Author Topic: Brethren of Halas  (Read 5920 times)

Offline Cyphen Wilder

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Brethren of Halas
« on: January 18, 2005, 10:51:48 PM »
The swirling maelstrom of snow and ice encased the lone hulking figure as he slowly and unsteadily treaded his way through the waist deep drifts.  The icy plume of breath from under the freshly skinned wolf pelt fashioned into a hood was all the showed the figure was indeed alive and not just an apparition on the frozen tundra. 

The barbarian lifted his head slowly, facing into the wind driven snow and frozen ice driven by its force.  Cyphen’s cobalt eyes were dazed with exhaustion and hunger.  How many days had he been here, treading upon the frozen tundra of Everfrost Peaks?  How many days since he had tread into the wilderness looking for snow orc troopers hoping to kill and collect their bracers for Hoyce MacTaegan?  He did not know, he did not care.  The storm had rolled in from the east, from the direction of Permfrost Keep.  Its eerie speed and ferocity along with the haunted voices that were carried by its howling winds pointed to the goblin casters of Permafrost up to their evil ways yet again.  But it didn’t matter.  His strength was gone from his massive body, each breath caused a searing pain in his chest, and the drowsiness that he had been fighting was now taking him completely.  Cyphen stumbled, caught himself before he fell, but then stumbled again, falling to his knees in the deep snow. 

“Just a moment to rest……,”gasped Cyphen to no one, “…just a moment to catch my breath.”

He lowered his chin to his chest and closed his windburnt eyes slowly.  The freezing wind no longer chilling him through his bear hide cloak, howled ever louder as he felt comforting warmth spreading through his body.  The high shrieks of triumph and laughter of the ice goblins swirled within Cyphen’s head as he began to drift off in their icy embrace of ritualistic chants.

“GRRRRRRRRRRR!” came from the swirling curtain of snow and ice surrounding the young barbarian, momentarily drowning out the fury of the storm. 

Cyphen slowly lifted his head and slowly opened his eyes.  Another throaty growl followed by a sharp bark came from just beyond the edge of his range of visibility jerked him from his stupor even more and drowned out the storm yet again.

“Come then beast,” growled Cyphen in answer to the unseen animal as he precariously rose on his unsteady legs, “you can precede me over deaths threshold!”

Now a high-pitched whine issued from everywhere to drown out the blizzard and clear Cyphen’s head even more.  And now a  series of whimpers, pleading, stirring feelings of consciousness in the young barbarian, pulling him away from the cold and the stinging pain of wind driven snow and ice……..

Cyphen opened his eyes and the scent of fresh pine and earthy mulch filled his nostrils.  A loud whimper of pain filled his ears jerking him to reality and he quickly jumped to his feet in alarm until white-hot daggers of pain lashed down his side and chest, causing him to groan in agony and double over clutching his side in pain.  Deep guttural laughter and a bark filled with joy from his right caused him to turn while bent over and look upon what had sent him, and then brought him back from unconsciousness.  An Irminn Fannsk forest giant, bruised, bloody and battered stood not a daggers throw from Cyphen.  Its huge hand held the splintered remains of the tree trunk that had struck Cyphen in the chest.  In a flash, Cyphen recalled what had happened.  The monster had crashed through the undergrowth howling in mad agony and pain swinging what appeared to be the trunk of an uprooted yearling pine tree.  It had obviously been mortally wounded by one of the many bands of adventurers that raided the Plane of Storms here, but had escaped and not yet succumbed to its injuries.  Even injured, the giant had more then enough power to send Cyphen flying at impact into a hoary old pine twenty feet away and into unconsciousness.  And here in reality; white coat matted with blood; standing vigilantly protective on unsteady paws and trying to bring his master out of his stupor as he had those many seasons ago on the plains of Everfrost where they had first become soul bound to each other was Tyr.  Tyr, a fully-grown white wolf of Everfrost Peaks and life long companion of Cyphen had stood between the forest giant and his injured master.  Fighting a losing fight, but unwilling to leave his masters side no matter what the personal cost to himself. 

Sensing that Tyr was moments from falling to the forest giant’s fury, Cyphen quickly stood up straight and focused despite the agony of his broken ribs and quickly prayed under his breath.

“Oh Blessed Sorsha; most wise and compassionate Wildcaller of Beastlords throughout the lands; look down upon your faithful servant Tyr, witness his courage and heal him with your blessings!”

Deep blue light enveloped Tyr as Cyphen finished the incantation and as it faded so did the wounds inflicted by the forest giant.  With a deep breath Cyphen raised his arms and focusing through the pain again, he recited the the incantation of Rellic and watched as a wave of power rippled through Tyr leaving a blood red aura crackling with power surround his companion. 

With a roar, the forest giant charged Tyr, the tree trunk aimed to smash Tyr into the ground.  With the speed of a striking viper, Tyr leapt inside the arc of the giants swing just as the crushing blow smashed into the earth where he had just been and lunged for the giants muscled arm holding the trunk with a growl of anger and power.  Bright white cruel fangs sank into the meaty bicep and shoulder of the giant; tearing muscle from bone in great strips of flesh and splattering blood as the giant screamed in rage and pain.  The now useless arm dropped to the giant’s side and the makeshift club fell from unresponsive fingers as Tyr leapt away circling the now weaponless giant.  Cyphen reached into both insides of his cloak.  His hands slipped into the familiar and worn leather straps of his Velium Inlaid Claws and drew them forth.  Power emanated up his arms and suffused itself in his burning chest.  Focusing on the giant now, he murmured the words of Sha’s Advantage and at the closing phrase oily smoke crept from his fingertips and drifted to the forest giant.  Curling around its legs and working up his torso the black tendrils of the spell flowed into the roaring mouth and nostrils of the giant disappearing inside of him.  Its shoulders slumped and its eyes grew glassy and unfocused as the full effect of the spell robbed it of any fighting edge it may have had before.  Roaring the war cry of his elders of battles past, Cyphen rushed the slow responding giant.  A quick glance at his circling warder and moments thought sent along their bound soul path, and Tyr leapt to attack where directed by his master.  Once again cruel fangs rent muscle from bone in a spray of gore and flesh as Tyr hamstrung the giant from behind as he had done many times to other prey.  Unable to stand on ruined legs the giant fell to his knees in another bellow of anger, but now tinged with fear.  Rushing the now kneeling monster, both arms cocked back in agony, but powered by the huge muscles in his arms and back, Cyphen slammed forward with all his might into the chest of the disabled giant.  Velium blades parted the tough leather armor of the monster and sank into its chest until Cyphen’s knuckles came to rest against it.  The stones he had purchased for his weapons and later embedded at the adventurer’s camps he had visited flashed burning crimson and a deathly jade in front of his face momentarily blinding him.  A course of green light streamed from his right claw into the giant wracking its body with deadly poison that ran through the giant’s veins burning a path to its heart.  From his left claw, blood red tendrils of smoke flowed into the wound then returned even brighter to the embedded jewel pulsing with power as it drew the life force from the giant and injected it into Cyphen in a rush that dizzied his head.  There was a hushed silence in the small clearing.  Cyphen standing before the kneeling giant, both claws buried in the monster’s chest as Tyr stood behind crouched to attack, maw dripping blood.  The giant looked down in surprise at Cyphen, and then down at the weapons deep in his chest.  Opening its mouth to roar at him, a great fount of blood was all that came out, running from its cavernous mouth and down its chest as it fell away from Cyphen.  Ripping the sash from the corpse, Cyphen looked to Tyr with a wide smile.  Tyr returned the emotion with a vigorous wagging of his tail and an excited puppy like whimper.

“Come my friend, lets get this sash to Askr and see if my brother can be found in Torden!”
 


Well I just turned 29 last September and I think that last time I really sat down and wrote a fiction story was when I was 13...hope you all like, and will be more coming.


Offline Merescata

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Re: Brethren of Halas
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2005, 03:06:12 AM »
Excellent work!  I'm looking forward to reading more.
Merescata
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Offline Cyphen Wilder

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Re: Brethren of Halas
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2005, 12:37:54 PM »
Woot, thanks for compliment.  I posted this on my guild website as well since I havent been able to play the last few days.  Got some positive feedback there as well as the comment, "I have never seen blood in EQ".  Hehe.  Maybe I should tell them about the "gore" cheat code I have....LOL. 

Already have the next installment swirling in my head so stay tuned.  Just need to get it organized before I type it up.

Offline Cyphen Wilder

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Re: Brethren of Halas
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2005, 09:38:33 PM »
Chapter 2:

Cyphen looked down at the small glowing object in his hands in disappointment as he sat in the smoky rowdy tavern. Using the Talisman of Thunderous Foyer, he and Tyr had traveled into Torden in hopes of finding any leads as to the whereabouts of his older brother, Janin. They had found nothing to indicate that Janin had been there recently. The both of them had even gone so far as to tag along with the Norrathian guild, Truth & Redemption while they fought and defeated Agnarr the Storm Lord but nothing was revealed in the storm lord’s realm. A small smile escaped from Cyphen’s frowning face at the thought of what his older brother would think of his actions. Janin Bloodpaw was a great shaman of The Tribunal, and one of Halas’ most revered sons. The city’s elders told his tales of adventure with great relish at each years Summer Solstice Festival, and each year they seemed to grow even more elaborate and exaggerated. What could have started as Janin’s cunning and stealth in infiltrating the Lair of Nagafen while invisible to retrieve a long lost artifact would evolve over the years into Janin locked in deadly mortal combat with the The Fire Dragon himself, Lord Nagafen. Of course, Janin’s adventures while exaggerated still were legend among his people. He had brought much needed wealth to his home city in his exploits, and there were several adventurers from Halas that had received enchanted armor or weapons as gifts from Janin when first leaving the icy city to begin legends of their own. But not only were his exploits known by the clans of Halas by heart, but some of the powerful guilds across Norrath carried Janin as an ally. The Claw of Nagafen, Triadic Order, and Legion of Valor to name a few had men and women among their ranks that viewed him as a true friend. That was all long ago though. It had been almost 6 years since his family had last heard of Janin. And while the thought that maybe Janin had finally settled down with a fine barbarian lass of one of the nomadic clans, the truth felt by all that he had finally fallen to join his ancestors in the afterlife. The city of Halas and Clan Bloodpaw had mourned the loss of their champion and brother with much sadness and grief, as was the customs of the northsmen, and then picked up the pieces of their life and moved on. All that was except Cyphen.

Six years prior, Janin had drawn him aside evening the before he had left on his last quest and they had spoken over a low evening fire.

“My little brother, it is time that we speak of your life now, and that yet to come. I have spoken with Field Priest Keven regarding your training as a beastlord and he says that while you are far from carrying the title of Wildcaller, there is no doubt that that is what you are destined. Your are the second oldest followed by the twins and the time has come that you must now take the over as patriarch of the family as I did when father passed.”

“But brother, you are not dead yet and I am not of age yet to lead our clan!”

“Cyphen, settle your fears young one. You are more then capable of leading and caring for the family. I was younger then you when father passed away and I know you will do just as well as I did. It is no secret that the Tribunal blessed me with the gift of foresight. Born with my right eye blind to this world left it open to look upon others invisible to all. And while it has been a blessing for the benefit of our people in my adventures and travels, it is has been a burden to me. I have seen the destiny of many. Whether it be a long life filled with happiness and joy, or one cut short ending in sadness and grief. I have had to hold their fates within me in secret. For to tell them would have left them without purpose in the present, knowing what the future already held for them. When younger, I looked to myself, and where my path lead and all I saw was darkness, nothing but a blank slate which nothing was destined or planned. It has always been that way for me, that way until now.

“Wait brother, you have seen your death? Well then you can stop it from happening! You can have that life of happiness!”

“What happens to me is of no importance. But I must leave the path I have walked all my life and begin anew. As there is a path you must follow in your life, so there is one for me that I can see clearly now.

Here my little brother, take this key,” Janin said handing a small key to Cyphen, “it is but one half needed to open my bank vault in the Plane of Knowledge. When I have passed beyond this realm, the other half will be delivered to you. Bring back the contents of the vault, and distribute them among our people.”

“But brother…,” Cyphen began to protest before being cut off curtly by Janin.

“We are done, take this command as my last brother and honor it.”

“Yes my brother, as you command it.”

And Cyphen had followed his brother’s last desire, well almost. A delivery had arrived four months ago, the second half of the key, and Cyphen had quickly traveled to the Plane of Knowledge to carry out his brother’s last wish. He had arrived at the main bank, followed the banker to his brother’s personal vault and opened the heavy iron bound door. The sight before him grasped the breath from his chest. Janin had always brought treasure beyond measure home to Halas when returning from wherever is latest adventure had take him. But here before Cyphen was fortune beyond belief. Chests overflowing with gold and platinum were stacked upon the walls. Gems overflowed from backpacks and lay scattered on the floor, casting dazzling sparkles even in the low torchlight. Upon several shelves lay armor, weapons, and jewelry of all manner. Each emanating a barely perceptible glow of power signifying that there were not ordinary pieces but enchanted and magical in creation. Turning his head to avoid letting the banker see the tears welling in his eyes, Cyphen sighed in awe at his brothers generosity and kindness even in after death. The fortune held in the room would keep Halas and the barbarian people the powerful nation they had been for many, many years. But as he turned his head there propped in the corner stood something that caused his eyes to quickly dry. There propped in the corner, the razor sharp blade encased in a deep blue aura, was Janin’s spear, the blood red feathers attached to the shaft swayed slightly as a draft entered the room. Cyphen turned to the banker at the sound of his voice.

“Sir, I will need you to sign here to close your brother’s account and transfer the property to your own.”

Cyphen reached for the tablet and began to scrawl his mark upon when he saw the familiar script of his brothers on the previous entry. He blinked in disbelief. The entry date was just a few weeks prior! Cyphen quickly grabbed the banker.

“You saw my brother just a few weeks ago? What was he doing? What did he have you do?”

Clearly frightened the banker quickly stammered out what he had witnessed. Janin had arrived in the early morning hours before the bank was even opened. The bank owner had met him here along with himself and they had helped him prepare for the transfer to Cyphen’s account. Janin had packed a few enchanted bags, had handed his spear to the young banker and with a little smile had said, “No longer will be needing this, place it over there my good man.” Cyphen let loose the banker and apologized. He was confused. Why would his brother no longer “need” his Spear of Fate? It was by far the most powerful weapon Cyphen had ever seen, why would he not need it? And if his brother was alive just a few weeks ago, then why almost no word from him for almost six years?

A huff from Tyr under the table brought Cyphen out of his memories of the past. The soft thumping of the great white wolf’s tail against the hard wood floor indicated his nap was over, and something was amiss. Cyphen locked eyes with his warder for just a moment and began to smile.

“He’s here? This is gonna be fun.”

Offline Cyphen Wilder

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Re: Brethren of Halas
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2005, 03:34:38 PM »
Chapter 3:

Cyphen and his warder both looked to the door an instant before it crashed open showing a hulking figure.  Heavy armored boots clumped into the room below a plated kilt of intricate design.  A highly polished breastplate shone in the torchlight of the tavern that showed glowing Helanic runes along with a few dents and scratches from past battles.  From below a dented Kunzar helm burned a set of cobalt eyes scanning the room.

“Smells like wet dog in here!” shouted the warrior with a large grin as he stepped into the room and a moment before being set upon by a white flash of fur.

The barbarian grasped the large wolf in powerful arms as it jumped up and set its paws against his breastplate.  The crowd sat stunned as they looked in horror at the attack and then relaxed with laughter when Tyr began to wag his tail furiously and roll his long pink tongue out and begin to lick the warrior in joy and affection.

Cyphen stood up with a full smile and walking to the man grasped him in his arms in a great bear hug that would crush an ordinary man.

“Lalelor!  It has been awhile since I have seen you brother.  It’s been what, six months since you and sister came to here to the Plane of Knowledge?”

Taking off his helm to reveal the same silver white hair of all the kin of Clan Bloodmaw, Lalelor replied, “Yes, about six months now.  Hamora and I have been adventuring from here since we can pretty much get to any of the lands through the portals.  We share a small place on the north side of the city, not that either of us is there much.  We missed you when you came in a few months ago.”

The men sat down at the table and Tyr moved back under the table to resume his nap.  The rowdiness of the tavern resumed as the two barbarians began to talk.

“So little brother, I hope that I did not pull you away from anything too important,” said Cyphen

“Hehe, no.  Hamora and I had just gotten home from joining the guild Triadic Order on a small raid of the Plane of Justice when that little bard you hired came running up faster then hell and screeched to a halt to pass along your message.”

“And where is Hamora now?  I asked that both of you join me.”

“She will be along.  You know how it is.  Every time she comes back into the city, she needs to check out the underworld, see what is happening among the thieves and cutthroats.  She is going to meet us at the portal to Tranquility.  So what is this important message?”

Let’s get going.  I want both of you to hear what I have to tell you.”

The two barbarian stood up and began to leave the bar.  From the shadows of a secluded corner of the tavern, cold green eyes followed the trio as they opened the door and left the bar.  A scaled hand wrapped in cryptic wraps crept out from the sleeves of the black robe being worn by the stranger and dropped a few coppers onto the table.  The dark robed figure waited a few moments before leaving the bar then left the same way as the brothers and wolf.

Cyphen, Lalelor, and Tyr made their way slowly across town amid the hustle and bustle of the crowds of travelers, merchants, and residents of the Plane of Knowledge.  At all hours of the day the city was busy with activity, and even now in the middle of night vendors still shouted out items for sale and bands of adventurers gathered with plans of raids and hunting parties.  Cyphen and Lalelor exchanged stories of adventures as they walked.  Lalelor and his twin sister, Hamora, had been residing in the Plane of Knowledge now for about six months.  As with all the young men and women of Halas, adventure and conquest was in their blood. And when of age to leave Everfrost Peaks they had traveled out and into the world, hungry for battle and treasure.  While Cyphen spent the majority of his time hunting the lands and planes with only Tyr at his side, Lalelor and Hamora hunted as a team.  Already sought by hunting parties and raid leaders at their young age for their skills and coordination of their attacks, rumors were being spread that not only did they share the same striking features, but also the mythical telepathic link associated with twins born of the era. 

Coming to the Tranquility portal, both men looked to the empty platform.

“Dammit!“ cursed Cyphen, “Where is she?”

Tyr’s ears perked up and his tail began to wag.  Bounding up the steps, he began to scratch at the great stone that opened the gate to the Plane of Tranquility and whine playfully.

“Darn you furball,” came a husky voice from the shadows, “I can never hide from you!”

From the shadows behind the gateway stepped a tall barbarian woman.  Almost materializing from thin air, her silver hair was braided in tight ponytails that hung to her slender, yet muscular shoulders.  Artificer Ringmail armor covered her from neck to foot.  Blessed by the Tribunal and crafted only in the forges of Halas, the armor had been dyed black and dark grey by Hamora, all the better to ply her trade as a rogue. While her lifestyle sometimes walked the line, her steadfast dedication to the law set forth by the Tribunal was unquestionable.  When the newspapers of a city would decry the robbery and assault of a local duke or duchess, servants of the alleged victim; not even paid enough to feed their families; would find small purses of coin and treasure left in the dead of night on their nightstands.  A rogue by profession to the dismay of their mother and father, but not by heart.

“Hello there boys.  I would have had your coin if not for that pesky wolf, “smirked Hamora as she bent down to lovingly scratch Tyr behind his ears and let him nuzzle her chin.

“I present “little” sister Cyphen.  As you can see all grown up now that she has been on a few hunts and adventures,” chided Lalelor.

Hamora stood up from Tyr and quickly walked to Cyphen arms outstretched for a hug and leaned forward gently kissing her brother on first one cheek and then the other. 

“Oh Cyphen, it is so nice to see you!”

“As well as you sister.  Lale is right, you have changed, and it can be seen by the fire in your eyes for the better.”

“Well, now that I can follow my path as a rogue of the Tribunal with plenty of targets of opportunity within the corrupted lands of Norrath, I have come into my own.  You know mother and father were not happy with my choice to become a rogue, but the respect the Order of the White Rose pays to the Six Hammers is now my life’s work as well.  Different from the path from what mother and father chose, but not morally.”

“Don’t be silly Hamora.  Mother and father loved us no matter what are choices.  While of course they were surprised by your choice of profession, they were not unaware of the intentions of your heart.”

Cyphen let that little seed of information plant itself within her sister’s head.  His parents had instilled within them all the moral strength and character that led them all to follow the life of The Tribunal.  It had been that way as far as he could remember, and even members of Clan Bloodpaw that had chosen a nomadic lifestyle, followed that lifestyle preaching the way of The Six Hammers.

“Well lets get this show running, “ said Lalelor breaking the silence and looking to Cyphen.

“Come then brother and sister.  We have are meeting someone that is going to spread some new light on our dearly departed brother, Janin,” Cyphen said sarcastically.

The three reached forward placing their hands on the portal to the Plane of Tranquility.  The slight hum of hidden power that prevailed throughout the Plane of Knowledge leapt through their finger tips in a surge of power encasing them all in a kaleidoscope of colors and light.  With a brilliant flash of light, they disappeared, all that left of their presence, a small draft of wind and the sharp tangy scent of ether.

From the shadows a figure cloaked in black stepped forth.  Green reptilian eyes focused on the portal to Tranquility as a forked tongue lashed the air scenting the recently departed trio of barbarians and white wolf. 

“Sssssooo they have gathered, “ hissed the stranger. “My oath to you father sshall now be fulfilled.”