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Dark Heart

 
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Kruger
THE ANVIL
Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm


Joined: 02 Jun 2007
Posts: 841
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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 12:13 am    Post subject: Dark Heart Reply with quote

His words to Hope had been true, it was nearly time. Even now as he waited at the fountain in the marketplace, their usual meeting place, he could feel the time approaching quickly. The stars in the sky only served to remind him exactly how long they had. Kruger paced like a caged animal, his patience wearing thinner with every beat of his heart. “Come on Hope, the optimum alignment is nearly here.” Chestnut curls wrapped around his fingers as he pushed back the hair that was getting long enough to fall into his eyes.

He was ready for work, more than that he was ready to reveal to a select few people exactly what that work had become. The smith ran through his calculations once again, it was important to keep them fresh. At least that’s what he told himself. The truth was that the numbers were ingrained in his mind, he couldn’t forget them if he wanted to. All of it was written down, just in case. There were plenty of just in case situations in a city full of immortals, demons and half men. Those were just a small sectioning of the oddities that ran the streets of Rhy’Din. They wouldn’t be on the streets tonight though, they’d be far beneath them.

Kruger knew that the things loose in the earth beneath the city were even more dangerous than those who stuck their heads in the free air. They didn’t have access to where he was going though. Even if they did, the reception they receive would surely end them moments after they’d entered his lair. Now he was left, pacing and waiting. “How far are you willing to go to make those gods a little more jealous? Because this will cost more than you can possibly imagine.” He replayed their recent conversation over in his head the one that had damned Hope with her answer. “Whatever it takes.”

“Whatever it takes… you may regret those words tonight, but I intend to hold you to them.” Time alone had fostered the habit of speaking aloud when his ears were the only ones that could hear him. “I wonder if you will hate me once we’re done. Hate me, or fear me.”
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Kruger
THE ANVIL
Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm


Joined: 02 Jun 2007
Posts: 841
See this user's pet
Jobs: Blacksmith, City Guard
Can Be Found: Kruger's Exotic Weapons Armor & Leather
89397.28 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fear. The concept was so silly to her yet it was present within all living things. An elusive device it often tread and lurked within the shadows of the conscious mind. Simply because one cannot recognize it does not make one devoid of it. All things must fear. A plant may not recognize fear or feel fear but deep down in its cells it knows fear, its thorns know and welcome fear with an open embrace because the concept of fear will keep it alive.

“I fear no one.” Bold was her claim but behind those pale silver circlets she stood firm by the words and rose up to follow him wherever he may be leading her. They were large words but they were not hollow. There was only one thing in the life she’d lived so far that caused her heart to skip a beat, her palms to sweat over and her breaths to accelerate within her lungs. Kruger was not capable of instilling such a fear, so she believed.

She was certain she knew the man before her but as his words passed through her ears and her eyes fixated upon his form as he moved, she was in certain doubt now. A bodysnatcher may have fallen from the skies and taken advantage of Kruger prior to this meeting, or maybe he had been hiding this urgent face all along. As she followed she quickly discarded both of those thoughts and remained silent until she was warranted to speak. He was Kruger, he was the anvil that had survived the charcoals of the passing days and he was the foundation on which steel was forged, heated to a molten core and thus cooled. He was an anchor but for some reason he was different. Perhaps he hadn’t changed at all and she was looking through a window which had been blinded but that couldn’t explain the growing knot in her stomach.

The night isn’t over yet. He nearly said the words aloud to Hope, but there was little time for debates of this nature. Instead he looked to the speaker, nodded one time and moved West down the street and away from the fountain. He was also moving away from the shop, which was more Easterly direction. The skies were dark, one moon had set, and the other had yet to rise. The sky came alive in ways they just couldn’t with a moon in it. “It isn’t too far…” He spoke like she was already aware of things.

Their path took them to an area where more properties were abandoned than occupied. Before them stood the old community center, just as abandoned as the other places they’d passed. The windows were gone, doors boarded up, and even those boards were pulled aside to allow access to the decrepit old structure. That wasn’t his goal though, that became obvious the closer they got. Kruger veered off into the shadows and then disappeared into a hole. The ground beneath his feet slanted downwards and curved continuously inward on itself. They went deep, though once around the first bend the walls began to glow in a soft pink light. Where the walls met the floor a crystal vein was visible running the entire length of the spiral corridor. It glowed in response to him, he was sure she would come to that same conclusion once this night’s work was finished

Kruger stopped at a closed door, there was a biometric padlock on the wall next to it. He placed his hand on it, a click echoed through the corridor. “Place your hand on this, and say the word Epida. Before you ask, it’s Greek, it means…” He looked at the young woman and gave her a clever little smile. “...Hope.”

The breach in the door sent a warm blast towards them, it carried with it the sulfur smell that Kruger could never fully rid himself of. “Very few know of the existence of this place. Brian knows it’s here, as does Ahnika, but neither of them have seen what I have done to it. I don’t believe either would find entry as easy as it once was.” Kruger spouted off names like he thought Hope would know who he meant, or maybe the end of that statement was simply him voicing his thoughts again. He stepped through, and his carriage changed significantly. The absolute confidence he showed was that of a master of his environment. His shoulders rose, back went even straighter. His steps went from a saunter to something more possessive.

Within the light was the same pink that was present in the corridor, but here it seemed to permeate every wall and ceiling in a network of conduits that was reminiscent of circuitry inside a motherboard. The walls extended left and right in hundreds of meters, and the ceiling rose ever upwards. At the center of the space rose a wide, round pedestal a staircase wound its way around the pedestal to the very top ninety meters above the floor. Atop the pedestal, a platform rested. Details were difficult to make out in the odd light, but one thing was obvious, there was a complete forge up there.

Above that the high ceiling became an even higher dome that was easily another ninety meters up. Within the dome a giant fresco was painted of the night sky. If Hope were looking carefully, she would notice that it was a match for the sky they had just traveled under.

The walls were decorated with more paintings featuring the four elements, though there were other things as well, a great clock tower in an ancient city stood on one panel. On three others were the symbols for Chaos, a wheel with eight arrows moving beyond it from the center. the symbol for Order one thick arrow rising ever upward, and Balance, a giant set of scales. In one frame was a double tetrahedron inside of a sphere. There was one panel that had a word written in Kanji. beneath it in common was ‘Spirit’. From the moment they entered, they were being watched, Kruger had grown used to the abyssal eyes of the clone within.

The thing watched him constantly when he worked. Now she looked at Hope, but said nothing. “Hope, this is RCP 98. She will always be here. Welcome to the place I keep my mind.”

They began to tread through the clearly less maintained quarter of the city, one she had never been to. No mystery to her, there were countless things she still did not understand about the ageless city and its inhabitants, but as they drew to the slope that began to lead them down further into an abyss; she could feel some uncertainty welling within her stomach.

Once the radiance began to emit she felt some of the worry within her gut alleviate, however she was still careful to step behind him with a small degree of caution of being in the wings. As their lit path came to a climax at the locked corridor she paused in stride watching him place his hand upon the apparent locking mechanism and listened to his words. She heard the hiss and at the rush of air in accompany with his words she had a faint smile to it all. “Cycle of life huh?” She couldn’t help but feel that might have been a little coincidence but she was beginning to realize the depth and planning that Kruger had long since invested into this.

Multitudes of thoughts began racing through her ears as they entered into the chamber which housed many mysteries. Above was a starlit sky, to each side one might feel as though they’d ventured into the heart of the Twilight Isle with the elements casted upon the belly of the sunken beast. The place I keep my mind. She could not fully reconcile with the notion that there were other people who had their own lock boxes, other people who too stored the fabric and machinimations of their minds within a secured universe of their own. Her’s was in the form of a pit under the Tower of Fire and now she stood within Kruger’s own. It was an honor really, allowed to see those secrets that the brain strangulated so well.

“It’s magnificent.” Words paled to complete the observations and fully articulate the shock that was through her at the serene display; a fluid blend of machinery and mysticism dawned upon her as she tilted her attention from RCP 98 with a wave to the massive forge that stood upon its pedestal. If there could ever be such a thing to harness the magnitude of what she felt here now, it might as well be defined as a world carver.


Kruger didn’t thank her for the observation. It wasn’t that he wasn’t grateful she thought so, too few had been here for the words to mean nothing. He was pressed for time, or at least he felt that way. Instead he led Hope deeper into the gallery that held the pedestal at its center. “Are you familiar with the constellations, Hope?”

Kruger bypassed the clone, but he locked eyes with that abyssal stare. His expression softened a bit as he did so, a hint of fear gleamed in his eyes and was quickly replaced by determination. He nodded as though in response to an unvoiced question. “It’s time, you know what’s required, what I plan.”

“You know the risks. The original warned you, this unit has warned you. Subject Kruger proves stubborn.” The clone scoffed as Kruger gave it a reckless grin. He put his hand on the railing as he’d done so many times before and began his ascent to the forge.

He didn’t look back to see if Hope followed, certain her curiosity had committed her to see exactly what could be done. The platform was spacious even with the tools of his trade atop it. It’s base was nearly even with the bottom of the dome, which rose above them mimicking the night sky. It was as though they had left the world behind and risen into the celestial heights. “Are you familiar with the Dark Horse Constellation?” His voice echoed through the dome, spinning about it and rising to the peak. He pointed to a formation of stars that seemed to grow larger. It gave him the sensation of moving though they had never left the pedestal.

“The red star that forms its eye isn’t a star at all.” The focal point grew once more, what was revealed was an immense singularity surrounded by a brilliant red quasar. “Nothing is what it seems when seen from a distance.” It was warm in the forge, but still Kruger shivered.

The view was brief. When Kruger turned away from the spectacle to look at Hope, the fresco had returned to what it had been. Had it ever really changed? "Everything you see here is designed to enhance the blacksmith’s song. I no longer see it as simple work, it is a symphony composed by the maker.”

He turned to the anvil, an elaborately carved wooden base was shaped like a woman, kneeling and bent backwards, her face frozen in ecstasy. Where her heart would have been rose the anvil, another intricate sculpture of a smith bent on one knee. He reached for the woman with one hand, his hammer cast aside. His other arm rested on his knee to form the horn of the anvil. On the smith’s back a flat plate that looked ready to hold the weight of the world. On that surface a long handled light war hammer rested. Its haft twisting upwards towards the head. Carved into the haft was an exact representation of the singularity that had appeared so briefly. Closer inspection would reveal that every carved line was really a mathematical formula in numbers almost too small to read.

The head of the hammer had been split, and hollowed out like Kruger meant for something to occupy the space. The metal was an alloy foreign to Rhy’Din, and he wasn’t telling where it had come from. The shape was something Hope would recognize, a heart exactly like the one they’d created for Sandalio. This heart was pierced by a large spike, its point wicked and hardened.

The split revealed crystalline layers permeating the head of the hammer like veins of ore through a mountainside. Unlike the conduits which ran through the forge, the layers in the hammer did not glow, almost like they were waiting for a power source. “I won’t insult you by teaching you what you already know. I went ahead and forged the vessel. I’ll need your particular talents to work the fires hotter than I can do alone.”

A menagerie of terror and wonder both mixed in the kaleidoscope of intrigue within the overwhelming construct that they resided in. Hope at first looked to the clone with a nod but as Kruger asked the questions of constellations, she began to lose sense of reality in the ever-expanding view overhead. Were they looking deep into space or was this simply introspective? There were a thousand questions that most couldn’t be answered, and even if they could they would have soared right over her head. Hope had looked to the smiths tools, should a word so simple ever suffice, and the constellations had simply returned as they had been.

Particular talents. She knew precisely what that meant and it was a task that she had fit perfectly into like magma in its cast. At the hollowed part of the hammer she saw the empty space within her lungs with each hot, raspy exhale. She’d been prepared, she’d been ready to help see this voyage through with Kruger at the helm. She swallowed some hot, dry breaths and cracked her neck. The red Key of Fire at her neck was held in the right hand and she took a few more steps forward. Annwyn himself wouldn’t have felt more trepidation but as Hope approached her silver hair began to waver like tides of grass in the summer breeze. Her silver pupils turned a blood crimson. Her voice was unwavering and her eyes, stoic. “I’ll give you fires that could melt Hell."
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Kruger
THE ANVIL
Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm


Joined: 02 Jun 2007
Posts: 841
See this user's pet
Jobs: Blacksmith, City Guard
Can Be Found: Kruger's Exotic Weapons Armor & Leather
89397.28 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2015 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Echoes rolled away from them, Hope’s words winding their way around the lip of the dome and progressing slowly upward. Power hummed through the conduits as Kruger’s smile turned dark. “Let’s begin then. The pieces must become one single heart, that’s how hot you need to get it. However, it will need to be precise, along the edges where the two pieces meet. The carvings are important to contain what will reside within, as is the crystal matrix that is infused within the metal. Breaking that will… let’s just say their are things I’d rather witness like the removal of my eyes with a rusty spoon.”

His words died long before the echoes had subsided, in fact it seemed that they were being sustained by their own energies. Kruger took a deep breath, somewhere in the forge the bellows also filled loudly. Callused fingertips slid along the anvil, the wheat colored eyes of the smith closed as his chin dropped towards his chest. Metallic sounds filtered through the air as conduits changed alignments. The smith reached upward grasped the handle of a hammer and pulled it free of its hooks.

At once he exhaled, and the bellows blew outwards. Above them those intensifying echoes holding fast to Hope’s words shot upwards spinning around the roof of the dome and colliding with the pinnacle. Kruger brought the hammer head down sideways on the anvil, the bell sound fusing itself through into the echoed words precisely as it arrived at the domes peak. Vibrations filled the air, lower than the hum of power that had passed earlier and immensely stronger. They grew in strength until a tearing sound could be heard and the top of the dome disappeared. Where it was, a large tunnel had appeared taking the spinning echoes and propelling them forward down it.

Kruger looked through Hope like she had become invisible. Calculations, numbers passed through his thoughts and took pieces of the outside world from him. The tunnel above wound around itself, a maelstrom of metaphysical energy channelling itself to someplace that was invisible. At least it was until his voice broke through the strange silence that had arisen within the forge.

“This is the end
Hold your breath and count to ten
Feel the earth move and then
Hear my heart burst again”


At the final phrase the tunnel above blew open and looked at… nothing. Whatever was on the other side was in a place so dark that light didn’t seem to exist. Something was there though, if Hope were sensitive enough to feel it, the energy of the very beginning of the universe. A bit of dark matter so small it would barely cover her pinky nail. It did call for her though, for him for anyone or thing to notice it.

A second voice slowly became evident, it was barely above a whisper, and it wasn’t singing the song of the smith. It spoke a long and complex mathematical algorithm in hushed tones. The chant, coming from the dark haired clone, wove itself into Kruger’s words wrapping itself around them. It was a parasite that required the smith’s song to give it life and motion. A motion that carried upwards along the dome and out into the tunnel.

“For this is the end
I've drowned and dreamt this moment
So overdue I owe them
Swept away, I'm stolen”


Baritone mixed with soprano became one voice with two sounds resonating within the harmonic vocalizations. Perhaps it was an answer to the calls from the Dark Matter shard. If it were it seemed to serve two purposes, the first a reply and the second began to affect the tunnel. A branch broke off from it and opened up at the end of Kruger’s verse. Visible, impossible to miss as light was pulled towards the center of a black hole. Spaghettified stars bled their essence into its unforgiving grasp, even the forge quaked with the power it was exuding over it.

That wasn’t all that happened though, above in the main tunnel that gem of darkness began to move, and the smith began to smile as he sang unseeing. It accelerated as it was pulled into the tunnel moving so fast that Kruger almost had trouble tracking its progress. He needed to keep all of his attention on the fragment lest he lose it to the power of the singularity.

“Let the sky fall
When it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all together”


The words from the clone became discordant, they broke away from the smith’s song and that loss of symbiosis closed the second tunnel violently just as the pearl of darkness was passing the spot where the opening had been. It continued its flight down through the space that had been provided just for it to slam like a tiny meteor into the very spot Kruger had laid the hollowed out hammer.

Kruger reacted quickly, the tunnel above closed leaving just the dome and that strange celestial fresco. The smith dropped the cover over the other half of the hammer, gave a half twist to the hammer he’d pulled down before and brought the flat side down hard onto the weapon. Had Hope noticed that he was using another odd hammer? This one had been hollowed out as well, and within it was a gemstone. The Tear of Thor he’d picked up from Alchemists Fire.

“Skyfall is where we start
A thousand miles and poles apart
Where worlds collide and days are dark
You may have my number, you can take my name
But you'll never have my heart


Through it all the song never stopped being sung by the smith, the chant of the clone continued as well regaining that harmony it had possessed at the very beginning. As the hammers collided, the gem within the tool was smashed. Lightning struck as Kruger seated the cover so that Hope could work her magic. He knew this was coming, the smith took a jolt to the stomach as a terajoules worth of electricity erupted violently from the anvil. He was blown backwards, that was his problem, because now was the most important moment.

Did Hope understand what he just created within that hammer? Could she feel the power of the tiny singularity beginning to pull at her? Kruger lay prone, unconscious and who could tell what else, but to check on him was to lose so much more. He’d wanted to scream at her to do it now, but the blast had come so quickly and taken every bit of him with it. The forge fires sank to the point they merely flickered, the bellows barely moved mimicking the breaths of the smith on the floor. The metal had held though, this piece of alloy that was so dangerous to most was just another delving to him. It understood him, and he it, had that not been the case it would have warped at his blow, become something different and impaled anything near it. One had warned him about what had happened to her daughter, but he was not Crys.

On the anvil lay the spiked heart warhammer, within it the singularity spun to life and begged to feed on everything within its reach. It wanted the metal and crystal that surrounded it, but something held it back… there were flaws in the structure, and it began to leech its pull through those cracks in the metal.
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Kruger
THE ANVIL
Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm


Joined: 02 Jun 2007
Posts: 841
See this user's pet
Jobs: Blacksmith, City Guard
Can Be Found: Kruger's Exotic Weapons Armor & Leather
89397.28 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2016 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A sailor on his vessel riding on the edge of a maelstrom. It was wrong to say they were in full control how they steadily clung to their ropes- knowing if any wrong turn might catch the wrong breeze and fling them into the deep abyss; it was terrifying. She had agreed to do anything yet what maddening act had she really put her signature on? When the roof of the dome tore and bored a hole through the cosmos it filled her with dread. All of them were born in the cosmos but for some reason her heart began to ache as the tunnel was created. She felt the ebbing of the wound in space-time as a hole in her own chest. Her hand gripped at her breast and she felt an insurmountable pain course through her.

The echoes of the chant oscillated within her head. Without knowing her grip shifted to an object that dangled around her neck. She clenched it through the fabric of her shirt as her eyes tightly shut. It helped none though as she felt the pang in every breath. It was calling out to her. The minute eternity that this madman had intended to ferry to their plane. This impossibility- a stellar anomaly that most would claim impossible, yet here they stood ready to risk everything to make it a reality.

With her eyes wide shut she saw a spark. At first she could only accept it as her imagination as her fingers wound tighter around the key like a cobra and the prick of its surface drew blood from her grasp. The burn was something she’d felt before but the heat that came with it was new. Where worlds collide and days are dark. A sizzling filled the air as the smell of burning hair and flesh tore her eyes back open with a sudden gasp and the realization that the red hot key was searing her flesh. She tried to let go but she couldn’t. It was then that the object came through.

She panicked and looked to Kruger. Her mouth opened but no words came out. She was suffocating on the brimstone that was erupting in plumes from her lungs. No matter how badly she wanted to there could be no turning back. Lightning shot out in what looked like all directions to her, arcing around the room before jettisoning the smith backwards.

Her throat filled with acid as she roared at the top of her lungs.

KRUGER!” Echoing out but without a source, she could feel the raw blood sliding down her throat from the magnitude, the shear force of her scream, but it paled in comparison to the deafening thunder. Salt water began to rim her eyes as she saw him lay unconscious on the floor and again she felt the hostile burn when she tried to yell his name.

When she awoke on the sandy beach years ago her skin had been charred- but she could recall no greater pain than the flames that licked and laced her skin. When she had been forged in the cosmos, somewhere between realms she had experienced the heat of a star; this was far greater now. Everything she had gone through had been a stepping stone to get her to this point. The pact had been made the moment she won the infernal key from the isle but when desperation set in and the blood was drawn they had passed the event horizon.

She tore the Key from her neck and entombed it within her hand. Keys were powerful but what happened when you became the key? The ravenous fires from a plane far beyond, that usually only come from an isolated point, shaped like a key, consumed her from head to toe. She became a vessel for the element itself. The air began to bend around her and distort her vision of the room. Her hair danced in erratic patterns, ablaze as her entire being was now. She approached the forge and could feel her skin cracking beneath the heat as red floes surged and threatened to tear her apart. She would give anything to cry but the instant her ducts gave birth to the liquid it evaporated even faster. In that moment it had all gone quiet to her.

Not a switch. Not a lever. Not a choice. The levee broke and and the flames shot to the anvil with the singularity present. Everything she had done had lead to this; being born, meeting Kruger and eventually unlocking the Key. The flames gorged themselves on the shattered hammers and the singularity, refusing to go anywhere else. The colors began to magnify and contort- what was a prime red, a deep blood hue took on green and blue and coalesced into something more and greater. Lightning cracked and coursed through the amalgam of ferocity and the torrent of uncontainable rage. She wanted it to end, she wanted to wake up from this and know it was all a dream and over with. She wanted to check on Kruger to make sure he was okay and wake him up too. But she couldn’t look away. She couldn’t stop. Not until the floodgates closed and she dropped the Key to the floor and her vision went black and she fell with it did it end. But that was well past her memory. No all she could remember was seeing red and then the black.

(much appreciation to Hope's player for the previous post)
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