Avatar of Mas Bagus


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1 mo ago
Current Forever alone.


Just your average Joe.
Bagus Surya is the name.
From Indonesia.

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@Lunamaria HawkeLike Random said. We will back to it on the 3rd of next month.

However, with the current number of participants, I would like to see some new players
Either Roxas' healing spell soothed the soul as it was to the physical injury, or it was simply the charm of a lovely elven lady, the young porter no longer throwing demented fits anymore, and soon was convinced to rest inside the wagon after someone assured him that his friend will be found.

"I've known Stepan for almost a decade. There is no way I am going to leave him behind!" Declared Vesemir with a sheer resoluteness. He then returned to the group that would conduct the rescue effort.

When the disembodied eyes formed on a vantage point Fia had choosen, Gray couldn't help but be curious. He thought the sorceress had magically dismembered her own eye and had it floating in thin air, but then came the explanation, and that wasn't the case.

"That's a useful spell..." Gray muttered before counting the participants and looked up to the sky, where the Polaris shone. He nodded at Fia's commentary about their delayed resting time, and notified that they still had a few hours until the dawn.

"And, yeah, let us not waste any time."

And so it began another march into the forest. The first trek after they walked past the paved road was anything but dry, likely due to the heavy rain several days ago. It allowed Gray to pick up the missing henchmen's trail immediately, and as far as their sole prints indicate, it seemed all four were drawn together like a herded flock.

The lantern shone ever bright, but it did little to accelerate their speed. The trail was getting a more vague as they took a turn and routed past a giant boulder on the left side of the path. The forest were thicker in this area, and there was a great tree, and before that great tree (that hopefully wasn't another ent) the pathfinder finally stopped, his masked face stared at the bushes nearby, where stains of blood could be seen in its silky leaves.

With great caution, he walked slowly, and as he arrived at the other side of that tree, Gray suddenly unsheathed his eastern sword and placed the lantern on the ground, which revealed strange marks on the soil, akin to something that was made by dozen of poles being stabbed to the ground repeatedly.

"Ready your weapon!" he commanded before kneeling near a silhouette of a man lying on the ground. His coughing and wheezing indicated that this unfortunate poor sod was still alive, but severe wounds on his body and blood-frothed breath didn't make his condition look optimistic. He would not survive without any immediate medical attention.

"I am wrong," said Gray, the direness of this situation seeped out from his emotionless mask. "This is not a work of a phantom, not at all---"

Suddenly a melodious voice sounded in the cold misty air. It felt distant, but also clear at the same time. The ominous singing resonated like magic that halted the flow of time. Like a lullaby sung in unknown language that somewhat felt soothing.

Avea, avea, mont kein, Híris Ingwën...
Im ithen ava heliañ...

Pedir sánë bezañ qualin rhovan
Lyen ket lerta tremen

The singing came from the east.
The Gray Flame

"Where are you going?"

Gray asked wearily when Vesemir picked up his lantern again and headed to the road. At Gray's inquiries, he stopped, unsure if talking to the masked elf was his original intention or if he was hell-bent on going into the forest all by himself.

"We're going to save them of course." answered the middle-aged elf. "Sir Gray, I know you and everyone else are not in the best condition, and for that, I can understand if unwilling to be involved in this endeavor. Please take some rest. But I would appreciate it if you would enlighten us on what kind of evil that lured my men into the forest."

"Honestly, I never heard about this shrieker. But there are types of spirits that can entice with voice. So our prime suspects right now are the phantoms. I did not want to blame your porters, but it seemed they were taken when drunk." he indicated at the bottles near the campfire and shook his head. "It is easy to be influenced when you do not keep your wits about you."

"I should have forbidden them from bringing booze in this expedition." huffed Vesemir.

"Too late now." The masked elf stood up and crackled his knuckles. "Give me some time to catch my breath, and then I will go with you. If this was indeed the phantoms's handiwork, then we might be able to save them..."

Gray had his own share of doubts but chose not to express them. He hoped his speculation was right. "Let me take that lantern from you."

There was a small talk after Vesemir appointed Gray to be their pathfinder and further inquiries with the surviving henchmen about the direction those men had taken. Nothing was new to them.

"If anyone wants to stay at camp please do!" Vesemir said, and Forbann was the first to express his decision to stay, which was a welcomed proposition. After the accident, they would be more careful not to leave the camp without sufficient guards.

Gray's only preparation was by drinking water and munching bread, and that was all. This quest to rescue will start soon, and nobody was expecting or even wanted to do this. But they will do it anyway, nobody gets left behind, that was Vesemir's promise, and he intends to honor it, no matter what bleak their chance was.
The Gray Flame

Despite the banter, there were no disputes on the distribution of treasures. Tillius took the spear, Fia had the bow and Carnathia claimed the dagger. The last one was the trickiest, but Fia's spell seemed effective enough to contain its enfeebling aura.

It was time for them to leave, finally and Vesemir would be the one who lead, though he did so with a heavy heart.

"Goodbye, Theriadore. Your legacy will always live on!" He said as he watched the door seal itself shut after he inserted the access card. "On a less evil day, we would enjoy our time sitting in the library and honoring the knowledge, but now we must go, hopefully, that's for the better days."

The monocled elf sniffed the air as if fighting against the tear, before walking away. His commentary about the stairs making him feel rheumatic was the last rambling before they started the climb to depart from Lasse Municipal Library

I presume nothing is happening while we are inside? See anything unusual?" Asked Vesemir intensively to Forbann when they reached the building's front door. He wielded the so-called powerful protective scroll, but his tone was vigilant, and although the Oni answered with a resolute no, his eyes still wandered about.

And when someone asked what he was expecting, the answers were short but effective in hindsight: "Varenheim authority". And no other explanation was given when he reached in to grip something behind the layer of his clothing and declared: "We made it. We got what we are looking for. Let's move out!"

Still with a lantern at hand, Vesemir was taking the lead. The night was still dark, and it seemed they only spent two hours inside the library. The foul breeze was still whirling in this cold night, and from the corner of his eyes Gray Flame could see the shadowy silhouette creeping out from the ruined building, but then those shadowy entities retreating back again.
They were taking the same route, but now they just realized that Vesemir was not as cautious as before. The path they took was almost straight, and no amount of overgrown or sprawled part of the ruin would make Vesemir change course. Not even the shadow, that now congregates ahead of them.
He only stopped once, looked over his shoulder, and smiled. "Fear not, Friends! Never again we shall fear the darkness, for the echo of the past and the remnants of the departed have no righteous place in the world of the living!"
And he walked forth, through the encroaching shadow. And that layer of shadow shrunk and disappeared. More awaited in front of them; the wailing silhouettes of the past. It offered no resistance, nor even the slightest movement as it disintegrated into the light.

"The power of the scroll protects us all."

The group halted and crowded anxiously behind him, but who could blame them? The entrapment was still fresh in their mind, but now the evidence was clear as a day, and Vesemir demonstrated it in every step he took.

The march back to the camp was uneventful and felt shorter now with the phantoms no longer posing any meaningful threat to them. For Gray, it was a welcoming situation because fatigue had set in, and now he wanted nothing but a proper sleep.

They arrived at last, and at first glance, everything seemed normal. The campfire was lit brightly, but immediately he felt something was amiss. Out of five porters and henchmen Vesemir hired, he saw only one of them, standing aimlessly in front of the campfire with a hysterical expression. He held a woodcutter axe, and initially, prepared to swing it the moment he saw the group walked closer.

"Sire! Sire! Good Gods you are here!" The man was frantic, and he dropped his weapon as he knelt down and embraced Vesemir's shin like a frightened child with labored breath. "That thing! That thing took them! I saw it myself!... Into the forest! Sir Stepan and the others!"

Another minute was spent to calm that survive so Vesemir could extract meaningful information. The man repeatedly pointed southeast of the camp, across the paved road, where he said there was a dark entity taking away his friends.

Gray Flame said nothing. His vexation was well hidden behind his white mask. As the only ranger in that group, his first course of action was to analyze their camp. Besides the missing porters, everything seemed orderly, the horses were still calm and tied on their posts, the supplies were still on the carriage, and there was no sign of fierce assault. However, he noticed a dozen bottles of ales and bears scattered around the campfire and a few empty tankards along with unfinished meals. The survivor's account mentioned that the accident happened less than an hour ago.

Sitting on one of the chairs (that graciously did not topple over after that supposed ruckus!), the masked Gray sighed exasperatedly, his eyes glanced at the unmoving giant tree at the corner of the camp side. Meanwhile, the survivor was frantic again, this time he buried his index fingers in his ears, and screamed "The shrieker! Gods! Spare me! Spare me! Forgive me! Please stop!"

What the hell is happening?

"Who says I am done?!" he chortled "I am going to claim the bow, and add it to my collect--"

Too late now, whatever Gray's true intention was, Fia had already taken the bow and slung it, causing the string to press snugly against her ample bosom.

"You know... for your size, you might need *ahem* a chest guard," he said awkwardly before averting his gaze on the notes and holding it close to his face "Well, let's see... Yea... I might be fluent in our ancient language, but it feels like I am doing a double translation to decipher Theriadore's scholarly writing. Basically the first section talks about an introduction. Where did the artifact come from, what effect did it display, the decision to destroy it, and the failure to do so. There are also some details about the dead raised by the dagger still having a certain degree of "muscle memory" left, and can still perform their expertise to a limited degree. 'It made for a dangerous army if left alone.' Theriadore said, and the skull's distortion field is a soul-based mechanism."

He flipped the pages and stopped at the section where pages were full of drawings of different kinds of magic seals and codes.

"Second section - containment field. Theriadore had a few spells and runes cataloged and experimented here. Perhaps to minimize the skull's terrorizing aura. In some way, it seems he met quite a satisfactory result. Remember that none of us realized the Skull's existence before Carnathia found it? I guess the best way to carry that thing is by bringing it with its metal box."

He paused and looked at the box, which box? Apparently, it was part of the desk itself. "Yeah, not gonna happen... moving on!"

Now he almost reached the last pages of that notebook. "This section talks about Theriadore's futile attempt to destroy that thing; so far he had tried smashing it with blunt force, drilling, and through magical means. Those attempts barely make a dent on that thing, and when they do, the skull somehow fixes itself afterward. Yikes! I think that's all, the notes stopped here."
She shifted, watching him and offered a nod. "Yes, I was planning to take it and trade skills with Miss Fia. You never know when learning how to wield a bow could come in handy, especially when low on mana." She looked to him more before giving a soft sigh. "But if you would like to take it, then feel free. I will not fight over a bow."

"It's a sound plan, all things considered. As for who is more entitled to keep it, Well, I'd say finders keepers. You found it first, it's still yours if you change your mind." He quipped and shrugged playfully. "I've had my share of exquisite antiques, and this one. Eh, just keep in mind that the boss said we are likely to encounter the owner of this bow, or at least her apparition. It could lead to a hilarious exchange... or deadly encounter."

Placing the bow at a nearby table again, there was a feeling that Gray's words sounded like an ominous omen.
"Say, Lady Carnatia, how do you know about its effect? Did someone approached it already?"
The question was directed to Carnathia, still, Gray answered it anyway.

"Theriadore left messages for every item in that chamber. Looks like the Man had a lot of things to share before his demise. I couldn't blame him for that. After Luithiel killed his Brother, he seemed to have a trust issue with the Varenheim Government. I think that's also one of the reasons why those powerful relics are buried here."

Silence suddenly, then Gray shifted to their boss.

"Vesemir. Now we've got what we're looking for, let's not stay here for too long, yeah?"

"Mhmm. I am waiting for you fellas to decide what to do with that infernal skull and dagger Miss Carnathia found. Once we reach a consensus, I am all ready to go."

Leaving Vesemir, who again busied himself with copying its verses into his notebook, Gray Flame followed Fia into the chamber. While The sorceress's attention was mostly to the Skull, Gray would pick the silver bow instead. He overheard Fia and Roxas discussing how to fully utilize the bow and learn from each other, he wondered how that plan would fare.

He picked the bow and pulled its string up to his chin, but no Theriadore Hologram this time. Shame, he was expecting at least one snarky commentary.

He then notched his own arrow and channeled his magic. The bow, true to Theriadore's word was capable of channeling magic, but since the bow's unique attribute and his arcane element were mismatched, he could not contain his magic or have it manifested on the arrowhead.

"So, are you two really going to take this bow?" Asked Gray when Fia was looking at some sort of diagram. Gray was still holding the aforementioned bow and testing it, and at some point had it aimed at the skull with no arrow notched.

"This is a good bow. The draw weight is on the medium side, so you might be able to learn how to fire it rather quickly." The masked elf carefully released the string and lowered the bow. "Couldn't say the same about its Frosty Feature though... It may require another kind of expertise."

"Certainly a lot harder to master than that dagger, that's for sure." He continued. "Buut I will take a finicky elven bow over a mysterious demonic dagger and its glorified holder. That thing gives me a shiver, and I have seen many creepy things in my life."

"What did I missed?"

"We are discussing the feasibility of bringing with us some dodgy artifacts." Answered Gray Flame, not moving from the table he was leaning on. Meanwhile, the talk about the damned Crystal skull continued, with Carnathia shifting to Vesemir for another opinion.

"I agree, Sir Vesemir. However the issue is, as that skull could demoralize people near it, the skull could jeopardize our expedition if we do not have a reliable way of transporting it safely."

Vesemir placed his hat on the table and sat there, sighing before answering with a more decisive resolution.

"Now you mention it, I honestly don't know if we have any means to do that safely. I have yet to measure it properly, but if you as the finder are concerned that such an item might pose a risk for us and we have no reliable way to contain its influence, then I will be with Mr Gray Flame on this and vote not to bring it."

There was a long pause, and Carnathia finally turned to Fia.
The Gray Flame

"Pardon me, Sir Gray, Lady Fia? I'd like your opinions on that skull over there if it's not too much trouble. Would it be feasible for us to transport it safely?

"You are pardoned, My Dear Carnathia." he said coyly, in his failed attempt to mimic Fia's playfulness. Still, he ended up explaining his intention to prevent the situation from becoming irreparably awkward for everyone. "I think we should drop the decorousness by a few notches already if you don't mind."

"Anyway, back to your question. I assume Theriadore's explained to you what are those and what they do. Could you briefly rehearse what he said?"

At Gray's request, Carnathia explained what the hologram of Theriadore said, about the origin of the item, about what it could do, about the warning. During the recount, he glanced toward the chamber, staring at the aforementioned sinisterly carved crystal, and looked as if he was making a mildly terrified expression under his white mask.

"An artifact collected from Sarkazian general, very befitting of that misbegotten race. However, I find it strange that Theriadore or Lukman would even pick it up and place it here for safekeeping. Now I think about it some more and then I think, maybe not... There was a reason why it wasn't donated to a museum or any of our research facilities. We elves abhor anything that works against the Creator's Law, and the only way I can imagine why it is here is because Varenheim was at war, and we were desperate."

Vesemir, who was still nearby, chimed in. "There are many actions in history that should not be judged by today's standards..."

"I am not judging," replied Gray. "I am just finding it strange. In any case, the question remains as to whether we should bring it along or not. It's definitely not just a paperweight, and according to Theriadore both the dagger and the skull are technically inseparable. I shall not act like a morality police here and implore you to not take them, but keep in mind that they belong to the Demons, and there is always blood spilled for every unholy artifact they make."

"I'd still take it if you ask me." Vesemir stated, "To me, there are no evil artifacts, only evil hands that wield them. All things created lack inherent will."

"That hologram did say it's almost a millennia and a half since someone stepped in here..." He mumbled as he looked over the spears again.

The spear felt light and balanced, with a blade that remained sharp after millennia and a half. It made a faint swish even with the smallest motion as if cutting the air with its absurd sharpness.

The holographic elf appeared again as if programmed to reveal itself whenever someone made contact with any of the exhibited items. This time he was standing still, hands behind his back, and he did not wear his feathered head.

"It was my brother's. Silnár he named it, the Silver Flame. It had seen many battles, and defeated many adversaries; Men, Sarkaz... and elves alike, anything that threatened our lands."

"Lukman never wielded anything other than this silver spear. Denorian the Royal Blacksmith made all of our weapons, and they were precious to us. But we elves both value and despise the legacy of those who have departed. It hurts us to remember, but the same act of remembrance also holds us from casting the keepsakes aside."

"So I left it to the chance, and here you are. The departed need not such a thing, nor can we prevent any hands from claiming our possessions. All I can do is hope that in the hands of their next owners, they will be used for the purpose of good."

Then that holographic elf was gone again.
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