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8 days ago
Current If they at least have the decency to say that they're leaving instead of simply ghosting the RP, that's good enough to me.


I originally got into forum roleplaying on the official Bethesda Game Studios Forums in 2007 or 2008. When the forums were replaced with, I was one of several close-knit Fallout RPers who came here.

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Novak's hunch about the mask was correct. While it initially resulted in the pitch-black darkness expected from wearing an eyeless mask, a vision gradually coalesced upon his eyes. As it grew clearer, Novak realized that he was seeing the temple through the mask. The mask's sight was colorless and didn't extend very far, but he saw things that he had been otherwise invisible. Orbs of light floated about the temple, and the floor underneath the idol glowed with the same silver light. When he looked at Lazhira, her tattoos and eyes glowed in the mask's sight. According to her, these masks were supposedly used by the Illuminator's priests to see the unseen, but she hadn't been able to use them. If it were not for the mask hiding Novak's face, it would be quite clear that he had beheld something quite strange when looking upon Lazhira.

For a moment, Novak thought about asking Lazhira about her connection to the Illuminator. She might be less keen on playing dumb if she knew that Novak had seen past her facade. Alternatively, perhaps he could question her later, alone, but that carried its own risks. And perhaps it'd be worth looking at Enli with the mask on, he considered.

Then it all happened.

On moment Novak was gazing through the strange mask, marveling at what he saw in it and what it might mean. The next moment, Leannah had decided to put his theory to the test, removing the stone from the statue and plugging it into the wall socket and demonstrating considerable dexterity in the process. Suffice to say, it definitely caused something to happen Something screeched. The temple began to rumble. A voice echoed in Novak's head.

“The pit. Offer yourself.”

Any ambiguity as to what the voice meant became clear as a hole opened up beneath the statue, sending it and Leannah plunging into a pit. It seemed that Leannah had uncovered the deeper part of the Temple that Lazhira had alluded to. Novak lowered the mask off, a bit alarmed at the voice, and very alarmed at a hole opening up and abruptly swallowing his companion. He rushed over to the hole to check on his companion. It was difficult to discern anything through the blinding light of Leannah's light sphere, but he at least was able to see that she was still moving.

"Leannah, are you okay? Are you hurt?" Novak shouted into the pit, hoping she'd be able to reply. His first thought was to use the rope to pull her out, or to lower someone if she was injured from the fall. Unfortunately, it seemed that the hole opening up was not the only thing that the stone had triggered. A disgusting-looking black liquid began to drop from the ceiling and form into hostile-looking animated blobs that began to slowly inch themselves towards the remaining group. If that wasn't bad enough, it seemed that the brush covering the temple had caught fire. It appeared that opening a passage to the rest of the temple was not without consequences.

At this point, offering himself to the pit might end up being the best option.

@Rune_Alchemist@Click This@Crusader Lord

She's evading the question, I'm sure of it. Something strange is going on with her, Novak noted as he listed to Lazhira give her reply to Leanna's query about her ability to safely navigate these woods. None of what she said added up to a reasonable explanation as to how a seemingly normal village girl could travel to and from this place with such dangerous, aggressive beasts around. Novak was convinced that Lazhira was withholding something from the group. He did not mind people having secrets, it was rather concerning that their guide, whose expertise was the only reason they were even able to get through the fog, was not being entirely forthcoming with them. It was understandable that she might not want to reveal everything to outsiders whom she had only known for two day, but Novak wasn't entirely comfortable with being left in the dark while sticking his neck out. They had already faced dangers while undertaking this expedition, and who knows what else they might run into out here?

Novak considered Lazhira's words carefully as he looked over the murals. So this Illuminator gives knowledge, but also takes it back. I wonder, what were these people like before he relinquished his gifts of knowledge? Lazhira had mentioned paper-making and stone-working as knowledge that had been lost to them, suggesting that they were once much more than a quaint town of hunters and fishermen. Could there be other past works somewhere in the region? Were there other stone structures that they might have left behind?

Novak shifted his gaze to the old shelves. Narkissa and Leannah had already begun to look through the books lying about, and Lazhira had assured them that they could take whatever they could find. With that in mind, he decided to get a closer look at some of the objects himself. He grabbed a discarded rope and gave it a good tug in his hands to see if it had any strength left. Assuming that the rope did not disintegrate in his hands, Novak would gather it into a bundle around one arm. They hadn't exactly made a lot of preparations for this journey to the temple, and a serviceable rope could make for a useful tool. With his other hand, Novak picked up one of the masks, and carefully examined the front and back of the trinket as he slowly made his way back to the center of the temple.

According to Lazhira, the old man and the old woman are both forms that the Illuminator takes to interact with mortals. I suppose that means these murals are depicting the Illuminator granting gifts of knowledge to his followers, he thought to himself as he looked at the murals. I wonder if there's any meaning to his two different forms. Because all three of the group's sources of illumination had currently congregated to where the books were, he was unable to make out the details as well as he previously could. Perceiving what he could with the sub-optimal lighting, Novak's eyes followed the processions to where they converged at the idol.

Lazhira said that she could feel faint magic on this idol, he recalled, looking closely at both the embedded stone in the statue and the empty socket in the wall. She also thinks that this temple is bigger than just this room. Could that be the receptacle for a key of some sort?

It was only at this point, when he turned to the others to ask for their opinion, that realized what was going on with the others- Leannah was injured, and Lazhira was offering to patch her up. Novak hoped that Lazhira had a very good reason for not telling them how she was able to get around here safely, because Leannah had gotten herself hurt trying to save the girl's life. If it turned out that somehow Lazhira had never actually been in any danger, and Leannah had gotten herself wounded for nothing, it might sour Novak's view of her. On the other hand, she was at least trying to help, and that should count for something.

"It almost looks like something is supposed to be placed in that socket in the wall," Novak asked, shifting his attention back to the matter of the statue. "Do any of you see something that could fit into it? Do you think this stone on the idol would fit into it?" Novak didn't dare touch the stone, however. Perhaps it was some vestigial instinct from his previous life, perhaps it was simply Lazhira's observation that it was magical, but he felt that that messing with it might incur some risk.

Hmm, I wonder...

Novak held the mask up to his face, curious to find out he'd be able to see anything special- or anything at all- through it.

@Rune_Alchemist@Click This@Crusader Lord

The battle ended almost as abruptly as it had begun. The technique he had copied from Nobunaga had once again proved useful, allowing him to letally skewer the bird. A second bird was fatally cut by Narkissa, and the remaining two retreated after being knocked around. Novak wasn't entirely sure what Leannah did to those birds, having been too focused on what he was doing to catch a glimpse of it, but it must've been pretty impressive, the way they went flying away.

Whatever she did, she must be a pretty capable unarmed fighter. Perhaps her techniques might be worth using his ability on, although Novak would need to properly observe her to assess the usefulness of what she's capable of.

Lazhira remained as unflappable as ever, cheerfully thanking Leannah and remarking on the edibility of the birds that moments before had tried to kill her. She did not seem to have taken part in the skirmish, having been pulled to safety by the cat-girl. Judging by how two of the birds lunged at her, however, it seemed clear that Lazhira was not off-limits to the dangerous beasts that inhabited these woods. These observations further piqued Novak's curiosity as to how this seemingly harmless girl was able to safely navigate these woods.

As they made their way into the temple, Novak noted how the symbol on the door resembled the strange tattoo on Lazhira. Let's see...if I remember correctly, this is the temple of the god of knowledge, whom according to Lazhira, village was compelled to abandon the worship of as part of their covenant with the Kyrinth. But why would Lazhira be marked with the symbol associated with the temple of a god that they were supposed to have stopped worshiping?

The interior of the temple was quite a sight to behold. From what Novak could discern from the illumination cast by his three companions, the walls were adorned with images detailing two processions of people, likely illustrating an important tale in the god's faith. If he had to guess, the old man holding the light was either the god of knowledge or a prophet or herald acting on his behalf. The other procession, the one with the woman, had a more sinister feel to it. Perhaps she was an adversary, tempting away the Illuminator's congregation.

The shelves were lined with clutter such as books, stone tablets, and what looked like ceremonial garb. It was a shame that Misaki hadn't come with them, because if she could understand the village's books, perhaps she could make sense of these as well. Novak considered taking some of the more intact-looking items. They might learn a lot if they brought one of the books back to Misaki, and one of those ropes might be a handy emergency tool in case things go sideways. Lastly, he couldn't help but wonder how much one of those ceremonial masks might be worth to a collector.

The feature that stood out the most was a strange statue or idol. Embedded in the statue was an equally strange stone. On the wall behind the statue, Novak noticed what appeared to be an empty indentation in the wall roughly the same size. It looked like it might be a socket or receptacle for a stone like the one in the statue. But why was it empty? Could the missing stone have anything to do with the troubles that the village was having?

"Lazhira, you seem to know a lot about this place, and about this god," Novak spoke up, still staring at the empty indentation. "What do you make of this statue, this stone, and this empty socket in the wall?"

@Crusader Lord@Rune_Alchemist@Click This
Fleuri Jodeau

The words of both Gillian and Tyaethe worried Fleuri as he studied the chart. The more he learned of vampires, the more unprepared he felt about facing one again. Compared to mortals, vampires were stronger, tougher, unburdened by the effects of aging, typically more magically adept, and had more time to develop and perfect their martial skills. If a Reonite living reliquary was afraid to face one by himself, what chance would someone like Fleuri have? It wouldn't always be enough to simply overwhelm one like they did with Damon Cal- if they faced one again, they needed to be prepared.

"So what about weaknesses? What sort of countermeasures and weapons exist for tilting the odds against such powerful beings?" Fleuri asked Tyaethe. He already knew about the effects of sunlight and anything else blessed by Reon (like the vial of holy water he had thrown at Damon), but it wasn't enough. He felt that, as a devotee of Reon, he needed to find out everything there was to know about how to be victorious against Her hated undead foes.

@Raineh Daze@PaulHaynek@ghastlyInc
Fleuri Jodeau

Fleuri listened attentively to Tyaethe's lecture.

Of course you can't just stab a vampire in passing. The correct course of action is to sic a few Lamplighters on them, allowing the goddesses to pass judgment upon them.

He was already familiar with most of what Tyaethe went over. Mindless undead and their generally pitiful physical state, sapient undead and their mana reactor, they were things his Reonite mentors taught him. He knew less about vampires, however, aside from the usual common knowledge- they were immoral ageless undead that possessed fangs with which they sucked blood from mortals to sustain themselves, they usually burned in sunlight due to Reon's hatred for them. Tyaethe was a notable exception, being only mildly inconvenienced by the sun due to Reon's higher opinion of the immortal paladin compared to most other vampires. Fleuri wasn't entirely sure if the mild discomfort that the sun continued to inflict on Tyaethe was due to the sun goddess' unwillingness to completely let go of her hatred for vampires, or if it was due to centuries worth of irreverent ranting about Reon whenever it was sunny outside.

According to Tyaethe, all vampires had vast mana reserves, even before being turned and even when starving. This was relevant to their recent scrap with Damon Cal, explaining his ability to control his own blood to piece himself together.

"It means that they have a lot of magical power, right?" Fleuri answered, raising his hand. "Does that mean that only those with sufficient stores of mana are capable of being turned into vampires?"

@Raineh Daze@ghastlyInc@PaulHaynek

She seems awfully sure that the Kyrinth is not to blame, Novak noted as he listened to Lazhira's answer to his question. From the way she spoke of it, it almost sounded like the elder beast was her friend, which would certainly explain why she was unafraid of wandering the woods alone. Novak initially considered asking her about this, but chose to say nothing further on the matter.

I don't know if she's withholding something or if she's simply naïve, but in either case I'd better keep a close eye on her.

In addition to her answer to his own question, Lazhira also provided some useful nuggets of information regarding this world by answering the Leannah's question. The world's sun deity was named Auset-Kythet, who was worshiped by a race or culture called the Bastelians. Even if these tidbits of knowledge weren't relevant to their immediate situation, Novak was always glad to learn more about this world.

Novak followed directly behind Lazhira as they made their way through the mists, being unable to conjure a magical light like his companions did. If he had known beforehand how adept Leannah was in the casting of light magic, he'd have attempted to copy her invocation. As he followed, he continued to listen to Lazhira's answer Narkissa's question. Apparently Lady Mie and her people resided on the mainland rather than their home islands, and that this was her last stop of their trade route. She also made a mention of some "mountain folk" who didn't sound too friendly.

Before Lazhira could speak more about this topic, something made a noise from deeper within the fog, and a quartet of large birds emerged from the fog. These weren't the same as the birds that he had previously encountered alongside Misaki and Nobunaga- these ones appeared to be flightless, with vicious-looking talons. Without warning, the birds attacked, talons outstretched.

As Leannah reached for Lazhira and pulled her out of immediate harm's way, Novak drew his sword and stepped forward, intend on dealing with one of the birds that had charged at their village guide. Using the thrusting strike he had copied from Nobunaga, he stabbed at the feathered creature, intent on skewering the bird with the aid of its own momentum before its talons got too close.

@Crusader Lord@Rune_Alchemist@Click This

Novak chose to accompany Lazhira to the temple. He wasn't sure he needed anything from the market at the moment- he already had a decent enough sword, and a set of armor was currently being made for him. If he needed to buy anything, or wanted to ask anything about the foreigners, he could always ask Lady Mie later that evening. It wasn't clear if they'd be able to accomplish anything on this trip, especially with Misaki having decelined to come, but they could at least obtain some familiarity with the temple for future trips. Besides, Lazhira seemed to know what she was doing. In the very least, she seemed confident in what she was doing.

Novak was on edge throughout the trip through the forest. After the encounter with that beast, he was worried that they'd run into yet another enraged, partially-metallic beast. Fortunately, no such attack came, even though it almost seemed like they were being watched. Perhaps Lazhira knew how to safely navigate these woods, he thought. After all, she seemed to have had no trouble exploring the area yesterday. Or perhaps she was simply a naïve girl with no understanding about how dangerous the world is. For both their sakes, Novak hoped it was the former.

After quite a bit of hiking, they reached a vantage point where they beheld the temple further into the forest, enshrouded by a thick fog. Novak felt uneasy at the sight of what lay before them. There was something strange about that layer of fog, and there was no telling what could be concealed within it. Lazhira remained as calm as ever, however, conjuring a magical light and explaining that light repels the fog. Leannah, the cat-girl that had joined up with them, also cast a light spell. It was only after both spells had been invoked that Novak realized that he chould've used his power to copy the spell.

Oh well, I can always do it later...

Novak stayed closely behind Lazhira, not wanting to get lost in these dark mists without a light source or any other form of guidance. He would need to trust that she could safely guide them through.

"I have a question too, Lazhira," he spoke up after Leannah had asked her question. "What do you know about the deal or covenant that your ancestors made with the kyrnith? Do you have any ideas what might have spurred it to anger against your town?"

@Crusader Lord@Rune_Alchemist
Fleuri Jodeau

After departing the mausoleum, Fleuri returned to his own family's mausoleum to return the remaining flask. He would need to remember to inform his family to restock the cache, lest they be caught unprepared if anyone were to ever desecrate his honored ancestors. Perhaps this time we should include a blessed dagger or a magical scroll or two, he thought as he hurried back to rejoin the other knights. Before leaving, however, he checked again to make sure the entrance had remained locked and undisturbed. When necromancers were involved, you could never be too careful.

The trip back to the Crown of Thaln was uneventful, yet Fleuri spent the entire journey filled with dread. While he was still a little shaken up from the battle with Damon, he was more concerned by the realization that Gillian- that foul-mouthed, uncouth, irreverent living reliquary- was the one who had been keeping the princess company. There was no doubt that his mentor Parnella- the person whom Gillian had picked up on all of those nasty traits- would have a good laugh when she heard about this. Fleuri's embarrassment over this was such that he couldn't even look at the Crown Knights in the eyes when he returned their equipment. It was a bit of a surprise, and a relief, when he got back to Candaeln and was able to confirm that Gillian didn't manage to get himself thrown into the dungeon.

Fleuri spent the rest of the night pondering about crime and punishment. Tili would not go unpunished for her attempt to commit regicide, yet it seemed likely she'd be given some degree of leniency or mercy due to her having been blackmailed into doing it. However, it made Fleuri wonder if any of Jeremiah's bandits had similar sympathetic motives or sob stories. What about others, like that still at-large guard captain who sold her town out to bandits? Were any of them, in the committing of their crimes, simply trying to provide for or protect loved ones? Would they receive similar leniency if captured? If offered an opportunity for partial redemption like Tili was, would any of them take it?

Perhaps if he studied Reon's teachings more, he would find his answer.


Fleuri didn't get quite as much sleep as he had hoped, largely because he had stayed up pondering things. The next morning, while attending to his now blood-stained formalwear, Fleuri was summoned to a lecture by Tyaethe. He initially wasn't sure if it'd be about ballroom etiquette or fighting undead, but judging by the labeled figures that Tyaethe drew, it was clearly the latter. I suppose that fight with Damon could've gone better, Fleuri thought to himself. Tyaethe circled the figures, three with a red circle, three with a blue one, and asked what those groups represented.

Blue circle are sapient humanoids, red circle are undead, Fleuri wordlessly concluded, thinking back to his early education at the hands of Reonites. Jarde was the first to answer, incorrect about the first point, although it was true that sapient undead and vampires could easily pass themselves off as living beings. Gillian was the second to answer, giving a confident, long-winded, and characteristically vulgar explanation.

Why is Gillian here anyway? He wasn't part of the mission, and those Reon-blessed arms of his are probably quite effective against all variants of undead, Fleuri wondered, glancing at the living reliquary. Did he say something stupid to Tyaethe when they were conversing at the ball?

After Gillian finished, Fleuri raised his hand to give his answer. "Those in the blue circle are sapient beings. Those in the red circle are undead."

@Raineh Daze@PaulHaynek@ghastlyInc

It seems he's having as little luck with her as he did yesterday, Novak noted with some amusement as he watched the fox woman shoot down the white-haired man's attempts to haggle with her. She even brought up the events of yesterday, hinting to him the circumstances which they first met.

During her conversation, she noticed Novak and shot a wink at him, then appeared to whisper to one of her guards. It seemed she remembered him too. One of the guards approached Novak, informing him that the fox-woman, named Lady Mie, wanted to see him this evening, and handed Novak a small bag of coins.

"Very well, you can tell her I will oblige, and...I am very thankful for her gift," Novak responded, blushing slightly as he took the bag. He glanced at Lady Mie briefly before turning away, not wanting to show his flushed appearance. He wasn't sure what to make of this offer, but he would have plenty of time to ponder on it. For now, he ought to try and find his companions. They was an important quest to undertake today, and the sooner they were able to assemble, the sooner they could begin working on it.

He didn't have to look far to find those he was searching for. Misaki and Lazhira were conversing nearby just outside the crowd, having also evidently been drawn to the merchant's tent. Novak made his way through the bustle, holding tightly onto the bag that he had been gifted. Eventually he made it out of the bustling congregation and was able to reach his friends.

"Hello, Misaki, hello Lazhira," he greeted them. "Things certainly seem a lot more busy now. I take it that this...Lady Mie is that traveling trader you mentioned?" he asked, glancing back at the tent. The more important matter at hand would be trying to help with this problem with the Kyrinth, Novak was curious as to what Lazhira knew about this enigmatic fox-eared merchant.

Dark Souls 2 SOTFS was my first Dark Souls game due to it being a better PC port than the Dark Souls Prepare to Die Edition, so it holds a special place in my heart despite being what seems to be the least-liked game in the trilogy. It didn't require me to be familiar with most of DS1 since it did its own thing in terms of the setting, and I really liked how much of a mark the player can leave on the levels as they progress, like illuminating the Gutter, raising and lowering platforms in Shulva, stopping the Earthen Peak windmill, disabling the Iron Keep fire traps, bringing Brume Tower to life, and any time you can break walls with explosive barrels.
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