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Old 05-17-2003, 01:12 PM   #1
Wyvern
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Join Date: January 7, 2001
Location: Rural Paradise, MI
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Hope you don't mind, Bungleau - thought it would be a great idea to put all your chapters in one "basket" so to speak.

Please do not post to this thread! Post to the individual chapters as Bungleau adds them!

Everything in this thread is BUNGLEAU'S work save this and above.


>


**If you've made your way back through the solo warrior writings, you'll find this one is like no other. Taking Missy's adventures and putting them into story format was an idea that started with chapter two, and has continually progressed since then. One day, I may rewrite this chapter to match the others, but I need to finish the entire thing first.**

Okay, I finally got myself back to W&W, and after four tries, was able to reset my game for the arrival of a new adventurer... Missy Hissy, a ratling warrior who's prepared to take the Gael Serran by storm.

So far, we've relearned a couple of lessons.

First, gold is mighty important in the Gael Serran. It took Missy a long time to get enough gold for the Warrior Guild, and she needs still more to get her barbarian promotion, and still more to get a single magic arrow so she can start selling. And since the only things that drop gold fight back, this has been rather challenging.

Second, they... WILL... hunt... you... down... No kidding! Missy ran into a pack of Worgurs, who were tearing her to shreds. She ran back to the gates of Valeia, rested for a few... and there they were! She ran through Valeia and out the other side, rested... and there they were! She went back and forth four or five times until she decided to spend some of her hard-earned gold at the temple for healing. Was down to 6 GP when the last one died...

Third, as always, skill choices are critical. Missy Hissy went with (with her three skill points) Sword, Dagger, and Bow, figuring that she needed offensive firepower. Yeah, offensive firepower like a gnat. At least with her dagger, she can get lots of licks in, and she'll still be able to use it when she get to be a spellcaster... someday...

Fourth, there's some definite advantage of the universal offensive strategy known as RUN!!!!!! After Gorthius' pals turned on him, she scooped up his possessions and gold, and high-tailed it back to Valeia. The three Jade Thieves were too much to take on at once, but on the way back, they got separated... and she was able to shoot one with an arrow, lure him to her, dispose of him, and move on to the next.

She's now level 3, and will probably be level five before she can convert over to Barbarian. It will simply be a question of the amount of gold she can beg, borrow, or steal. Maybe tonight she'll get brave enough to go to the graveyard.

'Course, it's not like we don't know the graveyard. Missy Hissy has died three times already, only to be brought back to life by the Reverse Time spell.

More news as the situation warrants it...

--------------------
Enjoy.

*B*
Minister, etc. (ret.)

[ 05-17-2003, 01:16 PM: Message edited by: Wyvern ]
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Old 05-17-2003, 01:14 PM   #2
Wyvern
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All was quiet in the Gael Serran last night... as quiet as a graveyard, as a matter of fact. Missy Hissy, lithe ratling warrior, had trained as a barbarian, only now there weren't a whole lot of opponents worthy of her blade.

She headed back towards the graveyard at Bearsault. While she'd been cleaning out some of the undead inhabitants, there was a section she'd waited on. There was a hole in the staircase, and she wasn't sure if she'd be able to get back once she went over.

Sliding into the crypt once more, she was accosted by bands of crypt bats and crypt skeletons as she made her way to the broken stairs. She couldn't see anything in the hole in the stairs, but heard some strange smacking sounds. Looking at the size of the hole, she figured she might be able to jump across without falling down.

Taking a running start, she leaped across the hole, only to realize she'd forgotten she was on a staircase -- and promptly banged her head into the ceiling on the other side of the hole! That threw her balance off, and she tumbled down the rest of the stairs, falling into a large chamber with an ignoble splat .

As she stood up, she heard the smacking sound again, and was beset upon by several slimes. Dispatching them, she delivered a rat pie to Rethpian (who didn't seem too talkative about his brother Bilbump -- must be bad blood in the family), and found a crystal that activated the elevator in the main entry room. Curiuos, she rode up to see what else was around.

In a dank musty chamber, she spied a rotting mummy standing somehow between two pillars. As she approached, nerves on edge (it had been quite a while since she had seen any other creatures, friend or foe), it suddenly spoke, startling her. Without thinking, she grabbed her dagger and began attacking this creature, this F'Lokis Ra. By the time he had finished his words, his un-life force was almost gone, and with one final dagger blow, the rotted corpse eeled to the floor, spitting out a strange necklace as it fell.

Strangely amazed at how easy it had been to slay the mummy, she picked up the necklace and read the inscription on the back. "Sanctus Kerah," she mused. "Maybe I can use this in the room with the Kerah statue somehow. But how do I get there?" For she remembered the Kerah room all too well; it seemed to be a commons area for many of the inhabitants of the crypt, and it was on the other side of the stairs.

Then she remembered the words of Rethpian - that there was a secret room above the tomb of F'Lokis Ra. She began looking around for a door or passage, and soon stumbled on a button in the elevator. Pushing it, she waited, and the elevator started going down. Jumping out of the elevator (and hitting her shoulder on it as it went down), she noticed there seemed to be open space above the elevator. Realizing she didn't have much else to lose, she jumped on top of the elevator as it came back up, and before she was squished on the ceiling like a cockroach, she saw a passage to light, and she ran to it. Moments later, she was out into the room with Kerah's statue.

She ran back to town to do a little more training and sneak her way into the wizard's guild, where she was asked to find out about some former wizard, and then ran back to the crypt, dispatching a pack of worgurs along the way. Back in the crypt, she began exploring near the passage that Kerah had opened up, and soon found herself challenged by rotted corpses, more skeletons, and the occasional overachieving rat.

She came across a pair of ghosts, one apparently a warrior and one a wizard. As they attacked, she returned the favor, realizing soon enough that the ghostly wizard was her real problem. Dagger in hand, she hacked and slashed until he was a pool of ectoplasm melting on the floor, and then focused on the spectral warrior. He soon followed, and two orange crystals remained on the floor. She used one to get a strangely colored doll from a nearby room, and saw another doll high on an altar in a second room. Dragging broken crates, she built herself a tower to reach the second doll, figuring that everything came in useful sometime.

Shortly after, she came across a room with two vestal urns. She placed the other crystal in one urn, but it did nothing. Placed it in the second urn, and again nothing. Puzzled, since she suspected there must be something that would let her continue, she kept trying crystals and urns until it struck her -- the crystal had worked in the rooms where she got the dolls. Maybe she should try the dolls instead!

Placing one of the dolls in one of the urns, a portcullis rose, and she walked through nervously. The more she went in, the farther away she got from the safety of the outside world, and she was feeling pretty well-removed from everything. She made her way through mystical fire and battled more coffin corpses and other undead, and finally ran into the missing wizard.

Only he didn't look like a wizard, more like something you find in the back of the icebox after a few months. Despite repeated warnings, he refused to keep his distance, getting closer and closer to her until she finally took her dagger to him as well. After a few minutes, she stood ankle deep in a pond of decomposing swamp muck, wondering how she was going to explain to the wizard what had happened to his friend. Giving wizards a reason to get even with her was not part of her life's plan...

After speaking with a ghost she met on the other side of the pool, Missy Hissy swore the Sacred Oath of the Mavin and began her journey back to Valeia, now a tenth-level barbarian who was wondering where all those many hit points were that she was promised when she signed up for training.

The wizard didn't mind her dispatching his friend, babbling on about experiments gone wrong and evil, so she sold him a load of jewelry she'd brought back from the crypt and headed over to the warrior's guild, where she could talk with civilized people. She decided that life as a barbarian wasn't quite all it was cracked up to be, and signed up to become a paladin.

After completing the paladin's quest, she headed back to Valeia for some more training, only to discover that the Gwyll she'd slain a few moments earlier had stolen all her gold -- all the gold she'd worked so hard to earn, through the time-honored practices that her father, the wine merchant, had passed along to her. Muttering nastily, she went to the bank to withdraw her emergency fund, building it back up to a reasonable level at the warrior's guild and then redepositing the emergency fund into the bank. "You never know when you're going to need it," she mused. "Too bad they don't have Gael Serran Express Traveler's Cheques. That would make life a whole lot better."

She headed out into the Gael Serran, ready to silence the Warrior Guildmaster and find out what happened to the toads...


***
Okay, now that I've rambled on this for quite some time... would people prefer updates like this (perhaps shorter), or straightforward info like "Did both paths. Killed F'Lokis Ra very easily (almost before he was done talking). Didn't get a real boost in HP from being a barbarian, as expected. Killed Scabban easily as well, and converted to Paladin. Next stop: Toad Village". Or perhaps even to put a cork in it and be quiet about this whole solo warrior thing....

Lemme know.

--------------------
Enjoy.

*B*
Minister, etc. (ret.)

[ 05-17-2003, 01:18 PM: Message edited by: Wyvern ]
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Old 05-17-2003, 01:20 PM   #3
Wyvern
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CHAPTER 3

Evening, in the Gael Serran. Missy Hissy, roused from her slumber, began to journey onward in the fields around Valeia. Rounding a bend, she spied four thieves tending a horse and broken-down wagon. Slipping her sword, she prepared for battle, dispatching them in moments.

"They don't make 'em like they used to," she muttered as she began to work on the locked chest that had fallen from the wagon. As its riches began to fill her pockets, she suddenly noticed that she had more room than she thought -- her gold purse was empty again! "Thieving Rogues!" she exclaimed. "I'll travel to Cet's underworld to kill you again... and again!"

As she began to travel back to Valeia to once again extract her emergency fund, the Gael Serran shimmered for a moment, and she found herself outside Valeia's gates once again. "Ya know, god," she cried out, "you could at least warn me before you cast that reverse time spell!" Considering the battle she knew was ahead, she decided to store her gold in a couple of pockets. That way, if a soon-to-be-bloody thief got one pocket, she'd still have some more with her.

Dispatching the thieves again, she mounted the horse and started her journey toward the Toad Village. As she was travelling, she got a bad feeling about Kerielle, and decided to check on her.

Kerielle was not feeling well, what with the confirmation that Algamesh was truly dead, and was walking around her windmill in quite a daze. In fact, she was so dazed she kept walking into the windmill itself, and her beautiful face was showing the scratches of the long sail-covered wings. Missy Hissy tried to get her to lay down, but to no use: Kerielle kept wandering around. Missy gave her a healing potion, and considered the fact that Kerielle might soon join Algamesh.

"Hmmmm..." she thought. "If I cut her just a little bit, I think I'll gain some blessing from the gods when she dies, just like I do with each creature I slay. And while I don't believe in killing innocents, if she's going to die anyway, I might as well get something out of it.

"But then there's that pesky oath I swore to that ghost in the tomb. While I don't care much for ghosts or promises made to them, my word is the most important thing I have... aside from this good magical longsword. Perhaps I'd better try to follow the spirit of the oath, and not just the letter."

Muttering aside, Missy Hissy stayed her blade in the hopes that Kerielle would come to her senses. As she left the windmill, she saw a raft tied near a dock. climbing on, she found she could travel like the wind. "Well, almost like the wind," she thought. "I never knew there were so many fish in this lake! Every time I turn around, there's another school of piranha waiting to be put to the table. I wonder what someone might pay to swim without having to worry about them..." Pensive, and thinking about Kerielle, she headed north.

She followed the river until its end, and then walked more until she came across a small lake. Spying some huts on stilts, she climbed up and ran into Ekbu, a Toad who did not like warm-skins and made no bones about it. Remembering the conversation with old Mekdawa, she said "Ukabu" to Ekbu. Ugg-bu.

Ekbu went gaga when she simply said the word, and ushered her to Shinwiki, the chief shaman of the Toad people. He told her about a great evil, but would not accept her offers of help to try to take care of it. Something about toad warriors being grumpy and fighting all the time. Frustrated, she walked away, and then remembered Mekdawa's magic word again. "Ukabu," she said, feeling a little silly as the Toad children snickered at her ratling accent. Like they could order a decent meal in a rattling restaurant... she thought.

Shinwiki went gaga over the Ukabu thing as well, asking her to defeat the evil and opening a door in the floor that led to it. Funny, she should have noticed that when she came in... gonna have to work on that. She headed down the stairs, through the tunnel, and up another set of stairs that opened into a small clearing with a clear, cold pond in it.

Wandering around, she found dry land and went exploring. Soon enough, she found the ancient toadem ground, and suddenly found herself beset by four swamp-beasts like the mutant wizard she had exterminated. Swinging mightily with her sword, dazed by the swamp fumes they were emitting, she soon found that even with a sword-arm as strong as hers, there were still those who were her equal. It grew dark....

And grew light again, as the gods cast another reverse time spell. Quickly she retraced her steps, wondering all along how she might handle four of the swamp creatures. She decided to use the hit and run approach, running up to one of the creatures, striking it, and running back to a safe distance to heal up. Hopefully, she could take them on one at a time and complete her mission.

Ultimately she succeeded, and as the last of the swamp-beasts disintegrated, she heard cheers from the toads in the bushes. Checking the Toadem area, she discovered an old chest with a small amount of treasure. Pocketing it, she went to examine the Toadem, admiring the craftsmanship. As she caressed the smoothly polished wood, a tingle ran through her. Then another, as the bad feeling about Kerielle returned.

Running back to Shinwiki (who rambled on about Ukabu again), she collected a magical staff and a hefty bag of gold -- not bad for a day's work, after all. Piloting the raft like a crazed woman, she headed back to the windmill to find Kerielle dead, gone to join Algamesh in the afterworld. All that was left was the Amulet that had confirmed Algamesh's death, and hastened Kerielle's. Silently she collected it, and swore to use it to defeat the evil forces that could snuff a life so full of promise....

Heading somberly back to Valeia, Missy stopped in at the warrior guild, where the guildmaster almost thanked her. He offered to train her in a few more areas, apparently as thanks for completing the task. Then he asked her to head back to the crypt to pick up a sword lost by another warrior. Thinking of the gold she'd receive (not to mention what other training she might be up for), she agreed. And as she stepped outside the gates of Valeia, she realized the sun had left and gone far into the night. Saying a silent memorial for Kerielle, she sat down to rest until the morrow....

--------------------
Enjoy.

*B*
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Old 05-17-2003, 01:21 PM   #4
Wyvern
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CHAPTER FOUR

As the sun crested on a new morning, Missy Hissy stretched her arms and legs, and collected her gear to head back to the crypt at Bearsault one more time. "Toads and Skeletons," she muttered. "What I wouldn't give for some serious competition..."

Climbing down into the crypt, she searched the tombs she had uncovered previously, and discovered that a sword remained in one of them. "How'd I miss that before?" she wondered. "Better get my eyes checked out in Ishad N'ha. I'm missing too many things, and missing things gets you kilt."

Returning the sword to the warrior guildmaster, she was pleasantly surprised with another guild promotion. Alas, no new training opportunities with this one, but she'd get by... if she didn't strangle that wizard's guildmaster first! Was he ever repetitive and obnoxious -- she'd take care of the Teporn guy as soon as she could.

Heading back up the river towards the toad village, she spied a cave on the northern edge of the small lake just before the village. After tying up her raft (and fileting yet another school of piranha), she headed into the caves and soon discovered the fabled Oracles of Ishad N'ha.

Fabled is right. They looked about two hundred years old, and the one who talked sounded like his (or her?) vocal chords hadn't been tuned in a century. Eventually, the old bat talked about destiny, and sent Missy through a hole in the wall that had been hidden in the shadows. Or so she thought...

Following the caves on out, she spied a dark trail through the forest, and suddenly was beset by a swarm of locusts! Cursing in the dim light, she drew her sword and returned the favor, slaying the foul priest who had really messed up her morning stroll. Looking at him, she realized he matched the description of the guy the wizard wanted her to off, so she ran back to Valeia to check.

It was indeed the right foul priest (not like there wasn't a surplus of them), and the guildmaster expressed his gratitude. Of course, he then asked her to complete another task, retrieving an orb from Herespia, but Missy had a pretty good idea where that orb was. Accepting his task and promise of future payment, Missy headed up-river to Ishad N'ha and the serpent temple.

Before heading to the temple, Missy stopped at Ishad N'ha to see if there was anything of use. She picked up a few more cure poison potions, and checked into a couple of new guilds. Fortunately, everyone had work that needed to be done, so money wasn't going to be a problem for a while. Two request for work at the serpent temple, and two at Shurugeon Ruins. She'd hold off on the Ruins for a while -- she still needed that orb. Stopping at the Bushi dojo, she found that her father's merchant skills were ever in demand, and that there was a hot market for Takekatsu arrows. Not her cup of tea, but if someone wanted 'em, she'd be happy to sell them. Her first order was for a hundred thousand arrows...

Approaching the temple, she found a crazed priest standing outside (were there any normal ones?). He babbled about Kerah and a mission, and gave her a strange-looking key. He said it opened a secret door in the temple, so she pocketed it on the off-chance it might be useful.

She swung around to the back door of the temple, more based on a hunch from the gods than anything else. Sneaking in, she saw a foul beast through a grate -- a snake-bodied woman, it must have been that naga. Not seeing an easy way to get to the naga (or for the naga to get to her), she began exploring and soon found herself face-to-face with the high wizard of the temple himself, a wizard named Crude, or Kruge, or something like that. He offered to let her join the temple, and since she was sitting pretty happy on money (thanks to those takekatsu arrows), she agreed. The fact that several other priests were walking by had nothing to do with her decision... honest....

She wandered around, trying to figure out how she would get the golden coins from the priests, when she finally decided to just ask them if they'd sell some. Sure enough, just about every priest was happy to sell a golden coin to her. Only problem was the Dowry priests, who seemed to have a strategically short-term memory when it came to remembering who had made donations recently. Missy kept paying the extortion until one dowry priest got too frustrated. Seems he didn't like collecting his money with a whole lot of "regular" priests around, and he flipped his lid, wanting Missy to head down to the Sacrifice. Missy decided that wasn't in her plans, and out came the swords.

Moments later, all was peacefully quiet in that chamber... but now all the priests were after her. So much for buying coins peacefully... she now had to slash her way to the front door, where she ran back to Ishad N'ha and gave the coins to the rogue guildmaster. He decided he wanted her to go on a book hunt next... no telling what strange things these rogues had to do.

She ran back to the temple, collecting several figurines and a snake statue as she went through the initial gates. Then, realizing the darkness of the hour, she crept into one of the rooms in the serpent's hold and locked herself in, waiting for morning time and the chance to test her blade yet again.


--------------------
Enjoy.

*B*
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Old 05-17-2003, 01:23 PM   #5
Wyvern
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Join Date: January 7, 2001
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CHAPTER FIVE

Waking up in the early hours, Missy Hissy prepared to return to the Serpent Temple. While the priests were now all mad at her, she still had H'Thark to find, along with slaying this Naga that the temple wanted out of the way.

She entered back into the temple, feeling like a veteran Paladin now. There was little the guilds could teach her about the holy life, either in the might or magic realms. Still, she had been quested... and she did like the idea of a little gold for her troubles.

Looking around, she realized that the temple was a maze as much as anything. She found secret doors, buttons that opened other doors, and in the peaks of a room, a doorway that led to the belfry of the serpent temple. Stacking several crates on top of each other and putting some barrels on those, she was able to climb up her rickety ladder until she could grasp the ledge of the opening, and scrambled in.

She came across two cousins of the milking spiders she'd seen elsewhere in the temple, great big belfry spiders that didn't take kindly to their world being intruded upon. Dispatching them, she was also beset upon by some priests -- how they got up there, she didn't know. Had they used her makeshift ladder, she certainly would have heard them. Exploring more, she found several chests with treasure that made the climb up worthwhile.

Heading back down, it seemed that the top of her ladder was much farther away than she remembered -- and in fact, the floor looked a lot farther away as well! Easing out of the window area, she lowered herself onto the barrel on top of the pile. Unfortunately, she'd had to use a broken barrel for the top rung, and it finished breaking under the weight of her and her newfound treasure. With a painful crash, she broke the rest of the crates as she fell hard to the ground.

Amazingly, the noise didn't attract any more priests. Must be time for vespers, she thought. Stealing back into the temple proper, she stumbled across the Inquisitor, all green and eely. He didn't care much for her, it seemed, and once she asked about the prisoner, he decided he wanted to take her to see him -- in chains! With sword and dagger she cured him of that notion, and found a strange skeleton key in one of his pockets.

As she wandered around, the torturers began to attack her as well. While the priests and dowry priests had been unhappy with her for not paying the bribes -- I mean, temple dues, the torturers hadn't seemed to care. Apparently, now that the Inquisitor was out of the way, they were all vying to become the next inquisitor, and were counting on killing her to boost their position in the search. Pity they didn't realize that she planned to leave their corpses to be the next inquisitors...

She found a prisoner, and quickly identified him as H'Thark. He was skeptical of who she was until he saw his lockpicks. By the time he got to be agreeable to talk to, she'd had half a mind to use the hot iron poker on his thieving backside. He told her about the ritual the serpent priests used to summon the naga, and then balked when she asked him about the Hidden Circle's reward to her for freeing him. Irritated, she locked him back in the jail cell as she left. "If he's that good, he'll get himself out," she thought. "Besides, he's got his lockpicks now."

Running through the temple, she found the ingredients for the summoning ritual -- the wand, incense, and some freshly-made spider nectar. "He's lucky it wasn't H'Thark Juice," she muttered as she began to perform the summoning rite.

"Let's see... wand, nectar, incense... incense... ince-- where's the incense? I know I bought the bloody stuff!"

Suddenly, she remembered -- she'd bought it at the serpent head, but she hadn't put it into her pack. It was still sitting on the counter, so to speak. Running full tilt, she headed back to the snake head. Sure enough, the incense cones were right where she had left them.

Summoning the spirit proved to be easy, although the fireballs shooting from the giant serpent statues eyes did unnerve her for a minute. She responded to the questions the spirit asked, and the snake's mouth opened wide. With her blood tingling in her veins, she approached and went in.

She found herself standing in a small room, with just a small lever in the middle. Whispering the ancient incantation her mother had taught her, the ritual "save early, save often" that had saved many an intrepid thief, she flipped the lever... and flipped onto her back, when the floor gave away! Tumbling, sliding, and falling, she landed with a thump in a small room with several vipers and a slithering sound nearby.

Dispatching the vipers, she inched into the next room, and saw a beautiful woman, fair of face and skin. As she approached to ask her about the location of the naga, the woman turned toward Missy, tongue flicking in and out. Eyes with vertical pupils stared deep into Missy's soul, and too late, she remembered that nagas were half-snake, half-woman -- and she'd found this one! Scrambling on loose stones, she tried to get back to the first room.

"Right... no, left... no, in the back..." Missy scrambled in her pack, looking for the elixir that Kerielle had offered her. "If this is going to do something, now would be a real good time," she thought.

Pulling the stopper out of the engraven vial, she threw it into the hideous beast's gaping maw as blast after blast of poisonous fumes spewed toward her. Her aim was true, and the giant naga was soon sleeping peacefully.

She toyed with eliminating the serpent girl then and there, but decided to investigate the rest of the temple first. Besides, she'd managed to get two vials of elixir from Kerielle before her untimely death... a though which brought a brief tear to her eye.

She ran through the temple, coming across a maze of elevators and several locked rooms. Leaving a trail of dead temple monkeys and serpent priests to mark her tracks, she eventually found the serpent master, who let her in to see Elyssia.

Elyssia was hideous. While she looked as if she might be fair, her face was covered with a disgustingly horrendous mask that seemed etched onto her visage. Elyssia offered a strange brew, which Missy took; a fiery burning coursed through her veins, and then Elyssia laughed and spoke of sacrifice.

Determined not to follow the sacrifice path any more, Missy swung her sword, hoping to catch Elyssia unaware of her intent. Unfortunately, her first blow was not strong enough, and Elyssia summoned help. Six different priests of the temple responded to Elyssia's call, all intent on eliminating this intruder in their midst...

Swinging sword mightily, and drinking greedily from the magical healing potions she had acquired, Missy slowly slew Elyssia and the other priests. It was a long battle, and she was nearly finished herself when it was over. Taking the mask from Elyssia, she headed out of the temple.

Or so she'd hoped. As she went out, she stumbled across Xydusa again. This time, Missy was tired, hungry, and in no mood to argue. Sword drawn, she ran down the narrow hallway and began slicing at Xydusa as quickly as she could. Blood ran down the hall in two rivers, one Ratling red and one serpent green, making a sickly dark oil slick in the flickering torchlight. Soon one scaly eye was puffed shut, and Misst slid her sword in betwixt the naga's scales, piercing her black heart. Pulling her blade out, Missy noticed the many nicks and cuts her blade had suffered in the battle. She tried her own meager repair skills, but the damage was too deep.

She left the temple and headed back to the gypsies, Valeia, and Ishad N'ha, to fulfill the various quests she'd been asked to perform.

Once in Ishad N'ha, Missy checked her sword at the armory for repair, and checked herself in at the inn for a good night's sleep and a warm bath. Some comforts shouldn't be done without...

--------------------
Enjoy.

*B*
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Old 05-17-2003, 01:25 PM   #6
Wyvern
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Join Date: January 7, 2001
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CHAPTER SIX:

While resting in the hot-spring baths in Ishad N'ha (or Ishad N'ha-ha-ha, as travellers from the Wyvern's Glen were wont to call it), Missy Hissy came to realize that while she was certainly adept in the arts of the Paladin, her heart was not in it. Killing things in the name of one's god only made sense to her if the god actually spoke to you; killing them because someone else claimed god spoke to them just didn't seem right. And while she didn't dispute others' conversations with their gods, she didn't like the feeling of being obligated to support them.

Towelling off and slipping into her gear, she headed to the armory to pick up her sword, and to return the dagger she'd borrowed in its place. Never made sense to be without a weapon, dad always said. She struck up a conversation with the guildmaster about her current frustrations.

"Would that the temple appreciated the need for a strong sword," she said, admiring the repair work done on her longsword. "Then this might be put to better use."

"Problems with the high-and-mighties," asked the Guildmaster. "'Tis true -- the only swords they trust are the ones they control themselves."

"Aye," replied Missy. "Some days I don't know as I trust their direction much any more. And the justification for whatever needs doin' is that the gods will it so. Less gods and more action, I'm thinking."

The Guildmaster looked her up and down. "You've been picking up well on your training, as I've seen it. Perhaps it may be time for you to consider the way of the ranger -- the mighty warriors of the woods. The only one you answer to is Mother Gaea, and there's little chance of misunderstanding her wishes."

Missy looked at him. "What's involved?"

"Find the mightiest of earthly creatures," he said, "and then find the bridge from yesterday to the tomorrow, the seed of the future."

"Find a dragon?" asked Missy. "And then what? Bring it back like a circus puppy?"

"Not a dragon, for a dragon is a mystical beast, not an earthly one. Find a raptor and convince it to part with one of its eggs, one of the offspring that will bring it into the future. Then will you know the perils and dangers that the woodlands face, and then will you be able to protect it."

"This, I can do," said Missy. And she left, outward into the lands north of Ishad N'ha in a quest for the egg of a raptor.

Walking through the woods, she was beset upon by worgurs, but apparently of a different breed than those she had been seeing. Apparently, some worgurs had been cross-bred in the area north of Ishad N'ha in some bizarre experiment, and these had escaped.

She stumbled across a small cottage and a fellow sister, Erzebette, who knew nothing of raptors but talked of a great dragon, a small gnome, and a bronze beast. Amazing what happens when one spends too much time with the berries and wood lice. Still, she promised to deliver a letter to the gnome, should she happen to find him. Thanking Erzebette for the warnings about the supposed dragon, she headed out and north, away from where the dragon was supposedly flying.

She soon discovered a burnt-out cottage, home to a flock of bats. As the bats left, she heard a nasty voice -- one from far back in her past. "Oh, isn't that special - a weary traveler seeking refuge. We'll find some places to rest your valuables...*cackle* "

She recognized Scanthril, although she doubted he knew her. She had been a mere lass when her father testified about Scanthril's misdeeds at the Ratttown stockyards. The elders of Ratttown had held back from actually executing Scanthril, but they had barred him from town on pain of execution. Missy's father had been the star witness... and three weeks later, he was found dead behind the Ratttown Rathskellar, a black assassin's dagger slipped neatly between his ribs. He never spoke, and Scanthril was never seen again.

"You're not with the Hidden Circle, are you?" she asked. "Gorthius -"

"Hidden Circle? Not hardly, heh heh. You're in the clutches of the Black Hand," said Scanthril, "and we've got a little proposition for you. Empty your gold, and taste your freedom."

Missy Hissy carefully took out one of the gold stashes she now kept in her gear, one with a mere few hundred gold in it. "'Tis not much," she said, "but 'tis all I have, save my quick eyes and keen blade."

"Hmmm..." said Scanthril, eyeing the meager pickings. "Almost not enough to get a knife dirty... perhaps we can use those eyes and blade of yours. Hearken to the stout mines to find one of our missing bandmates, and I'll reward you enough that it's worth stealing back."

"All right," said Missy, her eyes watching the other ratts who had begun to materialize from the trees. "I'll find him. And then we can talk about rewards."

She headed down the path toward the Stout Mines when a flash of green went past her in the brush. Turning, she saw nothing, but remembered the challenge to find a raptor and convince it to part with its egg. Suddenly, her mind flashed back to an area she had briefly explored near the Toad Village, where large tracks and broken branches the size of her arms had abounded. She remembered thinking at that time that she didn't want to meet something that large, and now wondered if that might indeed have been a raptor. Settling her cloak on her shoulders, she headed back toward Ishad N'Ha to look at the clearing one more time. For some reason, she didn't really want to go looking for the stout mines right away.


--------------------
Enjoy.

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Old 05-17-2003, 01:27 PM   #7
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CHAPTER SEVEN:

Missy Hissy rested on top of the broken stone wall, waiting patiently for dawn to come. The blocks that made up the wall were ice cold, long-removed from the warming effects of the sun; fortunately, an old skull made a relatively comfortable seat.

She tossed a pebble over the side, watched it disappear quickly into darkness, and after a long time, heard the faint *ploop* as it hit the water below.

"How did I get into this mess?" she muttered, softly so as not to draw attention.

It had seemed so easy. After leaving Scanthril, she jumped back to ask him about a job she heard one of the other rats mention. He offered her the opportunity to fulfill an assassin's contract. She accepted, although she had another contract on her mind. She ran back to the clearing where she'd seen the signs of a huge beast, and found a raptor laden with egg. Killing it, she'd brought the egg (and another one she'd seen) back to the armory, where the guildmaster promoted her into the studies of the ranger. She'd run into a nuimber of beasties fairly quickly that caused her to go back and train repeatedly, until she was finally a fairly skilled and polished ranger.

Then, disaster had struck. She'd headed out to the western part of the lands outside Ishad N'ha when she ran across a band of ratlings. These weren't members of any group like the Black Hand or Hidden Circle, just a batch of independents. Rather than face them immediately, she had decided that with night coming on, she wanted to have her back to a wall or a thick stand of trees. Running, she made her way to the Shurugeon Castle wall, where she was beset upon by the ratlings and some fish with lots of sharp teeth and a hungry attitude.

As she was disposing of the fish, she spied a green shape shambling into the clearing. Peering out, she detected a strange beast, more plant than animal, standing nearly two meters high with a large pod-shaped head. As she watched, the beast opened its head and breathed some greenish mist towards her. She watched as the scoundrels, regardless of their skills, began to hack and cough in the sick greenish fog. As the fog rolled toward her, she panicked and tried to run, but the world froze....

... and stayed frozen. No one could do anything. She prayed to the gods for a reverse time spell, but nothing was happening. Finally she felt the unholy squeal of the alter time spell, the one that rebuilt the universe, and faded to black....

... only to return, back at the gates of Ishad N'ha. Wanting to avoid the plant creatures, she stopped in and asked quickly about them at the guild. Mantraps, they were called, fierce vicious beasties that had been the death of more than one group of adventurers. The only thing known to bring them down was the steel of a good blade. Stocking up on magical scrolls, she headed back out to the Gael Serran.

She tried her blade when the mantrap reappeared, but then there was another one... and between them, they easily overpowered her. The sky shimmered from another reverse time spell, and another, and another... her head was growing dizzy, her stomach getting upset from all the pulling and shifting of time. She even tried running away, forgetting the castle entirely and going elsewhere; this time, she stumbled on their nest, and the sky shimmered again.

Finally, she decided that the walls of the castle presented the best opportunity for a strong defense, and hopefully a good offense as well. Running around the castle, she spied a small hole, and then another. She found an underwater passageway that led her to a section of the castle that was protected from the wilds of the Gael.

Wandering in, she found several undead spirits and quickly slew them, saying a brief prayer to guide them to the afterworld. She found an entrance into the castle keep, and soon discovered several of the items she was after, including a powerful wizard who help slay yet another undead spirit. The wizard asked to meet her outside, and after a few minutes of treasure collecting, she went out to meet him.

He was lying, mortally wounded, in a field near the castle. With his dying breath, he gave her a mummified paw and told her of a ritual to cleanse the castle of the demon that lived there. Shortly he passed, and after muttering the ancient ritual, she climbed on the broken wall that surrounded the castle.

And here she was, waiting for dawn to arrive so she could see exactly what, in the brush and trees that surrounded the moat, was waiting for her. Frustrated, she threw another pebble into the water.

As the sun slowly rose, she could see the pack of rattling thieves searching for her trail. She lobbed poison bombs at them, and they quickly succumbed. She then saw a mantrap, and lobbed a poison bomb at it. No effect. She searched through her pack for offensive spells, and tried each one. No effect. No impact. Nothing. The things were immune to everything she had to offer.

She noticed that the mantraps had separated, one wandering away toward the side of the castle. Perhaps it was to track down the noise that the dying rats had made, or perhaps the glint of swords in the water attracted it. Or perhaps it was simply hungry, and looking for food... in any case, it was by itself.

Perhaps she could take on one at a time. At this point, with the two mantraps blocking her way to Ishad N'ha, she had plenty of time to think about it.

She hurled a knife, then two at the mantrap, but it was too far away. She looked through her pack, and spied a reddish vial. Pulling the stopper, she realized it was a fire bomb, one of the few things she hadn't tried. Putting the stopper back in loosely, she hurled it at the mantrap.

Happily, the mantrap began to groan and writhe in the burning flames. Apparently, flame was a problem for mantraps, as it was for any creature not from the elemental plain of fire. She watched as the magical fire ate away at its leafy fronds, charring them; and then it burned out.

Scrounging through her pack, she had no more. But there it was, alone, injured, and woozy. Taking her courage in her hands, she leapt from the tall stone wall, jumping feet-first into the moat. She slipped, twisting her ankle slightly, and climbed out, hoping to catch the mantrap before it saw her.

She hacked with sword as fast as she could, stopping only to quaff an extra-healing potion. After a few short minutes, the crispy mass of leaves lay dead at her feet... and she immediately ran back to the safety of the keep.

Walking around the wall again, she spied the other mantrap. She noticed that it moved fairly slowly, and thought she could actually outrun it. Perhaps she could pick up a couple more firebombs in Ishad N'ha -- then she'd be able to handle the mantrap without a problem.

Jumping off the wall into the moat once again, she ran past the surprised mantrap and hurried through the Gael Serran, outrunning Worgurs and Swampflies alike. She made it back to Ishad N'ha, trained, sold, ...and discovered that no one else carried fire bombs! Apparently, there'd been a problem when some of the local youngsters had opened a case of them, and the smoldering house where she'd met Scanthril was the result. Frustrated, she decided to trust in the blade of her sword, and set out to find the remaining mantrap.

After a short while, she did... twice over! There was yet another one, and as she gasped for breath, the sky shimmered and she found herself back on the stone wall. She'd forgotten the magic ritual once again! Ah, the frustration...

She headed back to Ishad N'ha again, selling her excess goods, and immediately upon leaving the gate, recited the magic incantation: "Save early, save often." She decided to run back to the castle, in the hopes of getting the two mantraps separated again, when she discovered they had separated themselves! She ran into one in the woods north of Ishad N'ha and west of the castle, and quickly dispatched it with her sword.

Gulping down a great healing potion, she ran around again, looking for the last mantrap. She found the samurai Torin, to whom she gave the dragon arrow; he then let her buy it back. Poor guy - so much time in the woods had affected his brain. She also found Jathil, the wanderer the temple had asked her to help. He told her about the Gezurite way, something that was apparently important to him; he also showed her some mind tricks that helped defend her from magical spells. Now *that*, she could use...

She finally found the last mantrap and quickly dispatched it. Interestingly, Jathil's tricks seemed to work; she took much less damage than previously, only needing a couple of healing potions to feel better.

She ran back to Ishad N'ha, liberating another horse along the way and training some more. Next stop: Shurugeon Castle, to finish what she'd started.


--------------------
Enjoy.

*B*
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Old 05-17-2003, 01:29 PM   #8
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Join Date: January 7, 2001
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CHAPTER EIGHT:

As Missy Hissy girded up her sword and looked out into the Gael Serran, it was black as pitch, and the heavens poured down thundering rain, turning creeks into swollen streams that threatened to break their borders.

Gazing around, she could tell that the gods were not pleased these days, and that, as her father used to say, the mundane was the source of the profane. Some of the rumbling in the heavens sounded like words one might hear on the back docks of Brimloch Roon, where the weary sailors would head to relax after a harrowing voyage at sea, and where they might relax too much, waking in the morning with a throbbing head, a nice view of the docks from the local gaol, and no memory of how either happened.

Pulling her cloak close to her, she muttered a prayer of penitence, swearing fealty to whatever god would clear the perpetual night and let her resume adventuring. Soon, perhaps in several days, she'd be able to return to Shurugeon Castle. For now, in the midst of the torrential downpour, even the slight moat was deep as a lake, and the meager drawbridge was a tiny stick in the briny water, floating in the currents.

And the stars looked down...

--------------------
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*B*
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Old 05-17-2003, 01:31 PM   #9
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CHAPTER NINE:

Finally, the rain broke and Missy Hissy was able to leave the caves near Ishad N'ha and resume adventuring.

"What a mess," she grumbled as her chain boots squished in the mud, pushing the mud up between her toes. It felt neat at first, but once the mud dried, it would turn into scratchy dirt, custom-fitted sandpaper. She'd be having blisters on her feet and toes that would last for days.

She returned to Shurugeon Castle, spirits raised that she had removed all the mantraps from the area. She entered into the castle, searching for the other evil elements that the wizard had told her about. At least she now had a use for the hideous mask she'd picked up in the Serpent Temple. Although she'd tried it on, she didn't like the looks of it, and hadn't had the urge to sell it yet.

She entered the castle and began wandering around. In a smithy (or was it a torture chamber?), she found a skeleton chained to the wall inside a cell. He was out of the reach of her sword, and any spell she tried to cast simply hit the walls of the cell and bounced off. Frustrated, she backed away, climbed on an opened treasure chest, and cast a venom bite spell at the skeleton. Miraculously, the spell zipped between the thick metal bars of the cell and nailed the skeleton; it fell against a pull chain, and opened the doors to the cell with an ancient squeal.

Missy ducked inside the cell after shoving a barrel into the cell doorway, in case it tried to close on her. Inside the cell was a chest with one of the evil elements.

She left the cell and ducked 'round and came across a large dais surrounded by columns. On the larger columns were a series of chain pulls, and as she stepped forward to investigate, a host of imps and undead soldiers materialized from the gloom. She began to battle, sucking down the occasional healing potion, and eventually vanquished her foes. She set about decoding the chains, and soon found another chest with another evil element. Her total was three, and it felt close.

She went south, looking for more, when she stumbled across a tightly closed door. Faint voices were on the other side, but too muffled to be heard clearly. As she approached, the door suddenly swung open and she realized she'd discovered some kind of a ghostly soiree, with skeletons and ghosts alike. Slinging her blade with vigor, she managed to work her way through the room, dispatching one after another until she stood, face to ectoplasm, with the ghost of Gliebott that the guildmaster had been asking about. Well, at least she could finally answer his questions… Spiritual sword was no match for physical sword, and in short order, the long-suffering ghost lay at her feet, dissolving into the next world.

She felt her stomach grumble, for it had been a long time since she’d had anything to eat, and there were still two more elements to find. She stumbled into a water-filled tunnel under the castle, apparently a long-forgotten sewage tunnel. Aside from a few gems that littered the murky waters, she found little until she stumbled across an imp with an attitude.

After a brief battle, she wiped her sword and placed it back into her sheath. “Time for you to zippy-dippy-die,” she muttered, pulling a chain behind where the imp had been. Turning around, she realized she was so hungry that her head was starting to ache. “Not exactly the best way to walk around the world,” she thought, heading back down the stairs.

Climbing a short flight of stairs she found a lonely vampiress who started playing all friendly-like. “Great,” Missy said. “Not only am I hungry, and not only is my head throbbing, but now I’ve got to get hit on by every last beastie in the sewers. Drawing her sword, she began attacking the vampiress, who also mentioned something about another element. As the she-fiend began her journey to everlasting death, Missy picked up the element, partly wondering what the vampiress had found so intriguing, and partly not wanting to know.

The fifth element was found shortly thereafter, in a chamber that apparently had been D’Soto’s. Fitting, that Ardibren had stored the last element with the one he had betrayed.

Running back to the wizard’s study, she placed all the elements in their holders around the mask, her head pulsating with each one. As the last one went in, there was a blinding flash, and when her sight returned, the elements looked dimmer and grayer than they had before, while the mask now glimmered with an eerie dark light.

Running back to the entrance to the castle, she opened one last door and soon found the demon. Now tired, hungry, achy, and irritated, she practically threw the mask on him and began swinging. As the demon moaned, her blade sang through the air, sending off sparks wherever it hit against his otherworldly bones. He tried casting spells against her, but Jathil’s teachings continued to prove beneficial. If she ever got to the Lyceum, she’d find out more about those Gezurites.

A few moments more, and Haleabus was no more, trapped back in the hell he had come from. A grateful D’Soto thanked her for freeing him, told her about the shroud that would welcome her to the next watcher, and went to find Ardibren, to take his faithful companion to the spirit world with him forever.

Grabbing all she could carry, Missy ran out of the castle and headed back to Ishad N’ha for a warm meal.

--------------------
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Old 05-17-2003, 01:33 PM   #10
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After a hot meal at the tavern in Ishad N’ha-ha-ha, Missy stopped in at the warrior guild. “I finally found that old warrior you’ve been looking for,” she said.

“Ah, you did, did ye? Well, where is he then?” asked the guildmaster.

“He’s in the next world. I came across his ghost in Shurugeon Castle, and sent him onward.”

“Ya done good,” replied the guildmaster. “’Tis sad news, but his family has wanted to know. Say, now that ye’ve taken care of that, would ye be interested in running another errand for me?”

“Perhaps,” said Missy. “What is it?”

“Ask the Stouts to aid our clan. We can use their help in some of our dealings with the Wizards Guild. Not that we’d ever be defeated by a bunch of long-eared magic freaks, but sometimes they can make it… challenging… Plus, I’ll make it worth yer while.”

“All right, I can do that,” said Missy. “Any new things you can teach me before I go? It’s been a while, you know.”

The guildmaster sized her up. “Yeah, here’s something ye can use. It’s another way of holding yer blade, that ye can do more harm in a fight. It doesn’t do much until ye build up yer arm strength, but I can see ye’ve been working hard with yer blade.”

After an hour’s practice, the guildmaster bade her farewell. “Ya know, I can tell yer getting itchy feet. Ye’ve got that desire for knowledge that marks a true warrior, and I know yer getting’ bored. If ye can just hold on for a little bit longer, I’ve got a special training class that ye’ll be interested in. Just hold off on switching to any new studies until ye get back from the Stout Mines, and I’m sure ye’ll be delighted.”

Missy eyed him. He’d been warming up of late, once he began to realize that she wasn’t like so many of those who came for training, little weasels who trained on mommy and daddy’s gold, pretending they were warriors. He had to deal with them in order to keep the guild open, for their gold paid for supplies as well as anyone else’s did. Better, even; they never really put their weapons to the test, and consequently never knew whether they were good or not.

Besides, she still had to head over to the mines for Scanthril’s little job, and once she finished that, she’d be doing a little job on Scanthril. Payback was a… well, she’d rather not insult a fine worgur like that.

“I’ll do it,” she said. “And be ready; I should be back in a couple of days at most.”

She headed out from Ishad N’ha, heading west toward where the Stout Mines were supposed to be. Along the way, she came across packs of bandits and sneaks, dispatching all without prejudice and spreading her blade throughout the day and evening, practicing the new technique the guildmaster had shown her. Very satisfying; she was able to put the little devils into another world all the more quickly. After each battle, she checked her sword, as she’d been trained, and fixed any minor nicks or cuts in it. “Better to do it little by little than to die lots by lots,” she murmured to herself.

A rustling in the brush gave notice to the arrival of yet another band of rogues – were they truly everywhere? Were they really this annoying? As she dispatched them, she heard more rustling in the bushes down the path. “Come out, you sniveling rats. Either come here and die, or leave and never bother me again.”

The rustling grew louder, but no one came out. Irritated, Missy stalked to the edge of the brush to give them what for when suddenly a blast of poisonous gas hit her in the face!

Gagging, she stepped back, and squinting through her burning eyes, saw something that was not the perfectly sized head of a ratling sneak. Instead, it was large, and green, and round… it was another mantrap! Knowing she had scant moments to act before the overgrown salad did, and knowing that there would likely be another in the offing, she quickly ran in and hacked with her sword, trying to bloody the creature’s mouth, or whatever it was that spit out the poisonous gas.

As the mantrap slowly returned to the earth, Missy began looking around for another one. They always seemed to travel in pairs or more, and she was sure there would be another. She found none, though, and continued nervously, expecting to see another green bulbous head at any time.

She coughed, and realized that the mantrap must have poisoned her somehow. She searched her pack for a cure poison potion, but found none. She turned around to begin the long trip back to Ishad N’ha, when she suddenly remembered why she had sold all the poison-curing potions; she could cast the spell and cure herself now! Casting it, she waited for the pleasant glow of healing to warm her body, and then began heaving again. “Nuts,” she thought. “Oh, waitaminnit – they don’t poison you, they sicken you!” Checking her spell books again, she cast a cure spell on herself, and immediately felt better.

Felt better, that is, until, as she started galloping toward the mines, she burst into a clearing right underneath a huge dragon! The beast was searching for dinner, apparently, and she’d run right under it, a scant dart’s throw away. While Erzebette had told her about the dragon, and while she had seen it flying in the distance, nothing had prepared her for how huge it actually was. From tongue to tail, it easily stretched as long as the archery range back in Ishad N’ha, and then some. Should it decide to land, she was sure it would crush her as easily as she had crushed the roaches in the castle.

In a moment, she was past, back into more bushes. She wasn’t sure if the dragon had seen her, but she was sure it must have heard her, with her chain armor clanking as the horse bounded up and down. No matter; she continued riding, as hard and fast as she could, until she could see the path to the Stout mines in front of her.

As she slowed to a trot, she felt the tingle of magic and heard a noise behind her. Turning, she saw a giant light-colored beast, half-lion, half-eagle, that was apparently upset about her being there. As she approached it with sword drawn, she suddenly felt another tingle of magic. Only this time, Jathil’s tricks did not work, and she felt herself growing cold and dark…

… until the sky shimmered again, and the gods reversed time. She found herself back on the path, just moments from where the flying beast had trapped her. This time, she approached slowly, and was able to trap the beast in the low branches along the trail. Unable to see her clearly, the thing tried to attack with talon and fang, but no use; even hardened bone was no match for enchanted steel.

She finally approached the Stout mines, and giving the writ to the shaft operator, began her decent to find the king of the dwarves. She handed off the clan invitation to one of his lackeys, and then sat down to hear what he had to offer.

He told her of horrid nightmares that he’d had, nightmares that seemed to feature her going to meet the gods in ways she’d rather not think about. He offered to make her a suit of armor to try to protect her, to save her from her fate, and she decided to take him up on it. Perhaps she’d be able to do something about changing fate; in the meantime, she wanted to get back to Ishad N’ha and the training that was waiting for her.

Taking her leave of the dwarven king, she promised to come back and find the dragon ore he wanted. She gathered her sword and spells, and returned to the town.

--------------------
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