The world was changing. Many denied it, as well they might. How COULD they not? Simpleton and scholar alike had enjoyed an era of peace prosperity, and nobody wanted that stability to end.
Well, maybe SOME did. SOME had never had peace, or prosperity, or stability to begin with. And some, neither simple nor merely scholastic, pursued a deeper truth: the lies that underpinned and propped up the illusion of peace, the façade of stability. Some saw the writing on the wall, and chose not to close their eyes and turn away, but to DECIPHER that dread script.
Before the Death of the Paladin King, the bloody rise of the Empire of Evil, the Rebirth of Dragons… There was just a strange little girl name Izirina Henzler, sitting in the eye of a hurricane that had not yet begin to whorl with its full fury…
And you. Her half-elven rival-turned-friend.
Well, you liked to THINK you were still friends. You’d been estranged this past year, ever since a drug-fueled vision had clued you into a terrible secret, and your unauthorized researches into decades-old records had revealed still darker depths of conspiracy.
Izirina Henzler was no normal girl, but… Something else. Not just a foundling raised to be a magical prodigy, but some sort of… Experiment, or weapon, or WORSE.
Her ‘mother’, the Archmage of Hawksong’s prestigious Mages’ Tower, was party to a sinister plot involving serpentine subversives and advanced biological magics, to uncertain ends and with seemingly malevolent means.
And the only ones who might have had the answers you sought, to learn the TRUTH about what happened twenty years ago and what the Archmage has done and WOULD do, were some outcast goblins dwelling amongst a ramshackle band of ruthless raiders.
The year is 1374 DR. Sixteen years have passed since the Time of Troubles, when the gods were made humble, and forced to wander the Realms as mortals. With the ascension of the mad god Cyric, Prince of Lies, and the recent return of the tyrant god Bane, Lord of Darkness, the future of Faerûn seems increasingly uncertain. It falls to bold individuals who possess an abundance of cunning, might, and determination to shape the future... should they be up to the challenge.
Far above, the clouds obscuring the crystals suspended above the roofless surface world break up, revealing the moon, now shaped like a crescent, and the endless blackness that surrounds it on all sides. Tonight, your deeds have seen both Rupert Tenpenny and Brandt Greycastle removed from the Council of Elders and driven out from Everlund, ending whatever influence they held over the city permanently. In their absence, they will no longer be able to obstruct measures to aid the Eilistraeans, your odd kin.
Whether some new adversary or obstacle will spontaneously manifest to further complicate your quest is a different matter. That said, the taste of victory remains fresh on your lips, and you reckon that you have earned a reprieve from your numerous problems. The dreadful spectrum of evil rays shooting out from the Dreaming Dragon informs that you will not be visiting tonight, but otherwise, the town is yours.
Where to? >The Phantom Knight Inn. I want to rest my head. And legs. And back. >The All-Faiths Hall. I simply feel a need to go there, for whatever reason. >I deserve to be drunk. There must be someplace in this city I can inebriate myself, besides the Stag at Bay. >I will go to the bridge and watch the river for a spell. To catch my breath after the previous battle.
Your daysleep is restless, as it has always been since the fall of Constantinople. You relive this nightmare with more fervent lucidity than usual. Like you were there again. The moon was choked by rising tendrils of smoke. The screams of the Children of Seth running for their lives as crusaders butchered their way into the city. Trebuchets flinging death onto stone and wooden homes. Fire and blood and madness.
You look down at the scene from the balcony of the inn. You feel the fiery destruction pull you in, into rotschreck, but you resist. You recall your roots, the blood. You stand your ground against the fear. You have no need to breathe, but you breathe in deeply, dead lungs wheezing out. You are bound by the night forever.
You steel your resolve. You are a Cainite, a vampire descended from the cursed blood of Caine. You clench your fist. You are…
>Question 1: What is your name and gender: >1. Joseph of Vienna >2. Kalina of Damascus
>Q2: What Strata is your Clan a part of? (Choosing the Specific clan within the winning group will be in the next round of voting. Your strata gives you benefits and a flaw.)
>1. High Clans (Brujah, Cappadocian, Lasombra, Toreador, Tzimisce, Ventrue)
You recall having the best teachers, being taught the ways of the blood like a member of nobility. Intrigues were aplenty, as well as growing a power base. Your sire constantly tests you, somewhere between friend and foe. -You gain the advantages of Status (among Cainites) and Resources. -You gain the Carouser’s Addiction Flaw (Must feed on those who partake in your once-mortal addictions - sex and alcohol)
Lessons on the streets with your peers. Fighting for every drop of vitae. The High Clans look down on you, but as they play in their castles, you have actual experience. You were Embraced and then abandoned by your sire. -You gain the advantages of Contacts (Among the Low Clans) and Allies (from mortal friends). -You gain the Sireless Flaw (Cainites in positions of power are less likely to trust you)
Laying low for survival, or new and on the rise, your bloodline is few of number. However, solidarity is strong among you and yours. Your sire is a good friend and supports you. They may even be your lover. -You gain the advantages of Mentor and Herd. -You gain the Demon-Hounded Flaw (A demonic presence follows you, appearing at odd hours. It sometimes asks for favors, repaying you in wealth and power.)
(Welcome to Vampire the Dark Ages: Athens By Night! I will be giving snippets of our character as we create them in a strange recurring dream. I will announce when voting is closed and when I begin writing. Cheers!)
Historical records preceding the Waking Nightmare indicate that even before Lifting Oil was first refined, Man was using raw Ichor in projectile weapons, though these selfsame records suggest that these weapons existed somewhere between 'curiosity' and 'folly', as they were inevitably only commissioned by individuals wealthy enough to afford the raw Ichor to operate them, and they were near as likely to kill their master as they were his foe, for self-trajectorizing planes had not been developed yet. Interest in these weapons waned once gunpowder came into common use.
<span class="mu-i"><span class="mu-r">Annotation in the margins: Disingenuous or ill-informed? Mundane accelerators from this period were 'follies', in the same vein as Puckle the Elder's guns – but Witchwork wouldn't need planes. Must have existed during this period, no doubt.</span></span>
However, once Lifting Oil began to be refined on an industrial scale in Nemours II 8, interest rebounded. Development was further accelerated once Gorgona Secundus, the first 'whole-oil' Refinery in the Known World was founded in Nemours II 15, and it took only three more years for the self-trajectorizing fléchette to be developed and for these weapons to be described as 'accelerators'. With the singular exception of the head, the look of the war-dart has remained effectively unchanged. Pre-Estrangement head designs ran a gamut; barbs, needles, split-heads, wedges – as well as the bodkin-style, now the Standard of the Imperial Arms. Dimensions were also variable; the war-darts of yesteryear ran larger than their modern counterparts.
<span class="mu-i"><span class="mu-r">Dates are solid at least, but has the writing style changed? Could a Censor have re-written this? If so, what is being censored?</span></span>
In addition to hand-accelerators, prototype siege-accelerators were also developed in this period, but while hand-accelerators were considered viable alternatives to hand-guns, siege-accelerators were considered impractical, if not flatly inferior to the cannons of the time. The first 'whole-oil' refineries were only able to produce up to hundredweight Lifting Oil, so the largest fléchettes could only be a few pounds at most, and even still, copious amounts of the most expensive Oil would need to be used for each dart. Moreover, the design requirements of a self-trajectorizing fléchette are at odds with a projectile suitable for knocking down fortifications.
<span class="mu-i"><span class="mu-r">Another potentially deliberate omission; mundane siege-accelerators were considered impractical, but Witchwork artillery were in use during this period. In his <span class="mu-s">Northern Dispatches, Vol II</span> Nemours II considers naming one of his War-Witches his praefectus fabrum for her bombardment of Sicamber.
The history in this text is either compromised or worthless. Will it be the same for the alchemistry, the instrumentality, the millwrighting?</span></span>
- An annotated passage from <span class="mu-i">On the Manufacture of Wandering Whistlers</span>, a Controlled text from the Imperial Arms
From local cluster to Perseus veil, from galactic core to the furthest rim, sapient civilizations everywhere were aware of the wild variety of events and experience the universe has to offer. Many would seek to find some guiding power or principle behind them, be they taking form of immutable laws, deities capricious or sagacious, strokes of luck or twists of fate, many committed their experiences to expressions of art in its countless forms. Almost all took to accept that nothing is wholly certain when it comes to tomorrow, aside from the possibility of each of them being the last one for the particular perspective.
Virtually all of those civilizations would at some point discover that a particular form of ending swept across the galaxy on regular basis, wiping the slate clean for the next generation of species... this ending has come to be recognized as the Reapers. A fleet of ominous machines hiding beyond the stars, that for motives unknown would periodically return and purge the galaxy of all sapient life.
A coalition of species built around network of Mass Relays, galactic traffic infrastructure now revealed to be about as old as the Reapers themselves, succeeded to rally around common cause of survival, and reaching for knowledge of the countless peoples extinguished in ages past, succeeded in creating and deploying an arcane device that ended the Reaper cycle of harvests once and for all.
You were there when it happened. You were looking at the sky when the story of the universe turned to a new chapter before your eyes.
And so far, you're doing your best to contribute to making it a good one.
You are Henri Ford, special consultant for the Citadel Institute for Xenoarchaeology, captain of a Kowloon class freighter MSV Chariot, veteran and survivor of the Reaper crisis and currently a freelancing adventurer.
And currently you're also waking up into a new day.
*There was fire when you looked back where you were, orange-yellow flame had wrapped itself around the cabin you called home. Your mother pants heavily as she holds you under her arm, carrying you as she bobs and weaves through the dark and dense forest of the Schwartzwald. "Just a bit more, all we need is just a bit more time and-" Snap, the two figures tumble through the darkness down a hill into a trickling creek. "Mom?! What happened are you-"*
*You then saw that her ankle was something broken, bone sticking out like a jagged pillar from her flesh. The fact she is not making any noises of pain, her expression of pale and stock white terror etched onto her face making her green eyes shine against the pitch of night. "Listen to me Marshall. You need to hide, I will distract the men after us but-"*
*"No! Please I-I don't want to....I don't want-" She then cups her hands around her son's cheeks before tears begin to form up. A bittersweet smile on her face, letting him know how he'll make it without saying a thing, she then tosses the boy into a hole covered up by roots in the hillside. Stumbling backwards he hears a man's rough and cold voice call out that they found her.*
*The roots obscure the view of the confrontation and you back up deeper into the psuedo-cave so you are not seen. As you're moving away you hear a howl of agony and something falling to the ground, then there was a gun firing off loudly. Two, Three, Six, Pause to reload, Six more, Pause again, Six once more. A child recognizes the death, and feels a great withering sorrowful pain, a smoldering rage that screams VENGENCE, a vortex of negativity as tears flood down your face and wetten the earth. Family and Home both gone.*
*"Worry not little Marshal" The Voice had said, the warm and primal sound echoed through your head, "We will have a day where they all will pay. While Revenge may be wicked, it is certainly natural."*
Last time, reality distorted in front of your very eyes, everyone but you lost their memories, and now you’re at the Amusement Park to enjoy one thrill ride with a very interesting backstory. This description doesn’t do justice to what happened, but it’ll have to do because the excitement must continue! You have to enjoy the spare time you have together until it’s your turn to forget this all ever happened like a dream or what you had for lunch a month ago.
Vera has rescinded you the right to make decisions without her complaints. The Broller Coaster was really fun, but she didn’t expect you to go from 0 to 100 on the first ride, so she wants to gripe. You’d tell her that she needs to face the consequences of her actions, but after what she did today, you don’t want to touch on those sensitive points. Instead, you told her that this is just the beginning and she needs to get ready to have more fun!
Also, you got a free Shrimp Mask and a Duck Mask. A cool souvenir after the red!
The Lunar Light Amusement Park has a lot more to offer! Better make the best out of it!
<span class="mu-s">What do you do?</span>
>Go to the Haunted Castle! >Go to The Manic Pixie Dream Theater! >Go to The Lovers’ Gravy Boat! >Go to The Cursed Ship of Dave! >Go to The Airplane Furball! >Go to The Dino Carousel! >Go to The under-budget Circus of Magic (formerly Values)! >Go to The Writer’s Pendulum! >Go to The Corpse Whisperer Ferris wheel! >Take Vera home. >Go back to the Motel. >Write In.
You're <span class="mu-r">Tarkhan</span>, the rightful son and heir of <span class="mu-r">Dagur Khan</span> and his primary wife <span class="mu-r">Gura</span>. Your father leads a small horde of nomadic horsemen across a sea of golden grass. And as the sole trueborn son, you are pegged as the successor to his legacy. The golden mantle of Khan beckons, a role you're destined to embrace. In the last thread, you led a triumphant raid against the Baatar Horde, where you returned laden with spoils and gained the approval of your father. In the light of that conquest, not only did you grasp success but also your transition into manhood, killing your first man and bedding your first woman. However, the sweet taste of victory had a tinge of bitterness. The discovery of betrayal by your own flesh and blood, your uncle, <span class="mu-r">Turag</span>, led to his exile, branding him an outcast. A necessary decision, no doubt, but one that came with its own emotional turmoil. You then navigated the delicate dynamics of your extended family, forging connections with your father's other consorts and the half-siblings they bore him. Each interaction was a dance, each exchange a calculated step, drawing them into your circle of trust and allegiance. Now, with past victories and alliances secured, you stand at the crossroads, pondering your next course of action, preparing to carve your own legacy into the annals of the steppes.
It is 2XXX, and a war rages between the armies of flesh, and the armies of steel, and those in the middle.. and you are an agent of a once glorious empire. As the hovership crashed down, Lee Fang let out a little cheer. "They're down!" your companion said. "But not out" you reply, turning around the ATV. As the vehicle was parked behind a rock, you and Lee Fang could see the yardies crawling out of the crashed salvage craft, with the intent to get it into functioning order.
The salvage craft was being seen to by a half dozen yardies. Half of them are armed, and it seems one of the turrets is functional and on the lookout. A single yardie stands above his compatriots. Some kind of glass is embedded in his head, in the shape of a cone. Judging by his stature, and the silent attention of the other yardies marks him as a leader. However, a small hatch in the side of the hovercraft marks it as an accesspoint to the reactor.
"We need to make sure," You say,"They might be joining the other yardies at the point." "So we caught the reinforcements?" Lee chimes in. "Guess, so. Here's what we're going to do..."
You are <span class="mu-i">Nowl-Ahn</span>, a supreme Vitrumite warrior, sent to subjugate a primitive planet they call Earth. It's beneath you, but duty is duty. You cloaked yourself in the identity of <span class="mu-i">Nolan Grayson</span>, a facade, an <span class="mu-i">Omni-Man</span>, a so-called hero to these pitiful earthlings. The very thought makes your lip curl in disdain. Heroes? They're nothing but insects waiting to be crushed under your might. And yet, you play their game, biding your time, waiting for the right moment to strike. Every day, you don a mask of humanity, pretending to care for these weaklings. You even took one of them, <span class="mu-i">Debbie</span>, as your wife. Love? The concept is as alien to you as you are to this planet. To you, she's nothing more than a pet, a means to an end, to blend in among these fools. It's almost amusing how she looks at you with adoration, not knowing the true predator that shares her bed. And then there's <span class="mu-i">Mark</span>, your son. Half Earthling, half Vitrumite. The very idea is repugnant to you. You see the weakness in him, the human side, always talking about protection and justice. Pathetic. He should be reveling in his Vitrumite heritage, dominating, ruling, not playing the savior. But you'll mold him, shape him into a true Vitrumite. He will learn the harsh truth of power and conquest. As you fly above the city, surveying your soon-to-be domain, you can't help but sneer. These earthlings idolize you, little knowing that you're not their savior, but their eventual conqueror. The irony is delicious. One day soon, they will bow to you, not in admiration, but in fear and submission. That day can't come soon enough. In the meantime, you continue the charade. Omni-Man, the hero. Nolan Grayson, the loving husband and father. But inside, you are Nowl-Ahn, the Vitrumite conqueror, and soon, this planet and its inhabitants will know their true place beneath your heel. The thought alone brings a cruel smile to your face. The day of reckoning is coming, and you will relish every moment of it.