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This is my second Requiem story. Rather different from the first, and not exactly following it (though the place name is the same because I can't be bothered to think of a better one).
Currently version 1.0 beta.

From The Top

One would expect that for a creature of darkness such as the one that strode through the night towards the Howe, the weather would have had the decency to be bleak and forbidding. Lightning should have been splitting the tortured sky, the only illumination in a storm of such pure intensity and foreboding that any self-respecting poet would immediately set about composing a gothic ode. The wind should have been howling through the branches of the dead trees, whipping the dark personage’s cloak out behind him in suitably dramatic fashion. But no; it was merely damp. A slight drizzle fell over a moor that, while sparsely covered with straggly grass, was not nearly desolate enough to be referred to as ‘blasted’.

The general mediocrity of the situation was beginning to get to the Abyssal, as he proceeded over the muddy patch of grassland in a manner which would have been imposing and impressive if he did not have to stop every so often to unstuck his boots from the mire. It wasn’t as if it was proper mire, either. There were no evil-looking many-legged creatures in it, it wasn’t black and foetid; it was just mud. Thick, brown, and sticky.

So it was, without the slightest trace of drama or any sign whatsoever of a dramatic entrance, that the servant of darkness known as the Requiem for the Fading Light at Eventide arrived at that dread barrow known as Karlat’s Howe. Or, at least, he hoped it was Karlat’s Howe. The terrified villagers had given fairly clear directions, but they hadn’t included a description of the barrow. And the number of small muddy hillocks in this pedestrian part of the world meant that he could very well be attempting to dramatically stride up to no more than a large and rather boring lump of clay.

Drawing his (by now rather muddy and sodden) white cloak about him in some attempt to do the thing properly, Requiem began his song of summoning. His voice rang out slightly more raggedly than he would have liked, damped by the rain and the poor acoustics of the place. The harsh syllables seemed to melt away in the air, and what had seemed such a good piece when he wrote it back at the Manse began to fall rather flat. Nevertheless, he’d started and by the gods he was going to finish. The black Caste Mark on his brow presented itself, and his eyes became an undifferentiated black as he attempted to compensate with sheer power for the half-assed job he’d done with the song.

And then the piece was over; the request sent. Requiem stood stock-still in the posture the ritual demanded, waiting for the shade to appear. And waited. And waited some more. He began to feel rather silly, standing here in the middle of bloody nowhere with his hands outstretched in a posture of imperious command towards what, as far as he could tell, was just a small earthen mound.

After about half an hour’s waiting in the damp and the cold, Requiem heard the noise of a thirteen-hundred-year-old ghost clearing its throat. From behind him. Unsticking his iron boots with difficulty from the mud they had sunken into, he turned around. “Ah. Karlat, I presume?”

“Nay lad, I’m the bloody King of Sijan.” Even bent over as he was, the shade was every inch of ten feet tall; black armour covered its massive form from head to toe. “What the bloody hell dost thou think thou’rt doing, calling the dead up halfway to bloody morning? And thy song’s crap, by the way.”

“Greetings to you, great Karlat, undefeated General of the four Hordes and five Armies. I bear you tidings of import from the Deathlord my master, and would ask of you a boon.” Requiem certainly wasn’t showing his slightly crestfallen reaction to this sarcastic commoner of a ghost. He essayed a very, very slight bow in the fashion that had been contemporary when Karlat had lived.

“Ah, cut the crap, thou great poof. If thy master wants my help, then thou know’st my price. Sod off.” The ghost made as if to leave.

At this, Requiem quite frankly had had enough. He hadn’t asked to go on this mission, calling up some two-bit ghost in the middle of nowhere, in the armpit of a damp and drizzly night. And now the bloody thing was insulting him into the bargain. The deathknight had reached the end of his patience. “I really wouldn’t take that tone with me, if you knew what was good for you.” His tone had edges, it was barbed.

“Forsooth? Thou and whose army?” Karlat the Undefeated drew himself up to his full impressive height, towering at least twice the height of the rather bedraggled Abyssal. The night somehow seemed a little blacker as the two squared off facing one another, a little more impressive. The weather began to get the idea, blowing Requiem’s damp white cape out behind him. The deathknight raised an eyebrow. There was a flash across the moor – lightning struck, dramatically. Finally, he thought.

“Oh, enough posturing, thou bloody fop.” Karlat leapt towards Requiem, his black sword arrowing straight for the Caste Mark on his forehead. But somehow the world seemed to disobey him. He was sure the blow was true – but the pathetic strike fell well short of his target and succeeded merely in getting the tip of his blade covered in mud. The Abyssal did not so much as move, merely tracking Karlat with his eyes – but the spectre felt as if the gaze of those black eyes was sucking all of his strength from him. With a roar, he rolled to his feet with surprising nimbleness and aimed a blow straight at his foe’s neck.

Requiem didn’t appear to move – but once again, the fell blade passed several feet over his head as the ghost slipped and fell on his face in the mud. A smile ghosted over the Abyssal’s lips, as Karlat felt his strength lessening by the second. What was this thing?

Karlat climbed to his feet, and tried to grab the Abyssal by the neck. If the damn thing was enchanted against blades, he reasoned, he might as well just choke it.

And for the first time in the brief fight, Requiem moved. He stepped smoothly backwards as the ghost lunged at him, then called upon all of the power he had stolen from the ghost and augmented it with some of his own. A black corona stood out around him and tendrils of darkness collected themselves into his cupped hands. He smiled serenely at the spectre – and released the bolt of Essence. Lightning struck again, dramatically. The wind howled across the moor, which was beginning to look slightly more blasted. And Karlat the Undefeated’s figure was outlined against a blast of purple and black fire visible for miles all around. His armour melted, and much of the corpus beneath; the ghost half flew, half slid ten yards through the mud and came to rest against the side of his own barrow. Suddenly the Abyssal was standing at the spectre’s head, his eyes pools of blackness, his Caste Mark and his mouth burning an undifferentiated white. The night became more gothic still.

“Now, then,” said Requiem. “Let’s take this from the top, shall we?”

Heheheh :) I love the beginning. And the ghost. The end is as expected and none the worse for that but I do like the start :) - SunKitten
Thanks ^^ I only actually had an idea for the start. The rest kind of just happened. Perhaps it will be modified if I get more ideas.

Nobody, but nobody talks down to Requiem!--King DJ

Humm am liking the attitude though i dont remember Requiem quite like that but certain others... -- Artan
Well. This is my Requiem, not the one that Lawrence played. He's kind of different - the butt of the world's jokes, despite being scary-powerful, and manages (usually) to retain perfect composure and serenity throughout it all. I think that if I ever think of proper drama involving him, I'll write something with a bit more substance. At the moment, these things are basically trying out different styles as much as anything else.
Very good.  Just enough description to get the interest, just enough action to maintain it, and not too much of either, which would make it boring.  So, very well balanced.  It's also given me some hints for style for TheCityAndTheStars...  --FR
Thanks! Don't lay it on too thick ^^;;

Made me laugh :) Only question...why is the ghost 10 feet tall? -- Xarak
*puts Storyteller hat on* All the powers used in the story are faithful to Exalted - The Abyssals, apart from the banality and mud. On the Shifting Ghost-Clay Path (a ghost charm tree), there is a power that allows a ghost to change shape into a form that they have previously crafted with a Craft (Moliation) roll. They become up to double their normal size, and as terrifying in visage as they wish; they also gain various powers based on how they built the body. It's like the ghosts' version of Deadly Beastman Transformation. *takes Storyteller hat off* Because it's cool and evocative. --Requiem


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Last edited June 10, 2004 9:18 pm (viewing revision 11, which is the newest) (diff)