Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

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Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Dungeon Master on Sat Aug 16, 2014 9:10 am

Spoiler:

It all started back to Emperor Trajan and his war with the Parthian foes whom had spanned farthest enough to nip contact with the Indians and had come to barter for knowledge they kept close dearest enough to be a secret guarded without any to know of it, works of which remaining best undisclosed as the society that watched deemed it so. It was far too dangerous as the Brethren of Azura Mazda kept guard in their vigil, even as their mountainous fortress withstood a siege by Emperor Trajan's forces in a forlorn battle that ultimately spelled doom, and the complete destruction of the society that stood guard of the many secrecy found and brought back for safekeeping. Though it is only but one of the many Brotherhoods under the Parthian King's own acknowledgement and support that perished, that still the damage inflicted found itself scathing. The Romans had burnt down their fortress, and had taken what leftover loot they could muster with them, among which was a scroll that sparked the interest of a Legate. The series of event that'd follow could not be said for certain, but after finding itself exchanged past many hands, often with the previous holder dead, some say assassin, and others say by something nebulous, perhaps the wrath of Nemesis, eventually, it had found its way within a building of worship to the Catholic religion which sees itself serviced by only one elderly priest in centuries time later to the present era.

The only clue left was an allegory left behind by one of Trajan's Praetorian Guard, making for a recorded account of possible locations of where the looted remnants of the former fortress's many contents were taken, among which names a location near a desolate region where no greenery grows, dismissed ultimately by many as a rambling of a mad man weary of war and a hoax not to be taken as anything of serious note, as it is speculated to be but a guess, with some phrasing of dubious nature that pandered it even metaphorical to some scholars.

But how wrong they were, as the building indeed stands erect, innocent and unassuming almost, and often mistaken for but a simple Church, built on top of a dusty arid sands, a circular clearing of desert surrounded by thick foilage and an abundance of trees around, unheard of and yet tended by a lone priest inside, one story tall, and seen kneeling himself before a statue carved to be fashioned after Emperor Trajan himself and his likeness, making for prayer in his native Gaelic tongue. A dusty old man whom seemed ancient and withering, brittle in body all over with milky eyes as his frailty speaks length even past all that loose priestly garment. It was the only room in the Church that was a place for worship, no rows of chairs, no altar, only a room with drapery of red emblazoned with a Celtic Crucifix, and his own room where he may tend to living necessities best left untold of its contents. The entrance into the Church would bring whomever so enter directly behind the priest.

"Un mawr, sicrhau hachub i hen ddyn yma oedd yn tueddu i chi hir. Rest Rwy'n haeddu fwyaf, gwadu am gymaint o amser... Yr wyf yn dymuno rhoi terfyn ar yr holl lafur hwn a adawodd i mi frau gydag oedran. Mae wedi bod yn rhy hir, ei fod yn gyrru fi wallgof." A frail voice croaked out with great labour each word from his raspy throat, the priest making for his prayer in a tongue little speak of in these parts in England.

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Almos Lorand on Sat Aug 16, 2014 7:48 pm

In life, there are bound to be countless frustrations and small failures. However, depending upon the path that one takes, eventually a certain category of frustrations rises above the rest to serve as deep metaphysical scars. For the vampire Almos Lorand, those scars were carved deep into the pit of his stomach with each and every failed expedition he embarked on to find a proper source of pagan power. There were trinkets here and there of course, scattered among the baseless rumors and outright forgeries, but none of his finds yet had been able to meet his needs. What he needed was a proper weapon with a deep, direct connection to a well of power comparable to the Christian God Himself. Only once he was armed with that, could Almos truly wage direct war with the Earthly agents of Heaven and beyond. Every wasted effort dragged at him while simultaneously bolstering his reserves of power, fueling the rage from which his true might flowed.

His latest object of interest was a particular scroll dating back to the Emperor Trajin. Tales of madness and murderous betrayal had followed the scroll through the shadows of history leaving a long trail of bodies in it's wake. After leaving a respectable amount of blood in his own wake to get this far, Almos was finally walking up the stone steps of the structure where his prize supposedly waited. Pressing his pale hands against the wooden doors, a gentle push sent the heavy pieces of lumber swinging inward to herald the vampire's arrival. A large fur lined jacket hugging his shoulders over his normal attire, Almos casually strolled towards the chanting old man. Drawing upon his old training as an exorcist, Lorand was quick to recognize the language as Gaelic. Though not as fluent as he used to be, if pressed the vampire probably could have managed a conversation with the old man using it but then again, he had little intention to make the old priest feels at all comfortable.

Pausing twenty feet from the kneeling man, Almos cocked his head to the side a bit, his crimson eyes sizing the elderly gentleman up. "Evening old man. I've come for the scroll. Be a dear and point me to it will you?"

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Dungeon Master on Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:15 am

For a brief moment the man had remained unmoved and unceasing of his trance-like state muttering many oath making and other sacraments in his native tongue. It would be a long drawn out while in spite of the newly filled hot air that filled the cold, damp stony inside of the room, he would rise. His brittle legs shook and he laboriously tried to retain his sense of balance to meet the guest that would have been marked as the first visitor in quite a long time, if not seemingly an apparent eternity to the aged and ancient priest. His crooked and withered features were unveiled when he spun around to face Almos, the sun-haired blood eyed being that he had barely made out in a blur of his sight aside from apparent radiance, without realization of a nefarious idea of what lay underneath that mask of his, a monster in the shape of a man, formal cordiality tinged in sheer lack of respect despite the tone, the air of confidence and friendliness hiding behind it a malicious beast gnarling with hostility. None seem to befall his decayed senses that long seemed to abandon him, instead, he rose both eyebrows to the frankness of the man.

"Daw ffwl gerbron y doeth. Mae ei llwybr yn cael ei mired yn unig mewn ymroddiad llinellol yn y pen draw yn dod i ben yn ei farwolaeth anochel." He muttered, clearing his throat, as he slowly spun around facing Almos, stepping towards the vampire till half the distance dwindled. His unassuming appearance showed truly for all senses that would lick him into realization of what he is, would be human in smell of blood, human in the sound of olden muscles tensing behind dermal layers, he reeked of vulnerability even more so than the sheep most vampires are accustomed to hunting or interacting with. "...You must speak louder of your specific intent, young boy... my hearing is not what it used to be..." He rasped in his thick accented English, "A scroll, a scroll you call out for... but what scroll are you requesting, lad? There are... many in this Church, as ill tended as it may be." He rose both hands, gesturing for the door, "Close the door, the draft will go out and the heat would go in, would you kindly?"

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Almos Lorand on Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:54 pm

Cocking a brow at the old man's sudden shift in language, Almos returned a somewhat predatory smile. This was going to be far too easy. The old buzzard before him could barely stand, every breath seemed to labor upon the old man's body as he crossed the distance towards the vampire and if he had any sort of clue as to Almos' vampiric nature, he'd chosen not to act upon it. However, that was a bit odd come to think of it. Frustrating as they might be, Lorand had never once considered the clergy to be a pack of fools. If the scroll that he was after had any semblance of true power to it, the Church (at the very least this old man) would have sensed something by now and taken proper precautions. This though, was far too much like a baby lamb willingly climbing into the jaws of a wolf. Furrowing his brows for a brief moment, Almos sent a cursory glance over his shoulder at the gaping doors before returning his gaze to the old priest. His smirk once again in place, the vampire smoothly shrugged out of his fur coat and let the garment fall to the floor. Among the thousands of nosferatu slaughtered by the Church over the centuries, Almos had beaten the odds by surviving this long and he had done so due to one simply fact; he never gambled when he could help it. Some might have called him paranoid. Some might have called him a coward. But then again, most of the people who held such opinions were dead today for holding them.

"I think I'll leave it open. Brings in a nice breeze don't you think?" he said, slowly raising his left arm to casually gesture towards the old man from the him, his palm open and facing upwards. On the surface it was a nonthreatening gesture, almost placating. However, from this angle Almos had just the right angle to bring his beloved Enkidu into play without alerting the old man beforehand, his sleeve still positioned to fully hide the cursed chain from sight. "As for that scroll, it was taken by Emperor Trajan himself. That narrow things down enough for you?"

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Dungeon Master on Mon Aug 18, 2014 5:10 am

The man wracked by age had given a brief gaze towards the fur coat thrown to the ground, and sighed at the abrupt rudeness displayed by the visitor he had considered naught but a man witless in the art of manners, but did not come to express that opinion as he retained the air of modicum cordiality about, and elderly wisdom. A sharp contrast to Almos before him, the young wearing clothes singing vanity, whereas the elderly priest wore a modest robe though curiously missing a cross often worn by servants of God. Still, the name uttered, one so familiar to him had illicited a reaction not of surprise but of something colored with experience, a nonchalant stare at Almos, looking him up and down as he once again lets loose a sigh. His lack of manners was most troubling, a paradox to the placating palms pointing outwards that he did not consider in great stride but that of strange gestures.

"...Yes... very clearly... and your efforts are to be commended, young man, no... not young. Youth is but relative as..." His eyes glimmered milky glint as he took a more educated guess at the vampire, "...yours is only a veil of deceit playing at something you no longer are. But a boy nonetheless fighting a desperate war... that your success will not come as you are limited to only this world... who is to say? Time will tell... Almos Lorand. You are not the first to seek the scroll... and perhaps should you fail, neither the last... I pity you in this path of delusions you take."

Again, he gestures for the door to be closed, "But I digress, you may think me an unbecoming host... but I will be nothing of that sort. Would you kindly close the door...? I insist on it... do so, and your quest will find itself revealed before you... Bendigedig fyddo tad goleuedigaeth."

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Almos Lorand on Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:20 pm

It wasn't beyond the realm of the expected for the old man to guess he was a vampire. The former monk had never taken any steps to hide his unnaturally crimson eyes or even the fangs within his mouth. To the informed observer it was certainly a reasonable conclusion. But the old man had taken a giant stride beyond that. He knew his name of all things. How was that even possible? Almos had taken great pains to ensure that evidence of his human existence had long since been burned to ash meaning that the only explanation was some form of supernatural power. Perhaps a form of mind reading? A holy variation on the vampiric third eye? Frowning, Almos decided to give up on the pretense of sociable conversation for now. Poking around in his past was a surefire way to get on the vampire's bad side.

"Careful how you throw around the word deceit, old man. Liars are one of the few things I won't abide, whether of this world or any other," he exclaimed, his tone dropping an octave in unconscious anger. Mentally restraining himself, he settled his right hand upon his hip and reevaluated the priest before him, searching for additional signs of the supernatural. "Neither your pity nor your abilities as a host mean anything to me. What concerns me is that you have a vampire before you demanding a relic but the only thing you're concerned about is closing the door." His left hand still extended, Almos beckoned the priest into action with a subtle wave of his hand. "Give my the scroll before I decide to indulge myself and rip the information from your still beating heart." With that, Almos' smile was back in place, driven by the pleasant mental image of pulling the old man apart piece by piece.

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Dungeon Master on Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:42 pm

And seemingly beyond his senses, none of the bloody feral reek of werewolves was present upon the old man, neither the nauseating crystalline scent of the holy of those so attuned to the grace of the Church, and not even the heady musk of allure that comes from vampires. It was but the draw of mere humanity that occupied him and nothing more despite what probing was done to feel what presence to emerge from the old man's very being that stood ever so frail and brittle before him, even his eyes blind with only a vision blurred, as all the signs point to it given its milky iris, had done so to give the impression of Adam's heritage filling him. And still, the priest stood without an ounce of fear to that dip of tone for something murderous and guttural that bellowed out in the oh-so-obvious new found bluntness in Almos.

"Calm your temper, my son. The scroll... I cannot give. Not to you directly, not by my own hands. That is only to be attained... through the fruits of your labour alone, such is the oath sworn by the very foundation, and such it shall be." The elderly man explained as his voice shook from having used his vocal cords in a long time more than the more melodic hymns he is used to, shakily raising his hand in a gesture to the door once more, "Vampirism is but an affliction... a disease... it does not make you damned for all can be redeemed, that is what I believe... even as you posture yourself powerful, I pity you, former man of the cloth. The information... and the scroll, will be yours, but once more... I insist you close the door. The relic cannot be attained otherwise... if you do not fulfill the condition that be of 'her's'."

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Almos Lorand on Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:54 pm

The vampire took a deep breath before exhaling softly through his nose in order to fully calm himself once more. Rage was a useful tool but only once it had been tempered into a more cooled and controlled form. Allowing himself any more outbursts against the old man would simply be a waste of time and energy. Slipping his hands into his pockets, the vampire sighed and calmly turned on his heel to walk towards the door. With his third eye tuned for potential hazards and his other supernatural senses aimed at the man behind him, Lorand was taking no chances for a surprise attack even as he began to fulfill the old man's request. "I already told you, old man. I'm not interested in your pity. But I am curious whether you would stand between the man upstairs and I."

Running his hand along the old oaken doors, Almos scanned the wood for any signs of carvings or spells that might activate should the doors close. Finding nothing on the door itself or the frame surrounding it, the vampire looked back at the old man and gently shut the door with one hand. "And who might this mystery woman of yours be?" he said, squaring his back against the now sealed doorway.

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Dungeon Master on Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:00 am

That lapse of inattention from his physical eyes as opposed to that within purview supernatural being the trinity of vision, that the third eye had come to encompass in detecting the Old Man, as he had turned to face him once more, had seen not even a lingering presence that was once there his third eye had picked up. Not even a trace of existence of the socialization the two bantered on about things that otherwise illuminated much of Almos's past in happenstance second hand information. Instead, all that remained was a statue, marble as it was, standing tall, bearded and drabbed in a heavily ornamental Greek-style Curiass and greaves, leaned on a sword. All of it marble of course. The eyes of the statue, inscribed below it on the foundation, also of marble, 'Ille qui vult finem, dirigit rapit sua fata habenas.'

Soon enough, the statue shifts back from its position, grumbling out a long moan of weight against the paved floor, streaks of drags accompanying the statue's newfound opening as it unveils a stairway, leading straight downwards into a darkness not even supernatural senses could penetrate or read out of it. An anomaly, light devouring another light in swirls around, in an infinite darkness that sought to devour illumination.

And then the disembodied gravel voice of the statue spoke Latin to the creature of the night so full of wit and caution, that others would fall in his place, he had stood still alive. "Ambulate fructum, qui ausus est ultra super regna. Sed cavendum est; Lituo tribulationes multas, et multi corruentes e. Me tacitum iuvet unguor, tenebris viator. Vtinam tibi optimus fortuna." And so, the statue smoothly invited entry with warning of treacherous paths, laden with doubt and mockery in its voice at Lorand, but nonetheless bids it welcome into the bosom of the 'Church'.

If the door to the Church would be moved, it wouldn't budge. It would become clear Druidic magic binds it shut not from the door itself but obviously from below to the roots of the building's foundation. Beyond the senses of even the supernatural as carvings clearest to Lorand bid him exit should he constrain himself to a Geas of blindness to the place's existence, forever. A condition upon which to be given leave. There was none of the palpable calming air of the Church, but that of something more primal, more antiquated and in tune with nature than the cosmos.

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Almos Lorand on Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:19 pm

"Hmpf, not going to make it easy on me, old man?" the vampire said, looking upon the transformed, or perhaps it was more accurate to say "true", state of the ancient priest. There was no doubt of course that far greater defenses and dangers awaited the former monk down those darkened stairs into the bowels of the "church". However, now that the doors had been closed Almos could plainly feel the potential curse hanging in the air if he chose to turn back now. Based upon the old power coursing through this place, that was simply no longer an option. Nothing that was simply a sham would have earned a supernatural resting place of this magnitude. By far it was the best option he had found to better arm himself against the forces of the almighty. Had he been in this position a century ago, back in the days when his hair and head hanged low, not daring to look up to the skies above, he would have fled from the site and never looked back. But that skittish monk was long gone and his memory only served to further motivate the vampire. Removing his hands from his pockets, Almos let his hands hang casually at his sides as he started down the newly revealed stairs.

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Dungeon Master on Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:58 pm

As he dared closer to the darkness of the stairway, soon enough all light faded out and died as pitch black served to illuminate his path ahead -- all void and naught. For a while it had come to encompass around with shrill shouts of agony echoing about all around Almos, crying for mercy in many tongues long lost to the annals of time, as finally far ahead of Almos a pathway stood alit by light. Actual light, from the pitch dark of no end. A path way, a bridge, with spikes at each edges, and stony faces screaming in fear, pain, confusion and desperation, has come to color the entirety of the location at the flooring. Pedestals rowed along the ledge, each distanced from another with statues of a dozen people in a row of two, opposing one another. Names written held no meaning or special context to those uneducated, but it can be discerned there were Indians, Persians, Parthians, Romans, Samaritans, Britons, Picts and even a Viking depicted in their figures, if not their identities etched in the plaques below on the foundation where each stood in their respective raiment of the time period they belonged to.

At the end of the bridge, hanging over an abyss of black with no ending at the bottom, was a circular flooring surrounded by a wall distanced away and gaping, as the chasm remained between the two in the distance that persisted. A pedestal stood up to waist level, with a tome on the flat surface, bound in human skin and decorated with blackened ribs that run along the tome's spine. As it remained closed, if opened, is written in Eldritch, maddening indecipherable scrawls that despite its effects, can be read clearly. The book itself yearned, aching for every impulse within Almos, unnatural as it was, to be opened and looked at, to be read. To accept the covenant and consequence of such as it was written thus despite the unknown language, if he had dared to delve into his own needs and wants, to look into it.

It reads as follows: 'The Universe is a yawning void, filled with emptiness and the puerile meanderings of sentience. Shall you discard your will thus and embolden your knowledge so with that which none may covet but the single chosen?' The whole reading seemed as if it was not but letters but a speech screeching and overriding the impending and constantly screaming surrounding with that knowledge, that once more to accept or to decline falls on Almos, should he take the temptation had he continued down the path in the first place...

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Almos Lorand on Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:16 pm

As the vampire descended deeper and deeper into the black abyss beneath the church, his hands remained within his pockets and his body relaxed.  Despite his apparent comfort though, Almos' eyes were meticulously sweeping over the endless expanse of blackness searching for signs of danger.  As sinister as the alter up ahead looked, Lorand couldn't help but smile at the sight.  The decor was welcoming if anything, bringing back memories of his studies into some of the darker faiths concocted by humanity over the centuries.  Before long, the vampire was humming along in time with the wailing cries of what he surmised were the trapped souls of the previous adventurers who had visited this place.  Based upon the "statues" lining the pathway to the ancient tome, it appeared as if the old man's warnings up above were far from exaggeration.  

Taking some cursory glances over the edge of the path, Almos let out an impressed whistle at the apparently endless void below.  Could be an illusion of some sort or maybe even a pocket realm.  I'd rather not roll the dice on it just yet he thought to himself, reaching the end of the path to stand before the evil looking book.  Quirking a brow, Almos craned his neck to examine the full podium.  The stories had mentioned a scroll, not a full book, but that could easily be chalked up to information lost in translation.  Alternatively, this book might just be another step on his path to the greater scroll.  

Removing his right hand from his pocket, the vampire rested his palm on the cover of the book before opening it.  The chaotic, scribbling writing was easily legible but the message itself was troublesome.  Scoffing at the message, Almos returned his hand to his pants pocket and called out into the darkness, not yet convinced whether the power of this place resided in the book or the void itself.  "My will is mine and mine alone.  Your knowledge is preferred but not required in the face of your obedience." The crimson brands across Almos' body began to give off a subtle glow as the vampire began to extend his will into the surrounding darkness.

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Dungeon Master on Sat Aug 23, 2014 5:11 pm

And the book remains silent, if that can be said about the writing, only to glow in response to the man's own attempts to subdue it. The tome itself had known many that were throughout the centuries to be placating, even submissive... but this man of sun licked hair and eyes as red as the blood river itself is of different substance that amused whatever entity powered the tome. His will seeped into the surrounding dark black, and soon enough, it beckoned forth vividness in verdant green to swallow the surrounding realm he stood in whole with a grassy knoll beneath Almos's feet, the miserable humidity of fog that clouded vision beyond a certain distance of a kilometer, forest trees that rowed along in its disparate asymmetry in the face of a paved road from each side and each actually by his side as Almos should be facing the path, and then THEM.

Blowing trumpets, a Legion marched holding forth a symbol. A cross between a P and an X as an early version of Christianity as they marched, each in chainmail, helms, and oval shields with swords by their sheathes in uniforms post-Constantine's time, beating drums and marching forth past Almos on their road, unaware of his presence whilst a priest clearly rode at the forefront on a donkey, an elderly man holding a scroll of sorts underneath his arm by the side of a white thoroughbred horse that was the leader of the 'army' if the ornate armour and lavishness of it was any indication. It was clear he the monk is a Christian as the golden cross indicated whilst it hung from around his collar, and the Roman Commander in fancy armour by his side marched this Century, a hundred men only. Seemingly a dauntless task to fight till...

"Pryd y byddwn yn ymosod, bos rhyfel?" A man with slicked back golden hair in but only blue paint from Almos's flank asked, holding a Briton sword and a rectangular shield at a hand each. It was clear he wore no pants, which is to leave question why he wore none in this miserable cold weather. He cleared his throat and asked again with sudden comprehension filling whomever so hears the words in a language easily understood -- modern English, "Our men are ready to attack at your behest, warboss... only give the word, and we shall attack these corpse worshippers with valorous bravery, as the Druids of the Deep demand!" There were many more painted men, fifty, behind Almos, as they were all painted blue whole, some streaking in vertical lines across normal flesh on the men, and some painted fully in woad. They all clutched swords, gnashing their teeth in anticipation to the ambush whilst remaining hidden underneath the dusky skies, keeping watch at these Romans, ready to die or deal death at only but an order...

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Almos Lorand on Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:10 am

All around him, Almos could feel the ancient presence responding to his own supernatural pressure. Not quite a struggle just yet, more of a professional greeting as they sized one another up. Suddenly, the abyss around his disappeared entirely to leave the vampire standing in fog covered fields of green near some ancient rode traversed by a horde of mounted knights. Not allowing himself to fall into the beginner's trap of tension, Lorand simply shifted his body into a state of heightened awareness, ready for movement at a moment's notice. However, the Christian warriors made no violent moves against him. They did not even acknowledge the former monk who couldn't help but notice the priest carrying a treasured scroll at the group's forefront. Instead, the first to interact with the vampire was an interesting group of barbarians in blue war paint evidently lying in wait for the passing knights.

His initial assessment had been that whatever force was within the scroll was simply showing him visions of its past but the barbarians had specifically addressed him as their leader. That could only mean that this scenario had been constructed around him. Perhaps a test or maybe they really were memories, twisted to include those who had made it this far in the quest for the scroll. Scoffing a bit, Almos decided there was little harm in playing along for the moment. "Warriors! You carry the will and support of the only true power of this land! Your prey lies before you clad in arrogant armor. Go forth as a blade and cleave them in half. Scatter the force and indulge yourself in as much violence as you want. Bring down any man who cuts you down into the bowels of hell with you but bring me the priest alive and unharmed!" he ordered, doing his best to channel the dramatic speeches of Hollywood's greatest generals. Cinematic fiction aside, the strategy itself was a sound one. Sending these barbarians forth in a thin rectangular spearhead to split the larger force in two more easily managed clumps or hopefully flatfooted targets. From there it would become a question of how many knights the barbarians could cut down in the initial chaos before the Christians refocused themselves and surrounded the naked warriors for a slaughter. Then again, whether or not the barbarians survived was of no concern to Lorand. If these shades wanted bloodshed and death he was happy to let them indulge so long as it benefited him.

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Dungeon Master on Sun Aug 24, 2014 5:05 pm

The ambush has come to be executed within perfection as the century moved past Almos from fifty feet away from him without notice, for the fog to have concealed the painted warriors has made their presence an obscured certainty now replete without cover as the order was given out for a charge. The Lieutenant sort of chap, the painted warrior, nods in affirmation to Almos's order, as before him he saw the war boss, and not the vampire for what he was. "Bring the priest unharmed? That weak bag of skin and flesh? If you say so warboss, but I'd rather we flay him alive..." The painted warrior by Almos's side grunted, as they all grumbled but ultimately his speech whipped them up into something of a frenzy. It took but one sword lift up from the lieutenant chap in a well known military gesture for forward to drive them onward in a charge, all of them spread out in a spear headed formation and letting loose a scream as they ran up to the armored column's left, slamming against it from the middle most segment as they created a cleft in the rigid formation the Romans took, dividing them up as their speed came fast when unarmored. Their shouts ruined the complete surprise to the ambush, giving ample time for preparation, but a hasty one which only added chaos to the panicking soldiers.

The Commander turned his head about in incredulity rather than shock at the naked men painted from feet to head in blue, hitting up against his warriors whereas he and the priest were assailed by a paltry stray few. Raising his Spatha after unsheathing it loose from its scabbard, he thrusts the blade from his side from the direction of the chargers, impaling one of the barbarians that came for the priest with but a simple stab to his throat, ending his life, then he would shout loudly, "Forma est, milites! Sume arma muratis!" His harsh voice imposed order to the legionaries, as casualties were clear by that time to be something of around a dozen of the soldiers, the rest had finally managed to lock formations and remain unmoving.

"Legato Marcellus, tueri me ab his diabolicis homines! Hic liber, si caderet, quod omnes peribunt. Equites Ecclesiae... Tu memineris. The priest's shrill voice lets out, taking his mount behind the wall of soldiers keeping the barbarians occupied, accompanied by the Commander with his sword drawn out.

"Nec ignoro, quod suppono, sacerdos. Non morieris in mea custodia." The Commander remarks back to the priest, his eyes raising upward to the forest beyond the barbarians, he locks it to the ever distant Almos 50 feet away from him, now added to an overall 60. From those eyes of his, he saw the Pict warboss, contorting his face into a scowl. His men locked in a stalemate of a combat and yet they dwindled the barbarian numbers slowly but surely... barbarian valour being overridden by a unit's cohesive strength.

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Almos Lorand on Sun Aug 24, 2014 5:25 pm

From his vantage point, the vampire had a wondrous view of the carnage as the overzealous barbarians crashed against the armored knights. Unfortunately, their battle cries had ruined much of the surprise the vampire had hoped for and the knight's commander seemed to be relatively competent, reorganizing his men into a proper battle formation and protecting the priest as well. At this rate the barbarians would be cut down before inflicting the crippling casualties Lorand had hoped for. Rather than sit back and simply watch the shades kill one another, the former monk decided to speed matters along just a bit.

Removing his hands from his pockets, the vampire rested a palm against his chest and invoked one of the dark ritual seals branded into his very flesh. Calling upon the power of Shabiri, Almos shifted the appearance of the battlefield to a terrifying portrayal of the inferno straight out of Dante's famous works. The green grass gave way as steaming, molten rock bubbled up from beneath the earth's crust and before long the black billowing smoke had covered the sky entirely. From the perspective of the mounted knights, that eerie smoke would begin to move in unnatural, strangely sentient ways, taking on humanoid forms as they passed over the barbarian combatants. Deepening the illusion, Almos' imaginary smoke would transform the appearance of his small army into the legions of hell itself. Inhuman charred skin comparable to volcanic rock would take the place of bare, blue painted skin and monstrous fangs would seemingly fill the barbarian's screaming mouths as the lava from beneath the earth continued to flow towards the mounted knights.

In reality, or as close to reality as this strange pocket dimension could be called, it was all a hoax. An immaterial mirage assailing the senses of the Christian warriors to reinstate the sense of panic that Almos so enjoyed. How long would their military discipline hold out when faced with hellish monsters from another plane? Smirking, the vampire decided to take further, more hands on action before finding out. Breaking from his standing position, the former monk darted in a clockwise fashion as supernatural speeds to circle around and come at the priest from the opposite direction of the barbarians. If the old cleric tried to run, he would be escaping directly into Almos' clutches.

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Dungeon Master on Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:21 pm

It was during the span of watching in his observation, short as it may be, the soldiers that regrouped were cutting a swathe through the barbarians with their sharp Roman steel, their mail having saved them from grievous injuries, though it inspired fatigue, nonetheless had made score against the lesser armored men whose only shield was their own, and valour. Both useless to the soldiers that began to regain their morale in a higher climb each as they continued to clash steel, singing songs of metal hitting against metal in a crescendo of battle that took place, shouts bellowed in their respective foreign tongues, oaths were made, curses were uttered, and profanities sputtered out alike.

And then this happened. The mere men, seen as subhuman, undignified and uncivilized barbarian grew in rancorous ways unnatural and sheer abhorrence dripped from every pores to make for a reality that is not theirs, turning these men to what they truly were to the Romans -- savages. The soldiers suddenly saw many faces bearing fangs, crooked with red, black, and leylines of red glowing in their veins as their skins charred akin to the very onyx foundation of volcanic eruptions alike Pompeii was made clear, and rankled the soldiers, especially more so as they felt the heat correspond in override to the snow, infecting them with sudden cold sweats and fear, as the road was surrounded in its two flanks with magma.

And then they cracked.

"Deus meus! Erant 'legionis pugna contra inferna!" One of the soldiers shrieked like a shrill woman, despite being obvious in that he was of male disposition. The ranks soon spread, broke, despite the Commander's insistence on unity and cohesion in his native Latin tongue. Their escape, if such thoughts dwelled and cooked in their minds impeded by the sight of lava, and even then, the smokes left them little visibility, but the soldiers wanted out. It took only the ineffective stabbing of theirs that split open a gash in one of the 'demons' to reveal magma-like ichor to ooze out of the wound, returned to the Roman a stab as if it had seemed no amount of pain would drive them down... and it was correct in that sentiment. They spread out and broke into a rout, fleeing in only two directions. The barbarians chased them down, impetuous to the monk as the glory of slaying Romans was before them, keeping to the task...

The monk on the other hand made chants that illuminated him in a golden radiating aura which broke the illusion unintentionally, as faith empowered him, and likewise to the commander who felt a flood of comfort from the sweet caress of belief to see what was really happening, which paradoxically only brought him dread. Desperate, he'd nod to the monk to go onward the road as opposed to the forests where uncertain demise awaited the two, now that they saw the truth. The Century was broken, and fleeing was their only option.

Instead, as the horses galloped at full speed, and given the vampire had run clockwise, he'd find them running on ahead in full speed, but nowhere near enough to outrun even the lowliest of vampires, whom are renowned to outrun a car. The Commander had stabbed the stray barbarian and two along the way with a thrust of his sword, leaving behind large slits on their throats as they gurgled on their own blood, those two that dared to oppose them, as they had made away for a hasty retreat, picking up distance somewhat from Almos, but more importantly, picking up distance from the barbarians in a gap of now twenty feet, and growing by the second.

(OOC: Exit in three posts if the monk and commander are uninterrupted in their chase.)

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Almos Lorand on Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:14 am

The invocation of Shabiri had gone just as Lorand had planned. The Roman soldiers were well trained and had a capable commander, but their experience was combat against human flesh and blood. Faced with these otherwordly abominations, hardened training quickly broke down into frenzied desire for self preservation. As their formation broke apart, the barbarians once again had a small prayer of victory over their superior opponents.

Whether or not the horde would manage to fully eradicate the Roman soldiers was still up in the air but it was far from the top of Almos' list of priorities. The prize currently being held by the priest was all that truly mattered. The revelation that he'd been trained in some form of exorcism added additional wrinkles to the situation as the priest was able to remain coherent along with the commander and flee down the road. All things considered it was the correct course of action but in the face of the overwhelming rage about to descend upon them, it was still a useless gesture.

Straightening out his path to pursue the fleeing clergyman and soldier, Almos further tilted his body axis forward into a full sprinting lunge. The horses were swift by conventional standards, but it was still nothing that Lorand's vampiric speed couldn't handle. Flashing a fanged grin, the former monk quickly closed the distance between himself and the twosome before lashing out with his left arm. Flashing like a whip of mercury, his cursed chain shot towards the fleeing commander's back. Using the spiked point, the vampire intended to impale the Roman from behind at the base of the neck before yanking himself forward to finally overtake the priest. Ideally grabbing the priest by the neck with his free hand, Almos was faintly curious whether or not impacting the ground after being hauled off a speeding horse would break the clergyman's neck. Only one way to find out...

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Dungeon Master on Thu Aug 28, 2014 6:34 pm

Taking a wayward glance behind one last time to the soldiers, the Roman commander had seen the vicious streak of golden haired monstrosity making smaller distance between he and the horses that carried the two afar with a short and brief surprise as his body turned as much as it could to face Almos, and a chain lancing towards him, unaware of its true nature, he would raise his sword upwards, aligning it sideways in a parry stance, as the chain would streak across the steel's flat side of the Spatha, deflected to the side and away from his neck as sparks came to form across the surface of his sword, before he lashed out his sword at the suddenly leaping Almos despite the great speed displayed, in a peak human reaction only found in veteran warriors, as the blade from the sharpest point struck towards Almos's stomach in an interrupting swing had Almos continued with the yanking motion despite the interruption in a different manner to close distance between him and the priest, if not, the Commander would continue the next action unimpeded, with the Commander himself dismounting his horse in a fluid motion, on foot.

"I nunc, et sacerdotem. Et abominationem hanc tractandi." He said loudly to the priest, whom took this to heart with a tear in response to the Commander's proclamation, replying, "Deus servabit te, fili. Et recordabor hostias." And with that, doing a quick chant, the priest imbues the Commander with holy properties as they radiated orbs of gold, and the soldier's general form began to glow with the resplendent in its illumination as it struck a blinding light, the sword in the Commander's hand taken over virally by a sheen of golden hue as he stood as a general embodiment of the priest's blessing, whom then deigned to leave behind the Commander.

"Veni ad me, et habebat cornua decem. Roma non procedit Filius a officium." The Commander replied darkly, embracing his newfound purpose of allowing the priest a hasty retreat, and perhaps to slay the beast before him, taking a stance where parrying was easiest as he studied the inhuman opponent before him, a parody of the human form with monstrous powers to him he had observed, much to his former dilemma.

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Almos Lorand on Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:16 pm

For the second time in the short while that Lorand had been here, that Roman Commander distinguished himself as a formidable opponent. Almos had no reason to expect that a normal man, let alone a normal man who had just witnessed the impossible, would be able to successfully parry Enkidu on galloping horseback. "Nicely done," the vampire silently complimented as his premature leap sent him careening straight towards the Roman's sword. With his chain having been knocked aside, there was no time to bring it back into play as a means of defense and it was still too soon to use his ultimate shield against a threat as simple as this. No, what Almos needed was a way to neutralize the Roman as quickly as possible before the priest could escape with the letter.

Lips peeling back into a wider smile as the vampire mentally steeled himself, Almos beat back his body's reflex towards self-preservation and allowed himself to land squarely on the point of the Roman's sword. The short, well kept blade easily drove itself into Lorand's stomach up to the hilt. Had he still been but a mortal man, the former monk would have been driven to fatal shock almost instantly. Unfortunately for the Roman, Almos had long since left behind his human limitations and would not be deterred by such a conventional blade. As the blade submerged itself among Lorand's entrails, the agent of chaos swept his left clawed hand across the Roman's throat, attempting to open the man's windpipe if not decapitate him entirely as momentum continued bringing the vampire forward. While the thrust had been an ideal choice against a human opponent, Almos' lack of defense had allowed him to take advantage of the "high ground" as it were. With the Roman's right hand occupied holding the sword currently burying itself in the vampire's stomach, it would be unable to guard against the clawed appendage currently slashing inwards over his right shoulder.

Though the sword itself would not cause him pain without the assistance of an outside blessing, torn muscles in his core were still a reality that would send the vampire tumbling into a tuck and roll as his momentum carried him past the Commander regardless of whether or not the sword remained in his torso or not. "No time to waste!" Almos reminded himself as the sounds of hoof beats still resounded in his eardrums. The priest was still trying to escape. Gritting his teeth, Lorand flicked his left arm forward once more to send Enkidu whipping towards the back leg of the priest's steed. A sudden tug would hopefully send the beast and clergyman crashing to the road and buy Almos the time he needed to close the hole in his stomach before claiming his ultimate prize.

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Dungeon Master on Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:14 pm

The Commander had served years in Britannia, having battled the Pict tribes of the North, put down the rebellions in the South, and maintained a general vigil against the likes of banditry and highwaymen to secure the roads. On the occasion, having received special missions on behalf of the Church to act out as an emissary, and a liaison, but never in a capacity that was too adversely difficult to a man not member of their order. His was experience born out of fighting at the most, ghouls, the undead, shambling about, not panicking but keeping a rather understanding mind of their slowness, and compiling reports of how to deal with them, including making ditches and setting them on fire from those ditches. This however he was not trained for, to fight a vampire that transcends the very humanity and their limitation through being a monstrosity and a parody against life itself. He stares in surprise to see Almos still drawing breath, trying to budge the sword with both hands to tear against Almos's insides, only to see a blur pass by. It was suddenly moist and warm, and it felt like air was scarce. He inhaled but he got nothing, it only felt warmer, and he gagged. Looking downward, he had seen red leaking out unto his armour, dying it scarlet amidst all that embroidery and engraving, and then he noticed a deep cleft formed on his throat, cupping it as he began making choking noises.

Clutching his throat, and loosening his grasp over the sword, the Roman feeling sudden weight on him as his movements slacked, had faltered and tumbled over to the ground as his horse ran ahead whilst the Commander gurgled and choked, drowning in his own blood, feeling his light fading and darkness replacing it, as he looked onwards to see sword still holstered in Almos, and the demonic blonde monster itself sailing forth past the streets towards the priest, reaching out in vain as there was no way to grab Almos, only to see that his duty had ended with his own grievous wound. "Peremunt inferis belue..." The Commander rasps, his head slacks, closing his eyes, his vision fades into black, and his muscles lease on its tenseness till it all went slack.

The priest on the other hand was not a worthy adversary as his insistence and thought of divine protection was overridden by reality. Suddenly weightless and sailing through the air, looking back he had seen his steed fallen, and then looking down, he had seen himself flying across atop the paved roads as the old man watched in disbelief at this feeling of freedom, this feeling of lack of restraint, the air whipping past his face, sending his priestly garments to flutter and crackle, only to suddenly fall downward, that for all his experiences against the supernatural, he was ultimately the elderly and thus constrained to the limitations of mortality. Falling downward, tilted towards his head, the pressure had seen his head jerk upward from clashing against the floor, twist, as an audible crack followed, with his body rolling about like a ragdoll, limp and without movement. The golden radiance about him faded, and the scroll rolled out of his grasp as it whispered sweet nothings to Almos, yearning to be held, and opened, to be seen where upon nonsensical words would once more come into play, and this time, truly is unintelligible and without comprehension if ever seen in strange squiggles in a language unknown. Semitic from the looks of it though, if not ancient in such origins.

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Almos Lorand on Sun Aug 31, 2014 5:58 pm

With a satisfying yank, the vampire successfully pulled the horse out from under the escaping priest to send the elderly man fatally crashing into the ground. Somewhere behind him, he could still hear the telltale sounds of battle beginning to wind down as the skirmish devolved into further chaos. The former monk pushed them from his thoughts for the moment though as his prize rested upon the ground just out of reach. Permitting himself a low grunt, the vampire removed the Roman sword from his stomach and tossed it aside as he made his way to the fallen scroll. Though the priest seemed to be quite dead, Lorand was not about to take any chances when dealing with a member of the Church versed in exorcism techniques. Keeping an eye on the motionless body, the vampire squatted down and snatched up the ancient document before putting a little more distance between himself and the bodies he'd left in his wake.

Just as before, the supernatural scroll called to the former monk in strange whispered tones. Unlike last time though, Almos was no longer able to decipher the text which appeared on the parchment's surface. Narrowing his eyes, Almos considered his situation once more. This strange vision of the past had yet to disappear even with his retrieval of the scroll. The thought of grinding through yet another vision was tedious at best so Lorand decided to once more attempt to exert a bit of dominance over the power residing within the scroll.

"I've humored you long enough and these games are a waste of my time. Return us to the church now or I'll tear apart this illusion myself."

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

Post by Dungeon Master on Mon Sep 01, 2014 9:34 pm

The Romans fled, Brittonic steel tasted blood, and the ravenous barbarians chased down the heavier and slower Romans in their full retreat with ease for they wore naught but the garments clad upon birthing whence they came. Maniacal oath making and screams shouted out in a mixture of hysteria as the battle drowned out by the distance came to be but a glimmer upon reaching via sound to Almos Lorand. The priest lay motionless without even movement, ingloriously his face cradled the ground and his corpse made for an ornament in the battle, as blood began to seep out of broken skin, pooling around the priest's broken throat and ravaged body.

It was as if Almos's retrieval of the scroll had began to dispel the mirage he found himself in as the scenario around him rippled and distorted, the many amalgamation of centuries worth of history faded away, and yet the road he stood upon, the forests around him, and the grass, the trees, all of that much began to become familiar. It was the route to the secluded Church straying right at the mouth of the building. However, the Church in itself was not to be found, having disappeared from existence, in the wake of its foundation sand most found only in Africa itself, or the desert regions of the Middle East, in the middle of where the Church was built upon, which was in Britannia itself.

There was scarce proof of even the Church's existence and anyone else that what occurred here was of Almos's mind construct, aside from the scroll he wielded at hand which was very much real if not constantly taunting Almos on the foolishness and absurdity of his quest, the ruined ancient Roman road now overtaken by vegetation, and the forests around having grown several feet longer than their original size as the unmolested terrain has flourished in the sight of the lack of human input and deforestation.

Almos was alone, and he has his prize.

[MISSION ACCOMPLISHED]

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Re: Mouth of Ruin (Mission for Almos)

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