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Icewind Dale 2 -- A Sorcerer's Tale.

Discussion in 'Creativity Surge' started by el timtor, May 28, 2005.

  1. Lawless Gems: 6/31
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  2. el timtor Gems: 13/31
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    “Broken Tusk Clan! Slay this dog!”

    A flight of arrows arced over the orc chieftain’s head as he ducked back into the mist. Cyrus Bell dropped, rolling to his right as the barbed shafts slashed through the space where he’d been standing. One just grazed his left hand, making him wince.

    Surprise attack, eh? Fine, two can play at that.

    Blood dripped, puddling on the snow, from his left hand as he raised it. A small ball of fire shot out, its arc the opposite of the arrows. The explosion shook sprays of snow from nearby trees. Cyrus heard shouts of pain, then guttural orcish commands.

    He stood, weaving about himself magics that enhanced his perceptions, quickened his reflexes, shielded his body. The Heart of Cyrus Bell was in his right hand, blade slanting cross-body, point level with his left ear. A shorter gladius filled his left, point forward. Cyrus knew enough orcish to know they were preparing to charge him.

    Index and middle fingers uncurled from the Heart’s grip as hulking forms became visible in the mist-shrouded trees. Cyrus’ will shaped and launched another missile, to blossom into a ravening fireball among the orcs. A wave of heat, scented with burned flesh, washed over him. The sorcerer’s lips peeled back in an unconscious, feral snarl.

    Three orcs burst from the cloud of flame. A trio of small red orbs shot from Cyrus’ pointing fingers, scooping fist-sized holes in an orcish torso, dead legs tangling and dropping the body into the snow. Cyrus’ fingers tightened on his sword’s hilt as he slashed across another orc’s face.

    A fist the size of a large ham punched into the sorcerer’s chest, knocking him off his feet. Cyrus cried out as he felt ribs break. The shout cut off as his back slammed into the snow, losing his grip on the gladius. Tears blinding him, he slashed with the Heart. The blade jarred against something solid, an orc’s leg from the scream and concussion of a body hitting the ground. His empty left hand fanned flame at another shadowy bulk looming over him, causing it to shriek and fall away.

    Cyrus rolled away from the melee, sleeve swiping at his tearing eyes as he struggled upright. No more orcs menaced him. Only one was moving, trying to crawl away, trailing blood from the stump of a leg. Broken ribs ground together as Cyrus dispatched it.

    All right, Torak, where have you gone? he wondered a time later. The bitter-herb taste of the healing draught burned in his throat and stomach as he felt bone knitting together. I said I would gut you as your clan watched, and promises are meant to be kept.
     
  3. Shrikant

    Shrikant Swords! Not words! Veteran

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    Ooh! Good.
    Far better than the normal sword-poked-in-kidneys description of fights :lol:
     
  4. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    What sort of character is Cyrus? He seems to be good at spells and melee.
     
  5. el timtor Gems: 13/31
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    In the game that I'm running, Cyrus is a ranger(1)/sorcerer(6) when Torak first appears.

    Thanks for all your support, everyone. More coming soon...
     
  6. Harkle Gems: 16/31
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    Very nice! :thumb:
    It is interesting to learn what Cyrus thinks - and do those thoughts change during his advenrures.
     
  7. The Irreligious Paladin Gems: 7/31
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    Keep 'em up, el timor. Your concisness, and description shame the best of the wealthiest Wizards of the Coasts authors. Not that I'll mention names-KOFF-Salvatore- KOFF! Excuse me, I had something in my throat, I think it was a little drow.
     
  8. el timtor Gems: 13/31
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    Again, thanks to all for your kind words and support, and I apologize that I only put out these little snippets from time to time. Here's another little bit...

    =====

    “I am Kaitlin. I am the Speaker for the village of Shaengarne Woods,” spoke the young woman by way of greeting. “I bring a warning from Torak. Do not approach the camp.”

    Cyrus Bell’s gaze slid over the top of Kaitlin’s head—the Speaker was tiny, her slim figure barely shoulder-height to the sorcerer. He saw the remains of the village, shattered stone foundations and fallen homes, a few beams poking up like the fingers of a hand raised in a plea for mercy. What hasn’t the Horde touched? he wondered. Beyond was a log palisade, tents visible through the open gate.

    “Well met, under the circumstances. I am Cyrus Bell. Where are the people of your village, Kaitlin?”

    Tears pooled in large brown eyes as she looked up at him. “The orcs have rounded them up and pressed them into service. A dam is being built upriver. At night, they are kept there, in a separate part of the orc camp.”

    Cyrus regarded the second gate she pointed at, but his mind was on something else. Why dam the Shaengarne? It’ll be a month yet before the ice starts to melt…

    “Great Maker!” he burst out, causing Kaitlin to recoil in surprise. “The river will overflow its banks at the spring thaw! The Ten Towns will be flooded, the relief forces cut off!”

    “Yes, Cyrus, that is what the orcs plan to do,” replied Kaitlin, recovering from her surprise. “Freeing my people will prevent the dam from being completed. You must, if the orcs are to be stopped! Please liberate the villagers!” Her tone had changed to pleading at the end.

    “I? I am one man, Kaitlin. How will I--?”

    “You are a mage, are you not? I saw you battle the orcs earlier. Your mastery of the Art defeated them easily. What is a gate and handful of sentries to one such as you?” As she spoke, Kaitlin’s arms encircled Cyrus’ waist, her body leaned in close, and her head came up to look at him. “Too much blood has been shed. You could put an end to all that. I would be...grateful.”

    The thrill that Cyrus felt at having Kaitlin so close faded, quickly replaced by a wave of fatigue tinged with smoldering anger. Help us, Cyrus… Save them, Cyrus... rippled through his mind. Bah. Why do I feel like I’m just a token in an elaborate game being played for someone else’s enjoyment?

    He reached down, disengaged the girl’s arms from his waist, and said, “After dark, I will see what I can do. I make no promises.” Ignoring the emotions that flitted across Kaitlin’s face, Cyrus walked away to find a place to rest.

    =====

    Sneaking into the orc camp was not particularly difficult. Any orcs not sleeping were gathered at the center of the camp, drinking and brawling. The sentries were either asleep at their posts or watching the revelry. Cyrus made his way over the wall and found the wheel that opened the gate to the prisoners’ compound.

    Expecting every creak and groan to raise the alarm, he turned the wheel three revolutions, opening the gate just enough to let him slip inside. He then went back over the palisade. He took a few moments, watching the sentries, casting defensive magics, taking a drink from a waterskin. A deep, calming breath taken, he snuck through the gate into the compound.

    Cyrus had taken four steps when a large shadow rose up in front of him. Several torches flared, illuminating the hulking form of Torak Skullsplitter, chieftain of the Broken Tusk clan. His smiling face showed the reason for his clan’s name. Behind and to either side ranged the rest of his warriors.

    “Hello, little wizard,” rumbled the greenskin. “You did not heed the female’s warning. Pity.

    “Kill them!” he barked over his shoulder.

    “Torak, wait—“

    A flame-tipped arrow inscribed a bright arc, to be blotted out by a rumbling flash that lit up the surrounding woods. A keening wail rose over the bass thump of the explosion, the sound of souls in fiery torment.

    Pain and rage tore a cry from the sorcerer’s lips as the Heart of Cyrus Bell flashed from its scabbard, raking across Torak’s belly, the chieftain’s bubbling roar eclipsing all other sound.

    “Broken Tusk Clan! Destroy the human!”

    Cyrus’ vision exploded into fire, a storm of orange flame surging toward the oncoming tide of green bodies.

    =====

    The gray dawn mists, made darker by smoke from the orc camp, parted to show Kaitlin a battered figure, shuffling through the snow. She thought of running toward the man, but did not.

    Bone-deep fatigue and the salt taste of blood from a cracked lip were the only sensations left to Cyrus Bell. The death of the villagers, the battle with Torak, and the cleansing of the orc camp had drained everything else from him. His many wounds, even the broken arm that hung at his left side had ceased to bother him. He regarded Kaitlin’s worried, yet hopeful face, waiting for her to speak.

    “My people…?”

    “I failed, Kaitlin,” came a ragged whisper from a throat ragged from battle-shouts and acrid smoke. “They are all—“

    “YOU PROMISED!” came her shout as she flew at him. “You said you would save them!” Her tiny fists beat at his chest as she sobbed and wailed. When she was spent, Kaitlin fell to her knees, head in hands.

    Cyrus dropped the contents of his right hand in front of her. “I promised nothing, Kaitlin. Be happy that you yet live, and for you, there will be no more bloodshed.”

    I wish that were true for me, he thought, leaving the girl bowed over the orc chieftain’s severed head.

    [ July 17, 2005, 00:52: Message edited by: el timtor ]
     
  9. Shrikant

    Shrikant Swords! Not words! Veteran

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    Ooh Hell. That was a good post. Sorry no one has replied yet. Will you continue?
     
  10. el timtor Gems: 13/31
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    Sometime in the future. I'll try not to keep everyone waiting too long...
     
  11. Nakia

    Nakia The night is mine Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    I am following this with enjoyment.
     
  12. el timtor Gems: 13/31
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    “Cyrus, there was nothing else you could have done,” soothed Emma Moonblade. She poured mead into a cup and passed it across the table, her free hand touching one of his. Outside the forest was peaceful again, the trees silvered by moonlight and snow.

    The sorcerer lifted the cup, drained it, set it back on the table, his red-rimmed gaze meeting Emma’s jade eyes. “Forgive me if I don’t believe you.”

    “Are your tears for the dead, or for the shame of your failure?” she snapped, eyes flashing.

    Cyrus, taken aback by her tone, froze in the act of pouring another draught of mead, his mouth working soundlessly.

    “Death is seldom easy here in the North, Cyrus. I would prefer to think of them as safe in the arms of Selune.” Her head bowed for a moment, then lifted to face him. “My friend Sabrina Fairwynd and I were able to hide many of the women and children of the village when the orcs came. Tomorrow, when you travel to the dam, we will ensure their safe passage to Targos.

    “But now you must be cared for as well. The goddess will heal your wounds,” she said, standing up and moving closer. The firelight outlined the curves of Emma’s body underneath her shift. “And I will tend to your other needs.”

    *

    Enchanted steel bit into wood, and the last support beam gave way with a thunderous crack. Cyrus Bell scrambled up to higher ground as a series of fissures spidered across the face of the dam. Trickles of icy water turned into geysers, followed by boulders and chunks of ice breaking free. A V-shaped section fell away, admitting a rush of water that widened the breach.

    The river swept the Malarite camp away, as if it had never existed. If this had happened in the spring, the whole valley would have been scoured clean, thought Cyrus, suppressing a shudder. He turned to regard the line of bodies behind him, the corpses of the Malarites who had guarded the dam. Even though you were my foes, it would not do to let your bodies be swept downriver like trash. I give you the grace of Fire. Flames leaped from his outstretched hands.

    With the twin glows of the noon sun and the funeral pyre at his back, Cyrus started upriver toward the Shaengarne Bridge.

    *

    A massive bugbear strode onto the bridge, every step vibrating the structure. “Xuki!” it bellowed to a human female standing at the middle of the span. “The dam has fallen, and our enemies approach! Destroy the bridge! I go to report to our master. The Beastlord must know of this!”

    Cyrus crouched behind a barricade at the foot of the bridge, cloaked by an invisibility spell that had allowed him to sneak past the squads of orcs, harpies, and other sundry creatures holding the bridge. He watched the beast take off at a loping run, then turned his attention to the woman. A mage by her bearing and attire, she motioned to the pair of ogres flanking her. These two took up iron-shod cudgels and began bashing at the beams supporting the central span.

    Who warrants my attentions first? wandered through his mind as he dashed up the bridge, still invisible. The lady? Or her two suitors? I so hate having to choose. Oh well, at least I dressed for the ball… Several more weaves encircled his person, ranging from the usual enhancements to agility, strength, and will, to one that turned his skin hard as granite. The Heart of Cyrus Bell rode his right hand, his left gripping a Selunite moonblade he christened Emma’s Kiss , honoring the woman whose gift it had been.

    His decision was made for him when he drew up next to Xuki. Her head came up, along with an arm, palm up in a “stop” gesture. “Greetings, friend,” she spoke, voice a silken purr. “Just one man comes to try to save the bridge? Since you cannot possibly fight all of us, perhaps you would parley?”

    Cyrus chuckled as the invisibility shroud fell away. “I think not, though I find your voice enchanting…” Two arm-long darts of flame shot from his pointing finger to impale Xuki through chest and abdomen, the impact throwing her off the bridge as a screaming comet whose flight ended on the jagged rocks below. Heedless of the shouts of orc archers standing sentry along the bridge, he then turned and loosed a rainbow orb at each ogre, paralyzing both in mid-swing. One overbalanced and toppled off the bridge, the other was helped by a running push from Cyrus.

    A howling Malarite, three-foot claws of green energy sprouting from his arms, charged him. The druid took two swings that staggered Cyrus, then the mage responded with a flurry of blows that left the Malarite prone on the bridge, throat crushed, insides pouring from a great rent in his belly.

    He dashed back to the foot of the bridge, launching fireballs at the forces massing to oppose him, doing terrible damage in their packed ranks. Cyrus spun at the sound of wings from above and behind, slashing with both blades. A harpy shrieked and fell, mortally wounded.

    A surge of electricity rippled through him, bringing excruciating pain. He cried out, fell to his knees, almost dropping both swords. Through watering eyes he saw a line of ten mages, hands gesturing, mouths chanting. He launched a fusillade of magic missiles at the group and was relieved as he saw them wink out one by one. Mirror images. Of course. Getting to his feet, Cyrus charged the pair of real mages, who, with concentration spoiled by the missile attack, were frantically trying to cast other magics. A sidewise slash with Emma’s Kiss felled one, the other being skewered by the Heart as he turned to flee.

    After that, it was only a matter of mopping up the scattered remnants of the horde, though that took the rest of the afternoon. Only a hand’s breadth of sun showed over the horizon as Cyrus tugged his sword from the last bugbear’s body. Several healing draughts chased the hurts from his battered frame as he looked northeast, toward Targos. It will be midnight when I get there, but Emma will wait up for me.

    A smile was on his face as he began to walk.
     
  13. The Irreligious Paladin Gems: 7/31
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    Please, Sir, I want some more.
     
  14. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I don't remember Emma being that friendly when I played the game. :(
     
  15. el timtor Gems: 13/31
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    :D

    I have to plead "artistic license" on that one, HB. I was looking for something that read better than "...I'll keep healing you for 1gp..."
     
  16. Lord Garak Gems: 7/31
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    Post some more on this one, it's good.
     
  17. el timtor Gems: 13/31
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    "Is this not fine weather, my friend? As children in the Snow Leopard tribe we ran barefoot through the snow on days like this!

    "Would you like to run through the snow with me, Cyrus Bell?"

    Cyrus Bell flashed a wide smile at the red-haired Battleguard walking alongside him. "When our mission for Targos is finished, little Barda, I think I would enjoy that.

    "Best keep a sharp eye out for now, though. There may be goblins or worse waiting in.."

    An arrow clanged off Barda's left pauldron.

    "...ambush," quipped the sorcerer. “’Ware goblins, Barda!”

    A quartet of goblin archers rose from behind a line of snowdrifts and nocked arrows, while four wielding axes, supported by two orc/goblin half-breeds, rushed the humans.

    Barda Ironheart roared battle-hymns to Tempus as she charged forward. A streak of flame from Cyrus’ right hand flashed past her, blossoming into a fireball that cleard the trail of snow and archers.

    Blood and snow flew everywhere as Barda crashed into the oncoming greenskins. Her two-handed war axe swept left, then right, felling multiple goblins with each sweep. One escaped, only to be chased down, picked up bodily, and have its back broken across the Battleguard’s armored thigh.

    Cyrus, blades in hand, intercepted two more goblins coming in on their left. A double slash cut down one goblin, but the sorcerer lost his footing and fell headlong in the snow.

    The surviving goblin raised his axe to chop at Cyrus’ exposed back, but suddenly stiffened, dropped its weapon, and fell alongside the prone sorcerer. Cyrus turned his head to see two arrows buried in the corpse’s back.

    “Cyrus!” Barda ran to his side, grabbed the collar of his robe, and hauled him to his feet, spinning him round to face her. Not the sharpest axe in the weapons rack was often said of Barda, though not within her hearing. “Speak to me! Are you hurt?”

    Only my pride, thought the sorcerer. “I’m fine, Barda. I’ll have to thank whomever shot those arrows—“

    She pointed over his shoulder. “Maybe it was that woman over there...”

    [ December 08, 2005, 00:36: Message edited by: el timtor ]
     
  18. Shrikant

    Shrikant Swords! Not words! Veteran

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    :lol: With every post it goes further from PG13 :lol: It's been months since the last update. Just had to take a break from goblin killing, eh :shake:
     
  19. el timtor Gems: 13/31
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    Just a bit of innuendo was intended, nothing more. Being mindful of my audience, I made some minor dialogue changes, just in case...
     
  20. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Keep up the good work. :thumb:
     
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