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Forest of the Ancient Night

Discussion in 'RP' started by Joungf, Apr 27, 2019.

  1. Joungf

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    "You can take care of yourself I believe" Daryen answered.

    Zack sunk back into deep thoughts. He can't help being overprotective. He was protecting his little brother when he got bullied at school. He protected his students when they got wrongly accused and he protected his love many times from drunk and intrusive men. Another habit that remained from his former life as DR. Bruce Echo from a noble family were the table manners.

    Zack suddenly heard Daryen shouting: "Who are you? Show yourself". Daryen was aiming with his tensed bow into the dark. Zack could not see any one. He looked back to Daryen who was frightened and shivering. "Again, who are you?" Daryen shouted. Zack could see pain in Daryen's face. "What the hell was going on?" he tough. He could not see and hear anyone. Suddenly Daryen shot an arrow into the dark forest. Zack was shocked seeing the anger and sadness in Daryen's eyes. He could not help seeing his little brother who got beaten by some bullies, sad and helpless when he looked to Daryen. He want to help Daryen but he didn't know what causes his pain. And before he could ask him, Daryen went in the direction where he shot his arrow and took it back. "What the hell was that?" Daryen asked with a deep and cold voice.

    Zack went to Daryen, passing by the witch while looking into her face again. He noticed that her eyes were blinking. Then he asked "Daryen, are you all right? What got you upset all of the sudden?" Maybe it was something personal, so Zack continued "You do not need to tell me if you don't want to. Ah, by the way, your patient seems to wake up."
     
    #21 Joungf, May 1, 2019
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
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  2. erethir

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    The blurry figures seemed to have noticed that she was awake. She felt very confused and wasn't even sure if it was just another dream. Had it all just been a long nightmare? She was so warm, and realised she was covered in sweat. Her lips were dry and her mouth felt like a desert.

    "Water," she thought, but her lips didn't move. She tried again with more determination, "Water," she said, her voice but a mere whisper. The figures came closer as if trying to hear what she said. She tried to focus on the blurry figures and could see them almost clearly now. Yes, it was two men, one not much older than herself from what she could tell, and one a bit older. If they could be trusted she couldn't think about right now. "Water," she managed a bit louder.
     
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  3. Ben Phoenix

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    Daryen looked at Zack in surprise then focused his gaze on the young woman. He took his bottle of water from the ground where he left it before and put his arm behind her back trying to keep her head a bit up as gently as possible, then helped her drink the water that was left in the bottle. It wasn't much. He put her back on the ground and removed his mantle from her body, she was too warm and sweaty. He didn't know what to say, he was starting to feel tired and sick of the whole situation he was put in.

    He thought again about the figure and the fact that Zack might not have seen what he saw. Was that a ghost? An hallucination? What was going on and why were they trapped there, all three? A fortuity? He shook his head in frustration and looked into Zack's eyes deeply. He knew he had been rude to him and he didn't like it but he wasn't used to have company, he has been traveling alone for eight years now, taking care of himself without asking anything, learning not to trust anybody, working hard to earn a handful of coins or just a piece of bread. He was raised by a humble family, sent to work as soon as possible to help, asked to take care of his younger cousins. He wasn't used to kindness and he started to dislike any kind of authority at a young age.

    He sighed then spoke again but the tone in his voice was more gentle now. "We need to find more water or a way out as soon as possible, she needs to recover and rest and this isn't a friendly place... Let's go back to the campsite and try to figure out what this damn forest wants from us and how to get out of here, you must be well-educated and you have the knowledge we need to understand this forest for sure. Because of my elven side, I have some kind of bond with nature but this forest is different and I can't feel anything from its creatures. I can try later, at the camp, I need to concentrate and I need some peace. If you got water please give some to her, she needs it more than we do right now."
     
    #23 Ben Phoenix, May 1, 2019
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
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  4. Joungf

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    Daryen looked confused at Zack and then to the young witch. She asked for water in a whispering voice. Daryen pulled out a bottle of water and assist her drinking it. There were just a few drops left.

    "We need to find more water or a way out as soon as possible, she needs to recover and rest and this isn't a friendly place... Let's go back to the campsite and try to figure out what this damn forest wants from us and how to get out of here, you must be well-educated and you have the knowledge we need to understand this forest for sure. Because of my elven side, I have some kind of bond with nature but this forest is different and I can't feel anything from its creatures. I can try later, at the camp, I need to concentrate and I need some peace. If you got water please give some to her, she needs it more than we do right now." said Daryen. He looked tired.

    Daryen's words made him pensive. Because Zack never saw a half elven he didn't noticed that Daryen is a half elven and half human. What made Daryen believe that Zack is well-educated and knows at least how to understand and manage to escape that cursed forest. Could it be that Daryen has trust in Zack? Or could it be that Zack just is a bad actor?

    It is a enchanted forest, created with the powerful magic of the Ancient. A good witch could deal with its magic and an elven could communicate with its spirits. But Zack didn't saw any ancient writings, letters or artefacts which he could decipher. Maybe he need to look more carefully for them, he thought.

    Zack opened the small bag and took out the small bottle with clear water and gave it to Daryen. "Here is enough water for one person. I have two water skin full of water at the camp. They will last two days if we drink carefully. Lets go back to the camp. You should get some rest. You had a hard day. I will do guard duty." said Zack.
     
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  5. Ben Phoenix

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    Daryen looked at Zack in concern then gave the young woman some more water, when she seemed satisfied, he took her in his arms and followed the treasure hunter to the campsite. Once there he asked Zack to help him taking off his mantle and put it on the ground, then he laid the young woman down on it, next to the campfire. It looked like she was sleeping and she was breathing last fast now, Daryen thought that it was definitely a good sign. He checked into his bag and saw that the only food he had left was a bunch of dried meat sticks and a couple of apples. He sighed and looked at Zack with tired eyes. "I'll try to see if I can feel this forest talking. It could take a while, please take care of her. I have some dried meat and fruit in my bag, if she wakes up and she's hungry offer some to her, please."

    Daryen turned his head and took a look around then started walking until he was a bit far away from the rest of the group but still in the camp. He sat down, one arm around his knees, the other on the ground. He started caressing the cold and long grass gently then closed his eyes. He remembered suddenly when an old woman at his native village, a witch, told him about the bond that elves have with nature and their ability to commune with it. Daryen knew already that there was a special link between him and the creatures in the world but he never really cared to make that bond deeper, he was too busy working, practising archery and trying to deal with mockery and teasing from those who couldn't accept him as part of their community. Under all that years of traveling and sleeping in the wild that bond was becoming stronger and stronger almost by itself and Daryen could feel it.

    He tried to relax, embracing that moment and opening his heart to the forest. He was feeling a gentle breeze now on his skin and it was unusual because the weather there seemed to be always the same: no rain, no wind, no change whatsoever. He focused his senses on that breeze, the grass was bending softly under his fingertips, there was silence all around, for the first time and a sudden feeling of peace started flooding into Daryen's soul. He sighed and smiled. Slowly, the vision of a valley started taking form in his thoughts.

    It was a large plain surrounded by trees and bushes, he could hear the sound of a small waterfall somewhere. He knew where that clearing was, he didn't know how but he knew he would have been able to find that place in some way. He was exploring that vision more carefully when a sudden thought, loud and clear, almost screamed in his ears: "Go away, you don't belong here". A human face suddenly appeared making the vision of the clearing fading, it was a man, he looked powerful and his eyes were deep and dark like black pearls. Daryen opened his eyes wide and stood up, he was shaking. He took a look at Zack and the young woman in fear, they seemed to be fine but he had the feeling that some hours had passed since he sat down. He run to Zack and talked still shaken by the last vision: "I think I know where we can find water but I could also feel a presence, very powerful and whoever or whatever that is, it doesn't want us here".
     
    #25 Ben Phoenix, May 2, 2019
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
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  6. Joungf

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    While Daryen was giving the bottle with clear water to the witch, Zack took his little bag, his dagger and the torch. He waited a few seconds and then walked ahead in slow steps to the camp. At the camp he helped Daryen taking off his mantle and putting it on the ground. Daryen, who still was carrying the witch, now laid her on it. Sh was sleeping. Her breath was regular. This was a good sign.

    "I'll try to see if I can feel this forest talking. It could take a while, please take care of her. I have some dried meat and fruit in my bag, if she wakes up and she's hungry offer some to her, please." said Daryen with tired eyes.

    Zack was going to say, he should get some sleep, but he remembered that Daryen do not like to take commands and advice from strangers. He saw Daryen moving a few steps away from the camp and then sat down, starting with his elven meditation. Zack hoped that Daryen will get some answers. The witch was sleeping peacefully, no sign of fever or pain. Zack sit down in front of the camp fire and felt tired.

    Suddenly everything around him disappeared in a white light."Bruuuuce!, Bruuuuuuce Echooooooo!, Dr. Bruce Echooooo!" someone was shouting. He looked left and right but could not see anybody. The white light faded and he was now at the excavation side in the jungle. This was his first excavation when he was a young student at the noble academy of Calpheon. He has investigating artefact at one of the many ruins of the Ancients. And this was also the place when he encountered his greatest fear in life: snakes!

    And now he was there again, at the same place where he had that incident which causing nightmares every night ."This is a dream. I must be sleeping." he said. And before he could wake up, everything repeated again. But the difference now was, that he was not that young student but himself. So he was standing on a small hill where a piece of an artefact was reaching out of the ground. He was kneeing over it and was investigating it when suddenly the ground under his feet crumbled and he fell down into a dark cave. He fell on something smooth and cold, something that was moving. A thin beam of day light came trough the hole on the roof. There was a strong odour of decay inside that cave. Zack tried to get up. He heard hissing noise from different directions. Something was moving over his legs and arms. Then suddenly he felt pain on his arms and legs. Something had bit him. He cried in pain. Slowly his eyes adapted the low light and he saw snakes. So many snakes, big and small with thin and pointed tooth. He was fallen inside a big snake nest. The poison of those snakes are not deadly but very painful. He was lucky that someone from the excavation team heard his voice and throw a torch inside the cave. So he could keep the snakes away from him until they helped him out of the cave, giving him some antidote and bandage his wounds.

    But this time nobody heard him. Nobody came for help. It was so real, everything, the snakes, the wounds, the smell, the blood, his fear, his panic, his pain. This was the point where Zack understood. He closed his eyes and whispered "Let me overcome my fears" in the words of the old and forgotten language of the Ancients. Then he opened up his eyes again and a great snake with his mouth wide open was in front of Zack. "I was a fool and fell into your nest. Please forgive me." said Zack without fear, looking straight into the eyes of the great snake.

    "Finally you have overcome your fear. I forgive you Dr. Bruce Echo, you, who sacrificed his life as a noble scientist and become a thief to protect our holy underground city from getting invaded by plunderer, by people who are greedy." the snake said and then faded away in the bright white light which appeared again. All pain and wounds from the snakebites and poison were gone. "You have mastered the first test." a voice said and the bright white light disappeared. Zack was back at the camp. He looked around. Nobody noticed anything. The witch was still sleeping and
    Daryen was still meditating.

    "Our fears, we need to overcome our fears to pass the test. What will be the next test?" asked Zack himself.

    "I think I know where we can find water but I could also feel a presence, very powerful and whoever or whatever that is, it doesn't want us here" said Daryen tired and with fear in his voice. Zack looked serious and straight into Daryen's eyes and said with a calm voice. "I know Daryen. It is a test. An exam from the Ancient. We must overcome our fears. This seems to be the first test we have to master. Daryen, you must overcome your fears, whatever they are."
     
  7. erethir

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    Alira lay down sleeping peacefully now that the venom was cured, her long light brown hair spread out on the mantle the ground. She started to wake up and opened her eyes, but what she saw was was not the white ceiling, the deep blue walls, and the ornate furniture that she expected to see, from her bedroom back home. What she saw was dark contorted trees, and a sky blacker than charcoal, a place that the sun had forsaken centuries ago, if it had ever shone upon it.

    When she realised where she was she gasped and sat up, her heart pounding in her chest. She was relieved to see the campfire next to her, vividly fighting the eternal night, she was even relieved to see the two strangers, to know she was not alone in this place. Her parents had told her not talk to non-nobles so she rarely did, and these men did certainly not dress like nobles, but it wouldn't be the first time she didn't listen to them, and besides, they hadn't killed her or robbed her in her sleep. They had saved her.

    The men had noticed her and looked at her. The younger man was handsome, his eyes deep and he had a serious look on his face, he seemed mature for his age. The older man, not that he was that old, looked tough and like someone who had travelled a lot, but what really caught her by surprise was his eyes, gleaming like gold as they reflected the light from the campfire.

    She was at a loss for words, and then suddenly gasped, put her hands on her head and blushed, deeply ashamed. Her hair was all messed up, some twigs and leaves entangled in it, her dress was dirty... She was in no presentable condition, and she didn't want them to see her like this.

    "I... Please forgive me that you have to see me like this!" she said hurriedly and stood up, quickly brushing her dress off. Her vision started turning black and she realised she had stood up too quickly, and sat down again. After the worst of her shame had passed she said: "Thank you for saving me, gentlemen. I am forever in your debt. I am Alira of House Narhan."
     
    #27 erethir, May 3, 2019
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
  8. Ben Phoenix

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    I need to edit this post guys but I can't now so please hold on =)
     
    #28 Ben Phoenix, May 4, 2019
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  9. Joungf

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    @Ben Phoenix @erethir [Off topic: I will take over Ben's turn. In general there is no strict turn order but everyone should have the chance to write a reply. If someone will be not able to write a few days, she / he should leave an "off topic" message to inform the others and to pass over the turn. This will prevent locking the flow.]
     
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  10. Joungf

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    The witch opened her eyes and looked first to Daryen and then to Zack. When she noticed in which bad conditions her hair and dress was, she blushed and was ashamed.

    "I... Please forgive me that you have to see me like this!" she said and stood up quickly. But her body was still weak so she had to sat down.
    "Thank you for saving me, gentlemen. I am forever in your debt. I am Alira of House Narhan." she continued.

    When Zack heard the name "House Narhan", he shrug. Even he was tired, good and bad memories came back in his head. He remembered his friend Felix, once his best friend, now his enemy, who is a member of House Narhan. They studied together at the academy. Hous Narhan is a big clan who has many member in many big cities, working in professional positions. The ambition and pride of House Narhan is known well everywhere.

    But Felix is a lazy guy, who not really care getting good grades and passing exam. He gambles, hangs around with shady people, smokes and drinks much.

    Zack then remembered the time, it was about five years ago, when Felix took him to his brother, who was married and had a daughter. Felix had a small present box. It was for her niece. When they arrived at the big villa and went inside a teenage girl, she was 14 or 15 years old, run to Felix and greeted him. She seemed to like his uncle very much. Felix hand over the present box and she thanked but was interrupted by her father who told her to go into her room and prepare for her exam. She then walked with a sad face away.

    His brother looked angry to Felix but then he friendly showed us the way into the big living room. We all set down and his brother wanted to know my name. "House Echo? Never heard of it." he answered sceptically. Zack told him that it is a small clan, that is why he never heard of it. But after Zack told him that he wrote a thesis and is going to obtain his doctoral title in archaeology, he looked angry to his younger brother Felix and said "You should take a leaf out of his book. When will you pass your final exam? Instead of helping your niece with mathematics you just give her present. With this present she will not pass her exam tomorrow." Felix waved dismissively and asked if he could not find a personal teacher for her. "Her personal teacher is sick since last week." his brother answered in a harsh tone.

    Zack asked Felix brother if he can maybe help her and if he agrees on helping her. He would appreciate it, he said and showed him the room where his daughter was sitting. It was a smaller room next to the living room. She was sitting with tears in her eyes. Zack asked her to show him the pages she needs to learn. It was geometry and it was written awfully complex and confusing. Zack know it well because as a archaeologist he has to deal with geometry all the time. Zack remembered how he ripped a blank page out of his notebook and started to draw slowly point, lines, areas and cubes and explained each step as simple and logic as possible.

    While he was teaching her, he could hear Felix brother arguing over his debts from gambling, that he is fed up giving him money, the present he is giving his daughter every time he visits him are inappropriate for her because she gets lazy and put her silly ideas and that he is a shame for the House Narhan. Felix argued that he put high pressure on her daughter, that they even do not celebrate her birthday because she only was second best and not best in her class and because they as the parents never show recognition and reward her for her progress, she always has doubt and has no self confidence. Zack did not want to stick his nose into the affairs other people.

    She learned quick and her sad face turned into a smile. She started to solve the problems in her book by her own. They were all correct. Now she was well prepared for the exam.

    At the dining room they had lunch and also the wife of Felix brother appeared and took a seat. Her face look similar to that of Alira. He could not remember the name of Felix niece. He visit them only once and it was around five years ago. Is it just a coincidence? Now he looks not like the young Bruce Echo but disguised to another person with another appearance. If she is the niece of Felix, he was sure that she will not recognise him if she is the niece of Felix.

    Felix had debs and need money. When he heard that Bruce found the map to the legendary ancient underground city, he wanted to sell it for a lot of money. But Bruce was against it. So Felix began to threaten and blackmailing him and his family. This was the turning point where they become enemies Bruce fake his death to bring the threat to an end.

    "I am pleased to see you well young lady. Although the antidote has neutralised the poison, your body has not recovered completely yet. So pleas be careful. Our hair and cloths are in the same conditions. We should be more concerned over how to escape this forest. May I ask you a question? How did you came into this forest?" said Zack with a smile.
    While he still was smiling, he began to think: " What if she was send by her uncle Felix to spy on me? Even if she maybe is not the niece of Felix she still is a member of that house. I need to be cautious."
     
    #30 Joungf, May 6, 2019
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
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  11. Ben Phoenix

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    Daryen looked at the young woman in rilief, she seemed to feel much better now. He looked at Zack and smiled shily then back at Alira, that was her name apparently. He suddenly rememberd what Zack had just said to him about the vision he had in his meditation: "I know Daryen. It is a test. An exam from the Ancient. We must overcome our fears. This seems to be the first test we have to master. Daryen, you must overcome your fears, whatever they are."

    He didn't like that at all, he just wanted to forget his origins and childhood and most importantly, he wanted to forget something he had done to earn money years before when he was sturving and couldn't find any other job... He clenched his fists and looked at Zack, his gaze was cold now and lost in some kind of painful memory. "If I have to face my fears then I am afraid there is no way back for me but I am glad you have some hope for yourself, if that is the case." He tried to relax a bit, opened his fists slowly then looked at Alira, making a big effort to soften his gaze. "My name is Daryen, milady, I am glad to see you are feeling much better."

    He looked at Zack again "I think we should try to find water as soon as possible and also food, I will have to follow the forest and its voice, it will show me the path but I can't hesitate a second or I will lost the thread, it's already very weak and easy to break. I know you are tired and so am I but we need to go now, we can rest once we are there." Daryen smiled at Alira and spoke again: "Milady, I know you must feel very weak but will you allow one of us to help you walking? It will not take long, I promise".
     
    #31 Ben Phoenix, May 16, 2019
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
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  12. erethir

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    "A test?" Alira said with an astonished look in her face. "Maybe it is no coincidence after all...," she thought out loud. "I came here for a graduation exam at the academy... well I was going to some ancient ruins but the clues showed me here. I thought I must have read the clues wrong and that I was trapped in a nightmare, and now you say it's a test? Do you work for my mother?"

    Her mother was the headmistress of the academy so she might have arranged something special for Alira, to really test her... It would be just like her. But this? She hadn't thought she would go that far. Alira clenched her fists and her face flushed briefly with anger.

    When the men told her that they did not work for her mother and that they, like herself, were seeking a way out of the forest, she calmed down, she believed them.

    "Very well then, I can walk myself, thank you" she said, not conviced it was true. She stood up more slowly this time and it seemed to go well. "Light!" she thought and smiled as the familiar white sphere of light appeared above the palm of her hand. She lowered her hand, and took a couple of hesitant steps towards the men, testing her strength, and then another more determined step, the small sphere of light following close behind.
     
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  13. Joungf

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    Zack felt his eyelids became heavier and he just want to lay down and sleep. He could hear Daryen saying something like he has to face his fears and there is no way back. His voice seems to come from a far distance. He knew that he was going to fell asleep and took a deep breath. That helps him always against his tiredness.

    Daryen introduced himself to the young lady. Then he looked in his direction and said "I think we should try to find water as soon as possible and also food, I will have to follow the forest and its voice, it will show me the path but I can't hesitate a second or I will lost the thread, it's already very weak and easy to break. I know you are tired and so am I but we need to go now, we can rest once we are there."

    Zack was going to nod, even he would like to stay at the camp and take a nap, when suddenly Alira said with an astonished look "A test? Maybe it is no coincidence after all... I came here for a graduation exam at the academy... well I was going to some ancient ruins but the clues showed me here. I thought I must have read the clues wrong and that I was trapped in a nightmare, and now you say it's a test? Do you work for my mother?"

    Zack negated her question.

    "Milady, I know you must feel very weak but will you allow one of us to help you walking? It will not take long, I promise" asked Daryen to Alira.

    "Very well then, I can walk myself, thank you" Alira answered and slowly stood up. A sphere of bright light suddenly appeared on the top of her
    palm. The light was hurting Zack's sleepy eyes while Alira came closer.

    After so many months being alone, no need to care for other people, no responsibility, now he was together with two young person. He could not help getting that protective instinct again. Even he wanted to stay at the camp, he could not let them go alone.

    "All right then, let's move. I will quickly get my stuff together and put out the camp fire." said Zack and stood up.
     
    #33 Joungf, May 19, 2019
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
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  14. Ben Phoenix

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    Daryen waited for Zack to pack his things then looked both at him and Alira and nodded, took his mantle back from the ground and offered it to the young woman then took his bow, pulled out an arrow and started walking quickly. He could hear Zack's and Alira's steps behind him, he was hoping to get to the waterfall as soon as possible because he knew they were all exhausted and needed to take a good rest. He closed his eyes without stopping walking, he expanded his senses, he knew the forest was with him and he was feeling greatful.

    He could hear sounds but not only from wild animals, there were voices, music, laughter, sounds of hunting, war songs. He could almost sense the feelings coming from what he believed were memories from the past, the spirits of the ancient people who stepped on that soil before them. Daryen felt tears in his eyes, he swallowed but didn't stop running. He was walking with confidence, turning and moving forward through safe paths.

    The sounds he could hear now must have belonged to a small village. Children playing, a bucket of water pulled from a well, domestic animals at the fair, drunk men singing. He stopped suddenly and opened his eyes... He smiled and fell on his knees exhausted. They were there, in the clearing, he could hear the waterfall singing. He turned his head to Zack and Alira to be sure they were there too then fainted.
     
    #34 Ben Phoenix, May 19, 2019
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  15. Joungf

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    With a little shovel Zack dug mud out of the ground and poured it over the camp fire four times until the fire was extinguished. He put on his backpack and bag and took the torch. Daryen went ahead and Alira and Zack followed him. After some time of following Daryen, Zack could hear the wooshing sound of a waterfall. They entered a clearing and saw a waterfall rushing down a big rock. A rock inside the forest.

    Zack was happy and relieved. Just in the moment he want to congratulate Daryen for his good work, he saw Daryen fell on the ground. Zack's happiness changed into worry. He run quickly to Daryen and saw that he was fainted.

    "Poor Daryen. He is exhausted. Communicating with the spirits demands a lot of power. We should pitch our camp here and rest." said Zack and ram his torch into the ground. He took out a small rolled in blanket and rolled it out on the floor. Then he lifted Daryen and put him on that blanket. Soon he collected material for a camp fire and lit up a campfire.

    Zack put out some apple, dry bread, dried fish and one of his two water skin. "Milady, Alira was the name, right? If you are hungry and thirsty, please serve yourself. Please do not hesitate. I will have a closer look and investigate the waterfall before we start drinking its water. If something happens, shout." he said and went with a torch and his backpack towards the waterfall.
     
    #35 Joungf, May 19, 2019
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
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  16. erethir

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    Alira had been falling a bit behind when walking towards the waterfall. Her legs felt weak and she had struggled to keep the pace, so she was grateful that they had finally arrived. As soon as they stopped she dropped to the ground. She was glad not to be surrounded by trees anymore since she had seen what they could do, at least they were at a safe distance now.

    She gasped when Daryen fainted. The other man ran over to him and checked him, and explained that he was alright. Then he offered her food and said he would go investigate the waterfall. She thanked him and helped herself to an apple and some water.

    "Yes, Alira's my name. I believe you haven't told me yours, sir?"

    She did not dare look directly into his eyes. There was something strange about this man, at a first glance he looked like a villain, but his voice revealed empathy and sometimes there was something about his behaviour that reminded of a nobleman. There was something familiar about him, but she was sure she had never seen those yellow eyes before.
     
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  17. Joungf

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    Alira thanked him and said "Yes, Alira's my name. I believe you haven't told me yours, sir?"

    Zack stopped. Alira was right. Without turning around he answered "Zack. My name is Zack, milady." and then he continued to walk in to the direction of the waterfall.

    In the far distance he saw some objects that look like buildings. Zack increased his walking speed and soon he could see a couple of houses. Maybe it was a village. But the disappointing was big when he saw no life, no lights. Many of the houses were destroyed. He entered into an intact one and looked around. A huge amount of dust and cobweb were lying everywhere.

    "This village seems to become abandoned about hundred years ago. What caused this?" he asked himself. He looked inside the cabinets and shelves. Dishes, bottles, pan and other more or less useful stuff were inside. "If we need them, we can take them later. First I have to investigate that waterfall." Zack said and left the building.

    When he finally arrived at the waterfall, he first followed the river, where the water, that came from the waterfall, flow away. But he saw that the river is too long and disappears somewhere in the dark. With the light that emitted from his torch, he could see lifeforms that look like fish, swimming in the river. He put his hand into the river. The water was very cold. "Nothing suspicious. It is as expected." Zack said and went back to the waterfall.

    A beautiful and huge curtain of water, continuously flowing down the rock and making a whooshing sound. Zack was impressed. With the weak light of his torch he could not see the whole picture of the waterfall. "Now, let me taste the water." he thought and first ram his torch into the ground. Now he could use both hands. He washed his hands and his face with the cold water. Then he took a sip of it and spit it out. "Taste like fresh water. No unusual taste." he said with a smile. Finally he drank the water and wait a few seconds. He could feel the cold water flowing down his dry throat. "I am still alive." he said and took another sip.

    Suddenly he noticed a blue-white light on the opposite of the waterfall. There must be a cave in front of him and something sparkles inside it. Now he was curious. With a long branch he poke through the curtain of water to find the exact place and size of the cave. The entrance was not that big but it was possible to go inside. He just need to keep his equipment dry.

    So Zack took off his jacket, ripped a blank page from his notebook and left the note "I am inside the cave in the other side of the waterfall. I should hear you if you shout loud and will then answer or will came out. If not, you have to come inside." and attached it with two small branches in front of the entrance. He also rammed his torch near the entrance in a save distance to the note. Then he put on his backpack and used his jacket to cover himself and his backpack from the water. A short running start and a jump through the curtain of water and he landed inside the cave and rolled silently on the ground.

    "I have made it." said Zack proudly and stood up. He saw radiating light on the cave wall. When he came closer, he identified it as runes, something was written in ancient language on the wall. "First I need a light. It is too dark." Zack thought and quickly crafted a torch and lit it up. Then he put on his mask, where his glasses are placed and took his notebook and his pen and started to write and translate the runes on the wall.
     
    #37 Joungf, May 19, 2019
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
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  18. erethir

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    Alira was sitting on the damp grass holding her hands close to the campfire, trying to stay warm. She looked at Daryen, he was breathing peacefully but she thought he might be cold. She looked around but there was nothing to cover him with. Then she realised she was still wearing his mantle and took it off and covered him with it. She shivered and looked around to be sure nothing was luring on her.

    That was when she glimpsed something white near the river. She froze. The animal must have noticed the campfire , so she just hoped it wouldn't take interest or that it was afraid. For a while she stared at it, until her heart calmed down and stopped pounding in her chest, the animal didn't move. She had seen it move before right?

    Carefully she walked closer trying not to walk on anything that would make a noise, and keeping an eye behind on Daryen. Just a little bit more to see what it is... She squinted, trying to see more clearly. It was hard to see in the light of the campfire but then she saw that the animal lifted its head from the river. It had been drinking. Could it be...?

    "Bella...? Is that you, girl?" The white mare whinnied and trotted towards her. "Bella! You're alive!" She hugged the horse hard and stroke her over the neck. She was still wearing bridle and saddle and all, and a saddle bag, just like when Alira had lost her. "You poor thing..." she said and loosened the saddle strap. She led the horse over to the campfire and took off the saddle and put it on the ground.

    She opened the saddle bag and was happy to find that there was still some food, a waterskin, clothes... she smiled when she saw the golden gleam of her Aad Sphera, two emerald orbs encased in fine threads of gold in intricate patterns. "These will be useful. But better not show them right now," she thought. The men might turn on her and rob her if they saw something like that, seeing as they were worth a small fortune.
     
    #38 erethir, May 20, 2019
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
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  19. Joungf

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    "Hmm... That makes no sense. Oh, wait I made a mistake here... it is this rune. Yes. Now the last two words... so, now I have to read it from the beginning to understand ..." said Jack when he suddenly noticed two glowing red dots from the corner of his eyes. He closed his notebook, took his torch, turned into the direction the red dots were and asked "Who is there? Show yourself!". The red dots came closer without making any noise.

    In the torchlight he could see a black cloud with red eyes. "My, my, look who is here? A human." said that thing with a high pitched voice and smiled. Its white teeth where shining in the darkness.

    Zack knew what it was from all the stories he heard and also from his research. It was a black spirit, a dangerous thing that tries to convince you to take your memories and bound you to an contract to get them back. You never should confirm its questions and never agree to its offers, always deny, that was what he learned.

    "Go away, leave me alone. I am not interested in any business with you, black spirit. Now get lost!" Zack shouted.

    "Why are you so aggressive? Couldn't you find the key to Nehet? I can give the key to you Bruce. Or should I say Zack?" the black spirit started to tease him.

    "No thanks. I am Zack, a thieve. I do not need a key. I have a lock pick. Now, please leave me alone." he answered.

    "Ah, come on Zack. I know you want to find that holy city of the ancient, don't you? I can tell you. You just need to ... " the black spirit continued teasing Zack.

    "Give you my memories, sign the contract, right? I am not interested in your help." Zack interrupted it.

    "It is not nice interrupting me Bruce. No, you just need to steal the precious orbs from that young witch and bring it to me. Aren't you a thieve? It should be an easy task for you." the black spirit answered.

    "Wait a minute, I should rob a lady? Even if she is a member of a noble family and we thieves steal from the rich and give it to the poor, I definitely will not steal anything from her. And do not even try to convince me. No!" said Zack.

    The black spirit cursed and disappeared. Silence came back and Zack, still holding his notebook, put down his torch and read the writing on the wall while he was supporting himself with one hand on the wall.

    The hard wall made of stone became soft and fluffy in that moment he finished reading. Zack fell through the rock and found himself on the other side, a big illuminated hall. He did not noticed that he dropped his notebook on the other side. The light blinded him and it took some time until his eyes get used to the light. He stood up, turned around and touched the wall. But it was solid again.

    "Darn! Maybe I need to say the same words again to exit? Oh no, where is my notebook? Darn it! I still remember the words. I do not forget so easily." he said. When Zack took off his mask and looked around, he got amazed by the huge place. The whole hall was illuminated by an unknown light source that do not cast any shadow. He could not see any light source like sun light or fire. There were no windows and no sky.

    Suddenly he heard someone swearing. It wasn't the black spirit. It sound more like the voice of a woman. Zack got curious and began to walk in that direction the voice came from.
     
    #39 Joungf, May 21, 2019
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
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  20. Ben Phoenix

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    Daryen woke up from a sound, maybe a voice... He squinted his eyes and looked around. There was a horse in the campsite, he opened his eyes in surprise, Alira was caressing it, he realised it must have been her horse. He looked for Zack but he wasn't there. He stood up with some effort, he was still tired and feeling confused. Suddenly a shadow appeared from nowhere and started approaching him, he could hear someone sobbing, he turned his head to Alira, she didn't seem to have noticed that he was awake and someone, or something, was there at the campsite.

    Daryen held his breath in fear and looked at the dark figure. It was standing in front of him now. Daryen knew it was the same thing he had encountered earlier and told him about his past. He had to face it, he didn't have any choice. The figure started sobbing and whining, Daryen's blood became like ice and a chill came down through his spine. He swallowed. He knew who that voice belonged to...

    - What do you want from me?

    The figure seemed to hesitate. Daryen was able to see some features now on its face, it was changing form. He swallowed again.

    - Why stranger... Why did you do this to me? I... I never hurt you in any way, I never even met you... So why... Why?

    The shadow was looking like a man now, he was short and chubby, he was wearing elegant clothes and jewels and was holding a small bag in one of his hands. He had an arrow in his chest, on the level of the heart. His eyes were small and completely black. Daryen could see his blood flowing down, there was a large pool of dark blood around him now, the grass was impregnated with it. Daryen's heart was beating fast now, he could feel fear and pain, both from himself and the figure.

    - I was hungry... I was cold. I was tired of begging for a piece of bread. I was tired...

    The man looked at him and smiled sadly then slowly turned his hand and emptied the bag he was holding. A handful of gold fell on the grass and disappeared in the pool of blood. Daryen looked at them while vanishing, his eyes were wide open, he felt a lump in his throat.

    - Yes young bastard, half man, half elf, that's what you have earned to kill me, remember now? What were you able to afford with that, food for a couple of days and the slowest horse in town? Was that really worth a life?

    Daryen closed his fists in anger and desperation. He looked at the figure and shook his head slowly.

    - I have no excuse for what I have done but you weren't a good man, you were greedy, abusive and your heart was dark like a moonless night.

    The man looked at Daryen with a grimace on his face, almost a smile.

    - And who were you to decide I deserved to die anyway?

    Daryen sighed then opened his hands and looked at them. They were stained with blood. He talked without looking away from them.

    - I was nobody but I know your death gave relief to your family. It's all I needed to know to shoot my arrow straight through that stone in your chest.

    Daryen looked suddenly into the figure's eyes, he wasn't afraid anymore, he was just angry for being judged by that entity. He didn't want to justify his actions, he wasn't ready.

    - Very well young bastard. I was evil and heartless, let's say you did the right thing, just like you did with the others after me but what about the last person you murdered...

    Daryen closed his eyes. He knew his darkest secret was about to be revealed. It was time for his deepest fear to be released.

    - What about me Daryen, what about me?

    The figure's voice was different now, it belonged to an older man, it was a gentle voice. Daryen opened his eyes with a huge effort and looked at the entity that was closer now. He could feel his cold breath on his face. None of them spoke for some time then Daryen closed his eyes again and fell on his knees. His voice was very deep and broke when he finally talked again.

    - I didn't know those people were lying to me, I didn't know they were your enemies... I realised it as soon as I sunk my blade in your chest, when I looked into your eyes. I knew at that point that they had fooled me.

    Daryen felt suddenly a cold hand on his shoulder. He was ready to face his fate, he was ready to die to pay for what he had done. He didn't open his eyes. The figure's fingers were squeezing his shoulder, Daryen was feeling pain but didn't make a sound.

    - I should kill you.

    - Then do it.

    - You know I can kill you and give this man the justice he deserves Daryen Dawnflame.

    Daryen kept his eyes closed despite the fact that he was surprised and schocked. Why did the entity call him in that way? Was that his mother's surname? Daryen felt a tear on his cheek. He shook his head and opened his eyes then looked into the man's black eyes.

    - I am sorry. I would trade my life for yours if I could, if it would bring you back. But I can't... I can't undo what I have done.

    Daryen let his tears fall down his face. He was ashamed but not because he wa crying, he was ashamed for being fooled, his heart was heavy like a stone and he was desperate and sad for taking the life of an innocent. Both Daryen and the entity remained silent for a while then the figure removed its hand from his shoulder and offered him its help to stand up.

    - You were very young Daryen, you were alone and your heart was broken. You were broken and still are. Find your parents, demand your questions to be answered, confront your past and finally move on. I forgive you. He forgave you long time ago.

    The figure smiled and slowly vanished. Daryen blinked his eyes in confusion but also relief and gratitude. His heart was lighter now, he could finally breathe after all that years. He had the feeling that the campfire was emitting more light than before. Suddenly he realised that Alira was there too, at the campsite. He looked at her and wondered if she had heard everything he had said.
     
    #40 Ben Phoenix, May 22, 2019
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
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