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The Crowfall Chronicles - Part 10 Of ?


oridi
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Putting this up right away as it was a tough one to write and I'd like it over and done with.

 

Part 1 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...cles-part-1-of/
Part 2 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...cles-part-2-of/
Part 3 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...cles-part-3-of/
Part 4 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...cles-part-4-of/
Part 5 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...cles-part-5-of/

Part 6 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...cles-part-6-of/
Part 7 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...-of/#entry55082
Part 8 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...cles-part-8-of/

Part 9 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.crowfall.com/index.php?/topic/2228-the-crowfall-chronicles-part-9-of/#entry57426

 

Crowfall Chronicles Part 10 of ?
 

Grand Inquisitor Bepp gathered her ruffles and robes about her and slowly waddled off the ship at Wellsmouth, avoiding the twinkling eyes of the sailor holding the ramp steady.  The journey would have been delightful except for the discovery of Parl’s early and possibly endless Winter.  As much as she disliked doing so, Bepp knew she must contact the King and warn him.

 

At the bottom of the ramp she purposely mingled herself with the traffic of the dock, slipping out of her fluffy robes and bundling them into a pack she had hidden under a particularly hideous flounce. Now dressed in an anonymous black tunic and tights she weaved her way through the crowd, heading for the Farseer’s booth a block away.  With a bit of luck Mirl wouldn’t miss her in the midst of the chaos of trying to unload his piles of luggage from the ship.

 

The Farseer’s booth was resplendent with hanging silks and colored lanterns,  filling the inside space with shifting shadows and tints.  Bepp strode in, stood in the small clear area in the center and settled herself for what might be a long wait.  Farseers were remarkably sensitive and could keep a client waiting for hours if they sensed the client was impatient or rude.

 

Bepp was in luck.  The Farseer came out within a few minutes, wearing a hooded robe festooned with scarves and strange sigils, and motioned her to a seat in the back of the tent.  “I am the Farseer.  Who are you trying to reach?” asked a soft voice and Bepp yet again wondered about whether Farseers were men, women, or something in between.  They always remained hooded though their clients were forbidden to do so.  

 

“I am trying to reach the King”, said Bepp firmly. “Please tell him it is Grand Inquisitor Bepp.”  She opened her eyes a bit wider and looked straight into the blackness inside the Farseer’s hood.

 

At the King’s Palace, the resident Farseer on duty received the request from Wellsmouth and sent a messenger to the King’s chambers to see if the sending was to be honored. Most folk were neither brave nor foolish enough to send to the King unless there was urgent need so decisions erred on the side of making sure the King chose whether or not to participate.

 

A few minutes later the King came frowning into the Farseers’ Wing and settled himself without preamble in front of the Farseer, staring into the back of the blackness within the hood.  In the midst of the blackness formed the face of Bepp, slightly wide eyed with an air of concern. 

 

“Grand Inquisitor Bepp.  What is it?” asked the King brusquely.

 

Bepp on her end saw the King’s face form inside the hood’s darkness. “The records for Parl show that the Winter has become longer and longer while the cycle has become shorter and shorter.  I am unsure if the next Winter on Parl will end before it’s time for the new one to begin.”  She felt a weight lift off her shoulders after she told the King.  Yes he was always bumbling about like a puppy trying to climb stairs but he was the King and if anyone would have access to enough information, the right information to fix this it would be him.

 

The King motioned for the guards and attendants to leave the room.  He waited until they were gone and the doors fully shut before he answered Bepp.  “I was wondering when someone outside the High Council would figure this out.  It is the same on all inner planets.  Our researchers are trying to gather enough information to try and figure out how to stop it but near as we can tell the Hunger is lengthening the Winter.   We have no idea how.”

 

“My Lord,” breathed Bepp. “Endless Winter – what will that mean to the populations of the inner planets?”

 

“It’s not the populations that I’m concerned with as much as the planets themselves.” replied the King. “Planets can be recolonized. But our scientists and naturalists estimate that an endless Winter can eventually even freeze the core of a planet, shattering it and decimating the entire mass of the planet. There will be no more endless cycles of the seasons.  Only one more cycle and then each planet will destroy itself.”

 

The King looked with what seemed to be sadness into Bepp’s distant eyes. “I’m sorry,” he said softly.  “You were a good servant to my father. “  He got up abruptly and left the room.

 

“Send word to Head Counselor Mirl to have Grand Inquisitor Bepp killed once they reach Parl,” said the King quietly to the guard outside the door.  “And have this Farseer and the one in Wellsmouth killed immediately.”

 

The guard saluted smartly and went into the Farseer’s room. 

 

---

 

Trep had been studying to be a firecaster for 6 years when he met his wife.  He’d been assigned to his first job out of mage school, an out of the way village that no one knew of called Martletown.  She was the first person he encountered that wasn’t too busy to talk to him when he first strode into the village.  Some would call her a bit drab, with her mousy brown hair and pale hazel eyes, but to Trep she was the most radiant being he’d ever met.

Her name was Arnya and she was the village livestock expert.  Not a very glamorous job, especially next to the duties of a firecaster, but she loved her work and spent long hours in the fields with her charges.  They were married within the year and many in the village looked at their devotion to each other and felt more than a pang of envy.

 

As the village mage, Trep’s main duty was to keep the Hunger at bay and make sure that any living thing that became infected was cleansed.  Cleansed was a euphemism for burned. Charred to a crisp. Fire was a potent tool in the war against the Hunger and Trep became celebrated in the village for both his ability to keep errant Infected wildlife from getting into the village and his swift mercy whenever a beloved pet came snarling in with iceblue limbs.

 

The Hunger was tricky though, moving quickly and sensing life from far away.  A few times Trep was caught with the Hunger between himself and the village while tracking a spotted Infected and that was when his true talent emerged.  Gouts of flame could spring from his wand and cyclones of fire would burn into the Hunger, decimating it.

 

The day he lost his wife and most of his reason dawned just fine.  It was a bright blue Fall sky with a bit of a breeze.  Arnya and Trep went for a walk in the Eastern Woods, admiring the colorful leaves and halfway looking for mushrooms that Trep usually discovered by stepping on them. They rounded a huge behemoth of a tree, intending to sit for a bit in the meadow beyond and froze at the sight of a huge swath of the Hunger filling most of the meadow.  Hunger had come early that cycle.

 

Trep’s instincts took over and he pulled Arnya back around the trunk of the tree.  It was too late.  The Hunger soon surrounded them, Trep shooting fire and Arnya standing strong in front of him as his arms danced around her full of spells.  Neither of them thought for a moment they would live through it. They were grateful that at least they were dying together.

 

Trep fought the Hunger for 3 hours straight.  His body began to glow like an ember from the constant summoning and releasing of power.  A few hours in Arnya laid her head back on his shoulder.  Trep kept up the barrage of fire, keeping the huge waves of Hunger at bay. 

 

It was about an hour after that that Trep noticed a thin line of icey blue running along the ground like a bit of yarn in front of the main body of the Hunger.  His mind stopped for a brief instant, questioning.  He traced the looping line with part of his attention until he found it nearly invisibly running towards them, right to their feet.  He twisted forward, spells still leaving his wand rapidly, and checked on Arnya.  Her head was still on his shoulder but her face was long gone into the Hunger.  Her eyes were all that remained whole and she looked at him with love through the pain.

 

His spells stopped and he spun her around.  The entire front of her body was ravaged by the Hunger. Any bit of her that had not been touching the radiant heat of his body was iceblue.   As he watched Arnya’s eyes clouded over and the love left them. It was replaced by the deadly greed of the Hunger.

 

Trep could not bring himself to kill her. He sat down, waiting for her to kill him. But he was still glowing hot and she could not touch him. The Hunger it seemed was happy with just corrupting Arnya and started to move away, with her trailing behind.  

 

Trep leapt to his feet and blocked her way. He frantically looked at the pattern of scars left on the ground from all of his firebombs and picked a charred line, moving towards it slowly, angling himself to keep Arnya moving backwards before him.  The seared ground would be safe from any residual traces of the Hunger.  He wouldn’t be glowing hot forever and when he cooled he’d need to keep on the lines. 

 

If he could get back to the village he could get help.  Maybe not all of her was Infected, maybe they could keep her contained until a cure showed up.  Trep found himself running the same litany of hope and excuses he had heard from every villager with an Infected pet.  He didn’t stop to think that once he cooled she’d Infect him as well.  He no longer thought about dying with her but instead was fixated on saving her.

 

Trep stopped after about 10 minutes of keeping Arnya moving towards the village. He was cooling rapidly now and coming to his senses.  He had only 2 choices.  Cleanse her or become infected himself.  If he was going to let himself become infected he should be moving away from the village, not towards it. 

 

Trep shut his eyes. He felt the cold malevolence of the Hunger radiating from what had once been a woman so lovely, so kind, that all the beauty of life seemed to shine from her smile. 

 

He let loose a blast of fire, incinerating her and the trees around them. 

 

---

 

Trep stumbled into the village late that night, the charred corpse of Arnya in his arms.  No one could convince him to let go of her and he spent a week in the back room of the tavern, wordless and rocking her crumbling body.

 

When he finally let them take Arnya and bury her he still couldn’t speak.  He wandered the village in straight lines, keeping to some imaginary grid of scarred earth that was safe in his now broken mind. 

 

A year later when Olbuf came looking for a new page, Trep volunteered.

 

 

 

Part 11 of the Crowfall Chronicles -  http://community.crowfall.com/index.php?/topic/2437-the-crowfall-chronicles-part-11-of/

 

 

Woman in Black - Ellie

Chinchilla - Fawne
Centaur - Vaands
Man with Fox - Fiblit
Knight - Luscia

 

 

Edited by oridi

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The Chronicles of Crowfall           The Free Lands of Azure            RIP Doc Gonzo.

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I could feel the emotion in this installment.   Bet it was tough for you :(  Poor Treppy has been to hell and back has he not?

Maybe it not about the happy ending. Maybe it's about the story.

RIP Doc Gonzo "to anyone...speak your mind...defend your position...be prepared for an Argument and enjoy the process of the discussion...that's all part of any good Forum experience"

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