As night creeps over the village, you sit alone in your workshop. Quinn has gone home for the night. The gloom creeps through the windows, blanketing your home in a thick layer of silence. Outside, the night-time traffic of the village, minimal as it is, has finally ended. It is very nearly midnight now. The sky is dark, lit only by the stars, and the time of your ritual draws ever nearer.You sit, a knife pressed to your arm, preparing yourself for the night to come. Below the knife a cup, carefully measured, slowly fills as the blood pours from the thin line drawn through your flesh. Behind you a fire roars, the small kettle red-hot in preparation for your vital essence.It is this night, above all others, that you realize Totemistry is not always a pleasant art.A filmy figure, face obscured by sourceless smoke , sits across the table from you. You can feel Thane's amber eyes watching the blood as it pools in the cup below the knife, a look not of hunger, but detached interest."Are you prepared?" he asks, his mahogany-rich voice filling the quiet room.
You are Osyki, journeyman Totemist and first line of defense for your village against the rabid Behemoths wandering the land. Your master, the previous Totemist, fell in a battle against a terrible Behemoth, leaving the duty of defending your settlement to you. Now, with the improvements to your village's defenses and infrastructure coming along smoothly, another group of humans has been spotted to the south, past the swamp. In the morning, you escort the elder of your village to parlay with them. For now, however, you have a blood ritual to complete.----------[[Previous Threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=totemThe Cast Thus Far: http://pastebin.com/uwRsEHcX ]]
"Do I appear somehow unprepared?"
WE'RE BACK BABY!
>>24984907"I was prepared the moment I put blade to my flesh.Shall we commence the ritual?"
>>24984907"As I'll ever be."
>>24984907"Let's get this over with."
>>24984907Oh god oh god is it you Diarca? Is it really you? Please let this be real, I've waited for so long...Also, YES- We are more than prepared.
You stare levelly across the table at Thane, focusing as best you can on his featureless visage."Do I appear somehow unprepared?" you ask, the corners of your lips quirking upward despite the pain radiating from your arm. "Let's begin."Your Stalker spirit (If indeed that is what Thane is,) inclines its head. Acting quickly, you bind your arm with a roll of gauze, pulling the white wrap tight to stem the flow of blood. You pour the cup into the kettle, restraining yourself from wincing when it begins to bubble and pop."Good," Thane says. You can almost hear the smile in his voice. "Now, when the vitae is paste, apply it to your skin in the patterns I describe to you. When you are complete, you must meditate beneath the black sky until the first ray of dawn."You nod, knowing better than to balk at the prospect of skipping your nightly slumber.The room is silent as you await the blood's congealing process.>Is there anything you wish to question Thane on?
>>24984907It's a MIRACLE! The return of Binder Quest and Totemist Quest in the same week? HALLALUJAH! I Will gladly kneel and pay homage to whichever higher power saw fit to bless us in this way.>>24985001This. We are Osyki THE PREPARED. It's who we are. It's what we do. We are always ready.
>>24985207"Do you mind if I ask, why blood? It's obviously significant, I've just never quite understood why blood instead of some other fluid."
>>24985267Well he's not a Stalker spirit, he's something more, he has to do with shadows, blood, and information. He was born on a night of slaughter and funneled through a Stalker.>>24985207"Earlier today, we met the men in the forest. You're rather observant, did you notice anything about them? Especially anything that I am likely to have missed?"
SWEET FUCKING CHRIST IT'S DIARCA.Dude, how've you been?>>24985207"Why do you call yourself Thane? No disrespect intended, but thane is a warrior's title, not the name for a clever being."
>>24985207"I'm assuming this will grant you a significant boon and that your power will grow greatly from this ritual." "Tell me, if I were to craft more of the obfuscating totems, if I were to spread them across the entirety of the Mountain, Forest, and Swamp, how effective would that be in Blinding the splintered once-man we call The Magus?"
>>24985267>>24985307>>24985312>>24985332These, I can't come up with anything questions.
>>24985332>>24985312>>24985267"You know, Thane," you say, breaking the silence, "I've wondered. Why blood? Is there some intrinsic property that makes it necessary?""Any fluid within the body would suffice, truly," Thane admits. "Blood is the most visible, and the most procurable in large measure. I assume you would not wish to paint yourself in intricate designs of saliva... or worse."You both chuckle at that."Tell me, why is it that you call yourself Thane? With respect, that's a title for a warrior, not a clever being such as yourself."Thane shakes his head, sending clouds of smoke spiraling across the room. "Incorrect, in the most technical sense. The title Thane denotes only a servant, or a retainer. Which I am. Obviously."You nod. He does serve you without question, true enough. Still, you feel as though you haven't heard the true answer to your question.(Cont.)
"I'm assuming-" you begin, intent on questioning Thane on his motivation for the ritual, but he holds up a hand to silence you."The blood is prepared." he says, and you know that your time is limited. You cross the room, removing the kettle from the fire. The blood has become a blackened paste across the bottom of the kettle, and the room stinks of the stuff. You place the kettle on a cloth on your workbench, dipping a finger into the still scorching paste.You shed your shirt, pressing your sooty fingers to your skin at Thane's instruction. He guides you through the process of outlining your major energy pathways in the ebon stuff, obscuring your spiritual and mental pathways from prying eyes. You finish by pressing a thumb to the center of your forehead."Now," Thane tells you, "Your trial begins. Walk into the moonless night, and contemplate the nature of darkness around you. When the first ray of dawn breaks upon you, your name will be a secret bound between you and I, and only available to those who you share it with."As you open the door, the blackness of night spills into the room like an unleashed sea. The night seems even darker than before, and as you step outside your skin prickles at the chill night air."Look into the darkness, Totemist," Thane whispers into your ear, "And welcome it.">1d100+15
Rolled 25 + 15>>24985651What is a man?
Rolled 94 + 15>>24985651rolling. this will be fun. think sneaky thought
Rolled 71 + 15>>24985679A miserable pile of secrets!
>>24985724Fuck I'm retarded
>>24985683Not bad, not bad at all.
>>24985651can someone remind me what the rolling rules are for this quest?are we good?
>>24985764We should be fine, so just don't roll. Also no noko rolling.
>>24985724>>24985733Fuck it, I'm too tired to do this shit.
>>24985764High good, low bad. I think best of X usually. It's been a while. So I think we're fine.
>40You step out into the night air, and the soot lining your arms, chest, and throat suddenly burn. Lines of red-hot agony shoot through your body, nearly driving you to your knees. Your heart beats a pulsing rhythm through your chest, every thump sending a wave of agony through your body."Open yourself to the darkness, Totemist, or be devoured by it," your spirit whispers. "You cannot fail now.">109Steeling yourself, you force your shaking legs underneath you. You rise to your feet unsteadily, and as you do you can feel the night air cooling the burning agony in your flesh.Reaching your feet, you step forward. Like plunging into an icy pool, the breath is momentarily driven from you by your sudden release from agony. You almost stumble as you climb onto the roof of your workshop. Elevated above the village, you can see your surroundings in a whole new light.>89The village below you is lit by tiny beads of red. They pulse and twinkle in even rhythms. You slowly realize that you are observing the heartbeats of your fellow villagers, brilliant and full of life in the still night. The forest around you is similarly filled with beating jewels of red and green, the life force of a thousand living creatures on display for you.And so, it is with great reluctance that you close your eyes and open your mind to the nature of the darkness around you and within you.>2d100
Rolled 61, 61 = 122>>24985909
>>24985924Dayumn, can we just stick with that or should we roll more?
Rolled 68, 10 = 78>>24985909
Rolled 15, 4 = 19>>24985909rolling. here is hoping we dont fuck it up and get eaten by a sparrow or something
Rolled 98, 75 = 173>>24985909>24985909
Diarca, how're you handling rolling now? Best of 5? Average?
>>24986141He takes all of the first three.
>>24986141[[ I'll ordinarily take the first roll or the first three-to-five, depending on the circumstances and how many rolls I need.]]
Welcome back my friend. You have been missed.
>61You sit with your eyes closed for what seems like hours on the roof of your workshop, keenly aware that any villager on a night stroll will likely be treated to a rather ridiculous sight. You do your best to focus your mind on the nature of the darkness around you, and behind your eyelids, but focusing on the matter is keenly similar to attempting to stare Thane in the face. Your mind continually slides right off the matter.Instead, you focus on things you know to lurk in and thrive on darkness. The Stalkers and spirits that function exclusively in the night. The stars above you, and the great, empty void where the new moon hangs in the sky.Slowly, and quite without being aware of it, you slip into the darkness of your own mind.>61You open your eyes to a misty touch across your face. The colorless fog floats leadenly through the air of the bog which you suddenly find yourself ankle-deep in. All around you, dead trees and blighted plants loom, hundreds of feet taller than reason dictates they should stand.You know this place. The Basilisk Wyrm's stomping grounds, or somewhere very like it.Through the mist overhead you can see the lightless night sky. The stars are gone, here, and the moon never was."Welcome to the Shade," comes a voice from around you, wispy and indistinct. "I'm so sorry."
>>24986261"Why would you be sorry? I chose to come here. Who are you anyways? Is Thane about? Is there anything about this place I should be aware of to help ensure my survival? What are the most prominent dangers?"
>>24986261>"I'm so sorry."Bode well this does not...
>>24986261"No need to apologize, who are you?"
>>24986261"Is there anything I should know about the Shade and why are you apologizing to me?"
>>24986261"Fear not for me. I come here of my own volition. Who are you, and why is it you think one such as I should despair?"
"Don't be sorry," you say to the open air, wiping the condensation from your brow. "I chose to come here. Why, is there something I should know about the Shade?"You are, as expected, met with the heavy silence that only a previously occupied space can possibly contain.You shrug, squaring your shoulders and trudging through the muck. You take an account of your situation. You are without your totems, or any clothing but your trousers and boots. The runic markings are still smeared across your skin, and what's more, they seem to contain an abyss of some impossible depth. The marshlands extend as far as the eye can see in all directions, monotone masses of damp earth and fetid water.There is a rumble in the distance, a tremor just barely on the edge of your perception from the marsh ahead of you. It sends a chill up your spine, and you feel as though one, or several pairs of eyes are boring into your back.The air itself here feels hostile.What have you gotten yourself into?
>>24986605Don't bother turning around to try and see the things behind us, we won't see them. Slowly but surely trudge our way towards the rumbling.
>>24986605Thane said to welcome the darkness, let's give it a proper greeting then.
>>24986605Onwards, towards the rumbling. Whatever we do, DON'T LOOK BACK!
>>24985909If only we were musically inclined we could totally make like Odysseus. Oh well, he messed up in the end.What can we sense, spiritually?
>>24986605"You needn't fear me, as I do not fear you. You needn't reveal yourself, for I already know you are here. I humbly ask only who you are."
>>24986819We could just whistle: FAB FAB FABED BCBGE DEGE
You are savvy enough to resist the immediate urge to turn around. Trudging onward through the white and black, the feeling does not weaken. The mist is cloying, seemingly inches thick in the air, and the gray particles pepper the air.The rumbling, likewise, intensifies as your trudge onward. Your footing quickly becomes precarious as the tremors in the ground disturb the mud and muck beneath the foot-deep water. You keep your footing through practiced, deliberate steps, but the need to welcome the darkness is an admonition that hangs heavy on your mind. So you do so, vocally."You needn't fear me, as I do not fear you," you say to the empty air. The rumbling ceases, momentarily. "You needn't reveal yourself, for I already know you are here. I humbly ask only who you are."There is a sudden absence of movement entirely. Standing stock-still, waiting for an answer, you feel frozen in time. Even the sound of your breathing is muted unto nothingness.Suspicious, you attempt to awaken your second sight and probe outward, spiritually, in an attempt to gather more solid information about your predicament.>1d100-20. Taking the first two rolls.
Rolled 68 + 20>>24986910
Rolled 52 - 20>>24986910
>>24986917>>24986919Well, slightly above average which is good.
Rolled 69 - 20>>24986910
>48You immediately panic as a rim of black edges around your vision. You don't feel light-headed or faint, and your limbs are strong, but the darkness quickly begins closing in over your vision. You reel back mentally, only to find yourself effectively backed against a wall. You are locked into your second sight, and all there is to see around you is thick, inky black.You are, effectively, blind.You plant your feet and stand still, striving to snap out of your spiritual trance and re-enable your mundane sight, but the effort proves too much for you. Deprived of your primary sense, you feel a sense of dread creep over you. A prickling sensation races down your spine, though whether from chill, fear, or some external source, you cannot tell.>32I am here.Your mind flinches at the feeling of a foreign presence. You did not think the words, but they rose from your mind. This is nothing like the mental link you share with Boand, where you can hear her within your mind. Your own consciousness is projecting words, in your own mental voice, without your prompting. You feel almost sullied by the completeness of the sudden mental intrusion, and even more distressed by the fact that you cannot even feel it within your mind.You are beginning to panic.
>>24984907HOLY SHITIS THAT REALLY YOU?
>>24987041Calm down, talk to it in our head."Well, I was told that I had to look into darkness and welcome it. So I suppose it's lovely to meet you, whatever you are exactly."
>>24987041Take a few deep breaths. Steady ourself. Let our nerves calm in silence.
>>24987041It is I that is speaking. I am master over the domain that is my mind.It is I that is speaking. Trhough force of will, I make the darkness bend.It is I that is speaking. There is no stranger, there is no intrusion.It is I that is speaking. I am the dark, the dark is I.Or something like that.
>>24987041Panic isn't a bad reaction, in fact it's perfectly natural, but remember those lines that Thane made in our own blood? The ones that look like they lead into an abyss? That's probably where this came from. Try to set up circulation; it came into your body and mind through the lines and the mark on your head, but it keeps going, and leaves through the same. It's IN you now, but darkness always was in the cavities of your body. Now it just has a way of saying hi.
You take a deep, shaking breath, coming to terms with your lack of sight and the new, foreign you within your mind. The water laps gently at your shins as your legs quake beneath you, but you stand. Your trial is to welcome the darkness, and in welcoming it, become one with it. Thane had spelled this out in more or less direct language to you before your trial began, and his advice will see you through this. Instead of blocking out the voice, you force yourself to open your mind to it.'Hello,' you think, feeling slightly foolish. 'I welcome you to the surface of my consciousness. What may I call you?'An image rises to your mind, a strange and nonsensical figure of vaguely humanoid shape.Caethos.The name appears in your thoughts so quickly, you nearly miss it while straining to find it.'Caethos," you think, and as you do your vision clears.Before you, impossibly tall even as it looks you levelly in the eye, is the being you had seen within you. Its head reflects your face in warped, distorted bubbles and waves."Caethos," you say aloud, and the swamp around you trembles. "I welcome you."The being inclines its head, the silver sphere leaning down, plummeting toward you with terrifying speed. It stops scant inches from your face, and you can see yourself reflected in monotones within its bulbous cranium. Your eyes are black within the silver orb above you, and you wear a crooked expression. You see, for the first time, the darkness that lurks behind your eyes."Hello, Osyki," your reflection says. "I'm so sorry."
>>24987478"Sorry for what?" I got a bad feel about this, scoob.
>>24987478"What are you sorry for? What happened? What did you do wrong?"
>>24987478"I do not comprehend. How am I known to you?"
A hundred questions race through your head as you stare into the abyss of your reflection's eyes, but only one manages to fight its way to the surface."...Why?" you ask, already dreading your reflection's answer. It gives you a twisted sort of grin, staring down at you as you stare up at it."I'm afraid, Osyki," it says to you. "I'm afraid that she won't remember. That I'll fail in hunting him down, in keeping them safe. I'm so afraid. I have to let him free, Osyki. I'm so sorry."In the distance, you can hear the faint sound of metal screaming against metal. Your mind flashes to the massive white fang hanging from the head of your spear."I hate, Osyki."You can see a faint patina of copper creeping over your reflection's face, a jarring color in the sea of black and white. The water around your reflection's feet ripples outward, and you can see thin strands of metal threading through the water beneath him."I'm afraid, and there's only one answer. I'm so sorry."
>>24987828"If you free him, will he not just kill her, and them as well?"
>>24987828"I forgive you.This is not the right way, but I forgive you. I am also scared, but we can't let fear rule us instead of ruling our fear. I forgive you, but there is always another answer."
You can feel your guts twist inside you, but you stare up into your reflection's eyes and attempt to speak with the calmest voice you can muster, considering the utterly bizarre circumstances."I forgive you," you say, and you above you your reflection begins to weep. "This is not the right way, and I believe you can rule your fear, but I forgive you. You don't need to be ashamed for being afraid. You can't be brave without fear to rally against. But if you release him, their lives will be forfeit. All of them. There is always another answer."Your reflection nods, and Caethos' massive head slowly lifts away from you. When you glance down, Thane stands before you, still clad in his cloud of obfuscating darkness."Dawn approaches, Totemist," he says. "Your night-time hours grow wan. Are you prepared to leave?"Your blood-runes pulse with angry heat. You can see Thane is similarly clad in deep crimson markings, scrawled over his tunic and, you assume, over his face.
>>24988021"I believe I am, though with the coming of dawn I don't suppose I have a choice in the matter.Thank you Thane, I won't say it was pleasant, but it was enlightening in its own way."
>>24988039This is good.
You nod, running a hand through your hair. "I believe I am, though with the coming of dawn I don't suppose I have a choice in the matter," you say with a small shrug."Oh, there is always a choice, Totemist." Thane says with a small shrug. "But dangerous things roam in the Shade during the daylight hours. It is when they are out, haunting the light, that this place is safest to travel."You bite back the dozen questions which that statement evokes, electing to question Thane further when you're safely back in the village. Instead, you smile."Thank you, Thane," you say. "I won't say it was pleasant, but it was enlightening in its own way.""Enlightenment is rarely pleasant, Totemist. The dark can be more comfortable for many."He turns, and as he does he is replaced by a door of pure, shining ivory. Without thinking twice you reach forward, pushing the door open. The light within blinds you, searing eyes adjusted for the twilit gloom of the Shade.As you blink the first rays of dawn from your eyes, you see the runic markings falls from your flesh. Dust in the wind.The Stalker Pelt focus is draped over your shoulders like a comforting blanket.>Dawn.
>>24988286Sleep it off, or try to. Did we have anything important planned for today?
>>24988286I suppose we should test to see if it worked but doesn't everyone in town already know our name?Just caught up to the thread, glad to have you back Dairca.
>>24988286Well stand up, stretch, work out any kinks that we may have gotten from this experience.Then head home, get some breakfast, and prepare everything for heading out with the Elder.
>>24988416Yes, yes we did. We're taking the Elder to the meeting point with the advance scouting party from somewhere else.
You stand, rolling your shoulders and craning your neck to remove a night's worth of sore muscles and tight ligaments. You're due to meet Elder Haine at the south gate of the village in two hour's time, but you could use some rest before that. Alternatively, you could drop in on Quinn, or Aurora, or practice more with your Foci and their various permutations.>Two hours' time, Totemist. How will you spend it?
>>24988286Check our spear, make sure he didn't let the greater demon of RAGE out.
>>24988582First, breakfast. Then a short nap, we're short on sleep as it is, let's not exacerbate that.
>>24988582Check on our spear, then set an alarm totem (probably a thing, right?) To wake us up in an hour so we can power nap. Then a quick breakfast.
>>24988582We shouldn't bother resting not enough time available to make a difference. Are there any local teas or potions we could take to give us energy? Breakfast is a good idea either way.
>>24988582If you want to rest, rest at the gate. Breakfast is a good idea too.
>>24984907PRAISE BE DIARCA! YOU HEARD MY CALL!First Binder quest, then Totemist? I thought you were dead Diarca
Feeling the paranoia instilled in you by your conversation with the inner darkness, you slide off of your roof and land in the soft dirt still churned from your experimentation with Cordia's crystal. A quick jaunt takes you inside, where you confirm that Modi Magni's focus remains safely bound to your spear. You eye the weapon with a mixture of familiarity and distrust, a mixture born of living with a being only just restrained from slaying you for weeks and weeks. You resolve to brew some tea rather than risk oversleeping."Feeling alright, Osyki?" a voice says from above. You look to see Amal, rotating peacefully on the ceiling."Fine. A little tired, a little sore, but a little more secure as well.""Good," your spirit ally replies. "Today's very important."You nod, placing a pot of water over the hearth to boil. "Don't I know it."A few minutes later, a cup of tea steeps on your workbench. You set to work gearing yourself for the mission ahead.>How will you bind your Foci, and what provisions will you take to escort Elder Haine?
>>24989043For provisions, rope, more rope, pitons, hammer, chisel, lanterns, oil, rations, chalk, ritual dagger, basic first aid stuff, and some rope.For bindings, keep the turtle as the Cloudwalker's Stride, Thane as Nocturne's Embrace. I think putting Cordia in the gloves would be good, I liked those gloves, unless we have her doing something else.As for the Ykree, what bindings have we experimented with it so far and what is it in currently? I can't remember.
>>24989043Is this actually still active?I went to sleep 12 hours ago as it was starting.Sage for not contributing actively to topic.
>>24989043We will bind the Turtle spirit to our boots. Thane to our cloak.Cordia to the mirror.(I can't remember exactly what it was but we got it in the swamp.) to... some random object on our person we haven't bound it to as of yet?
>>24989136Oh right I remember now, the Ykree was in the bow, right? I say having a bow is always good.What is Cordia doing though? Can we take her with us or is she busy doing other stuff.>>24989193It started about 4 hours ago.
You ensure that your bindings are in the proper arrangement before you head out. The Crystal Spear is bound to your boots, and you replace the Stalker Pelt in your cloak. The small green gem Cordia resides in is fused with your gloves, for an unobtrusive but crucial secondary line of defense. Your Bladed Fin focus stays in your bow, which you tie to your pack.Your usual exploration kit is complemented by an extra supply of first aid supplies. You're escorting an incredibly important individual, and you have relatively little room for error in keeping him safe and healthy. Boand's pearl goes around your neck, and with your spear in hand and a belly full of tea and a few simple biscuits, you head toward the gate.There's no way of knowing, but you get the feeling today will be revolutionary. One way or another.[[Alright, folks. Apologies for the early cut-off, but it's getting late here and I have work on the morrow. Next time, the meeting with the mysterious new humans. Expect the next thread Wednesday evening, 5pm PDT.]]
>>24989136Turtle:LIGHTNING GOFAST BOOTZThane:HIDDEN SHADOWZ CLOAKYkree:POISON BOWRaptor:PANTS OF GOTTA MOVEQUICKCordia:Some people want gloves, though imho the armor would be more usefulTyrd:UnboundAmal:UnboundModi Magni:Stays right where the hell he is.
>>24989444k.I wonder if there's a way to use minor totems to buff ourselves.To do something like increasing the keen-ness of our senses.To increase our spiritual depth and breadth somehow.Perhaps something to encourage our body's metabolism to go faster - spending more energy.And, a totem of mental force - i.e. willpower - would go a long way with what we do.The players themselves provide the mental breadth and depth (intelligence) that is Osyki's greatest asset.
>>24989444Thanks, Diarca. You have no idea how much you've been missed.
>>24989524This, a million times this