Ekdikisi: A Sorcerer's Tale

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by The Wandering Magus, Sep 14, 2013.

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  1. The cell stank with the smell of sweat, blood, vomit, tears and who knows what else. The man had been chained to the wall for days, his eyes now adjusted to the almost pitch-black darkness of this place. His arms and legs stopped responding to him about an hour ago. He wasn't sure if he'd move them again. At least the numbness let him sleep now.

    A squeaking sound reached his sensitive ears, and he instinctively shuddered. The rats down here were said to be man-eaters. Tear the meat right off your living bones, if they popped up in the wrong place.

    Before the creature could get near his toes, however, the dungeon door slammed open. He cringed, the sudden loud noise almost deafening to his sensitive ears. Blinding torches made it impossible to see as he felt his arms and legs slapping down against the floor. He could barely register that he was lying in his own filth before rough hands dragged him up by the collar around his neck and pushed him into the caged cart.

    The roar of the crowd was even more deafening than the cell door, and the sunlight took about half an hour to get used to as he was unceremoniously dumped onto his hands and knees on some sort of wooden platform. His hearing and sight recovered just quickly enough that he wished he'd stayed deaf.

    "...murder, kidnapping, impersonation of the Royal Guard, assassination, and High Treason. For these heinous crimes against the Crown, you shall be forever branded a traitor, your titles shall be stripped, your possessions confiscated, your wife and children broken and sold to the lowest bidder, and you shall be thrown into the streets of Andreias."

    The gag around his mouth and the ropes around his arms and legs meant there was little he could do as the red-hot iron, wrought to the shape of "Traitor", was pressed firmly into his wrists and his forehead. He could only endure about half a second before he began screaming and crying uncontrollably, releasing water onto the floor beneath him as the crowd jeered and laughed.

    He watched as many carts and bags of his possessions, from his most personal clothing to paintings of his daughters, were thrown to the crowd or burned in front of him. He was forced to watch as his beautiful Olga, little Elizabeth and little Conner, were whipped and beaten and tortured again and again until they couldn't even recognize their own names or each other, then stripped, collared and sold in front of his eyes to the filthiest scum of the city. He was forced to hear his wife and children's broken voices quietly whisper, "Yes, Master" as they were led away.

    By the time they unbound him and threw him onto the muddy streets, it was night. He was numb, barely able to move, barely able to think about anything. His lovely wife, his dear, dear children... everything he had, gone.
  2. Crispin lays in a muddy puddle of filth, staring at his wrists as he repeats the word ''traitor'' over and over again. The tears that flowed down his face washed away the filth of the mud and grime. His mind was shattered by the screams of his wife and children, whipped brutally, then sold as slaves. Sadness and anger was the only thing that filled his mind at this point, but what could he do? One man cannot take on an entire army by himself.

    All he can do is weep in sorrow over his family..
  3. It took him a few hours to gather the strength to sit up. Another few hours for his mind to start registering anything of his surroundings. He was in some sort of back-alley slum of slums, the worst part of the city. He could smell the stench of Andreias's filth gurgling in the open sewer pit around the corner, along with vomit and alcohol from the sleazy tavern across the street. Some thug had a sense of humor when they named it: the Trash Heap. Cute.

    That being said... now that his mind was clear again (or as clear as it could be, given the circumstances), it was odd that he hadn't been attacked by some insane gang of urchins. There wasn't exactly any reason to hold back. The brand on his forehead was the closest thing you could get to a "kick me" sign without actually making one. Then again, who would bother anymore? He had nothing left. Every robber and slaver in the criminal underground would know by now just how pointless it would be.

    It wasn't surprising that it took another hour for him to realize that he wasn't alone here. How long had that old man been sitting there watching him? The fellow was scarred and rugged, with a wide-brimmed hat pulled tightly over his face so that his eyes were barely visible, his hands and forearms wrapped with thick, tough leather that probably had dried blood on it. The old man's leather coat billowed slightly as a breeze caught it, opening to reveal black riding boots, tough cotton trousers, a worn shirt, and some sort of silver necklace, a circle and a five-pointed star.

    The man was taking a long drag on a pipe, exhaling slowly as the branded convict registered his presence. "'bout time ye noticed. Was thinkin' ye might be out o' it 'till mornin'."
  4. Crispin looks to the unknown stranger, rubbing his eyes and shaking his head. ''Who.. who are you?'' With a reluctant groan, he stood up. Rubbing his wrist and forehead, feeling the burnt marks of the word 'traitor' on them. They didn't hurt as much as before, as they had healed hours earlier. His legs were still slightly asleep, and he struggled to keep his posture. His legs were still numb from sitting down for hours, motionless. It felt like bugs were crawling in his skin, it was an odd feeling.. but moving around could easily fix that.
  5. The figure snorted; it could have been a laugh, a grunt, or just a cough. It was hard to tell what he was thinking or feeling, with his face half-covered by the hat.

    "Ye kin call me Old Man if ye need a name, boy. Don't mind. Know yer name, o'course. Nice meetin', Mr. Crispin."

    He took a swig from a canteen, rinsed his mouth of smoke, and gave the marked man the courtesy of not being in the way as he turned and spat in the opposite direction. Crispin vaguely noticed that it was in the general direction of the castle, but it didn't seem too important. It wasn't really surprising for people down here to hold the Crown in disdain, or to feel some sort of sympathy with... fellow criminals.
  6. Crispin takes a step closer to the Old Man, but keeps his distance. ''How do you-'' his mouth remained open, no words spilled out. Only silence. Shaking his head, he takes a step back. ''Of course you know my name.. former knight of the king and queen.. now branded traitor. Do you go by anything else rather than Old Man?'' He continues to rub his wrists, unable to shake off the feeling of the marks on his skin.
  7. The Old Man made a noise that could be interpreted as a chuckle. "Don' like th' moniker, eh? Guess ye kin call me Will then."

    The name registered somewhere in a distant memory, something important, but as soon as the thought came, it left him again. Will was looking at him thoughtfully.

    "Hows 'bout get ye a drink? Need one, after... that." He purposely took another drag and a rinse, and Crispin could see the look of disgust in his eyes as he spat again in the direction of the castle. "On me, 'course."
  8. Crispin frowns, licking his dry lips. ''It better be here and not at a pub, It's not safe for me to go anywhere now, and they wouldn't serve me. People who serve a traitor are punished for 'helping' me.'' He grips his fist in anger, his whole life was destroyed in one day. And it wasn't even his fault.. ''Unless, you have some on you right now? That would be dandy..''
  9. Will laughed, and this time it was an actual, honest-for-goodness laugh. "Punished? What kin they do? Ain't got nobody left, boy. Ain't got nothin' o' value."

    He smirked, puffing again on the pipe. "Think ye'll find good company in th' Trash Heap. Us bunch'a throwaways. Nothin' ta worry 'bout. If yer worried, 'ere."

    The Old Man tore off a few pieces of leather from somewhere on his coat, skillfully working them into a headband and wristbands before tossing them to Crispin. "Most everyone wears 'em down 'ere anyways. Comin'?"

    He stood up, tilting his head to the tavern.
  10. Crispin stared at the headband and wristbands for a few moments before putting them on. ''I'm comin'.'' He follows the Old Man, now named Will. ''What's it like living down here? I bet it's like hell down here in the winter..''

    With a hollow laugh, he continues to follow the Old Man.
  11. Will shrugged his shoulders as he held the door open. "Hell's got nothin' on this place, boy."

    He spoke quietly as they weaved their way through the rabble of low-lifers. Some glanced their way, but when they saw the Old Man, quickly averted their gaze. Others just looked on in a drunken stupor, though none so much as made a move. "Thieves, beggars, murderers some o' us. Outlaws. More n' a few traitors. Smugglers. We don't 'preciate th' slavers an' rapists tho. Even criminals gotta have standards."

    The Old Man sat down at an empty stool at the bar, pulling up another for Crispin. With a gesture, he called the bartender over. "Strongest thing ye got, Dagger. 'nother fer th' boy."

    Dagger gave Crispin a once-over, chewing on a match stub. "'ere ye says, Boss."

    He poured two mugs of very dark ale from an ebony barrel, then thumped it down and slid it over. Will took a sniff at both before casually flipping a few coins to the heavily muscled man, who grunted a thanks before moving on.


    The man slid the second mug to Crispin. "Slow sips, 'less ye kin hold it better than ye look."
    #11 The Wandering Magus, Sep 14, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2013
  12. Crispin takes the mug and rolls his eyes at the Old Man, staring into the dark liquid. His reflection disgusted him how low he's become in one day. But the ale would take his sorrow away. And without any more hesitation, he lifts the mug to his face and takes big gulps. Shivering in disgust at the taste of the drink.

    ''What was in that..?'' His vision becomes blurry, and he began to shake. He stood up from the stool and stumbled. Holding onto the counter.
    ''I don't feel right..''
  13. There were dark chuckles around the room as the Old Man sighed. "Should'a listened when I said 'slow'. 'scuse us, gents. Hold ont' m'arm, boy."

    They were halfway to the door when Will shoved Crispin onto the floor. "G'down!"

    He could feel the upper parts of his hair being sliced off as something flew by right where he had been standing. Through bleary eyes, he could vaguely see the Old Man holding something glowing over him, muttering something in a strange, ancient language. With the next blink, his eyesight was inexplicably clear, though he still had a massive urge to empty his stomach. There were grunts and shouts everywhere as patrons pulled out daggers, knives, a few silver crosses, and all manner of makeshift weapons.

    Some... THINGS were breaking in through the far side of the tavern. They weren't human, but human enough that if he hadn't been drunk, he'd have thrown up anyways. He was lucky it only made another mess on the floor as Will dragged him backwards towards the front door they came in.

    "Come on, boy, use yer legs! We gotta MOVE!"
  14. Crispin stood up, following Will as he looked back to the strange creatures and the men who dared to challenge them. ''What are those things! Demons?!'' He keeps up the pace to Will, and reaches for his sword as a habit. But grips his fist when he feels no sword and remembers the situation he's in. ''Oh no..''

    Turning around to face the creatures, he grabs a bottle that was on the floor and smashes part of it on the wall to create a sharp weapon. ''I'm a trained knight and I was told to never run from a fight! I am NOT a coward!''
  15. Will grabbed the ex-knight's wrist, muttering something in that same strange language, and to the man's shock his hand dropped the piece of glass into the Old Man's waiting glove. Without a single bit of hesitation, Will proceeded to fling the broken bottle and the other pieces expertly into several of the creatures that had gotten too close for comfort, stopping them cold as their legs were sliced from under them. Before Crispin could register how insanely competent this Old Man was, Will was dragging him backwards again.

    "Ain't cowardice if th' other alternative is death, son. Now MOVE!"

    He kicked open the tavern door and dragged the younger man down the steps as the creatures sliced through more patrons like a sickle through wheat. One turned and looked him right in the eye, and for a moment it seemed like he was back on that wooden platform, and all he heard was his family's screams, over and over and over and-

    "FORZARE," snarled the Old Man, and Crispin blinked as the creature flew backwards, some invisible force smashing the front end of its face out the back end. To his horror, the creature's body slowly stood back up, the head reforming as it crouched down to leap.

  16. Crispin stared in awe at the Old Man's power, but quickly regained his conscious and followed behind him. ''What was that? Witchcraft?!'' As athletic as he is, he swiftly caught up with Will. ''What did you do back there? I've.. never seen anything like that!''

    His whole life, he was told magic wasn't real. It was only some stupid illusion created by money-grabbers. Was it all a lie?
  17. Will snorted, letting go of Crispin once the young man started moving on his own.

    "Goiteia, boy. And no, it ain't witchcraft. Ain't got nothin' to do with demons. 'Course, whoever up an' summoned 'em Xotika ain't got no such scruples. In 'ere."

    The Old Man made a sharp turn around the corner where the sewer entrance was and jumped down onto the maintenance walkway, beckoning to the other man.

    "Them goblins don't like crossin' water. We'll try to lose 'em in 'ere."
  18. Crispin quickly jumped into the sewers, looking back up to where they came from, then to Will. Following him as he lead the way through the sewers, his footsteps splashing the filthy water as they tread this place. ''Why can't they cross water?''
  19. Will turned and splashed sewer water onto the first goblin that rounded the corner, eliciting screams as the creature seemed to dissolve. "Ectoplasm don't stand up too well in it, an' th' idiot who summoned 'em wasn't thinkin' too hard, bless the stars. Come on."

    He wrapped his long leather jacket around himself and started trudging forward into the dark maze of pipes. "Oh, an' if yer wonderin', there's plenty o' air down 'ere, 'nough t' breathe at least. Ain't gonna light a torch though. Gases down 'ere might make it blow."
  20. Crispin crossed his arms to keep himself warm, splashing behind Will as the continued to tread the sewers. ''What awaits us deeper in the sewers? It would be disgusting to live here in the darkness and filth. The odor is absolutely overwhelming.'' Crinkling his nose, he shakes his head. Shivering as the dirty sewage water flooded his shoes. ''This isn't right..''
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