Author Topic: The Witch of Kendara  (Read 436 times)

Soulbourne

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The Witch of Kendara
« on: June 28, 2018, 12:51:30 PM »
"Kendara was supposed to be a quaint abandoned village nestled high into the peaks of the Mesroukar; however, the records we recovered that would have us believe this village was little more than a bastion of goat herders were false. The trek to the peak proved treacherous and we found nothing until one of our scouts made the discovery. Having taken a furlough to a nearby waterfall-fed pond to replenish the troupe's water supplies, he noticed that within the water's reflection of the rockface was a cave that he couldn't see with his eyes looking directly at the stone. Investigating, it was found that some form of illusory mirage is hiding a cave system here. Perhaps this is the true Kendara.

 I request permission to utilize my Arcos-Serai and cleanse this land. Long live the Arkhan. Long live the Arkaeduval."    --Arbiter Lucas, Kendara Expedition, Field Report 1







Mesroukar Mountains
Akaevudal Empire
« Last Edit: June 28, 2018, 01:02:14 PM by Soulbourne »

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Re: The Witch of Kendara
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2018, 01:54:55 PM »
"The first scouting team I sent into the cave never returned. Their losses are felt heavily on the men. My Arcos-Serai removed the magic concealing it from us, and I've set a constant watch on the perimeter.  The men are on edge. At dawn, we will press within ourselves. I will not see a coven escape Purgatory." --Arbiter Lucas, Kendara Expedition, Field Report 2


"There is more to this place than we could have anticipated. Of the eight men I entered with, only two remain. This is no simple cave, it's a tomb. A long winding passage of what must be nearly a mile of carved stone separate us from what I glimpsed on the other side. We found the scouting team within the first quarter mile, having fallen into a fell pit trap. The Scotia here are more foul and devious than any I've encountered before. Thankfully, not all were dead. Our senior scout, despite missing this first trap with his brethren, was recovered from the pit, having survived spikes by some miracle of the Arkhan's grace. Pressing onward into the darkness by light of torch we entered a long stretch of stone. This place is not just an entrance to the true village of Kendara, but a tomb. Set into the walls  are stacked beds of stone, each housing the bones of men and women in various states of decay. As we traveled onward, there were branching tunnels with more tombs...but no sarcophagi or burial urns. All of the dead here exposed and unfettered. We continued on until a light appeared at the end of the hall, a door far afield from us opening. I swear it was the light of day, this passage conceals a pathway to the other side of the mountain.

The senior scout called from one of the side tunnels, he'd found someone. A small girl moving amongst the bones. She struggled against him, but the small girl must have been no more than fourteen winters. He reeled her in close to us. [A few lines of this entry have been marked over, lines through them to conceal what was written.] She would not speak a word for quite some time except 'You don't belong here'. It turns out, she was very right. The scout struggled, but the entire room started to move. This wasn't just a tomb, it was the first line of defense. The dead themselves rose against us. Our men fought valiantly but we were overwhelmed. Skeletal warriors rose against us, and the girl fled deeper into the cave. We were lucky to escape with our lives.

I humbly request reinforcements. It is clear that these entities are guarding something, and I believe that to be the true village of Kendara. The mountains are too perilous to climb, but these filth are no match for the might of the Knights of Arkaeduval. We will uproot this sanctuary of scotia and bring them into the Empire's light. Their blood; their redemption. Long live the Arkhan. Long live the Archaeduval." --Arbiter Lucas, Kendara Expedition Field Report 3

"Today...I found myself writing a report to my superiors, and looking back over the letter I found I wrote three lines about the beauty of a mere girl we found. Somehow...I fear she has bewitched my mind. But a girl, I can't stop seeing her in my waking dreams. She had the most beautiful green eyes, long black hair of a scotia. I picture the sweet gaze of those eyes and the elegant curve of her neck.... No. These thoughts may seek to disarm my heart, but she is a Witch. She will face the Arkhan's fire like the rest of them."

--Private Journal Entry, unsigned.

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Re: The Witch of Kendara
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2018, 11:41:45 AM »
[An exerpt from the Arkaeduval Scholar Demeria's work, History of the Greater Races]

Chapter two

..... Arkhan (et Plural, Arkhonin)

The greatest of even the Greater Races, the last of the golden age of man. Carved forth and spawned by the heavens from gold and silver, gods walk among us. It is an honor to serve the Arkhonin in any capacity, this treastsy seeks in simple terms describe their physical appearances from the eyes of a lesser an.  Giant in strength and stature, our god and his kin tower at twice the height of man. Each individual of this race embodies perfection from handsome, articulate features. The Arkhan has taught and demonstrated to all that as gods, their attributes be they strength, grace, or beauty and power always outmatch that of the lesser races. Arkhonin rule five of the nine kingdoms, lending their wisdom and might to guide us to live in their images. Our Arkhan himself may boast a height of twelve feet, a champion of the race. As humans of two arms, two legs, and similar stature but with skin golden and divine that glimmers and beseeches the very light of the heavens to be given off and reflected, Arkhonin are truly marvels one can only express in the seeing. Hair like golden threads hangs about their broad and strong shoulders. Our Arkhan possesses eyes completely gold in color, the blessed blood of their kind glows a metallic silver, coloring his veins against golden flesh. Chiseled by perfection itself, there is truly no man more handsome, more deserving of praise, stronger than our liege....

... the blood of an Arkan is said to have healing properties, a few drops mending even the greatest of injuries of those of lesser races, some even said to be brought back from the dead...

[Written in one particular copy, mostly burned and buried under a scorched home, words, mostly charred,  have been written in the margins]
My daughter.....do not fea.....................
...................what has blood bleeds........
....not gods...........................................
They would seek to ta...........................
..............blessing to all..........................
« Last Edit: July 09, 2018, 11:48:19 AM by Soulbourne »

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Re: The Witch of Kendara
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2018, 11:43:36 AM »
"It has been too long since I submitted another report. I have found myself deeply troubled by what has been witnessed in that village those weeks ago. I am haunted by the green-eyed girl. I fear we should have burned that village and everyone from it to the ground.  I have never once doubted my convictions to the Arkhan's cause, but I fear that my spirit has been broken. I set myself to the judgement of the High Arbiter, consider this my resignation. My last request is that the scotia girl and the others taken to become Arcos-Serai be set free of this world. Burn them. Free their souls before they become a plague upon the Arkaeduval."

--The Last Report of Arbiter Lucas Vitreous.

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Re: The Witch of Kendara
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2018, 12:41:57 PM »
My dearest Lucretia,

I long for this expedition to end and to be back within your arms, I have faced many foul sorceries in my travels with the Arbiter, but today I came very near to dying.

The reinforcements arrived, forty good men alongside the veteran Arbitur Kuriatas. We expected to find a village of scotia and undead, but we found only death. The organized force fought through the caves I told you of before and once again the dead raised before us. We lost a few men in the initial offset, but our training and formations lead by two Arbiters won the battle with minimal trouble. The caves opened up into a valley concealed within the very peaks of the Mesroukar. It opened before us and  it became immediately clear we should not have come. I saw homes of various kind. Some seemed formed from the stone themselves as by magic, some huts of wood, and still more tents of hides and rope, a medley of different cultures. A large pond filled one corner of the valley, but its waters were brackish and black as night's sky; stagnant from the flow of water blocked off above. At first  we prepared for renewed battle, none came. We traveled into this wretched place, but immediately were met with unmoving corpses twisted by sickness and disease. The Arbiter Kuriatas took charge and promptly ordered the force to spread out and search, despite protests from the men, fearful of being afflicted. We were to gather the bodies and burn them, but Arbiter Lucas pulled the scouts and I aside, he set us to the task of scouring the area searching for the green-eyed girl I wrote of before.

Some wretched twist of fate would have it that Breanna and I were the ones to find them. It all happened so quickly I can't be sure what they planned, and what was real.

First, there was wailing. A babe's from a hut in the outskirts, Breanna, a mother of her own, was the first to react, she kicked open the door and went inside but before I could follow I became distinctly aware I was being watched. Something wrong was happening, none of the adults within the village were alive. I found myself turning as six youths, the eldest a boy of maybe seventeen winters approaching us from the direction of the pond. I turned back toward the hut to shout a warning to Breanna but she was already there, limping toward me. Her throat was slit, blood pouring down her torso. I do not mean to frighten you, but I close my eyes and see the look of confusion, of worry in her eyes. I caught her as she fell, her lips moving to voice words with no wind to carry them.

The door was pushed open further, and I stood quickly, readying my crossbow, but I saw no monster within. I saw a girl, bloodied dagger in hand -A quietly crying baby in the other-. She had the greenest eyes I've ever seen. I knew what must be done, but I could not act. My hand upon the trigger, I could not bear to fire. Something in her voice, her eyes bewitched me. I don't remember the words, but I felt I could trust her. It riddles my heart with guilt, Lucretia. I lowered my bow and stepped back. The other youths  were upon us now. But all I saw were those green eyes, some foul charm to them. I tried to move, to do anything against them, but I just could not act. Never have I felt so helpless. She spoke to the other youths, quickly and pointed them away, they split apart into twos and moved into the village. I believe she entrusted the babe to a smaller girl, even younger than she.

I don't know if you want to hear this; if it better to try and hide from my memories than subject you to them, but I write them here hoping I can find some measure of release from the guilt that grips my heart. I did nothing. I watched in horror as the girl smiled to me. It was a sad smile. I found myself believing that she was apologizing and resigned myself to forgive her. She pushed over Breanna's body, eyes losing the light of life within. She knelt took a stone, I am not certain what it was. Carved bone? Some rune? But she pressed it into the open wound of the woman's neck and read a bloodied parchment between her hands. I wanted to scream for her to stop, but all I could do was watch.

Breanna rose from the dead. She stood where she fell, but she was not the woman I knew. Was this to be my fate? The girl approached me with a dagger. She lifted it poised for my heart. The only words I remember were a whisper. "It will be alright.". No thought  pierced her words, and I did not fight as she drew her dagger to end me. I would be dead, having left the world without you, my dearest Lucretia. I heard the screams and shouts of my brothers in arms as the very bodies they carried began to move, the men lulled into a sense of safety carrying them. Skeletons rose from the brackish waters of the pond. None of it mattered to me but those Green Eyes. Sorrow gripped my heart and I found tears pouring down my cheeks as the men screamed. It was over. I closed my eyes and she held a finger to my lips as the dagger fell.

It never struck, my eyes opened as the girl screamed and fell, a bolt from Arbiter Lucas' crossbow piercing her right leg. She fell before my dumbfounded gaze. The Arbiter dragged her. I felt anger that he'd harmed my friend...though I cannot fathom what drew me to her eyes. His club crashed against my head and jarred me of my senses. It's all a blur after that. The Arbiter killed Breanna. No. Her corpse. Other men started to arrive as he wrestled a wand from the girl's hand. She cried out for someone, and another body came from the house. She screamed and got free, crawling. I felt warm blood from my head in my hand. She clung to the new arrivals leg. A woman torn by sickness, a zombie in similar robes to the smaller youth. Mother, she said with her own tears as the Arbiter raised his crossbow again.

I cannot say more, Lucretia. I don't remember it.  I long to be with you. This will be my last expedition. The Arbiter I have heard is resigning, and I intend to try to leave as well if I can be freed of my oaths. I love you.

Yours truly,
Klouse
« Last Edit: September 12, 2018, 03:17:47 PM by Soulbourne »

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Re: The Witch of Kendara
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2018, 03:23:54 PM »
Halivaara Site Operations Report 7, Group 3

The newest batch of Scotia have arrived for processing. Please see Arbiter Lucas' report of the Kendara Field Expedition. The High Arbiter has instructed for our operations to continue despite the Lucas' request for termination.

Five of the fledgeling Scotia survived their transport. Two were determined to be viable prospects.

Subject 1:
Male. No older than seventeen winters, dark of hair. Blue eyes. Pale complexion. The eldest of Group 3 interred at the Halivaara site. He will be interviewed for information on the other candidates and then sentenced to burn at the stake. Scholar Yvette has determined he is a Blood Mage, and therefore not a viable prospect.

Subject 2:
Male. Nine winters. Brown of hair. Brown eyes. Though young this one was noted as casting a spell,  none of Scholar Yvette's tests revealed blood magic inherent. This Scotia remains a viable candidate.

Subject 3:
Female. Newborn. Dark of Hair. Green Eyes. This innocent has been saved, unmarred and not yet corrupted. It is believed she is the kin of subject four, and lacks any magical blood. Scholar Yvette, intrigued by the child and bearing no children of her own, has requested to adopt the child. I have approved this request, and it will allow us to monitor her growth to ensure she does not defect from the Empire's will.

Subject 4
Female. Fourteen winters. Dark of Hair. Green Eyes. While yet to be interviewed, this one by all reports performed both feats of necromancy and enchantment during the Kendara expedition. She remains a viable prospect; however, a complication has arisen. During the expedition this one was injured by an alchemically loaded crossbow bolt. Apparently the Arbiter had loaded a bolt of acid to fend off a reanimated corpse noted as the mother of subjects 3 and 4. The damage has been quite severe. If the clerics are unable to preserve her life without amputating her leg, she will be terminated as a potential candidate.

Subject 5
Female. Ten winters. Red of hair. Blue eyes. It has been determined that this girl is a blood mage and sentenced to burn at the stake. She carries a unique birth-mark that may indicate she belongs to the Freyyr.

Reports enclosed and sealed by Executor Rivain
Halivaara Outpost
« Last Edit: July 20, 2018, 03:36:25 PM by Soulbourne »

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Re: The Witch of Kendara
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2018, 12:00:47 PM »
To my Murderer. To my Friends.

Spoiler: show
I never was one for keeping journals, but this letter I write should the worst happen. If you're reading this you may be cause of my death.

Everything I do is to make us whole again. I have said these words time and time again. It is my creed. I promised myself that I would become an abomination if that is what it took to change my world and save my family. I also promised that I would never become the monster the world wanted of me.

What, then, separates men from monsters? From Beasts? I believe it is two things: A Code and a Family

This is my code. It is pieced together from the laws of my village where we had no other weapon but magic and the bodies of our ancestors who gave themselves willingly to give our community a chance to survive. To hide and hopefully outlive the Arkaeduval Empire that would enslave and burn our homes. I have no illusions that I am not an abomination. That I committed to taboo research that the gods themselves may find abhorrent. But everything I did, and do if I live again, has a purpose. Everything I did was to make us whole again. I entered this world as a cripple and faced the horrors of Barovia. The Vampire Macerak, Neuri, a drow vampire. To achieve my goals, to save my family and my people, I needed to be more than a Cripple.

The Code:
No spilling the blood of the innocents.
No unwilling creation of undead, the exception is those convicted of capital offences.
No trapping the souls of anyone, same exception.
The powers of the arcane are a tool to be used, just as any other instrument.
Do good whenever possible.

Everything else can be set aside when the lives of my friends and family are at stake.

I have already faced the limits of my code, the constraints I try to live by. I am not sure if I will be able to keep it but it is for my family that I strive to. I will never be a monster.

I am truly homeless. So far in the Core I have found countries and people that would smite or burn me for what I am. They don't care for intentions, only the lens of Good OR Evil. If it is for this reason that I have been slain, then I hope my Murderer is content knowing they have ridden the world of one more evil miserable creature. But I have felt love. Real love. Know that there are some good people in this world. I am not among them, but I tried to protect and keep them. My alternative to keeping my secret, to hiding until I succeed or I'm found out and hunted, was to join the Red Academy of Hazlan. I did.  I looked in the face of true monsters with no code or morals to contain them. Even here there are good people. Hazlan is the Antithesis of my world where wizards were enslaved by the Arkaeduval. Here, Wizards have the power. Here, I could be safe. I could serve their Lord and perform my experiments in relative peace. But I also might not be able to follow my code. I might be expected to do awful things, to become a monster, as the price for this safety. There is no sanctuary for me. I will do everything I can to keep from becoming what I fear, but in the end, a cornered and hungry animal doesn't always get a choice but to fight for other's gain. Know that as in the last line of my code, I will do anything I must to survive because I have people depending on me to take them home.

If you are an Outlander or a lost soul, then we are more alike than you think. I have someone to return home to my world to. Someone that may not even know who I am anymore. It is for her, and the names that follow that I walk the knife's edge between abomination and monster. Good and Evil.

The second thing that separates men from monsters is a family. What else does one have but become a monster when they have never felt love or kindness from anyone? From a family. As long as the following people support me, then I will never be a monster. I ask that if you've killed me, before you be my final judge, or just as a request if my fate is sealed. Deliver this note to one of the names on my list so that they not wonder if I abandoned them.

To Grizzle:
My Beast of Carnage, my shield and my first supporter. You do not know what you mean to me. I spent a year in the Core before you stumbled out of the mists at my feet. I don't know how, but I knew then that we were alike in ways no one could be. I called you beast because you didn't always show the man behind those hollow eyes. We are both used by others. Manipulated and thrust forward to fight the battles of greater men and gods. I hope that you will find peace someday without me. You were my foundation. You showed me that my road didn't have to be alone when you joined in my walk. You never asked too many questions. Just endured the hard ones I demanded of you. Become the Man I know is inside you Beast. The man that stood in between the horrors and a cripple and asked nothing in return.  I love you, Grizzle.

To Tenshin Kazuma:
The Red Lotus. A man who knew what it was to have a family. You swore you would protect me and you are a truly good man among the best of the names on this list. I do not want you to feel failure or regret if I am lost to you. I have failed you, most of all. I promised I would find a way to send us both home. I believe in you whom taught me of Honor. I ask only that you look out for the rest of my family and never let this world swallow who you are. Find your way home. Or protect our new family here. I'm sorry I failed you. I love you, Tenshin.

To Adalia Raine
Halberd. You tried to teach me lessons I didn't know I needed. I still wear, when it's safe, the Ilmateri Cords you have given me.  You taught me of a god unlike the tyrants who walk among the men of iron on my world. We were a pair of cripples when we met, and though I found my way of healing my body. I will never forget what you taught me of suffering. Your willingness to keep suffering for others and fight against it is something truly special. I remember, Halberd. Don't lose your ability to judge people by their actions and creed, I was skeptical of you because the arbiter's of my world had similar devotion. But it made them hypocrites and Monsters. I believe you're strong enough to be truly good. I hope that before the end, I found the courage to let you judge me for all I was. To tell you the whole truth. I love you, Adalia.

To Taiko
Our time together was all too brief Taiko, though I hope we'll be able to travel again, we've not seen much of each other of late. You taught me of the Ronin. Of those who have no one to follow losing their honor. I may not have understood the true gravity of your place here, but our discussion before we delved into the Terg Ruins carried with it the idea that we are not defined by ourselves alone, but by whom we choose to call family. To serve and protect. I love you, Taiko.

To Ryuko:
I hope that before this letter reaches you, I found the time to get to know more about you. One of my three Samurai, you are perhaps the best among us. You followed me into many dangers and your heart remains pure against the tides of the worlds around you. Don't ever lose that.  I hope that when the day comes that you learn of all that I am, that you will not think me a monster. I love you, Ryuko.

To House Magnier:
Charles, Alphone, Majorie,  and Nicole. We all fought together against the terrors of the world. I thank you for the place you once offered me among you, and hope that you will understand what I am to become. Wherever you are, be safe.

To Tharlendur and Khisindri:
Elves. Odd creatures, you are. There are no elves on my world, but in the short time I've known you, well, most of your kin are long lived, haughty, and arrogant. But they are also capable of great feats of compassion and harmony. I understand that it must not be easy showing that to outsiders whom you'll have to watch die time and time again with such long lifespans but I am glad I was able to know you, even if I must keep my secret to keep from forcing you to act against me for your gods. I love you both, Tharlendur and Khisindri.

To Mercer Krai:
You are quite the enigma, Koros. Your realm is ash and I have not ever heard a tone of emotion from you. Not anger or rage or compassion. And yet I know that it is the way of your kind. If I perish before you achieve the peak of your faith, and are allowed to express entirely who you are, know that I am thankful for your service and aid to our little band of travelers. To you whom set me among your Mer'as, I hope our work together was long and fruitful. I might even love you too, Mercer Krai.

To Sidonie
Do not ever forget who you are. You taught me that even the most monstrous can find someone to love. You saw in me what perhaps no one else could, and still found it in your heart to love a wretched thing like me. I am sorry that my path took me away from you. I love you, Sidonie.

To Kova
My young sister, the day I penned this letter you'd have turned five years old. You were spared my fate and they probably didn't even tell you who I was. I regret that you will never read this but I hope you know who I am. My name is Jadis Kendara. My art is my soul. My code is my creed. You are a daughter of Kendara, among the last still alive. I watched you play behind the white stone fence and locked iron gate. At the estate where you were adopted, innocent to the horrors that the Arkaeduval inflicted upon me. Upon our people.  I remember watching you through the gate as the night darkened. I broke free and escaped, but I knew I was not going to survive. My lips were still sewn shut. I was yet a cripple. I tried climbing the wall, shaking the iron gate. It began to rain and you were taken inside by a servant. For a moment I thought you saw me. But I was left alone there. A miserable wretched creature with no strength of her own. The rain came with my tears. Then came the Mists and I was taken away. Here in this land far away, I have a chance to become truly powerful. To be strong enough to kill even the Arkhan. To watch his golden blood spill over his throne and prove to all the Arkaeduval that their god bleeds. To give you a world free of tyrant gods. This is my purpose, to do so I will become an abomination. I will walk the knife's edge between life and unlife, but I will not surrender my humanity. My soul. I will escape the mists and return to you strong enough so no wall or gate will ever keep me away or I will not return at all. This is the promise I may never keep. I love you, Kova.


[Still being written, another blank page is within, perhaps for additional names with time.

So then, my murderer. My friends. I saw my story ending one of three ways.
I succeeded and saved my family; those I have come to care for.
I failed and became a monster.
I died.

Everything I did was to make us whole.
Jadis Kendara


« Last Edit: August 07, 2018, 01:53:57 PM by Soulbourne »

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Re: The Witch of Kendara
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2018, 04:20:40 PM »
[An exerpt from the Arkaeduval Scholar Demeria's work, History of the Greater Races]

Chapter 1:

...It stands to reason, then, that in the beginning there was the Void. A great expanse of nothingness. The first inhabitors of the Void were the Primordials. These entities forged the stars in the sky, the son, and even other planets. Little is known about these entities, but it is believe they were birthed from the elements of water, earth, fire, and air. Extra-planar in origin, these powerful Titans found their way to the Material Realm. Here, they could craft together with their respective elements the fabric of this new Plane to make wondrous creations, forging heavens and eventually; the world we live on today from the Mezzian Sea to the Mesroukar Planes. Their creation was not empty; but on it walked neither man nor beast...

...With time, the Four Primordials grew restless for none others of their kind or respective elements followed them into this new world and they lacked a means to return. Seeking to improve their creations here, it was then that the Primordials joined together in union, giving birth to two more Primordials. The first and last born to the Titans and the chief of the Six Elements studied in all places beneath the Sun. The The Positive Energy Primordial of Life, and her brother, the Negative Energy Primordial of Death were born. To these, with time, all the other elements bowed too...

...having carved a place for each of the Titans in the heavens, Life and Death forged a pact and joined together in eternal union. The First Cycle...


...no Titan would ever again interfere in our world, for it would be a neutral place for their creations to reside. So came the plants and other creatures of the world... Until Life and Death created Races of Man....

... Our gods were forged of Gold.

((To be continued/Edited))
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 04:22:53 PM by Soulbourne »

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Re: The Witch of Kendara
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2018, 08:15:53 AM »
((The original Description of Jadis Kendara as of NCE EE 2018))

The young woman before you, no older than twenty, carries with her a haunting visage. Whatever beauty she once possessed is now horribly scarred. Many disfiguring cuts, surgical in precision, cover her face and body. The most visible of these is a long laceration from the middle of her chin down her neck to her collar bone.

Soft round lips pierced and slashed from being sewn together by a barbed metal cord. A nose that cants slightly to the left, swollen as though having been broken repeatedly. She possesses two eyes: one a vibrant emerald green, the other a pallid milky white, blinded.

Her hands when not set to purpose oft shake and tremble. Her right hand and arm is marred by scorched flesh, forcibly removed fingernails, and a brand depicting a five-pointed star upon the palm. The left arm is a picture of her youth, unblemished and untouched except for the wrist which is covered in old scratches from fingernails digging deep into her skin. Her left hand in contrast seems beautiful and delicately preserved.



After some time in the Mists...
« Last Edit: September 12, 2018, 03:19:19 PM by Soulbourne »