the Past

Post by AJ.Wisteria on Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:15 am

Chapter 5 – Wounds Reopened


Kai awoke early the next morning – the first time in quite a while – feeling more well rested than she had ever felt. She stretched and yawned, then grabbed her bodice from the chair and laced it up as she walked down the stairs of her family’s new home. The smell of cooking bread and bacon wafted through the halls as she headed towards the kitchen. “Heya mum.” She said quietly, giving Emilia a hug and a peck on the cheek. “What’s cookin’?”

“Kai! You’re awake?” Emilia stared at her in shock. “Wow, up before your father, too! Well, I’m just making some eggs, bacon, and toast.”

“Need any help?”

“If you’d like, you can make some sweet eggs. I haven’t gotten around to that yet.” Emilia pointed her over towards the eggs and Kai set to work mixing up the ingredients. “Cinnamon’s been moved over to that cabinet now, dear. So! What do you have planned for today?”

Kai tapped some ground cinnamon into the eggs before grabbing come allspice from the cabinet. “Huh? Oh! I was gonna take Tanna o’er to meet Vaerk an’ have ‘im evaluate ‘er. She’s like Sid, she’s a psion.”

“Is she a telepath like Blue? Or…” Emilia chuckled. “Sorry, I love Blue, but I know very little about what she can do.”

“Well, we know Tanna can move stuff with ‘er mind, but we don’ know the extent yet.”

Emilia nodded and grinned, checking the toast in the oven as Kai spoke. “Well I think she’s a darling little girl. Very shy, but she’s sweet once you get her talking.” She chuckled. “She and Martin spent a few hours in the living room yesterday doing fingerpaints. Dorian came home from work later and, well, you remember what happened at dinner.”

Kai laughed out loud and nodded. “Yep. Is that gonna be a new competition ever’ year now? Who can build the tallest mashed-potato mountain?” Emilia joined in and the two of them laughed until their eyes watered.

An hour or so passed and the rest of the family finally made their way downstairs, each taking only a few minutes to eat as they headed out on their separate paths towards their respective workplaces. Kai and Tanna headed out at the same time as Dorian and made their way towards Vaerk’s home, finally arriving only thirty minutes or so after they had left.

“Well, here we are!” Tanna shied away from the door and pulled at Kai’s hand. “What? I thought you wanted to go see him?”

“I did, but what if he don’t like me? What if he’s all mean and nasty and makes fun of me like everybody else and throws rocks and – “

“Hey, hey, look at me!” Kai said, kneeling down in front of the little girl. “If he makes any mean comments, I’ll kick ‘im in th’ nuts, ok? Promise.” Kai ruffled Tanna’s hair as the girl grinned, then she stood and knocked on the door. Silence greeted them, and Kai checked the watchtower clock, wondering if they were late. It read ten past eight and she frowned, wondering what could be keeping him. She knocked again, a little louder, then shrugged. “Odd, apparently he’s missing – Tanna?”

She caught sight of the girl standing at the window and walked over, trying to peer in through the blinds. “Tanna, it ain’t polite to look through th – “

“No wait, I don’t think this is right!” Tanna said, tapping the window. “There’s something wrong!”

“Tanna, he might just be out on…a…walk?” Kai’s sentence trailed off as she watched what happened next. The blinds on the window suddenly began to shudder and move, as if by themselves, surrounded in an odd copper glow. She turned and saw Tanna’s eyes burning brightly in the dim light, then took her place at the window, trying to catch a glimpse of Vaerk as Tanna lifted the blinds up. Suddenly she caught sight of the lower half of Vaerk’s body lying on the floor unmoving. “Drop th’ blinds, li’l one. We’re goin’ in.” Kai said, slamming her shoulder into the door.

It didn’t budge, but the sound from the hit resounded through the cavern like an explosion. Kai grimaced and stood back, planting one well-placed kick near the door handle. The door splintered and flew open with a crash and the two rushed in. “Tanna, I need you to run down the street and talk to the nice people over at the medical clinic, okay?”

“But – “

“No, go now!” Kai ordered, pointing towards the large building down the street. Tanna nodded and rushed out, leaving her sister to tend to Vaerk. “Hey, Vaerk? C’mon guy, wake up for me!” she patted his cheek gently, then bent down and listened for breath, feeling the side of his neck for a pulse. It weak, but he was still alive – just barely. She looked around for any sorts of wounds, then noticed the blood on his hand…and the dark splotch on his shirt.

Without thinking she grabbed the knife from her boot and slit the tunic open, grabbing a few towels from near the sink in an attempt to clean the wound and stop the bleeding. He didn’t respond to her calls, nor did he wake up when the doctors finally came by to take him away to the hospital. Kai shuffled nervously along behind them, holding a shaking Tanna’s hand, wondering what happened and whether or not Vaerk would even wake up.

Hours passed before one of the doctors finally walked out and spoke to them. “Well, he’s quiet now at least. He kept calling out a name – Lynn or somethin’. Can’t quite remember though…” the doctor shrugged. “He’s stable and partially awake at least. You can go talk to him if you want.” She nodded and walked in, followed by a nervously quivering Tanna.

Vaerk was stretched out on the bed, a cover thrown up over his body, a simple white tunic covering his torso and arms. He was still wearing his cowl and hood – at least the medics had had the courtesy to keep those on – and his eyes were shut. He looked dead, and Tanna stared up at Kai with a questioning look on her face. “Vaerk?” his eyes snapped open and darted to the two forms standing in the doorway. The dull copper light within suddenly brightened a bit, though they dimmed almost as quickly. “What happened?”

“I do not know.” He muttered, grimacing as he tried to sit up. “An old wound reopened, apparently.”

“One helluva wound, friend. Where’d’ja get that, anyways?” She raised an eyebrow and nodded as he narrowed his eyes at her question. “Ok, not a good thing t’ask about.” he closed his eyes briefly and leaned back against the pillows, rubbing his chest. Suddenly his copper eyes darted to Tanna, who was still hiding behind Kai’s form.

“I remember her…from when you and your friends visited this past winter. Tanna, is it?”

“Uhm…yeah. Tanna, this is Vaerk. Vaerk, Tanna.” He held out a hand and Tanna took it, shivering nervously. He muttered something in another language and his eyes glimmered for a split second before returning to their dulled, tired luster. Kai sat down in the chair next to his bed, a nervous smile on her face.

“She is a psychokineticist...quite possibly a wilder, too.”

"Well, whaddaya think about trainin’ her?”

He moved a flowerpot from his bedside table to another at the other side of the room. Tanna, in response, picked up the same flowerpot and moved it to his bedside table, a grin on her face. “Very good, little one, you learn fast. But there is more to psychokineticism than tha – nng!” he grimaced and doubled over in the bed, clutching his chest.

“Shit. DOC!” Kai yelled, and one of the doctors came rushing in.

“Leave.” Vaerk growled, eyes flashing a bright copper color before returning to normal. The doctor’s eyes reflected the copper glow and he nodded woodenly, walking out of the door with no resistance whatsoever.

“What th’ hells was that for? Yer hurt an’ he could’a helped you!“

“I am fine, Kai.” he replied quietly, struggling for breath. “I am not fond of doctors, and I heal quickly.”

She blinked once or twice. “Yer gon' hurt yerself worse if y’push th’ doctors away – hey! C’mon man, did’ja not hear a word I jus’ said?!” She grabbed Vaerk by the shoulders and shoved him back onto the bed as he tried to get up, eyes narrowed. “Now you sit there and heal.”

He blinked a few times, then nodded and laid back. “Fair enough, Ms. Antonius.”

“Good.” an awkward silence descended over the three of them as they ran out of things to discuss. “Um…if y’don’t mind me askin’, who’s Lynn?”

Vaerk’s eyes widened and he grimaced again. “Nothing of your business.” He replied, placing a hand on his chest. It was the first time Kai noticed the small gold band around his finger and she stared at it in understanding. “She was someone I cared for quite deeply.” He continued, staring at the ceiling. “And yes, in answer to your next question, I will train the girl.”

“Oh! Well,” she turned to Tanna who replied with an excited nod. “Good to know…but that wasn’t my question. How come y’called me – ”

“’Kai’? It was simply a slip of the tongue, Ms. Antonius. I did not mean to call you by your nickname.” He replied calmly and leaned back, closing his eyes.

“Ah, it was weird, I’ve jus’ never heard’ja call me by my…wait.” she trailed off, her eyes widening as she shook his shoulder. He didn’t respond, his chest rising and falling evenly as he passed into an exhausted sleep. “Hey. Hey! What do you mean, nickname?!”
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Re: The Antonius Chronicles - Echoes of the Past

Post by AJ.Wisteria on Sat Feb 16, 2013 5:23 am

Chapter 6 – The Spark Ignites

Sidhiel blinked and let out a slight groan, squeezing her eyes shut against the sunlight streaming in from the mouth of the cavern. Suddenly her eyelids flew open and she looked up, blinking once or twice as she remembered where she was and who she was with. She stretched an arm out and yawned, sitting up slowly. “G’morning.” She muttered, rubbing her eyes.

Faelar turned his head towards her and blinked a few times. "Good morning, Sidhiel. Did you rest well?"

“Mhm…” she nodded and yawned, tying her hair back as she turned and smiled at him. “T-thank you for…ahm…keeping me warm last night.” She felt her cheeks warm up and she turned away abruptly, searching through her pack for her rations. She took a bite of beef jerky and chewed on it thoughtfully, watching as Faelar shifted from puma form into dragon form, his silver scales glittering in the morning light. They sat in silence for a while, the wind blowing across the mouth of the cave being the only sound that surrounded them. “Are we ready?” she said finally, standing up and taking another moment to admire Faelar’s scales before she turned away, blood rushing to her cheeks in embarrassment.

“Yes, I am r – “ suddenly a familiar bang resounded through the cavern and a black rift opened in the air at the mouth of the cave, spilling out two phantomlike, wispy shapes onto the ground in front of them. “Airfiends.”

“Oh, lovely.” Sidhiel said, dodging the first attack as nimbly as she could before bringing her greataxe down on the creature’s body. It seemed to faze through the Airfiend’s form, but the creature screamed like the howling wind and “stumbled” backward. A silver claw sliced through the air next to her and batted the creature upside the head, passing through it’s form as it dissipated from the damage. She grimaced and turned towards the second airfiend, dispatching it with ease.

“Not very strong, are they?” Faelar said, shifting to his normal form. “Their behavior certainly is…odd, though. Their appearances seem deliberate, in a way.”

“Not very strong at all, no. I wonder who – or what – could be strong enough to open a rift to another plane, though.”

“Agreed. Whatever is doing this is certainly something to worry about. Ahh well, we're nearly there, and I'm sure you'd like to get out of the cold?" Sidhiel nodded and followed Faelar out of the cave, shuddering in the cold as they trekked through the mountains. Hours passed before the foliage around them began to look less and less like tundra grass and more like prairie grasses, and tall trees sprang up around them as another massive forest swallowed their forms. It was very, very different from the jungle-like forest they had been in before – massive redwood trees stretched far above them, showering them with thin brown leaves as they stepped around the shorter plants at the bases of the trees.

“It is quiet.” Sidhiel muttered, glancing around her nervously. “Too quiet, methinks.” Faelar nodded and paused, peering through the trees as if searching for something. Far away and muffled by the distance they could hear footsteps, as if some massive beast was lumbering towards them. “Do you hear that?”

Faelar nodded, and his scales faded back to their usual deep green shine. “Yes, I hear it too, and our destination should be up ahead. Let’s find out what’s going on.” He began walking again, with Sidhiel following close behind, searching for any signs of danger. After a while they stepped into a clearing, and Sidhiel nearly gagged from the scent that hit her nose. A massive, blackened and corrupted tree lumbered about drunkenly, its trunk covered in foul smelling cysts that oozed with putrid sap. She grimaced, then caught sight of another creature in the clearing, a creature she had only ever heard stories about.

“Oh thank goodness, help has arrived!” the satyr cried out, his flesh pale, rotting and marred with the same sort of oozing sores that covered the trunk of the rampaging tree. A dark-colored metallic shard was embedded in his stomach in what looked to be a rather new and painful wound.

“Who are you?” Sidhiel asked warily.

“I am the one who is bound to this tree. It has become corrupted by a band of scoundrels, and it is affecting me, too!” he grimaced and hacked a few times. “Listen, there is only one way to repair the damages, and that would be to destroy the tree and replant it, but that is not something I can do alone. Plus, the cretins who did this to me have left me weak and injured!"

Sidhiel looked at the satyr, then back up at Fae, a wary and unconvinced look on her face. “If you’re bound to the tree,” Faelar began quietly. “Destroying it would destroy you too, wouldn’t it?”

“Normally, perhaps, but I've prepared some magic to make sure that won't quite happen…but if something doesn't happen soon, I'll waste away with that thing!” the satyr hacked into its hand again and stumbled, staring at them with pleading eyes. “Children of nature wouldn't allow one of it's wardens to suffer and die, would they?"

“Something is…off about this fellow…” muttered Sidhiel, keeping a wary eye on the stumbling tree.

"C-can't you see I'm wasting away, here?! I can barely think straight!” the satyr cried, his tone frustrated and pained. “What those corruptors have done…it needs to be stopped, before it's too late!" As it said those last words, Sidhiel did something she never thought she’d do, not without permission from the owner of the mind at least – she read the satyr’s thoughts. Seven voices, all chaotic and violently evil, cried out in her mind and she shuddered, grimacing as she readied her greataxe.

“I usually do not like going into the minds others without permission," she said quietly. "But this time it was warranted. Now I do not trust you – or rather, all of you – at all."

A sneer crept across the satyr’s face as it drew itself upright, laughing. "We TRIED to reason with you. It's very important to trust someone, you know." It said, no longer speaking in one voice, but seven. “Centuries ago, the world sought to contain us beneath the earth. Fools they were, for the forces of the world were ours to control. Guardians became servants. They so boldly thought to contain us and then destroy us in that wretched blade they made.” It laughed again and cocked its head eerily at the pair. “Four hundred years it took them to do this, and look what it accomplished- their work sloppy and unfinished, along with everything else that mortals do! All they did in the end was merge us together, and now, no force on this world or beyond harbors the strength to bend our knee! Once the blade is corrupted and ours, you will suffer like many others!"

There was a blast of chaotic energy that rocked the area as the satyr suddenly grew, its body bursting into a roiling, confusing mess of roaring flames, dry, dead earth, and tainted water. Currents of air flowed around it while the shadows beneath it bent and twisted, and strange, arcane radiation poured from it, an ominous hum suddenly filling the clearing. “Kill the interlopers! Crush them! Destroy them!” the Corrupted Vestige cried, pointing its finger at the two as it opened a rift into Limbo and jumped through it.

A pillar of green fire abruptly descended from the heavens and smashed into the tree as a blast of copper fire hit the tree’s side, setting it alight. It seemed to screech in pain under the attacks and it swung its limbs wildly, catching both Faelar and Sidhiel during its attack. Sidhiel grimaced, but felt suddenly reinvigorated as Faelar cast a healing spell on the pair. Another ball of fire struck the tree as it continued to flail wildly, trying to block the corrosive gas spewing from Faelar’s mouth. It screamed out in pain as a loud crack was heard and the center of it split open, revealing an odd green light…and a blade of living wood encased within.

As the blade came into view, the Corrupt Vestige emerged from a new rift, and rushed towards it. “Keep them busy!” screeched the Vestige as a group of small elementals poured out of the ground around the pair. “The blade must be ours!”

“Gods, they’re like rats!” Sidhiel yelled in annoyance, cleaving through two elementals with ease as Faelar struck down four more that had tried to attack him. they made quick work of the smaller elementals and advanced towards the Vestige, noticing the strange spell it was channeling.

“Stop right there!” it cried, the energy between its hands sparking briefly. “If you so much as move a single inch, Dymondheart shall be destroyed!” the two stopped abruptly, glowering at the Vestige as it smirked at the pair. "Hmm, yes. You mortals are obedient to a fault…and now for the matter of your complete and total elimination. Which shall I destroy first?” the sphere between its hands grew larger and more chaotic, electricity and flames shooting out from its core as it looked between the pair, finally settling on Sidhiel. “You’ve caused me much trouble, impudent psion. Say goodbye!"

Sidhiel gaped as the ball of energy sped towards her, unable to move. Everything seemed to move in slow motion as she prepared herself for her inevitable doom…but something caught her eye. A flash of emerald in the daylight followed by an ear-splitting boom rocked her to her core, and she watched Faelar’s limp body fly past her, slamming into a nearby tree. He fell limply to the ground and lay there, paralyzed, unable to move.

“FAE!” she screamed, and rushed towards him, hands hovering above his motionless body. “Oh gods Fae…” as he looked up at her weakly, his eyes glazed over and out of focus.

“Bah, so much for the bluff. So be it, then – let’s see how long you can last! No mortal may stand against US and live!” the Vestige laughed confidently, its voices echoing off of the forest around it as she heard the creature advance.

Deep within Sidhiel’s soul, she felt a searing, burning sensation, what had once only been a dying spark ignited and became a blazing conflagration as pure emotion surged through her body. She stood, wavering slightly as she did so, the fire burning through her heart and mind as she turned to face the vestige. Copper light began to fill her vision, nearly blinding her as she gritted her teeth. “You…” she snarled as copper-white light began to form around her arms and torso. Suddenly a bright copper flash exploded out from her eyes as she let out a beastlike roar, her hands burning inside the claws that had formed around them. Without a second thought she dropped her axe and rushed the creature, slashing the ethereal claws across its chest and stomach.

From far away, she heard seven voices all scream out simultaneously as one of the beast’s claws raked across the metal embedded in the Vestige’s side. Sidhiel felt herself slipping closer and closer to the brink of unconsciousness as a familiar, yet unwanted feeling closed in around her. A cruel laugh resounded through her mind and passed her lips as she pulled the shard out and jammed it into the Vestige’s stomach. She grasped for any semblance of control, any hand-hold in her own mind before another burst of emotion surged through her mind. She looked up in fear and shock at the beast that stood before her, its jaws and body wreathed in a mix of copper, red, and black flames.

“Hiya Patchwork. Miss me?”
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Re: The Antonius Chronicles - Echoes of the Past

Post by AJ.Wisteria on Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:38 am

Chapter 7 – To the Homeland


Two days passed since Kai had heard anything from Vaerk. She had checked the hospital, checked his home, and had searched nearly the entirety of Kalvan and New Relthen before finally giving up on the third day. She wondered where Sidhiel was, what her sister was up to...she guessed Sidhiel had already gone off with Faelar to find Dymondheart and chuckled slightly, picturing the two of them adventuring on their own. These thoughts passed through her mind as she sat out on the front porch, drinking in the morning sun as well as a cup of hot tea.

“Kai? We’s headin’ back tomorrows, right?” asked Tanna, who sat down next to her on the steps.

“Yep. Rissien will be teleporting us to a town near the border of the Dawnlands so we don’t have t’travel so far.”

“He’s comin’ with us?” Tanna clapped her hands and grinned when she heard Kai reply in the affirmative, tapping her feet on the wooden steps in excitement. “I can’t wait! It’ll be so fun – won’t it?”

“It will be dangerous, little one. You do not know what lurks in the bowels of Haven.” Said a familiar voice as a man seemingly stepped out of thin air nearby. “My apologies for startling you, Ms. Antonius.”

“Gees, yer like Atrumus…’cept he’s got proper portals.” She scowled at Vaerk. “Where’ve ya been fer th’ past two days?!”

“Meditating. May I take a seat?” Kai nodded and chuckled as Tanna scooted over closer to the pair, trying to get a good look at Vaerk. “What is it, little one?”

“Y’keep yer face all concealed an’ stuff, why?” she asked bluntly. “Mr. Faelar kept his face all concealed ‘cause he was sad an’ stuffs. Are you sad?”

“Little one, if you wish to converse politely with people, you must carefully pick and choose what you say.” He replied, staring out across the sea. “Maybe this is something I can tutor you on when you return from the expedition.”

“How’d’ja know about Haven, anyways?” Kai asked, frowning.

“Rissien has filled me in on some of the details, such as the existence of Haven and the creature that lurks within its depths.” He sighed and rubbed his chest. “Do be careful when you depart. The creature that sleeps within Haven is not something to be trifled with.”

“An’ I s’pose you’ve dealt with it’s kind before?”

“No.” he replied curtly, shaking his head. “I have dealt with things similar to it, but never the same kind.”

“Somebody made the monster?” Tanna piped up, head cocked sideways. Kai looked at the girl and chuckled inwardly, wondering if Sidhiel looked like that when she was younger. “Why’d somebody make a monster?”

“For fun and entertainment is one possible explanation.” Vaerk replied, tamping his pipe before putting it in his mouth – the side facing away from the pair. “Most likely the creator put it there to keep unwitting travelers out of the ruins.”

“Couldn’t they just puts up a signs?”

“Signs are easily ignored, little one.” Vaerk replied calmly. “However, an easily provoked, bad-tempered monster is not something one can ignore for too long.”

“Oh…okay.” Tanna nodded, falling silent as she brooded over his statement. Kai stared off into space, silently watching the townsfolk as they went about their daily business.

“Have you had any nightmares in the past few days, Ms. Antonius?”

“Huh?” she looked at Vaerk, who had paused to relight his pipe. “Um, no actually. I mean, there was a dream, but it wasn’t much of anythin’.”

“Do tell.” He prodded, glancing briefly at her eye before returning his gaze to his pipe.

“Well, it wasn’t scary. It was like I was watchin’ from a window, like I was th’ audience at a play. There was that big burly blacksmith guy standin’ next to these two kids – one was th’ little boy I told y’about. Then there was th’ little girl in th’ blue dress, but she was still all, I dunno, fazed out.”

“Fazed out?”

“Yeah, like I was lookin’ at ‘er through one of them rippled-glass windows or somethin’. All distorted an’ greyed out…” Kai shrugged. “They were all runnin’ around in this big open field of cosmos flowers, laughin’ an’ playin’ like they was havin’ th’ time of their lives…” she chuckled as a warm, fuzzy feeling settled in her chest. “An’ then there was this really tall guy with long auburn hair and dark, bluish-grey skin that appeared nearby. It looked like he was part of th’ family or somethin’…an’ then it all kinda faded away.”

Vaerk stayed silent for a while, staring off into the distance with soft eyes, almost like he was reminiscing about something. Finally he put his pipe away and stood, handing Kai a copper-glowing gem. “If anything changes in your mental state, please, do not hesitate to tell me.”

“How do I use it?”

“Simply speak into it and I will hear it.” he replied, taking a few steps down the street. “Good luck to you and your expedition, Ms. Antonius.”


“Uh…thanks. Oh!” he turned as his body began to fade into the horizon. “What did’ja mean by ‘nickname’ a few nights ago?” his eyes were blank and unreadable, and he stayed silent as his body melted away into the horizon. “Hey! Answer my – damnit. Fine. Can’t figure out if I trust ‘im or not. Hell, I can’t even figure out if I like ‘im…but that din’t earn ‘im points.”

“I like him!” Tanna said, nodding. “He’s a nice guy.”

“Well at least you’ve got a clear read. C’mon kid, let’s get inside and get packed.” Kai replied, frowning.

Rissien was the first one to greet the pair as they exited their home the next morning. Emilia, Martin, and Dorian gathered at the door to bid them a teary farewell, unhappy to see them leave after spending so few days at home. “S’ok mum, we’ll be fine! An’ we’ll send’ja letters an’ have a jolly good time, promise!” Kai kissed her mother’s cheek and hugged her father and turned to Dorian.

He had grown so much in the past few months – he was nearly as well-dressed as Rissien, his hair combed back into a manageable ponytail, his shirt and collar neatly pressed. She grinned and threw her arms around him, squeezing her eyes shut as she felt them water. “Love ya, kiddo. Keep safe fer me, okay?”

“You have to promise to do the same, Kai.” he replied, putting a hand on her head. Dorian was always the hardest one to part with, and tears were shed on each side before they finally pulled out of their hug. Kai always missed her brother, and there was an empty space in her heart whenever they were apart.

She pushed these thoughts out of her mind as she felt the teleportation runes activate around the group and they found themselves in the town of Eccavia – just east of the Dawnlands. The spires of the college rose up next to them, and they noticed the slightly surprised looks the townspeople gave them as they stretched and stepped away from the runes. Their horses shuffled nearby, agitated by the abrupt journey, but seemingly content to realize they were back in the normal world.

“Shall we head off, then?”

“D’ya know how t’get to th’ Dawnlands from ‘ere?”

“Yes, I took this route when I last visited.” Rissien replied, mounting his steed. “We should get started, since it took me nearly a full day to reach Hearthfire from here.”

“A’ight then, c’mon Tanna, up you go!” she hoisted Tanna up behind her on Zali and urged her horse into a fast walk, catching up to Rissien within a few steps. “You excited?”

“I suppose so, yes. It is a bit odd, being so far away from Liana, but she and I have been…rather distant lately.”

“Could be ‘cause yer so busy with governmental-politic-y stuff.” Kai said with a grin.

Rissien nodded and chuckled. “Luckily your brother’s been taking on some of the jobs for me. He’s my errand boy and scribe-in-training, and he’s surprisingly good at both. He knows how to navigate the entirety of the city, now.”

“Well, he’ll have t’give us a full tour when we return, huh?”

“Indeed. And you got everything worked out with Vaerk?”

“Uh huh! He said he’d train me! Says I’m a psychiatrist!” Rissien’s eyes widened as he laughed out loud. “That’s what he said, don’t laughs!”

“I think you mean ‘psychokineticist’, Tanna.” Kai replied, ruffling the girl’s hair. “Don’t be upset, we weren’t laughing at you.” Tanna gave a loud harrumph and fell silent as Rissien and Kai exchanged grins and fell into silence. It would be a long trip, yes, but it felt good to be on the road again. Kai couldn’t wait to see the Dawnlands again, and she breathed a sigh of relief as she looked across the horizon towards home.
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Re: The Antonius Chronicles - Echoes of the Past

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