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  #1  
Old 05-07-2015
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Grand Unified Theory Grand Unified Theory is offline
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Don't Look Back

"Go."



Gabriel clutched his shield tightly, charging into a full sprint at behest of his superior. He could see the battle standard of the northern barbarians ahead, slowly coming further and further into his field of view. All he had to do was grab it and run back; it was avoiding the wrath of the barbarian hordes that was the hard part. One misstep would result in the utter destruction at the hand of the infuriated nomads, especially if they alerted the nearby tribes to the Banites' presence.

It was as though time began to slow as Gabriel approached the steps of the ruins, barely meters away from the battle standard. The combination of anxiety of wishing to perform well for the Dwarven Dark Templar and fear of failure tormented his mind, drying his mouth and producing a nauseous feeling in the pit of his stomach. He approached the flag, disassembling it from its display stand as quickly as possible, expecting a blade in his spine at any moment. Looking around, the ruins remained suspiciously empty.

"Good. You've got it."

The words of the Dwarven Dark Templar crept up behind Gabriel, throwing him off guard. He quickly turned around to acknowledge the Dwarf, stuffing the banner into a traveling pack with great haste. Without any chance to respond to each other, the two Banites quickly found themselves surrounded by numerous barbarian warriors, jumping from their previously hidden locations into a vindictive stance for battle. Many warriors began to sound horns, identifying the threat in the region for the other nomads. As enemies closed in on all sides, Gabriel and the Dwarf did the only thing they could do: run.



The two Banites began the great escape back down the mountain, all the while numerous horns blasted in the background - the cavalry was coming. Gabriel led the charge down the chilled Spine of the World, holding his shield high in front of his superior and maintaining defense on him at all costs. As enemies began to descend on the two, Gabriel forced an opening through their ranks by bashing the barbarian hordes in the face with his shield, allowing the malignantly-fixed spikes in the metal to do the job for him. The Dwarven Dark Templar responded in kind to the barbarians with several wide arcs of a nightmarish greataxe - showering the pale white snow in blood and entrails. Like the many heads of a hydra, the nomads just kept coming.

The rooftops of Aquor began to poke into the view on the horizon as the two Banites reached a halfway point on the mountain descent. The Dwarven Dark Templar looked to Gabriel; the grip on his greataxe gave his hands a death-white tinge of pallor.

"Do ye need a rest, Thrall?" The Dwarf said half-jokingly, hearing the continued sounds of approaching infuriated barbarians.

"I will fight as long as I stand, my liege. We press on." Gabriel looked back to the previous destruction, aware of the impending war tribes barreling on their location. The Dwarf ordered to remain stationary, intending to use the Thrall as a meatshield in the effort to throw some of the runners off their tracks. If both of them wouldn't make it down the mountain, he would ensure at least one would.

Gabriel followed the order instinctively, taking a fully defensive stance and preparing for the worst. Three of the swiftest of the scouting groups had caught up with the two, led by a female warrior wielding an axe nearly as powerful as the one the Dwarf carried.



The mountains echoed the warsong of the tribesman; a cacophony of pain, rage, misery.. the nomads would have the Banites suffer a hundred deaths for their transgressions. In a pincer-like formation, the groups approached the Banites completely swelled with rage. Several minutes passed as Gabriel focused his efforts on parrying and blocking any blows to the Dwarven Dark Templar; it was now or never his dedication to the Black Hand would be proven.

Using the Thrall - whether it be as ally or an expendable asset - the Dwarf manipulated every advantage in the heat of battle to end at least another dozen lives before the female leader. Gabriel watched in surprise and inspiration as his superior cleaved through limbs like a knife through hot butter. Severed fingers, arms, and even legs decorated the battlefield as though the skies decided to rain dismembered digits like a macabre confetti.

Approaching the leader of the tribesman menacingly, the Dwarf demonstrated no intent to take prisoners back home. With a quick jump into the air, the Dark Templar arced his greataxe behind his head and cleaved the woman down the middle, completely separating each half of the remains. Gabriel's superior looked back to the mountaintops, frothing at the mouth in hatred and battlefury. At the top of his lungs, a curse bellowed from his lips:

"FEAR NONE BUT THE TYRANT LORD!!"

The Dark Templar swiftly kicked one-half of the barbarian leader's remains, causing entrails and other bodily fluids to spill out of the carcass onto the snow. Continuing to slide further, it soon disappeared into a deep rocky crevasse, swallowed by the planet. During the Dwarf's display of terror, Gabriel withdrew the banner from his belongings. Quickly tearing a large piece from the fabric, at least enough to demonstrate what it may have came from, he planted the rest of the banner in the leftover remains of the tribesman leader.



With the mocking, gratuitous display of violence finished, the Banites resumed their escape down the Spine.
__________________
Mhaaj Anderhart, Halruaan thaumaturgist, Withering Lord of the Myrkulites. [* Retired.]
Gabriel Shadesoar - Hated-Errant of the Church of Bane.[* Retired.]


"What is the difference between the master and the beginner?

The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried."
- Stephan McCranie
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  #2  
Old 05-11-2015
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Grand Unified Theory Grand Unified Theory is offline
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Gabriel opened the door to the Chapel of Bane with one arm, carrying a spiked assemblage of crimson-seared metal in the other. The clerics had retreated to their cloisters, yet the chapel was unmistakenly permeated by a calamitous, sinister presence. Bane's will was everywhere here.



The Banite soldier slowly progressed through the files of pews in the chapel, moving towards a door to the basement near the back of the building. Hairs on the back of Gabriel's neck stood on end, reacting from the overwhelming silence and feeling of being watched. The flicker of candles lined along the walls of the chapel danced violently; reacting to the attendance of something yet unseen.

The door to the chapel basement creaked open, revealing a corridor illuminated with small candles, opening up into a staircase leading below the chapel. Gabriel had never seen this part of the building; his saliva began to taste acidic and was hard to swallow. The fear encroaching into the young man's mind was overwhelming and paled any previous challenge or battle in comparison. This one knew the terror of the Dark Lord well.



Gabriel continued down the passage, taking the stoned stairs further into the depths of the earth. Each moment beckoned to him; he felt a pull deep within the very core of his person tugging at him from this underworld. The stairs revealed an open passage below the depths of the chapel, reeking of decay and death and lined with candles, just the passages above. Was someone recently here?

Gabriel's trek continued until he reached a dead end, revealing a small altar similar in nature to the one he dreamed of at the ruins of the citadel. Bane's symbol dominated his view; the feeling of being watched became exponentially more vigorous.



Carefully, Gabriel placed each piece of the crimson-tinged fullplate before the altar, opening the clasps which kept the pieces closed, revealing gruesome, painful spikes and hooks that one would have to endure in order to even wear the items. The architecture and design of the metal reeked of Loviatar; yet Gabriel would not don such an item without Bane's approval. The Banite approached the altar, staring heavily into the unholy icon of Bane dominating his view. It radiated palpable dark energies.



"I am yours to command, my Lord.."

Instinctively, Gabriel felt a beckon to his equipment, strewn about before the altar. He bowed before the unhallowed emblem, showing full submission before undressing from his clothing, preparing to don the nefarious gift before him.

"With this, my Lord, their kingdom shall fall.." Gabriel picked up leggings of the fullplate, preparing to clasp their iron maiden-like jaw around his flesh.

".. and from the ashes shall arise a new order.." The clamp seized down onto his legs, penetrating the flesh with rusted barbed hooks and skewers, all the way down to the bone. Gabriel let forth a howl of unimaginable pain, subjected to the continuous echo of his own torment as the sound echoed throughout the chamber. Without his ability to heal, the profuse hemorrhaging of his own blood onto the chamber floor would have sealed Gabriel's doom within moments.

Taking several moments to regain equilibrium in consciousness through the pain, Gabriel continued the torment by fastening the gauntlets and pauldrons to his body next. It became difficult for him to stand.

".. one that will shake.. the very foundations.." His breathing struggled as the chestpiece was the last to fasten onto his body, overwhelming the man with sheer excruciating agony.


".. of.. the world."

Gabriel collapsed into a pool of his own blood, falling into an unconscious state.
__________________
Mhaaj Anderhart, Halruaan thaumaturgist, Withering Lord of the Myrkulites. [* Retired.]
Gabriel Shadesoar - Hated-Errant of the Church of Bane.[* Retired.]


"What is the difference between the master and the beginner?

The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried."
- Stephan McCranie
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  #3  
Old 05-21-2015
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Grand Unified Theory Grand Unified Theory is offline
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Dark clouds coalesced high above the site of Argyle, visually seeming to strangle the piercing moonlight illuminating the grounds below. Numerous undead corpses littered the premises; complete in destroyed weaponry and tattered remnants of armors they once wore in life. Despite being cleared of hostile forces, the unhallowed ground reeked of malicious influences. It felt too quiet to Gabriel, who began to approach the chapel.



There was something ominous inside. Gabriel could feel it. An artifact of power, perhaps? An outsider from beyond the material plane? The possibilities were endlessly tormenting the young man's mind, urging him to enter to find out. As he ruminated over the ideas, an unfamiliar female voice caught him off-guard from behind.

"You know.. it's funny. I thought you sickos loved undead."

Gabriel turned to face the woman, seeing a girl not much older than him suited in Triad regalia.



A sadistic grin came over Gabriel's face. He allowed a few moments of silence to pass before answering her.

"Who wants to know?" Gabriel answered in a sardonic tone, matching her level of disrespect. In response, the woman drew her sword, pointing it at Gabriel in a threatening manner.

"I'm the one who's going to end you and make this world a brighter place." The woman's free hand buzzed with energies; there was no mistaking her intent. Gabriel's menacing glance continued unabashed.

"Do you think you can do your little trick before I can do mine?" Gabriel drew his weapon, feeling the searing heat from the flames of Bane's hatred emanating from his weapon, Crissaegrim. He pointed to the ground next to the woman with his left hand, marking the location of a foul undead creature to exhume itself.



Gabriel laughed as an undead hand emanated from the ground, clawing it's way to the surface.

".. didn't think so."

Gabriel and his undead cohort lunged at the woman, denying her the opportunity to augment her strength with divine assistance. Despite the disadvantage, the woman held her own in battle for a considerable amount of time, fighting them both with an ease that put Dwarven battlemasters to shame.. but the upper-hand wouldn't last forever.

The woman's sword cut through the undead cohort several times, reducing it to just a walking torso with a head. In the woman's primary focus on the shambling corpse, Gabriel took to striking her viciously. Although her fullplate shrugged off a majority of the blow, the scalding blaze of Crissaegrim worked wonders in the situation.

As Gabriel struck the woman over and over, contact between the metal of the woman's armor and Crissaegrim slowly began to heat the woman's fullplate, turning the defensive metal plating into a self-contained metallic kiln, threatening to cook the woman from inside. As the battle raged on, the effect slowly became apparent as the female paladin began to sweat profusely, beginning to suffer from heat exhaustion. Unable to continue, the woman collapsed.

With weapon in hand, Gabriel stepped closer. He towered above the woman as she lay on the ground, wearied from the unexpected effect.

".. Do you feel it? The call of the void?" Gabriel looked up at the night sky, drinking in the musty air of the Argyle graveyard. His prey lay before him, and yet.. he wished to savor the moment.

"You will.. never win.. the Legion and Triad will sack your stupid city.." The woman bitterly exclaimed, too weary to carry on.

Gabriel continued to look about the sky, watching the movements of the threatening cloud movements above.

"My favorite part about you worms are your taunts. Baseless threats from the mouths of scum unfit to rule."

The Banite turned back to the collapsed woman before him. With his sword in hand, he moved ever closer.

"This is your last chance.. free yourself from the chains of bondage. Denounce your faith and embrace your Lord and Master, Bane."

The woman used what energy she had left to spit on Gabriel's feet, condemning his offer.

"So be it. Taste the might of the Black Hand!"

Crissaegrim sliced through the air, coming down hard on the woman's neck, severing her head from her body. Gabriel reached down to grab the woman's head, looking into her quickly fading eyes.

"Where is your god now?!"

__________________
Mhaaj Anderhart, Halruaan thaumaturgist, Withering Lord of the Myrkulites. [* Retired.]
Gabriel Shadesoar - Hated-Errant of the Church of Bane.[* Retired.]


"What is the difference between the master and the beginner?

The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried."
- Stephan McCranie
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  #4  
Old 05-24-2015
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Grand Unified Theory Grand Unified Theory is offline
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".. what I have heard had pleased me, and will certainly please others within the Black Hand.."

The words of Archmagus Swift's letter ruminated throughout Gabriel's mind as he stared into the fireplace of the Second Wind Inn. Eyes of the powerful were upon him; there was no doubting any part of the correspondence, let alone the interest of his superiors. A peculiar rush of anxiety counteracted the lingering tendrils of adrenalin from the murder of the Triad woman mere hours beforehand.

Gabriel tossed the note into the fire, watching it burn for a few moments before heading up to bed. The heavy sound of raindrops slamming against the rooftop of the building echoed throughout the entire establishment, pockmarked with the occasional deafening strike of thunder and flash of lightning. Although quite loud, the noise posed no threat to Gabriel's desire to slip into unconsciousness. Within moments, all faded to black..

Much like before, the dreamstate flooded Gabriel's mind, although bringing him to a completely unfamiliar location.



The young man found himself in some kind of tunnel, extending perpetually into darkness both ahead and behind him. Only his immediate view was visible, revealing the texture of the walls of this tunnel to have a crimson, sticky consistency not unlike that of coagulated blood. With each step, Gabriel's feet clung to the floor of the nightmarish place, resisting any desire to keep moving in a manner akin to being caught on a piece of flypaper. The more he struggled, the worse the constraining tension keep him glued to one spot.

Beyond the dripping noise of the cavern walls collecting in a shallow pool along the walkway of the tunnel, macabre and hair-raising noises radiated from the darkness on both sides of the young fellow. Resembling a nightmarish version of some creature devouring something and perhaps even laughing, Gabriel immediately began to panic, unable to wrest himself from the grip of the tunnel floor. Whatever it was.. it was coming.

No matter how hard Gabriel strained to see ahead, nothing would reveal itself. Dread began creep up his spine as his ability to judge the distance of whatever was coming became increasingly more difficult - the echo of noise seemed to come from everywhere, perhaps even within his own mind itself.

"No, no, no, no! MOVE! MOVE DAMMIT!" Gabriel strained with great frenzy to remove his feet from the sticky substance below, but to no avail. The feeling of dread and fear was unlike anything he had experienced before. The noises moved further towards him like an unstoppable onslaught, spelling Gabriel's impending doom with each passing moment.



The young man looked up from his restricted limbs to see only the outline of an abysmal monstrosity barreling towards him. This was the end; there was no escape. He couldn't move, couldn't react.. there was nothing Gabriel could do. His heart pounded in his chest, horrified at what was to happen next.

Before the creature could reach him, Gabriel felt himself sink into the floor completely; consumed by the very environment that sought to restrain him. He continued to spiral downward through the disgusting gory texture of the tunnel walls, unable to see anything but pitch black. His arms and legs flailed wildly, hoping to catch something to grab onto to slow the descent, but it only made the situation worse.

As Gabriel fell in the endless blackness, ghastly-looking faces began to coalesce before his own the farther he fell, seemingly intending to continue the cacophony of terror the young man was being forced to endure.



Each face transmogrified into another, and another - grinning maliciously, feeding off of Gabriel's fear.



Without warning, the end of the blackness came abruptly, ending the dreamstate with the sensation of Gabriel plummeting to his death. He awakened to the crack of thunder, gasping vigorously for air and completely soaked in sweat. Many moments passed as the young man tried to calm his stirring heart palpatations, unable to shake the feeling of the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end.

[End chapter 2]
__________________
Mhaaj Anderhart, Halruaan thaumaturgist, Withering Lord of the Myrkulites. [* Retired.]
Gabriel Shadesoar - Hated-Errant of the Church of Bane.[* Retired.]


"What is the difference between the master and the beginner?

The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried."
- Stephan McCranie
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