Cythera Chronicles: Tales of the Macilnar II



  • Author’s Note: The story now picks up after (url="http://"http://www.ambrosiasw.com/webboard/Forum52/HTML/000129.html")Tales of the Macilnar I(/url), by a period of 19 years. Eroldur has become an accomplished mage, having studied Runes at Pnyx, and is now a freemage. He is half-elf, because Alea, his mother was an elf. He can transform into a cougar. Therru Flame has been hunting Goshnak, having made small skirmishes but never getting into an accomplished battle. For more information about either (url="http://"http://www.ambrosiasw.com/webboard/Forum5/HTML/000506-3.html#Mr.Somebody07-16-200212:05AM")Eroldur(/url) or (url="http://"http://www.ambrosiasw.com/webboard/Forum5/HTML/000506-3.html#TherruFlame07-21-200203:32PM")Therru(/url), see their bios (linked). The story picks up at the end of the dead team story, (url="http://"http://www.ambrosiasw.com/webboard/Forum5/HTML/001199.html#")The Tyrant’s Ring(/url). However, I will be summarizing and modifying the events of that here. Sometimes, I might even use direct posts. It is purely mentioned as a point of interest. I must thank the following people for their contributions, in alphabetical order, Cache22, and Magpie. I must also thank DesertFox, idiotSavant, iKaterei and Sephiroth. They are mentioned separately because although they contributed to the plot of the Team Story, I could find no way for them to contribute to the plot of these chronicles, and therefore I cannot attempt to use them as part of the group. Now the story will continue.

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    Therru Flame was fuming over an Undine Whiskey at the Alraeican Tavern. Slightly intoxicated, he was wrestling with Goshnak in his mind. His friends, Larc and Martel, the elven brothers were also with him. Martel was the Chief of the Guards at Pnyx, and Larc was unemployed, but had taken up residence in the Alraeican Tavern. A winded person ran in, a scroll in his hand. "For Therru Flame." The herald remarked. Therru made no move, so Larc got up and went to take it. When he took it, the messenger snatched it back, saying "You are not the person it is intended for." Larc had an arrow at the messenger's throat in no time flat. "Move along, herald." The herald left quickly. Larc opened the scroll, it was blank. Frowning, Larc took Martel and the brooding Therru to his room. Therru was well awake by now, and Larc showed him the strange scroll. "Do you know who it’s from?"

    "I have no idea. It’s strange... here, let me see it." As soon as Therru touched the scroll it burst into white-hot flame. Normally, this would have severely burned him, but Therru was half-fire elemental. The cool fire tickled his hand, and it grew wider with Therru’s concentrated energy. The flame formed itself into a strange head, the head of Ignae the fire elemental. "Therru. I have terrible news for you. Goshnak is looking for something frighteningly important, The Tyrant’s Ring. Just a few days ago, I saw great masses of armies march from Land’s End Volcano to the Great Swamps, and camp there. I went to investigate. The armies were masses of all sorts of undead, but under whose command I do not know. The most important thing is that I know that the armor that they wear is from the era of the first tyrant. I need a small amount of warriors to help him investigate the volcano, and discover the purpose of this army, and if it is Goshnak, and nothing more."

    Therru was already packing. "I won’t lose Goshnak again!"

    Soon, Martel and Larc were also ready. As they walked out into the tavern, packed with supplies, it was no wonder that Kwon Chen of the Ronin turned from his drink and asked. "Where are you heading so suddenly? What was wrong in that message?" When Martel had announced their situation to the bar, there was quite a hubub. Many of the patrons cleared out, not wanting to take part in another Undead War. However, a few adventurers yet remained.

    Sasha looked suspiciously at Martel, then faced the others seated at the table - Trinias, Ulf, Kwon Chen, Lucas and the Scribe.

    "Did he say 'Undead'?"

    The Scribe peered at her over the top of his glasses. "I believe he did, yes."

    Sasha chewed her lip, and the other Ronin looked distinctly uncomfortable. "Typical," the swordswoman complained. "They would turn up when Flynn and his Sword of Truth are beyond our reach. Do you think they're the remnants of the army we fought before, just after getting here?"

    Kwon shrugged. "It is possible. However, we have no way of knowing."

    "We have to go find out, don't we?" By the look on his face, Trinias was almost hoping Sasha would say 'no'.

    Sasha nodded grimly. "We have no choice. Lucas, will you join us?"

    Lucas shuddered, and shook his head. "I've seen a lot of bad stuff, but one thing I've never encountered is something undead. I'd just as soon avoid that one, if you don't mind. Besides, this sounds like a scouting trip. If it turns into a war, come get me."

    The four Ronin joined Martel and the others. "We've had some experience with undead armies," Sasha said. "We would like to offer our services."

    --------

    Unobtrusively, from his customary table in a dark corner, Sideline observed the proceedings. He remembered the time Magpie's undead army had assaulted Cademia; although he hadn't played a major role, he'd done his bit. Now it sounded like they might be back for more. Sideline winced at the thought of some unsuspecting town or village falling prey to marauding hordes of undead warriors.

    "Not if I can help it," he muttered.

    He quietly got up from his seat, and joined the growing group of adventurers.

    --------

    The tavern was as quiet as usual, drunken patrons nursing their drinks and the more lively ones playing dice.
    In one corner however, a small crowd had gather, most of the men just in for a good story, others for an adventure. A chance to test once again their overuesed battle skills in the aid of Cythera.
    Magpie himself approached the table knowingly, having been in many adventures before. Faces turned and went white, glasses were either clunked down onto the harsh wooden benches, or dropped to lie either unturned or broken on the floor.
    For all who had battle against Magpie before knew of his treachery, his cunning and power, his overwhelming desire to be the ultimate mage.

    The four Ronin didn’t bother to stand up, knowing all too well that weapons would work to no avail aginst Magpie.
    "I have heard you are Magpie, and what a timely coincidence you come now. Typical of some worthless old fool to march before his legions of darkness, saying his farewells to the land he loved so little, delighting in the sight of so many innocent children and men cowering in the shadows. Take your foul presence elsewhere demon, we can do without entree today." Therru Flame spat disguted at Magpie's feet.
    Magpie's eyes turned a beautiful white, not quite pure white though, a white tinged with darkness, tinged with tremendous power and evil. Magpie writhed on the spot, seeming to contain demons of his own, brought about by his corruption and lust for power. And for a reason that none in the bar could see, not yet anyway, Magpie contained his urge to destroy Therru, as was quite within his power, and calmed. Eyes turned back to their normal pupiled selves.

    "For once you are wrong, warriors. This time I have not come to survey the plans for future buildings, or to," he paused and frowned with distaste, "delight in innocent children and men cowering, as if I ever did such a thing. No this time I have come to help, for the great army that threatens your land is that of another powerhungry war lord. I, gentlemen," Magpie used the word sparingly and with obvious loathing of putting anyone equal to himself, "am here to help, for as you already know, I am the most powerful mage, but by far not the most deadly. For right as we speak, a deadly hunter stalks my every waking moment, a hunter deployed by the army you are all here to rally against. This hunter is a capable assassin, and will stop at nothing to kill me. In order to get their job done properly, these enemies know that they must once more disrupt the balance of the elements, and succeed at what they once failed. They need to wipe out the rest of the Seldane, and the part Seldane, all but one. And they need to wipe out the Undine, and the part Undine, all but one. The ony way you have any chance of surviving, my only chance of living too, is to join forces and protect Cythera," Magpie finished, and even now more then ever, he showed his true self, the water ghostly image almost gone, as if admitting that he was vulnerable had withdrawn the shadow out of him, at least for the moment.

    Therru flame looked at the Ronin for answers, seeking their help, as he himself had never met Magpie face to face before.
    Kwon shook his head, looking up and spoke "This is a being of great power. Many things have great power, but Magpie's power is ill contained, a single mistake and it could spill like a cloud of choking gases that will then flood the land, destroying more than Goshnak’s army will. You mentioned the Sun Disk, Therru?"
    Therru nodded, and motioned for Kwon to continue
    "I myself do not know what this Sun Disk is, but I am certain it has the ability to destroy the four immortals. And this is why Goshnak needs it."
    Kwon rubbed his chin, and when no one else filled in the pensive silence, he started once again
    "In my opinion, no, do not ally with Magpie, for it would be an unholy alliance, one that will taint the land and people of Cythera to no end. If we are to come out on top, we must do it alone. United we stand, divided we fall, I know. But try uniting with some one attemtping to divide you. No, we cannot accept Magpie here." Kwon shook his head again, muttering to himself.

    Therru looked at Magpie again, trying to decide for himself if Magpie was dangerous, he didn't look it, but he certainly felt like it. And looks can be deceptive, as all in the bar knew.

    "So you choose to turn me out? When you are all dead, and the Seldane fall, Undine, Slyph, and Ignae will be angry, but not for long, becuase they will me next. Think over your choice of action and remember that if there is to be any hope at all, I must be one with your forces." Magpie sat, ordering a whiskey on whiskey with a shot of whiskey and a double whiskey on the side, leaving Therru and the others to think again over his offer.

    --------

    Therru turned to Magpie. "I have no use for your threats, but you may come. Be warned, if any move you make is against us, I will fight you into death and beyond." As his voice reached its climax, Sideline noticed the hint of an accent, an accent he had heard before. It was used when speaking another language, but he could not remember which. It would be best not to mention this for now. Therru glared at Magpie and turned to the Ronin. "So you are the Ronin. You are quite famous, because even an old hermit from the southernmost mountains has heard of you. I know you have quite a history, as I do, although I have not had the opportunity to learn it. Perhaps I will sometime. Now, for the point of this conversation, you seem to know more than I do about this Magpie. We should talk about it, but I have to attend to something very important." The Ronin nodded, and turned back to their table, and Therru walked over to his.

    Therru sat down at his table. He pulled up his pack, boots, armor, and reluctantly, his cloak. He pulled out a small vial of oil and a rag from his pack, then roughly shoved the pack on the floor. "What is that?" Larc asked and pointed at the vial.

    "It is a potion to make weapons and armor more resistant to undead power. You and the rest of the party may use it when I finish. I still need to perfect the formula, it only works about sixty-five percent of the time."

    "Oh." Larc replied, "Thanks." With a smile, he walked away, back to his table. Out from his boots, Therru pulled eight daggers, four from each. He poured a bit of the oil on each and rubbed viorously with the cloth. When he finished, he hastily replaced his daggers in the boots and put them on. He decieded to rub his armor next, and he did. The breastplate, being what it was, was quite a long affair, because it was much bigger than a dagger. But, he finally finished, and put it on. From his cloak, he seemed to procure none less than twelve bladed weapons of some sort, and though it took a while, it too was finished. By then it was getting late, and some patrons were leaving, but others wanted to stay, to watch Therru. It was a shame that some had left, because next came a sight of wonder. Therru slowly drew his two identical swords. In the torch light, the silver blades shone and glinted. They were curved slightly, sabers. Each bore an elaborite design of a skull, coming through flames. The flames were long, and almost reached the tip of the swords, sharp and deadly. With extreme care, these too were rubbed with the oil. Therru cleaned everything up. After finishing this, Therru stood, and walked to the bar. He streched and yawned, as it was now very late, and ordered a drink. He drained it in one long gulp and sat down again.

    Therru Flame sat his shabby pack on the table. Many people began to wonder how many weapons he had. Amazingly, he did not bring forth a weapon. Out came a big, black book. On the cover, it bore the same emblem. The skull coming through the flames. Therru took out a key from his cloak. He slowly inserted the key into the lock and turned it. There was a hiss. The Ronin walked to Therru's table. Sasha looked at the book and spoke. "That is a spellbook, Therru."

    "It is a powerful spellbook." Trinias agreed. Ulf and Kwon Chen nodded. Kwon Chen looked again, and became stern.

    "That book is The Tome of the Necromancers. That is the most powerful and the greatest source of knowledge for all necromancy." No one noticed, but when he said this, Magpie's eyes glinted, and he smirked. Therru Flame slowly turned to Kwon Chen.

    "I am the Macilnar. It was my Macilnar fathers who wrote this book. It is mine to own and use. For my purposes, I am, in a sense, a necromancer. I fight back the dead, to keep them where they belong." He closed the book. "There is no use now. Everyone with me, get some rest. We leave at dawn."

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    The adventures had all but trailed away, some seeking a good nights sleep at the inn's plentiful beds, others wide awake, eyes ashine and weapons sharp.
    Therru Flame had taken leave just about an hour ago, sleeping alongside his pack on a chair nearby.
    Magpies eyes gleamed a mystical white, his long elegant fingers stretching outwards towards the book that hissed like a snake, containing powers that would have made his masters tremble, not Magpie however.
    Magpie's fingers lay hovering above the book, poised for a swift grab, still and waiting. His mind was not waiting for anything, already it had flown ahead, dreams of power and glory, he, Magpie ruling over all that was. Magpie had spells like the ones he had lustily glanced at in the book, just as powerful, a few more so. But this book also contained spells for repelling the dead not just awakening them. Magpie could dispell his undead minions whenever the occasion called for it, and could raise many more too.
    This book was not, as Therru had put it "the most powerful spell book for necromancers" for Magpie anyway. For Magpie this was simply another doorway through which power gleamed, shining brighter, so bright it hurt to look at, but this pain, this ultimate lust for power drew him closer. He was curious about the pain of power, so curious that it did not repel him like most.

    He snapped back to reality, outstretched hands almost touching the book, almost...
    Magpie flipped backwards, clattering chairs and drunken patrons awake. In his greed Magpies senses had failed him, almost to late did he detect the deadly dispelling runes that were constatly blaring their warning signal. This would have been obvious to any mage, no matter how insignifgant. Power makes us blind, Magpie mused, and walked out of the bar, he too seeking rest now for the upcoming journey.
    Therru looked after Magpie, swearing under his breath muttering Kwons words as a reminder to himself "Magpie’s power is ill contained, just one mistake and it could spill..."
    "I must be more careful." Showing the book to Magpie was like tempting a mouse with cheese, this particular mouse would bite, hard. Maybe it was too late already...

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    Therru Flame walked down the shore, not looking back to see if he was being followed by the rest of the party. He stopped. Something was not right. His mind was going crazy with alertness. Suddenly, he saw them. Five dark spots on the ground. Shadow Demons. "Everyone in defensinve position!" Therru Flame heard no movement. He saw no companions. He turned around. There was no one there. They must have missed him leaving. Maybe that Magpie had them already. Who knew. The point was the moment. There were five shadow demons beginning to form around him. Two he might be able to take. But five? It was not likely he would survive. Therru Flame whipped around again. "Sasha!!"

    "What are they?"

    "Shadow Demons!" He replied. She responded by slicing one in half with her sword. Or at least, that's what she thought it did. The black, faceless creature formed a hole in its flesh that moved with the sword.

    "How do you kill them??" She yelled, half asking, half wondering.

    "Technically, I don't know! I had to make them retreat!" He yelled back.

    "Oh! Great! Hang on!" Sasha pulled a shield off her back. She dropped it and stomped in the middle and a small force field formed around them. "That should keep us safe for a while." She commented. The beings circled around it, waiting. One of them reached out an extension of itself that was probably a finger. It breifly touched the force field and reared back. They all sunk into the ground. Therru sighed, but was still cautious.

    "Don't take this thing off the ground for a while, it might be a trap."

    "Of course. I am a Ronin, you know." Sasha replied. A minute passed. Therru looked at the ground.

    "Pick it up! Pick it up!"

    "What, Therru?"

    "They're coming up inside the field!" Sasha picked up the sheild immediately. They drew their swords. "Let's hope the others catch up, real soon." Therru murmured. It was then that Sasha knew they were in trouble. If an expert with this kind, especially one with Therru's personality, was afraid of an undead creature, you know you are in trouble.

    "Yes." Sasha replied, trembling like Therru. "Let's hope so."

    --------

    Sideline, Ulf and Kwon rounded the corner, and stopped short at the sight of Sasha and Therru, back to back, swords drawn, being harrassed by - what? It seemed to be a crowd of milling shadows.

    Larc exchanged a frightened glance with Sideline, and gulped. "Oh boy, not this again... and us without any healing potions!"

    One of the shadows turned in their direction, and let out an unearthly shriek. Suddenly, several more rushed in, confronting the newcomers.

    "I'm guessing this isn't good," Sideline said in a quavering voice.

    Without warning, a radiant white bolt sped from nowhere - ahead of Therru and Sasha. It struck a shadow from behind, before it even noticed it coming. The point of impact glowed brightly, expanding slowly over the shadow's entire being. It wailed, a keening, despairing sound that drove the remaining shadows into a frenzy of panic. With a final wail and a burst of white light, it broke into fragments and faded away. Its companions fled.

    Further up the trail, Trinias pushed back the hood of his chameleon cloak, deactivating it. "Looked like you needed some help," he grinned.

    "Never mind that, what did you do?" Therru demanded.

    "Charged an arrow with Life magic," Trinias explained. "We'd faced something like those things before, so I thought it was worth a shot."

    "And a good shot it was," Sasha complimented him. "But I think you won't be so lucky next time, tovarisch; they'll be waiting for it, and they can dodge quite well if they see it coming."

    "What were you doing so far ahead, anyway?" Therru queried, beginning to regain his composure.

    Trinias shrugged. "Scouting. It's what I do."

    --------

    Larc was running fast, leading Martel and Eroldur. He came upon Sasha, Trinias, and Therru and some others fighting some undead shoadows. Larc dropped, and pulled open his pack. "What are you doing?!?" Martel yelled at his brother. "I'm fixing this!" Larc replied and pulled out his alchemy equipment. He started making a poulitce of some kind, crushing herbs, pouring liquids and potions. "There! Finished!" He picked up some of the glowing orange powder and threw it into the air in front of the group. It formed a throbbing cloud, like a fog. It was between the group and the Shadow Demons. The Shadow Demons roared and began to run through the cloud. When they got out, they roared again. Martel shook his head and sighed. "That was good, Larc!" His voice full of sarcasam. Then, the shadows dissapeared. "Did they retreat?" Sasha asked Therru. "No, if they had done that, they would have sunk into the ground. They must have died! What was that?" Larc smiled. "Truth potion. Unless they are protected against it, it works. Because they were truly dead, they died!" "Ah. I will remember that, Larc."

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    Nec'Trolas, Senior Lieuteniant to Goshnak, strode over to a blank wall. "Door of Darkness, open for me." Nothing happened, but he walked through the wall. He had entered an empty room. He turned around and pulled a lever on the wall. To test, he pressed his hand to the wall he had come through. He did not slip through. There was a mosaic on the floor. It showed a skull, coming through flames. He stood on the skull, his feet in the indented eye sockets. He stood for a minute and then the mosaic started to rise. Nec'Trolas was quickly going to be squashed against the ceiling, if the ceiling hadn't been an illusion in that spot. Nec'Trolas stood in a dark room. He snapped, and some dim torches lit. He stepped back off the mosaic and knelt. "Lord Goshnak. " Goshnak did not move. His slow, but powerful voice came out. "What of the Flame?"

    "It still burns, my lord. They killed the demons with truth. I am afraid we will not win, my lord."

    "Let me tell you a story, Nec'Trolas. In the age of the third Tyrant, he sent all his troops to Land's End, right near my entrance to death, to make a silent assault on Pnyx. In one wave, I killed them all. Some, I have here, but the rest, I need to raise. The ones here are first Tyrant, because they had a base there. The third Tyrant was afraid of magic, and therefore much more protected. He bound their deaths to his ring, so only the bearer of that ring could raise them. Nec'Trolas, if you can find me that ring, then we will not be defeated. I want that ring, Nec'Trolas. Find it, or find yourself dead, and not raised."

    "Yes sir." Nec’Trolas trembled, but he was ready.

    --------

    "Truth potion," Sasha repeated again. "I didn't know there was such a thing. But it stands to reason that if it exists, it would have the same effect as Flynn's Sword of truth on the undead."

    "Aye, I heard tales about that sword after the attack on Cademia that time," Larc commented. "I wasn't there, but it sounded impressive."

    "Oh, it was," Sideline replied. "All Flynn had to do was touch one of those things with it, and the creature disintegrated into dust. But even so, it wasn't enough to turn the tide on its own. I'd rather have had a good supply of that powder, Larc!"

    "Aye, me too. How about it?" Martel added.

    "Uh, I'll see what I can do," Larc replied, unused to these people paying him so much attention.

    While they were talking, Sasha took Trinias aside. "Tovarisch, I don't like the thought of walking in on a large group of these things without warning."

    "Say no more," the irrepressible forester responded. He quietly made sure his cloak was wrapped closely about himself, and pulled up the hood.

    Sasha nodded in satisfaction at the empty space where Trinias had stood. "Take care, my friend."

    "You too," a disembodied voice whispered from the empty air.

    --------

    Nec'Trolas wondered. The ring of the first tyrant... he had searched the Undine Strongholds, as well as Abydos, the Cult of Scylla, and the city of Cademia. He had also searched Lands End Volcano, Catamarca, Land King Hall, Odemia, Pnyx, and Tombs and Caves everywhere. He had not found the ring. He was in trouble. Then he searched indipendent houses. No luck. If he did not find this soon, he would be dead. He had searched all logical places. It was time for illogical...

    (This message has been edited by moderator (edited 08-19-2003).)



  • This is a good story with an interesting plot. Please do try to be more careful about spelling, though. This sentence is likely to confuse people, though I suppose it is consistent with one definition of entree: "Take your foul presence elsewhere demon, we can do without entree today." It sounds like the adventurers don't want dinner anymore! :)

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    Slayer's guide to Cythera:
    (url="http://"http://www.macclassics.com/cythera/cythera.htm")http://www.macclassi...era/cythera.htm(/url)



  • Heh- Whoops... I was writing part of this at about midnight and forgot to run spellcheck. Not fun in the finished product. :D

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    Would you like fries with that?
    Ambrosia Beta Tester!



  • Illogical eh?

    Don't tellme that someone ate the ring--but if so it had to be in a meat-pie...


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