Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tragidore: In media res

At first you feel empty and cold, like being lost under water and being swept up in its current except in the form of a gust of icy air. This sensation is quickly followed by the sweet smell of apples and the spice of cinnamon. Sounds come into focus, the rustling leaves and the womanly voice of an oracle, “By the last breath of the four winds bow.”

Opening your eyes you see naked trees reaching their skeletal branches into a clear night sky; stars shine drearily in the chill evening. Feeling disorientated as if waking from a long slumber, you shiver to find yourselves woefully under dressed- looking at each other you are all in summer garb, lying about the grounds, and surrounding the sapphire monolith. A chilling fog obscures much of the rest of the small city as emptiness, despair, and heartache fills you in the aftermath of your quest.

Confusing sounds of wings taking to air then the voice of the oracle again sunders the quiet night, “You better raise your ears.” You look to the sound of the oracle’s voice and see a venerable woman steadfastly following a white owl who, in-turn seems to be chasing a dim mote of illumination. Around you are what appears to be autumn leaves fallen from the trees above, out from you are the city commons, and beyond that- grey mists obscuring the buildings and features of Tragidore. You will come to recognize the oracle, her voice taking on an echo as she invites you to follow. “The sound of hooves knocks at your door.”

Verith Raiserik
Time seems to stand still as you come to recognize your surroundings. Leaving behind the feeling of being lost under water; it is instead replaced with emptiness and despair for your soul in the wake of your quest.

You each follow the oracle over a wide bridge spanning the river; the bridge wavers and shimmers transforming into a cliff-side.  A ghostly young woman wearing a stylish gown approaches the cliff. Between tearful sobs, she whimpers, "Throw the ring into the river, shall I?" and sobs. After a second's hesitation, she assumes a defiant expression and steps to the edge of the cliff. She leans over the cliff and closes her eyes, then slips off; crashing into the cliff face several times before her broken form splashes into the water below. The water becomes still once more and only you and bridge remain.

“Lock up your wife and children now,” echoes the oracle’s voice ahead and from beyond the mists. Hastening your step to follow the elusive woman you find yourselves now at a storefront window. A sign in the window says ‘out of business’ but in the reflection of the glass you see two men appear.

The two gentlemen, a son and father, have replaced your reflections in the dark city street. As you look on the younger man angrily snatches a bag of coins from his elder and wordlessly turns his back. As he does so, the older man pursues him across the street shouting, "Son, if you hate me so much, why don't you just kill me already!" The reflection of the young man turns on his father, a knife mysteriously in hand, and stabs his father viciously and repeatedly. The bloody scene fades back to your own reflections and the ‘out of business’ sign.

This time from a lot closer the oracle’s voice advises, “It’s time to wield the blade.” This is immediately followed by the sounds of vicious swordplay coming from a nearby feast hall. Autumn chill embraces you as you penetrate the mists to find brother and sister in a death duel, “She promised herself to me,” the brother says with a deadly thrust of his blade. “You? She and I are lovers you fool!” says the sister, but before the duel’s final moments play out the oracle speaks and the combatants are cast away like mists in a wind.

“For now you have got some company,” The oracle at last declares before you see her enter Trinity Church. The sound of the door has a thunderous effect on your awareness like waking from a deep sleep. Standing now in front of Trinity Church you are each reminded of how it was a year ago your adventure began from this exact spot. 

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