Archive for June, 2016

VI: Debellatio

Posted in MMORPG Fiction (Fail) Attempts, Uncategorized on June 25, 2016 by isabellawolgoth

 

darkelffemale

And as Trrask’s spirit sank  with the loss of his henchmen, so did his cunning. The exact method he used to make me–the winner–into a villain, I cannot say for sure. Perhaps he had connections to the queen? Perhaps he had powerful friends in the drow household? Any guess is as good as my own.

All I know is the humiliation of the next day, and the next week. Stripped of my weapon, stripped of armor, stripped of hope, I was shackled and was afforded the chance to feel the sting of our drow lash.

“Maybe House Sulatar will know how to use you best,” the head warden of milady’s house said. “Maybe they will use you for pleasure, or perhaps sacrifice you in their lava pits? In any case, the gold for your flesh will only fatten our pockets.”

“Perhaps she is silent because her master did not bid her to speak,” said another jailer in the shadows behind me.

“In that case, let him appear,” the warden said.

“Yes, let him tumble forth,” said a third.

By the light of their torches, I saw a familiar face roll to a stop against the tunnel wall. I looked, but I refused tears. It was the severed head of my master, Balok.

“Perhaps,” the jailer said, “she realizes the Spider Queen has no place for a blasphemer.  Perhaps, she is silent out of fear?”

“Well, pretty one, is that true?” bellowed the warden, twisting my shoulder so that I stumbled in my leggings, stumbling hopelessly to their knees.

“Humbled by by low caste men is what she’s thinking,” the jailer laughed. “O how hard the mighty fall when dark fate bucks them from their roost.”

The jailer stooped low to look into my hate-filled eyes, so I spat at him. He was still for a moment, like the moments of congenial silence that follow the accidental breaking of a favored vase. But then the jailer found his ire, he matched his hate to mine in this shape of his fist, and made me succumb to the bleak shadows of unconsciousness.

–*–

When next I woke, I woke to the smell of sulfur and molten rock. I was on the floor of a small cell, a cell whose only bed was a lump of matted hay. The door was locked by three iron locks, each beyond my petty picking skills.

The only window was above the reach of my eyes, and it was barred with iron. With a jump, I latched onto the bars, and since I am drow, and since I am nearly light as a feather, I was able to pull myself up for a brief glimpse of my surroundings.

I saw the burning lakes of fire promised by the jailer and the warden. I saw burning entities drift aimlessly across seas of flames, waiting for a foolish adventurer to bumble into their lair. I saw the surface world wrapped in the shadows of a pregnant moon, and heard the muttering of ships that sailed in the sky above in an ocean of clouds.

This was the surface world, worked and guarded by House Sulatar.

This would be the beginning of my  life as a slave.

Author’s Note

I wish to credit the art, but I could not find the name of the artist. 😦

 

VI

Posted in MMORPG Fiction (Fail) Attempts, Uncategorized on June 13, 2016 by isabellawolgoth

salavskali

VI: Salasso!

Kailifae had a distinct flashback to the crypt of Karsmore. The fecund scent of rot that permeated Karsmore’s crypt also occupied Salasso’s labyrinth, a labyrinth Kailifae would later realize was shaped like a bat if one was peering at it from the top down.

The entire maze was broken into separate chambers, and each were eventually opened by the manipulation of guarded levers haunted by any number of abominations set upon the destruction of both Artha and Kailifae.

“Go back,” Artha said, “this lever cancels the magic barrier of that last passage. All we need do is cleanse the room for the next clue to Salasso’s whereabouts.”

Kailifae nodded, mind centered in the jin gong, an immovable path of razor-sharp alacrity. She was both in her body and outside it, merging with her will, the labyrinth, and the ancient voices that murmured in the very walls of the dungeon. They were past liberators killed by Salasso’s minions, lost souls trapped within the crypt by magic wards and vampiric necromancy.

“This one,” Artha whispered, pointing at a blank opening that was only moments ago sealed off by a screen of blood-red energy.

“May it be the last one,” Kailifae said to herself, her body already creating the curving arc of a backward sweep, her left leg sweeping in a wide arc mimicking the tail of a dragon. She connected with the ankle of a wight, and felt his disgusting sack of a belly shiver with the force of her follow-up palm strikes.

“It’s this or nothing,” Artha said to her god, yanking backwards on a lever.

The hisses and hoots of more undead was her reward as yet another door opened to vomit forth the walking contagion of carrior feeders and a brace of charnal wights.

“Well done,” Kailifae laughed, her body once again forcing itself into the moment, at first mimicking the ferocity of a tiger, and then—with a flourish of effort–taking on the spirit of a leopard. Artha, well practiced at timing her divine magic, filled the void of Kailifae’s stuns with laser-like light, which shot from her hands in controlled bursts, the bolts disintegrating undead flesh upon contact.

***

“He is awake,” Artha said suddenly, rousing from their hasty rest at a shrine.

“You know this how?”

“It’s in the air. The stillness is broken with the aura of a greater evil. Salasso knows we are here.”

The left wing of the maze vanished in the shadows behind them even as a greater shadow swallowed them ahead.

Artha “knew” the way the way a wolf knows how to find its way to prey. Her face was lit in the aura of the divine light whirling restlessly in her right palm, a lantern of righteousness uncloaking shadows and lesser evils that wished to remain anonymous. “In there,” she said, her chin nodding to a greater darkness brooding just past a beautiful arch littered with grinning skulls.

“My lord, the illumination of the sacred text is complete. This chapter of the Great Work is ready to be bound with the others,” said Brother Salasso.

“You have served me well Brother, but I sense a disturbance within your crypt. Attend to it quickly so I may begin my ascension!” a wriggling shadow bid, raising a withered finger, pointing to Artha and Kailifae who stood only yards away.

“At once Master,” Salasso, the vampire, said.

“Do not speak to him,” Artha said directly to Kailifae, “no matter what wisdoms he shares, no matter what truths he mutters, it is twisted by lies.”

“Yes,” Salsso said, voice booming, “ignore me at thy peril.” Salasso’s hands whirled, a hypnotic trace of blanched whites against a perfect abysmal black. “You cannot harm me, I am invulnerable thanks to my lord and master, the Black Abbot.”

“The gods have revealed to me your weakness,” Artha shouted, a ray of pure white light blasting from her hand, “your great secret was revealed in a dream, for the chaste have power enough to put down even one creeping serpent. Kailifae! Take him now!”

Kailifae’s body slid into action, skipping backwards towards Salasso with a whirling salvo of strikes that increased their ferocity and power with every step. And later, upon meditation, she would not be able to remember the battle except for a series of frantic counter measures, a time of gaming with Salasso as Artha sought out the end of her own silent mission.

“You cannot harm me with your palms, monk! I am immortal, as immortal as the night. Better you box with the wind than me!” Salasso was no slouch in counters, nor was he a stranger to cruelty, but Kailifae’s training on the plum blossom stumps saved her, allowed her to wheel suddenly out of Salsso’s reach like a drunkard, only to rejoin with a series of blinding flurries that would have killed an orc. But Salasso’s invulnerable body took the blows easily as if the monk were nothing but a wispy gnat.

Artha also would not be able to speak of how she was lead to the object Salasso dreaded the most. The best she could say was that a hand guided her soul toward a coffin in a sea of coffins on the second floor of Salasso’s balcony of coffins. She had not been jesting. The gods did indeed favor the chaste with their own special brand of favor even when the powers of darkness used deception to deceive the ignorant and the weak.

“Found it!” Artha cried, opening a coffin to reveal a beating heart snugged away in the coffin’s red, satiny interior. “Isn’t this what you feared I would find, vampire? Your heart? A heart you sacrificed to evil long ago?”

Salasso, his hands around Kailifae’s neck, cocked his eyes suddenly at Artha, the iron will in his arms suddenly draining, allowing Kailifae to break the hold with a whirling strike to the vampire’s arms. The strike was a combination of drifting right suddenly, left leg curving behind her, allowing her right forearm the momentum to strike Salasso’s arm like a hammer ringing upon an anvil.

Light from Artha’s palm disintegrated Salasso’s beating heart as her fingers curled cruelly into piercing claws. She shut her eyes against the divine light, seeing only a ebony afterimage of the heart withering to ashes.

***

It would take the duo two days of deep sleep and meditation to wash the last of Salasso’s evil aura from them. It was as if the vampire’s soul had followed them from its crypt, willing them to collapse in exhaustion after their task.

“I think it is time we part,” Artha said quietly at breakfast two days later. She had been mulling over her bread and meat, picking at the sandwich thoughtfully as if it would suddenly reveal her destiny to her in a series of omens starring marbled fat and mottled cheese. “I have a feeling my order is going to need me.”

Kailifae nodded solemnly, discerning the meaning of the cleric’s words. “Salasso and his master’s evil go deeper than that crypt, don’t they?” she asked.

“I had a dream of the Black Abbot,” Artha confessed, “I believe the destruction of both Salasso and Kasmore has goaded him into action. I feel the call to return to the order, a call as loud as a church bell.”

“I understand,” Kailifae said, forcing a smile. “We were a powerful duo.”

“You will find others to fight beside,” Artha said, eyes suddenly boring into the table as if she could see the future play out before her. “You will become a powerful monk soon, even more powerful than you suspect. That is all I can see.”

“I wish you well, sister-in-arms,” Kailifae stood, embracing the cleric.

“Right back at you, monk.” Artha hugged her friend briefly before drifting away,  a tear clouding her eye. “Let not your faith weaken, nor your heart become greedy for power.”

“If it does,” Kailifae said, smirking, “I know the right priest to confess my errors to.”

Narrowing her eyes at Kailifae in mock menace, Artha left enough coin on the table to cover the breakfast, and with a nod, vanished from Kailifae’s life.

Thus ends the early saga of Kailifae’s life, the telling of levels 1-11.

———-Author’s Note———-

Thanks and credit goes out to http://ddowiki.com/page/Brother_Salasso for:

  1. The lines spoken between Salasso and the Black Abbot
  2. The Salasso image

 

V

Posted in MMORPG Fiction (Fail) Attempts, Uncategorized on June 6, 2016 by isabellawolgoth

kaivsadran

Kailifae looked down upon the blanched face of Adran ir”Karsmore, a silver arrow knocked in her enchanted bow. The arrow was ready to deliver, but Kailifae hesitated, a bit confused, a bit saddened at the wretch before her.

“You have the wrong man,” the vampire repeated, syllables cut by his pointy incisors set oddly in front of his mouth, in front of his mouth like a serpent. “I am not , the man you seek.”

“But you are a vampire, are you not,” Kailifae asked.

“Kill him now,” Artha the cleric said at her side. The cleric’s nose wrinkled in disgust at the very thought of allowing this filth to “live” a second more.

“I am the keeper of this vault,” Karsmore repeated, “no one else in House Phiarlan cares about the dead as mush as myself. I am not a monster.”

“But are you a vampire,” Kailifae repeated sternly, bow lifting.

Instead of answering, Karsmore sneered and clenched his hands into bony fists. His form began to dissipate, shifting to shadow.

“Oh, no you don’t,” Artha said, summoning divine fire from above.

Kailifae let loose the arrow where Karsmore’s corporal form had last been, heard it “thunk” solidly, heard Karsmore howl in pain at the fire…at the silver that now raced through his undead body like poison.

“I curse you both,” Karsmore said, now a flaming mass. He did not run. He did not use his magic. Instead, he approached his final end with a single dramatic statement: “Salasso, my brother in blood, will finish you both.”

And that was the end of Karsmore the vampire.

Kalifae and Artha stood watching the vampire’s frame sink into the floor of the crypt, flakes of what he had been drifting into the air as if caught up by a draft or stealthy wind. And when the wind stopped, there was no evidence of Karsmore’s corpse except for a puddle of silver that had been Kalifae’s arrow.

“Leave it,” Artha said stoically, “that metal is cured by the flesh of the undead. It will contaminate you if you reclaim it now.”

Later, after reemerging from the church’s condemned halls, Kalifae stood staring at the night sky from the vantage of Phiarlan’s walks and arbors. Artha stopped, knowing what was on the monk’s mind.

“Where will we find Salasso?” Kailifae asked.

“Like I said before, our first move was the Necropolis, and had you followed my advice instead of your intuitive, monkish feelings, Salsso would be long dead by now perhaps.”

Kailifae gave the cleric a playful sneer. “I’m beginning to trust you, cleric. If you know where to find this Salasso in the Necropolis, please by all means, lead the way.”

Henshin Mystic: In the Name of Fun

Posted in Introspective Reading Journal, Uncategorized on June 3, 2016 by isabellawolgoth

drazz

Thanks to reading the book of a certain DDO monk who has a wonderful site devoted to all things monk (The Book of Syncletica), I was drawn back into playing DDO. Previously, I had played by the rules…the rules of other players.

“Dude, you can’t roll a rogue like that. Don’t gimp cuz you won’t never ever be allowed in partyezzz.”

“Dude, everyone knows  warforged is the master race. Dump your drow immediately!”

And so I lived as they told me to until I got bored and left. I messed around on other MMORPGS, but nothing really had the feel that DDO offered me. So after reading that aforementioned blogger’s site, I smiled, nodded my head, came back, and now the fun is constant. I don’t have to worry about parties on DDO anymore because…they pretty much don’t exist like they used to.

After leveling my Monk/Ninja Spy up to 11, I got the itch for doing some quarterstaff work. Previously, I had only heard of the Big Stick (I cleaned up that phrase a bit) build featuring the rogue. I have one of one those, but I haven’t played her in months. But I still had that itch, so I rolled a drowish Henshin, and I have been quietly amazed at the power. Yes, she’s only level 5.5 currently, but after playing a few builds up to ten, I can pretty well tell what feels right to me (I really don’t care about power gaming, so don’t even try me on that).

I was warned by a person in my guild yesterday that my Henshin was going to face “Del’s” pretty soon, “and I worry you wont be able to pass the DR of those skellies.” Of course I shrugged it off. I have passed through “Del’s” on weaker characters armed only with the gift truncheon from the NPCs in     the graveyard. It’s about patience. However, after arming up my drow with a quest reward, one of those groovy chaos staves, I headed off for “Del’s” this morning just after dinging level five, and those “skellies” pretty much melted in front of my eyes thanks to a combination of the staff and using my monk’s dark side powers (ye olde Inevitable Dominion). Also, a dash of Way of the Clever Monkey has helped offset my supposed “full monk” weakness (also known as “no Rogue splash”).

“Dude, you’re going to be sorry for this build when you get to the upper levels” will probably be an admonishment I will hear in my guild anytime now. But, like usual, I will shrug it off because I am not a powergamer. I like leaning on my patience and being rewarded for it later. That’s exactly how I’ve survived martial arts training all these years. I’ve watched people start and quit Tai Chi Chuan; I’ve seen people leave classical kung fu for MMA sex appeal. But here’s the thing about all that stuff…long after they have burned out their knees, and long after the bone fractures begin to limit them in their sixties, and long after random internal organ injury has made a mess of things, I will be trucking on, still happy to expand and breath into “Snake Creeps Down,” or shuffle backwards to “Repulse the Monkey.”

And the same goes for MMORGP powergamers.

They will simply leave for the next big game because they can no longer get the power fix they so crave. Attachment to imperfections, also known as vices,  always leads to boredom and self-defeat (if not out right self-destruction).

 

“Devoutly to be wish’d…”

Posted in Uncategorized on June 2, 2016 by isabellawolgoth

Black-dragon-wallpaper

IV

Draazzul awoke in a cold sweat. She had been dreaming of the black dragon again, a wickedly intelligent being capable of crawling behind the cavern walls of the drow. And as usual in that dream, it spoke to her through a chink in the wall just behind her sleeping pallet.

“Why not kill your matron,” the black tongue had whispered, “slit her throat while she sleeps.”

In that dream, Draazzul could neither move nor speak, her body paralyzed by magic. The dragon’s sibilant philosophy made her weep. Hearing any of this was heresy, and to have heresy forced upon one’s devotion was monstrous.

“Or poison,” the thing chuckled, “a tincture will get you far. You, yourself, could wear the crown your matron enjoys.”

“I will not,” she whispered, dressing for the day. “I will not listen to this dream.” But even as she reassured herself, a deeper self in a deeper hell awoke. On black scales did it slither through her consciousness by day, whispering, sticking its forked tongue into her heart even as she ignored it.

“You are not behind your training today,” Weaponmaster Balok hissed, grabbing Draazzul’s bladed staff out her hands, whirling it until one of its blades stopped at her throat, “and I have no use for a dreamer. Either you are with the Spider Queen, or you are not, for to blink your task is to betray her worth.”

“I will listen,” Draazzul said hotly, unsure of the correct action in such perilous circumstances. “I cherish our Sovereign.”

“You must rather die than not practice,” Balok hissed, handing the staff back to his charge, for he too was unsure of his stance against the female. Draazzul would either be  a named warrior one day in a fine drow house, or be broken, yet even he could not tell at this moment which destiny had chosen for the girl.

Draazzul put herself behind her remaining efforts, inviting exhaustion to bend itself to her will, anything but hear the forked tongue speak to her in her head. This action brought about a softening to Balok’s frowning mien, and even though he would deny it, Draazzul knew he was praising her silently.

For the rest of the day in Balok’s presence, she played the solemn attendant, snapping to action when he grunted commands, bringing honor to him during the brooding meetings he endured with other weaponsmasters.

“This is my great work,” Balok suddenly boasted to Weaponsmaster Trrask. The two had been drinking, showing off how obedient their chosen students were with ridiculous demands. And while Balok had seemingly ignored Draazzul, she now saw his wit and plan.

“The Demon Queen thinks it not so,” Trrask smiled grimly, “my fellow, my Kairn is the best.”

“And shall we wager this?” Balok dared, patting a squat purse of ebon coin.

“Not coins,” Trrask said. “They must duel to the death for the honor of the drow.”

“Draazzul,” Balok ordered, “kill Kairn.”

Kairn distanced himself from his master, unsheathing two sharp serpentine blades from his belt. Each blade was envenomed.

“Kill him and eat his heart,” the voice in Draazzul’s head taunted, “be like the vampire who sucks the blood of her prey.”

The first sally was negated by Draazzul’s staff, a whisper of blade slicing the air, forcing Kairn to recalculate his attack. Kairn was no fool, Draazzul could tell. The drow was coy, stealthy of step, wicked of intent. She would not walk away from this unscathed.

Kairn faltered for a moment over a pockmark in the cavern floor, and Draazzul sprang, bringing the bladed staff from left to right, passing it behind her back, allowing it whisper with dread momentum before she directed it at Kairn’s warding hand.

It was only a moment, but it cost Kairn his left hand.

Blood spurted from the stump, but it did not stop Kairn. He raged at Draazzul with his right hand, his right bladed hand. Bending backwards at the assault, Draazzul emulated a drunkard, dipping her head back almost to the cavern floor, allowing Kairn’s lone blade to whisk by harmlessly.

Black Fate smiled upon Draazzul, and she found herself thanking her weaponsmaster for his odd martial training her brought from the surface world. She forced her body to fall hard to the cavern floor, the impact thrusting her legs into Kairn’s, already trapping them in a vice-like lock. Kairn fell harder, and even as he flailed at Draazzul with his blade, he heard the bladed staff whisper in the darkness, and surreally heard his own surprised grunt as it cleaved with dire force into his skull.

“She cheated,” Trrask shouted, watching his investment die.

“By the Demon Queen,” Balok said sternly, “you wish to take this before the Matron then?”

Trrask shook his head stubbornly, realizing how the incident would only garner him disdain and laughter from the matron’s court. His name would be worse than offal, and Balok’s favor would rise even as his own faltered…just like Kairn.

“I suggest you find a new student,” Balok advised coldly, “for the caverns are a dangerous place without warriors to protect our interests. Come Draazzul, we leave now.”

Draazzul mutely followed, her bladed staff proudly braced along her right arm. To smile would be to court disaster and perhaps a whipping with a serpent-whip, but she did allow a slight gleeful warmth to rise in her.

“See,” the dragon said in her mind, “you can very well do anything you choossssse to do. They cannot stop you, but…they can enssssslave you.”

The black dragon’s laughter was almost deafening, but Draazzul’s step was sure and firm. She let the dragon thrive within her; let it flow into her heart, its sinuous tail wrapping firmly around like a greedy usurer.

——–Author’s Note——–

  1. The title is a brief quotation from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
  2. Usurer is a reference to Shakespeare’s Shylock character from The Merchant of Venice.
  3. This is my first drow story ever. I wrote it to celebrate my drow monk who chose to be a mystical wielder of the staff. So far, so good:)