Author Topic: The Final Tale of the Old Toren  (Read 38 times)

BarticaBoat

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The Final Tale of the Old Toren
« Topic Start: December 03, 2019, 04:59:23 AM »
They say a proper duel should be fought at dawn, but I could be dead by dawn, Turin thought as he gazed at the Western sky. The sun dipped beneath the horizon and at last the great zealot could see his beloved Holy Blood Stars. He breathed deep as he gazed upon them. One last look, the thought, then I will be with you. I’m coming Boreal, Rowan all you heroes and martyrs of old.

Out of the corner of Turin’s eye a glare disturbed his reflection, there could be no doubt in his mind what he saw. This was aura of a living legend. He’d seen it in years past shining across the battlefield like a beacon. This was the victor of innumerable tournaments. How many mighty knights had been slain by his hand in duels such as this? The name of this ancient warrior struck fear in the hearts of foes and admirers alike, Karibash ka Habb.

Behind the great swordsmen marched a troupe of warriors eager to see their master in action. Karibash sneered at Turin upon approach.

“Well if it isn’t the sniveling whelp Turin, seems your fear of ignominy has finally overcome your fear of death,” he mocked.

“Lord Karibash, your hatred is as constant as the light of the Blood Stars, it warms my heart,” Turin replied.

He drew his sword. He thought he’d abandoned its ways years ago when he took up the cloth, he’d even broken if off at the hilt to signify his dedication to the church, but circumstances had changed. The smiths of Astrum forged it anew and now he was ready to do battle. One last time, Turin thought. Karibash drew his sword as well.

“Well then, shall we have at it or do you need someone to drop a mace,” Karibash taunted.

“I think that’s proper,” Turin replied

“Captain bring forth a mace!” Karibash bellowed.

His man strode forward. He held the weapon aloft and let if fall. Turin’s foe seemed to be upon him the same instant he heard sound of the mace hitting the ground. Turin staggered backwards, his sword flailing wildly to deflect Karibash’s many deadly blows. In the course of the melee he lost his balance and dropped to one knee, his blade still held aloft.

“Get up weakling!” Karibash demanded.

Turin rose, he had scarcely a moment to gain his footing before Karibash was upon him again. This time he side stepped. Karibash deftly pivoted. Now Turin could see the Bloodstars over his foe’s shoulder. He breathed deep again and a great calm washed over him.

Karibash lunged again and their blades clashed, but this time both found flesh. Karibash’s sword grazed Turin’s thigh, and as it did Turin brought his own blade down on Karibash’s wrist, severing it in twain. Hand and sword clattered to the ground in a spray of blood. Without a cry, without even a wince Karibash reached for his sword with his left hand, but Turin stomped on the weapon so it could not be recovered. He hesitated a moment, the tip of his sword aimed at Karibash’s throat.

“Do it you coward!” Karibash shouted, “you are only killing a man!”

Turin clenched the hillt of his sword ever tighter until his hand shook, then with a cry of rage he plunged the blade into Karibash’s heart. The blood spatter mixed with his crimson robes. He panted unable to believe what had just happened. Turin looked to the Torens, fearing they might slay him in turn.

“No matter,” their captain said.

Turin stared back, puzzled

“do you not understand his last words?”

Turin shook his head.

“You have only slayed Karibash the man, Karibash the legend, the god, lives on,” the Captain explained.

And with that the troupe gathered up the body of their fallen leader, leaving Turin to watch, bewildered and lost.

***

“You are only killing a man.”

Karibash knows it is over. How far he has fallen. Ignored the aches and pains, pretended to be the fearsome warrior he once was. His heart, if it could fight, would slay any god. His body has failed him. He has seen what lies beyond. In fevered dreams as he lie dying he once gazed upon fearsome Tor. What will he see this time?

Neralle, a land long lost. His mother, berating him for allowing a bun stolen from him. The trees spanning to the sky. How tall they seemed then. The war, so close but somehow so distant. Perhaps he will see his mother. Perhaps his father. He remembers the stern look that masked a cheerful glint in his eye. The man who named him, from whose family his nobility is claimed. Not a god of war, you are named for war, his father would tell him. His father’s clan leave their dead in the desert to be scavenged. Returned to the world. They are not Toren. Perhaps his dear older brother, Xanio, lost so long ago. Karibash cannot remember his voice, only that cheerful glint in his eye. Karibash was not destined to shine like him. Karibash always knew he was Toren, made from granite.

Turin looks as if he will cry. A teary eyed whiner will strike down Warborn Torrarin. Lovely. Perhaps... perhaps he won’t do it... perhaps he will hesitate and the Old Toren will survive again... perhaps...?

The blade plunges into his chest. He recalls this feeling, from the fields of Lesthem. He smells the blood, the mud, the agony. Tor promises the faithful everliving life, to be unstoppable in battle. Was he unfaithful? His whole life devoted to Tor, none else had plunged into the mysticism he had, none else had worked so hard to glorify the Dead God Who Rose Again. Karibash knows what is next. He can hear the rushing in his ears. Half a moment of life. Perhaps two or three breaths.

A gasp. One breath.

“No matter.”

What peculiar words. Why, this seems to be a great matter. Everguard is finally lost. The Old Toren draws his last breaths. How could this be anything but a great matter? The world is rushing around him now, spinning, as if he is falling but cannot stop falling. All he had done, for nothing. His Saga ended. So fell the great warrior, crushed by an old foe. He had failed Tor. He had failed everyone.

A rattling inhale. Two breaths.

All his work, gone. So many children, bastards, he forsook. Selfish. To be so selfish for so long. But he is granite. His will is irresistable. None could stop him. They tried. Why did they not try harder? Who knew he would be so moved in the last moments. The trances, the altered states, he had done what they said the great men of old did. He was in direct communion with Tor, a conduit of His will. So how could he fall in battle? Everguard would never rise again. A failure. He failed. As if to punctuate Karibash feels his body slam into the dirt. He is staring at an unending expanse of blue rimmed by darkness. He is too weak to blink. His mouth is dry.

A crackle as his diaphragm spasms to draw in air. Three breaths. Lucky.

The Veil. What lies beyond. Will Karibash see it? Last time he dreamed of far off lands that faded to black to reveal the presence of Tor. He had worked so hard for Tor. The only thing he cared for with all his heart. Mother would be proud. Where had the Veil been?

The fish does not know it is in water until it breaches the surface. Men do not know they are alive until they breach the Veil. Karibash had been to the Veil. So close. The moment between life and death. Was this not that moment? The sky. The void. There all along. Just above him. Karibash feels the glitter in his eye. So simple. Tor had given him this final lesson, the true lesson, to ascend. The void was here all along. The Veil, just above.

Finally he understands.

***

The service in Astrum was modest and sombre. The true journey lay ahead. Karibash had made known in no uncertain terms where he was to be laid to rest. A death march stretched for a league, they say, and Toren from far away came to witness it or pay respects to his name, Warborn Torrarin, whose Saga took days to sing. By foot and longboat the travelled for three weeks. They entered the Shrine of Seeklander far diminished in number, the body concealed. But the Toren in the Shrine knew.

Deep in an ancient chamber of the lost Temple of Tor, the remaining Toren place the throne of Everguard. In his finest robes they leave the body of Karibash seated. Upon his head the crown of Everguard, glittering with emeralds. Laid on his left a sceptre, on his right a chipped sword, in his lap a shield of oak. Upon his neck a pendant to Tor. A child of stone, returned to the stone.

So is the last resting place of Karibash, Last King of Everguard.

BarticaBoat

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Re: The Final Tale of the Old Toren
« Reply #1: December 03, 2019, 05:05:50 AM »
 Roleplay from Marius Kinsey ka Habb
Message sent to all nobles of Westgard (27 recipients) - just in

In the Shrine of Seeklander, twelve bodies are found with self-inflicted wounds, apparently as some sort of bizarre suicide pact. Local magistrates shrug, stranger things have happened.