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Icewind Dale 2 -- A Sorcerer's Tale.

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

  1. Cirrus Gems: 5/31
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    No updates for eight months!!!!!! I'm dying here!!!! You have a following... Are you just gonna drop us like that? :) I'm really looking forward to further installments.
     
  2. el timtor Gems: 13/31
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    Icy dawn winds lashed the cliffs above Targos, howling through the empty streets of the town and piling snow in man-high drifts across the face of the Targos Wall. The sentries on night watch posted about the top of the Wall clutched spears with numb fingers, pulled their cloaks tighter, and stamped their feet in a vain attempt to keep warm. More than one looked out toward the field fronting the Wall and wondered about the sanity of the man standing out there alone.

    Cyrus Bell stood at the center of a group of practice targets, little more than logs crudely hacked into the size and shape of a man. A cluster of three stood ten paces away at each cardinal point, while single targets occupied each ordinal point five paces from center. This curious grouping occupied a spot a bowshot or so ouside of the Targos Wall, near the road that ran to the Shaengarne Bridge. The sorcerer faced north, eyes closed, arms at his sides, unmindful of the wind that drove snow like little needles into his face, that whipped and snapped his cloak about his body. He whispered a mantra that the wind whirled away as quickly as the flying snow.

    "I am the Weave, the Weave is I.
    In the Weave there is no form,
    No emotions, perception, or consciousness.
    No ignorance and no ending of ignorance,
    No old age and death and no end of old age and death.
    No wisdom, and no attainment.
    As there is no attainment, there is no obstruction in the mind.
    As there is no obstruction, there is no fear."

    At the last word, Cyrus' eyes snapped open. Weaves that armored his form, that enhanced strength, agility, force of will and personality fell into place with but a thought. His cupped hands went up to waist level on his right side, caging a small blue orb. The sorcerer then stepped forward with his left foot, extending his arms forward at shoulder height. From his opened hands exploded a cone-shaped blast made up of innumerable shards of ice that froze and shattered the northern trio of targets. A turn to the left, and the three dummies to the west met a similar fate.

    Cyrus spun in an about-face, left arm swinging wide in a sideways throw, right arm extending foward pointing toward the easward trio of targets. The nearer, single targets were struck by a volley of red bolts, three to a target, while the far trio were enveloped in an expanding globe of arcane fire. The south three targets were struck by a second fireball when the sorcerer turned to his right. A cheer from the Wall sentries, made faint by wind and distance, reached Cyrus' ears as the explosions lighted the gray dawn.

    One more weave manifested, and Cyrus' movements were a blur as he drew two swords, turned, and charged the single dummy standing at the northwest position. A double strike, then a rush to the southwestern target and repeat. Both dummies showed hits that, had they been living men, would have crushed ribs and opened bellies. A last sprint brought him back to his starting point.

    Cyrus turned full about, surveying his handiwork in the light of the rising sun. He shivered as his weaves sloughed off his body, his stomach growling as it announced its need to be filled. His name, borne on the wind, came to his ears. Shawford Crale stood within the Wall's main gate, summoning him. Standing at his left was Ulbrec, Lord Mayor of Targos.

    My master's voice, thought Cyrus with a smile. I wonder what he will ask me to do THIS time...

    *

    "We must make another attempt to contact the Neverwintan and Luskanite forces," spoke Lord Ulbrec, seating himself behind his massive desk. "A way past the river blockade must be found."

    "Not like last time, I hope," replied Cyrus, looking daggers at his patron. "We paid dearly, and received nothing in return!"

    Barda grabed the front of Cyrus' robe, pulling him close and kissing him forcefully on the mouth. "Go!" she shouted an instant later, and the world tumbled as a sweep of her arm flung the sorcerer across the gap separating the sinking ship and the Wicked Wench. He landed hard, breath whooshing from his lungs.

    Cyrus struggled to rise, gulping frozen air into empty lungs. Barda's eyes met Cyrus' one last time, a look of fondness and regret. She turned, shattered left arm hanging at her side, greataxe held high in her right. She buried the axe in a bugbear's chest as its own weapon tore into her side. The stricken vessel heeled over, the icy black waters of the Shaengarne claiming both combatants.

    The sorcerer, howling inarticulate cries, was half over the rail when a pair of arms gripped him in an unbreakable iron embrace. "Ye can't save her!" shouted Herdon Kerdos in his ear. "She's with the gods now. And so will we if we don't break off..."


    The slap of Ulbrec's palm on the desktop ended Cyrus' recollection. "I know that, damn you!" The older man was half out of his chair, blazing eyes meeting the sorcerer's. "I've heard as much from those two priests for losing one of their own, and I don't need a damned mercenary reminding me of it as well!

    "Every man or woman lost in this war is not only one less to defend Targos, but one less comrade and friend. What say you to that, Cyrus Bell?"

    The sound of a throat being cleared snapped both men's heads around. Elytharra, Ulbrec's wife, stood in the doorway, a tray bearing steaming mugs of tea, a loaf of bread, and a slab of cheese held in slim white hands. "Breakfast," she said, putting the tray on the desk between them. She met each man's eye for a moment, turned, and swept out of the room.

    Cyrus bowed his head, realizing Ulbrec had the right of it. "I forget my place, Lord," he replied, struggling for control. "What are your orders?"

    Ulbrec scrubbed his face with his hand, dropping back into his chair. "Sit, my friend. Break bread with me." His voice had lost its anger as he shared out tea and food. He waited until the sorcerer seated himself and had a few bites. "Oswald Fiddlebender will transport you to the Western Pass in his airship. From there you will contact the relief forces."

    Unless the idiot crashes that flying bathtub into a mountain and kills me, thought Cyrus, covering a grimace with a sip of tea.

    "Master Fiddlebender requires today to ready his ship for flight. You'll have that long to procure supplies, and recruit companions if you require them, for the journey. You leave on the morrow."

    "I thank you for breakfast, my lord," spoke Cyrus, placing mug and plate back on the serving tray and standing. "I shall be ready."

    Ulbrec dismissed him, and Cyrus let himself out. The wind had slackened, but a light snow still fell. The sorcerer glanced across the street to the Gallaway trading post. A woman's voice, screeching out orders, could be heard from within.

    Ah, excellent--Dierdre's up and about. Time to wheedle some more supplies...
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2007
  3. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    Nice, really nice. Keep posting!
     
  4. el timtor Gems: 13/31
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    Sorry for the drought, everyone. Real Life took up a lot of gaming and writing time over spring and summer. I hope to have more soon, but with the holidays coming, well...

    I do appreciate the support--many heartfelt thanks go to all of you who have taken the time to read my scribblings.
     
  5. martaug Gems: 23/31
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    el timtor, take all the time you need as each of your postings is like a ray of sunshine bursting through the clouds to bath us in light and makes us realize why we enjoyed the game the first time we ever played it. thank you
     
  6. Cirrus Gems: 5/31
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    Eagerly awaiting further installments.... Is it my imagination or is Cyrus Bell's journey a LOT more entertaining than the journey I took through the game? :) Either way... KEEP IT UP!!!!! :)
     
  7. el timtor Gems: 13/31
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    Cyrus entered the Gallaway Trading Post, shutting the door and stopping just inside to allow his eyes to adjust from daylight-on-snow brightness to the dimly lit interior of the warehouse. His ears, however, were assaulted by a barrage of noise, the silence of the empty street outside shattered by a cacaphony of feminine shouts.

    Two arm-lengths in front of the sorcerer stood Dierdre Gallaway, flame-haired mistress of the trading post, standing nose-to-nose and arguing vociferously with another woman who was nearly her twin. The other was shouting back in equal measure, punctuating with jabbing fingers and waving arms. Dierdre's two helpers were nowhere in sight, likely keeping out of the battle zone.

    What's this--another shapeshifter? ran through Cyrus' mind, recalling memories of the Garradun Tanner-doppelganger he'd fought in the hospital pavillion back when he'd first gotten involved in this madness.

    Dierdre's head snapped round, spearing the sorcerer with a green-eyed glare. "You again! What do you want THIS time, Bell?"

    "Why Mistress Gallaway, is that any way to talk to a paying customer?" Cyrus put a smile on face and voice. "Your ONLY paying customer?" He let those words hang in the air as he met the other's gaze--red hair, deeper in color than Dierdre's fiery orange, eyes a cool, deep blue, a half-smile decorating her face.

    Dierdre looked sidewise at the other, shot Cyrus another glare, then threw her arms up in frustration, turned, and stomped off toward the back office. "Take whatever you want!" she threw over her shoulder. "And take my damnable sister as well!" A slammed door punctuated her statement.

    The other redhead stepped forward, extending a hand in greeting. "Rienne's my name. Rienne Isabet Gallaway. I'm known to be the calm, level-headed Gallaway sister."

    Really? I hadn't noticed. Cyrus took her hand, bowed his head over it. "Cyrus Bell at your service, my lady."

    Her smile widened. "So, Cyrus Bell, if you were to grant my beloved sister's request, where would you take me?"

    Cyrus' eyes flicked to a window--through which a strange gnome cold be seen scurrying about an equally strange vessel--then back to Rienne. Great Maker, I cannot believe what I am about to say.

    "I'm going on a...trip," he answered. "I have a...friend. Who has a...ship. That...flies..."

    Her laughter, pleasant and musical, filled the cavernous warehouse.
     
  8. el timtor Gems: 13/31
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    Birdsong and beating wings filled the cold morning air above the Targos rooftops, the sound of a multitude of winter thrushes taking flight. In counterpoint was heard the creak of stretching rope and the groaning of stressed timbers as something else took flight over the town—a massive teardrop shaped balloon from which a small ship's hull depended. The flight of thrushes parted, allowing passage to this strange new bird that flew among them, before settling back to roost on roofs and eaves.
    The sentries atop the Palisade raised a cheer as the airship swept overhead, bow pointing westward, and to a man they were happy that it was the mercenary sorcerer and his friends that Lord Ulbrec had sent aloft, and not them.

    ***

    “Our situation is not improving!” shouted Oswald Fiddlebender, his words barely audible over the howling wind.
    “Tell me something I don't know!” Cyrus Bell shouted back. “You said taking us higher would get us out of the storm!”
    Several hours after leaving Targos, the clear, sunbright morning sky had changed into steel-gray masses of thunderheads that enveloped the airship bearing Cyrus, Rienne Gallaway, and its gnomish master. Violent winds had tossed the craft about while gale-driven needles of snow lashed its unfortunate occupants. The rigging between balloon and ship thrummed, lightning and thunder assaulted eyes and ears. Oswald had tried to take the ship above the storm, but it seemed to rise with them. To one such as Cyrus, attuned to the flows and weaves of magecraft, the storm stank of dark and malevolent magics.
    “Are we still on course?” called Rienne, voice rising to a screech. “Shouldn't we have reached the pass by now?”
    As if in answer, the next blast of lightning illuminated the massive wall of the Spine of the World mountains and the gap called the Western Pass. But what should have been a passage through the mountain range was completely filled by a glacier, a massive wall of ice that shone spectrally bright in contrast to the rock on either side. The storm now seemed to be driving the airship onward, as if intending to dash the craft against the ice.
    “Can we fly above that wall?” called Cyrus into the gnomish alchemist's ear.
    Before the gnomish alchemist could answer, Rienne cried out, “Look! There, on the wall!”
    Atop the glacier were several dozen figures, armored in what looked like grey ice. They danced and leaped, arms waving overhead, a blue-white nimbus of light building up around them.
    “What are they doing?” shouted Oswald.
    Cyrus' answer was to lay a Skin of Stone weave on Rienne, then Oswald, then himself. His brown eyes were wide with a mix of fear and dread anticipation.
    “Tie yourselves to the railings!” ordered Oswald. “I'm going to try to ground us, and it won't be a gentle ride!”
    As the humans hurried to comply, the gnome reached a stubby-fingered hand for a lever whose handle was wound with red-dyed leather. A small tag saying “Do Not Pull—EVER!” had once been affixed to it, but the storm had torn it away.
    A heartbeat later, the storm vanished, like a soap bubble popping. The dancers stopped, faces upturned and arms thrust skyward. A titanic spear of ice plunged from the sky, tearing open the balloon and angling down to obliterate the stern of the airship in a thunderous explosion of wood and ice.
    Oswald pulled, and the lever broke off in his hand.
    The airship, bereft of the gasbag, plummeted.
    After the fury of the storm and the ice lance's impact, as the face of Faerun rose up to meet them, a single thought entered each adventurer's mind:
    It's so quiet...
     
  9. Kirethorn Gems: 2/31
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    [​IMG] Oh man. I wish I hadn't stuffed up my Sorceress's story so much, though even properly written it wouldn't be as much fun as yours. She travels alone, removing the conversations and relationships.

    You have a gift mate. I'm interested in how you take the ice temple. It certainly poses a...unique challenge as far as writing missions goes. You've got the prism, aeij-klenzart(sp?), the painting, battle room, nicademus, and the three priestesses. And that's once you've gotten inside.

    Good luck mate.
     
  10. el timtor Gems: 13/31
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    Thanks for the comments, Kirethorn. I honestly didn't think anyone was interested in this thread anymore. I haven't played much in the last few months (<cough> Fallout 3 <cough>), though I ought to pick it up again soon...
     
  11. Scythesong Immortal Gems: 19/31
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    Good D&D-ish fantasy writing is hard to find. This was a very good read.
     
  12. Kirethorn Gems: 2/31
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    Hear Hear. Everyone is waiting with baited breath for your next installment.
     
  13. Tillix Gems: 5/31
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    timtor,

    keep it up!!!
     
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