Monday, April 28, 2014

Of Orbs and Men


Yaotl thought he recognized the orb and immediately detected evil on it. It was as he feared, the same evil orb that he thought Cyrus had buried in the mountains. Ren picked it up and instantly felt invincible.
"That thing is evil." Yaotl stated, holding out a small pouch, "Drop it in here."
It's just an obsidian ball, I'm sure it's fine.

Ren enjoyed the feeling on invincibility and tried to drop in a different obsidian orb they had found earlier. Ren is not a sneaky Mul, however, and Yaotl easily saw him make the switch. Yaotl psionically put Ren to sleep, Ren fell and dropped the orb. As Yaotl leans over to pick up the orb, with a bag because he doesn't want to touch it, the west door opens. Standing in the doorway is a bald human man, dressed in sandy robes, with obsidian wrist razors, and he was holding two larger obsidian orbs.
"I want that orb!" He said, "It's calling to me."

Yaotl quickly grabbed the orb, as the man rushed him and used burning hands on Yaotl, Ren, and Rata. Aloria opened fire with her bow, but missed both times. Aziza stabbed him in the back, but the stab was magically transferred to her and she ended up stabbed herself in the back. She dropped one of her tortoise blades.
"Ren! We need you!" Aziza shouted, waking Ren.
Ren jumped to his feet and attacked the threat, punching and kicking in rapid motion. Aloria saw everyone started moving very slowly, except the man holding the orbs, and his hair gained gray streaks along the side. She drew back and arrow and fired, aiming for the orb in his left hand. She missed.
He turned around and used his his wrist razor to slice Azizas throat. Aloria fired again and this time, the arrow struck the orb and knocked it from the mans hand. He looked annoyed, but magically healed himself. Aloria fired at the man this time, but missed again. The man picked up his orb and then everyone began moving normally again. Aziza collapsed, blood running from her neck, and Ren screamed.
Yaotl attacked the murderer and wounded him along his arm. One of Aloria's arrows found its target, striking the man in his tigh. Rata rushed to Aziza, to see if anything could be done. Ren rushed forward, abandoning all defense and tackled the man to the ground. Ren grabbed the mans head and began pounding it again and again on the ground, screaming the entire time. Never had Ren displayed such ferocity and the group was taken aback.
The back of the mans head was soaked with blood and the orbs he had carried had fallen from his grasp. He was dead, but so was Aziza. Ren and Yaotl wept.
Poor Toby, Aziza was his favorite.

Ren picked up the orbs that the man had dropped. He then reached into Yaotl's bag and took the third. Yaotl did not resist.
"If I hadn't worried about the orb and used it, maybe she'd still be alive." Yaotl looked up at Ren, with tears streaming down his face, "It's all my fault."
Aloria moved into the adjacent room and found a group of slaves. She told them that they were free and the man holding them was dead. They cheered and ran out the room, toward the exit.
Yaotl took the orb necklace off of the dead man's neck and smashed it with a rock. Ren put the orbs in his backpack and picked up Aziza's corpse. The group trudged its way out of the fortress complex.

14, Sedulous, Dragon's Agitation, 190th Kings Age
Once outside, Ren gently placed Aziza's corpse in their wagon. Yaotl made sure the kanks were fed and watered.
"Can I come with you?" Aloria asked, "I have no where to go."
Yaotl nodded, "Of course you may come with us."
As they began riding down the mountain, a tornado met then and dissipated. Tamar stood before them, smiling widely.
"You did it!" He proudly exclaimed.
Ren shook his head, "The cost was too high."
Tamar frowned at seeing Aziza's body, cradled in Ren's arms.
"Can you help her?" Ren asked.
Tamar shook his head, "I'm sorry. I've already granted you wishes."
Ren and Yaotl looked at each other, then to Aloria. Aloria had been just staring at Tamar since her arrived.
"What?" She finally asked when she noticed them staring at her.
"You must wish her back to life." Ren pleaded.
Aloris was confused, "What?"
Yaotl interjected, "This man is a genie, he can grant wishes, but he has already done so for us. He hasn't granted you a wish though. Wish for Aziza to come back to life."
Tamar smiled wide, when Aloria looked at him again. She didn't know what a genie was.
"Okay." Aloria said, "Bring her back to life."
Tamar gave them a thoughtful look, "I can't with those words."
"You have to say I wish!" Ren blurted out, hope returning to him.
"Fine." Aloria responded, feeling the whole thing was kind of silly, "I wish she would come back to life."
Tamar smiled and bowed, "Your wish, is my command."
Not that genie.

He clapped his hands and a gust of wind shot out from them, blowing everyone back a pace. His clapping also created a loud crash of thunder. Aziza opened her eyes.
Aziza's eyes opened and she looked around, "What happened?"
Ren hugged her close, "You died, but Tamar brought you back."
Tamar shook his head, "Not me, her." He indicated Aloria.
Aziza looked at Aloria, "Thank you."
Tamar called up a whirlwind to lead the group back to the unnamed village. Tamar went slowly this time, sparing Yaotl's stomach. The leisurely pace was quite enjoyable for the exhausted group and they all fell asleep.
Ren could dream of nothing, except the great power the orbs would grant him. He saw himself as King of his own city state and an unnatural lust for that power began to grow inside of him. The orbs, he knew, where the path to great power. Possibly infinite power and possibly the perfection he sought.

15, Sedulous, Dragon's Agitation, 190th Kings Age
The group awakens hours later in the unnamed village. Tamar tells them that they won a great battle against the Silt Lords and he tells Yaotl that Nora is quite taken with him. The party is greeted by Ishak, Basheera, and the rest of the unnamed village. They villagers tell them that they are planning on building them a home in the village and have laid out the location.
"This village needs a name." Ren stated bluntly, "I think we should call it Kalidnay."
Ishak nodded, "Good a name as any, I suppose. We'll talk it over with the village elders."
Yaotl took time that day to spend with Basheera and Nora. Ren took the time to meditate and relax, but kept a constant watch on the orbs. Aloria helped build their house. Rata split his time between helping with the gardens, the herds of Erdlu, and building their house. Aziza also split her time, training the villagers in combat, helping with the garden, and helping build their house. Aziza became alarmed that Ren was more interested in the orbs than helping, or in her. Tamar spent time in the village, just inspecting the lives of mortals. Everywhere he went, a cool breeze followed and the villagers were thankful for that.
Night fell and the group camped in a large tent. Ren was sleeping, curled up with the orbs. He awoke to find Aziza reaching to pick one of the orbs out of his arms. He struggled with himself, wanting to keep it and also wanting to release it. After a brief struggle, he released the orb and let her take it. She returned after an hour and attempted to take another. Ren resisted this time and grabbed her arm. Yaotl was awoken and put Ren to sleep with psionics.
"What are you doing?" Yaotl asked Aziza, as she picked up another orb.
Yaotl was preparing to put her to sleep as well.
Aziza whispered softly, "We have to get rid of these. They are evil, you said so yourself. They're controlling him, we have to separate them and hide them."
Yaotl nodded and picked up the last orb. "Yes, where are you hiding them?"
Aziza shook her head, "It's best if we don't know where they all are."
Yaotl agreed and they ran off into the desert, in opposite directions. Yaotl ran and buried it in the desert. He put a rock nearby to mark the spot.
"No one will ever know that this rock was dragged over to mark something important." - Yaotl

16, Sedulous, Dragon's Agitation, 190th Kings Age, High Sun
Ren woke up, sunlight was streaming into their tent from various small holes in the canvas. He looked at Aziza, who was sleeping next to him.
"Thank you." He whispered, then laid back down next to her.
Rata got up and went outside, to continue his work with the gardens and herds. Aloria set out to continue construction on their house. An hour later, Basheera and Nora woke Yaotl and took him out to start the day. Aziza awoke. Ren was dozing, but her movements woke him.
"I think you saved us all." He whispered to her.
Aziza kissed Ren and pressed her head to his chest.
"I'm afraid." She began. "I don't want you to love me and I don't want to love you, but I do."
They were silent for a few minutes, but Ren's heart was nearly beating out of his chest.
"I loved another Mul once and he died." Aziza explained, "I don't want to do that again, but lying to myself isn't helping."
Mul smiled, "I'm not planning on dying, you know. I've been giving thought to living like the Elves do, each day as a new adventure."
Aziza kissed Ren again and they made love.
That day, Rata and Yaotl planted some magical fruit they had. They decided to wait in the village for awhile, tend the gardens, assist the villagers with construction, and train the villagers to better defend themselves.
Ren asked Tamar if there were portals that leaked silt into Athas from the Plane of Silt. Tamar informed him that there were. Ren asked for a way to track them down and close them. Tamar said he would need to speak to others before allowing it. Ren nodded in understanding. Tamar bid them farewell and thanked them again.

Fortuary, Dragon's Agitation, 190th Kings Age, Sun Descending
Yaotl spent more and more time with Nora and Basheera, getting to know more about them. He was surprised to discover that she was over 600 Athasian years old. She enjoyed the warm afternoons, but disliked the cold nights. Basheera took a liking to her and the two often played together. Yaotl also began attempting to convert the locals to following the flame. His success was limited.
Rata continued to cultivate the magic trees and the normal gardens. With his and Aziza's magic, the gardens flourish. He and Aziza teach the villagers to the justification and skills to respect and tend the land. Ren and Aziza grew closer, spending much of their time together. Aloria worked hard, building their home and training the villagers. She didn't want a slave raid to take any of them away.
They decide to stay another month.

Macro, Dragon's Agitation, 190th Kings Age, Sun Descending
They finished their house, hide roof and all, and continued to aid the village with their skills. A gith raid was repelled by the villagers and heroes. Converting the locals became more successful and Yaotl gained a small group of converts, who offered sacrifices to the flame. Nora tells Yaotl that she is with child, Yaotl was pleased and asked Nora to be his wife. She accepted.
This is what the wedding ring would have looked like, if Yaotl had actually got her one.

Dessalia, Dragon's Agitation, 190th Kings Age, Sun Descending
The festival week was met with jubilation and the group bought enough food and drink, from traveling merchants, to enjoy it. Of course, the work continued, but will full bellies and no thirst.

Fifthover, Dragon's Agitation, 190th Kings Age, Sun Descending
The group continued to aid the village and protect it. On the 16th day of Fifthover, Yaotl and Nora were married. A grand wedding was held, with visitors from many elemental planes, and fires everywhere. Tamar and his wives attended, along with Nora's family. Nora's father disliked Yaotl and thought we was too inferior to wed his daughter. He gifted the couple with a genie bodyguard, to keep Nora safe. Tamar gifts them fine wood furniture for their home and food and drinks for the guests. That night, Ren asked Aziza to marry him. She accepted.

17, Fifthover, Dragon's Agitation, 190th Kings Age, Sun Descending
Tamar appears in Ren's room, waking him and Aziza. He hands Ren small, hinged, box.
"I talked with some of the other elemental lords and we agreed that you could help us." Tamar explained.
Ren looked the box over and finally opened it. Inside was a compass.
"Is this compass that will lead me to my heart's desire?" Ren asked.
Tamar laughed, "No. What a stupid idea. Men's desires often lead to their deaths." He pointed at the box. "This compass will lead you to the portals in the silt sea that allow silt to pour into Athas."

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