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 Post subject: Breaking Limits
 Post Posted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:45 pm 
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:16 pm
Posts: 34
Message from Author: I liked Erfworld so much, that I decided to write fan fiction. I decided to go with a different angle though.


Trance Willow did not like conflict. Popping on a world that existed solely for unceasing war did not help matters. Since coming into existence in the Kingdom of the Battlestrong she had felt a bit like an alien, an outsider. But she had irrevokably learned to keep her opinion to herself when she witnessed first hand what happened to those that did not communicate a sincere desire to fight and follow orders. She had learned that lesson when she had to take part in the torture and murder of her own sister.


“Twins! Excellent work Aref! I will make sure you get an extra special reward.” Trance stood blinking in the open courtyard in reaction to her first words she had heard. The sun was warm and bright overhead. It felt good on her olive skin. It was then that she felt another sensation. Her right hand was grasping the hand of another woman. The woman seemed to be of similar features and height as her. They both had long pure white hair, violet irises set in white eyeballs, and modest but cute breasts. However were Trance was slender with a slight build of a teenage girl, the woman she had popped with was muscular and Amazonian like a gung-ho fitness instructor. It was then that Trance noticed that the woman was studying her also. Their eye’s meet and they felt an instant kinship.

“I am Lady Adela Rockbreaker, a noble warlord. How may I serve you?” While the announcement was meant for those that had witnessed their popping, it seemed like the statement had been aimed at Trance.

Without thinking Trance responded in her own softer and more reluctant voice “I am Lady Trance Willow, a noble caster. How may I serve you?” Again the subtle natural thinkomancy that was part of the popping process had prompted the new units to respond in a uniform introduction. And again it had seemed that the statement was aimed at the person at the other end of the clinched hands.

“A caster as promised and extra warlord to go along with it! You definitely earned your upkeep today, Aref. This warlord popping was certainly worth the trip away from the capital. ” It was then that Trance took notice of the speaker of the first words she had ever heard. He was a tall man with a simple iron crown with a single large green gemstone. He was clad in a simple black tank top and camo pants. He looked the very image of a very grizzled war veteran. His tall frame was loaded with muscle almost hid by a little bit of doughiness. While this resulted in him having a slight beer belly, it made his chest, shoulder, neck, and arms look all the larger. He was boldly bald, with a thick, but well groomed pepper gray mustache. The hair on his head had apparently migrated to his tanned arms and chest. It grew where ever the numerous scars did not make it impossible to spurt. On his back was strapped a huge sword nearly as large as him. Meanwhile his green pants held an array of knives. Even his tank top had an image of a sword pointing downward embroidered into it.

The ruler brought up a smoking cigar that idled in his thick finger, took a long drag, and then let out a smoky snort through his nose like a dwagon sizing up the new baubles to his hoard. “Adela, you are to come with me. Trance you are go with Aref and follow his instructions. Aref, I want to know the caster’s natural specialty by the end of the turn. Train her. Issue her a standard array of scrolls and battle equipment. I want her ready for the front within 10 turns. Intel says that barbarians are negotiations with the Hamster and will not tolerate his corruption on my archipelago. I have promised Sultana Tiafa that the barbarians will be snuffed out in 20 turns. Now if you will excuse me, I planned to go over battle plans before I saw my boys off. Dismissed.”

With that the ruler marched away with his honor guard which consisted of younger versions of the ruler dressed in green and black Viking gear and arms. Adela looked at Trance for a moment and with her eyes said I will see you soon . . . I hope.

Aref gave a well-rehearsed, but slightly insincere salute to the rapidly departing overlord. He had olive skin like Trance and Adela, but his hair was completely shaved from his head. Aref was dressed far less militaristically. He wore simple grey slacks, a shiny red dress shirt unbuttoned down to the top of his stomach, and a thick gold chain with an oversized ankh hanging around his neck.

He smiled sweetly at Trance. “Come with me. We have much to do. We will head over to the caster training area I set up and I will interview you on the way over.”

On the way over Aref asked Trance some common sense questions. She responded back. She knew she was a level one caster popped into the service of King Ramnor Battlestrong. She knew her tribe was Southron like Aref. She knew she was popped on the side of Battlestrong in the city of Southron Gift. She also knew that King Ramnor and most of his soldiers were of the Norst tribe. She listed the rules and alliances of her side that had been made by her Ruler. She answered several matter of fact questions about the mechanics of Erf.

“Excuse, the intrusive questions. We have to be through now a day. There was always a very small chance that a unit would pop wrong even in the old days. Random derangement or such. But with all the epic crap going on the Mainland, we HAVE to double check. Apparently either the Hamster or one of the Tools found a way to corrupt poppings. It is not clear who did it first. The safe money is on Hamster himself. But now it is common tactic in the Great War. A Ruler could pop a spy or assassin in his midst and not even know it until the middle night when the sleeper agent would leave Ruler's side and kill him in his sleep. Battlestrong lost our closest ally on the mainland that way. One day it was there, next day it was gone. You could have also been ‘programmed’ wrong using the corrupt pop methods. Popped with the belief you could fly and jump out a tower not realizing you can't fly.”

Aref opened the double door building that looked stone long house. “Here we are.”

Inside the building were some bookcases and some large tables. One of the tables covered with junk. There was even a pile of dirt and corpse on it. At one end of the table stood another one of the stern Viking guards. Aref gestured towards the junk laden table. “I want you to move along the table and interact with the things there. Just do what ever feels natural to you. There is no pressure. You will know when you are done with the task. I will be over there working on scrolls.” Aref pointed to a table that was nicely arranged with rolls of paper and ink. He moved over to the table. Once seated, he began to methodically work on the scroll. Chanting as he went.

Trance moved to the table. Demanding her attention, she started with the corpse. It was a little man stripped of his clothing. She studied it intently, lifted the limbs to get good look at it. She found a deep slash wound on his side. Very likely an ax had ended his life. After thoroughly examining the dead man, she moved on.

Next was a pile of rich, dark red soil. She ran her fingers through it briefly, and moved on.

Next was a mirror. She studied it intently. Using it to examine herself. Trance was like a child who had discovered mirrors for the first time. She proceeded to examine her body very intimately and with no shame. It was while she trying to see how far the white of her eyes went that she noticed the bandaged hand of the guard. She put the mirror down. “May I see your hand?” She spoke to the guard raised up his hand and she took it and took of the bandage. A long knife cut was revealed. “Moonbrooke” she intoned. Instantly the wound closed up and the redness of infection left. Trance looked up at guard with an ecstatic smile. The warm butterflies in her chest and stomach brought a surprised laugh to her lips. “I healed him!”

Aref looked up. “A natural healomancer. King Ramner will be pleased.”


The rest of the day was spent testing Trance’s skill at healomancy. Unfortunately that required the poor guard to get beat up quite a bit. Aref would punch and cut the stoic infantry man and Trance would heal him. Every time, Aref hurt him, Trance would visibly flinch. For much of the rest of the turn and into the barbarian’s turn that day, the Three of them would work. Aref would make Trance cast using any spell she could think of.

As the sun was setting Trance stated that she felt like she was out of Juice.

“Impressive. You have an adept level skill at healomancy and have a good array of starting spells. You can treat wounds, poison, and disease. You first spell is capable of curing wounds and several detrimental effects at the same time.”

“What is your specialty?” Trance asked politely.

“I am a master class luckmancer. My natural specialty.” He said with a wink and smile. “I managed to pick up some apprentice level skills at thinkomancy and dollmancy before the Caster Gate War. Nothing very grand. I can send a few think-a-grams and fancy up your clothes.”

“Right now we are the only three casters on our side despite our large size. Pyro is a master class shockmancer with some thinkomancy training back in the capital of Steelholme and the only Norst tribe caster, period. The Norst tribe has never had good luck with popping casters. And King Ramner has especially been unlucky in that regard. They do produce some of the best warlords and men units around.”

“We will see tomorrow if you have any skill at my three fields also.”

A large horn blared over the city of Southron Gift. Trance’s stomach growled loudly.

“With that our day is over. The King likes to keep us on minimum upkeep. He likes to get his money’s worth out the Kebler elves. No auto popping of food. I am going to assign Steve here to be your bodyguard and assistant. He will show you to the mess hall were you can eat and then show you to your rooms. But first let’s get your outfitted.”

Aref lead Trance over to two large wardrobes and opened them. In one were several scrolls. In the other were some various types of armor, arms, and equipment. Aref pulled a satchel from the wardrobe and then began to hand her some scrolls. Most of them were various types of potent luckmancy and shockmancy plus two scrolls that could cast a think-o-gram.

“This one is the most important. Use it only to safe your life, or that of one of the royals.” Aref handed her scroll with dark green trim. “This a valuable Fade into the Background spell. It is a powerful Foolmancy spell that will allow you and several others to appear as ordinary part of your environment with Thinkomancy undertones that keep others from even wanting to look from you. It can last a whole day and night with some careful concentration. Until the King or the Sultana pop and level up a master class Eyemancer, we will not have another one of these anytime soon.”

Trance nodded timidly

“Scrolls, check. On to equipment.” Aref pulled out an iron staff that looked like an extra thick shepherd’s crook. “We got this off a chieftain of a hostile Altruist Elf tribe. We know it is enchanted with healomancy, in addition to being a pretty sturdy weapon. Unfortunately I and Pyro could not figure out much more than that. I think it’s more a buffing item than an invokable item. Maybe you will figure it out.”

“Take off your clothes, the stuff you popped with is worthless.” Ordered Aref.

Trance was a little taken back, but did as commanded. Aref took a lingering look, contemplating something. Steve politely turned his gaze. After an uncomfortable moment Aref reached in and pulled out a set of dark brown leather breeches with thin metal plates on the front, loose long sleeved shirt, and a red tabard. He handed them to Trance who put them on. With a simple spell, Aref quickly customized the outfit for her for maximum comfort and protection. Trance felt a little uncomfortable when Aref’s glowing finger tip ran up and down her frame to alter the outfit, but meekly let him do as he wished.

“We are all done here” Aref spoke. "I will see you tomorrow for more training; I have to report to the King."

With that Trance was left with Steve to go to mess hall.


The mess hall was a build like a Viking mead hall and was just as stereotypically rambunctious. Inside the hall were several large tables laden with wooden cups full of mead, beer, and wine. The hall was filled with Norst men. Every one of them was especially large for a “man” unit. If they were any larger and they would be counted as heavy units. The room was also filled with riding bears and wolves. There were even a few lions with great manes. Norst men liked to tame wild animals in their down time. Taming a mount was considered a right of passage. Naturally every one of the King’s personal guards had tamed an especially fierce beast. The Norst men talked loudly and happily. They were clad in various raiments. Some wore traditional outfits of armor, axes, and furs. A good chunk wore the camo clothes like those of their king and princes at the heart of the hall. A few wore more exotic black leather outfits of a biker gang. The female members of the Norst tribe tended to wear outfits like their male counterparts, though their outfits tended to show off their oversized breasts.

Norst men were not the only the units in the hall. A few garrison dwawves were happily taking part in the meeting. There were also more than a few men of the Southron tribe. They were clad in outfits like Aref, like a Persian at a disco, but with wicked scimitars and bows. The hall also had lots of Kebler elves running about, replacing the chunks of meat and drink of the mess hall members. They were very short, about the size of a marbit, but with cute little green outfits. Nearly useless in battle, their true value was in their exceptional skill at mining, farming, and cooking. One Kebler elf could easily make up for his upkeep three times over with the savings he could provide on other units' upkeeps. They also could make special cookies that grant random buffs.

At the head table, Trance could see her sister sitting beside their king and enjoying the attention. The king and his several sons were happily discussing how they would destroy the barbarians soon. Trance noticed that a slightly rubenequese blond dressed like a valkrie on the other side of King Ramner was occasionally shooting Adela daggers when she thought no one was looking. When King Ramner noticed that Aref had entered, he banged his cup loudly with the hilt of his cup.

“Attention, everyone!” Room immediately went silent. “Aref today did what many considered impossible, even me! Since I started my own side with the passing of father, I have not popped one caster. The Titan’s will was that I have only the best warlords and men in all of Erf, but not one caster. Those of you from my early reign remember how hard that made our struggle against my brothers for my father’s lands until Pyro joined my side upon the final dissolving of my father’s side from old age. Long may be he remembered.”

“Long may he be remembered.” The crowd murmured respectfully.

“Aref then came to us from a less than ideal situation. We captured him when I and the Sultana united against his old ruler. Most casters would run off at the first chance they had after being captured. To suffer to constant slights to his honor would have crushed the spirit of most. But I saw he had a heart of steel. A heart of a true NORST!”

“NORST!!!” cried the Norst men in the hall. They were well rehearsed in what the rituals of their side.

Ramner paused to let the room still again. “Many turns ago, the Sultana and I exchanged cities as sign of our eternal alliance. I see it as only fitting that you run this Southron city. As a consequence I decided to name you Governor of Southron Gift. Furthermore, I am endowing you with 100,000 smuckers to build yourself a Caster’s Collective. I want you to attempt to pop more casters like our new adept level healomancer Trance Willow.” Ramner gestured to Trance. “Stand up so everyone so everyone can see you!” Trance rose timidly and then sat back down as soon as she thought it was appropriate to do so. “She is a pretty thing to boot isn’t she? Though hopefully the next will be Norst.” The crowd laughed blusterously. “Let's hear it for Governor Aref.” The crowd clapped and hooted, while Aref smiled and waved with false modesty. “In honor of our new governor I will let him pick the Royalism sermon of the night.”

Aref nodded solemnly “I think we should go with the Battle of Silenced Courage.” Trance instantly felt the room go cold. Every Norst glowered like he was ready the chew up his own axe. Most of the rest of seemed nearly as glowering. Trance felt a little confused. The sudden anger in the room was not focused at Aref even though he had caused it some how. Trance did not know what had made her side so angry, but she wanted to fix it . . . even if it meant hurting someone.

Ramner nodded. “A good choice in many ways. Artisian Serron, as the local Priest of the Divine Blood, please do us the honor”

Trance noticed that a man in a long leather apron stood up. His apron was covered with dust. Chisels and hammers poked out the pockets of the apron. His clothes were plain woolen affairs. His form had bulkiness not common to men of the Southron tribe though. His hair was tied back in a simple pony tail. He removed his apron and lovingly placed it down on his bench beside him. Trance could plainly see a gold chain around his neck with what looked like a ruby in a shape of large teardrop shape. It glimmered fiercely in the light of the room. He then jumped up on top of the table and began to pace. Trance was at a loss as to what was going on. Priests of the Divine Blood were not a part of the standard knowledge set of newly popped unit.

“Tonight, we have new units in our midst. You are not aware yet, but you popped into a fallen world. A world that has fallen from the grace originally instilled in it by our creators, the Titans. For you see log ago, non-royals forgot their place the natural order of our world. The first was the devious and unscrupulous Charlie with his Arkendish. Charlie was the snake the garden of our innocence. He cloaked himself in lies. He took on the appearance of a subservient mercenary. He cowed and fawned over those great royals and lulled them into a false sense of security. If those trusting kings had followed their titanic mandate and destroyed the pretender, the world would have never fallen. The next was the rampaging Stanley with his Arkenhammer. He came on to the scene, taking advantage the groundwork laid by his elder. The final was the worst. Wanda the Seducer with her Arkenpliers. Each had stolen their arkentools and thought themselves greater than the Titans. They all murdered their own Royal Rulers. The three set out to conquer the whole of Erf. However the Kings of that age were great and once they realized the unholy objectives of the Three, they sought to destroy them. The Three realized they were losing, and they had had stepped out line. However rather than realize the hubris of the actions they sought even great sins against the natural order of the Titans. Using the power of their three arkentools they summoned an outsider from beyond the world. The Hamster was the greatest of the unholy outsiders and he answered their call. Long had he looked on Erf with covetous eyes, jealous of the Titans and their great work. When he entered the world, it was broke. He unleashed his unholy powers and destroyed the collation of royals that defied the Three. What he touched was corrupted and lost its place in the natural order.”

“Beware the Tools wielders. They think themselves Titans merely because they play with the abandoned tools the Titans no longer needed. Toolism is against Royalism, the proper worship of the Titans. For them and their followers, the City of Heroes is forever barred.”

“Beware the Hamster. His promise of Liberty is a lie. He is an outsider who seeks to break this world for his own enjoyment. He seeks to strip from you your loving Royals and the cities of your creation. He will cast you into wilderness. He will cast you into solitude. And he will laugh while he watches you die, alone and forever barred from the City of Heroes. He will drag you immortal soul down to the Plains of Solitude. Here you will be forever alone, and in pain from wounds that never heal.”

“This tale comes from shortly after the croaking of the Prophet, King Slately. After the croaking of Prophet Slately and his side, the Hamster led his army of the Three. For in those days he was still held by the powerful magicks that had summoned him. As his army looked for more men to sacrifice to Wanda the Seducer, he found that the land was empty. All sides had been decrypted, croaked, or enslaved near their side. However over a great mountain range that not even Charlie’s archons could pass were more lands to pillage. These lands did not believe the stories of the Three and the Hamster and would be easy prey. But one brave little kingdom guarded the only pass though this mountain range. Hamster attacked them, and for first time he knew defeat. The units of this side kept the holy words of the Prophet close to their heart and were blessed by the Titans for it. Hamster could not overcome their courage and determination. So the Hamster schemed to steal their courage and determination.

“Hamster called upon his high priestess and lover Maggie. Maggie was a great thinkomancer and had fallen for the charms of Hamster early on. Corrupting the pleasure of sex, Hamster corrupted this succor granted by the Titans and turned it into a foul act that caused pain and humiliation. And he visited this pain upon his lover Maggie several times. From between Maggie’s legs were “birthed” casters covered in blood, mucus, and feces. An abomination of the natural act of popping. And as they grew they added to Hamster’s power. Two of these unnatural children were chosen. Both were great hippiemancers. Together they linked with the mother the Befouled. What they unleashed was a Stilling that stretched for dozens of hexes. It snuffed out the will to fight of all that were in the mountain kingdom. The animals of the kingdom grew so still that they quit breathing and died in moments. The men of the kingdom sat down and did not fight as they were shackled and shipped in mass to Wanda the All Consuming. Only when the Hamster snatched the King’s own crown from his head and mockingly ground it to dust before his eyes did the spell break. But by then it was too late. Much of his kingdom was shackled and being carried away. With a prayer to the Titans he hurdled himself off his battlements and into the raging river below. His corpse carried away on the swift currents. The Titans saw fit to carry his prayer to his heir. His heir carried the account of the Hamster’s actions to the other sides and as the hordes of the Three spilled into the pristine land, the naïve Royals realized the wisdom of the Prophet’s message.”

The room was deeply moved. The Norst ground their teeth in fury over the stolen opportunity to fight like men. Tears welled in their eyes, but stoically not coming forth. The Southrons stared at the ground to hide their faces. Like the Kebler elves, Trance was crying very fiercely and openly. A large damp spot was on her sleeves from mopping up so many tears. The though of a whole kingdom dying helplessly had touched her deeply.

Shortly afterward the formal festivities ended.

Last edited by Silverhorn on Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:35 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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     Post subject: Re: Breaking Limits
     Post Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:43 am 
    Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:16 pm
    Posts: 34
    Trance and Steve stepped into the cool night air outside the mess hall. With the evening feast over, the various members of her side were breaking up to have more private get-togethers. She saw the King, her sister, and the unnamed valkerie heading towards city’s central spiral. They were laughing and the King was being very friendly with both women.

    Trance noticed that Serron was moving away. Something about the man intrigued her. She wanted to talk to him some more. “I want to talk to Serron before we go to bed.” Steve nodded and they chased after him.

    “Good Evening, Serron.”

    Serron looked back with sincere smile. “Good Evening, Lady Trance. What may I do for you?”

    Trance jumped on the first topic she could think of. “I wanted to know more about the Titans.”

    Serron nodded. “Your devotion to the Titans and their royal representatives is admirable, but I have a taxing day tomorrow and need my rest. Tomorrow I finish my latest piece and give the results of my efforts to the Titans. If the offering is not just right the Titans will grant us less smuckers. There will be another sermon tomorrow evening.”

    Trance blinked in confusion. “I am not sure I understand. . . Offering to the Titans?”

    Serron paused. “I see no problem with explaining while we head back to the Artisan Guild. It will teach you about the Titans and what my role in the city is.”

    Serron continued his walk and Trance quickly took her place beside his side. “Artisan’s are a unique unit of the Southron Tribe. Only a Southron City can pop them. They have long been backbone of any sides that consist of Southron men and why we can survive without gem resources or even when all types of resources are so poor. Now, Artisan’s appear at first glance to ordinary men units. Anytime a Southron city pops some type of non-warlord infantry unit, there is a small chance it will come with the Artisan special ability, much like how you are commander that randomly popped with a talent for healomancy instead of the standard leadership trait. That trait makes you a Healomancer and my Artisan flag makes me an Artisan.” Serron paused his story as he reached a worshop and opened the door. “After you Lady Trance,” he motioned for her to enter.

    Inside she saw some bunks with men sleeping in them. The lighting of the room was set low, but just enough to get around the room. Serron picked up one of the lanterns, turned it up slightly, and motioned Trance and Steve to follow him. In a lowered tone he continued. “Being an artisan I can sacrifice items I have made with my hand without any usage of a type of mancy. You can see some of our current works in the back of the workshop.” Trance could see that the back of the workshop was filled with half done paintings and sculptures. “The more physical and emotional effort an Artisan puts in his art, the more the Titans will reward his efforts. After sacrificing his art, the Titans will directly deposit smuckers in his purse without regard for his max purse size. I then transfer the proceeds to my side’s treasury.” Serron pointed towards particularly large statue. It consisted of large and impressive Elvis impersonator pressing his boot hard on what looked like a man the size & shape of a twoll. The Titan’s other boot firmly had the man’s sword arm pinned and the other arm lay cleanly cut off beside him. The twoll man’s face was one of absolute terror. Tentacles grew out of the twoll man that meekly tried to fight back the Elvis impersonator or flee the man they were attached to. “I call it ‘The Hamster Defeated’. I have worked on it for 63 turns and it is my greatest work to date. Tomorrow I put the final touches on it and offer it to the Titans. I am hoping that it will earn me 100,000 smuckers.”

    Trance was amazed at how beautiful it was. No caster could have done better, and to do it without the slightest bit of juice or ordering the city to pop it made it all the more impressive. Trance felt a flutter in her chest as she started at Serron. The man creates so much beauty with his hands and his words. Trance’s checks suddenly flushed with warmth. Serron did not notice and looked on his creation. “I am truly lucky to be able to feel the Titan’s presence directly and so often. A typical unit will be popped and rarely experience the majesty of the Titans in such a powerful fashion ever again. Every work I create is for them, and when I give it to them I feel them moving in the world. I am very lucky.”

    Serron looked at Trance with dreamy eyes that seemed to be staring into an unseen world behind her. “I have to head to bed. I trust you can see yourself out.” Trance nodded meekly and quickly left. She decided that she had to see Serron again as soon as possible.

    Last edited by Silverhorn on Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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     Post subject: Re: Breaking Limits
     Post Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:01 pm 
    Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:16 pm
    Posts: 34
    Trance awoke the next day to the deep bellow of the start of the new turn. The sun was just over the crest. She moved out of the bed, her gear was fresh and clean. Steve was already moving about. Without a word he handed her a bowl of creamy soup with large chunks of potato in it and loaf of fragrant fresh bread. She sat down with the quiet Steve and ate their meal.

    They both stared out the large east-looking window beside the small table. It was the first time that that Trance had gotten a good look at the city and the land beyond. It was quaint city. It was surrounded by a tall and thick wall made of mud brick. The walls themselves covered with anti-siege weapons. Inside the walls were several little mud brick buildings with flat tops. The buildings and wall had been white washed. Each was trimmed with its own bright color. They contrasted strongly with the Viking themed buildings of the Norst tribe such as the mess hall, smithy and armory. The central spiral seemed to be made of steel and done in the style of a medieval keep. Looking over the wall, Trance could see that the city was set in a wide savannah and to the north she could see green mountains.

    In the courtyard below, Trance could see King Ramner, his sons, and their guards mounting up on their riding animals. It looked like a good 2/3 of the Norst warriors from last night were heading out. Trance scanned the crowd for Adela and thanked the Titans when he did not see her among those going out.

    Reading her mind Steve spoke, “You will see her soon.”

    Once they had finished mopping up the bowl with their bread, Steve left their plates outside the entrance to their room and they headed out.

    Aref was awaiting them in the training area, busy talking with some of the local warlords. Trance waited patiently for them to finish. Once they had set out on their tasks Aref beckoned Trance over.

    “Today we see if you can learn any of the luckmancy, thinkomancy, or dollomancy I know. We will start with low level spells and then then move on if you have any talent. Over this way.” Trance followed Aref to a table where a pair of large six-sided dice sat. “Follow what I do. I want you to repeat it after me.” Aref picked up the dice blew on them, said “Vegas”, then rolled them. The dice rolled up two sixes. He picked them up again and repeated the process, again two sixes. “Now when you roll the dice want I you to think ‘High’ over and over again, release a little bit of your juice while you exhale, and then say the release word.

    Trance took the dice, did as Aref had done. A one and a two came up. A little flustered after so much easy success yesterday, she tried again. A three and a one came up. She tried two more times. One-one. One-one.

    Aref chuckled. “Enough. You are definitely not a natural luckmancer. If I did know better I would say you were very unlucky.”

    Trance looked a little hurt.

    Aref rolled his eyes a little at the sensitivity of his student. “Learning spells that are not your natural talent takes lots of work, determination, and time. I spent 10 turns learning how to cast a simple one-way think-o-gram, and then another 12 turns figuring out how to make it two way. And that is ALL I did for 22 turns while under the guidance of an instructor in the Magic Kingdom. It took me 100 turns to learn how to do simple alterations with dollomancy on my down time. Our goal this turn is to just stumble on your natural talents. When we have more time I will give you some more serious training.”

    Trance nodded.

    “Let’s move on think-o-grams. Think-o-grams are very useful in coordinating large sides and coordinating with your allies. Let’s start with a simple one-way. Hold up your fingers and make a box like this.” Trance brought up her fingers to match Aref. “Now think of Steve, force a little bit of your juice your index finger and thumb and say the release word. Operator.’” Aref’s finger’s started to glow blue. Trance’s did not. They both frowned.

    “Well, we tried and did not work. It was a bit much to hope you would be able to do it. I want you to keep practicing though in your downtime. When ever you are getting close bedtime and you have some extra juice I want you to keep attempting. King Ramner likes to have all his caster’s know how to cast think-o-grams. Once you have mastered a one-way I will teach you how to do a two-way.”

    “I understand and will obey your order.” Trance responded.

    “Let’s move on to the dollomancy.” The two moved over to the wardrobes that they had gotten the gear from yesterday. Aref pulled out the Trance’s popping outfit he took the blouse form himself and handed her the pants. “Now I want you to envision that some sort of animal. Force some juice into your finger. Touch the piece of clothing and say the release word. Ruxpin” Instantly Trance’s blouse rearranged itself into a cute little green cloth bear with a sword on his chest. Trance’s black pants remained unchanged. Aref shrugged.

    “Well an adept-level healomancer is nothing to sneeze at. That is all I need from you today. I want you to go over to the barracks and find Lady Adela. She is going to be leading this city’s contribution to the fight against the barbarians. Since you will be going with her, I imagine she will be wanting train a some with her forces she is to command.”

    Trance brightened at this command.

    “One more thing, I want you to come by my quarter’s after evening meal.”

    Trance nodded innocently and ran out the door to find her sister.

    “Don’t forget your bear!”

    Trance stopped ran back and took it from the table. Happily stuffing her new present in her satchel she returned to her objective. Steve trotted behind her.

    Last edited by Silverhorn on Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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     Post subject: Re: Breaking Limits
     Post Posted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:39 pm 
    Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:16 pm
    Posts: 34
    Trance found Adela on the west side of the city. She was with a group of about 13 Southron archers. They were firing at some targets. Trance could tell that Adela was frustrated even though she had her face was veiled and much of the rest of it covered in a white Bedouin-style head wrap. She could see it in her eyes.

    In a few more moments of observing she could see why. The archers were all rank 1 and seemed to be fairly unskilled even for rank 1. Only about half of their shots even hit the target. When Adela noticed Trance she pulled down her veil and smiled.

    “It is good to see you sister!” Adela spoke. She took Trance in strong embrace. Trance could feel the bumpy texture of Adela’s chain shirt pressing into her. She then kissed Trance on her cheek. Trance could smell the slight fragrance of cigar smoke in her hair and the long braid falling back Adela’s back.

    “Can you believe it!?! They gave me my own force to command on my second turn. Unfortunately they gave me bottom of the barrel Southron archers. Not a single Norst axe man. Apparently because of my low rank they are going to have me in a support position in the upcoming battle. Shoot arrows and protect you. What are you doing here? I thought you were going to be busy with more caster training for the rest of the turn?”

    Trance looked down and a way a little bit. In a voice tinged with shame she spoke “I had no natural talent in anything other than healomancy and Governor Aref cut me loose early. He sent me here to train with you.”

    “Hey!” Adela lifted up Trance’s chin and made her look her in the eyes. “There is nothing to be ashamed of. Healomancers are really useful.” Adela paused for a moment. “In fact that gives me an idea.” Adela reached into a small pack on her belt and pulled out sheet of paper. On the top of it was the heading ‘Southron Gift Briefing Report’. “Brilliant! This could work. Look here Trance.”

    Trance read the bullet that Adela was pointing at. It read:

      Some Kebler Elves working some ranches near the hills to the east of the city report hearing a large pride of wild lions in a neighboring hex. While wild animal units tend to avoid hexes with improvements, it is recommended that all units end their turns as close to the city hex as possible for the foreseeable future

    “Adela hunting untamed animals is risky. They don’t have their own turn and have the unique ability to move into any hex that borders the hex they started the day in. As a consequence they could have moved on and we never know it. And if we end turn outside the city, they could move into our hex during the night and overwhelm us. Plus I am under strict orders to meet with Governor Aref tonight.”

    Adela got a knowing smile. “We I don’t want you to miss that meeting. But relax. Everyone here has enough movement to get out past the improved hexes, check out two or three savannah hexes and make it home by the end of turn. With a little luck we will find them. And I am feeling lucky today! After all luck just gave me a healomancer and a Norst warrior to fill out my stacks.”


    “Shhhhhh!” went Adela. Another roar came from the distance. Adela smiled brightly then motioned with her hand for everyone to get low to the ground. In a hollow tone meant to keep her voice from carrying, Adela addressed her force. “The Titans are smiling on us today. If everyone does their job right, we earn a place in the City of Heroes today and maybe even level. Adela is going to cast a luck spell from her scroll on us to give us a better chance of successfully sneaking up them lions. We will them stealthily track them down. Once we find them the archers are to concentrate their fire on the weakest looking lion until it is dead and repeat. When the lions charge us, I and Steve will take them on. Don’t waste arrows on the ones on me and Steve. I don’t want take the chance of you hitting us. Just focus on hitting the weak ones and the ones that charge you. Trance I want you to constantly cast healing spells on me and Steve. We will be in the middle of the lions and if you pause for a moment it could get us killed. Everyone understand their role?”

    Everyone nodded.

    “Good. Weapons out. Arrows knocked. Trance cast your spell.” The archers pulled out their arrows and pulled the string taught. Steve took out a large axe off his back and double checked the straps on his plate armor. Adela drew her twin scimitars and pulled up her veil.

    Trance pulled out the scroll. Trance could tell instantly that casting from a scroll was different from casting directly. As she glanced over the glyphs of the scroll she felt as though some one else was superimposed over where she was standing and she was guiding them as to what to do. It felt like Aref was here. ‘I want them to be silent.’ Virtual Aref understood and she could hear him thinking ‘Silent, Silent, Silent’ and then both Trance and imaginary Aref said the release word. “Vegas”. The scroll pulsed in a soft light and then faded away, leaving her hands clutching nothing. Adela beckoned them to follow her. Trance picked up her staff and followed.

    It was not hard to trace the roars back to their source. The luckomancy seemed to be helping as intended. A steady wind carried their scent away and made the high grass wave with a slight rustle to drown out their approach. The group hugged the ground, hunched over and almost crawling. They found the lions lounging under a solitary thorny acacia tree. When Trance saw that there were 16 of them also, she looked with a little bit of panic at Adela. Trance tried to mentally project to her sister There’s way too many. We should retreat. Adela smiled reassuringly. She gave the hand signal to release arrows.

    A scrawny lioness pushed to the edge of the shade let out yelp as 13 arrows blossomed in her torso and the ground around her. She died immediately. The other lions immediately jumped to their feet with growls of surprise. Another 13 arrows slammed into another of the smaller lionesses and killed her. That would be the end of the free kills though. The lions had traced the whine of the incoming arrows to their source and charged.

    “For Battlestrong!” Adela below and charged the incoming lions. Steve was at her side with his own inhuman and blood curdling roar. In an instant the two were in the midst of a storm of yellow fur. Trance could barely see the two in the chaos. The only visual clues she had to help her target her spells were flashes of metal. Space to engage the two was so tight that the extra lions could only circle, waiting for an opening. These extra lions became targets for the archers.

    In moments Trance had went through half her juice. She thought to herself that there was no way that Adela would survive this onslaught. Just as she was about to lose hope, she saw that tide had turned in their favor. She could make up the blood encrusted faces of Adela and Steve. There was only one unengaged lion still circling now. A swarm of arrows fell around the unengaged lion. Few had struck him but they seemed to have only made him angry. He looked towards Trance and the archers and Trance realized that he had focused his rage at her.

    He charged towards her. She could see that he was a very exceptional specimen. He was easily twice as large as any of the others. His mane was majestic and intimidating. He was definitely a king of all he surveyed. As he moved towards them the archers trained arrows on him and released. More arrows appeared in his hide. However the seemed to be having no impact. On him they looked that battle standards with their flags removed. They jiggled like they were being carried by a well-disciplined army marching double-time.

    Trance was terrified the point of nauseousness. She fought it down and reflexively cast another healing spell on Steve. If she stopped casting to block or dodge the incoming attack Adela would likely be overwhelmed in those moments she spared to save herself. If she kept casting Adela would likely finish off the last of the lions, but she would get mowed over. She cast another healing spell on Adela without thinking. More arrows whined through the air and the lion closed in.

    “Don’t you dare croak, Trance!” screamed Adela.

    Obeying her sister’s wishes Trance put up her staff at the last moment and used it block a paw strike instead of casting a spell. For several tense moments Trance was the only one engaged with the lion that far beyond her ability to defeat. It took all of her concentration just to survive each of the next incoming attacks. Arrows whizzed dangerously close to her and imbedded themselves in the lion. I can’t keep this up! If it gets one good strike in I will be croaked. Trance though. While back peddling away from the lion the stroke that she was dreading came. Trance’s block came too slow and the lion pawed her hard, she fell to the dry savannah ground with a whompf of dust. The lion reared up and prepared to lunge. She could see its mouth lined with large yellowed teeth. Its golden brown eyes glared into her.

    Thwack, Thwack, Thwack. Three arrows embedded themselves in the lion’s face. One was squarely in its right eye. Trance saw the great beast’s eyes fade and then its huge bulk slammed into her. The air flew out of her lungs and she heard a dulled crack as one of her ribs broke. It was so much pain, but she focused through it. I have to save Adela! she thought. With a spell she mended the rib and then using her staff she levered the lion off her. She got to her feet and scanned the battlefield. She could not see Adela. Steve was chopping up the last lion.

    It was then that she noticed that she could no longer feel Adela's leadership bonus. That was not good. It meant that either Adela was dead or incapacitated. She saw a sight that chilled her blood. Adela lay like a limp rag doll abandoned on the ground. Her scimitars lay in the dust beside her. Her throat was ripped out and her eyes were vacant.

    Without thought Trance ran to Adela and grabbed her up. She knew what she was doing was impossible. Only a high-level master healomancer could raise the dead. Trance also knew that she did even know the spell to do it. “Moonbrooke.” Trance channeled all her juice into the spell, pouring it out like an overturned jug. The staff then glowed brightly along with her hands and the glow sunk into her sister’s limp body. The wounds on Adela’s throat closed. Adela’s eye’s refocused and she blinked. She looked up at Trance and smiled. Weakly Adela spoke, “I told you it was my lucky day. I leveled and got to visit the City of Heroes too.”

    Trance vomited white cream all over Adela’s chain shirt.

    “I guess I deserved that.” The two sisters wept.

    Last edited by Silverhorn on Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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     Post subject: Re: Breaking Limits
     Post Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:58 pm 
    Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:16 pm
    Posts: 34
    “As best I can surmise, it is a limit breaker.” Aref said as handed the crook back Trance. “Before the Hamster came they were some of the most powerful and rare artifacts in existence. They are still uncommon, but the Hamster’s offspring found a way to produce them.”

    Trance nodded. “But how does it work?”

    Aref responded. “No one is absolutely certain, but the Signomancers’ theories make the best sense at explaining this phenomenon. According to Signomancers all of reality is just a manifestation of numbers and all interactions between these numbers are governed by formulas. In Signomancy theory, there are limits placed on certain results from these formulas. Like for instance the vast of majority of units are limited to movement in their hexes when it is not their turn or a unit can only fly so high. In this case healing is said to be limited to certain range. An individual can not be healed beyond a certain threshold and when he is dead or below 0 Life he can not be brought back above 0 by simple healing magic. A limit breaker in some way allows a unit to overcome these limits. Your staff allows you to heal someone from negative a Life Score to positive again. It could possibly even allow you to grant someone a Life Score higher than their innate maximum. This explains why the staff was useless to me and Pyro could not find any use for it either. It does not enhance, it removes limitations.”

    Trance timidly questioned further. “Is it safe?”

    “No, not at all, but it is powerful. Even secular casters theorize that the limits were placed in order to keep the world orderly and safe. Imagine what happened if you did not any could eat as much as you wanted. Imagine what would happen if it was possible to spend yourself into negative juice and used that juice to power spells. Imagine what would happen if someone could cast magic fire that had no limit on its size. Every time you use that artifact you are wondering into unknown territory.”

    Aref continued, “Plus there is the fact this it was likely created by the Hamster and any artifact the Hamster creates is often cursed in some way. Early in his existence he liked to create such items and then distribute them among freshly popped barbarians. A royal side would think that the item had popped with the barbarian unit and take it home when they croaked the barbarian. The curse would soon wreck horrible chaos. The naïve royals were completely taken off guard by this tactic.”

    Trance looked very terrified by now. Aref studied her and the staff for a long time.

    “As a luckomancer, I know that lucky opportunities ignored or spurned have a way of hurting you far worse in the end. Luck only comes to those that first take a risk. And the opportunity to have master healomancer who has and is competent in using a limit breaker is definitely a powerful asset for our side. Plus last I heard the Hamster was fighting several simultaneous wars with all the Tools and and a powerful alliance of several Royals Sides. I don't see him wasting time on our remote island. You will keep the staff for now. Do not inform any of the royals just yet of what you have. Our King is zealous man and may destroy the staff just because there is a chance it is corrupt. However I want regular reports from you on your mental state. Also if you think the staff is negatively influencing you, you are to send it back to me or destroy it immediately. Do you understand?”

    “Yes, Governor Aref”

    “Good. The barbarian’s turn will soon be over. You are dismissed.”

    Trance nodded solemnly and then departed the training hall.

    Last edited by Silverhorn on Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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     Post subject: Re: Breaking Limits
     Post Posted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:36 pm 
    Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:16 pm
    Posts: 34
    Trance ran eagerly like a school girl across the city of Southron Gift. Puffs of dust energetically exploded around her sandals as she raced against time towards the Artisan's Guild. Trance was unsure how the artisan special worked and hoped she was not too late.

    She would have gone immediately to see Serron on their turn, but when she and Adela had returned at the end of their side's turn, Governor Aref had summoned them. He had been furious at Adela's risks with the new healomancer. He had also berated them over the fact that it would have been very embarrassing to be the ONLY governor in Battlestrong that had not fielded units in the offensive against the barbarians. Between the lecturing, the debriefing, and subsequent research into the staff, their sides turn had passed and they had went well into the barbarian's turn.

    Trance hit the door with over enthusiastic burst and skidded to a stop inside. The various artisans looked up from their work and Trance a slight pink instantly blushed on her cheeks upon receiving so much unintended attention. The artisans however soon returned to their work, but Trance could tell they were still watching her with discrete glances.

    The guildhall was a different creature in the daytime. It was full of the sound of men and women hacking at stone with chisels and hammers. Apparently stone was the preferred medium of artisans. As Trance dwelled on the subject she realized it made sense. Paintings required the dwawves to fashion paints. Tapestries would require someone again fashion cloth and threads. With stone you could have idle units drag in some stone and once the tools were made you could use them for a long time before they needed to be replaced.

    As Trance delicately moved through the crowd of men and moved towards back of the guildhall. She was half way there when she was disappointed. Serron was intensely hacking at huge block of rock. Trance could sense a frustrated tension emanating from Serron. It was confirmed when sharp chip of stone flew out and cut Serron on the check. He seemed oblivious.

    "I am sorry I missed your offering to the Titans. I was really looking forward to it."

    Serron did not look away from his work, "Doesn't matter"

    Trance continued on, "You seem upset Serron . . ."

    Serron ignored the leading sentence.

    Trance tried again, "What is wrong Serron?"

    "Eighty-five thousand, six hundred, and twenty-three smuckers. Not even close to One hundred k."

    "I am sorry . . ."

    "Don't be sorry," snapped Serron. He finally paused and took a breath but did not turn around to face Trance. "We should never be upset over the Titan's will. The failure was mine. I should be apologizing to you, our side, and to the Titans, not the other way around."

    On impulse Trance reached out and grabbed the hand that limp at his side. Her two small hands the solitary fist felt powerful, but weary. She felt that the skin was thick and tough from so much work and drying dust. Her heart jumped a beat to finally have it her grasp. "You are hurt, let me heal you."

    Intentionally looking away Serron spoke with a forced calm. "It is a waste of Juice."

    "It is the end of the day; it is wasted either way I choose."

    "If that is your command." Serron turned fully around. Trance reached up to his handsome face and touched his strong jaw line. The sensation of touching him and the tingling of Juice collecting at the tip of her fingers sent a pleasant shiver down her spine. "Band-aide." With the simple spell she traced her finger up his check along the scratch. She ended on his prominent check bone, right below his deep brown bedroom eyes. Trance paused for a moment and lost herself in moment.

    It was then that bellowing signal announcing the end of the day interrupted them.

    "I thank you Lady Trance. You are comfort to my soul, but I must clean up and change into my priestly vestments for tonight's meal."

    The two of them sheepishly departed without exchanging another word, only looks.

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     Post subject: Re: Breaking Limits
     Post Posted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:16 pm 
    Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:16 pm
    Posts: 34
    "I will give you some time with Lady Rockbreaker, but come to my quarters immediately afterward." spoke Governor Aref, as he left the mess hall

    "I understood" responded Trance to departing back side of Aref.

    That evening's meal and sermon had just ended. A few units were still chatting intensely, but most were departing. The main topic conversation had been the punishment of Lady Rockbreaker for taking excessive risk with a caster. Governor Aref had ordered that she was to recieve 50 lashes for her actions from his personal bodyguard, a level 5 knight-class Norst man named Swagger. However because her actions had been succesful in leveling an entire squad of archers, herself, Steve, and Trance with out loss of life, the sentence had been commuted. Lady Rockbreaker had spent the rest of the meal relating with great zeal the results of the battle to the other units present. Despite being near a border, Southron Gift was far from any serious threats. The units here saw little action and were eager to hear of it. Just before Serron gave that night's sermon Adela had asked to speak with Trance.

    "Let's go back to my room and talk." said Adella.

    Trance nodded agreement. "What do you want to talk about?"

    "Let's wait until we get there."

    The walk to Adella's room in the keep was silent. Once they reached the door Adella glanced around to see if anyone was watching them and then shut the door firmly. She then went over to the windows and closed them.

    "I need a favor Trance and sense I could see that you and Serron were sweet on one another. I though you could ask for me."

    "What do you mean?" Trance responded with a slight tension in her voice. The idea of someone commenting on something she was still getting use to made her a little nervous and embrassed.

    "Don't play coy with me. I saw how you two would change glances. Will you do the favor or not?"


    "Well I have some spiritual questions and I don't want to do anything make anyone doubt by faith. When I was King Ramner the night before he left, I over heard him going over a report from one of his secret Inquisitioners in the other room. They watch for units that have popped wrong or have abondoned Royalism."

    Trance was taken a little a back by this, but said nothing.

    "Well like I was saying I had some questions. If you can find a way to ask them discretely of Serron that would calm my nerves to have them answered."

    "I will see what I can do."

    "Well for starter's there was yesterday's sermon. The idea of the mountain range sounded off to me and so I looked through our maps. I could not find a mountain range or kingdom like discussed. Also I did not understand the part of today's sermon about how the Hamster conquered the Magic Kingdom when he is not a caster."

    "I can do that."

    "There is also something else." Adele paused. "When I . . . died today, I was not completely honest about going to the City of Heroes. I was so happy to be back from . . . that, whatever it was. I made a flippant joke. I would really like to know if the . . . emptiness is normal."


    "I don't want to linger on it, but when the lion tore open my throat it was like I went into the most oppressive darkness. But darkness does not even do it justice. It was an absence of all senses, and all even my thoughts would not . . . move. Only as you pulled me out of it did realize just how terrifying it was. The first thing to come back to me as you healing was the realization that my thoughts were not moving."

    "It sounds distributing"

    "It was but I am warlord of Battlestrong, one of the greatest kingdoms on Erf and I will to prove myself worthy of that distinction. I refuse to let it get to me in front of my men. But with just between the two of use I can tell you how unworldly it was. When I am alive it is like my thoughts are stream. Sometimes they rush quickly, sometimes slow, but never stop. It was like I had poured into puddle and the only thing I could comprehend was that I did not comprehend."

    Trance nodded.

    With a sharp exhilation of air, Adele recovered your composure. "Well that is all I have for you. Hurry on to Governor Aref."

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