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Epitaph of Twilight

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1 Epitaph of Twilight on Fri May 29, 2015 1:13 pm

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The Epitaph of Twilight

Once their magic land did glow
With
vagrant, ever-present light:
When sprites would play in flowing
fields,
The twilight shining in their wings
As they swam through
silky seas of mist,
Before the coming of the Wave.

Untouched
by fear or pain they lived
Each minute with the utmost joy,
Till
the cursed Wave did rise
Tearing through the dusky skies;
Consuming
light and dark in kind
And leaving none to mourn behind.

So
to the East the sprites did flee
Though burdened by the tragedy,
The
truth was all too plain to see:
One by one their kind would fall
Beneath
the torrent of the Wave
If none could stand before its gaze
And
somehow fill that endless void.

King of light and queen of dark,
Apeiron
and Helba knew of one
Who might defeat the Wave:
A mythic beast
long said to sleep
‘Neath the edge of the world’s end
Sheathed by
the Wavering Peninsula,
A creature of the greatest might,
The
sacred dragon of twilight.

Thus Queen Helba chose Bith the Black,
Her
strongest sprite, to join the quest;
While Apeiron sent Fili the
White
To journey with them in his stead,
For Bith and Helba
thought it best
That the king remain behind to rule
And calm the
ever-spreading dread
Ere the dragon might appear.

So as the
three prepared to ride
Through the aqua gate of Mac Anu
A fourth
did come by fate’s command:
One part human, one part sprite,
Alone
for all his nameless might,
He fell in stride with Helba’s steed
As
she wordlessly agreed,
His will was worthy of their cause.

Through
the Fatal Bog they sped
As onyx dust cloaked each in turn
From
which arose a blinding pall,
A living shadow born to crawl
Betwixt
reality and mind,
Till death, within them, was enshrined:
Each
was shown their comrades slain;
Illusions of Skeith’s mortal game.

Fili
wept and knelt to pray,
While Bith did halt in stunned dismay
Ere
turning back upon the path,
Desires crushed by failure’s wrath.
The
halfling tore about the swamp
Searching for the fount of death
Whose
noxious fog had claimed the lives
Of those who’d stand against the
Wave.

Alone the dark queen Helba rode
Remorseless through the
baneful mire,
Cursing the Wave as she progressed
Bent solely on
her noble quest,
And as she went the darkness lifted
Till she
found her friends still living,
Mounted on their stagnant steeds
As
if enchanted by some dream.

Calling forth an ancient rune,
The
queen dispelled the evil bind;
Thus Skeith’s hold was undermined
And
as he slowly evanesced
Each realized they’d been possessed
While
Helba foretold a prophecy
Of eight heralds with demons blood,
Eight
phases of the Cursed Wave.


As the boggy mud grew dry
Gyle
Mountain rose before them,
A deadly oft avoided peak;
The
swiftest route to Dun Loireag;
For eons standing as a god
O’er
looking men with its facade
While hiding at its center true,
A
molten pit of which none knew.

As they neared the summit’s height
Something
waited midst their course:
A Chimera of the greatest size
With
sleight blue malefic eyes
Exuding lust for their demise;
Then two,
then four, then all around
The aberrations capped the ground,
Till
hundreds stood in perfect stillness.

Charging forth as one they
came
With rumbling fury at the four,
Who held a circle back to
back,
Slaying beasts as they attacked;
Though as the horrors met
their deaths,
Each vanished with its dying breath,
Unfleshly as a
wayward thought
But for the bloody wounds they wrought.

Thus
the ceaseless battle waged:
As each fiend fell another came
Till
Bith cried out in dire need,
A lone chimera must be real;
The
others conjured effigies;
Doppelgangers born to please
Their lord
and master as slaves,
Incarnations of the Wave.

Deeming true
the dark knight’s words,
Fili beseeched her allies three
For time
to let her mind’s eye see;
Hence minutes passed as Fili prayed
Ere
she raised her longbow high
And let a single arrow fly
Piercing
clouds upon the sky
As though the shaft were blessed by god.


Falling
with a feather‘s grace
The missile knew whom to embrace,
And like
a tear from heaven shed
Smote its wrath on the demon’s head,
Laying
to waste the vile horde;
As Innis’ power left the peak
Six words
of spite he cruelly gave:
You shall never stop the Wave.

Past
the mount they traveled far
Through Dun Loireag the highland town
Till
they reached the woods of Breade
Where lay a mark for all to heed:
A
sphere enclosed by myriad lines,
One of many travelers’ signs
Known
by the halfling doubtlessly:
A labyrinth confronts beyond.

Foraging
down countless paths,
Each branch producing two alike;
They
hastened forth without event
Till Helba sensed a foul intent,
And
turning, to her wonder found
A creature posing as a man,
Exquisite
in his nakedness;
A mold no human could possess.

With arms
spread wide the demon smiled
And Helba watched as though beguiled
While
fallen twigs grew into trees,
Forming fast a wooden shield
Unyielding
to the fiercest blow;
Then shrieks about the forest rang
As any
beast with claw or fang
Descended on the narrow trail.

Besieged
by creatures of the wood
They battled ‘gainst undying foes:
Each
pair slain would recompose,
Birthing four at instant pace
As Magus
watched with grinning glee,
Entombed within his wall of trees
Which
faster grew then could be hewn;
A trait which spelled the heroes’
doom.


Thus the exalting onslaught went
Till Nameless
conceived a final hope,
And drawing out a flask of spirits
Hurled
it at the barricade,
Then blazed a spark with blade on blade
Setting
to light a rampant fire;
A majestic funeral pyre
Felling the wall
atop its maker.

Soon Breade was but a memory
O’ershadowed by
the floral city:
Carmina Gadelica by name,
Of gentile and
aesthetic fame;
Though swiftly too it fell behind
As Moyra Canyon
darkly loomed,
Foreboding in its desolation
Ere the crossing had
begun.

Hours aft the presaged end
Of that bleak and lengthy
trek,
Moyra’s cliffs still stood aside,
Mocking each benumbing
stride;
Till Bith remarked in somber phrase
They’d passed the same
formations thrice,
Spun by some malign device
So deftly one might
never know.

Having spake his solemn fear
A haunting voice
then prophesied:
Your graveyard shall this chasm be
For here you
will remain with me;
Helpless as the Wave consumes
Everything
you’ve ever known,
Leaving naught behind but bone
And fading
whispers on the wind.

Searching for escape in vain
They rode
the passage once again;
But Fidchell’s brazen promise held:
Nowhere
could the cliffs be scaled,
And though their course did never veer
While
racing through the corridor,
They came to camp just as before;
Overcome
by nauseous dread.


Dispel charms proved fruitless too;
Till
Bith called for womanly aid,
Requesting they enchant his blade;
Then
slowly marching down the path
For hours when he sensed at last
The
entrapping portal’s edge;
Driving hard his sword to earth,
Razing
Fidchell’s sorcery.

Long past the crucible of Moyra,
They
sheltered in a citadel:
Fort Ouph, so said its denizens
Where mind
and body could be cleansed
Of any hardships one endured
Ere
disembarking further north
Over the barren Veishus Plain,
Where
most who crossed it would remain.

The horses thrived on unmarked
land,
Rejoicing in those countless miles
Till suddenly in concert
halting
As ebon vapours coalesced
At Gorre’s inhuman behest,
Forging
whole his grotesque form:
A tetra-legged mass of hate
Obscured
midst a foul haze.

With putrid limbs the demon lashed;
Immense
weight thrown behind each strike:
Through both guard and shield
alike
The blows did wound unless evaded;
While each assault the
heroes launched
Was somehow violently repelled:
Sheathed in armour
craft of malice
The creature stood immune to challenge.

Battling
with their utmost might
Each soon grew weary from the fight,
When
Fili grazed the demon’s hide
And felt its overwhelming sadness;
No
longer could abhorrence lie
Within her for the wretched fiend:
T’was
but a puppet of the Wave
Devised to delve for each a grave.


As
pity laced her heavy heart,
Fili strode towards the beast
Whose
crushing limbs were now repulsed
Ere they touched her ivory skin;
When
came she nigh with rapier drawn
A single thrust did slay its brawn,
For
mercy guided Fili’s blade
Where scorn could never penetrate.

In
time they reached Lia Fail,
Exhausted to the breaking point
Where
healers did their wounds anoint
While speaking of the land beyond:
Knemisys
was the desert’s name;
Devoid of life’s too fragile flame,
Though
offering hope ever so slight:
The journey’s end was now in sight.

Once
their strength had been regained
A woman of unmatched beauty came;
And
standing in the village square
With naught to clothe but flowing
hair,
She beckoned with an outstretched hand
As her siren song did
ring
Throughout the quiet frontier town,
Calling both the knight
and halfling.

Doused by some seducing force
Helba charged to
find the source,
But like Fili arrived too late:
Bith and Nameless
stood entranced
By Macha’s all-enticing spell
With which she did
their blades compel
To set upon the women with
Whom they’d
journeyed for so long.

Knowing well the quest would fail
If
any were to perish here,
They could but dodge each fierce attack,
Unwilling
to counter back;
Neither could Macha be harmed:
Protected by her
servants two
No assault could carry through;
Such was the
witchcraft’s passion.


In desperation Helba cast
A seldom
sober sorcery:
The banshee’s cry for moments wailed,
Annulling the
demon’s hymn
And sealing Macha’s fate therein;
For that lone
unhindered instant
Was all the dark queen needed
To cut the bare
seductress down.

So bidding to the town farewell
They forged
ahead through Knemisys;
Uncrossed by any to return:
The arid
distance was too great,
Yet they went without debate
To find
whatever might await,
Knowing one predestined fact:
They’d not
last the journey back.

Past untold dunes the horses ran
Till
any sense of time was gone
And each grew jadedly withdrawn,
When,
rising from the sands ahead
A small oasis lay outspread;
Water
sparkling through the heat
Beneath a single godsent tree
Worth
tenfold its weight in gold.

First they drank as ne’er before
Upon
the tiny desert shore,
But found in frantic disarray
Just two
fruits about the tree;
Soon both Queen and Halfling claimed
Their
sex deserved the greater share,
While Fili spoke with fixed glare:
Equal
parts were truly fair.

Bith alone did not take part
For
something gnawed upon his heart;
Coming clear as swords were drawn
When
words alone would not suffice;
Plunging through bark and wood his
axe,
A shriek of fury tamed the fight
As the haven left their
eyes;
Thus Tarvos met his swift demise


Presently the
thirst awoke
As the demon’s magic broke,
But soon their spirits
soared anew:
Sand gave way to fluid ground,
A joyous omen that
they’d found
The Wavering Peninsula;
Awash with instability
Such
as none had ever seen.

Colours shimmered ‘round the cape,
Blending
aimlessly together
While hoof-beats danced about the land
Like
echoes of a mindless band;
But all too soon this chaos paled
In
contrast to the final phase:
Before the Stone of Destiny
Corbenik
stood in mockery.

Titanic was his human form;
Eyes alight with
vicious scorn
As he advanced with roaring strides
And spoke in
truly humbling voice:
You’ve journeyed far and suffered much
To
perish by my flawless touch;
For as you now shall plainly see,
No
sprite exists to stand against me.

Ere the final word had died
A
pulse erupted from his hand
Which all but one could not withstand:
Nameless
stood in disbelief
As Helba, Bith, and Fili fell
Unconscious to
the shifting earth;
Saved by halfling blood alone,
He’d fight this
demon on his own.

Enraged that any dared resist,
Corbenik
charged into the duel
With staggering ferocity
Bent towards his
enemy
Who spun ever-elusively
Away from each leaden blow,
Requiting
with his lustrous blades
Like some pernicious serenade.


Despite
the halfling’s surest strike
Corbenik offered no respite,
For
even as his steel drew blood
The lesion seamlessly would heal,
Till
a voice in him confided:
Your weapons cannot harm this fiend;
Fight
with those attached to life
To break his immortality.

Unequalled
was the dark queen’s verve,
So taking up her royal sword
And
yearning for true faith’s reward;
Nameless vaulted o’er his foe,
Driving
the blade through flesh below
And landing on the other side
As
the demon fell beside,
Both motionless for a time.

Soon
burning with hellish fire
The fiend rose in satanic form
As the
Halfling heard once more:
A weapon in accord with death
Will
cleave this monster’s dying breath;
Thus endowed with Bith’s great
axe
He snuffed Corbenik’s second life;
Though doubt within him now
grew rife.

From ash the demon rose again,
Empowered by the
pure heart
And soaring high with angel’s wings
As Nameless
brandished Fili’s bow,
Firing volleys at each chance
Till the
fiend could fly no more,
And beaten to its very core,
Fell to
earth one final time.

Once the sprites had reawakened
The
voice resounded in their minds:
You have my sincerest praises
For
vanquishing the Wave’s eight phases,
Each imbued with twisted souls
Collected
by their maker;
Each a brutal incarnation
Embodying the psyche.


Skeith,
The Terror of Death;
Composed of deepest mortal fear
His morbid
whispers silence cheer;
Innis, The Mirage of Deceit;
Cloaked
within a deadly guise,
One must see truth amidst his lies;
Magus,
The Propagator,
In his presence species’ thrive,
Ever able to
survive;
Fidchell, The Prophet;
Predicating hopeless fate
To
crush your will beneath its weight;
Gorre, The Machination;
Enrobed
by vicious cruelty,
Immune to all but sympathy;
Macha, The
Temptress;
Manifesting love and lust
To charm even the most
robust;
Tarvos, The Avenger;
Envy and vengeance are the tools
With
which he transforms men to fools;
And Corbenik, The Rebirth;
First
compelled by all life’s riches
Then drawn towards the reaper’s
scythe
Before ascending to the skies
On gusts of immaculate
intent.

When this world was barely born
The Wave and I did
battle here
For eons at same frontier,
Clashing once with utmost
strength:
Our bodies spread across the land
Seeding all that now
exists;
Substance did my form provide,
And he the spirit held
inside.

I’ve waited for your coming since;
A specter sealed
beneath this stone
Without a shape to call my own;
Thus I must
entreat you all
To pay this last, most grievous cost:
Return to me
what I have lost
That I might give my life to save
Those
remaining from the Wave.


Each laid their hands upon the
stone,
Vanishing as the dragon rose
In magnificent repose;
Feeding
off his former tomb
Now serving as a holy womb;
The peninsula
soon faded too:
Among the saddest kinds of loss,
Gone ere it could
be forgotten.

In a breath the dragon flew
Back to besieged
Mac Anu,
Where all the mages of the land
Had trenched their only
stand
At the battered aqua gate
To stay the Wave in fervent hope
That
the quest would yet succeed,
As Apeiron had once decreed.

Streaming
forth in sheer delight,
The Twilight Dragon met the Wave;
Twirling
‘round his adversary
Till inextricably entwined
They momently
shone as one,
Like a swiftly dying sun
Whose embers flare with
glory bright
Before it’s taken by the night.

When the aura
dissipated,
Wave and Dragon both were gone,
Though joy came not to
Apeiron;
He knew this victory’s true price;
The last and greatest
sacrifice
Which Helba and her friends had made
At land’s end so
far away
For every voice that now did cheer.

Sprites have long
since lost their wings
As they did their innocence,
The timeless
dusk in which they lived,
And perhaps of all the saddest;
Of Helba
and her servant Bith,
Of Fili and the Halfling too,
No memories
remain but this:
Unknown where the Cursed Wave was born
After the
stars doth cross the heavens
The sky in the East doth darken
And
air doth fills with mourning.
From the chosen land beyond the forest,
A
sign of the Wave is: Skeith, the Shadow of Death.
to drown all that
stands.
Mirage of Deceit, Innis,
Betray all with the flawed image,
and
did aid the Wave.
And by the Power of Magus,
a drop from the Wave
doth reach the heavens,
and creates a new Wave.

With the
Wave, Fidchell,
the power to tell the dark future,
hope darkens,
sadness and despair rule.
Gorre schemes the Pinnacle, and escape non
can.
Tarvos still remains with more cruelty to punish and destroy.
And
with the turbulent destruction after the Wave.
Only a void remains.
From
deep within the void arrives Corbenik.

Yet to return, the
shadowed one.
Who quests foe the Twilight Dragon
Rumbles the Dark
Hearth,
And Helba, Queen of the Dark, has raised finally her army.
Apeiron,
King of Light, beckons...
At the base of the rainbow they meet.
Against
the abominable "Wave," together they fight.
Alba's lake boils.
Light's
great tree doth fall.
Power- all now to droplets turned in the
temple of Arche Koeln.
Returns to nothing, this world of shadowless
ones.
Never to return, the shadowless one.
Who quests for the
Twilight Dragon.

The wife buffeted by "Waves" turns her back on
the field.
The daughter that waited for the shadows repeated,
"For
sure... For sure I can go home."
But the girl did not know...
The
truth that waited her at the end of the journey
The eternal mourning
of her land.

In the place of the calamitous, only life was
known.
After the circling stars
When the eastern dark void, the
air full of despair
In the depths of the divided forest, in the land
of Karma,

Riding fast on the path is Skeith
Bearing death's
shadow, it eliminates all that seek to thwart it.
The Confusing
Mirage, Innis
Deceives those that see it with illusions, rescues the
waves

The wave soaring high, when its head is smashed,
A new
wave will emerge
To become Magus’s power.
When questioning the
wave,
Hope's light will be lost when he speaks of the dark future of
where
sorrow and resignation reign.
Using Fidchell's Technique

When
engulfed by the Waves of Calamity, Gorre will plan
The sweet snare
of conciliation is Macha
The Waves, an exceeding maelstrom
Nothing
can escape

When you think you have escaped, Tarvos exists
To
destroy those with his exceeding cruelty
Upon violent requital, only
to remain is the void, the vacant darkness
is the harbinger that
Corbenik is to appear.

-Emma Wielant

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