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Custodians of Albion: Soeseth's Death

Discussion in 'Creative' started by Malthius, Jan 16, 2004.

  1. Malthius

    Malthius Fledgling Freddie

    Greetings to you all, My name is Malthius. I am the Grand Herald of the Custodians of Albion (ooc: A roleplaying Guild based in Albion/Excalibur).
    Recently we lost a member of our order. A Pagan Wizard named Soeseth. It has not yet been discovered at to whom his killer was and as such there is much more of this tale that must be writ, but I have been asked to recite here the tale as it has been told thus far. I will also give the names of those from whom the tale was first wrought so that credit can be given where credit is due.
    I hope you enjoy this tale and so too do I hope that its end willl come safely to all that it concerns and we will not find ourselves burying another member of this guild.

    The Dramatis Personae of this tale are as follows:
    Beldane: An Inconnu Necromancer and Priestess of Arawn. Council member of the Custodians of Albion.
    Ilsa: A Cleric and follower of the Church of Albion. Keeper of the Tomes for the Custodians of Albion.
    Soeseth: A Wizard and Pagan. Member of the Custodians of Albion
    Uthorn Shadowthane: A Reaver and follower of Arawn. Seneschel of the Custodians of Albion.

    Written by Ilsa:

    Ilsa lifted her head to the sound of the groan that came from the pallet where Soseth lay. She took the candle and stumbled towards him and as the light of the flickering candle fell across his cold, grey face and hollowed cheeks she knew that his time was near. Many times she had seen the same glazed look and the mask of death and it never ceased to send a shudder through her body and she shuddered now.

    She stood looking down at him and watched helplessly as he writhed and moaned before her. The disease had taken its hold and even the potion that Brother William had mixed for him only succeeded in giving temporarily relief. In desperation of what to do, she now held the clay cup containing the thick black liquid to his lips and he swallowed mechanically before falling back crying out in great pain and doubling over with the spasm.

    She hastily called out for the serving maid who entered the room ‘Any news on Sir Uthorn?’ she asked, to which the maid slowly shook her head. Another groan brought both their attentions to the failing body in the bed. Ilsa knelt by the bed wiping the sweat from him and murmuring gentle sounds whilst her heart beat fast with fear, as it was clear that Sir Uthorn was not going to make it in time.

    Despite her faith she could not allow Soseth to meet his maker without the comfort of the rites of passage and she had dispatched a messenger to bring the only pagan believer she knew well to come to his bedside. As the sounds of the horses hooves could be heard echoing in the courtyard below the last of life’s breath left Soseths body and he lay cold and still on the pallet. After all the suffering at last eternal peace was now upon him.

    Written by Uthorn:

    Ilsa's tears ran freely as she was forced to watch the life of Soeseth depart.

    Behind her the door to the chamber opened and Ilsa turned. She fought the urge to shudder, whether from revulsion or fear she was not sure. Uthorn had at last arrived.
    She watched as he moved across the room towards the now lifeless form of Soeseth. His face thrown into shadow by his cloak, his armour and weapons glistening wet from the rain.
    “It is a long journey from Caer Gothwaithe.” Was all he offered by way of explanation and greeting. Uthorn studied the body of the fallen Custodian.
    “What happened?”
    Ilsa again battled with her emotions. This man was so dammed infuriating, not only did he still refuse to see the light offered by the Church of Albion but he was always so calm. Not even the death of one he had called friend moved him.
    “I know only that he came to me grievously injured.” Ilsa said her voice calm, she proudly noticed. “Some curse or poison has stolen him from this world. Not even my healing powers could save him.”
    Uthorn’s voice sounded confused. “Why summon me? My powers bring only death.”
    Ilsa looked directly into the shadows of Uthorn’s cowl. Something she rarely did.
    “I am no pagan, I know not what the rites are that must be performed, Soeseth’s spirit must be laid to rest.”
    Ilsa got the feeling that Uthorn was smiling.
    “I’m sure he took comfort in your concern my lady.” There was no hint of sarcasm in his voice.
    Uthorn turned back to the fallen Soeseth. He bowed his head and muttered what Ilsa presumed to be a prayer. Ilsa felt the small hairs on her neck rise and a terrible sense of foreboding.
    “GET BACK.” Uthorn suddenly roared. He leapt back dragging the surprised Ilsa with him. A screaming face appeared in the air above Soeseth.
    Uthorn’s chain flew at the ghastly image, his soulrending powers combining with the weapon. The face seemed to contract, an explosion rocked the room and both Custodians were thrown from their feet. Both heard the mocking sound of a women’s laugh as the face faded.
    Uthorn staggered to his feet, Ilsa could see blood running from several wounds he now carried.
    “Something is wrong” He said. “Whatever that was, it is tormenting Soeseth’s soul. Something with more power than I have ever encountered.”
    Ilsa nodded, she to had never seen or felt such evil.
    “I suggest we talk to Beldane, she is more knowledgeable than I in these matters.”
    Ilsa sighed, another pagan. Still Soeseth’s soul must be laid to rest. She dusted off her robes and began the prayer that would heal Uthorn’s wounds.

    Written by Ilsa:

    Uthorn had instilled a disquiet within. Soseth’s soul was tormented and this only reinforced the need for the saving of Uthorns very own soul. The evenings events had disturbed her greatly and there was no way that she wished Uthorn to suffer as Soesth had and even in his death Soseth was still not at peace. Sleep would not come, so she rose and pulled the heavy robe around her in order to keep out the biting cold air. Her thoughts raged and she became angry at the fact that Uthorn so obviously failed to see what dark future lay ahead of him and that it was Beldane only that could offer some way in which the tormented spirit that was Soesth could be put to rest. The embers of the dying fire glowed in the heath, and her thoughts tuned to ways of saving Uthorn.

    Written by Beldane:

    The shade of Beldane floated in the ether next to the pallet where Soeseths body lay. Her necroservant stood nearby holding the incense that would act as a guide for the deceaseds soul.
    Ilsa stood far back from them, she had no desire to witness these necromantic rites but she felt she must stay and pray for Soeseths soul lest Beldanes magics caused it further harm in the afterlife.

    When the scent if the insence filled the room Beldane began to recite the invocation that would allow her to commune with the cursed soul.

    "BAAD ANGARRU!
    NINNGHIZHIDDA!
    Thee I invoke, Serpent of the Deep!
    Thee I invoke, NINNGHIZIDDA!, Horned Serpent of the Deep!
    Thee I invoke, Plumed Serpent of the Deep!
    NINNGHIZHIDDA!
    Open!
    Open the Gate that I may enter!
    NINNGHIZHIDDA, Spirit of the Deep, Wathcer of the Gate, Remember!
    In the Name of our Father, ENKI, before the Flight, Lord and Master of Magicians, Open the Gate that I may enter!
    Open, lest I attack the Gate!
    Open, lest I break down its bars!
    Open, lest I attack the Walls!
    Open, lest i leap over It by force!
    Open the Gate, lest I cause the Dead to rise and devour the Living!
    Open the Gate, lest I give the Dead power over the Living!
    Open the Gate, lest I make the Dead to outnumber the Living!
    NINNGHIZHIDDA, Spirit of the Deep, Watcher of the Gate, Open!
    May the Dead rise and smell the incense!

    At first all was quiet, it appeared the invocation had failed.
    Then it started as a small wind, the smoke of the incense was moved lighly at first and faint wail as of a dying breath arose. Gradually the wail raised in volume til it sounded as the Banshee called for the dead, and it did not cease there, soon it sounded as if the gates to tortured of Hell had been unlocked and thrown wide open.
    Then slowly above the corpse, an etheric form coalesced into existence but would take no definate shape.

    Beldane shouted to the form;
    "UUG UDUUG UUGGA GISHTUGBI"
    but still it refused to reveal its true shape, the priestess of Arawn knew she was being blocked by something beyond her power.
    "UUG UDUUG UUGGA GISHTUGBI"
    she cried again, but it was to no avail.

    The wailing had reached a crescendo and shook the very foundations of the building, knowing she could achieve no further here she chanted once more:
    "BARRA UUG UDUUG UUGGA!"
    And all was returned to as it had been.

    The necroservant leaned in closer towards Soeseths body as if listening to the corpse whisper its secrets. The servants skeletal features revealed no emotion as it completed its task and turned to its Mistress.
    With a wave of her hand Beldanes servant was returned to the dust from which it was born and her body was again made physical.

    Ilsa felt uncomfortable with this demons blatent display of unholy magics, but on Uthorns advice she had asked the priestess to see if she could find what tortured Soeseths soul.
    "He needs to be laid to rest" the Inconnu told her bluntly "I cannot commune with him whilst he lies here, his spirit wanders without direction,the remains must be taken to a circle of stone and there buried so it can find it's peace, Soeseth cannot find his way to the realm he seeks unless his body in grounded within the earth and the natural magics of the circle can guide his way, there is nothing more we can do for him"

    Ilsas heart was somewhat eased that this was all would be needed to calm the lost soul, but Beldanes black eyes did not belay her own uncertainty.
    Beldane prayed silently to herself, and hoped beyond all reason that it would be as simple as this.

    [Malthius’ Note: The ceremony for Soeseths funeral was performed within a stone circle upon Salisbury Plain. A Purification Invocation was first chanted by the Priestess Beldane. Whilst the other members of the Custodians looked on, those that followed the Christian faith feeling ill at ease with the pagan and necromantic rites being displayed before them, Beldane proceeded with trying to contact Soeseths Soul. However she was attacked by a force from beyond this realm and the Invocation of Spirits failed.]

    Written by Beldane:

    The stone circle had been cleared by her fellow custodians. The Invocation of Purification had been recited with precision and every syllable of the Invocations of the Spirits was pronounced with perfection. She had performed these rituals countless times before without error, she knew she had done nothing wrong this time, though she could feel it fall apart. Something terrible was amiss and there was nought she could do but watch. The Gate opened before her as she had commanded and the spirit of Soeseth summoned, but it had not come alone. There was another essence with it, attached not only to Soeseths soul, but dozens of others, silently screaming for their release. Beldane was frozen for a moment, already time was coming to a standstill around her, the Custodians watched on like statues, none could see the atrocity before them, to them it was but a brief moment, but for Beldane a lifetime of horrors passed. Not her own but thoses of the souls who had been captured by this beast. Their bodies had been cursed, a long unending spiral of decay from within and when their souls eventually found their release from the horrors their bodies had been forced to endure, they found only the Beast waiting for them, ensnaring their soul so that it may feed from it and draw power from them to fuel its own dark designs.

    The Beast turned its attentions upon Beldane and sneered, it mocked her, knowing its powers were far greater than those the child of Arawn before it could muster, and slowly it reached for her. There was no time to perform the ritual properly, the Gate had to be shut immediately, the Incantation be damned, it was foolish but she chose to pay the price later rather than lose everything now.


    The Custodians looked on, as the Priestess of Arawn finished her chant there was a moment like an eternal second as all waited with a pregnant pause. And then Beldane collapsed, she fell to floor and looked for a moment broken, defeated, til she raised herself up and wiped the blood from her nose and mouth. None knew truly what they had witnessed but they new that she had failed.

    Beldane thanked them all, they had done nothing wrong, she knew even in her heart she could not blame them for her failure. She could not even blame herself, twisted though it were, that would have been more acceptable than the truth she had to face. She had recived more than just a physical blow, she had simply been outclassed in every manner, there was nothing that she could have done differently. And that was unacceptable. She would not show weakness to the others, the next few minutes were a daze, she thought hard on the matter and moved on from the others quickly. It was only when she was once more alone that she retched the blood from her broken innards and gave into the pain.
    As unconciousness began to claim her she could think only of the Fiend that had so easily bested her and a faint smile crossed her lips. She knew that either Its power would belong to her, or it would lay broken and begging for its life at her feet before she sent it into oblivion.

    [Malthius’ Note: Until the Beast is slain and the Incantation can be successfully performed, there will be no rest for the Souls of the Dead and this tale is left without an end. When the quest has been completed I will return to recite the end unto you all.]
     
  2. Malthius

    Malthius Fledgling Freddie

    Soeseths Death

    The rest thus far:

    By Uthorn:

    It rained.
    At times it seemed to Uthorn that the heavens wept for what the land had become.
    Still the rain suited his mood.
    Uthorn stood alone on a hill, the only thing that marked this hill was three cairns and a Cherry tree that slept in the grip of winter. Two of the cairns were aged but well tended. The third was new.
    The third was for Soeseth. A place for the Custodian to rest until his spirit could be given freedom.
    The events of recent weeks had been troubled. First the illness that had taken Soeseth and then the events of the funeral. Just more signs that evil was growing in strength. An evil Uthorn was sworn to fight, even though many considered Uthorn an agent of that evil.
    "I will see that you are avenged, my friend." Uthorn said.
    "Do not forget your task." A voice spoke behind Uthorn.
    Uthorn did not turn but he did reply.
    "I have not forgotten my oath, though it may cost me my soul and see me dammed in the eyes of the church I once served."
    "Then why bother with this ? I have seen the revulsion in the eyes of those that would have once called you friend." The voice was quiet but filled with power.
    "I still have my free will." Uthorn said, lifting the hood of the cloak he customarily wore once more throwing his face into shadow. "You have not taken that, and I will not see another suffer as they did."
    Uthorn glanced at the other two graves, turned and walked from the hill. He did not look back.
    Had he, he would have seen the owner of the voice smile slightly.
    He might even have heard the whisper.
    "There is hope yet."
    The rain began to ease, and a single blossom appeared on the tree.

    By Ilsa

    Ilsa woke suddenly from a deep and restless sleep. The image of Soseth as he lay on the pallet came flooding back to her so vivid and so very precise in every little detail even down to the smell of death that had befallen over the room. His eyes had been wild and pleading and his body wracked with spasms of pain. She had stood helplessly watching as Soseths life force had ebbed away.

    A cold chill came over her and she shuddered as she recalled the ceremony that Beldane had performed and Gorthen’s cold words came haunting back to her. Ever since that evening she had questioned her own beliefs in the one true God. She had knelt at Soseths bedside for many a long hour and together with Brother William they had maintained a bedside vigil over the dying Soseth. A tear formed and rolled unchecked down her cheek, in his death the cost of Soseth selling his sole to the powers of darkness was beginning to be seen and only dared be imagined.

    With a heavy sigh she turned over in the bed and tried to block out the recurrent images and words that came haunting her. Despite all that Gorthen had said and accused her of, her faith was still strong but in her heart, even though it repulsed her greatly, she knew that to truly freely Soseth and put him to eternal rest then his soul must be first released from the cold, grim hands of the dark lord and this could only be achieved by the ways Beldane had outlined.

    The moons soft light filtered through the window it was at its height, round and full and shimmering with a silvery light. In two weeks time the new moon would dawn and the remainder of the items required would need to be collected but the question was where were they all to be found?

    By Ilsa

    It was three in the morning and all was quiet and all was still. The dark shadows of the night had befallen over the room and the dying embers from the hearth cast their eerie glow over Ilsa who sat looking upwards to the clear night sky. The stars were bright and glimmered with a bright silvery brilliance which pierced the blackness of the velvet sky. The moons disc was partly, but less than one-half illuminated and for the past few nights she had sat watching it gradually decreasing . She shivered in response to a cold chill that suddenly came over her and she pulled the shawl closer around her. As she had prayed a coldness from within the room descended and weighed heavy and yet again she felt a immense feeling of forelorn hopelessness and desolation. The new moon was soon to be upon them.

    Each night as the moons face lessened the dreams became more intense. Soseths transluscent grey face showed a look of pain and anguiish as he lay there on the small bed. His dark, wild eyes darted around the room as if looking for escape, but there was none. His soul was trapped and tied to the writhing body and death stood over him, watching and waiting and tormenting. Such was the cost of selling ones soul to Arawn.

    Ilsa sat deliberating, trying to rationalise what had happened and what she may have done differently. She had prayed with the resilience and deep faith of a committed Christian yet why had God had not answered her call? She had waited and tended upon Soseth yet the more she intervened the greater was his pain. The power of Arawn was too great but Gods was greater…or was it?

    The book that she had been holding in her hands fell to the floor besides her. For the first time ever she found herself questioning her faith. Unnoticed a spark shot forth from the fireplace and fell upon the fragile pages. There it sat upon them eating downwards, smouldering and burning down, deeper and deeper whilst Ilsa sat oblivious to the remains of the Bible that now lay at her feet and to the dark force of Arawn that enterered within.

    By Beldane

    Outside the heavens fell.
    Rain fell in torrents further darkening the night sky. Vision was near impossible and small streams formed in the srteets.
    Inside all was quiet, but it felt like the eye of the storm.
    Beldane sat and stared at the bowl standing on the desk, the green hued salts inside seemed to glare back at her with impatience.
    It had taken her much time and effort but at last she had what she would need to find out what she must know.
    Whilst the others gathered the items that were needed to lay Soeseths soul to rest she had to gain the knowledge of how to bring it all to an end.
    Beldane had seen the beasts very soul, but still she needed to know where it resided. The marsh sunken lands of Lyonesse held the clue and before her rested one who could give her answers.

    When she felt ready, Beldane began to recite the words that were inscribed within the ancient texts. So many time had she done this she no longer required them to recall what must be said.
    Before she was done the salts had already began to emit a thick green smog, and by the time she was done they had formed into the identity they had once held in life.

    Outside the downpour had ceased and silence held dominion.

    "I have questions" Beldane stated, and she had no doubt that she would get the answers she needed.
     

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