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Degorram

The Revival

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**Degorram pulled out a Megaphone, cleared her throat loudly into it, and pulled on a floppy, knit hat. The price tag still hung from the tip of the hat, which hung down past her ears, but the numbers had been scratched out, replaced by "The Thinking Cap." Feet spread apart defiantly, she put a hand on her hip and began to bellow into the Megaphone, blowing several picture frames off the walls around her in the process**

 

In order to spur some activity, as well as test out a game that I've been DYING to play recently, I bring forth a Revival! This topic will be the official opening of an interactive tale. It's kind of like a "Campfire Story" except not as lame -- I will start with a story intro. The rules are: have fun and stretch your creative abilities! Go into the danger zone! Write in a way you've never done before! You can do anything you like with a character once it is introduced, however you are not allowed to kill them all off and say "The End" and you are not allowed to drastically alter the ideals of any given character; plot twists are all well and good, but if Sally Mae is a vegetarian, that's that. It's the job of every writer to respect and appreciate the work that goes into the creation and introduction of a character, so pay attention to who is who! With everyone working together, we can create something truly intriguing as well as actually get those pens moving!

 

**She paused to push the brim of her thinking cap out of her eyes, and picked up a mop and bucket that had been sitting nearby. The bucket was filled with red ink, and with a few pushes of the mop she began writing in large, crimson letters across the top of what appeared to be a bed sheet made of parchment paper. Meanwhile, her tail, curled around a black pen, began to scribble tiny cartoons and rude comments on the margins.**

 

With that, I release you and your muses into this new world!

 

-----------------

 

Tora sat up in his blanket to the sound of thunder outside. He marveled momentarily at how loud it was without any sort of walls to shield him from the elements. The stone at the mouth of his cave was wet and little rivulets of rain water were trickling towards him, results of the torrential downpour that was assaulting the mountain. His fire, so painstakingly built and tended to, had been blown out by the wind, and the water seeping into the cave had dampened his tinder.

 

With a sigh, Tora pulled himself up to lean against the cave wall, wrapping his only wool blanket even tighter around his shoulders. It would be a long, miserable night without the fire, but he was simply too tired to even attempt rebuilding it, much less spending precious magical energy in order to light it. He had no flint, and it had sent him right to sleep getting it started in the first place. What had at first been an exciting and childish discover, this cave, was now just another paltry shelter compared to the warm, cozy cabin he had left behind him.

 

Grimacing, the young mage-in-training banished all thoughts of home from his mind. Hadn't he made an oath? Hadn't he promised himself, and others, that he would not fail? To be beaten now by the mere trials of the weather...that would be truly embarrassing, and then all the mockery the other mages had made of him would be true.

 

He distracted himself as the thunder crashed like cymbals around him by gazing into the meditation ring on his finger. He didn't like to use it much, because of the warnings he had read about them in ancient scrolls, but when he just couldn't concentrate or relax, losing himself in the depths of that swirling, blue stone was very beneficial. Anyone who didn't know what the ring was would have considered it an ugly trinket, with its slightly bent metal band and stone attached roughly with practically rusted wire. But the stone itself, gently oval in shape and spiraling forever down into the depths that Tora found so comforting...it was the stone that could buy the whole of the Eastern forest; if the Eastern forest were for sale, that is. Tora chuckled at the thought, and the hypnosis was broken. The stone lay dull on his finger.

 

"That's odd..." he thought to himself, looking deeper down into the pattern of the rock. "What happened?"

 

Lightning flashed suddenly, and Tora was aware of a shadow falling across his legs. He jumped sharply, pulling back, and knocked over his knapsack in his fright. The ensuing clatter of pans and scatter of supplies was enough to distract Tora long enough for the stranger to move to the other side of the cave, out of the light caused by the noblemen of the storm.

 

Tora, tangled in his own blanket and struggling not to squash any of his precious few potatoes, looked over to where the figure had moved. From what he could tell in the darkness, it was a tall, thin person, possibly naked from the color of the shadow's surface. It was shivering violently, curled into a crouch against the stone wall.

 

"A-are you alright?" Tora asked quietly, sitting up slightly.

 

Lightning flashed again, and the figure turned to look at Tora sharply, eyes wide with alarm. Eyes wide, and blue, and swirling. And immensely cold.

 

And all Tora knew was blackness.

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The shade looked at Tora sadly. Like all spirits, it had been traumatized to the core by the transition from the ethereal realms to the earthly ones, and like all spirits, its own emotions bled directly into the minds of the physical.

 

Alas, as well, its fear had been so intense that while a creature of the immortal could endure the unpleasantness (with trepidation), something whose understanding was still limited by five senses stood no chance of standing against the pain and terror.

 

Such as the luckless apprentice lying unconscious by the fire.

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The figure unfolded itself cautiously, shoulders heaving as it struggled to calm its breathing. For a moment all was still, quiet save for the fierce rain pouring in a waterfall over the cave entrance. Lightning flared wickedly in the sky, illuminating a slender, feminine figure, and she flinched, arms snapping up over her chest. For a moment her fear receded as she cast a dark glare at the storm without.

 

Tora heaved as a gasp shuddered through his lungs, his body trying to reboot from its sudden shut down. The figure crouched against the rock wall, pulling her legs in front of her, watching avidly.

 

Tora sat up slowly, groggily, rubbing his head as if he had been physically smashed in the skull. For a moment his eyes wandered aimlessly around the cave, trying to place himself...and then he noticed her.

 

He gasped and swore, scrambling back against the wall. They clung poised, opposite each other, unsure what to do.

 

"What the-- who are you?" Tora wheezed, clutching his chest and hoping he didn't look as scared out of his wits as he felt. The potatoes, he noticed, were unharmed, lying in a pile near his foot.

 

"What the-- who are you?" the shape mimicked, voice melodic and soprano. It cocked its head to the side, eyes wide as it scanned Tora. She stood then, her height more than an average human female. Tora looked away as lightning again crackled in the sky, filling the cave with light.

 

"You need some clothes," Tora mumbled. "Where did you come from without a scrap on you?"

 

"How did you summon me?"

 

Tora glanced up in shock, forgetting that there was a tall, naked woman standing in front of him. She was thin, slightly muscular, with long limbs and fingers. Her bright blue eyes, before cold, now snapping with a winter's questioning, were fixated on his face, angular...hungry. Tora swallowed, thinking at first that she was bald, only to realize that her hair was the same pale color as the rock they were surrounded by-- silver limestone-- white. It hung in long braids around her face and shoulders, dangling past her hips. Her nails were black, long, sharp...and on the palm of her left hand was a strange mark...

 

"Huh?"

 

The girl made an impatient noise and swooped over him. Tora flinched, hands twitching as he instinctively made a half-sign of defense, but the spell whistled out of his mouth in a sigh as she gripped his shoulder with one hand-- for support? Or to prevent him from, somehow, summoning a spell?

 

She snatched up the ring from the ground that had fallen from his hand in the confusion, staring at the stone, now dull and weary. "Well now," she said grumpily. "Now we have something."

 

She bent over and grabbed the blanket from his shoulders, twisting it around her like a towel. Then she sat and faced him, her long, white eyelashes looking like frost on her lids. She lifted the ring and held it out to him. "Do you know what this is?"

 

"It's a...a..."

 

"A summoning," the woman growled, licking her lips. "A contract. You have no clue, do you?" She snorted and tossed the ring into his lap.

 

"A contract?" Tora rubbed a hand across his forehead, trying to gather his wits. A summoning was dangerous if a mage was unaware of the actual magic. Very dangerous. What exactly had he...

 

"With me," she said. "You name me. I become your servant. I do whatever you want, protect you, keep you from being killed, for the rest of your life. In return," she smiled, a predatory, sharp-toothed smile that sent chills down his back. "In return, I get your soul when you die."

 

"I don't want any kind of contract," Tora said staring at the dull ring in his hands. "Just a ring..." he muttered.

 

"Whether you wanted it or not...it's yours," the woman said blankly. "Look at the palm of your left hand."

 

Tora flipped his hand over, trembling. A dark mark was uncurling across his skin, jagged, angular...and definitely magical in origin. He had seen this mark before, on the windows and doors of the darkest of mages...he leaned his head back against the wall, trembling. "Then...then you're a..."

 

"A demon," she smiled, this time only a curl of her lips, the sharpness of her teeth barely poking through her slightly open mouth, her eyes lighting up with another flash of lightning. "The seal is set, the contract signed. Your soul," she licked her lips, "is on collateral. Now...what is your bidding, master?" Again she grinned, like a lynx, her eyes half closed as she watched her mouse cower against the wall.

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The thin faced man waggled his fingers momentarily as a bead of sweat ran down his temple.

 

"It would appear finger waggling is a bit more...straining than I had once thought," a young girl laughed at his current difficulty.

 

"For the last time! This is no mere finger waggling! I was sensing for young Tora's aura. It was suddenly and violently either removed or overpowered. The strength of the aura would have knocked a lesser mage out cold." The thin man sighed as he ran his gloved hands through his short brown hair.

 

The young girl scratched her bald head lazily with her left hand, then suddenly a wide smile crossed her face. "An incredible strong aura then? Are you sure Sterns? Because I really want to but this baby to work again." The bald girl raised her right arm to her chest, and patted the thick rock coating her right forearm.

 

"Now, now Cara. Remember what happened the last time you used that thing? It took me a week to get the spell out of my clothes. And don't forget your hair. It still hasn't started to grow back." Sterns calmly adjusted his coat as he glanced around the field the stood in. "It looks like we still have miles to go before we find whatever it was. North!"

 

Sterns pointed north towards a large massing of gray clouds, and Cara happily skipped past him.

Edited by Sir Walnut Reginald Trouble Tophat

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"I..I can't do this! I'm not even a full mage yet! I want to keep my soul!! I didn't even know that's a summoning ring!!", Tora wailed under the demonness' leer. Her smile contorted into a scowl that held no trace of the human face she wore.

 

"CONTRACT!", she roared, and drove her left hand at him with incredible speed. Tora only had time to flinch. Her fingers flashed past his head to smash their way whole inches into the rock wall behind him.

 

However, as gravel and dust ricocheted off of the back of his head, he had retrieved the image of the soothing whirlpool of colors in his ring from his memory. Fear was washed away in an instant, and the strongest defense that Cara had taught him was already falling from his lips in a torrent. Summoned by him or no, the shade in front of him was hurled into the opposite wall of the cave with such force that the rock itself shook, and more debris rained from the ceiling.

 

Tora scrambled to his feet, looking a for a stick, a rock, ANY sort of weapon. He found only his potatoes. The demonness was conscious, but did not rise to her own feet. Instead, she lay where she had fallen and stared at him, wide-eyed.

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A gust of wind tears through the field, lifting Sterns momentarily of his feet. With that moment the wind decided to toss him a couple of yards forward as well. Sterns landed calmly on earthen hands that reached up to greet him. He looked back to see Cara sit up, the grass of the field pressed flat in front of her. He adjusted his coat, then ran his fingers through his hair. "Cara what did you do?"

 

Cara giggled, a childlike smile being across her face. She leaped up, still grinning with both pride and delight. "Tora did it!" Cara shouted with as much glee as one could possible fit into a single shout.

 

"Did what?" Sterns sent a nervous look back at his least favorite ancestor.

 

"He successfully used that defense I taught him! It apparently worked like a charm, too!" Cara winced a little as she smacked her left hand into the stone covered palm of her right hand. Almost instantly she seemed to forget and return to a beaming smile of pride.

 

"Why do you...how did...when did you find the time to cast that on him? I was there for every single meeting between the two of you." Sterns nervous look now changing to a slight mix of fear and surprise.

 

"It was easy! I actually cursed us both!" Cara rocked back and forth on her heels, as if waiting to be congratulated.

 

"You cursed the two of you? Why in the great blazing pit of hellfire would you do that?" Sterns anger bubbled beneath his calm exterior. Cara seemed to be misconstruing it as Sterns simply being quizzical.

 

"Well, I wanted to know if he could actually use the spell when the time came. So I used a curse of mimicry. Since I know that spell as well it goes off when he uses it. Pretty good idea, right?" Cara proudly walked past Sterns, who was reflexively running his hands through his hair.

 

"I'll be bald by the end of this trip as well," he thought to himself.

Edited by Sir Walnut Reginald Trouble Tophat

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Tora watched the demonness. The demonness watched Tora. The storm nobles continued their work with such vigor that the flood of water over the cave mouth became a wall, and the thunder truly became their cannon fire. Water began to trickle from the ceiling. Slowly it was, at first, but before long it was a steady drip into the dry dirt between them.

 

Finally, she stood. Tora remained crouched, not daring to move. With easy grace and great dignity, she straightened Tora's blanket about her. Still without a step toward the apprentice, she spread her hands in front of her as if to show she held no weapon, and asked politely, "Shall we try that again?"

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Tora sat quietly, weighing his options. He wasn't sure what he could do. Then his stomach spoke for him.

 

"As you wish my master," The demon spoke and vanished in the same instant. Smoke and the smell of sulfur wafted about the small cave as Tora sat. With her sudden disappearance came a burning sensation from the mark crawling across his hand. Tora felt even more drained than he had from calling a fire. And then the exhaustion from casting a spell to far beyond his ability lulled his mind and body. And Tora returned to sleep before his willing "assistant" returned.

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Tora awoke with a gasp and a prickly feeling as a large mass hit the cave floor only a few feet from his own, curled up body. In shock his eyes adjusted quickly to the light cast by a brand new fire, crackling eerily in the center of the floor, and he beheld the glazed eyes of a young deer, nose and mouth bloodied. Its wet fur stunk of death and was already beginning to steam in the warmth of the cave. Two of its legs had been ripped off, and its chest seemed askew...Tora dry heaved, coughing sporadically into his hand as the cold eyes of his servant observed him.

 

"You do not approve?" she asked, and Tora noted that she was genuinely curious, as well as completely dry despite her expedition into the wild storm. She picked up the carcass with one hand and shook it a little. "This does not appeal to your hunger?"

 

"N-not quite," Tora said, trying not to look at the poor creature. "You need to skin it and de-bone the meat that's good for eating, and it needs to be cooked." He picked up one of his scattered pots and, standing shakily, walked to the front of the cave. The rain had lessened while he had been asleep, but there was still enough of a cascade that he filled the pot with water. Turning, he set up his hook-stand and hung the pot over the fire, eyes widening in surprise as the water began to instantly boil. He glanced up at the demon, but did not ask her about her handy work, and instead began cutting up potatoes.

 

The demon watched him for a moment, then began to rip the skin off the deer slowly. Tora flinched at the terrible sound, but did not admonish her, for he did not have an extra knife and her fingernails were doing an adequate job. His stomach turned again, and he prayed that he would find the strength to eat this meal when it was at last finished.

 

"What do I call you?" he finally asked as he dropped the potato pieces into the pot. Immediately their smell began to fill the cave.

 

"Whatever you like," she replied. "Do you prefer this in chunks, or strips?" and she turned her hungry gaze upon him, a thin smile curling around the tip of her tongue, which was poking out at him as she waited for his answer.

 

"....strips," Tora said, cringing as she began to rip the flesh into thin pieces. "But you don't have a name where you come from?"

 

"I do," she said shortly, absorbed in her work. "Once the contract is signed, however, it is no more a part of me than this form that I choose to take to suit my master."

 

Tora sighed. So he was really stuck with her. "Then there's no going back, is there?" he asked anyway, and the demon laughed at the hopelessness in his voice.

 

"Don't sound so depressed! You don't understand what power you now have at your disposal. I will do anything to serve my master, until death. The world is at your fingertips, master, so I suggest you explore it." She tossed the meat into the pot as well, and the smell became heavenly.

 

"And my soul?" Tora questioned, miserable.

 

"Bother, you're worried about that? Let me tell you something about souls. They're delicious." She winked. "And completely useless. What do you need a soul for? Not much. You can keep it while you're alive, and when you die, it becomes my next bon-appetite. You won't notice it's gone, believe me."

 

Tora didn't believe her at all. He pulled out a couple of bowls and a ladle, and began spooning the now thick soup (where had that gravy come from?) into one, which he held out to the demon. She gave him a skeptical look, and he put the other bowl away.

 

"So I call you whatever I want."

 

"Try to make it something I'll enjoy answering to, at least."

 

"How about...Sophie?"

 

A silent snarl touched the demon's lips, and Tora filled his mouth with soup to keep from answering.

 

"Umm...ok...well...I knew a girl once named Iily." He glanced up and, seeing no disgust in her face, set his bowl on the floor. "That's it then. Your name is Iily."

 

"And what is my master's first request?" she said, her eyes glittering maliciously.

 

"Put on some clothes!"

 

Iily laughed and stood, looking down at him. "Oh, you don't like this look? Of course." And she turned on her heel. When she had completed her turn and faced him again, she was wearing bound hunting pants and boots, and a length of cloth was tied around her neck and chest. She picked up the knife Tora had cut potatoes with and, lifting it to her neck, gripped her hair in one hand and cut it off at the back of her head. Small strips fell to the floor to sizzle away as they hit stone, and the rest she tossed into the fire where it snapped and crackled with an intense heat. The angle of the cut caused her hair to stand up slightly in the back. She winked again and placed a hand on her hip. "Better, my lord?"

 

Tora cringed. "Yes, but don't call me that. Just call me Tora."

 

"As you wish."

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3 sat quietly for a moment, starring into the darkness that muted the night. He liked the quiet that night brought, never silent but always more peaceful than the day. He felt more lonely than usual in his cell-like room. Sterns had told that he had to stay behind since he could be...hard to explain. Though he missed having Tora to talk with, 3 knew that Sterns wouldn't be happy with his disregard for a very simple request. Also, the enchantments he was given hadn't been completed yet. 3 sighed heavily, a feat he actually had to work for with his condition. 3 made up his mind, raising his arm and popping the joints of his metallic knuckles. He was going. Going to find his first friend. As he marched through the stone wall he chuckled slightly to himself. For all he loved the quiet of the night just him walking seemed to shatter the illusion of peace. What's an iron golem to do?

Edited by Sir Walnut Reginald Trouble Tophat

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"If Tora isn't dead," Sterns shouted above the maelstrom, "I am going to KILL him!!"

 

The faint imprints on our world that Lily's kin who had NOT so successfully crossed over had made fought for life. They also fought for the flesh of the two powerful magic users who had blundered into them on their way up the moutain. Stern's niece cackled in glee as she burned down shadow after shadow with eye-searing gouts of lava from her right hand. The wind that knocked Cara off her her feet again and again, however, seemed not to bother Sterns in the least. His footing remained firm even as the wind around niece and uncle whipped into a frenzy caused by the shadows' fury.

 

Sterns primly stuck out his left foot, and an enormous calcite foot erupted from the ground to smash another shadow to its component pieces. He scowled so deeply Cara briefly worried that he would hurt his forehead.

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Steam rolled of Cara's stone covered arm, and she braced herself as a subtle glow of bright blue emitted from the cracks in the stone. Sterns' brow remained furrowed even as he pulled a shell of earth over top himself. She raised her right hand over her head and paused for a moment, smiling gleefully. She slammed her hand on the ground, with contact immediately followed by a bolt of lightning streaking towards the nearest shade. The bolt arced from shadow to shadow, the area filled with the scent of ozone. The wind calmed as the area smoked from the heat. The shadows had retreated at this overwhelming tactic and Cara took a deep breath as she smiled.

 

The front of Sterns earthen defense crumbled as he stepped from inside it, brushing dust of his shoulder and his hair standing up from the ambient static, "I really wish my niece hadn't inherited you, Cara."

 

"But Sterns, then I would never have gotten to see my favorite grandchild again." Cara smirked then poured some water from her pack on the still glowing stone of her arm. "Plus, without my brimstone hand would that have been as easily dealt with?"

 

"No, grandmother, but sometimes easy is better. My clothes will be shocking me for a week and my hair won't be manageable for several hours." Sterns said woefully, "But the real problem with you being around is now the child you've possessed will never be Sophie. She will just be Cara, my great-great-great grandmother. Hopefully the next daughter of your line to inherit that gauntlet won't be so young and weak of will to resist."

 

For the first time during their trip Cara stopped smiling. A look of rage splashed across for just a moment, then calm lucidity, "Now, now Sterns, that's impolite. You shouldn't speak to your elders that way. Especially when said elder could melt the flesh from your bones."

 

3 stepped carefully through the forest, his joints popping with each step, making sure each footstep felt as little changed as possible. Surprisingly difficult for a thousand pounds of walking iron. 3 hummed to himself, which echoed awkwardly inside his metal skull. He hummed the tune Tora had taught him when Sterns had been out dealing with family matters while walking in a straight line as direct as nature would allow. He had managed to fix on the position of Cara's very powerful aura quite easily. 3 plunged calmly into an icy river as he stepped out of the forest. When he emerged on the other side he could see a single flash of lightning on the horizon. 3 counted as Tora had taught him whilst waiting for the thunder. He stopped after reaching 1,239.

Edited by Sir Walnut Reginald Trouble Tophat

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