The Screaming Xenu

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Re: The Screaming Xenu

Post  Beric of Goldenbridge on Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:20 am

Seamus chuckles heartily with Hans, before drinking some more ale and retorting.
"I am only rich due to trade, more importantly through the trade of items acquired while on Seeker assignments. People are always willing to pay a price for something shiny, and an even higher price if you can sell them a story too. Why, just the other day I was telling some folks down at the College about how I got this arm; of the hostile automatonic creations that assaulted us; of the malicious intent of the Morlock; of sitting in his lab of grinding gears and twitching flesh as he held me down and cut my arm clean off at the joint; of feeling the cold metal rammed into the still-bleeding wound; of the sensation of feeling returning to my fingers, but not quite the same - never the same..."
Seamus's left hand is now gripping the tankard with such force that the metal appears to be buckling beneath his fingers, his eyes glazed over in a mixture of anger and regret.
Suddenly his eyes fix on Hans, the captain's face unchanging for a few seconds.
A wry smile forms on his lips which soon shiftss into a toothy grin.
"After I was done spinning that old tale one of the engineers approached me, said he'd like to take my hand, well, off my hands, he offered me any price that was within his power to give. I explained that as much as the arm bothers me, with its regular breakdowns every few months and tendency to play up around other golem fields, unless he could find and attach my old arm, this one is too useful to part with. But, I am always open to negotiation when it comes to those items I can trade, as should you if you wish to have an influence in this world, trade works with information too... Which is why I am where I am today."
He glances at his empty tankard.
"I do believe this is starting to get to me... Oh well, barkeep! Another ale, if you will."
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Re: The Screaming Xenu

Post  Hans Yksin on Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:31 am

"Everything we seem to get our hands on curses us in some way, no? Magic always has a price. For Hammer, the near annihilation of the Merc Guild. For the guns, Treadgold's old pistol. For your Hand, your arm, and the pain of the process and the regret you now live with. For the Winter Knights..."

He sighs heavily.

"I may not hold to Amranian values much, but I am glad I adhered to their fear of magic. It often has a price that you later regret paying."

His eyes dart to his gloved hand for a second but flit back up to meat Seamus' again.

" 'We keep it light-hearted until it's time to get dark, and then we get pitch black'. I heard that from my dad once, regarding the loss of his comrades on the Wall. It seems to fit our little collection rather well."

He raises his drink

"Care to join me in a toast to those who haven't made it this far?"
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Re: The Screaming Xenu

Post  Robere Eberstark on Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:37 am

"I agree. Magicians are talk and no walk anyway. Can barely take a minor wound without passing out."

He reached for his tankard to raise in toast, but he grabs thin air, realising he left his drink on the table.

"Ill toast to that. Say, what were the names of those we left in the underworld?"

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Re: The Screaming Xenu

Post  Hans Yksin on Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:44 am

"Says a lot about us that we can't even remember the names of those who've given their lives, doesn't it? Still, to those brave enough to sacrifice themselves for others. May I one day gain the courage to act alike should I need to."

He raises his bottle for others to clang their drinks against.
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Re: The Screaming Xenu

Post  Beric of Goldenbridge on Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:46 am

Seamus raises his now re-filled (albeit rather dented) tankard.
"Aye, to the dead."
He clinks it against the others' and takes a hearty drink.
"Now, I propose I lighter tone, each of us spin a tale, the others say if it's the truth or not. If they guess right, the speaker drinks. If not, the guesser. Barkeep, fetch your strongest drink! I do believe Robere said he was paying for my drinks today..."
The Captain grins and takes another swig.
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Re: The Screaming Xenu

Post  Hans Yksin on Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:54 am

Hans smirks

"Now now, it's not nice to drain a new crew members pocket dry with your thirst, Captain. I know from first hand experience. Now, why don't you start? I know you enjoy a good lie every now and then."
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Re: The Screaming Xenu

Post  Robere Eberstark on Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:57 am

"If you are proposing we get absolutely smashed, then I wholeheartedly accept that"

He grabs another tankard hanging above the bar, raises it wildly in the air then fills it with drink.

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Re: The Screaming Xenu

Post  Beric of Goldenbridge on Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:59 am

Seamus turns his stool as to face the other two better. Leaning in, he begins in a low voice.
"Gentlemen, have you ever heard the tale of Hoarst the Black and his crew of Scarred Men?"
He doesn't wait for a response.
"Why, his story began in this very city, where Doctor Hoarst Francis, a skilled young healer and craftsman, sat working in his lab, late into the night. As he hunched over his latest contraptions, limb-like mechanisms for setting bones and tubes with various pipes and needles, he listened to the storm brewing outside his window. It was no normal storm, not that anyone else could tell, for Hoarst was a follower of the Wave Lord, and knew that there was a message waiting for him, so he listened.

Then, in a voice of rain hitting stone, with syllables heavy as thunder, he heard the voice of his God, bellowing in his very mind.
HOARST. I HAVE GRANTED UPON YOU MY HEALING GIFT, SO THAT YOU MAY BRING STRENGTH TO THOSE WHO ARE WEAK, YET YOU TINKER WITH METAL AND WOOD WHILE HUNDREDS DIE RIGHT BEFORE YOU. SEEK OUT A WAY TO SERVE ME CLOSER TO MY DOMAIN, OR FEEL MY WRATH!
For Hoarst the decision was final, for no-one dares disobey the God of the Tempest, so the very next morning he stood by the dockside, offering his services to any who would take him on board.

By some stroke of misfortune, the doctor found himself aboard a rather unsavory vessel, riddled with damp and mold, infested with rats. Half the crew were low-lives, dragged onto the ship once they were too drunk to walk, the others tricked by some promise of gold and glory spoken through lying teeth. At the crew's command, a mixed group of cheats and scoundrels, some as weedy and grimy as the maggots that crawled through the rations, others with skulls as thick as the mast, but they fed the Doctor well, for none wish upon themselves the Wave Lord's fury.

After several weeks of voyaging, docking in Shuru to pick up 'important cargo' and more crew to replace those lost overboard or to scurvy (although Hoarst was mostly keeping on top of that), the ship found itself passing through the Southern Isles, an archipelago known by many different names, most of which quite accurately describe the foul nature of those who sail their waters. It was here that the tensions building in the crew reached their peak. At the fall of dusk one night, as Hoarst was making the rounds, looking for the sick and badly injured, a man rose to face him. Clutching a sharpened fragment of metal, he lunged at the doctor, the point sinking into his stomach. As he pulled back for another attack, he heard Hoarst chanting, an ethereal glow forming over his flesh. He stabbed and stabbed, but the blade merely bent and blunted on thin air mere inches from it's target. In fear he ran out onto the deck, not knowing what to do.

Hoarst knew exactly what to do. Still chanting, his eyes shining blue as sapphires, he gripped his hammer, and the winds, previously calm, picked up about his silhouette in the moonlight. Raising the hammer up to the heavens, he shouted out in a voice like the waves crashing against the shore;
BY THE MIGHT OF THE STORM AND SEA, I CHARGE YOU WITH MUTINY AND SENTENCE YOU TO DEATH!
The wind whirled around him as he launched the hammer toward his foe, lightning crackling around it, leaving a burning white trail in its wake. It connected with a crash of thunder, as the poor crewman was sent hurtling off the side of the ship and into the sea.

However, all was not well, for while Hoarst had been taking his vengence, his anger had blinded him to the chaos brewing below decks. The rest of the mutineers burst onto the deck, their leader cutting the Doctor down with a cutlass slash across the face, and for Hoarst, the sound of screams and battle cries sent him into a blood-drained slumber."

[Second half inbound this evening]
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Re: The Screaming Xenu

Post  Beric of Goldenbridge on Wed May 01, 2013 5:55 am

Seamus pauses for a moment, taking another drink from his tankard, and continues.

"When Hoarst awoke he was alone. A stabbing pain filled his left eye, locking it shut. He opened remaining eye and immediately slammed it shut as blinding light filled his vision. Had the gods brought him forth to be judged? Was he being punished for his weakness and inability to combat the mutiny? As he lay there, all was still. All silent. Except... A familiar sound... What was it? Steady, soft, tranquil as the ocean....

The ocean.

Hoarst opened his eye again, this time slowly, and saw that it was not the blinding light of justice, but the sun and open sky above him. Staggering to his feet, he surveyed his surroundings. Before lay a small island, mostly sandy beach, with a rocky cave built into a grassy rise at the centre, a lone palm tree sprouting from the top. At his feet the sand was stained dark red, and a familiar smell greeted him: blood. Reaching up to his left eye, pain seared through his flesh, tracing out a wound running from forehead to jaw. Also about him lay his belongings, scattered among other large, cloth-wrapped shapes. He considered opening one, but Hoarst was a Doctor, he knew what corpses looked like.

Dragging the bodies inside the cave, as to avoid them spoiling in the sun and causing an unbearable stench, he opened the first one's wrapping partially to confirm what he already knew, that these were the bodies of the high-ranking crew. After doing so, Hoarst gathered his belongings and set about cleaning and sealing his wound. It was a rough job, for he was using only a pocket mirror propped up in a small crag and had lost a great deal of blood, so he was left with a jagged scar running down his face. Once the bleeding had stopped, he sat at the cave entrance with his holy symbol drawn in the sand before him, for his own pendant must have been lost or stolen in the chaos of the mutiny, and prayed.

For near on two weeks he prayed, never sleeping, pausing only to sustain himself with fruit of the palm tree when hunger became unbearable. After the first week the fruit was gone, and Hoarst was left with no choice but to eat the flesh of the dead to survive. They say the meat of men is poison to the mind of those who consume it, and it must have had an effect on the Doctor. Soon his prayers, first pleas for strength, rescue and forgiveness for sins, turned to vengeance and anger. Now this broken shell of a man sat alone in the darkness, cursing the names of those whom he had healed, brought back from death's edge countless times, who had left him for dead for they had not even the strength of will to slay him as he lay unconscious on the deck of that cursed ship.

However, Hoarst was not alone in his lust for revenge, for deep within the cave lay a chamber, a site of great natural power where shamans of the island tribes brought their sacrifices to draw upon dark powers. Deep below the earth, the spirits of the dead writhed in turmoil, willing for nothing but revenge on the world that they were cut off from. But now there was something new, a mind focused on the very same thing, a mind that held great knowledge, a way out...

And so it was that one night, as the moon and stars filled the black cosmos, and Hoarst sat with the rotting arm that would serve as his meal, that an idea struck the young Doctor's thoughts. Could it be possible to use his healing gift to restore life to dead flesh? To drive out rot and stave off decay? He had no idea whether it would work, but he had to try, so try he did. He poured magic into that hand, chanting to the gods, to himself, to anything that would listen, until all his power was gone. But the magic did not stop flowing. Something had heard. Something old, something with access to vast reserves of energy, something with nothing but a single purpose - revenge. As the magic flowed into the flesh, a spirit went too, taking control of the hand and clenching into a fist.

Hoarst was taken aback. This was not the movement of life, nor was it the brainless clawing and shambling of the undead. This was methodical, like gears turning, like the engineering Hoarst had spent so many years perfecting. And so he put that knowledge to work, cutting out the worst of the mould, stitching flesh together and fastening bones into place with various medical equipment, attaching weapons if hands were missing. Now, with his small force of mindless, misshapen men, Hoarst waited once more.

I wasn't but a few days later when a ship drew near the island, an elven vessel blown off course in the first storm Hoarst had seen in weeks. He took this as a sign that the Wave Lord approved of his actions, and sure enough, the boat came to rescue the poor Doctor, aged greatly by the malnutrition and thick black beard that covered his chin. They lifted him and his companions aboard, feeding him, giving him water and warmth. But when the other 'men' ignored the food, the elves began to worry, especially when they saw the dead, blank gazes in their mismatched eyes.

They drew back their hoods, revealing a hideous scar on each of their faces, the same scar that Hoarst was left with that fateful night, and they cut down all on the ship, feeling no pain, stopping at nothing until every crew member lay dead before the new captain, Hoarst the Black. That night he set sail for Shuru, where he knew he could find word of the men who had stuck him down, as the Wave Lords storm winds filled the sails of the ship, driving the Captain's revenge ever onward. He took the corpses of those elves who had been slain, stitched them together, brought them back to serve as more of his thralls, once again marked by the scar, raising a force of unfeeling soldiers to bring death to those who deserved it most.

The information reached Hoarst almost as soon as he made port, tales of a ship led by inexperienced crew run aground by strong currents in the night, survivors washed up babbling about mutiny and the wrath of the Storm God. The stories spoke of a leader, paranoid and scared, a man who matched the description of he who wounded Hoarst and left him for dead. Hoarst followed these rumors, and soon word reached this man that he was being hunted, hunted by a crew of scarred men who cut down all in their path, making their foes into unthinking automata. He ran, and sailed and hid away, but soon his actions led him into the arms of the law, and he was locked up behind stone and bars.

Every night he prayed for forgiveness, for peace of mind and for a quick death, but nothing answered. Until one night he sat awake, for sleep does not come easy to the paranoid, and listened. From the hall outside came the echoes of footsteps, an uneven thudding of mismatched feet on stonework. The gaoler, an old man with a false leg, opened the cell and found the man hanging by his neck, flesh over his left eye gouged open, his cracked fingernails bloody and dripping.

Hoarst never took his revenge, but he still roams the waters, after decades of hunting, nothing left of the man he once was but the hatred and lust for murder, most of his original flesh gone, sewn over or replaced by his enemies', only recognisable by his thick black beard and scarred left eye. So heed these words and remember, the judgement of the gods is not always swift, but you can be sure it will destroy you utterly. Piece. By. Piece."

Seamus slams his tankard to the bartop with these last three words, the noise booming throughout the now quiet tavern, and he awaits the response of his peers.
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Re: The Screaming Xenu

Post  Scribbler on Wed May 01, 2013 6:21 am

[ affraid Nice. Wonder if Syuzie's heard this story. tongue ]
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Re: The Screaming Xenu

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