Main Story Act I: The Carrion Prince and the Sunday Morning Massacre

Percuriam

Weaver of Fates
Black History Month 2021 Donator
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Art by @JoyShake

ACT I

The Carrion Prince and the Sunday Morning Massacre

The week had been an unusual one for the occupants of the Island of Darroway, with a terrifying fog and a bone-chilling cold seeping over the Island in what would have otherwise been the beginning days of summer the terror that filled the city was palpable in every glance over a shoulder or bump in the night. Sleeping was among the list of things that people were finding to be difficult, but eating or even finding fresh food was starting to be equally so. Food stores that had survived the elements and wild animals and late night hunger cravings would soon be found to be infested with maggots and smelling as if they’d been left out under the hot summer sun for days upon days. Everything from livestock to family pets to wild animals were found dead and scattered haphazardly all over the city, their throats slit or their beastly bodies torn apart by the jaws of some creature long vanished into the night from whence it came. Windows were shattered and lanterns were knocked down, doors were torn off their hinges floorboards rotted through. The city looked worse than it had when they had arrived. It was falling apart.

The worst part for most though was the constant nightmares that began on Saturday evening and would persist through the night. Visions of a man adorned in gold and ruby-colored finery with dark, crimson hair danced in the minds of those that occupied the Island of Darroway. The man was tall and gaunt, with a face that appeared like shredded tissue paper and was marked with pox scars and cuts of all sorts. Eyes the color of glowing amber that pierced through the fog that covered the Island and that blanketed each and every person’s nightmares. In every mind’s vision he seemed to be searching for something--or someone. And where there would normally be the harsh reprieve of awakening to a shriek and sitting in one’s bed in a cold sweat there was only the man reaching down to grab the dreamer by the neck and stare deep into their eyes. When the nightmare seemed to fade and the person’s vision went black they would only be greeted again by the sounds and visions of the man hunting for them over and over and over again into what seemed to be an infinite torturous cycle.

And then day broke, and the reality of the cold and the fog seemed more welcoming than the prison they had spent their night trapped in.

Everyone seemed to wake up at the same time on Sunday morning, greeted with the now familiar embrace of the Fog and the cold that accompanied it. As the citizens of Hope’s Landing went about their morning routine feeling as if they hadn’t slept at all the gaze of some unseen being would tingle the hairs on the back of their neck and send a sharp chill down their spines. Those that made their way out into the streets in the early morning dusk would notice dozens of creatures suspended in mid air above houses and streets and the waters of the docks. Black masses of vaguely humanoid shapes hovering in mid-air silently as if they were scarecrows for the living. A warning, perhaps.

Those that were brave enough to go near the corpses would see hundreds of faces and body shapes and races flicker over their features, some twisted and torn in fear while others seemed peaceful or even happy at times. Most, though, seemed to be looking at something that the word terrifying wouldn’t even begin to describe.

The bodies seemed to become more numerous as the citizens of Hope’s Landing neared the Town Hall. Several of them floated aimlessly above the gallows and the main doorway while the living residents all felt compelled to make their way there as well. As feet met the cobblestone paths the sounds of a haunting and hollow sounding orchestra filled the streets to accompany a song meant to herald the arrival of someone grand.

♫ The prince, the jester, the queen with no crown
Who once brought ole Darroway tumblin’ down
The blight of the first ones, the caller of Kings
The Taker of trinkets, the end of all things

The Carrion Prince, the Carrion Prince,
Master and Martyr for whom we all sing
The blight of the first ones, the dead son of Gods
Away with your life in naught but two nods

The Carrion Prince, the Pale Man who rides
The hunter who markets in fresh human hides
From the realm yonder where no one abides
The culler of grooms and the slasher of brides

The Carrion Prince who rides first alone
The Knight and her armor made out of bone
The Jester and his bloody, rusted ol’ sickle
The Queen who is always ever so fickle.

The Court of Midnight come back alive

Thanks to your antics, here we shall thrive! ♫
 

Empaul

I am the one who glocks.
Juntaro Ojo had awoken outside, having been sleeping in a tree that night. With a stifled yawn, he glanced about and immediately took notice of the dozens of black figures littering the sky. He shivered, though his gentle smile remained as if it was the only thing keeping him sane among all the chaos going on in Hope's Landing. Even as the song rang out and hammered into his eardrums, Juntaro kept his head low and focused only on making sure his smile never wavered.
 

skullpanda90

Kinda Kooky
Gin was snapped out of her half awake state as she heard voices bustling inside Cielo's campsite. Dragging herself outside, she'd hear the worried voices and distraught tales of the man they all saw that night, and the rumors of blackened figures hanging in the skies near the city. At first she thought she misheard them, blinking hard with her gaze set out to the tree-line in the direction of Hope's Landing.

She gathered her compatriots, dearest
Frog and her Puppy before making a direct trail back to the town... she wanted to see for herself. She breathed hard and heavy, as if in a panic whirled with excitement, eyes swirling and mind jittering to just what was going on. It was all so perfectly chaotic, but this time, at her own expense.

Arriving in the town, it was just as they said. The dark humans that were hanging by invisible threads in the skies, their emotions toiling and turning, and that's when they heard it.. that sickening tune. She looked and listened, frozen in place as her heart thud in her chest. She wanted to see it, she wanted to know more... was this a calling? What was this town's fate? Overwhelmed with sick exhilaration, she scurried down the cobblestone roads and into the crowds that went their opposite direction, wafting her hand for her compatriots to do as they pleased as she'd join them later, rushing to make it impossible to follow. Covering up her rapid desires with cowardice.

She darted into the nearest dark alleyway, her thoughts bouncing around and twisting with the tiny voice in her head. Her blackened claws dug into the sides of her head as the chaos unfolded in the town square, she was laughing to herself, so overwhelmed. She'd ask them all later, but for now, it was all too much, what was happening? What is going to happen next? She couldn't wait, it was all so deviously.. so perfectly... horrible.


@speedl0rd @MeteorShower
 

CrankyCleric

Gazer of Distant Shores
Founder
Cicero tossed and turned in his bed, whimpering softly as vision after vision washed over him. His usual dreams of traumatic, childhood memories and bizarre dreamscapes of distant, alien worlds were gone this night. In their place the same crimson man clawed his way through the once familiar visions; warping and corrupting all to the point of nightmares. Yet despite the fear and dread he suffered, the crimson man continued his nightmarish torment.

He awoke to the dim, grey light of morning and bed sheets soaked through with cold sweat. Cicero buried his face in his hands as he took a few deep breaths to try and calm his racing heart. That's when he heard it. Quiet at first, but slowly growing. He slowly turned to look at his window before getting out of bed. Walking past several recently dead plants, Cicero looked out the cracked window pane at the floating corpses. What fresh hell had been unleashed upon the town this time? Coiling his tail around his leg, he stared vacantly at the nearest corpse for what felt an eternity.

Then the second hand clicked to the next position.

Cicero dragged himself away from the window, wrapping his waist sash around him and tucking in his usual items. He stopped when he picked up the piece of bread wrapped in cloth that had molded over entirely over the night. Yet another blighted curse to add to the pile. His stomach gurgled as he turned and made his way down from his small loft and out onto the streets. As he turned his key in the latch, Cicero muttered a hollow prayer to the Lady, if only out of routine than actually meaning it. Had life really gotten to that point? Meh, who was really able to judge him.

More bodies hovered ominously along the roadways, and the song. That thrice damned song continued to worm its way into Cicero's head and carve out a place to play on repeat. Thankfully, his clothing hadn't fully dried out from the previous days, because yet again it was raining. As he entered into the town square, the music seemed to reach a crescendo. All of the corpses seemed to be leading to this point, but now it was only time to figure out why.


Whatever it was, it couldn't possibly make life any worse than it was already, right?
 

junbot

Member
Jolting awake to the sound of voices from beyond her room, Maisie found herself pinned down by fear. Wiping a bead of sweat away from her forehead, she'd look to the surroundings of her dim room. Her candles had since gone out as she had fallen asleep, leaving only now the faint smells of herbs that happened to take hold of the curtains that framed her window. Through the lights that lined the streets, blurry shadows on the walls dancing a ballroom dance about the room encaptured her gaze. Curling beneath the heavy blankets that held onto her oh-so-lovingly she then would slink further into them. Clutching onto the fabrics to try and protect herself from whatever was outside. The house was quiet and still. Not a peep to be heard or given. The only sounds of life were the corpses that chose to dance and sing outside.
 

Gildefyre

Member
I: Sir Gaillart Godefroy

Beneath the gracious limbs of a mighty oak, a sitting, armored figure- dead or alive- kept its silent vigil beside the pale, flickering glow of a campfire, its arm wrapped around an upstanding pike. Fog, uniform in its unyielding weight, shrouded all beyond mere feet with its oppressive solemnity and seemed even to drain the color- the very life- out of the world. Flamelight danced, casting eerie shadows and glinting from both armor and spearpoint. Freezing rain fell lightly beyond the domain of this tiny shelter. Whispers and wails skittered in the mist. The tents were dark and still. If the others were awake, they were silent. The knight finally stirred, turning its faceless, steel-clad gaze about the encampment.

It was, perhaps, among the most important nights of Sir Gaillart Godefroy's life. He had volunteered himself to Cielo and Philippe's scouting missions, and ended up leading one himself. He'd bought his companions cloaks, weapons- turned them into the shade of a proper retinue. Philippe's words of commendation- that Gaillart's skills would be well-suited to investigating the Dwarven ruin the little party now endeavored towards- had been the first thing to truly lift his spirits since.. since..

.. since he had been a mere boy in Amyria, with Galliard and Marcelles at his side as they prowled the estate. Galliard had always known how to make Gaillart and Marcelles see past their differences with each other.. of birth, of mothers, of loyalties. Galliard had always treated them both as his brothers, and if Gaillart and Marcelles had ever agreed on anything in its entirety, it was that Galliard loved them both, saw the best in each of them.

So where did I mess it up? the knight wondered silently.

In the midst of these worldly and spiritual apocalypses, a wave of remorse, of longing, of a yearning for oblivion and an opposite, overpowering surge of courage tore through Gaillart's body, and his fist clenched, shaking with effort about the haft of his spear. Tears burned his eyes as his choking breath fogged the inside of his helm, engulfing him in a humid mire. He wept, his imperceptible face a contorted and violated image of agony at times, a defiant, radiant tear-streaked gratitude at others.. but throughout it all, he was overwhelmed with relief. The tension evaporated, for a time.

Someone had believed in him.

The end of the world pressed inexorably on.

II: Laurentin Fabron

Laurentin's mind was nearly as foggy as the mist, through which he and Marcus Blackadder trudged west along the riverbank. They hadn't said much since setting out from Cielo's campsite. It occurred to him that they hadn't left a note explaining that they'd left- but given how the numbers had dwindled over the past day, he didn't expect anyone cared. The trip hadn't been a total wash, though. It would've been fun, too, if it weren't for the damnable circumstances of it all, but what he had found there was more than enough for him.

She was cute.

He stepped in a puddle and sloshed mud all over the hem of his coat. "Damn rain," he commented. Marcus didn't have much to add, apparently, except a short "Mrm," that could just have easily been a murmur from the fog.

He lost himself in thought again. Eleven-and-a-half inch buckler, wood body. He wished Tangata was right about how well the lumbermill was doing. The wood was selling, sure, but Laurentin didn't care about the logs. He cared about his vision. His project. His ticket to comfortable living. People didn't come to him for weapons, whatever Tangata thought. But maybe, Laurentin mused- maybe I can sell some once things unscrew themselves. Run some posters. Perform some exhibitions. Get more procurement contracts.

That would be nice, he decided- All of it.

III: Hieronymous Carodicci

Hieronymous had stayed behind.

The chapel was in disrepair. Try as he did to contain the damage, some things could only be patched-up after. No one came for solace or refuge, now, but he had done his part to shepherd people to the town hall- combing through haunted, howling alleyways day and night by lanternlight, checking unlocked buildings, peering underneath rubble for stragglers, infirm, the sick, the poor. Now, beyond Jokaliistaraiskaja, he was the chapel's sole inhabitant.

He'd turned ever more to meditation, prayer, the Prismatic Path. He found a peaceful center there, an eye of the storm which wracked his mind. He could split wood with a finger. By Dawn, he could speak Light. He read the Tracts on Light, again and again, and began his own addition to the ruminative work. He had not seen a star sputter out, but he had now seen the veil between dimensions waver, weaken, falter. It was his duty to record it.

He would, as ever, Carry the Light.

The corpses sang.

IV: Malfridsigur

She did not understand why they were searching for a new place to live. It seemed clear to her that the only chance of survival they had was destroying the Portal in the Spirit World before the Carrion Prince's court and cohorts found their way into the waking world as well. Magic was reciprocal, in many ways- and one could not pry through the barriers of reality without the other side prying back.

More and more, the desperate thought that the Portal had to be closed nagged at her mind, tore at her thoughts.

Did it matter what it cost, what sacrifices had to be made, if the alternative was a ceaseless stream of demon after demon, each more powerful than the next, an infinite host which would outlast any lesser attempts to combat it?

It had to be destroyed permanently, no matter what.
 
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