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From Out of a Dream [Quest]

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  • wonderandawe
    replied
    Was Silver Sky a Sidereal or a Lunar or something else?

    ((I post more about the quest later, when I have caught up on things))

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  • semicasual
    replied
    (Aaaand that's a wrap! Thank you, everyone who participated. Please remember to comment, like, and subscribe.Your support is an important motivator for my work, along with my own boredom and fits of obsession.

    I want to particularly thank Kat Brenowitz, for providing all of the artwork for this story. Kat, if you're reading this, you're awesome.

    It's been an eventful year since I started this project. Sometimes I thought we'd never get here, and at first I didn't really know where "here" was. Initially I just planned to see where the story with the Stone spun off to, but I think we outgrew that. The Stone was only ever a macguffin anyway, and there's a limit to what kind of stories you can tell about an object that many people might want but few can use.


    Sometimes you came up with better ideas for actions than I did. I appreciate that, truly - it's one of the best parts of collaborative storytelling.

    There are more stories I could tell about Otgonbayar/Nergui, but I believe he's had enough for now. The whole of the story from the old castle to Saturn's grove makes for a complete character arc, I think. Besides, I've had another story idea burning in the back of my mind for a while now, and I'd like to kick it off. More on that later.

    First, let's do a post-chapter, post-chronicle review!
    1. Languages, again. God's tongue was supposed to be be a super-formal language. Initially I just had it be full of bold declarations, not unlike modern translations of the bible, but I found it was a little too much like what I did for the steppe people's language? So... I went with more archaic english. I wonder if you found it easy enough to read, and if it was as compelling as what I had written for other dialogues?
    2. Tone shift. I look back at the first few chapters, and there are some marked differences in my writing style. There's a certain noirish-ness to the first two chapters that I think I used less and less of over time - it just felt less appropriate to the situations that the main character was in, I suppose. Do you prefer the style of the early chapters to the later ones, or vice versa?
    3. The Heavenly City and its inhabitants. I only skimmed the Celestial Compass book on Yu-Shan, mostly to confirm that yes, the Violet Bier is a real place and no, it's not the kind of bier you carry around at funerals. What did you think of how I presented the city and the gods?
    4. Spot the Sidereal! I included a total of 8 Sidereal characters in the whole story - 7 of them in the last chapter. Can you guess who they all were?
    5. Ask me a question! The story is over (for the moment), so the old restrictions are being eased. If there is anything about this or previous chapters you'd like me to tell you, ask away.
    6. Something else? Just tell me anything at all. Whatever observations you have about this project - let me know!

    I'm going to start another quest this week, assuming no interference. Stay tuned for another legend of Creation, in "Back Alive or Maybe Dead"!)
    Last edited by semicasual; 01-09-2017, 11:54 AM.

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  • semicasual
    replied
    Breathe in. Breathe out.

    You reach out to Death. She takes your hand in hers, smiles at you, and gives your fingers a comforting squeeze. "{It shall be done.}"

    Death raises her sword, then gently pushes the flat of it against your forehead. Then her head snaps skyward. The faint purple light that always surrounded her suddenly becomes piercingly bright.

    "{LET THE COSMOS BEAR WITNESS!}" Her voice echoes in your mind, as if she were shouting for the whole country to hear. "{BEHOLD, THE SACRIFICE OF BODY, MIND, AND SPIRIT FOR THE FIFTH AND FINAL FATE.}"

    You hear a faint ringing from the sword, feel a subtle vibration through your skin. A soft warmth spreads through you. Death takes her blade away and clutches your hand more tightly.

    "{THE BODY, TO BEAR. THE MIND, TO KNOW. THE SPIRIT, TO UPHOLD.}"

    Your mark reignites. Your aura flares up to the heavens alongside Death's. You and she are the centers of two columns of light, gold and violet, reaching for the stars. Death's declarations continue, but you cannot hear her over the roaring in your ears. Your heart races and you find yourself hyperventilating.

    Some time passes - a few seconds, a few minutes? - before you regain your sense of self. The brilliant light is fading away from both of you. You feel drained, tired beyond belief.

    "{...AND SO I CLAIM THIS LIFE FOR MY OWN, BOUND TO ME UNTIL DEATH OR THE END OF TIME.}"

    You hear the words, but cannot focus on them. Your head feels too heavy. You find yourself falling forward, but a pair of strong arms catch you and wrap you in a warm embrace.

    "{It is done. Thy children shall remember thee for all their days and all their descendants for all their days. Now, rest.}"

    Rest. Your eyelids sink of their own accord.

    "{Do not fear. To all things comes an end.}"

    You breathe in and out. Your awareness of your surroundings fades away, except for a gentle voice in your ear.

    "{And to every end... comes a beginning.}"
    ***fin***

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  • BadassOverlord
    replied
    Accept the pact and become Jesus

    Leave a comment:


  • L'het'esh
    replied
    "Stay on target."
    Accept the pact for the sake of the Sunblessed.

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  • Jairain
    replied
    Tough one, but our very purpose was to slay those who created the gods, if we fall we shall take her with us for her hubris. Or whatever, drama is fun! Fight it out!

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  • KFinigan
    replied
    Summon all our focus to speak: "Promise that my children shall remember me for all their days and all their descendants for all their days and I agree." Take her hand and enjoy a well-earned rest knowing you have completed your task.

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  • semicasual
    replied
    You detach Reaching Fist from your leg and unwind the chain. Death shifts her stance, holding her broad blade out ahead of her.

    You rush forward and fling the weighted Fist at her middle. She twists to one side and swings her sword the other way. The Fist clangs off the blade and falls away. You jerk the weight back while Death starts a rush of her own. You seize Reaching Fists chain about the middle and start to spin both the sickle and the weight around you. You twirl and step away from Death, keeping her at bay with an irregular flurry of slices and sweeps. When she pauses and backs off, you lash out with the weight again, watching her closely.

    A series of similar exchanges follow. You conserve your energy, spinning to keep Death at a distance, striking to probe her defense. After several rounds of testing, you take your shot.

    The sickle flies at Death's face. She dodges to her right, letting the blade fly past - just as you anticipated. You step with her, already hauling back on the chain with all of your strength. The sickle snaps at the end of its length and then returns, twisting in the air. Death's eyes glance at the chain moving over her left shoulder an instant before the sickle catches the back of her head.

    A dull "thunk!" echoes over the quiet courtyard. The handle of Reaching Fist's sickle wobbles grotesquely, with the blade partially lodged in her skull. Death does not cry out, but only softly sighs - the first time you have seen her lips move. Her eyes close and her shoulders sag.

    You give a grim smile and pull on the chain, thinking to deepen the wound or kill her outright. "[If you saw my coming, is this what you waited for?]" you ask, rhetorically.

    Death's left hand snaps to the sickle's handle. Her iron grip resists your pull - in fact, you unexpectedly find yourself pitching forward, hauled off balance by your own yanking. Death takes advantage of the sudden slack and tugs the sickle free of her head. Her eyes reopen and, with nothing in her mien suggesting injury, she tosses the sickle back to you. "{I did see,}" comes a soft voice in your ear. "{But my part was fixed, as was thine.}"

    You snarl and reel in Reaching Fist's chain, already thinking of your next move. But Death shakes her head. "{Enough.}" She raises her hand. The air before her shimmers and then a long, thin thread appears, spanning the distance between you and Death. It shines gold in the the light of your aura, blown into a glimmering arc as a soft breeze catches its slack. Death reaches out, grabs hold of one end of the line, and pulls it taut.

    You feel a sudden shock and a tightness in your chest. Your vision swims, your stomach churns, Reaching Fist drops from your hand. Your legs buckle, suddenly weak, and you fall to your hands and knees, fighting an urge to throw up. The golden light that surrounded you dims and fades away. Everything is dark - night has fully fallen.

    You remain that way for some time, unable to stand, unwilling to let yourself fall.

    Quiet footsteps intrude on your sickened reverie. You force yourself to look up and see Death looming over you.

    "{Thou hast fought well,}" she says, gently. "{But this battle is over, and thou art defeated. Do not be ashamed. No other outcome could come to pass.}"

    You breathe in and out, trying to recover your strength. The pain in your chest is fading, but your body does not want to move...

    "{Even so, thy valor hath impressed me. Truly, thy efforts bring honor to thy patron. Thou art very like Him, in many ways. In recognition of thy strength and courage before impossible hardships, I am prepared to offer thee a pact.}"

    With a groan, you heave yourself back and sit up on your legs. This sets off a fresh wave of dizziness and you feel yourself swaying. Even seated, it is hard to keep your balance...

    Death extends a hand to you. "{Sacrifice thy life to me, and I shall grant thy wish. Every one of thy sons and daughters shall be added to the annals of the departed, and join the cycle of death and rebirth. This shall be our promise - one hundred lives, in exchange for but one.}"

    You try to speak, but when you open your mouth you have to hold back bile. You swallow, choke, and struggle with yourself in silence.

    Death shakes her head and bends down, bringing her hand closer to you. "{Do not answer in words. Only give me thy hand, and our covenant shall be sealed.}"

    Your eyes gravitate to her hand, then slide away. Your weapon is on the ground within easy reach. If you focus... perhaps... you could grab it...?
    • Fight to the bitter end.
    • Try to run and live to fight again.
    • Surrender.
    Last edited by semicasual; 01-09-2017, 11:51 AM.

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  • Jairain
    replied
    Originally posted by Ferryman View Post
    Controlled chaos. Death appears capable of stopping anything she sees coming, and confident that she can see everything. But we know now that isn't true.
    Love it. 10

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  • BadassOverlord
    replied
    Become a whirlwind of blades. We cannot hope to outlast Death, so our only chance is to give everything we've got.

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  • wonderandawe
    replied
    Use controlled chaos.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ferryman
    replied
    Controlled chaos. Death appears capable of stopping anything she sees coming, and confident that she can see everything. But we know now that isn't true.

    Leave a comment:


  • Boston123
    replied
    Welp, we wounded Saturn.

    Even if we die today, we will live forever.

    Leave a comment:


  • L'het'esh
    replied
    Use controlled chaos. whirlwind is tempting, but She blocked Cleaver with a palm.....
    How about asking Her, "If you saw I was coming, is this what you were waiting for?"

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  • semicasual
    replied
    You pull Archer's paradox off your back, string it, and nock your first arrow in the space of a few heartbeats. Death approaches you, scythe raised. You make a forceful leap and fly back across the courtyard, giving yourself some room to breathe. In midair, you breathe in, aim at Death's center, and release. The bolt zips over the graves in the blink of an eye. In the next blink, she pushes her weapon into the path of your arrow. The scythe's shaft rings when it is struck, deflecting the projectile harmlessly to one side.

    You land, skid backwards, rebalance, and straighten up. Then you draw and launch one arrow after another, with no thought except to fill the air with as many shafts as possible. But Death advances slowly through your hail of missiles. Her scythe spins and twirls in front of her, too fast for the eye to follow. Your arrows zoom into that barrier and then fly away in all directions. You grit your teeth and try to force yourself to shoot faster, draw harder, find the tiniest gap in her defense, but in vain. Your mark burns hotter and hotter while the light around you grows brighter and brighter. After a few intense seconds, you reach behind you and realize you are grabbing your last arrow.

    Enraged, you growl and nock the final shaft. Then you sprint towards Death, who quickens her own approach when your barrage stops. She raises her scythe behind her right shoulder. The instant you see her begin to swing, you jump. The blade slowly swings through the space you vacated a second before. You drift up and over death's head, beginning an aerial forward flip. You turn fully upside down behind her. In one more eyeblink, you draw and loose your shot at her exposed back.

    You have a fraction a second to see the tip stick just above her left shoulderblade. Then you finish your flip when you hit the ground and roll, turning over onto your feet. In the next instant you hear a wordless cry of shock and pain. You do not look around. Instead, you immediately sprint to the other side of the courtyard, sliding to a stop just before the wall.

    When you do turn, you see Death facing you. Her scythe is resting against the ground, loosely gripped in her left hand. Her right hand is reaching around to the arrow in her back, pulling on it. Despite the pain you imagine this must cause her, her face only shows focused determination. With one hard jerk, she pulls the shaft and tip free. There is no blood - only a stream of glistening mist, of a shade of purple so dark it is nearly black. She releases her hold on the scythe, which vanishes into nothing just like Cleaver did. Then she passes the arrow from her right hand to her left and raises her right hand again. Once again, the air shimmers and a weapon appears. This time it is a one-handed sword with a wide blade that barely tapers to a point - an executioner's sword, sized appropriately for someone of Death's height. It is double-edged, unadorned, made of the same strangely shining metal that the scythe was.

    You breathe in and reach behind you. There are no more arrows, but you find something else. From out of the spiritual glow surrounding you, you draw one gold, luminescent shaft of power and nock it to your bow. It shines brighter and brighter as you pull back the string until it almost hurts to look at it. Then you loose, and an aurelian beam lances across the courtyard.

    Death moves the flat of her blade to block. The beam sinks into the sword like water, leaving yellow ripples in the air. Death remains where she is, sword ready in one hand, eyes on you.

    You breathe out and in. A burning heat suffuses your body now - you alone are illuminating the courtyard, outshining the sun. You grab another golden bolt and pour more of yourself into it, filling it with your fury. You draw, aim, and shoot,and the shaft bursts into white fire as it flies away from you.

    Death again moves to block. Your bolt bursts into a cloud of sparks and smoke as it strikes the steel immediately in front of her face.

    You are already drawing your next shot, suffusing it with more power and more rage. You do not shoot an arrow, or a beam; you launch a comet, brilliantly blazing through space, exhaling violently as you let it go.

    Death takes one step back. She raises her left hand with the arrow while simultaneously shifting her blade. Her sword's edge tilts toward you just before the comet impacts it. The missile explodes, engulfing her part of the courtyard in flames.

    You have the briefest pause as you scan the fire and the smoke, searching for your target. Then a bright purple projectile flies out of the blast area, straight at you. Surprised, all you can do is reflexively brace yourself for the hit. You feel a twang from your bow almost at the same time you feel the bolt hit your ribs. Your uncannily tensed skin and muscle stop the arrow - one of your arrows! - from piercing a lung, but the impact still suprises you. You stare at it sticking out of your brigandine. You carefully inhale and exhale as you try to pull the arrow free of your armor, but only succeed in breaking off the shaft.

    You look up and see Death stepping out of the flames, unharmed. She raises her sword, then snaps her right arm to one side. Instantly, the flames are extinguished. Even more remarkably, the grass and graves are unmarred.

    You feel like screaming as you start to reach behind you for another bolt. Then you realize Archer's Paradox feels strange in your hand. You glance down and see that your bow is unstrung. No... the string is broken, split in the middle as if something had cut it. You look back up again to see Death staring back at you, implacably serene.

    You let out a breath and toss Archer's Paradox aside. You are not done yet.
    • Become a whirlwind of blades. You have to overwhelm her defense. Fire and Water will serve.
    • Be the untouchable steel mountain. She is taking advantage of your aggressive tactics, tiring you out and exploiting openings. You can protect yourself best with Vortex.
    • Use controlled chaos. You've been too predictable. Reaching Fist could give you an edge with its spinning chain, weight and sickle.
    • Go berserk. You don't care about your own safety anymore. You'll tear Death apart with nothing but your hands.
    • Something else?
    Last edited by semicasual; 01-09-2017, 11:48 AM.

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