November 2003 - Mail Archives

Coordination and information for the various volunteers of BDI.
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Re: November 2003 - Mail Archives

Post by Jayne » Mon Apr 18, 2016 10:53 am

Menxruk's Voice - Pt1 The Voice Calls
Author: db
Date: 24 November 2003


The sun had begun to set on the world and the coach had been driving on wooden wheels for the better part of a day. Its destination was Drache, its cargo, its purpose, was quite clearly the people within its wooden gut. The driver that rode it hard was not so forceful as intent and his clothing was the common kind for a driver of his station and place. The horses before the brown wooden carriage were white and they were strong and their nostrils flared as they pulled and pulled, tirelessly forcing the carriage to come to where will would have it go.

Lucoln deCourse was within it, but he was not alone. He turned his head and looked out the carriage as they passed through the city of Drache. He said nothing as he saw the Wall, the docks, and the Red Lantern districts (or parts of it). His companions, a man and a woman, watched him intently. One of the party was foreign to the rest and Lucoln's trust in this man, despite his obvious ill-intentions, had given rise to concern in the other compatriot. But nothing was said of it. The coach began to slow.

"We are here," remarked Lucoln. "And yet the sun remains up. I suppose I should be unsurprised, but I am rarely surprised regardless. It is pleasant." His eyes glanced to his companions, but he did not wait for their answer and pushed the door open insistently.

The man held out his hand and his sleeve pulled up from his arm. A faint tatoo lay there. The woman's eyes dropped to it, but the man said, "You are too important to be the first out, Lucoln." His gloved hand wrapped around the older man's arm like a vice.

"Perhaps, Sitius," answered Lucoln, turning his head very slightly, "Yet I will be the first out. I built this place and I made it what it is. If I am in danger here, I would be truly shocked at how pathetic I had become. Come." The last word was a command and not a request. He shrugged off the man's firm grip and stepped down, out of the coach.

The coachman had already begun to climb down himself and saw that his passengers were eager to get to where they were going. He said, "I hope that your trip was to your satisfaction, sir?" He lowered his head in respect and removed his hat.

Lucoln looked at him and gave no smile in return. He answered him honestly, "It was. You have brought me here in faster time than I thought you might. I appreciate this. You will be paid well for your time, but I must ask you to remain here. I have business here, but when I am through I may want you to drive me elsewhere. Can you remain here for the time being?"

"Yes, yes, of course my lord. I will be happy to wait for your return," said the man as he put his hat back on his head. He turned and looked at where he arrived. He remarked, "It has the look of a temple, but the lines of a kitchen. Are you sure this is where you wanted me to take you? It seems beneath you, my lord, if you don't mind my saying so."

The building loomed above Drache with spiraling jutting's of stone and a large door that opened wide made of wood. The door stood gaping and waiting for Lucoln, but across the way, up a myriad of stairs of stone there stood a line of men and women and children of all races and breeds. They stood waiting and talking among one another. Obviously, they were looking at the coach and at the people who had been within. Lucoln saw that this soup kitchen still was alive and this made him smile. "I will reward you for your patience then as well. Thank you. And about this place," he paused. He glanced back behind him to his two companions, but his gaze lingered on the man and not long on the woman. "It is for the poor, the impoverished, now. We feed the stomach and the soul comes naturally. Where once this place fed only chaos and bloodshed." Lucoln watched Sitius, whose disgust for what the elder was saying was apparent.

"Must we chatter with the driver?" demanded Sitius. He was young, his armor was brown and well-covering his form, draped in a long cloak that went down to his legs, covering most of them as well. His flesh was pale, but his eyes glinted with something familiar, something powerful. "You have a purpose here, lord," he recovered after a pause in his anger, "A purpose we should not be sidetracked from." He said it as if he were concerned for the man's purpose rather than allow that his frustration was with the man himself and not the purpose. The woman's face scowled, but her eyes were not hard upon Lucoln, but upon the man speaking against him.

"I think... that you may be right then," answered Lucoln after a moment's pause. The thought that his driver had obviously driven Lucoln on amused the priest, but he began to walk up the stairs just the same. Passing by the lines, he walked up the stairs through the main doors. But unlike those who waited patiently in line, he did not want food or clothing and so he passed by each one through into the main corridor where those that came could sit and eat. Two priests, dressed in dark green and orange robes, came to greet the obviously wealthy men, but gasped when they saw the face of Lucoln. One bowed immediately and the other stopped, his eyes wide. Even the priests serving soup paused, turning to see what was the matter.

"Mightn't Menxruk have delivered us a savior!" whispered the head priest. "You have returned and... and just as we might need you. There is a terrible darkness over our religion and yet there is so much light that we are like the blind man, seeing not what is so obviously there and so ready to be seen. And you who have seen so much have come back!"

"Preecion, you have done well," said simply Lucoln. His two companions turned to look at the people around them to see if any of them sensed the presence of Menxvanism or its kind. There was none to be immediately sensed. "You have done precisely as I instructed since I left?"

"Of course, Voice," responded Priest Preecion, "I do only as you command. I am yours to command as are the rest of our Cell." The man lowered his head further in reverence and whispered, "Would you desire then to retire to the main chambers and speak more in private of business or did you wish to inspect what you wrought, my lord, and find it exactly as you commanded it be?"

"You continue to feed and clothe the poor and to educate them in the truth of Menxruk's purpose here? You do not impose the will of Menxruk upon their hearts, but invite them to consider it? You do not sacrifice, blood or otherwise, and have forsaken the Old Ways in favor of a new Menxruk? You do not kill to serve our god's will, but know that his will comes to be done even through acts against our Opposite and through our mere survival?"

"Absolutely, Voice. Absolutely, we do exactly as you have instructed us to." The priests who served food did so now distractedly, giving entire loaves of bread in their nervousness. Soup was dealt sometimes too much and sometimes too little.

"Then I trust that you are following my word. I will inspect your facilities and your ability to follow my orders another time. This evening comes quickly and I have business to discuss with you, my friend," he said with a very small smile. The two companions came close to Lucoln and the man whispered into his ear.

"It is dangerous to speak here."

Lucoln turned to look at him, then turned back to see the priest who waited for his word and command. He smiled, "You both are right, of course. Perhaps we should retire to the chambers within. That will at least give us some openness to speak." He gestured with his hands and his cloak waved a little with the rush of the wind. "Let us go then."

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Re: November 2003 - Mail Archives

Post by Jayne » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:14 am

The Storm Arrives
Author: Jax
Date: 12 November 2003
Lady Lorla Daranek had come a hairsbreadth from dying tonight, and it kept her up, tossing and turning on the cot that good Paetines had shown her too as her and her new bodyguard Turner had entered the Royal Church. It was the only place she felt safe. The only place she knew that her enemies my pause before attacking her in.

She'd found out tonight that the Inn was no safety zone. She had been staying there ever since she had returned to town. One of the creators of the regency Council, she had left Drache after a small scandal over a youth potion had robbed her of any real power within her beloved city. So she had left, ready to find out who this new person she'd become, was. And she had even seen a few things her seventy plus years had no revealed to her, tied to Drache as she was by duty and love.

Not really love of a single person, though she'd buried five husbands, but a love of the people. A determination to help in any way she could. it was one of the driving reasons she had helped to create the council. Now, she wished perhaps she had let nature take it's course, died peacefully within her bed, and old woman who had lived a rich, and wonderful life.

But the fact that there was so much more to do, that her sharp mind was trapped within a body that could no longer walk unaided, could not see as clearly, had eaten at her until she'd made a pact with a drow, for a second chance. She had exchanged her rather large fortune for youth, and to this day, she would have made the same choice, even if it meant that she would watch all that she had worked for, crumble before her very eyes.

That wouldn't happen though. She would not let it. This .. move by the chancellery, had of course worried her, and she had promised Marcion that she would do anything to help solve it. The kidnapping of Maximilien, a fellow council member, had been a bold move that she thought the Chancellery would not do. She had woefully underestimated.

As a Lady Overseer, she was considered technically retired, of a sort, from the Council, but Maximilien's move within in the inn when faced with arrest, had been brilliant. he had made her an active council member again. But it also made her a target, despite the fact that she had few friends in Drach, and almost no political allies on which to call favours.

Maximilien's arrest has shaken her, had made her act irrationally. He was her friend, even though many times they'd been opposed over key issues. With Maximilien out of the way though, it left her vulnerable to any trumped up charge the Chancellery could dream up, just as they'd fabricated the charges against Maximilien.

Her focus now though, was on preventing Marcion from returning to Drache. She was quite sure that if he should return, they would either kidnap him as well, or kill him, and Lorla loved Marcion far too much to allow that to happen to him.

Marcion was more than a friend, he was the son that she wished her many marriages had produced. Smart, honourable, with a keen sense of strategy and a large feeling of responsibility. She would allow herself to die to save him.

When the Wharf guard had fired upon her while trying to retrieve Maximilien, she had known despair. She had so very much wanted to try to stop something like this. It was why Marcion had travelled off to the north, intent upon speaking to his cousin the King. They had both hoped that a royal edict would end this stalemate before bloodshed ensued. neither of them had anticipated the chancellery moving so quickly, and now she must send someone that could warn him, that could tell him to petition the king for troops, because after this, there was no other option.

She trusted Art as much as she trusted anyone she supposed, being a guard after all. there were many things that needed done on the 'morrow, and her own safety to consider. really accomplishing anything would require her to leave the safety of the church.

She would wait a few days though, when she was sure that Art was safely on his way north, then she would get to work. perhaps it was time the people became aware of just what was transpiring, not that most didn't already know. The only thing that travelled faster in Drache than the Courier service, was rumour or gossip.

Sighing, she closed weary eyes, finally, and prayed for a rejuvenating sleep. She would need all her strength in the coming days, or weeks.

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Re: November 2003 - Mail Archives

Post by Jayne » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:16 am

Pamflets(The Vloress Affair)
Author: P. Sh.
Date: 12 November 2003

Consider a pamphlet A small piece of paper, yet so much power. For it carried words, and words could be the undoing of empires. Though nothing as grave is about to transpire, consider it, for it is a phenomenon worthy of your attention.

“Citizens of Arangoth – it read – upon this faithful day, we see Magistrates and Councillors clash in conflict, with guardsmen supporting either side, as their see fit. Such blatant display of total disregard for the kingdom’s interests and yours can only be answered in force. It is high time we took rid of our corrupt rulers and made a kingdom for ourselves, for the people. Rise to arms and expel those that have forgotten the duty appointed to them by the people of Arangoth!”

On the back of the pamphlet stands the much debated Edict 0, mainstay of Arangothian law, printed in red ink.

Edict 0 - Support of the Empire:

1. No one shall act in a way that harms the Kingdom, the Reigning Monarchs, the heirs of the Monarchs, their inheritance, or any royally appointed official. Let no rule stand against this edict, nor any heart stray from its intent.
A. This edict supersedes Jurisdiction.
B. Not even the Reigning Monarchs are above the reach of this edict. The Reigning Monarch risks forfeiting his or her Crown and life if the actions of said Monarch endanger the welfare of the kingdom through incompetence or maliciousness, or if the Monarch fails to honor and uphold the rights and privileges granted to the Northern Aragothian Estates, the Regency Council of Arangoth, and the Elders of the Sresar Vale.

Chaos brings forth the worse kinds. Such pamphlets are found all over the city, where one would least expect them to be. Many are found across the homes of the learned and the wealthy, some even make their way into the Church and the University.

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Re: November 2003 - Mail Archives

Post by Jayne » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:17 am

A second announcement from the Captain of the Guard
Author: Dan
Date: 12 November 2003

To all members of the Royal Guard:

For the duration of the present civil instability, I am hereby doubling the normal guard contingents at Castle Black (particularly the Royal Treasury), the Blkdragon District Granary, the Podar ul-Sinetattel*, and the Royal Guard's Armoury. Increased manpower at other vital junctures of the city may become necessary in the near future. Guards assigned to patrol these areas may not switch shifts with another Guard without my written permission. No one is to remove money from the Treasury, food from the Granary, weapons from the Armoury, or persons or documents from the Podar offices without proper documentation bearing my seal and signature**--even other members of the Royal Guard.

As the former Commander Harscorn has neither surrendered, nor has he been arrested, I can only presume that he is holding out in his defiance, and at least a portion of our fellow Guards have chosen to throw their lot in with him, much to my dismay. Even if Magistrate Seward has pardoned him for assaulting Councillor Reizeau (which she does not have the authority to do--pardons are the purview of the King), he is still relieved of all authority for his continued defiance of command to stand down, and is still wanted for arrest. Therefore, these additional security measures are necessary to make sure that the Crown's resources do not fall into the hand of rebels.

Me enxenim,

Lucius von Stahl
Captain of the Royal Guard

12. XI. 471.

[Seal affixed]


Notes:

* - The Podar ul-Sinetattel* (or Meeting House in Arangothian) is the headquarters of the Regency Council and their supporting staff.
** - The seal of the Captain of the Guard is magically enchanted to make it nearly impossible to forge.

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Re: November 2003 - Mail Archives

Post by Jayne » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:20 am

Decisions.
Author: Brian Rue
Date: 12 November 2003

Former Wharf Commander Tarn Harscon stood before the gathered force of eighty heavy infantrymen--the wharf garrison as a whole. The doubt and confusion in their faces was obvious, as they all had an idea of what was about to unfold but never thought it'd be so soon, or maybe even happen at all. A tall native Arangothian, Harscon aged beyond his twenty seven years, close cropped hairline already starting to recede.

"It's an ugly thing we've got here. I'm sure you've all seen these,"

Harscon illustrated, holding up one of the hundreds of propaganda pamphlets.

"And for what it's worth, it's true. The Council has overstepped itself, slapping the Magistrates--and more importantly--us collectively across the face by deeming to allow an undead--but not only an undead, an undead confessed a thousand times of murder--to obtain citizenship. There's nothing every single one of you already know that I could tell you about these creatures, and I share your outrage."

The ranger clasped both wrists at the small of his back, giving the gathered troops an appraising nod.

"Captain Stahl stripped me of my command, and urged all of you not to follow my "lawless" example. This man--Councilor Reizeaus--is a pampered noble, with a taste for the liberal ways of politics, and it's not beyond any doubt he's conspired with, or taken demons to his bed, and now in our custody. How else would he agree to this betrayal to the average citizen, and force it upon our city to accept one of their own?"

He let it sink in.

"I'm standing here now to urge all of you to follow my example--we've finally gotten the chance to grab our fate by the horns, and -finally- put a stop to the utter corruption of demons to our politics, and our very way of life. The magistrates are personal friends to many of us, and allies to all of us. They've fought the same stalemate battle we have, both hindered by liberal laws that look to protect those that do us harm. If the Chancellery succeeds the Council, it will be done for the better. We'd finally have the unhindered ability to cleanse Drache of this plague once and for all, and I say that's something worth fighting for."

For what it was worth, Harscon was a charismatic leader as any. More then a few faces lit up in the crowd of gathered soldiers, which outweighed the looks of doubt or offence.

"We've got the means, in our hands right now, to govern Drache the way it was meant to be, without the greasy fingers of oppression and pettiness strangling the citizenry, and the Guard at every turn. We've been given the choice to fight for this, and I'd take up arms with any of you that felt the same. This is our chance to change history, men, for the better! How many of you standing here now can speak of something the Council's done for you, save force us to grant citizenship to undead? No longer to do we have to tolerate this madness!"

There was clapping, and a few wooted cheers.

"Captain von Stahl's a good man, but he's wavering in this moment of choice. We've got to send him a message--a message that we're tired and weary of watching our friends die at the hands of the creatures the Council now grants citizenship to! A message that shows we're prepared to fight this to our ends to keep it from coming to pass! And if we do fight, men, we will win. We will win and govern Drache the way it was meant to be governed, and finally be rid of the undead scourge that murders our families and friends night after night. That we will fight to rid these leeches from our backs!"

The collective company of Wharf guards roared at that. Whichever doubters were overtaken by the mob mentally, and it very much looked and sounded like they'd fight for the reasons Harscon laid before them.

"So there it is, men. Whoever is with me prepare your kits and blades, and stand with a new purpose to finally cleanse Drache as it's been pleading to be, as we now can claim the means. Whoever has their doubts, I urge you to speak it over with your sergeants. By tonight, I only ask from you one thing--a collective decision on where we, the elite, stand in this conflict. If we're to step up and claim our rightful destiny, or lay back to be trampled once more under the oppresive slippers of the Council. The choice is yours. All of yours."

And Harscon left them to think, retiring to his former office to make preparations.

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Re: November 2003 - Mail Archives

Post by Jayne » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:21 am

Decisions. - ooc accompanyment
Author: Dan
Date: 12 November 2003

This is an OOC counterpoint to Brian's post, for the benefit of those who are wondering what the Council has ever done for the Guard. Guard PCs may find this helpful in deciding where they stand in the current political situation.

1. The Council granted Captain Alastair Courrant an across the board pay raise of 20% for all members of the Royal Guard during his campaign to clean up Drache.

2. The Council authorised and funded the creation of the Wharf Patrol, and funded the construction of the Wharf Garrison. The Council also provided the first Wharfers with the carts of food to distribute to the poor during their initial patrols in the formerly lawless Old City, and an extra 10% raise to Wharf Guards' salary for hazard pay.

3. During the plague quarantine that preceded the creation of the Wharf Patrol, the Council gave double pay to any Guards maintaining the quarantine, and to any guards trapped within the Quarantine zone. (These guards set up a headquarters in the Wharf Granary, and became the nucleus of the Wharf Patrol).

4. Also stemming from the plague, the Council implemented a policy in which the family of any Guard killed in the line of duty will continue to receive the slain Guard's full salary for a year after his or her death.

These were all announced publicly in mailing list posts, though most of these were during 2001, and I don't have the time to go digging in the ML archive to find the specific posts before I have to go to work. Other Council muns may chime in with other stuff I've forgotten.

--Dan

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Re: November 2003 - Mail Archives

Post by Jayne » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:28 am

What is Hell
Author: Aeren Price
Date: 12 November 2003

Time had been a demon, as well, for the one known as Shallara. The news of her Sire’s return shattered the cage in which she’d locked herself. Many had known her Sire, and they all reacted to his “death” in different ways. Shallara took it the hardest, or so she thought. Her vision of the world of darkness had changed the very day he’d breathed his last, nailed to that tree by his love, Morrow, by Marriska, and by her own hand. She could still remember the raven’s caw as the last nail had been driven into him. It haunted her every night.

How could this one vampire change so many people? How could her Sire have such an effect on these dark individuals? Sometimes, she thought she could hear the very night weep, itself, in the cold breeze and the twinkling stars. It had been her cage… the constant pain of remembrance… and she was completely used to it, until now. Now, it seemed, her world would be thrown into chaos once again. She would be forced to venture outside her cage, forced to face the night again. She was afraid.

Shallara opened the front door to her small forest cottage and stepped out into the night. She sat on the first step of the porch, folding her hands and looking into the sky with those chocolate eyes. A single star shone in the sky because the rest were blanketed behind the storm clouds that had rolled in during the day. She watched that single star as her thoughts went to Aeren, and she spoke to it as if speaking to him… her Sire.

“Where are you, Aeren? Have you truly returned?” her tone was hopeful, yet, as she paused, waiting for the answer that would never come, the hidden rage she’d nurtured began to boil within. She clenched her teeth, watching the single star with intensity. “Have you finally returned after putting us all through such Hell and pain? Are you going to waltz back into our lives just to destroy them again?” Again, there was no answer, and Shallara gave an exasperated sigh, looking away from the star and to the ground.

“… Damn you…” she whispered, the darkness seeming her only audience. A tear began to fall fro her eye, and she brushed it away quickly, not allowing even the faintest sign of her inner struggle. “You have no idea what I’ve gone through, Aeren. You have no idea of the consequences you brought to us all… your wife, your child… and me.” She spoke through clenched teeth, her whisper a hiss upon the night air. “No doubt you sent that woman to give the message of your return… no doubt you’re planning some sort of plot. I know you, and I know how you think. You’re going to destroy us all, my Sire.”

She growled at herself, punching down hard on the step. The wood broke and splintered under her vampire strength, but she paid no attention. She merely fumed… she merely hurt. Slowly, she brought her brown eyed gaze to the single star again, her voice becoming louder as she spoke. “Well, go ahead then, Aeren! Go ahead with your insanity, your rage, your vengeance!” She stood, her fists clenched, and she stepped down the stairs, as if approaching that star. Stopping, she opened her arms wide, screaming into the sky, “What do you want?! Do you want vengeance?! Do you want Princehood?! Do you want your life back?!” She bent down, retrieving a small rock from the earthen floor. She hurled it toward the star, as if there was some possibility of striking the light from the sky. “Well, I want mine back!!!” she bellowed. Sinking to the ground, she fought back the hate-filled tears that threatened to stain her smooth cheeks. The adrenaline, the Hunger, coursed through her, but she kept it at bay.

“Damn you, you fool. Are we all just pawns, characters in your little drama? Do you take pleasure in the fact that you affect so many? That you control the emotions of those who should have none?” Giving a heavy sigh, she gently folded her hands in her lap, taking on a tone of resignation. “You will come… you will retrieve me, ask me to help you in whatever plan you’ve made… and I’ll accept because of these emotions I’ve tried so hard to destroy. Hell is when one would do anything for someone else, and that individual would do nothing for them. Hell is when I love you, as a Sire, and you use me as a slave. Hell is living everyday with the pain of loss, only to have that pain raped and taken, as if it were some joke that’s been played. I know Hell.” Quietly, she swallowed back the pain and stood, looking one last time to the single star. “I’m sure I will see you soon, my Sire.”

With that, she turned, and moved back toward the house. She closed the door behind her, shutting out the night, shutting out the single star, shutting out the world that had just recently been overturned… shutting out the coming summons from Aeren. Shallara sank down into the chair by the fire and closed her eyes, resigning the fear and pain over to the solitude. She took a breath, and waited for the call…

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Re: November 2003 - Mail Archives

Post by Jayne » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:30 am

Preemptive Motion
Author: Brian Rue
Date: 12 November 2003

A hour before the sun broke over the horizon, two special purpose elements of rangers in Border Watch kit made the first move. One of the principle objectives was, and would be taking and holding the Iron Gate that separated the Wharf from the rest of the city. Normally manned by regular garrison city guards, early this morning there was little hope of word getting to them of what was about to transpire.

Two full platoons, previously bolstered by the drill instructors Harscon brought in to train the Wharfers, advanced silently on the Gate from direction of the docks with only the slight rattle of load baring equipment betraying their existence.

It had to be fast, and precise. If even one straggler got away to report back to Stahl, things would've gotten a lot bloodier then need be. Scaling hooks were prepared and cast up with honed precision, resulting in only a a demure metal clank as they latched on above. Four hooks, four rangers scaling the wall. Another four, these light infantrymen armed with heavy crossbows pressed to their shoulders, bounded up the rampart to catch the regular detail by total surprise.

"Hands up. Don't move."

Coldly professional, the special purpose team trained their weapons on the guards--who shifted nervously, some obviously debating fighting back. These debates were put out of their minds as the other four finished scaling the wall, effectively cutting off any retreat the other men had with crossbows trained.

Two closed in from either side, while the original element kept them under the watchful muzzle. Weapons and armor were stripped, and the now prisoners were bound and gagged, stowed away off the Gate where the rangers were now constructing their operational HQ. A full twelve soldier squad manned the wall, while a team of engineers began assembly on a ballista to fully cover any approach to the Gate.

With their first objective secured, the specialised CQB elements proceeded to their second and third, simultaneously storming and securing the Wharf granary, and the Royal Legion armoury without a bolt fired, through sheer blitzing. They'd man these points, taking the proper steps of fortifying and securing the nearby areas. Prisoners, now numbering at around a dozen, were marched down to the docks for Maessen's mercenary's to lock away in designated holding areas--after all, Harscon didn't want his guards policing their buddies from across the Gate.

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Re: November 2003 - Mail Archives

Post by Jayne » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:33 am

Addiction to Death
Author: Aeren Price
Date: 12 November 2003

As the day turned, once again, into night, Sephora found herself crouching in an alleyway in the old part of the city. Clutching her stomach as the sick feeling of want and need filled her veins, she whimpered and trembled, wanting to cry out to the sky. That joyous feeling of salvation had left her in an almost instantaneous moment, and she longed for it. It was all she could think about, sitting there in that dark alley, and it clouded her mind like the storm clouds above. It was all so intense, so real… the feeling of despair and want, the feeling of something lacking. She would do anything just to make it go away, just to feel normal again. She needed to find Aeren.

Muscles tightened as she tensed, gripping her stomach even harder. She could actually feel the chemicals in her brain drip, crying out for some relief from the horrible sadness that wracked her entire body. Quickly, she brought her hands up to her head and pulled relentlessly at her hair. This pain… this ache… it would drive her insane. Where was that feeling of comfort? Where was that sensation of safety? It had left her, and all she could think about was getting it back again.

Mere yards away, she heard a groan in the shadows of the alley. With wild, unfocused eyes, she turned to her left, searching the darkness for the origin of the sound. There, barely outlined in the black, was a form of a young man, who sat, crouched, just like her. The man also held his stomach and she could barely make out his face and his eyes that were shut so tightly. He was crying.

For a moment, she was able to focus on his features, to pick out the identity within the darkness, and to her surprise, they were the features of the young man she’d seen before… the one who’d acted so strangely. She was almost relieved, though the pain and despair robbed her of that feeling, and she called out to him in a soft, agonising whisper. “You there…”

The young man, Devon, snapped his eyes open and looked at Sephora. He, too, seemed surprised as he recognised her right away. For a moment, a knowing smile crossed his lips, and he chuckled painfully from his dark shadow. Sephora gripped her stomach harder and furrowed her brow at his laugh.

“So… you too, eh?” he said in a tense voice. Chuckling again, he stood, and stumbled over to her, plopping down beside her. Beads of sweat could be seen on his forehead, and his face looked even more sickly and pale. Sephora was lost for words, momentarily distracted from the agony as she watched him. “It’s supposed to get easier over time. Some nights are worse than others.” She blinked, a blank expression on her face, and the Devon managed a smile again.

“You don’t know, do you?” he asked, though his voice was anything but compassionate. She blinked again. “That pain… that feeling within you. It’s because of him,” Devon said matter-of-factly. She furrowed her brow once again, and Devon pulled the sleeve of his shirt up a ways. Sephora looked at his wrist as he raised it into the light, and she gasped, not in horror, but astonishment. His wrist was cut severely, scabbed over, but still looking very fresh. Almost automatically, she glanced down at her own wrist, where Aeren had bit her… the wounds looked almost identical. Devon smiled again. “You’ve tasted the bittersweet sensation of being someone’s dinner.” He chuckled, and gritted his teeth, obviously in turmoil.

Sephora looked at him, feelings of dread and awe flooding through her. “Y-you too?” She stammered, and Devon nodded.

“Though not by your Aeren. I was ‘found’ by another, and I’ve been coming to her for the past six months.” He sighed, shifting his weight to a more comfortable position. “I don’t think I have much longer. It’s amazing, really, how something that feels so wonderful could kill you.” Sephora’s heart jumped at the mention of dying, and suddenly the despair seemed even thicker. Devon lowered his eyes to the ground and spoke softly. “It doesn’t matter, though. I’d do anything just to get that feeling again.”

“Me too,” Sephora heard herself say. Devon glanced up at her, a sadness lurking somewhere behind his gaze.

“It happens when they drink from you. You feel euphoria, perfection… and the pain goes away. It lasts for most of the day, but fades around dusk. That’s why you’ll keep coming back to them.” He gave an apologetic smile. “It’s a vicious trap… a fake feeling… but it won’t go away until they drink from you again.” He sighed, clutching his stomach, and looked to the stormy sky. “So… I’ve accepted it.”

Sephora could say nothing, she felt numb. But the feeling was only temporary, as the sickening feeling of despair began to take hold again. She should have been angry, felt violated, or hurt… but all she wanted was Aeren. Her mind told her the foolishness of her thoughts, but her heart cried over the pain.

“I’m Devon,” his voice broke through her thoughts, and he nodded to her. She blinked, finding it odd to still see humanity through the nightmare that they seemed to share.

“Sephora,” came her reply. Devon seemed relieved, as well, at their ability to somehow share the pain. He sighed, resting the back of his head against the alley wall.

“Well, Sephora, perhaps we can share this Hell together tonight… since it seems neither of us will be getting what we want.” Sephora clutched her stomach at his words, feeling the pain grow at the realisation that he was right. She nodded silently, and suddenly rested her head on his shoulder. He barely noticed, as he shut his eyes tightly again.

They would both wait… wait for sunrise, when the dark ones would be going to sleep. Then, they would implore them to feed, to release them from agony for just another day. Until then, they would share the night in wretched wanting, together and alone in their addiction to the dark feeding.

Jayne
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Re: November 2003 - Mail Archives

Post by Jayne » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:38 am

Decisions.
Author: Tom Long
Date: 12 November 2003


I would just add that, on the rebels side:

5. The Council raised taxes heavily a year ago, pretty much across the board. Though there was an arguably good reason for this (three straight years of crises had bankrupted the government), I doubt there's any Drachean around today, including Guards and the poor, who haven't felt the weight of this increase.

6. The Council has also given (or supported the previous gift of) citizenship to Liches (including said Captain, Alastair Courrant), drow (any drow serving as Guardsmen must be citizens, and there have been a few, as well as a drowish Professor of Sorcery at the Royal University), and possibly demons (Sroken the Redeemed, a Priest of Lathander, though I'm not entirely sure if he had citizenship) three types of creatures that are quite hated by the majority of society.

7. The Council closed the Iron Gate during the Plague a few years ago, effectively shutting off the Wharf, Back Alley, Red Lantern, and Gessi districts (those that were plagued) from the richer, newer sections of the city (Blkdragon, Church, West Drache, Mingit). Though the plague ended with the onset of winter, there were massive casualties among the poor, and logical reasons don't make much sense to folk who've seen half their families die while the rich areas stay healthy.

7b. The counterpoint to this is that two Councillors, Sarnem Vansippa (now deceased) and Kylus Dragonsbane (now retired and missing) braved the dangers of the quarantine area to reassure the people.

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