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This was it, they were going to die, even Nesrin looked worried and the dying scream of the Vicery queen was still ringing in their heads. Larvae were crawling from the walls, falling from the ceiling, a steadily growing wave of white, dead looking flesh. They were wriggling across the floor, unstoppable, inexorable.

And then, as suddenly as it had happened, it stopped. The scream ended, the larvae ceased their wriggling and the wall of flesh that had built up collapsed, limp forms rolling away. Belak collapsed, in silence. A pulse rang through the bond as Nesrin slid across to him, but it was too late, he was gone.

Isira collapsed, sitting on the floor and clutching her knees to her chest. SHe was breathing hard, violently and she gulped as she felt tears begin to run down her face. Shock, grief, anger, pain, it was all of them. She'd just been completely overwhelmed by it all. To see someone die, that was nothing, she'd watched people die before, to feel it... to feel it. That was a whole other story, she had a bond with these people and if this was what it felt like when it was only in it's fledgling state how would it feel when she knew them all properly?
 

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The blasts of air that Adam was sending down onto the queen was beginning to go through its exoskeleton and actually started harming the grotesque thing. The queen flailed as it kept squirming trying to get at Adam who was causing the most damage to it. Robb was determined not to let that happen, and so it appeared that Daruk was stopping that too.

Robb moved between its leg joints, his blade slashing through its weakened spots as he tried to keep its attention, its focus, its wrath on him and not his fellow Tashiri. It was a hard thing to do, even with Daruk hacking away and sending fire at it. Robb moved to strike at its eyes, blind it and it won't be able to attack Adam. Robb could feel the Queen trying to enter his mind, the only way in which it could stop the attacks on itself.

He felt its power growing in his mind as it got more and more desperate, finding his attacks slowing and his moves becoming much more predictable for the Queen. Robb felt the pain stabbing at his head, and dropped to his knees, unable to contain the pain anymore. As it was getting fatal, Adam summoning his strength sent such a powerful wave of air down that it pulverized through the Queen and destroyed its insides.

Robb felt the pain receding from his mind, standing slowly and putting his blade in its sheath as the queen screamed and convulsed as it died. A second after it had died a scream could be heard throughout the hive as the damned Vicery screamed at the loss of their queen. The maggots that had littered the place quickly died, Robb noting how effective its death was.

Robb turned a she felt an emptiness in the bond as one of the Qalm members slipped away from the light, and headed for death. He turned to see Belak lying dead on the ground, poisoned. Solomon collapsed a moment later, the exertion of trying to hold back the queen to give the rest of the Qalm a chance to take on the Queen.

Robb turned as Adam walked over to him and Daruk thanking them both for helping him in defeating the Queen. Daruk nodded wordlessly at him, Robb saying, "We did our duty Adam. You did yours well." With that he made his way over to Solomon, intent on staying by the healers side until he awoke, so that Robb could apologize for his earlier anger at Solomon.
 

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Sven could quickly tell this battle was far from over. His movement hindered by the knee deep muck of the chmber, combined with his near complete exhaustion, would make fighting this new foe a challenge. Just as quickly as the broodlings had been destroyed, maggots, the spawn of this Vicery queen, had set to their grim task of disposing of the Qualm. Despite their diminuative stature, the sheer volume of the maggots onslaught, combined with a sense of fear in the back of Sven's mind, started to unnerve the Dwarf.

This fear was not instinctual, not a fight or flight response. Sven would surely have fought to the bitter end no matter the odds. This was an induced fear, a psychic attack. There were no words, only images of death and carnage at the maws of these quickly approaching maggots. Rot. Decay.

Solomon was on one knee, Sven could see it. He was unsure if it was real or a hallucination. Batting a maggot off of his shoulder, and crushing another under foot, he noticed he was bleeding. He could hardly hear, hardly think, the sound that followed was soul-piercing. Belak collapsed not far off from Sven, Nesrin called them to fight or die.

Trying to meditate at this point was nearly impossible. The mental attack of the Queen, combined with what Sven could only assume was the venom of the maggots addled his wits. Sven clenched Avalanche, but could not find the strength to swing it. The maggots were closing in, and Belak had still not stirred from where he fell. Sven thought them all lost. "At least we died fighting..." Sven whispered to himself.

Sven gathered what little strength and control he had left into a final defense. The maggots were thick, and Sven did not hope to win, but only to stay his demise a bit longer. Their were maggots climbing up his legs and chewing on his feet, unbearable pain rang through him. He was about to collapse to the sheer weight of his assailants as a screech rang out. The maggots froze, and began to fall from his body and dissolve back into the much from which they came.

Their seemed to be no immediate danger, no enemy movement, only silence. Solomon and Belak were down, if they were to live Sven could not know. Moving towards the group, he could feel something pull at his heart, and he knew that Belak had left them. Sven could only hope that Belak knew that his sacrifice had allowed them all to live. As Nesrin began to form a tunnel to the surface, Sven pitched in, hoping the work would keep his mind from the immediate loss.

As they moved further down the tunnel, towards the surface, towards home, Sven looked back only once. A single tear ran down his cheek as he did. "Go back to the earth my friend. Your climb is complete."
 

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Aalrik's head continued to spin as he slowly looked up and the world began to make sense again.

He was sprawled on the floor of the cavern. He tasted blood and his cheek and chin felt like they were on fire.
Gingerly, he reached up and touched his cheek. His fingers came away bloody and he winced at the sharp pain, his head spinning and the blackness at the edge of his vision threatening to overcome him again.

"Better not do that again," he thought as the spinning began to slow and the darkness receded, "until I figure out what is going on." Closing his eyes he focused his senses, trying to stop the swirling confusion of images and sensations.

Pain. He felt pain. His face was scraped and cut, and he could feel other abrasions on his legs and arms and there seemed to be a deadening of pain along his back left shoulder. "That is where the most serious wound must be. The pain is so overwhelming that it has actually become numb."

He could taste the sharp salt like taste of the blood and he could feel the skin tightening as it dried on his face and arms and legs.

There was a silence that was a blessed relief from that intense scream of anger and hatred that the queen had projected as she had burst into his mind and overcome him. He remembered vaguely dropping to the rough floor and writhing with the pain, scraping his face, hands and legs raw. He blinked the sweat out of his eyes. She had struck out at him, he remembered the pain across his back and being thrown or kicked from the floor to one of the walls of the cavern.

"I remember feeling Solomon trying to hold off the queen's mental attack. But then nothing....." His eyes flew open. "What happened!" he thought. He rolled to his side and levered himself up so that he could see, his head spinning again from the movement. He forced himself to scan the room.

The queen Vicery lay on the floor twitching feebly. It had been cut in two, the egg sac leaking a white-clear fluid into a pool around her. The maggots had rolled to their back and curled into cresents, dead and unmoving except for the slight opening and closing of their mandibles that could not be stopped even in death. As he watched they began to dissolve into puddles of white clear slime.

Through his pain and dizziness, Aalrik felt the bond between the Qalm tense then he felt the connection with Belek as it severed and, where the Dark Elf's presence in the Bond, there was now emptiness. It was as if a candle had been pinched between two fingers, snuffing the light of Belek's presence from existence.

The emptiness pulled the darkness in around Aalrik's eyes again and he fought to not follow that enticing path back into oblivion and its temporary peace.

"I need to be able to help. Get up, you lazy good for nothing!" He felt like he was shouting but the sound was a whisper.

Then he heard Nesrin's voice and felt his presence expand across the Bond and strength flowed across the Bond with that voice. "Well done, my younglings," Nesrin looked around the room at them all, "Well done."

Aalrik scanned the cavern. Solomon was down as was Belek. The queen was obviously dead. It was her death scream that had knocked him to the floor of the cavern as the mental cry tore through him, despite what Solomon did to soften the mental blow.

Aalrik tried to get his feet under him so that he could rise, but they, strangely, did not want to cooperate. Propped up by his arms, gathering his strength to try again, he watched Nesrin rise, limp to the wall of the cavern and begin to manipulate the Earth furies to open a pathway to the surface.

Aalrik lay down again on the rough floor. "I'll wait a bit. I can't help with the tunnel but I may need to move when it is done." He thought. "We did it. A costly victory but this hive will not harm anyone again." He felt the floor seem to fall away from under him as the darkness began to envelop him and he drifted into sleep.

"I wonder what is next."



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Update #23

Adam (Serpion5): As Robb walks away to sit down next to the unmoving form of Solomon, you can't help but reflect on the feelings of loss that wash over you. Two warriors, bonded to you in a way that you have never known before, died on this mission, their lives given for the good of the Qalm. How is Adam feeling? Is he overwhelmed with saddness? or is he directing his emotions to stoic purpose? Daruk stands near you, a solemn salute given in respect of Belak's sacrifice. This dwarf is somewhat of a mystery to you as he was thrust into the Qalm well after the bonding ceremony, and his stoic nature makes getting a read on his emotions difficult. Perhaps, now that things have calmed down, you should introduce yourself properly.

Zacarish (Santaire): Running your hands over the blade that you have forged in memory of Belak, you can't help but reflect on the sadness you feel within. A sadness at the loss of yet another Qalm mate threatens to turn into violent rage, one that burns behind your eyes and in your heart, threatening to overwhelm you. Somehow, you keep a handle on that rage, something calming has gripped you, and turning to you see that even though Nesrin stands side by side with Sven, creating a tunnel that leads to the surface, you catch him looking in your direction. You don't know, but you think that perhaps the calming influence is his doing. Remembering that Isira is by your side, miraculously still alive despite the fact that she, Sol, and Belak were seperated from the rest of the Qalm, you can't help but wonder what she experienced in the tunnels. Perhaps you should ask her what caused her to run off and what she found in her absence.

Daruk (deathbringer): Taking in the Qalm that now moves around you, you can tell that the assault on the hive weighs heavy on their minds. You know that they lost two warriors and, even though you are not bonded to the group, you can tell that the loss of those warrior still effects them deeply. You notice several new arrivals to the group, the dark elf that lays dead, a high elf female, and a human male, within which you feel the spark of Fire. Also kneeling by the healer Solomon, is another High Elf. You don't know what to make of the group as their ways, even comparing the Dwarf Sven, are strange to you. As you reflect upon this and perhaps reflect upon your desire to be bonded to the group, to help you feel less like an outsider, you see that the human windwalker Adam has turned to you and appears to intend to strike up a conversation.

Isira (Jackinator): For several moments sobs wrack your body as the tears stream down your face. The sadness that you feel is so accute that you can't help but give into it, mouring the loss of your Qalm mates, despite the fact that you had only known them for a couple of days, you feel the loss to the depths of your soul. Your eyes fall on Nesrin and you can't imagine what it would be like to lose your entire Qalm as he obviously did. After a short while you are able to get yourself under control, your breathing becomes more regular, and you are able to stem the flow of your tears. You realize that Zacarish still sits next to you, a curious expression on his face as he turns to speak with you.

Robb (Lord Ramo): Taking a seat next to Solomon's unmoving form, you can tell by the blood that leaks from his nose, eyes, and ears the pyschic assault of the Vicery Queen was much more powerful than any of you could possibly have known. You watch as a high elf, one that you do not recognize though you bears the ivory and crimson of the Tashiri, sits quietly, hands to either side of Solomon's head, obviously engaged in some form of healing. After a short time, the high elf stands and nods wordlessly to you before making his way in Nesrin's direction. Ever so slowly, Solomon begins to stir, finding you at his side as his eyes flutter open. [Ramo we can work out this convo over MSN at your convienence.]

Sven (Therizza): As you work with Nesrin, you reflect on the calming nature of the earth Furies that swarm around you in the dense sandstone. They help you focus at the task at hand, dulling the pain of the loss of yet another Qalm mate. slowly the tunnel makes its way upward, as you take the time to reinforce the sides and top as Nesrin pushes the pathway forward. You are surprised with how easy it is to work with your Hetat and are surprised by the fact that he does not direct your every move, trusting in your abilities to compliment the crafting he works. The mountain of a man that works next to you seems to be overwhelmed with both loss but also with pride. As the cool breeze of the surface, well much cooler in comparison to the oppressive humidity of the Queen's chamber, you take a deep lungful of the fresh air, wondering what lies ahead for you and your brethren.

Aalrik (apidude): You are gently shaken out of sleep and as you look up you see Sol standing over you, concern in his eyes. "You alright pointy-ears?" he inquires with a smile as he helps you get to your feet. "It is time to go," he says, jerking his head in the direction of the tunnel formed by Sven and Nesrin. Thankfully you can smell the fresh air coming down the tunnel and, despite the fact that it carries the warmth of the desert on its back, it is a welcome relief to the oppressive heat and humidity that permeates the Queen's chamber. Walking, Sol at your side, you make for the tunnel, desperate to get out of this hellish realm.

Jorn (Spiltpaw the Deceiver): See previous update as well as the ALL sections that follow. If you don't respond to this update I will be taking control of Jorn as an NPC.

ALL: As you all move towards the tunnel, you help each other up its gradual slope accounting for wounds that your healers are just too tired to deal with and fatigue that they can do nothing about. The sunshine of the desert falls on your face and a cool northern breeze blows over you, dispelling the last of the unpleasant suffocating air of the Vicery hive. You see several of the air carriages left behind by various Qalms, their emptiness an unpleasant reminder of the lives lost in the vicious hive hidden below the shifting sand. You are heartned by the fact that in the distance, travelling towards you a reakneck speed are several more air carriages, the miniscule forms of Tashiri Aria flitting around them, an enitre air group sent as reinforcements. You collapse, all of you into one of the empty carriages as the new arrivals touch down. The rumbling bass of Nesrin's voice carries over you as he speaks to the leader of the new group, but the words are unintelligible in your exhaustion. The other's response is loud and clear however and you are relieved to know that the new arrivals are going to retrieve the bodies of the fallen for proper burial at the Talisariat. This announcement causes Sol to bolt uprigth in the seat that he was sprawled in and he quickly leaves the carriage. Though none of you follow, his words are clear as he speaks to Nesrin.

"Isira, Belak, and I discovered something strange in the depths of the hive, "He begins, "I was drawn to a crafting, a fire crafting that at the same time was not a crafting. It felt different, wrong, as if the Furies themselves had been tortured into doing the Crafter's bidding. I know of no Tashiri that would treat Furies in such a manner, it was abhorrent. My point is there is a body of a Tashiri warrior hanging in that cavern, I do not want him forgotten as it seems he was captured and tortured for information." As Sol returns to the carriage and as it takes off, borne by memebers of the air group that accompanied the reinforcments, you all ponder what this development could mean, though its implications are clouded in mystery, Nesrin's look of concern is enough to make you worry about what lies ahead.

***​

ALL: Most of you are half asleep with exhaustion as the air carriage touches down on one of the departure platforms near the top of the structure. As you disembark Nesrin beckons you all to follow, "Come younglings, two of our number need to be bonded to us." He leads you all through a part of the Talisariat that you have never been too. The halls hear aren't exactly lavish, but you can tell that they are lovingly maintained by serfs of the order, the furniture is made of more expensive materials, and the there are tapestries and banners depicting the history of the Tashiri. Scenes of battles and people you have never met assail you from all sides.

Nesrin leads you into a small room that contains a large pool of water, very similar to the one that you all saw during the banquet, and from a small, unadorned doorway near the back of the room, the same ageless man that officiated over the original bonding appears. His robe is even more startling white in this small space than it was in the large dining hall. You watch as he approaches Nesrin, clasping his hand warmly, laying an understanding hand on the huge man's shoulder. Something about his demeanor gives tell to the sadness the man in white feels, it is as if, even without Nesrin's report, he knows that many Tashiri were lost in the assualt on the Vicery.

"We all make sacrifices," The man says to Nesrin simply, "But the loss of comrades is especially hard."

Turing to the rest of you, he indicates that you all should place your hands in the pool. Once more the man's power overwhelms you, as it seems to becoming from everywhere around you. Once more the living flames erupt from the surface of the quiet pool, and once more you are assailed with the presence of those that stand with you. Daruk, though the experience is one that had been descirbed to you before, it is one that defies their description. All of a sudden you are privy to the sadness and emotions of those of your Qalm. You are now truly bonded to the Warriors at your side. The rest of you now feel Daruk and Jorn amongst the eddy and flow of the bond.

The man in white looks at you all as the bonding takes hold,"You have all done well my warriors." The possessive here strikes you all as odd, "I feel for your losses, but I take pride in your accomplishments. It is not every new Qalm that can take on a Vicery queen and her brood and live to tell the tale." He takes a deep breath smiling at you all," Go now, rest, I have no further assignments for you for some time."

"Yes Radan," Nesrin's voice echoes in the small chamber. You are all startled to find yourself in the presence of the founder or the Order, but it is short lived as his presence retreats as he passes through the small door and Nesrin leads you all back down the mighty tower to your quarters.

"It is time for a meal and sleep," Nesrin instructs as you arrive in the hallway that leads to your rooms, "Get some rest. Tomorrow we begin training as a group."

[for those of you that interact and want to expand on your conversations get with each other via PM or MSN or the like. If you are interacting with an NPc get with me and we can workout the conversations.]
 

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Adam - Human Windwalker

Adam watched Robb leave to kneel beside Solomon. In that moment, **** connected to the fore of his mind and the rush of emotions she had been subjected to spilled over into his own.

You will not keep hiding from this. She cawed sternly. This is real Adam. If you continue to run, to shift the burden of emotion to me as you have been, you will forever be weaker than me.

You're an idiot. Adam replied, his face twisting into a snarl of irritation at the conversation only he could hear. You have no power over me. You don't exist without me. You've already tried and failed to overcome me. This is your place. If the pain is so powerful, turn it to good purpose and use it to aid in our fight!

Oh I assure you, it will aid us... **** said threateningly before receeding to the back of his mind like before.

Adam shook the anger from his mind and looked around. Grief was evident on the others, each of them displaying at least some measure of sadness or regret. Even across the bond, most were far from the resolute warriors they had been at first. The battle had taken a toll, and though they were shaken Adam knew the survivors would emerge stronger than they had been before. His eyes came to rest upon the dwarf Daruk, the one who had helped him slay the monstrous queen. Unlike the others, Daruk had not been with the Qualm from the beginning, and as such his mind was as unreadable as his stoic expression.

Adam approached, sitting on the ground a few metres from where the dwarf stood in salute and met his gaze.

'A fine swing you have there. My name is Adam Jameson, Windwalker born of Deidre.' He said. 'In all my years on the streets of Deidre's little towns, I have never met a warrior with the same caliber you displayed today. So tell me Daruk, are all dwarves such formidable fighters? I must confess I've only seen the odd merchant of your people before joining the Tashiri.'
 

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Aalrik - Wood Walker - Wood Elf

The world was rocking. Aalrik's brow furrowed as he tried to deny the motion. It continued. He felt himself being pulled up out of the comfortable darkness that was warm and pain free and as he became more aware, the pain of his head and his wounds, and underlying all the painful absence of his Qalm brothers came more sharply into focus.

He heard a voice, low and quiet, "You alright, pointy ears?" Aalrik opened his eyes, squinting against the dim light. Sol was kneeling over him, gently shaking his shoulder with a humorless smile on his face. "It is time to go." he said, nodding over his shoulder and helping Aalrik to his feet.

Aalrik glanced in the direction he nodded and saw sunlight streaming down into the cavern. Specks of dust swirled in the gentle breeze that moved down the newly crafted tunnel to the surface. Aalrik breathed deeply of the fresh air, surprised at the strength that flowed into him with the wholesome sweetness of the desert air. His head began to clear and he began to move purposely forward, stepping away from Sol. As the air freshened he began to smell the fetid stench of the cavern of the hive.

"Frell. I could not tell how bad the air was in that bilious hell hole." He swallowed hard, trying to keep from vomiting and quickened his step. He needed to get outside....now.

He felt as if he were being reborn as he stepped out of the moist fetid air of the tunnel into the sharp clear desert air. His body rejoiced as he felt the toxins from the hive leave his body with every breath and the pain begin to fade to a dull ache.

He let his eyes focus in the distance, finding the horizon and the small specks of movement that approached. It felt so good to let his vision reach out to its maximum instead of being confined in the small dark confines of the cave systems.

Strength flowed back into him as he felt the slight traces of untarnished plant life of the desert flora and reached out to caress the furies of the plants, drawing a sense of peace and wholeness from their presence and their featherlight traces of life force.

He moved along with the remaining members of the Qalm as they limped to one of the air carriages they had used to come here. As he began to feel himself coming back to life, he became more aware of his comrades and the condition they were in.

As Robb and Solomon slowly emerged from the tunnel, it was clear from the blood traces that Soloman had been seriously wounded. He moved gingerly across the desert sands toward the carriages they had arrived in with Robb following. Isira was with Zacarish and they were talking in low voices. Aalrik could see from the grimy streaks on her cheeks that she had been crying. As he watched she brushed her sleeve across her eyes, smearing the moistened dust even more. Adam and the dwarf, Daruk, are moving ahead of Aalrik toward the carriages, the dwarf's low rumbling voice carrying clearly to Aalrik's elven ears. While a solid presence, the dwarf seemed preoccupied and, in Aalrik's opinion, a bit distant. "I must get to know him," Aalrik thought, "without him we would have been even more sorely pressed. His ax and his spirit saved our hides at least once in the battle."

They were all wounded and suffered from battle shock that weighed down on them as the adrenline that had sustained them during the battle faded and their exhaustion took hold.

Aalrik opened the door of the carriage. "Damn, how long was it that we arrived here. It feels like it was forever." he thought as he lowered himself onto the seat and felt his body began to relax of its own accord.

Outside Aalrik heard the sounds of the arriving Tashiri landing and the low voice of Nesrin greeting the reinforcements and it commander but he couldn't make out the words, but Sol stiffened and sat up and stepped from the carriage. His voice cut through the sharp air of the desert. "Isira, Belak, and I discovered something strange in the depths of the hive, " Sol began, "I was drawn to a crafting, a fire crafting that at the same time was not a crafting. It felt different, wrong, as if the Furies themselves had been tortured into doing the Crafter's bidding. I know of no Tashiri that would treat Furies in such a manner, it was abhorrent. My point is there is a body of a Tashiri warrior hanging in that cavern, I do not want him forgotten as it seems he was captured and tortured for information." Painfully, Aalrk pulled himself to his feet and began to step out of the carraige, checking his bow and its string. The commander of the replacements said they would retrieve the tortured Tashiri along with their battlebrothers and Sol stepped back into the carriage. It immediately lifted into the air, dropping Aalrik into his seat.

From the window of the carriage , he watched as the desert floor dropped beneath him and felt the car begin to accelerate.

"We survived...well most of us, " he thought grimly of their battle-brothers who fell and the manner of their deaths. "We won the victory, but we will wear the scars of the war forever," he thought, shuddering. In silence he watched the ground below until the rocking of the airborne carriage and the dull pain that he had been denying lured him back down into forgetfull oblivian and he fell asleep.


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Sadness.

And barely controllable rage.

Zacarish stood still, gazing down at the sword and shield that rested over Belak’s lifeless body. Just a slight pulse and a life gone. Another Dark Elf dead of an already dwindling population. I will never forget your sacrifice he swore silently. Another voice in his head, a promise he had made to his father the day he left to be trained.

“I will return,” the young Zacarish swore. His father gave a sad smile. “Do not make promises you cannot keep my son.”

But, for better or for ill, Zacarish swore to remember Belak.

The sadness was foremost in his mind but rage boiled just beneath the surface, a fire in his eyes and an acid in his heart. Such rage should have consumed him utterly and left naught but a shell, a rage driven beast to release upon the foe. But he kept a hold of it. Something, or someone, was aiding him in controlling the rage and hate that coursed through his veins.

Turning his head slightly he caught sight of Nesrin gazing at him even as he worked the crafting with Sven to open up a path to the surface. Nesrin’s gaze, containing its own sadness told Zacarish that despite the turmoil of his emotions, the heartbreak, Nesrin had suffered this many times over as his Qalm was slowly whittled down until only he remained. And though he did not know, if asked to guess Zacarish would say Nesrin was aiding him in his struggle against the rage in his heart. He nodded respectfully to the Hetat.

He suddenly remembered that Isira was standing next to him, still alive despite her, Sol and Belak having sprinted off into the tunnels and, he thought with a wry smile, getting him almost torn apart by Nesrin for attempting to follow them against orders. He also thought, more seriously this time, that it was probably his confession to Nesrin about the power of his rage were what made the Hetat know to help him stay calm after the loss of two Qalm members. When Djinn had died it had been useful, making him faster, stronger and altogether more lethal. But if it consumed him when there were no foes to vent it on, where there was nothing for him to use it against then it would destroy him utterly.

So he silently thanked Nesrin again for the aid in controlling the otherwise consuming rage.

He was about to ask where they had gone and why she had gone with them but, seeing her sobbing with tears streaming down her face settled instead for laying a hand on her arm. She visibly flinched and he lifted his hand from her shoulder, suddenly aware of what horrors must have been inflicted upon her in her childhood to make her so shy and nervous. “While we yet breathe we will not forget him Isira,” he said softly. “He has gone, and maybe to a better place where the world is at peace. All we can do for him now is to honour his sacrifice by making it worth something...”
 

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/OOC Midge913 I have taken a some liberties, as I find it incredible hard to write myself into events that have allready happen and been described, without having been a part of it. If its too much, I will ofcourse delete and try to rewrite it.

Eldur Liekki was exhausted as he went toward his room, simply content to collapse in his room. It had been a trying and eventful day, that defied everything he had been taught, but still he would not have been here, alive and bonded to a qalm of tested and tried tashiri.

That they had been in the presence of Radan, the founder of the Tashiri, during the bonding had hardly registered in Eldur's mind. His mind exhausted and being flooded with the feelings and sensations of the others in the Qalm. All of which was equally exhausted, even thou some hid it better than others. All of them thouched somehow by the losses to there qalm, which Eldur was a new addition. Eldur still felt like and outsider, as he had not fought so much with them, as forexample the other new addition the dwarf had done. Eldur had mostly fought by himself, protecting the qalm from being assailed by enemy reinforcements.

Eldur had been a part of the tashiri reinforcements that had been sent to the Vicery hive, even thou he only had become Tashiri a few weeks before. Just as so many others, all uninitiated into the bloody business of war. Eldur had realised on the travel in the air carriage, that he had a small advantage, he had taken life before in anger and desperation. And even thou he had been visible nervous, not like the dwarf that was also in the carriage, it was clear that he had seen battle before, and that it was more than likely he anticipated it. Which showed itself, as the carriage had landed at the vicery hive. Some had moved east some west, there guide had led them to a nearby group of Tashiri, that had allready been fighting for there lives. Wounded and dying laying amongst them. As Eldur had kept respectful distance to them all, not wanting to intrude on there business before ordered to, the dwarf had immediately mingled with the group, as one of his race had been injured. The Hetat, that Eldur realised must be the man Nesrin there guide had asked for, greeted the dwarf personally in what Eldur could hear was the dwarf language, thou he did not understand what was being said.

Eldur's brownish armour and small stature had made him more or less blend into the background of the hive structure, so he had gone largely undetected or at least the others Tashiri simply did not have the energy to recognize his presence. Nesrin did make a little nod to Eldur, indicating that he should follow the group in, as they moved deeper into the bowels of the hive.

Then Eldur was met with the horrors of battle and blodshed, as he fought together with his fellow tashiri towards the heart of the Vicery hive to its queen. As the others fought at the frontline meeting the enemy head on, Eldur had stayed behind, covering the others backs. His spear, and the powers of fire, excellent tools to block of the narrow tunnels, making the Vicery soldiers unable to lauch serious assaults from the rear, reinforcing the massive guardians or the queen. Wounding and killing several of the Vicery just out of sight and hearing. Eldur was not with the Qalm either, as the queen was killed. Eldur busy fending off a enraged guardian, desperate to reach its queen. Eldur using all his skills and his Fire bison Kebakaran to block the entrance into the queens lair. A fight that almost cost his life, before the death scream of the queen had assailed all his senses, making Eldur blackout. As he came to, the massive guardian simply lay dead.

What felt like days, but was only moments later Eldur was following Nesrin and his group out of the Hive. Boarding a air carriage together with the group, Eldur still felt he was at the wrong place, that even thou the Dwarf also was new to the group, he had been seen and become respected by the other Tashiri, for his direct involvement in there victory. Eldur just sat in the corner of the carriage, trying to come up with something to say, but his lips stayed silent.
 

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It was tedious work, shaping the tunnel with Nesrin but Sven would have it no other way. The calming nature of the Earth Furies, combined with the ever watchful presence of Nesrin helped to take Sven's mind off of the severity of their losses. Hard work had always been in Sven's nature, and now more than ever he took what little joy he could in helping to shape the tunnel that would take his Qalm out of that hell-pit, the Vicery lair.

Sven would glance over at Nesrin from time to time and, despite being consumed in his work of shaping their route, Sven sensed their Hetat's pain at the loss of so many Qalm-mates. Sven thought to ask his Hetat how many Tashiri he had seen die, but kept his thoughts to himself as they worked their way to the surface.

The stone had turned into dirt, and eventually sand. Eventually, they broke through to the surface, the cool air a reprieve from the oppressive humidity of the underground. Taking a deep breath, Sven's demeanor lightened as he looked to the distance to see a group of air carriages heading towards their location. Grasping the sand with his feet, Sven leaned against one of the empty air carriages that had brought them there in the first place. Closing his eyes, he tried to rest as best he could until their transport arrived.

As the carriages touched down, Sven was roused by Aalrik to board one. Doing so, Sven closed his eyes once again, trying to rest and forget the grizzly images burnt into his mind while inside the Hive. When they arrived, Nesrin beckoned them to a small room, as there were new members to be bonded to their Qalm. In a ceremony similar to their initiation night, Daruk and Jorn were bonded to their Qalm, and Sven could immediately feel a sense of healing, as even though his former Qalm-mates had passed on, they were honored by these new members.

Sven could not think anymore. So much had happened, in so little time and he simply wanted to sleep. Nesrin's words echoed in the hallway as he made his way to his bunk, "Get some rest. Tomorrow we begin training as a group." Although exhausted, Sven was ready to train again, to learn the art of combat with his Qalm, to improve his mettle as a Tashiri.
 

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“He has gone, and maybe to a better place where the world is at peace. All we can do for him now is to honour his sacrifice by making it worth something...”

The hand on her arm had made her recoil, unprepared for the gentle touch and still tense from the battle. She felt guilty as she saw that it was only Zacarish, concern on his face and she swallowed back tears, wiping her eyes on her sleeve.

"Honour, there's no honour in this world, what has this," she indicated the room around them, "got to do with honour."

She looked away, angry, not with him, but with herself. It wasn't his fault, he hadn't seen the body, hadn't felt the evil, the pain in that room, he couldn't understand. She turned back, looking subdued, frightened almost.

"Sorry, you're right, I hope he is at peace somewhere, Radan knows we won't find it anywhere here."

She fumbled in her pouch, taking out the pearl Nesrin had given them all. She felt completely and totally exhausted, it was tempting, but she didn't need it now, she replaced it carefully in the pouch at her belt.

She was hardly awake when they got back, barely noticing that their leader, the Radan himself paused to talk to them.
 

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'A fine swing you have there. My name is Adam Jameson, Windwalker born of Deidre.'

The words cast his eyes from the ground, the man with blue scimitar allowing words to burble from behind tired worn lips, a man he had fought with, a man who he had fought side by side alongside, who had proven himself worthy.

Not a friend but a man of honor and virtue, praising his swing, attempting to ingratiate himself with the outsider, to welcome him into his group

'In all my years on the streets of Deidre's little towns, I have never met a warrior with the same caliber you displayed today. So tell me Daruk, are all dwarves such formidable fighters? I must confess I've only seen the odd merchant of your people before joining the Tashiri."

A hint of mischevious pride glittered in his features and he let out his own smile, even as he gathered his weapons, a flick of his wrist producing a tattered cloth which he ran over the blade, the sinuous mucus of the queens final excretions a sticky irritant to the blades glittering steel.

"I bet those merchants rarely fell foul of scum upon the road, guard or no guard."

He patted the axe haft

"A dwarf is joined to his blade as soon as he is old enough to forge it, he will care for it as he would his kin and when it is shattered beyond repair, he mourns it as he would his own lover"

He smiled, the grin tearing apart his features in an unnatural twisted leer that seemed almost painful, though his eyes gleamed with the memories of the past

"Every groove, every inch I know as I do my own body and every tiny imperfection is as noticeable as a crack. I take care of her and she takes care of me. Long may it continue"

He slid the axe into the notch on his belt, eyes moving to meet Adam's as he straightened, the motion taking him to the wiry humans midriff

"You can thank her for my swing, as surely as I must thank you for saving me from the ignominy of a bloodless death"

His eyes fell upon the long blue saber at the mans hip and he studied the light agile blade that seemed to shimmer with the colors of the sky and he felt the question spring to his lips

"And what of your blade, she seems to flow as smoothly in the dance as you do... she must have stories too tell?"
 

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Robb stayed by Solomon’s side as he strayed in and out of consciousness, waiting for him to waken so he could apologize. He was tired but he squatted down, keeping his grim face focussed on the wall that Nesrin and Sven were digging out. He was upset at the loss of Qalm members, they had died bravely and for the good of many. So many Tashiri had died to secure the hive. Too many. His attention turned as a high elf wordlessly came over and healed Solomon before moving off quickly.

Robb waited for Solomon to stir and sit up, helping him as he put his head in his hand, obviously in pain. "I just wanted to thank you for your efforts in holding the queen's mind at bay so we could strike it down. I also wanted to apologize for my earlier remarks about you healing me. It was appreciated even if I acted harshly towards you." Robb said quietly to him, not wanting to enflare his condition with raised voices.

Solomon opened one eye, and a slight smile tugged at the corner of his mouth, "If I had known what I was in for, I might have thought twice taking her on." He shuddered, the memory of his melding with the queen's mind obviously affecting him still despite the healing. "Your apology is accepted friend, though not entirely necessary. I should perhaps ask before plying my trade in the future."

Robb nodded a slight smile on his lips. "Well my apologies anyway. It was stupid of me to act how I did. Rest now friend, you have done more than most of this qualm today."

Solomon reached up, grabbing hold of some of the slime that hung from one of Robbs arms, and smashing it between his fingertips, he smiles wryly, "It seems we all played our own part."

Robb nodded, “Yes well it was all thanks to you, or else we couldn’t have gotten close enough. Rest now friend we will be out of here soon enough.”

The journey out Robb barely spoke, didn’t look at anyone. He was tired, but even more determined. He had trained since a young age to be one of the tahsiri, and now he was bloodied like one. They arrived back at home for Robb, and he tiredly got out, his armour in his hands with his sword at his waist. He was surprised and honoured as one of the leaders of the Tashiri greeted them, in awe as he spoke. They were quickly bonded to the newest member before told to rest before tomorrow. Robb turned to the rest of the qualm. “I don’t know about you but I’m going to get some food.” He headed to the great hall, grabbing some bread, wine and meat before sitting down at one of the tables alone, paused in his own thoughts.
 

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Aalrik felt the air carriage as it began to descend toward the Talaisarat and opened his eyes. He had been barely conscious of the flight from the cave of the Vicrey Queen, only dimly aware of the soft sway of the carriage as the furies of the air sped it through the sky. He glanced down as the carriage swiftly dropped from traveling height to the roof of the building to land with a smooth descent and a slight bump as it landed.

Aalrik stood and stepped down out of the transport. Nesrin spoke.

"Come younglings, two of our number need to be bonded to us." and began to move through halls that, despite Aalrik's long residence in the Talaisarat, he had never seen before.

Nesrin led the group, battleweary and still reeking of the stench of the battle, into a small room wiht a small pool of water. As they move into the room a small door opens and a man Aalrik recognized stepped through the door, spoke to someone behind him, and then turned and entered the room, shaking his head. He moved forward to grasp Nesrin's hand, his eyes echoing and magnifying the sadness that seemed to well up inside Aalrik.

Aalrik's elven ears picked up his soft voice as the man spoke to Nesrin, "We all make sacrifices, but the loss of comrades is especially hard." He looks at the rest of the Qalm and motions them toward the pool placing his hand in the water. Once more Aalrik placed his hands in the cool water along with the rest of the Qalm including Daruk and Jorn. The flames licked up around each of them and as they flicker Aalrik began to feel the presence of Daruk and Jorn as their lives become intertwined with the rest of Qalm.

""You have all done well my warriors. I feel for your losses, but I take pride in your accomplishments. It is not every new Qalm that can take on a Vicery queen and her brood and live to tell the tale. Go now, rest, I have no further assignments for you for some time."

Aalrik paused. "My warriors...."? he thought. Then an unbidden sense of relief as Aalrik heard the words, "I have no further assignments for you for some time." Then a shock as he heard Nesrin respond to the old man, "Yes, Radan." Before Aalrik could respond or react the leader of the Telesari open the door and left.

Nesrin moved them toward the hall and spoke, "Get some rest. Tomorrow we begin training as a group."

Aalrik turned from the rest of the group and made his way toward his room. Once there he sat on the edge of the bed, pulled off his boots and fell back, asleep as his head touched the pillow.


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Update #24

ALL:Regardless of whether you adjourn to the great hall for some food with the greater population of Tashiri warriors, you retreat the the private dining hall in your dormitory wing, or you retire to your bed, the night passes smoothly and you begin to feel the tension of constantly feeling under threat ease from tired and sore muscles. Eventually you all make your way to your bed, the hallway in your Qalm's quarters quiet save for the rumbling snore of the dwarves and the peaceful calm of home. Sleep takes you almost as soon as your head hits the pillow, the days events leaving you with barely the energy to kick off your boots or step out of soiled clothing.

You sleep, whether you dream or not is up to you, but you sleep until you wake, nothing or no one disturbing the rest of warriors recovering from battle. Go through your morning ritual, some of those things that define you as a character and exhibit your personality. For the first time in what feels like an eternity no one is demanding anything from you, or rushing you from place to place as they did when you were apprentices. For many of you this is the first free time you have had, that has been completely your own, for many years. What do you do with it?

Whatever you get up to in the morning, a degree of commotion catches your attention around the lunch hour, and as you go to investigate what is going on. You find a gaggle of servants rushing in and out of your Qalm's dining hall and looking inside you see that they have set a feast, a massive lunch fit for a king. Nesrin sits and the table, already tucking in, the massive man's appetite truly comparable to his size. You enjoy the next couple of hours sharing this meal, set for you in honor of your victory, with each other. You mourn the loss of your comrades and celebrate the success you have had as a Qalm.

***​

The next several days are a whirlwind of training and instruction, starting with each of you sparring with Nesrin. He has told you that despite the fact that he watched you all fight against the Vicery, he wants to get a good idea for your strengths and weaknesses. You stand around the ring, cheering your companions on, as one by one they all fall to Nesrin in the ring. Despite the fact that he bests each of you, there are victories celebrated by each combatant, and none celebrate more than your Hetat. He praises where praise is due, Zacarish and Robb, he compliments you each on your swordsmanship as he nurses several bruises and small cuts dealt to him by your practice blades. Adam, your ferocity and speed brings a whoop of excitement from the burly giant, and despite the fact that the bout ends with you on your ass in the middle of the training ring, your Hetat's grin of pride causes any disappointment to melt away. Aalrik, he complements you on the unique way you brought some of your powers to bear in the bout, using you as an example to the others, urging them to think outside of the box. Isira, like Adam, Nesrin is amazed at your speed, your natural affinity for moving several times faster than a normal person can, he places a heavy hand on your shoulder, saying that he had to tax his own windwalking abilities almost to their max to keep up with you. Sven and Daruk, it is during your duels that the Hetat smiles most, pitting earth born skill against earthborn skill. The training yard trembles and shakes as you work to best him. He laughs out loud, pleased that he was gifted with two warriors so skilled in the area of fury craft in which he himself started. Daruk he also is intrigued at the way that you use your different skills so well in tandem with the other. Eldur your controlled careful use of your fireskills and the speed and accuracy of your spear work impresses your Hetat, his head nodding in approval as he uses his own powers to extinguish a smoldering hem of his training pants as he helps you to your feet. All in all Nesrin impresses you with the respect that he shows you all.

It is not all praise and laughter though, he balances that praise with excellent advice. Correcting form and grips, pointing out weaknesses in your stances and defenses, as well as matter of factly describing ways to gain more control over your own abilities. After the three days that you all spend dueling him individually you all find that you can mark areas where you have improved even over a short time. The man is a natural leader, who inspires confidence and has earned your respect several times over.

The day after individual sparring ends, you all find yourselves in one of the large fields that dot the landscape of Deidre. Each morning for the last everal weeks, the Qalm left the confines of the Temple, borne by air carriage to the ouskirts of the fortress country. Nesrin has told you that he is going to teach you all to fight as a team and that is exactly what he goes about doing. One of his favorite tactics is to place the metal and earth walkers in the center, back to back, using the the wind, water, and fire walkers to push enemies into the meat grinder that the earth and metal walkers become. They fire walkers can clear the flanks, having wide berth to use their abilities without needing to worry about collateral damage. Over this time you really start to learn about each other, how you fight, and how you use your abilities. Nesrin tests you garnering help from another Earth Master, a stoic man by the name of Talebat Natua, these masters of the discipline send wave after wave of combat drones, made from earth and clay, at the Qalm, testing their mettle and how they work as a group. Each day left you battered and bruised, but filled with confidence in the warriors at your side.

In your down time you find joy and comfort in the warriors that you have been bonded to. Your shared meals, shared training time, and shared down time have been times that have taught you much of each other. Through the ever present presence of your Qalm mates through the bond and through the bond of shared combat and loss the group of incredibly different people have started to become the family of warriors that a Tashiri Qalm is supposed to be.

[I give you all free reign to talk about whatever you wish to talk about. Describe your experiences, Come up with snippets of conversation, between your characters, get with each other via PM or MSN and decide how you all interact with one another. This particular update is one that is to be used to grow your character, enhance the feel of their personality, to really interact with the other players on a level that is far deeper than just the throws and chaos of combat.]

ALL: On the morning of the 22nd day since you returned from the Vicery hive, you all awake to find that small notes have been slid under each of your doors. You do not recognize the handwriting, but it is signed at the bottom by Nesrin. Each not bears instructions to report to a master for additional Fury training. Over the course of the last several weeks, Nesrin has inquired of each of you as to where you want your abilities to progress to and taking those things into account, he has made the necessary arrangements for Masters in your disciplines to continue your training.

Adam(Serpion5): Your instructions are to report to Master Enariel Y'nan. This is a name that you have heard before and you know that Master Y'nan is a renowned Windwalker among the Tashiri. Throughout the early days of your training as an apprentice you heard tales of the elusive Master, things that brought his standing to the height of a legend, a true master of the sky. Nesrin's tight scrawl on the note provides directions to Master Y'nan's chambers, in the top tallest tower on the west side of the Talissariat, and wasting no time you make your way there. Knocking on the door, a melodic tenor voice tells you to enter. As you do, you are awestruck at the layout of the room. The entire ceiling and the exterior wall are translucent, his chambers protected from the elements by a shimmering shield of hardened air. Despite the fact that you would think it to be freezing so high up, the conditions in the room are beautiful, the backdrop framed by a view that takes your breath away. The sound of someone clearing their throat tears your eyes away from the scene in front of you and you turn to see a high elf, his features radiant in the morning sunlight. He wears the ivory garb of the Tashiri, but about his waist is a gold trimmed black sash instead of the ruby red or even the purple of a Hetat. His dark auburn hair is held out of his face by a circlet of silver, the only other visible adornment a silver bracelet on his left wrist. He smiles, obviously excited to have you and simply says, gesturing to the wide open sky outside his large room, "Welcome Adam. I have heard that you wish to learn to fly."

Zacarish(Santaire): Your instructions are to report to Hedrin Hammerfist. You smile as you read this because you are fairly familiar with the stalwart Dwarven smith having worked beside him in the forges of the Talissariat nn several occasions. There are directions contained in the note from Nesrin, leading you to Hammerfist's forge, but you barely glance at them, your feet already carrying you out into the halls and eventually down several levels to smithies located near the bottom of the Talissariat. Entering the forge you are surprised to hear the clank of armored feet behind you. Turning you see Daruk walking down the hall behind you. You have come to like Daruk over the last several weeks. Despite the fact that he tends to keep to himself more than his Mountain cousin Sven, he shares a fiery temper and has a keen blade. Before you are able to ask Daruk what he is doing here, seeing as he is a fire and earth walker, a loud gruff voice rings out of the forge, over the clanking of a hammer on an anvil. "Are you going to get in here or not you two? This work isn't going to do itself now is it." Entering the forge you see Hammerfist, stripped from the waist up save for a heavy leather apron, sweat glistening off of muscles that have seen nearly a century and a half behind a blacksmith's hammer. His dark black mane of hair and bushy beard held back from the flames by several glittering silver rings along the length of each. His ivory shirt hangs from a peg by the door and just peeking out from behind his leather apron is the green sash that marks him an instructor. The hiss of steam erupts into the room as he plunges a piece of metal into a pail of vinegar water, its pungent steam adding to the aroma of the room. Wordlessly he juts his hammer in the direction of tools. Any questions you may have about the training you are supposed to be receiving are answered with a raised eyebrow and a gesture to the forge. Laughing you collect your tools and get to work.

Daruk(deathbringer): Your instructions are to report to a Hedrin Hammerfist. The name is not familiar to you, but it screams Dwarven heritage. The prospect of your training being under a Dwarf is something that fills you with excitement. It has been some time since you have been at the forge, but as with all of your race, you do possess some rudimentary skill. The fact that you will be working under not only a skilled metal walker, but a Dwarven one gets you moving down the halls, following the directions contained within Nesrin's note. You find yourself walking down a hallway, the scent and heat of the forges ahead already reaching your senses, but you are surprised to find that Zacarish is entering the forge just ahead of you. Over the last weeks you have come to see the Dark Elf warrior in a new light. He is a fervent fighter, possessing the same fiery spirit that you do, relishing in the chaotic twist and fervor of battle. He looks at you quizzically, but before you are able to answer a loud gruff voice rings out of the forge, over the clanking of a hammer on an anvil. "Are you going to get in here or not you two? This work isn't going to do itself now is it." Entering the forge you see Hammerfist, stripped from the waist up save for a heavy leather apron, sweat glistening off of muscles that have seen nearly a century and a half behind a blacksmith's hammer. His dark black mane of hair and bushy beard held back from the flames by several glittering silver rings along the length of each. His ivory shirt hangs from a peg by the door and just peeking out from behind his leather apron is the green sash that marks him an instructor. The hiss of steam erupts into the room as he plunges a piece of metal into a pail of vinegar water, its pungent steam adding to the aroma of the room. Wordlessly he juts his hammer in the direction of tools. Any questions you may have about the training you are supposed to be receiving are answered with a raised eyebrow and a gesture to the forge. Shaking your head with a small smile at the the welcome you have received you collect your tools and get to work.

Isira(Jackinator): Your instructions are to report to Jarruk Getmin, whose quarters are located in one of the four weather observatories located at the cardinal points of the Talissariat. This is an area of the Temple that you have never been to and honestly you had no idea that the Talissariat had weather observatories. It is quite a distance from your quarters to the Western Observatory, but your walk is one that provides you great enjoyment as it takes you through one of the botanical gardens fastidiously maintained by the Wood Walkers of the Tashiri Order. Walking through these areas that buslte with activity and life lifts your spirits. You took the loss of Djinn and Belak the hardest and it has been more of a struggle for you to deal with the emptiness that still hides in the recesses of your heart. As you approach the door that you have been lead to by Nesrin's directions you knock, several times but hear no answer. Pressing your ear to the door you hear what sounds like thunder and rain, which confuses you slightly as you distinctly remember the skies being clear when you left your room. Pushing the door open slightly, you see that the room beyond is a large laboratory, a long table full of strange insturments dominating the center of the room. The room's only occupant is a rather strange looking man. He is a portly fellow with a balding pate, his silver-white hair sticking out from the sides of his head in unruly tufts, the green sash of the instructor around the waist of his ivory pants. He has a pair of gold rimmed spectacles perched on the end of his nose that quiver as he stares into a large glass globe sitting on the table in front of him. It is what is inside the globe that fascinates you. A miniature thunderstorm, black clouds, rain, and lightning, swirls within the confining glass. The man, who must be Getmin, takes up a pen with ink stained fingers, jotting down a few notes on a pad of paper, and doesn't seem to notice you until you get his attention. Your voice startles him so much that he jumps, spectacles sliding down the end of his nose to dangle from the chain that keeps them around his neck. As he looks at you he will smile, "Glad you made it." He will point to the glass, "What I will be teaching you is the first step on the road to being able to control that." He will giggle, "Marvelous isn't it." What are your first impressions of the man? Do you say anything in return?

Robb(Lord Ramo): Your are told to report to Mistress Alana Frendel. The name is familiar to you, knowing that she oversees the Infirmary in the temple. You have seen her from afar several times in your various visits there over the years, but you have never spoken to her or seen her up close. You find yourself slightly nervous at the prospect of attempting to learn a new fury discipline. The workings of metal, the forge, and the sword all came very naturally to you, but the discipline of water has always seemed so fluid, Despite your nerves you are excited by the challenge and with one of the strongest Water Walkers of the Tashiri to teach you, you feel that you can't help but succeed. You are surprised that instead of being called to the Infirmary to meet your new instructor, you are direced by Nesin's note to one of the gardens in the Talissariat that you know to hold a large pond. As you enter the garden you see Mistress Frendel, kneeling by the side of the pond, a single finger touching its surface, but over a hundred small tendrils of water arching hear and there providing the life giving substance to beds of flowers and creeping vines. Her beauty startles you, her flowing straw colored hair catching the light in a way that makes it seem to shine, her pale skin glistening in the rays of the sun that filter in through the large windows. Instead of the pants and shirt typical to most Tashiri, she wears a flowing gown of the same fabric, around her waist a sash of deep ebony trimmed in gold, marking her station as a Tashiri Master. As you begin to approach, she will stand and face you, her face ageless, a sign of her calling as a Water Walker, her expression stern. "What would bring one such as you, someone born to heat and metal and war, to learn from me?" How do you respond?

Aalrik(Apidude): You are instructed to report to the aboretum, the great forrest of trees that ring the edges of the floating island that houses the Talissariat, to learn from a Woodelf known only as the Gladekeeper. You have heard tell of this mysterious Tashiri throughout the course of your life, but you and the other children always thought him some sort of myth. That Nesrin has arranged for you to not only meet him, a living legend, a Master Wood Walker, speaks to not only Nesrin's standing in the order but the regard in which he holds you. You are told to leave the Talissariat through the Eastern gate and as you do the sunrising over the great forrest takes your breath away with its regal beauty, the forrest alight with the first rays of the sun. You were given no real instruction as to how you were to find the Gladekeeper, save to make your way through the forrest toward the eastern edge of the island. You start out at an easy jog, moving through the trees and after about twenty minutes you are joined by your wolf-brothers, Hurel and Ickbit, the great wolves materializing out of the trees to run at your side, lopsided grins showing their formidable fangs, but everything about their body language expressing joy to be able to hunt with you again. About an hour or so before mid-day, you stop to take a rest. You are deep in the forrest, the great canopy above nearly blotting out the sky completely, your surroundings bathed in the greenish light of the rays of the sun shining through the dense foliage. Hurel and Ickbit suddenly raise their heads, ears and muzzles pointing in the same direction, to the north. At first you think that the newcomer that suddenly joins you had stepped out from behind a great oak, appearing so suddenly and quietly that it takes even you by surprise, but astonished, you realize that he stepped out of the tree itself. The Gladekeeper, for his could be no one else, is a woodelf of surprising height, you would think that he would rival Nesrin in that regard, his deep brown hair tied back in a single plait, grey touching his temples speaking to his great age even for an elf. He wears the ivory pants of the Tashiri, but his jerkin seems to be of a different cloth entirely, a pale green color, that blends into the forrest behind him, around his waist is an ebony sash trimmed in gold. "Welcome back to the realm of Einherjar, Aalrik son of Broughere. I am the one they call the Gladekeeper," he intones regally, his expression serious.... before you looks down at you with a wide smile," but you young one, may call me Nevar. Come, let us walk, rid yourself of the last of the sands of the wastes. My home will be ours until our business is complete." With that he will turn and walk off into the woods leaving you to catch up.

Eldur(Anilar): You are told to report to your old master Mirran Alar. The thought of being under his tutelage again filling you with joy and purpose. As you walk down the halls of the Talissariat you reflect on your life with the Tashiri and the events of the last several weeks. Being a part of a Qalm, a battle group, is what you had always asipred to. How is Eldur feeling about the last several weeks of training and getting to really know his Qalm mates? Your thoughts dissipate as you arrive in front of Alar's chambers. You reflect on the fact that in all the time you have known him, you have never been in, or even been near to his quarters. Knockin on the door you are told to enter, Alar's strong voice ringing out from the rear part of the large rooms. Just inside the chamber, lit by several braziers and torches, you find a large room with a large circle, approximately 15 feet across, containing a complicated spiral of interlocking circles inside it. From a back room Alar will step out, his closecut black hair, streaked liberally with silver, but his muscles and stature seem completely undiminished by age. He wears the ivory of the tashiri, though as you are used to, the sleeves of the shirt have been removed, leaving his upper arms bear, around his waist an emerald sash marking him an instructor. He grasps your hand warmly, noticing your fascination with the intricate circles in that dominate the room he will walk over, "Ah yes, this will be the first tool in learning the control necessary for the new disciplines you wish to master. Come we will walk the steps of the Kallimatar together."

Sven(Therizza): You are surprised to find that when you unfold your letter that it says for you to meet Nesrin in the dining hall. As you enter the room, you will find him seated at the table, a large breakfast sat in front of him, another plate laid out for you, you assume it is yours from the way he nods at it and points to the chair in front of it. Sitting down, you tuck in, the meal passed in comradery, him sharing tales of times long gone by, as he asks you questions of your home and childhood. You are once again surprised how personably your leader is, enjoying his company nearly as much as the Dwarf Daruk who you have become rather close to over the last several weeks. Finally the meal is finished and the large man levers himself up out of his chair. You have noticed the rest of the Qalm leaving at intervals, presumably to go for their additional training, and Nesrin seems to notice the question of what you are supposed to be doing lingering on your lips. "Well, lets be off, I can't teach you anything sitting in the dining hall." With a smile he walks down the hallway, clearly expecting you to follow.

Sol(Angel of Blood):As you unfold the letter in you are keen to find that you have been directed to none other than Hetat Aleanatin. You are slightly ashamed to admit that since your Qalm's return you have thought very little of the other Qalm's that were sent to assault the Vicery hive alongside your own, but the stoic elf's name on the piece of paper in front of you brings back the fact that his entire Qalm was lost in the assault. The sharp memory of their funeral services weeks ago once again fresh in your mind and it is with a heavy heart that you traverse the corridors of the Talisariat, following the directions Nesrin provided. An uncomfortable grief falls over you as you stand outside the door that leads into a dorimtory very similar to your own, save for the fact that a pall of sadness hangs over this one. Entering you find that the halls are deserted, the silence almost deafening, broken only by the tread of your own feet on the stone floor. You wonder why Aleanatin has elected to remain in these depressing quarters, but before you can muse on the matter further Aleanatin steps through the doorway that leads to the training hall for this dorm. The elf stands, taller than you, but wirey in comparison to your stocky frame, his face an emotionless mask. "It is good to see you again Sol. I have been told by Nesrin that you wish to expand your skills. I do not normally instruct, but the Radan feels that it would be good for me to become involved in something other than quiet contemplation." The last statement betrays a slight hint of irration and a glimmer of the sadness that roils behind his gleaming eyes. "Come," He says turning into the training hall, "We shall begin straight away."

[Angel of Blood- Respond to the ALL sections as well as your individual update. As I have said with the others you do not need to cover anything past following Aleanatin into the training hall and whatever your impressions may be of him. We will deal with that next update. Glad to see you back and get with me if you have any questions.]

[Alrighy folks, for this update you are going to get to know your new teachers. If you have any questions ask them of the NPCs at the ends of your posts and I will answer them from the instructors perspective. I have decided not to waste a bunch of time with actually going through the training step by step over several updates, so dont worry about that. The next update will progress about 5-6 months into the future, where we will start out again with you having mastered the skills you decided to learn. If you have any questions at all don't hesitate to get with me.]
 

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Unfinished Project King
Joined
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7,409 Posts
Discussion Starter #256
Sol

POSTED FOR ANGEL OF BLOOD:

Angel of Blood 09-28-12 11:45 PM
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It had been a long and arduous battle, one that had cost them dearly, demanding sacrifices to achieve their victory. A pyrrhic victory. Sol had always been a hard man, volatile and harsh, but the fallen had been connected to him via the bonding, as the new comers now were. The loss was felt by all of the Qualm, it got under his skin, a nagging feeling he just couldn't shake. Exhausted didn't quite describe how he felt, drained, fatigued, numb. Unsurprisingly he decided to shun the company of others for now, though this solitude was not this time because of his aloof nature, but in part due to how tired he felt and also from grief. Sol made his way to his room without really paying attention to the route, almost surprised when he arrived at his room, unable to recall the path he took. He lit the hearth settled within the wall with a tired wave, igniting a roaring flame that he collapsed in front of. Stripped down to the waist, exposing his cut and bruised torso, he wearily sat into a meditative posture, sitting back onto his heels. He called forth the fire to wash over him, letting the flames flow over his body. The waves of fire rolled over him, cleansing him and rejuvenating him more completely than sleep ever could, the furies bound within the flames reaching out to heal his wounds, soothe his muscles and calm his mind. He stayed in this meditative trance for many hours, unaware of the nights passage.

The rising sun finally brought him out of his trance. The sun was the most powerful force in existence and to a fire walker like himself, beyond beautiful. What he would give to harness even a fraction of its power.

Rising steadily to his feet he took a deep breath. He felt wholly refreshed and energised. Physically at least, the loss still tugging in some recess of his psyche. He ran his hands through his course hair, realising that for the first time in an age, his time was his own, realising even more that he had no idea what to do with this free time. Shrugging he began his morning ritual, stretching his muscles out before carrying out well rehearsed drills in his various fighting techniques. With his physical abilities warmed up, he began to test his elemental skills. Calling worth fire from the flames, forming small but potent fire balls that he threw back into the fire, making ribbons of flames swirl around his body, calling upon the air furies to lift him gently into the air as he did so. Satisfied he lowered himself back to the ground, dispelling the fire with a casual flick of his hands. Donning fresh robes, he took to wandering the halls of the vast Talaisarat, conversing with fellow Tashiri warriors, exchanging brief accounts of the battle and other trivial news. At around noon the Qualm gathered and had a great feast to celebrate their victory, to mourn their losses and to look forward to the future.

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After the feast and rare day of relaxation, Nesrin and the Qualm launched into a rigorous and demanding training regime. The training started with individual sparring with Nesrin himself. One by one they entered the ring and tested their abilities and prowess against the formidable Hetat. Sol watched his fellow Tashiri fight with considerable talent and skill, giving their all to try and defeat Nesrin. None of them succeeded. When Sol stepped up against him he launched into a blistering attack of one of his many martial arts, but for all his skill and enhanced speed, Nesrin barely broke a sweat blocking his attacks. He tried to launch himself into the air to leap over the Hetat or attack him from above, but before he had even risen a foot off the ground, Nesrin had entangled his ankles with roots sprung from the ground and hauled him back down. It was only when he unleashed his wild and ferocious fire abilities that Nesrin ever appeared to fight back with actual effort. Nesrin complimented him on his use of fire, but warned him not to let it overcome him, reminding him that although the fire furies were powerful and fierce, they were also some of the wildest and hardest to real in once fully unleashed.

After every bout, Nesrin would give them all excellent advice and guidance. From the lessons Nesrin taught him, Sol improvised and implemented new strategies. Instead of fighting with just one art, he would blend them together, flowing from one discipline to the next, always keeping Nesrin guessing, never allowing him to get comfortable or anticipate his next attack. Whenever he launched into the air now he would fire a short stream of fire from his palms as he did so, burning through any roots trying to anchor him down. For all his efforts and improvements though, he, like the rest was still unable to defeat Nesrin, though they all inflicted more hits on their Hetat than before.

Next they moved onto learning how to fight as a coordinated and cohesive team, complimenting each others skills and fighting styles, learning how to combine the different furies to devastating effect. Pitted against combat drones made of earth, Sol would combine with the other fire walkers to keep the flanks clear, flying from one flank to the next, able to unleash his powerful and furious attacks without fear of harming his Qualm.

After all the training sessions, the Qualm would feast together, congratulating each other on their performances, boasting of their own prowess or engaging in friendly banter. They would spend increasing amounts of their down time with each other as well. Sol normally would have chosen to avoid such gatherings and not to engage in the camaraderie they all were starting to show. Though he was still relatively cold, aloof or abrasive to those not of his Qualm, the bond had changed his attitude towards his fellow warriors, to the point where he now saw them as brothers and sisters, a family, as a Qualm should be. He would still appear harsh, glowering and was still by far the most reserved of the group, still electing to spend time more time in solitude than most, but there was now a hint of amusement behind his expression and words, a ghost of a rare smile playing across his craggy features and a glint in his eyes.

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Sol woke up one morning to find a letter had been slipped under his door during the night, signed by Nesrin instructing him to report to Hetat Aleanatin, a name he instantly recognised with apprehension and anticipation. Aleanatin had lost his entire Qualm during the attack on the Vicery hive, Sol couldn't even begin to imagine the loss the elf must still be feeling, the loss of just some of his own still always present in his own mind. A sudden feeling of shame rolled through him as he realised he had paid very little thought, if any to the other Qualms who had suffered losses during the assault. The instructions informed him that he would be developing his fury abilities Nesrin had spoke to him over the previous days, inquiring as to how Sol had wanted to develop his abilities. It was during these talks that Sol had confided in him that over the past weeks he had started to witness his fire sometimes appear to take on the forms of some sort of winged creature, indistinct and brief, but there nonetheless. Nesrin had advised him that it might be a fury attached to him attempting to manifest itself to him, but unable to at this time. He assured Sol that in the coming days he would petition a master fire walker to aid him in fully manifesting this fury with private and dedicated training. Aleanatin must be that master.

It was therefore with a heavy heart and some reservation that he made his way to the Hetats quarters, still within the now empty dorm of his lost Qualm. When he reached the dorm he hesitated at the entrance, as he detected the sadness that clung to the area. He slowly entered and walked across the hall, his footsteps echoing loudly within the deserted hall. Aleanatin then appeared at the entrance of the training hall, silent as the rooms he now occupied. Looking at the wiry elf, Sol once again felt a pang of shame and guilt, perhaps he or some of the others should have tried to seek out the Hetat rather than leave him alone with his thoughts. Sol was no stranger to confining oneself to solitude, he was all to aware of where it could lead, how it would amplify the worries and thoughts that plagued you. But unlike him, Aleanatin did not have a Qualm to distract him from those thoughts, to bring him out of his self imposed isolation. Sol bowed before the Hetat and greeted him formally. In return he greeted Sol emotionlessly, though it seemed for a moment to Sol as if he would have preferred to have been left well alone. Before he could give it any more thought however the elf had turned to the training hall, telling him to follow. More training awaited, perhaps Sol could help bring the elf back from the darkness and loneliness that had surrounded him since than fateful day.
 

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Unfinished Project King
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Discussion Starter #257
Eldur

POSTED FOR ANILAR:
Anilar 10-04-12 12:03 AM
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Eldur went straight to his chambers after the joining. He didn't pay any attention to anyone, he was simply too exhausted with everything that had happened, that he did not have the energy to eat or converse with other Tashiri about there victory over the vicery. Back at his chambers, Eldur lit a fire in the fireplace letting its comfortable heat wash over him, as he placed his spear and his back up daggers on his weapon rack. Removing his armour with great reverence placing it on its stand, letting his fingers running along the scratches and dents, that it had received in the battle with the Vicery. It had protected Eldur well in the caverns and he was in no doubt that he
would had been seriously hurt or dead if he hadn't used it. He reminded himself that he would need to thank his old master for these gifts again. Then Eldur took his necklace of with his ember rock, the focus for his control over the fire furies, in the fire, so it could recharge, there was no telling when he might be forced to use his powers once again.

Almost so tired that he passed out, Eldur still took the time to pull out a large sack from under his bed. It was filled with sand from the great desert of Namanole, Eldur poured the sand out over the bare stone floor, the sand
quickly catching the heat of the fire. Instead of laying down in his soft bed, with his feather filled pillow and soft blanket, he found his old thin blanket from his days of silence in the desert. Laying down on the hard sand
filled floor naked, only covered by his blanket, Eldur found the peace and grounding he needed to truly relax, and fall into a blissful sleep.

If he had dreamed or not Eldur could not tell when he awoke, but he felt reinvigorated and very hungry. But before he went to the dining hall, Eldur first cleaned up his room, collected the sand in the sack again, he had only
used it a few times since he had returned from Namanole, but this one time, completely removed any doubt that he had felt from dragging the large sack full of sand, all the way from Namanole to his home on the Talisariat. He
picked up his ember stone, from the dying fire, it had been completely refreshed with the heat and fire needed for Eldur to draw upon it, in a situation where he was without other sources of fire furies. Taking a long bath, Eldur could also quench his thirst and wash away the blood, vicery goo, sweat, dirt and sand that his body was covered with. He had not felt so dirty, since his old master had but him through a training exercise in the middle of a swamp in a raining season.

Eldur now felt he could show himself publicly again, but before going to the dining hall to fill his ever more growling stomach, Eldur took his armour cleaned it up and brought it down to the armoury to get it repaired from its battle damage. Eldur had from his time in the desert learned, that working equipment could easily be the difference between life or death. And delaying for some food he could always go get, would simply be stupid, for all he knew another battle could wait for them in a short time.

Walking back through the halls and walkways from the armoury, Eldur could see servants was running back and forth with platters and bowls filled with all kinds of food on them, it seemed that all the qalms that had been fighting
was given a feast to celebrate there victory, and Eldur increased his speed and he was not disappointed as he reached the dining hall of his own qalm. Nesrin and a few of the others had allready dugged into the food placed on the table. It was a feast worthy of kings of old, the kind of feast the bards could sing songs about. But Eldur was so hungry, that simple porridge would have been the greatest meal he had tasted in a very long time. But here there was roasted pheasant breast, mead marinated pork, fresh fruit and vegtables, fine soups, various sauces anything not present, wasn't worth having on the table. And there was fine drink, wine, the best ale, mead and beer in all the nations. Eldur dug in with ferocius appetite, in the future he still can't quite understand his Fire bison hadn't manifested during the feast, so much had Eldur indulged in the feast. And still he was easily bested by the
likes of Nesrin, his massive stature craving more food than Eldur could hope to consume over several days.

But the feast was also used in the memory of those they had lost, toast was made for all those that had fallen during the battle, those young Tashiri like themselves that had there dreams of long lived service and glory distinguised in the fires of battle. Sacrifices that had made it possible for the qalm to press into the heart of the vicery hive, and take out the queen. Victories that brought forth the first few smiles and laughs in the qalm among the tears and sadness that was also present. It was a dark day and a great day, and Eldur found that he felt blessed that he had become a part of this qalm under the leadership of the mighty warrior hetat Nesrin.

Finding his courage, Eldur rose in the feast with his mug of mead in hand.
"Brothers, sisters and Hetat." Eldur said out loud getting the others attention. "As we are all bonded you can all feel how sincere I am, when I say im truly honoured to be among great Tashiri the likes of you all, and im honoured that I can call my self a brother of you all. I know I have yet to fight directly with you all, but be certain that I will never falter from protecting your backsides, so you can go directly for the throat of the enemy and cut of the head of the snakes that we might meet in the future. May our qalm be worthy of our Hetat's trust and expectations." Raising his mug to all of the qalm and a respectful nod to Nesrin, Eldur took a deep drag of his mead, before he sat down again, to dig into the splendid food once again.

But the day of the feast was the only spare time the Qalm had been provided, Nesrin not resting started a intense training session with the Qalm. Eldur could almost feel how much Nesrin wanted them all to become better both individually and as a qalm, so they could better fight whatever threats they might be faced with in the future. Nesrin started out with individually sparring with them all, one by one. Eldur watches as several are bested by
Nesrin, and even thou Eldur follows the rest in cheering his brothers and sisters on in there bouts against Nesrin, they are beaten one by one. But no defeat felt wrong as Nesrin was equally forthcoming with praise as he was critique and instructions.

Soon it was Eldur's turn to pit his skills against the Hetat, but as Eldur had observed the others he was in no doubt that he would be bested. He did not have the fighting prowess of the blade masters, the speed of the windwalkers, expecially not the combined abilities of fire and wind that Sol showed. Or the power of the Earth. So Eldur entered the sparring circle with a mindset of a different goal than winning. If he was to ever fight someone so much more powerful than himself, he would be fighting with his qalm, not alone. So he would either be fighting to distract his opponent from the real threat from his Qalm or he would be fighting a delaying action, that should
buy enough time for his qalm mates to get to safety or prepare for the threat they were fighting. So Eldur knew that he had to make the fight take as long as he possible could manage.

Clad in pratice lamellar armour to imitate his own armour and carrying his own spear, the tip covered with a thick leather sheath to protect those he sparred with from harm. Eldur placed himself in a basic defensive stance, just
to see if Nesrin would attack first. Not that he had done so against the others, but it was clear to Eldur that even a experienced Hetat like Nesrin, was still more experienced in facing off against, blades, axes and crushing
weapons. But Eldur was careful, knowing that Nesrin might very well just imitate a defensive stance used against close melee weapons, to draw Eldur into a hastily attack, that would make him loose his balance which Nesrin could exploit. So slowly turning his spear down to his right side in a straight arm, Eldur sprang into motion with a big woosh he set his spear aflame, as he took a step forward. But all to mask his true attack, one of his two wooden
daggers in his belt, was grabbed by his left hand thrown as it was set aflame at the same time as he had made his spear burst into flame. Now the daggers weren't made for powerful presicion throws, but it was enough to force the hetat into calling upon the earth furies to make a small wall that caught the dagger. But Eldur had still not meant the dagger to be nothing more than a distraction, the earth wall covering some of the Hetats vision as Eldur took another step forward, swinging his spear up towards the Hetats head, the furies of fire screaming with glee as they moved through the air. Nesrin parried the strike easily with his weapon. But the earth wall and the flames from Eldurs spear still obscured the Hetats vision, which Eldur used to throw a small fireball from his left hand. But the Hetat was fast, and even thou Eldur had seen his speed, he was still taken by surprise facing that speed.

Nesrin spun away from his previous position, at the same time with a wind blast, he shattered his small earth wall, so earth fragments was blasted into the path of the fireball. Eldur was forced to take a couple of steps back, as
most of the fireballs blast was absorbed by the fragments of earth that had intercepted it, and several pieces of earth had become fiery fragments of flame, which was directed toward Eldur. Thou the attack had been a surprise for Eldur, it was not something that was too dangerous for Eldur, the furies of fire giving him power not hurting him.

Nesrin and Eldur started to circle around each other, Eldur fired a few fireballs off, which Nesrin easily deflected with various powers or avoided all together. But suddenly Nesrin was over Eldur, seemingly attacking from every
direction at once. It took Eldur all his skill to deflect the worst of blows, his armour taking the brunt of the attacks, but even with his small stature compared to the strength and power of Nesrin, Eldur managed to stay upright and entering a rotating whirling defense form his old master had taught him, not that it could completely counter the attacks of a wind and metal enhanced swordmasters, it was designed to buy time. And direct the attacks towards the areas of his armour that provided the best protection. Eldur was taxed to the max, keeping Nesrin's attacks from him, trying to find a way out of his situation, something that could buy him a little more time.

Then he spotted it, during a short weapon lock between Eldurs spear and Nesrins blade, a nail in the had guard. Eldur had never reacted so fast before, he used his control over the flames still burning around his spear, to let a flame lick over Nesrins blade. Connecting a fury of fire to the nail, a fury that Eldur coaxed into heating the metal, starting to soot the wood around it. But more importantly, Eldur could suddenly feel where Nesrins blade was, and he started to direct his spear into more efficient parries and even a few counterattacks. Nesrin stepped back from his assault smiling, nodding at Eldur while he used his own powers to cool down the nail in his blade, before it would make the wood burst into flame.

"Very good young Tashiri, quick reactions might be what keeps you alive. This fight takes a lot longer time than I had expected. Now attack!" Eldur didn't spend much time, following what was clearly a order from his Hetat more than a provocation. Eldur made a basic stabbing attack at the Hetat, intensifying the flames on the spear while he did so, to mask the exact position of the spear. Eldur knew the Hetat could feel where the metal was, so it was more a vague hope that the Hetat eyes might be betrayed by the searing flame, than his senses of the metal furies could compensate for. But it was in vain, as Nesrin easily parried all Eldurs strikes, as he faster and faster striked at the hetat. But nothing truly came through the hetats defenses, apart from the spears flames seemed to catch the hems of the hetats sleeves, burning them around the edges. Eldur shiftet between striking with both hands on his spear, and one hand, trying to gauge when he might be able to get a fireball through the Hetat's defenses.

Suddenly it seemed to Eldur that there would be an opening, as the hetat seemed to loose his balance and sink down to one knee. Taking a step forward, Eldurs right hand directed his spear towards Nesrins throat, his left hand throwing a fireball towards his chest. At least it would have been where Eldur would have hit if he had been fighting a training dummy, but he was fighting a experienced Hetat, that had decided to end the fight. Eldur's aim was completely thrown off, as he was hit by a localised earthquake together with a windblast that knocked the air out of Eldur, making him land hard on his behind, loosing his spear and making the fireball hit the ground a feet in front Nesrin. The blast big enough, to make the hem of his pants catch fire. Nesrin soon after loomed over Eldur that was still gasping for air on the ground, his blade demostratively sliding over Eldurs throat. Before Nesrin reached down to help Eldur back up on his feet.

Eldur nodded as he stood up, taking in all the advice Nesrin provided, he had observation on everything from stances, attack patterns, the use of his fireskills. And what seemed to be Eldurs lack in ability to
counter attacks combining several powers. But Eldur could not truly feel defeat, as his personal goal of dragging out the combat had been achieved, and he was still complemented in his control over the fire furies and the speed of his spear. Thou Eldur knew he had no power over wind or metal, if those furies would ever speak to him, he knew he would become a true force on the battlefield. And the sparring circle was still somewhat limited, as he could not unleash the power of raging inferno, or throw truly massive fireballs. Or call upon his fire bison Kebakaran, as it was a stampeding monster in battle. But still Eldur could feel how fast he became better, sparring with Nesrin, keeping the furiosity of his attack up, not giving the Hetat time to combine his powers as often as he could early on. And more importantly for Eldur, the fights took longer and longer time.

And so Eldur watched most of the sparring matches, as he also observed how the others from the qalm fought, all doing there best to reach there personal goals against the Hetat. Eldur always reflecting on how he could fight, to enhance there abilities or he could be boosted by his qalm mates. But it was still days before group training would begin. One day sitting on the floor, watching Nesrin instruct some of his qalm mates, Robb came over to Eldur.

"Eldur, I was wondering if you would wish to spar against me? I know I'm at a natural advantage being a metal walker but still would be nice to see what you fight like."

Eldur looked up on the much taller Robb, he was the first, apart from Nesrin, that had challenged him. A smile on his lips, "it will be my pleasure".
Eldur arose from the floor. He went over and picked up a training spear, one that had the same weight and length of his own spear. And went to the middle of a practise mat looking at the swordsman who was also preparing himself.
Eldur took of his shirt, so he would be painfully aware of any hits Robb would land. "We gonna fight with or without tricks" Eldur asked his opponent while he loosened up a bit. He could see Robb smile, while he grabbed his own practice sword. He kept his robe on as he tested the weight of his weapon and the balance, swinging it around experimentally. "I won't be
using tricks my friend though if you wish to, I won't begrudge you. It will make my victory more satisfying." Robb said as he flashed a wicked smile at Eldur.

"Confident are we." Eldur asked quizically. He could see Robb adopted a defensive stance, it seemed Robb would await for Eldur to start the fight. "Well lets see how badly Im doing, before I retort to tricks. A wooden spear like this can only be on fire for so long anyways." Eldur had like the rest of them seen Robb's speed in the test fight against Nesrin. So Eldur knew his chances were in his use of a wooden training spear without metal, and his fighting style that was not widespread among the Tashiri. Eldur made the obligatory bow before the fight, that symbolised that this fight was done in a respectful manner between the two opponents. Eldur did not loose any time after the bow, making a long lunge at robb, aiming for the center mass of his body, holding the spear in one hand at its end.

Robb smiled at Eldur's comments, "Well I wouldn't say confident, more like I'm looking forward to this. Smart use using wood." He said as he bowed as well, Robb leapt left as a response to Eldur's lunge, his blade barely deflecting the spear. Eldur should have seen the dodge coming, most swordsmen that didn't use shields would have made a deflection parry, but most weren't agile fighters like Robb, but eldur kept the pressure up, even thou he had slightly overstepped overreaching the attack. So Robb had plenty of time to get upright, before Eldur could continue the attack with a sidesweep holding the spear in a more natural two handed grip.

Robb righting himself quickly, as he twisted left dropping to one knee as he parried with his blade to his right in what Eldur could feel was an atempt to force him off balance. Robb also striked Eldur in the leg with the hilt of his sword, to aid in knocking Eldur off balance. Robb had reacted somewhat how Eldur expected, the man moving slighly further to the right, giving him slightly more time to react to the spear that was swinging in on him, getting a solid parry up. But him going down on his knee during the parry, and letting his sword strike out against one of his legs, was not something Eldur had been subject to before. Eldur could do nothing to prevent himself being tripped, but letting the momentum spin him around, Eldur quickly drew his spear back. And as he landed on his back with a loud thud, he striked out towards Robbs outstrecthed right shoulder, connecting with a pleasant thud sound as the spear connected with Robb's shoulder. A attack mainly to prevent Robb from following up on his attack, and winning with a killing blow, but a sore shoulder might make his sword movements a little slower.

Eldur quickly rolled away from Robb, standing up in a fluid motion, placing himself in a ordinary combat stance for a spear fighter. "Well fighting mostly swordsmen, It just seems they are not that happy about surprises." Eldur smiled back at Robb, giving him an acknowleding nod, knowing full well the fight wasn't over Eldur indicated to Robb to attack.
"Guessing its your turn to attack now."

Robb smiled as he leapt forward to attack, feigning to the left with his blade to draw his opponents attention, before at the last second, whipping his blade into his other hand and attempting to slash across his opponents chest.
As Robb leapt forward smiling, Eldur knew he was up to no good. It was the smile of a feinter and it didn't seem that him using his left arm slowed him down the slighest. Eldur attempted to intercept Robb's attack, with a strike
of himself, but kept a good grip on his spear with both hands, he was somewhat ready for the feint, as the sword suddenly changed hands and was coming in on Eldur's chest.

Quickly changing his left undergrip to a overhand grip, Eldur was just able to bring his spear up to parry the sword strike, feeling the wood of the sword just gliding over his left upperarm. Would have been a rather grizzly cut,
his armour would have prevented thou. But as Eldur was allready turning left, he brought his spear in close to his body speartip down.
Continuing the spin as he was halfway around he began to bring the spear up in a upward gliding motion that could both cut or stab depening on how close the opponent was.

Eldur was not quite sure what happened next, as he was finishing his turn bringing his spear up, to strike at where Robb should be. But suddenly Eldur felt a sharp pain in his side, before he was lifted off the ground and landed
for a second time with a loud thud on his back. As Eldur looked up he saw Robb above him, a foot on his spear, locking it and Eldurs right hand in place on the training mat. A wooden sword tip to his throat it was clear to Eldur he had lost the fight. Slowly with open hand, Eldur brought his left hand up to Robb's sword. Slowly letting a finger glide down the blade, the smell of burned wood filling the air. Eldur put a message on the sword "I Yield" Robb having to lift his sword to see what was written, hoping he would read the message out loud, in hope to catch the winner of the bout in a trap of words. But alas Robb just said, "Very creative friend." As he offered his hand to help Eldur standing up. Eldur accepted the offered hand, wincing a little from the pain in his side as he stood up. "Aye I enjoyed the fight immensely, I still have a lot to learn, hope you will teach me some of it Robb."
Nesrin had watched the fight, but didn't say anything, just smiling and nodding.

Eldur didn't find the chance to spar with any other from his qalm, as they soon after found themselves travelling to deirdre. Where the group began training in fighting together as a team. As the group was assailed by earth made drones, to begin with the group tried to enforce the teachings of Nesrin with more or less success. Miscommunications, even through there telepathic bond, making powers go off to early or too late. Or the power used not sufficient to get the job done. Eldur several times burning of large swathes of innocent grass, without hitting any drones or forcing them into the killing field of the earth and metal walkers.

But as the hours and days went by, everybody started to get a better read on everyone, as there powers started to do what they were meant to. Eldur with Sol and the wind walkers either incinerated groups of drones, or forced them towards the center of the earth and metal walkers. Where they were utterly destroyed. There was no quarter given to the defenseless drones, that to begin with had been able to move in close to them. Now the ones getting close was planned risks or just saving them for there weapons, saving the energy for there powers on larger number of drones. Several weeks of shared training, defeats, victories, bruises and shared meals the qalm truly began to bond, as all began to understood what each of them could bring to a fight. The qalm evolving into the tight knit family group, that any succesful qalm should become. At least to Eldur it was clear, that the sum of there parts was much greater than there individual parts. It was a mystery to Eldur that anyone would challenge the might of the Tashiri, as he saw how there powers could be used together, for truly devastating effects.

As they returned home, Nesrin informed them that the next day individual training would commence. Further instructions would be provided when was back at the Talissariat. Eldur was given instructions to report to his old master Mirran Alar, Eldur lighting up in a smile as he read the instructions on what to bring and the way to his masters chambers. Eldur once again reflected on his qalm, reaching what he had always aspired to become, but still so much more to learn. He had come to respect all his qalm mates, seeing there strength in there differences rather than weaknesses and problems. Thou he still was a bit envious of those that mastered several disciplines, together with great fighting abilities. But Eldur was set on becoming the best he could be, even if it meant that he only ever would master fire. It was not his qalm mates fault they had grown up in a warriors life, and had mastered several disciplines in there life, and Eldur had been a farmer with a somewhat average access to the furies of fire. On the other hand his experience and training, and his hermit years in the desert had taught him great control over the furies, so they rarely would take control of him, and the fire abilities he used would be measured to the threat they were facing.

But all these conflicts vanished as Eldur arrived to his masters quarters, where he actually had never been, not once through all those years he had spent under Mirran Alars tutelage. Knocking on the door, a strong voice that
Eldur instantly recognised as his masters voice, rang out bidding him to enter. Inside Eldur finds a large room brightly lit by braziers, in the middle of the room a large circle almost 15 feet, filled with complicated interlocking circles. Eldur can't quite remove his gaze from the circles, and the fire furies he can sense within them, as his old master comes out from one of the back rooms, grasping Eldurs hands in a warm gesture.

"Ah yes, this will be the first tool in learning the control necessary for the new disciplines you wish to master. Come we will walk the steps of the Kallimatar together." Mirran Alar said as he started to guide Eldur over to the circles within a circle. Eldur just followed, keen to learn more.
 

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Unfinished Project King
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Isira

POSTED FOR JACKINATOR:

Jackinator 10-05-12 02:29 PM
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She hadn't been sleeping properly. It was strange, she'd seen people die, but they'd never been friends, they'd never really been anything other than rivals, competitors. Worse, she'd been bonded to the Tashiri who had died, she'd felt their deaths, felt as their soul was ripped from this world and hurled into whatever abyss waited on the other side.

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Nesrin moved almost as fast as she did, but his movements were far more efficient, well-calculated and effective than any of hers. It wasn't that he moved faster than her, it was that his blade was there to stop hers as though he could read her mind. In the end she found herself standing poised to strike, but with a sword point tickling her stomach.

His handwas heavy and warm when he clapped her on the back, and he almost knocked her over with the force of the blow. He spoke a few words, but they faded out and she only picked up the general meaning of what he said. It was enough to make her smile though.

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Jarruk Getmin seemed eccentric enough, unlike many of the often toned and warlike Hetat's. He was clearly old but also somewhat rotund, with wiry hair that stuck up around his balding head. He appeared to be studying what looked like a small storm in a glass, thunder, lightning and all. He must have heard her because he turned "Glad you made it." He indicated the contained tempest "what I will be teaching you is the first step on the road to being able to control that." He giggled childishly, "Marvelous isn't it."

She raised her eyebrows in surprise, somehow she hadn't expected to meet someone like this within the Tashiri fortress. He wasn't as grounded as the other veteran Tashiri she'd seen, and it did look like he was about to take off. He seemed a little mad it was true, but she somehow felt safer with him than she did with anyone else, he didn't seem even the slightest bit dangerous, though she knew he could probably conjure up a tempest without batting an eyelid.
 

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Reaper of Souls
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Zacarish moved slowly, calmly and gracefully as he left the gathering. Then the exhaustion hit as he stepped through the doorway and he staggered, pressing a hand against the cold, smooth stone of the wall. He felt the exhaustion pounding his mind, his body crying out for respite as he forced himself upright. His vision began to darken and he shook his head violently, realising what would happen if he let it darken entirely.

Exhaustion momentarily shaken off he continued walking, though without the cold grace of before.

He opened the door by slamming his weight against it and almost fell as it swung open unyieldingly. He stepped inside and placed his hand on the cool metal of the armoire and instantly his mind cleared. He was still exhausted but the sapping weariness that had been seeping through his mind vanished as he touched the furies within the metal. He straightened and realised that whatever it was he needed, he would not find it inside the cramped room that was his quarters.

He pushed open the door and left.

As he stepped into the great open space opposite the dining hall where he had first met Nesrin and Belak, he paused a moment, sadness showing in his features as he remembered the quick smile of the Dark Elf. Once he was beneath the open sky the furies gathered at his call. They twisted and swirled playfully around him, brushing over his skin in their eagerness. He sat cross legged on the floor and closed his eyes.

He stayed in that meditative trance until the sun had sunk well below the horizon before moving back into the dorms and stepping into his quarters and sleeping
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He woke with the sun and dressed himself for his morning practice before leaving the small room and walking out to the courtyard.

There he began running through a series of stretching exercises, both with and without a sword in his hand. He moved with the grace of a natural gymnast, supple and lithe in the way he shifted from pose to pose. His balance complemented these graceful movements and the speed with which he preformed the exercises turned them into a lethal dance. He grew faster and faster, whipping his sword and his body in tighter and finer motions. There was a red ribbon of silk threaded into the hilt of his sword, an edition he had made after they returned from the Vicery Hive and it added a flash of colour to his combat. Its purpose was to draw the attention of an opponent and any foe who let their attention wander would soon find cold steel buried deep in their chest. He sheathed the sword in a sudden motion and moved back into his room to dress for the upcoming day.

He strode then into the dining hall where a feast had been laid and joined his Qalm as they feasted...
 

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Awakening after a much deserved rest, Sven was rousted from his slumber by the smell of freshly baked bread and roasted meat as well as the sounds of movement in the hall. "Aye, I could eat a mountain and drink a river" he said as he pulled on his shirt, stretching his slightly sore arms. Though the fighting in the tunnels had been intense, stressing him to the brink of death itself, Sven could already tell he had grown as a fighter and as a Tashiri. Aside from the obvious physical conditioning he gained from their many skirmishes in the tunnels, as well as the final battle with the Queen, Sven could tell his earth-crafting skills had magnified. He did not know what it was, but he felt an even deeper connection with the Earth, as if he were becoming one with the ground with each step, instead of walking above it as he once did.

He stood on the stone floor for a time, closing his eyes and trying to sense what his Qalm mates were doing. As he let his feelings flow, he could see them where they stood, like a waterfall of sand out lined with footprints and vibrations from speech. He came upon a being who appeared both immense and yet serene. He was in the banquet hall, no doubt enjoying the bread and meat whose smell had roused Sven. Before Sven could put things together, the being reached out, back into Sven's mind, beckoning him to come to the banquet hall. Though there were no words, he could tell it was Nesrin through feeling.

Sven went to the hall, and pulling up a chair, made himself a plate. Tucking in, Sven had finished his plate in a matter of moment. He made another, and enjoyed to the next few hours of kinship with his Qalm mates. This was good, as the next weeks held a whirlwind of activity for Sven and the other members of the Qalm. Nesrin had instructed that they all prepare to spar he himself. Sven was anxious, but at the same time content. He would finally be able to test what he had learned in the Vicery tunnels.

As Sven entered the sparring ring, he let himself connect with the earth. Nesrin stated that he wanted to test their strengths and weaknesses. Sven shrugged, and punched the earth, sending a shockwave of rock and dirt in a line straight towards Nesrin. The accomplished Hetat sidestepped the attack, making it seem effortless. "That was good, Sven, but you are too slow!" Nesrin yelled. Just as he did, Nesrin noticed his legs were shin deep in the earth, and sinking. Looking down, pulling at his legs, Nesrin's gazed up to see Sven as he leapt from a small stone platform he had summoned, Avalanche coming down in an arc. Though Sven thought to pull back at the last moment, he was not afforded the luxury, as Nesrin swatted him away with a stone fisted backhand.

"Good effort! I love the creativity!" Nesrin chuckled. Their battle continued, with each party scoring hits and deflecting their share. When it was done, Nesrin came over to Sven, looking as if he had not even been phased by the sparring session. "You have much potential. The raw materials are all there, so to speak. We will discuss this later. Good work Sven."

Sven waited for the completion of the sparring, wanting eagerly to eat and sleep. Training was hard, and he had a belly to fill. The next days and weeks contained much more sparring and kinship with his Qalm. Sven couldn't remember feeling the bond between them being this strong. They worked as a team, fighting in the fields outside their citadel, destroying wave after wave of automatons as they practiced combatives in close concert with each other. Life was good, as Sven could train till he was exhausted, feast and sleep and do it all over again.

One morning, nearly a fortnight since the battle in the Vicery hive, Sven was roused as he heard a note slid beneath his door. He rose from his bunk and walked over, picking the note up. Stranger things had happened up to this point, he thought, and opened the letter, sitting cross-legged on the floor. The letter was signed by Nesrin, stating Sven should meet him in the dining hall. Sven did as such, and lo and behold Nesrin was there, eating a plate at the table. Sven took a seat, and the two recounted tales of their past. As the meal came to a close, Nesrin made to leave the room. Other members of the Qalm had been mulling around the halls, and Sven assumed it was another training exercise. As his enormous frame left the room, Sven thought to ask what he should do. Just as he did, Nesrin poked his head back into the room. "Well, let's be off, I can't teach you anything sitting in the dining hall," were Nesrin's words. Sven was elated, though tried hard not to show it, as he knew for certain he would learn his fair share of earth-craft with Nesrin as his tutor.
 
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