Ingulf The Mad
This game, and the following texts are rated Mature Audiences 15+
(Probably more like 'Restricted, 18+'!!)
The game text contains:
-adult themes, such as slavery
-fantasy creatures such as demons and werewolves, and dark magic
-possible sex scene (based on gameplay)
-much more violence, described vividly
-the very essence of pure evil.
If you may be distressed by such descriptive texts then please read nothing past this post.
However, if you are still interested, I beseech you to read the following passages that detail our hero and, if you dare, enter the lands of Sarlow where cannibilism is practiced, torture is an artform, and the weak will not survive (so are eaten.)
Will Ingulf single handedly destroy the unspeakable evil dwelling in the lands of Sarlow? Or will he die trying?
The following passages and the ones to be used as game results were written by Paul Edwin-Zimmer, and are taken from the novel Ingulf The Mad, published by Ace Fantasy and is used without permission.
Some texts will be modified to suit game needs, and omissions and modifications should not reflect upon the works of the forementioned.
- Last edited Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:21 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:04 am
Introduction to Y'Gora and the City of Sea Elves
The city of the Sea-Elves stands alone - all but unknown in the lands of men - by Y'Gora's northern strand. There come the ships from beyond the world.
And there, one evening, came Ingulf of the Isles after long wandering, as the Twin Suns sank in rainbow splendor. They had risen and set many times on his quest: long had he sifted legend and myth, seeking a clue that would lead him here.
All the days and dreary months of searching faded from memory, and instead it was a woman's face he thought of, and the shape of a seal amongst great waves.
Ages ago, the folk of Tray Ithir that was his home, far away in the long chain of islands east of Y'Gora, had beaten out the harvest with their great flails. But recent centuries had brought raiders from the far north at harvest time, savage servants of the Demon-Lords of the icy waste, and so the great flails had found new work to do. So deadly were they at this task that the men of Tray Ithir became far-famed warriors. Generations of the Airarian Emporers, who rule many of the wide-scattered islands east of Y'Gora, as well as the great Airarian peninsula that makes Y'Gora look on a map like a great cat's skull, with the inner sea its open mouth, had sought the men of Tray Ithir to bring their war flails into their armies.
Ingulf, son of Fingold, had followed this path. His father had been sword-master to his clan, and his war flail and skilled sword arm had earned him some small fame in the Emporer's service.
When one raiding season ended, he found himself in the dull and barren islands of the Scurlmard chain, far to the north of his home, beyond the isles of the Curranach.
The folk of the Scurlmards will not hunt seals, for they say that the Sea-People travel in such forms.
But Ingulf laughed at such tales.
[Insert map of Y'Gora here]
- Last edited Wed Jan 17, 2007 9:59 pm (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:05 am
Ingulf's fishing trip
Boredom came upon him in the Scurlmards. He went hunting alone in his small boat. Hills of water rose and fell about him: the Twin Suns were fiery eyes above the sea. Barren, stony islands appeared and vanished behind restless, blue green waves.
He was returning to harbour with the few fish he had caught, when a long brown shape skimmed up the side of a rippling wave.
A seal, he thought, and plied his oars. He was skilled at hunting in the water: he crept up on it and laid down the oars and gripped his harpoon.
He stiffened, and raised the long straight shaft. The seal balanced on the crest of a wave. Ingulf rose and threw, and the harpoon flew. It struck further back than he hoped, and the seal wailed in a woman's voice.
His harpoon line tightened in his hand, and his boat was drawn swiftly through the water. A dip in the waves showed him the rocks of a stony little island ahead.
The rope hummed. Black, jagged stone pierced the creamy water on either side, but the seal swam safely through, dragging the boat behind, toward a tiny gravel beach. A cave gaped in the cliff above.
A wave lifted the seal and laid her gently on the little beach. Ingulf jerked out his long dirk, ready to leap from the boat; for a seal upon land is easy to kill.
But the brown shape reared up, and the seal-skin seemed to fall away. It was a woman there, crying and tugging with slender white hands at the harpoon in her hip.
As he stared, Ingulf almost lost his life to the sea. Powerful currents seized his boat and whirled it toward the rocks. He seized his paddle and drove the pitching boat to shore.
She let go the spear shaft then, and tried to escape, but fell, with blood pouring over her white legs.
He leaped from the boat and ran to her side. The ends of the long brown hair that was her only garment were bright with blood. Huge eyes stared at him in wild terror.
He tried to speak soothingly as he wrestled with the harpoon, working the barb loose. Her pain would haunt his nightmares forever.
Had it been her long brown hair he had seen in the water, and thought it was a seal? It hung below her waist.
His mind went round and round, numb with guilt. He got the harpoon loose, and she sobbed and screamed with exhaustion while he tried to stop the blood.
That was the beginning of it all, and terrible it was. He bound up her wound as best he might, stuttering helpless words of guilt and sorrow, and made her drink from the wineskin that was slung on his back. She controlled her weeping at last, and gazed at him with eyes that were larger and softer than the eyes of any woman of mortal blood.
But a strange thing it was, that he could never afterward remember what colour those eyes were. Sometimes he seemed to remember that they had been grey as the sea at twilight, and then again they would come into his mind a transparent blue, like the night sky between the stars, or again as brown as her hair, or sometimes golden...
But whatever colour they were, he would see those eyes looking at him for the rest of his days.
He built a fire, and broght from the boat those few fish he had caught, along with his fur lined cloak to cover her. The Twin Suns settled into the sea. She ate the fish he cooked, and slept wrapped in his cloak, while he sat and piled driftwood on the fire until he fell asleep with his back against the stone.
A time of happiness came with the sunlight into the cave, for then she spoke to him, and her voice in speech seemed more beautiful than any song.
Her name was Airellen, the daughter of Falmoran, and she had never before spoken to a mortal. Something she told him of that strange city by the waves where men do not go, and more of the green mystery of the sea, though all she said was to him a maze of strange names and riddles. But her eyes glowed on him and he was happy.
He found himself trying to tell her of Tray Ithir and his people, but now they seemed drab and colourless, and his tongue stumbled into silence. Then he tried to tell her of the battles he had seen in the service of the Emporer, but it came to him that he was boasting, and he was silent once more.
Yet he lived as in a fever of happiness, hunting for shellfish in the shallow water, tending the fire each night while she slept.
It came to him more than once that he should take her to Lonnamara in his boat, to the healer there; but when he spoke of this to her, he found himself lost in her wide eyes, while she told some tale of marvels that he could never afterward recall.
The thought faded from his mind. The days passed, and her wound healed, while he served her in a joy that seemed half-dream.
He loved her. He knew that he loved her, and he tried in vain to make himself speak of it. But when her eyes turned upon him, he could not.
Far more swiftly than mortal flesh, her wound healed. A terror came upon him then. Soon she would be able to return to her own people. He tried to picture life without her, and a hostile, empty future rose before him.
In a panic, then, he rushed to tell her of his love - and failed, his will drowning in the oceans of her eyes.
Out of her sight he could think again, and his resolve returned. He fell to shaping words into a speech that would make his feelings clear to her, and he rehearsed it again and again to himself as he gathered driftwood on the beach.
But when he tried to say these carefully chosen words to her, again he found himself silent before those huge and beautiful eyes, while she spoke to him of persons and places that were but a tangle of names he did not know.
He found himself dazed outside the cave, and realised he still had not spoken. He rushed back inside, the vision of the empty world he had foreseen a terror within him, and clenching shut his eyes he forced his lips to move - not in the careful words he had labored on, but wild, stammering words.
Her small breasts moved in a sigh.
"But you are a mortal man," she said. "The old songs of my people say that when a mere handful of decades have passed, your youth and strength and beauty will fall from you, and you will wither like a leaf, and die. I have no need of sorrow. Let us part as friends, and let me remember you as you are now."
She rose from where she was sitting, and tried to walk by him to the mouth of the cave. But he, stammering words he could never remember after, siezed her arm; thinking only that he could never, ever live without her.
Her wide eyes filled with the same terror they had held when he had leaped with his knife from the boat. Suddenly her beauty flared around him; his passion burst and drained away in an instant of unendurable ecstacy, and he fell stunned to the floor.
He lay helpless as she limped past him, out of the cave and down to the sea. He tried to raise himself, to follow her, fighting his weakness, but could not even crawl.
Then the sweetness of her singing voice was like an icy wave in his blood, as she walked singing into the sea, and he heard the words of her song -
But mortals turn to dust and bone
And leave you crying all alone
Mastering his weakness, he dragged himnself to the mouth of the cave. But all he saw was a seal skimming over the crest of the waves.
- Last edited Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:35 am (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:05 am
The quest for the City of the Sea-Elves
Far had he journeyed since he had lurched at last from the cave, where he had lain mindless for two days. A madness had driven him to his boat, a madness to find that secret city and harbor of the Sea-Elves, where men do not go.
In Elthar, where the Guardians of the World watch over Y'Gora, and where dwell yet survivors of those first Elves who came to the world in the Age of Terror to join the battle against the Dark Powers, he got little help. It were best, he was told, that Mortal Men stay away from the Sea-People, for so little do they know of men that they do not realise how dangerous magic can be to them. For the Elves live by magic, and strong spells are nothing to them.
Tales were told him of men who wandered for years witless lost in lovely dreams that Elves had woven for them, to ease, as they thought, the burden of mortal life.
But such tales did not turn the son of Fingold from his purpose. The Sages of Elthar shook their heads.
"He too, has been touched by an Elf," they said.
He had told none his own story. But ancient maps and curious scraps of legend gave him hope, and he left Elthar. He tried to charter a boat to search the northern coasts, but none would consent to sail those waters. Slave galleys of Sarlow hunted there, and sailors told of seeing white towers. But mortal ships avoided those waters, unless driven there by lawless wind.
So he rode north and east from Elthar, asking questions of the friendly Forest-Elves. Silence he met most often, and a look of pity from star-keen eyes. But sometimes he got warnings and some of these had helped him to guess regions worth searching.
He wandered long in the great forests of the northern coast of Galinor, near the edges of the Forest of Demons, and the westen borders of the dreaded land of Sarlow. Once he escaped from a Demon by sheer luck, and once had to fight his way out of an ambush of goblin rat-folk. Once he blundered into a raiding party out of Sarlow, driving home their bound and weeping slaves. The great iron blade of his flail had sung a new song for them, and left bodies sprawled among the tangled roots of trees, and the slaves weeping with joy.
South of him men dwelt in scattered farming villages, but along the coast he found only a single tiny fishing village, whose people grew silent when he spoke to them of Elves, and ran away when he asked if any had seen the white ships upon the ocean.
Hunters told him of paths in the forest where Elves had turned them aside. He found one of these and followed it.
A voice hailed him from a tree. Looking up, he saw peering between the leaves the wide eyes of an Elf.
"Turn back," the soft voice said. "This is no path for a Mortal Man to be taking."
"I have business with Falmoran of the Sea-Elves and his kin," Ingulf answered, his heartbeat unnaturally loud. The wise eyes looked at him in grave silence.
"Ride on, then," the Elf said, after a time. "And may all powers protect you among my kinsmen of the sea."
His quest ended, he sat on his horse and listened to the sad song the sea pours upon the shore. The towers reared up, as white as bone. Tales said they shone at night. Sailors feared to see their light.
The Twin Suns vanished in the opal sea. Slowly the peacock colours of the afterglow dimmed.
In his mind, her eyes were on him.
He spurred the horse down the long green slope, toward the towers and the sea. He saw no shapes on sand or stone between the towers; no sign that folk lived there, save that once he thought he saw a hint of motion near the sea, where the docks would be. But the street toward which he rode was empty.
Yet eyes were on him, ageless and bright.
Fiarril of the Sea-Elves stroked the strings of his harp.
"One comes," he said, "who has about him the sadness of Mortal Men."
His fingers moved with that sadness, and wrung it sobbing from the strings of his harp. But his companion, Curulin, looked keenly at the man riding toward them through the dusk.
"There is more sadness than that upon him..." And Curulin's harp took up that sadness, fingers hunting across the strings for some precious thing that had been lost.
The mourning sound of the strings reached Ingulf's ears, and he slumped in the saddle. Despair choked him; his worst fears rose in his mind. He pulled the horse to a stop, seeing again the terror in her eyes, seeing her feet limping past, leaving him, leaving him forever. She might yet be far away in the sea, or perhaps the dangers of the sea had taken her.
"There was a joy in him too," said Fiarril. His fingers danced across the strings, in a shimmer of delight and of love. "Listen! It is to a tryst that he comes!"
Ingulf pounded his heels into his horse's sides, urging him on. Like an echo of his elation the music was around him, pulsing with the joy in his veins. Airellen! He would see her soon, tonight...
Against Fiarril's music the fingers of his companion played an undercurrent of lust.
Ingulf rode between tall towers, and in his mind her eyes watched him gallop through the twilight, their music all around him. White stone rang beneath the horse's hooves. Wild music filled him, and drunk with it, he spurred the horse recklessly.
The boom of the waves filled the streets like the snores of a giant.
He pulled his horse to a stop. All about him tall figures stared at him with huge eyes that were inhumanly bright. There were women among them, slender, fine-boned -
Was she here? Airellen? Where was Airellen? He leaped from the saddle and ran into the crowd, searching for her. Where was she? These were her kind, frail-boned, with wide eyes in fragile faces, and hair like cloaks of shadow on their backs - but she was not among them. Emptiness and longing battled the joyous music. Where was she?
Beautiful as these might be, none was she, none was Airellen, none could quench the longing in him. The centre of his life had been taken from him; the heart of the universe was gone! Where was she? Where was she?
He ran, searching frantically through the crowd. Beautiful face after face turned wide eyes on him, and was not her. Panic filed him. Where was she? Where was she?
Farril's fingers followed his mood, shifting to a mad quest across the strings.
Cold stars pricked through the sapphire of the sky. Was it the colour of her eyes? He could not remember, could not rememeber -
Where was she? Where was she?
The people of the city made way for the madman who charged through them, looking from face to face. Wide, innocent eyes stared at him, wondering. The towers glowed silver light on white stone streets. Moons hung in the sky like pearls.
Where was she? Fiarril's fingers hunted on the strings. Panic flooded Ingulf, and sickened him.
Then, far away down the white avenue, he saw her.
She wore a gown of velvet blue, and walked with another woman of the Sea-Elves. Joy leaped in him, and Fiarril's music echoed it.
He began to run toward her, then controlled himself. Wrestling with his breath, he made himself walk to meet her, while music swirled around him in surges of glory.
She looked up. Her eyes came to him. For just a second, terror flickered in their depths.
Then she looked past him, through him, as though he were not there at all.
Harpstrings crashed in a tangled discord. He stood rooted, staring at her through a blur of tears.
She walked past him, without a glance. His heart was lurching crazily in his chest. Panic hunted him up and down the strings of Fiarril's harp.
She walked on with the other, and he, scarcely knowing what he did, followed, like a moth flying to a flame.
Perhaps, he though madly, she had truly not seen him. Perhaps she had not known him in the twilight. Perhaps --
What other hope had he?
He followed, and then he was walking beside her. Surely she must see him!
He reached out, timidly, and touched her hand. She went on walking.
"Airellen!" His voice was a thin sea-bird's wail, the cry of some lost thing. She walked on, as if she had not heard.
Fiarril's harp sobbed out a sorrow that could not be borne, and stopped.
Booming surf echoed between the towers. Ingulf stared into the darkness. The crashing waves called to him, promising peace, promising forgetfulness, in deep salty pools. His thoughts shattered in spray on the stone of her silence.
- Last edited Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:48 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:05 am
Strong spells are nothing for them
He walked toward the ocean, toward forgetfulness. The sea had brought Airellen to him, and only the sea could help him now. The deep tides would take him; the eels would feast, the churning sands would polish his bones.
Fiarril stirred, blinked the tears from his eyes, and set his hands to the strings of his harp.
Water hissed on sand. Fiarril's fingers rippled over the strings.
Music that was filled with the beauty and glory of life shimmered in Ingulf's ears. His feet dragged on toward the sea and the music did not slow them or turn them.
Without Airellen the beauty of life was only emptiness and mockery. Sand blew across white stone by his feet. Pallid towers pointed at the stars. Sea-surge purred before him: harpstrings tinkled behind.
Fiarril plucked wonder from the strings of his harp; wonder, adventure, glory. The wide world unseen; perils not yet faced, women not yet taken. The music ran along Ingulf's nerves and sent chills to his shoulders, but he did not turn aside.
What adventure could be as great as death? All mortal lands were poisoned now; no wonder was greater than the depths of Airellen's eyes; no peril more terrible than the attempt to approach her once more.
Ingulf passed out of the long street between the towers, to see the black water frothing on the beach in starlight, and beyond, the long moving folds of ocean falling toward the shore. Almost the chiming of harpstrings was lost in the pulse of the waves. In a moment, he would be free of its torment, and soon, of all torment.
Lastly, and in desperation, Fiarril struck fear upon the chords of his harp, evoking the worm that hides within the spine, and flinches instinctively in its bony armour when death comes too near.
Ingulf's feet stopped on the sand, and his body rebelled against his will. Sand shifted under his feet as he struggled to move them.
And Fiarril called others of his kindred to join their harps to his, and herd the unhappy mortal back from the beach, away from the call of the sea.
Shocked by his sudden cowardice, Ingulf stared at the surging waves. He had faced the foeman's steel in a thousand fights. All his life he had traveled in tiny boats over the broad ocean. How, then, could he be afraid of death? Afraid of the sea?
He strove to drive his body on, but his limbs trembled, and would not move.
About him Fiarril and his kin wrapped a tune of illusion and enchantment, and phantoms thronged toward him over the sands of the beach. And Fiarril played shyness and embarassment on Ingulf's nerves, as he looked up to see people coming toward him over the sand. The music put the thought into his head that, if he went into the water, these people would drag him out before he could drown, and question him, and Airellen might not wish to be talked of.
Fiarril's fingers whirled over the strings as he tried to use pride to drive away despair. But Ingulf's sick hopelessness was too deep.
Then a woman who wore Airellen's shape came to him, and took him to her bed. He knew she was not Airellen, but he went with her.
And the Sea-Elves clustered about Fiarril, questioning, for the madness and sorrow of this mortal filled them with wonder. But Fiarril shook his head sadly, while his fingers wove spells on the strings of his harp.
"It is the rushing by of his days that makes him so," said one Elf, gravely. "He knows that he cannot wait, as we can, to let time soothe his hurts. For he knows that each day that rushes by brings death that much closer."
"Mortals are always throwing away their lives for some silly reason," said another, shaking his head. "They set no value on their lives, for they know their lives are forfeit from birth, and there is no reason to fear death."
Fiarril left them still talking, and went to find Airellen. But when he had found her, he feared there was no help there; for she seemed to care nothing for Ingulf's despair.
"He is a beast!" she said. "He hunted me! He stabbed his spear in me, as though I were an animal, and hurt me! Now he dares to hunt me again, this death-bound man! I am still an animal to him!" And she turned away, and fled.
Fiarril stared after her, fingering his harp. There was something strange in her voice; he felt her words did not reveal her mind. Surely she could at least speak to the man!
Fiarril's mind was deep, and kindly, but he knew little of Mortal Men. He had heard that they could be more easily moved or bound by spells than could the Elves. But it had taken strong spells to drawn the man back from the sea...
Time would make all clear, but time the mortal did not have. He thought of things he had seen in Ingulf's mind. Surely in time Airellen might be brought to take pity on the man - but would the mortal live that long?
Not if he kept walking into the ocean with no sea-magic about him! And if the man had to watch his life slipping away and no words for him from Airellen, then surely the despair would be upon him again...
Fiarril tried to imagine what it would be like, to know that the fleeting days and hours were stripping his life away, and his strength and health with it. He shuddered.
Perhaps he should cast the mortal into a sleep, until at last the girl would be willing to talk to him - but sleep spells were chancy things, sometimes, and besides, Airellen would be easier to persuade if the man were up and wandering about.
But his awareness of time could be taken from him. If it seemed to him that only the one night was passing, then he would not suffer as the days and months went by.
A harp was playing. A tall Sea-Elf stood before Ingulf, with a long beard swaying like seawead in the salty wind. Ingulf had never before seen a bearded Elf, and looked at him closely, wondering if this were a man, or a being of some strange race unknown to him. The hair of the beard was as fine and soft and a child's hair, or a maiden's, and golden like old honey, the face beneath the beard was like a frail-boned young girl's face and the eyes were huge and ageless. Long fragile fingers opened and closed on the harpstrings.
For a long time the wide eyes looked at him in silence, and when at last the Elf spoke - or did he sing? - his voice was gentle and soft as the dawn call of some forest bird.
"It is from far away that Ingulf the great swordsman has come among us," the Elf's voice came. But did he speak or sing? Ingulf could not tell. "Ingulf the Wanderer out of the eastern isles, famed in the sevice of mortal kings." Fingers on harpstrings flickered, and tiny chiming notes rippled and rang above the booming echoes of the waves. "Come to us across the weary miles, to rest from the trials of his journeyings..."
Music wrapped around Ingulf, as the voice shifted between speech and song. The music grew swift and wild and he found himself dancing, Elf-folk merrily about him, whirling gaily through the white stone streets, while something clawed at his heart.
He did not see the Twin Suns when they rose. His long night had begun.
- Last edited Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:57 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:05 am
A night to remember, long forgotten
Fiarril's fingers clenched on the strings of his harp. He called to one of his kin to harp the mortal away from the destroying torment that flooded his mind, while he himself sought out Airellen.
"It is a glamour that you have upon him!" he raged. She shrank back from him. "No wonder my strongest spells cannot keep his mind from you!"
"I did not mean to!" she cried. "What could I have done? He wounded me! He put his hands on me! And it was nothing that I did! Only this -"
Her beauty flared, and passion and tenderness softened Fiarril, for a moment.
"But have you not tried to take it off? And why do you not speak to the poor man, who is dying for a word - even a look - from you?"
Terror widened her eyes. "I cannot!" she sobbed, and ran from him, down the pale street.
Dimly then, Fiarril guessed what her secret must be.
Out of the deep forest had the Wood Elves come to claim the cargo: and with them Dorialith, who has more to do with Mortal Men than any other among the Sea Elves, save, perhaps, for Ethellin the Wise.
When Dorialith saw the mortal and his invisible companion walking between the towers, he quickly followed the strands of the spell to Fiarril, and great anger was upon him.
"What is this that you have done?" he demanded sharply. "And how long have you been - playing with him? The man is as thin as an eel, and weariness clogs his flesh! He will die if you do not stop this!"
Fiarril's fingers plucked golden chords of hope and relief from the strings of his harp and wove them into his spell as he sighed. Now the mortal could be helped!
"It is not as you think, Dorialith! The man would be dead by now if I had let the killing despair that is on him have its way!"
Hurriedly - for Dorialith's anger was very great - he explained the story he had picked from Ingulf's mind, and what he had guessed about Airellen.
"It is great harm you have done him," Dorialith said sadly, shaking his head so that his long beard, colourless as water, rippled in the light breeze. "The man has lost a month out of a life that was short enough already."
Dorialith had Fiarril charm the mortal closer, and studied Ingulf dancing with his phantom lover. "This month might have healed him - no knowing - but you have taken it from him, and given him instead a single night in which Airellen has still had a month in which to hurt him."
"Do you think she has meant to hurt him so?"
"I do not," said Dorialith. "But the pain is there, and there is no time to heal his hurt before she wounds him anew."
"I should be taking the spell off him then," said Fiarril, stretching out his fingers to strike a chord of waking on the harp.
"No! You will drive him mad indeed - or kill him - if you jerk him from under such a piled up enchantments as you have made for him. And you'd best feed him now. And if you ever have dealings with men in the future, you must remember to let them eat at least once a day! Preferably more often than that! And sleep, too, they need. They are not like us, Fiarril." He rose, and stood watching Ingulf. "After he has eaten, put him to sleep for a while. His body needs rest, whatever your spells tell his mind. I will speak to Airellen before he wakes. As though I had no other work to do!"
Ingulf had long since given up trying to tell dream from reality. He knew he must be dreaming now, for Airellen was with him. Only it was not really Airellen. She did not draw away when he tried to touch her. Although somehow he never quite seemed to touch her...
She was far more pleasant than Airellen had ever been. But it was the real Airellen he loved - even angry at him, even wrapped in that terrible soul-killing silence...
His nails drove into his palms at the thought. Why could he not hate her? Why did he have to go on loving her, hopelessly? If only he could make himself angry at her, make himself blame her for the pain he was suffering ...
But he was helpless in his love.
And her image brought him to a place where there was food , and urged him to eat. He needed no urging. He seemed always to be hungry now. It was strange, for hadn't he been stuffing himself all the night through, at one feast after another?
His head whirled as he tried to remember everything that had happened that night. The white ship that unloaded bales of mysterious sweet smelling cargo and left, and all of the feasting, and following Airellen again and again through the streets like a werewolf stalking. Airellen, who would not look at him, would not talk to him.
If only he could make himself hate her.
She was with him now, but that was only a dream, although the food tasted real enough.
Then it seemed she led him to one of the glowing towers - but he knew it was only a dream. Perhaps the surest sign was the warm dreamless darkness that crept down on his face the moment he joined her on the bed.
Harpstrings chimed in his ears.
- Last edited Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:04 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:06 am
Dorialith speaks with Airellen
Dorialith helped the Wood Elves as they sorted out their part of the cargo - rare herbs from beyond the world, that could not grow in mortal lands; magical treasures and weapons of power sent to them to use in their long war against the powers from the Dark World.
When Dorialith sought out Fiarril, after the Wood Elves had gone, he bore one of these in his hand: a sword that had been forged in the Land of the Ever-Living.
"This may help to balance, a little, the harm that we have done him," he said, as Fiarril stared at the sword. "And, if I mistake not what I see in him, this is a man who can do great good with such a blade, if he can be freed from the trouble that is on him now. He is sleeping?"
"He sleeps," said Fiarril, and led Dorialith to the tower chamber where Ingulf lay alone. Dorialith studied the sleeper carefully for a time; then, taking Fiarril's harp, stroked from the strings soft notes of rest, of peace, of unbinding. Slowly, carefully, he unknotted the layered strands of illusion and spell that Fiarril had laid.
The Twin Suns soared across the sky and settled in the west and still Dorialith played. At last he played a spell of healing slumber, and gave the harp back to Fiarril.
They left Ingulf in the dreamless sleep of exhaustion and went to seek Airellen. The rainbow light of sunset shimmered in the west. The Elf-folk thronged through the streets; immortal, untiring, gay.
Airellen was walking by the sea and the damp wind spread her hair into a pennon. She did not seem pleased to see Fiarril coming, and began to turn away, but when she saw Dorialith she stopped, and her eyes fell, for he is mighty among the Sea Elves.
His wise grey eyes, shining like silver in the twilight, looked long at her, while his pale silken beard floated in the wind, a white banner opposing the dark one of her hair.
"Daughter," he said at last, gently, "You have done greater harm than you know." The last rainbow glimmer of sunset flickered from the edge of the sky, and the icy stars stared down. "In the heart of this man I have seen the seed of a great hero. Yet now he has not even the will to be angry with you for what you have done to him."
She had been looking at the ground, but her head snapped up at that. "Am I to blame that he followed me here? He hunted me, not I him!"
"Even the simplest glamour, that an Elf-Woman will throw about her without thinking," said Dorialith, "is a deadly snare for a Mortal Man."
"And if it is a glamour upon him," she snapped, "cannot you take it off, Dorialith Mac Mannanawn?"
But he only shook his head, sadly. "Some spells struggle against a man's nature. Easy it is to take those off. And some neither oppose his nature nor harmonise with it; those, too, are a simple matter. If he had felt no attraction to you other than that caused by the spell, then I could take it off him easily enough. But this spell rides too well with his own mind. Only you can take it off."
She closed her eyes, and her face twisted. Her hands closed around each other and writhed as though in pain. But her voice was level.
"What must I do, then?"
"You must be sure no liking for him clouds your mind - not even pity. You must take your dislike of him, or your indifference, whichever you truly feel, and you must cast it into the mirror of his mind, and forge a spell of emptiness, of petty rage and ugliness, of self-centered, careless mockery, and callous disregard, so that he will wish to be rid of you as much as you wish to be rid of him. Truth always conquers illusion: you must make him feel towards you as you feel towards him-"
"No!" Her voice broke, and a kind of terror came into her face. "No, I cannot -"
"You do care for him, then," said Dorialith, quietly. "I feared as much."
She looked at her hands, that were shaking, and knotting about each other.
"I did not mean to make him love me!" she cried. "He frightened me. He hurt me, but he was very sorry afterwards, and very kind, and him so different from anyone I had ever met. But he frightened me - he laid his hands on me, his warm hands - " Her voice faltered in confusion; her hands took turns twisting her fingers. "I - I had to make him let go of me! I could feel - he is a beast! I felt his need for me, throbbing through him, through us both, and I - and I -"
"I know the spell you used," said Dorialith, gently. "No pleasure for you in that parting, only shame and fear: yet the moment's ecstacy you gave to him is more to him now than the rest of his life." He sighed sadly, and shook his head. "With no magic between you, he would still have come to love you..."
"But he doesn't love me!" she cried wildly. "It's not me he loves, not truly me at all! It's only the glamour, only the pleasure I can give! He doesn't love me he only loves-" She sobbed, and quieted, but still her hands writhed in protest.
"Can you create anything which does not spring from your own nature?" asked Dorialith wryly. "If so, treasure this gift, as one unique among living creatures. But no, Daughter. Were it only the illusion he loved, Fiarril would have drawn him from you long since, with his own illusion, with the illusion of you that he wrought.
"But if you were to strip yourself of all illusion, and Fiarril and I together were to harp up the most radiant and compelling vision of you that might be dreamed, the mortal would turn from it in an instant to find the real you. It is you that he loves."
"He is a beast!"
"Perhaps. But he is a beast that loves you, and will die without your help."
She stood silent, shrunken, hunched in upon herself, staring at her hands. "What the old songs say about Mortal Man - is it true?" Her voice was a ghost of a whisper. "About age - and - and -"
"It is true, Daughter. In a mere hundred years, all that will remain of his flesh and blood will be his children - if he has any. And that, Daughter, is the only thing you will ever be able to give him."
She shuddered convulsively, and looked up at him. "I do not understand. I thought - I thought, perhaps, if I did not speak to him -"
"You were afraid to speak to him," said Dorialith.
"And how should I dare to speak to him?" she cried wildly. "Oh you talk and talk of his suffering, but do you think I do not suffer?" There is nothing I can do! You say he will die without my help, but he will die anyway! Nothing I can do will save him from that!"
"Yet if he lived out the span of his years, or even if he died in battle, there might be great good he could be doing," said Dorialith. "But you have taken away his will to live. If you gave him hope-"
"And what hope have I to give him? You have told me I cannot remove the spell, not if - what is it you would have me do? Tell me how I can help him!"
"Talk to him, if nothing else. Let him know, at least, that you can see him, that the poor creature can hope..."
"Hope again! I have no hope to give him! I could not bear to watch him age and - change and - die. No creature could bear that!" SHe buried her face in her hands. "What mournful lives Mortal Women must live!"
"He will not age right away," said Dorialith. "He is young yet. A good twenty years or more must pass before he begins to fail, and even in as short a time as that, a great many things may happen."
"Oh indeed!" she said. "For one thing, if we keep talking til then, I may be able to make sense out of your hints and riddles! Is there a way to help him? What is it you want me to do?"
"There is one thing you can do, which will help," said Dorialith. "Since you do love him, a little. Take him as your lover. Use the spell I gave you. It will not stop him from loving you - it may not even take away all the glamour. But if his desire is fulfilled, time can do that. If he comes to love you as you love him, and no more - then as you tire of him, he will tire of you."
"And if I do not tire of him? If I find that I love him more, instead of less?"
"Then you can live happily until he dies."
"No! Have pity on me! You cannot ask that!" She broke into wild sobbing. "I cannot bear to watch him die! Have pity on me, Dorialith!"
"And how much pity have you shown him?" Dorialith's eyes flared in anger. "When he wounded you, he took the harpoon out, and cared for you until the wound healed. Can you not do as much for the wound you have given him?"
She shrank back before his anger. Her long fingers kneaded one another against the blue velvet of her gown.
"I- I will talk to him," she said, tonelessly.
- Last edited Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:16 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:06 am
Ingulf awakens; and speaks of love
Alone in the tower room, Ingulf opened leaden eyes and stared at the glowing walls. For a time his numbed brain could make no sense of what he saw. Where was he? And what strange dreams had he been having?
Then memory came to him, and forced his unwilling limbs to sluggish motion. Airellen! She was here!
He staggered to the door, and stood leaning against the wall with his head whirling. How much of what he remembereed was real, and how much dreams? It could not all have been real, surely?
Airellen! She had turned from him, walking away without a sign that she had heard his voice calling -
Yet also in his mind was the memory of her in this room with him, of her skin against his...
He staggered down winding stone steps, around and around as his brain whirled around and around. Airellen! Had he hurt her again? Was she angry? What had happened?
He stumbled through a door into starlight. The host of tiny moons glowed between the stars. Crashing, hissing surf echoed from glowing towers.
Tall, bearded figures stood before him. Their eyes were grey and bright, and larger than the eyes of mortal men. Their long beards rippled and swayed in the wind like a woman's hair, and one beard was yellow like old honey, and the other was like water pouring in the starlight. But the faces behind the beards were children's faces.
"Welcome, Wanderer!" The one whose beard was like flowing water spoke, and his voice was deeper than is common among Elves, rich and melodious with wisdom. "It is a long way you have come from your stone-beached islands, Ingulf son of Fingold, and a tangled path that you have followed."
Ingulf blinked, his mind too muddled for such talk. The one with the honey-coloured beard - had he not seen him last night?
"A hard road," the silver bearded Elf went on. "Few among men have ever dared seek out this city. Great striving should be rewarded, surely."
He must force himself to stand and be polite, while his heart drove him to strike aside these frail figures with a sweep of his arm, and run to find Airellen...
"A great warrior you have been in the seas of the East," said he of the silver beard. "That you may be a greater one -- look!"
He held out a sword. It glittered like frost in the moonlight. But when the Elf moved into shadow, it still gleamed. "With this sword, great deeds lie before you. With it, perhaps, you may win to your heart's desire."
"Airellen?", he croaked, and wondered at himself.
"She is waiting for you" said the honey bearded Elf, his voice like golden harpstrings. "But take this sword that Dorialith gives you."
He took the blade in his hand, and the warrior in him rejoiced at the weight and feel of it. The gold-bearded Elf pointed.
"She is waiting for you," he said, and Ingulf saw her, sitting on a bench in the moonlight: her eyes were cast down and her hands clasped in her lap. He ran past the Elves toward her, the gleaming sword forgotten in his hand.
Her face lifted as he came up, then dropped again. Fear shot through him. Would she look at him? Would she speak to him?
"Airellen?" he stammered, his voice weak with terror. Her wide eyes lifted.
"Ingulf," she said. "Come, sit by me."
He sat, his tongue trapped in his mouth. He must find words - but there were no words. Her eyes, her eyes were looking at him.
"Where - how did you get that sword?" he heard her saying. "Did Dorialith give it to you? Are you a hero now, Ingulf?" He had forgotten the sword he held clenched in his hand. He stared at the blade, stupidly, and then laid it in the dust at her feet.
She had said his name! He had never known his name could be so beautiful.
"I-" He swallowed, forced words past his clumsy tongue. "If I am - if I am a hero, it is for you. It is all for you, whatever I am. I must make you happy. There is nothing else in the world. If you wish it, I will hurl the sword into the sea, or I will take it and go alone against the Demon Lords of Sarlow."
She was looking at her lap again. All he could see was long, dark hair.
"It was for you I came!" His voice was frantic. "I wish for nothing else!"
Her head bobbed: her hands leaped from her lap: vanished behind the hair that covered her face.
"I know my worthlessness. I am no hero; no bard to sing your beauty, or to find words to tell you of my love. But I do love you!"
"No!" she sobbed. "You do not love me. It is only a spell I put on you. You cannot love me! After all I have done, after I have treated you so? Oh Ingulf, what shall I do?"
"If it is a spell," he said, "never take it off. Oh, Beloved, do not turn from me. Hope of my life, Blessed Lady, do not make me suffer any more. Don't hurt me again. Stay with me please, stay with me."
Her eyes met his. He had thought to find out what colour they were at last, but then he was lost in their depths, and past caring. He heard her voice, crooning soft words. Strange visions swirled in his mind. For a moment he seemed to be Airellen herself, fleeing before a mad Ingulf who stalked between the white towers like a hunting scarecrow. He felt the harpoon bite into her side.
His body faded. He could hear her voice crooning softly.
The warmth of his hands, the power of his voice, the strength and tenderness of him..
But he will fade, he will fail, he will die...
He was sitting on the bench beside her again, and her eyes were gazing into his. She loved him. He knew that now. He reached out and caught her hand, feeling her fingers cold and fragile in his grasp.
There was a curious vision in his mind, of himself, shrivelling like a withered flower, and falling away to dust. What did it mean?
Her slender hand. Her fragile body. Her tiny shoulders. He would die, and she would not...
"I will bear your child, if that must be," she said.
He stared at her, then caught her hand and pressed it to his face, and kissed the frail fingers and the tiny palm, scarcely able to breathe.
My child, he thought. Her child.
"Your hands, your warm hands!" she said. "Oh, Ingulf, what are we to do? Where can we go? Should I go with you among Mortal Men? It would not be good for you to stay here. Perhaps we could live with the Forest Elves, or find a home in one of the cities in the west, in Elthar perhaps, where Elves and Men live..."
His arms were around her. Her lips opened shyly to his. She felt so fragile, so tiny, in his arms! He felt her, tasted her, smelled her, his beloved! He stroked her hair.
"What does it matter where we live," he whispered, "so long as we are together? Only stay with me, as long as I am living, never leave me again..."
She stiffened in his arms.
"No!" she gasped, pushing away from him, and her face was a mask of terror. "No, not that! My love, you must not ask that of me! I cannot bear it, you must let me go before then! I love you too much to - you must let me go first!"
Her horror was echoing in his mind, but he thought it was his own fear of losing her.
"I can never let you go!" he cried. "Never! Not until death has me!"
"No!" she screamed, and wrenched herself away from him, down the long street that led to the sea.
He leaped up, leaving the bright sword of heroes gleaming in the dust, and ran after her.
His feet pounded hard stone. He heard shouts behind, but he cared not. He ran and ran, but ever the lonely slender figure before him drew away from him, growing smaller and still smaller, running, down to the edge of the sea.
She cast off her velvet gown. He saw the waves rise to greet her white body. His feet scuffed through sand as he ran toward the black night sea, calling her name.
A long dark shape like a seal darted away through the waves.
Starlight and moonlight above him, and the sea running up the beach to meet him with glass-dark waves. Water reared up and caught him in a cold embrace. He mounted the wave and swam.
Dimly he heard splashes in the water behind him. Out and away from the shore he drove, trying to shout her name, spitting out the salt water that leaped eagerly into his throat. He saw seals near him in the water, their bright eyes gleaming.
His limbs were heavy and weak, as though he had not eaten for a long time. He swam on, seeking for her, but his bones grew heavier and heavier, dragging him down. He felt himself sinking, and was glad.
A dark shape came up against him, and strong teeth fastened in his robe. He was being towed through the water. He did not want to live in a world where she did not love him! He started to struggle, but he was too weak for that. Water dashed into his throat and choked him...
Then he was lying on sand, and coughing up water. Cold air seared his lungs. He rolled over, and saw the silver bearded Elf between himself and the stars.
"Airellen!" he gasped, when he could speak again. "Where is she?"
"She will be swimming as a seal among the islands of the North," said Dorialith, "Hunting among the salmon herds, trying to forget her sorrows in the salt tides of the wild ocean. It is a road that my people take when trouble is on them."
Ingulf stared. "Then I will stay here until she comes back," he said. But the Sea Elf shook his head sadly.
"She will not come back while you are here," he said. "And she can stay in the sea longer than you will be alive. But aside from that, I cannot allow you to stay. It is a dangerous place for a Mortal Man. You have fared better than the last mortal who came among us, two thousand years and more ago.
"We welcomed him happily, meaning no evil, and I played music for him, that he might dance, and forget the sorrows of mortal life. He danced until he died."
Ingulf pushed himself unsteadily to his feet. Endlessly the breakers rolled upon the shore, smashed into spray, and fell purring back from the land. In the east he saw a pale glow where tiny moons hung golden in the light of suns yet sunken.
For the first time in a month Ingulf was looking at the golden moons of dawn, but he did not know how long a night was behind him.
"But what shall I do?" he cried. "Must I seek her among the seals in the skerries of the North? I have no powers for such a quest! But my life is worth nothing to me, if she is gone out of it! What can I do?"
"Hope!" said Dorialith. "You cannot seek her. But in time her panic will leave her, and perhaps she will come to you."
Ingulf gaped at him, and the elf smiled, lifting something from the sand that gleamed with white light: the starlight flame of the sword from the Land of the Ever-Living. He pressed the hilt into Ingulf's lax hand.
"Take it," Dorialith said, "and go. Be bold and strong. Let your deeds become the seeds of song, and in time she will hear of them. I will see to that!"
The Twin Suns rose now, and in their light the froth that tipped the waves glowed like fresh milk.
And so it was that Ingulf of the Isles left the City of the Sea-Elves, gaunt and haggard, with nothing to show for his journey except the magical sword that he named Frostfire. Bright in his hands it shone, as he left - alone - the sands where the Sea-Elves' city stands.
- Last edited Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:31 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:06 am
Carroll Mac Lir and the Slavers of Sarlow
A woman's scream sounded, somewhere in the endless woodlands.
Ingulf stopped, his eyes hunting through thick brambles, seeking between the pillars of countless trees. Somewhere above the trees, he knew, the Twin Suns shone, but he could not see far in this green dimness.
Haunted, hopeless, homeless, Ingulf wandered aimlessly, helpless in these thick forests so different from his native islands. Thorns had torn and shredded his tartan robe: his mind, too, was in tatters. It was a hateful world that he lived in now. Birds were nesting, hatching their eggs, feeding their mates, and surely it was all to mock him, to remind him that he was alone...
Long months had passed since Ingulf, guided by helpful Forest-Elves, had blundered into a poor fishing village and there learned that a month had gone out of his life during the night he had spent in the Sea-Elves' city.
Not once in that time had Airellen's face left his mind; not once had he slept without dreaming of her; not once had he halted in his mad quest for deeds to do, that Dorialith make good his promise.
He saw her eyes in every sunset, her shape behind every tree. A patch of blackness on birch bark would suddenly seem to shape into her hair, and he would see her face framed in it, feel her eyes upon him...
Blundering ever deeper inland, he wandered at last out of Galinor over the hills south, through the Elfwoods, and on into the Forest of Demons itself.
And always it seemed that some malign fate had come between him and the hope of his heart, and more and more bitter he became, until he felt that all the world had joined to mock him, and hold him from his love.
Lost in the forest, he blundered ever deeper...
Another scream. Ingulf's heart twisted. Could Airellen be here, and in danger?
He began to run, blundering clumsily through brambles, his heart leaping with crazy hope and fear.
The scream died away, and Ingulf could hear only his own feet, crashing on leaves, and the frantic pounding of his heart and sobbing of his breath.
Where had the scream come from? He paused to breathe, trying to listen, while his eyes scanned the forest.
Surely the trees must hate him, surely there was some malign fate in the world that would not allow him to aid another in pain, mocking him with underbrush and echoes and baffling twists between trees, and hills that cut off vision worse than sea fog.
In the open ocean it would only be a matter of waiting for the waves to move. But where in these tangled trees could she be?
Even if it was not Airellen, somewhere a woman was suffering pain and fear.
Was the scream only to mock him? Or was he being lured into a trap of some kind?
The screaming sounded again, and mingled with it, men's voices shouting and the clamour of steel.
Ingulf's fingers clenched on the haft of his great war flail, the flat iron blade dangling loose, ready to swing in its deadly arc. His ears hunted the woods, trying to find direction among the clustered trees and occasional maddening echoes.
Gathering up his flail again, holding the blade tight to the shaft, he began moving slowly to the left. The sound seemed to come from there. Again the woman screamed, and now it seemed louder, and Ingulf began to run, adjusting Frostfire's scabbard in his belt with his left hand.
Suddenly he blundered into a trail, and went running along it, hearing, louder, the battering of steel ahead. He came to the brow of a knoll and looked down into a ravine.
The very land conspired against him! Why did fate hate him so?
He ran down the slope. Roots clawed at his feet. Ahead, the trail led uphill into tall pines with wind booming in their boughs.
Crashing through a screen of leaves came the glittering figure of a man in armour, reeling back onto the pine needles at the rim of the rise, to fall sprawling down the bank, smearing the needles with blood.
Another man reeled over the knoll, clutching at a dripping red leg, and slid, shrieking, down the hill. Other men appeared, under a shimmer of swords, the drumming of their shields all but drowned by the wind in the pines.
Ingulf sprang forward. Here were those he had come to aid!
Another mail clad corpse pitched down the slope, and behind Ingulf glimpsed a tall blond figure, clad in smoky green plaid, sword crusted with blood. One of the forest savages, Ingulf thought.
Roots caught at Ingulf's feet. He saw men running down the hill as they fought, but he had to look down at the roots and loose earth that were trying to trip him, to keep him from the heroic deeds that were his only hope of love and sanity.
Armoured men were running and shouting; one screamed piteously, trying to crawl away, dragging behind him the spurting ruin of a leg.
Ingulf sprang between the wounded man and the tall, deadly, unarmoured figure that bounded toward him.
The dark iron blade of the flail flew free, spinning out above the blond man's shield. The blood crusted sword lashed into its path.
Most blades would have shattered under that terrible blow but this one held. The steel bent like a bow, and tore itself free of the hand that held it. Ingulf stared. The blond man dodged back, disarmed but unhurt.
"Islander!" he shouted. "Is it mad you are, or a traitor, that you aid the slave-hunters out of Sarlow?" Ingulf froze: the wheel of his flail faltered in its spin.
"Duck, you fool!" the blond man shouted, and Ingulf leaped to the side, his flail whirling around him as he turned, to drive down the spear shaft that pierced the air where he had stood. The spinning iron snapped the thick wood shaft as though it had been a twig.
He let the tip smash into the earth, showering pine needles and dirt. A convulsive swirl of his shoulders jerked it free again, its spin reversed. Mail rings clashed deafeningly and the man behind the spear staggered back, coughing blood from rib pierced lungs.
The blond man was scrambling for his sword, and the armoured men rushed, swords raised.
Ingulf hurled himself into their path, the flattened iron bar a deadly wheel. In the madness of battle, he could forget, and here at last was an evil on which he could vent the seething anger and hatred that boiled within him; to fight back against the unjust world and avenge his ruined life.
The bare foot of dull edge at the very tip of the flattened iron went through a man's neck as easily as a sharp blade might have; its terrible weight whirred around again, spraying blood, and a helmet crumpled under the stroke.
Slavers backed away as the madman drove among them, his flail lashing, humming in the air, and his face twisted and his eyes wild.
There was a sudden loud crashing, a rending of wood, and thin branches and leaves showered on Ingulf's head and shoulders, as the handle of the flail tugged at his hand.
Ingulf's foes had backed under the low branches of a tree; the chain and the long iron bar were tangled in shattered boughs.
Ingulf let go the handle. Sneering, a slaver stabbed with his sword.
Ingulf's leg crumpled; his hand flew to Frostfire's hilt as the point passed over his head.
A cold, glassy wheel of flame blossomed as Frostfire whipped from its scabbard, ripping through mail-rings as easily as cloth; red threads rippled on the shimmering wheel of steel and red drops flew from his sword.
Blades rang; blood reddened ring mail. Harried, milling like sheep, mail-clad shapes fled, and suddenly Ingulf and the other man were eyeing each other across a slope strewn with shattered corpses.
"Well, Islander!" the blond man said. "You have a sword-arm indeed. I'm glad you came, and glad to welcome you! It is Carrol Mac Lir I am. Who is it I am thanking?"
"Ingulf, Son of Fingold," he said. "It was in Tray Ithir that I was born."
"It is a long way to Tray Ithir," said Carroll, shaking his head, "and you are far from your home. But it is glad I am to welcome you! But come!" He stepped to one of the bodies and stooped, to lift something that dripped with blood. "Here is the key. Let us free the poor wretches that these carrion-eaters were dragging back with them."
Ingulf followed him back into the trees, and through brush. Where had Airellen brought him now?
Wailing rose ahead, and then a clangor of chains. A strip of sunlight on an open trail cut through the forest's shadows. Here lay more mail-clad bodies, and others among them: forest men, naked but for kilts. Carroll called out, and the underbrush crashed and swayed: iron clanked, and a long line of haggard people pushed through the leaves, dragging the chain that bound them together.
Once before Ingulf had seen such misery, on his long quest for the City of the Sea-Elves. But that caravan had been smaller, its captives newly taken.
Some here were gaunt and hollow-eyed, their ribs ridges in scarred skin. They wailed and cursed as they fought to free the long chain from the trembling, gasping bushes.
Long before the chain was free, Ingulf had given up counting. The chain seemed endless. Misery-haunted eyes met his: scared eyes of recent captives, still full fleshed; of women with bruised breasts and bloody thighs; of wounded angry men, with whip strokes crossing fresh sword-cuts.
Worse than these were the dulled, haunted eyes of starved scarecrow men and women, with long healed scars.
"Aye," said Carroll, seeing his face. ""Thus the Sarloach treat their prisoners even before they get them home. Starved folk struggle less, and the weight of their chains keeps them quiet. Yet these are lucky; they would be worse off in Sarlow."
The blood stained key in Carroll's hand opened collars and wrist bands, and in a madness of joy and sorrow the free people danced, wept, laughed, wailed embraced each other and their deliverers until Ingulf was sure his ribs must break. Carroll had to break up a fight. Some of the stronger men stripped the bodies of their captors and armed themselves, and then chopped heads from dead slavers and hoisted them on spears. Voices bayed in wild acclaim.
"Savages!" Ingulf muttered. Carroll gave a snort of bitter laughter.
"Judge them after you have seen your own village burned and your own kin raped and butchered and eaten! Had you been on that chain, you would be howling as loud as any," said Carroll.
"Why do they allow it?" cried Ingulf. "Why have the Hasturs not destroyed them? Why do the tribes not unite to wipe out these evil, murdering, enemy monsters?"
"The Forest Clans unite?" Carrol said. "A few have, but the old feuds die hard. And the tribes nearest to Sarlow, that are most aware of the danger, are already wiped out. But even if a large number of clans could be united, or even all the clans of the forest, they would still not be strong enough to break Sarlow. Many times the Three Kingdoms have gathered their armies against them, but always the host has been turned back in the passes of the mountains."
"And what of the Hasturs?" Ingulf asked.
"There are limits even to the powers of the Hasturs. The Sorcerers of Sarlow are very strong."
Ingulf watched. All around them freed people danced, weeping and shouting hysterically. It was an evil world into which he had come.
What had Dorialith said? Be bold and strong. Let your deeds become the seeds of song, and in time she will hear...
Perhaps there was a reason for all his suffering: perhaps he was being tormented thus in order to force him to take the actions which no one else dared.
Perhaps everything, from the time of his seeing Airellen in her seal shape in the water, had all been planned for this!
Perhaps it was not some unknown sin of his own for which he was being punished, but in order to destroy the other evil...
"Then I will go to Sarlow," Ingulf said. "It is time the slaves were freed."
"What?" Carroll stared at him. "What are you saying? Are you joking or mad - or - ?"
"I mean what I say," said Ingulf. "I shall go into Sarlow, and free the slaves there, and-"
"Are you mad?" cried Carroll. "Have you not heard a word I said? Did you not hear me say that an army-?"
"One man may go where an army cannot," said Ingulf. "And she will never hear of me if I skulk in these trees and do nothing."
"She-? Who-?" Carroll shook his head. "I do not understand, and I do not know who you speak of, but it is plain that you know nothing of Sarlow!" Are you thinking you can just walk in and then walk out again? If you get over the mountains at all, you will be a slave in their pits or meat for their table! You have never seen what is beyond these mountains!"
"Have you?" Ingulf asked.
"I have." Carroll's voice was grim. "I was chained on one of these chains once. I saw my father and sister cut up to feed the slavers that drove us. And I worked in the Slave Pits of Sarlow, with the whip on my back, until a knife fell from an overseer's belt, and I saw my chance. I killed the man with the keys, and freed others, and we killed the guards with our picks and hammers, and escaped. But not for long." Memory haunted his face.
"We made for the mountains. We heard howling behind us and knew that the Hounds of Sarlow were on our scent. We had taken weapons from the guards, and when the first pack came, in daylight, we were ready for them, and we fought and we slew and we drove them off, though many of us were dragged down. Then we went on... on toward the mountains..."
He paused. His breathing was harsh and ragged, his face twisted.
"The second pack came at night", he said. "A werewolf led them, and him no weapon of plain steel could harm. Swords went through his flesh, and the wounds closed and healed behind the sword. Man after man he dragged down, and we would have died there, had the Hasturs not seen our need..." He bit his lip, and closed his eyes.
"One of the Hasturs looked over the mountains, saw our fight, and came. He appeared out of the air, and burned the werewolf with a bolt of need-fire." He paused, and stared into the air before him. "But by then, there were only five of us left. There had been more than a hundred..."
"Plain steel cannot hurt a werewolf," said Ingulf. "But that is why Dorialith gave me this blade." He pulled Frostfire halfway from its scabbard, then slammed it home again.
Around them the freed slaves were slowly quieting, though some still wept, and a few others still capered wildly and fiercely, stabbing at the dead slavers with shrill war cries.
"Even with such a sword..." said Carroll, "it is madness to-" But a shriek from Ingulf cut him off.
"I am tired of talk! Why are you doing this to me?" His voice was shrill and as wild as those of the frenzied savages around them. "Why do you try to destroy my only hope? Did they send you here to test me? Are they trying to keep me from her?"
Carroll stared at him, jaw dropping, while around them both, the freed slaves reeled unheeding, dancing and weeping and shouting with fury. Ingulf's outburst had gone unheard, lost in the mingled jungle of passion.
"You are mad," Carroll said, stunned, wondering. "You are truly, simply-"
"Mad or sane, I go to Sarlow!" Ingulf shouted. At last, he thought, fate had guided him to the deed he sought. "You may fight me, guide me, or leave me be!"
- Last edited Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:51 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:07 am
In the land of Sarlow are several slave pits, each having guards and overseers, and a slave chain working with picks and hammers.
Ingulf will, of course, have the intent and ability to free each of these slave pits. However, this will take time.
The Army of Sarlow has many commanders. Only three such commanders will become involved in this skirmish - or rebellion.
These evil men will be Vildern, Gromm Beardless, and Prince Svaran the Black.
They will have at their disposal the Army and Wolves of Sarlow. These will consist of some werewolves, some guards, and of course wolves and guards that are beneath the station deemed to be worthy of player status.
Each night, one of these commanders is forced to take the Army of Sarlow to battle, in the hopes of destroying the man with the fire-sword. They each have different abilities, and while they work together, they do not necessarily like each other. The other two sit back in safety that night.
The slave-pits of Sarlow will be considered isolated from both an attacking or defending force.
As is practicable in Sarlow, a death or reprimand will occur each day to show the strength and might of Sarlow and invoke fear upon the slaves and guards. We will (for the purpose of the game) consider this a lynch, though rarely is rope used for this task.
However, while the Army of Sarlow is able to order the death of a guard or slave, it is less compelling when a slave orders such in return.
Hence, pit guards and slaves do not have the ability to determine the daily lynch.
They are, however, able to affect the matters within their own pit.
It is possible for slaves of a pit to rise up against their guard using the lynch mechanism. The votes of the slaves of each pit are considered in isolation, and before the daily lynch. A pit guard will not be killed by the main lynch, as they are performing an important task.
It is, therefore, possible to lynch more than one player in the same day.
Once Ingulf frees some slaves, it is considered a battleground, in which free slaves can now vote against the Army of Sarlow. However, weak in number their voice will not be strong.
A werewolf cannot be harmed by cold steel, and so will not be lynched, unless Ingulf votes upon it (or other special conditions occur.)
Similarly, any role that acts from outside of Sarlow cannot be lynched, as they are not truly there.
If such a person is chosen to be the target, those voting for the player are considered of zero strength, and the next candidate is killed instead.
The conditions for each good aligned player *can* change during the game, regarding their location. ie some players become involved (enter Sarlow), or remove involvement (leave Sarlow?) during the course of the game.
- Last edited Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:35 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:07 am
Ingulf, Son of Fingold: Ingulf wins if there are no captured slaves and more than half of the slaves are freed, and Ingulf lives.
Each night Ingulf can choose to travel to a new pit, attack that pit to rescue the slaves, or rally the slaves to his side.
He can never leave a pit if the slaves have not been rallied.
Carroll Mac Lir: Will either fight Ingulf, guide him, or leave him be.
Airellen: As far as we know she is swimming in the sea, hunting salmon.
Dorialith: Wise amongst the Sea-Elves
Fiarril: Can his harp reach the lands of Sarlow?
Slave: There are 3 pits in this game, and each pit will have one pit guard and four slaves.
Each of these five players learns which players are in that pit.
Slaves have the ability to lynch their guard, if voting within the pit shows a clear majority.
If it is a tied vote, the guard lives.
Slaves can also try to rise up against their guard as a night action, if they think they know who the guard is.
If two or more slaves rise up against the guard in the night, the guard dies. If only one, the slave dies instead.
Slaves without a guard do not leave their slave pit unless they are being rallied. Slaves know what can happen in Sarlow.
There may be special slaves with a special ability.
PIT GUARDS will not have an effective vote, but may not be lynched by the forces of Sarlow. If all of his slaves die, these restrictions are removed and he becomes a regular guard.
Guard: The fodder in battle, but at least they armour and weapons.
During battle, each night, they can submit an order to stand ground or flee. Both have penalties that apply.
At least their vote counts.
Werewolf: Do not get to submit the night kill orders unless a hunt occurs, or they find themselves within a pit with no pit guard.
New werewolves can be created in pits through a slave's pain and dark magic.
There may be special werewolves with special abilities, and I don't mean "brutal".
Vildern: Vildern is not of the highborn and has dark hair and dark eyes. He has had to earn his rank the hard way, which means he is skilled. However, he learned much of what he knows from years under Gromm Beardless.
Gromm Beardless is reknown throughout and even outside Sarlow for his sword-arm and ruthlessness.
Prince Svaran the Black wears impenetrable black armour and wields a mighty sword. Style or skill is no longer a requirement, when you are unstoppable.
Sorcerer of Sarlow: No detail has been provided yet of the abilities of those who practice dark magic. Suffice to say they do not indulge themselves in petty divinations. However, there can be great cost to wielding great power. As long as someone else pays the price, there is no concern.
Player List According to Cassandra:
17 players are signed up.
To sign up for this game go to
- Last edited Fri May 1, 2015 7:07 am (Total Number of Edits: 73)
- Posted Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:11 am
Good golly people... my username has a lower case x!!
Females play board games too!!! ;)
Dang... Wasn't first... But DEFINITELY IN!!
Haven't read all of it yet, but for now... in.
This space for rent.
Re: Ingulf The Mad - build up background story, rules, signu
I claim that I was in before the signups opened
Read most of it, good stuff.
Back with a vengence.
Back with a vengence.
Woot! Thanks to you early joiners
A seal just signed me up on Cassandra.
~MUST LOVE~ ~Geeky Time Lords~
How could I not sign up? As long as I don't have to do the game in rhyme, then, I should be alright.
Sounds very good! I'm in!
Conserve energy: Play Board Games!
Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice.
Shake your business up and pour it. I don't have all day.
Oooohh...jmilum emerges from the shadows. I must tilt with him. Good to see you, man.
Now, if only we can get Agnespoodle in this game, the circle will be complete.
Airellen rode a wave to a rock that jutted stark and wet from the froth-creamy sea, and casting off the seal shape that was upon her, rested naked upon the sun warmed stone.
Wind and storm had tired her: she was weary of the lonely waste of waves, and beginning to hate the taste of fish.
She saw another head bobbing in the water, and tensed, wondering who it was that had found her; torn between the desire to flee and the desire to hear a voice - any voice.
A white seal came riding on a wave crest and slid smoothly onto dark rock. Wide elf eyes looked out from the white-furred face.
Then the seal-skin fell away, and a woman was there, her smooth skin lily-white against the black rock, her hair as snowy as Airellen's was lustrous dark brown.
In a jewel at her throat burned a spark of wandering fire.
"Cousin!" the newcomer cried. "I did not look to meet you wandering in these waters! Is it not said that your father's ship has sailed from the Land of the Ever-Living, and will enter this world soon? I had thought to see you at the city!"
The smile on Airellen's face shrank and vanished. Red blood flooded her skin. Her eyes sought the pitted rock. Her fists clenched; then, quickly, she pressed her palms together, and her long fingers twined and knotted.
"Why, Cousin-what is this?" The white-haired girl's laugh was silvery and cruel. "What secret have I touched? Come! You can tell me! Is it your father you are hiding from? Or a lover...?" She laughed again, as Airellen flinched, blushing even deeper. "Indeed!" she crowed. "Have I hit on it, then? But who-?"
"Swanwhite! Leave me be!" Airellen cried. "Don't- don't- dig so! Leave me alone!"
"If you'll not tell me," Swanwhite laughed, "then you leave me no choice but to find out for myself! Let me see, now..." She glanced quickly around the rock. "Ah!"
A swift, fluid motion, and she was leaning over a small hollow, where calm water reflected the sky. She bent, pink nipples brushing the rock, and breathed on the tiny pool.
"No!" Airellen cried, but Swanwhite only laughed.
Water misted, rippled, cleared, and then they both saw, there in the water, the big-boned scarecrow shape; the angular, long nosed face under the red hair...
"A Mortal Man!" Swanwhite breathed, startled.
Airellen gave a little shuddering gasp.
"Ingulf!" Her fists knotted: tears ran down her blushing cheeks.
I just signed up on Cassandra.
blue's modding.. hmmm..