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Verum Weekly: Summary of Streamed Games of the Week (October 22nd, 2020)
Welcome to Verum Weekly. A weekly post to summarize all the game sessions that happen in the week prior. Hope y'all like it.
The Tearing Veil Ep. 3 (SootheBe11)The session starts with the crew landing on the dock of Flameport and getting off the ship. The captain gave the party 200 gold with which Flamewrath, Nidhogg, and Vim argue about who gets to be the treasurer for the group. Eventually, they agreed to let Flamewrath hold the money. As the party walks down the docks, towards the city, they are approached by a guard covered in plated armor with the symbol of glory on the chestplate, a greatsword swung on his back, and a crowned helmet.
The paladin asks the party as to why such a peculiar group has come upon the city, to which Wisp answers that they are the traveling circus, and the others begin to elaborate more on the lie with Vim calling them the Unwise Six. The paladin lets them through, but Flamewrath notices that he does not buy their lie and so he pulls the group over to the side of the docks and explains to them that they must be inconspicuous conduct a circus.
Vim and Flamewrath are the first to separate from the group, going into the town to look for a blacksmith. They finally find one named “The Edge Ahead”, they both enter and Vim asks for a heavy shield with a spider emblem on the front and Flamewrath attempts to bargain, but in the end, Flamewrath just gives the blacksmith the gold originally agreed on, and tells him to go to their show in the most famous tavern. Meanwhile, Wisp and Raber enter into an enormous building named the Fire Flower which looks very lavish and over the top. Wisp proceeds to go through the tables, listening in on conversations and learning that there is a bit of a worried stance on the cities government, hags near the northwestern coast stealing children and beguiling men, and a local rumor that Fireport has been dealing with an increase in crime. Wisp skillfully moves through the crowds of drunkards and onto a clearing where she performs a graceful dance as Raber attempts to join in by picking up Wisp and for a moment, the two look in sync. Suddenly Raber throws Wisp into the ceiling of the roof, stumbles, and Wisp falls back down onto Raber, the people in the lavish tavern laugh and throw gold coins at them for their performance. The two exclaim that they are the ‘Unwise Six” and to watch their show.
A gnome approaches Wisp and Raber, applauding them and letting them sit at a table where they eat and learn that the town’s people has eerie whispers in their minds, wars on the east, the north’s corruption, the gnome’s name is Ano and is a priest of Vavren, and that O’brian, their contact, has been imprisoned because of his promiscuity. As this is happening, Nidhogg and Angorn agree to find the most inconspicuous tavern and gain information there; as they walk the streets of Fireport they encounter a deep, dark, brooding man named Alexander Night that takes them towards the less crowded tavern called The Beggar’s Rest.
As the edgy trio walks, Nidhogg and Angorn learn that the paladin of Glory they met is just an aspirant to be in the inquisition and that Alexander is a cool guy that follows the Goddess Iass. The trio part ways and Angorn and Nidhogg enter the tavern arguing about Gods, they proceed to seat themselves as they talk and after a while, no one seems to approach them. Angorn spots an old halfling woman and walks up to her, asking her where everybody else is, the old halfling says that they all are scared of them because of the armor they are wearing and the way they present themselves. Nidhogg approaches the halfling, and wonders why they are afraid of them so he proceeds to assist her in fixing the roof. The old halfling then begins to dote on the two heavily armored individuals, treating them as if they were her own grandchildren.
On the other side of town near the blacksmith, Flamewrath and Vim are trying to figure out what circus act they could perform and proceed to put out flyers by prestidigitation. The two begins to walk near a crowded street where they show off their skills, using Flamewrath’s firebolts and Vim’s prestidigitation to do an impromptu fire show, where they gained gold coins and spread the word of the Unwise Six’s performance in the Fire Flower. The two proceeded to get Vim’s shield and move toward the tavern to meet up with the rest of the group, practicing and making posters along the way.
Flamewrath, Vim, Wisp, and Raber meet outside of the Fire Flower, discussing about the information that they have gotten and their upcoming circus acts. They proceed down the streets to look for Angorn and Nidhogg, but instead encounter Alexander who takes them to The Beggar’s Rest where they regroup with everyone. The team learns of the information about O’Brian and the performance that they must do to bolster their lie. As they proceed to go to the Fire Flower, Nidhogg breaks away from the group and goes to the graveyard where he meditates and listens to the souls that lie in rest.
Nidhoggg suddenly hears the voice of the Gambler Black telling him that if it's the power to eat souls that he wants, then all he needs to do is to roll a black die in front of holy places, Nidhoggg agrees and a soul is given to him as his body surges with power and he regroups with the party at the Fire Flower. The party proceeds to persuade the innkeeper to let them conduct their circus acts with a cut of the gold they earn, the gang also conducted a push-up competition to see how intense and brotastic Alexander is, and they gave the people in the inn a great show. After the magnificent performance, everyone in the tavern learns of the group called the Unwise Six, and the party decides to go to jail to meet with O’Brian where as Nidhogg decides that it is time to go to the Beggar’s Rest to sleep in for the night. As the party meets O’Brian, they attempt to plan an escape for him, trying to figure out what the best course of action is, until they were told by the guard that the bail was just 5 gold and so the Unwise Six attains their informant and head out into dark misty night in Flameport.
The Herald's Call Ep. 1The party is gathered with two other individuals at the Golden Sun in Fireport. A Paladin of Glory comes in and introduces himself as Maxwell. As that Paladin comes to the table, the party notices that his symbols of Glory have been marked out. Maxwell explains that they have been summon to the Ember Lord because they have potential. The party leaves the tavern and are led to an abandon estate in the forests. Maxwell opens a hatch in a well and they enter a secret base. The place is walled in cement and blood stains are riddle everywhere. Maxwell tells the desk lady in front of them that he has a new set of aspirants and the party is led to the Ember Lord. Screams can be heard in rooms nearby. The party finally enters a room to find a hooded man named Jaxon.
Jaxon explains that he is trying to create beings to fight against the Herald. He continues that they are trying to find those who can handle the Orange Star and the screams and bloodstains are from the failures. The party would like to know more but Jaxon is hesitant as he knows that the enemy feeds on knowledge. Jaxon does tell the party that the Orange Star is part of the Prism. Jaxon asks what is needed for them with the Orange Star and Jaxon answers that the embers of the Orange star can light the weapons in the soul and great power can come out of it. Jaxon tells everybody to follow him if they are willing or they can leave. The party and others follow him and they are led to the infirmary. The meet Professor Soken and he will be monitoring his transformation. On the table beside Soken is a corpse that was melted from the inside. Midas asked why the corpse is like that and the Professor says he doesn't know but has done everything he can to stop it. Only few have past the test and the Professor will do everything he can to prevent more failures. Jaxon reveals that he was awaken by the orange star because the red star has been revealed.
The party is then taken to another room and Jaxon tells them that this place is where the test will happen. Midas finds a contraption in that room that keeps a person with violet blood in a stasis of amber. Soken explains that it is to delay the transformation. The asks what the transformation is and Jaxon answers that this trial is trying to create a "False Refraction". One last time, the Ember Lord asks if they are ready and everybody agrees.
Archael volunteers to goes first; Soken puts metal ropes around him and Jaxon regurgitates an orange blob. Jaxon tells Archeal to drink it and Archeal does so. Intense pain flows through him but Archeal endures it and is bestow an ability. He gains the soulfire ability "Golden Crown" (Heal all allies surrounding him). Riku goes next and gains the soulfire ability "Flame Weald" (Touch and Enemy and cause fire damage). Ari goes after; she loses her eyesight but gains "Soul Sight" (Sight of the Lifestream). Ari looks at Jaxon with her new sight and see his true form. She see Jaxon severely burned with only one arm; all around is body is scarred with an orange star. Jaxon puts his hand on Ari and her sight focuses a little bit; Soken gives her glasses to control her new ability. One of the two NPCs step up but sadly, could not handle the trial. Her soul is gone and her body is just a husk. Azylea goes and gains "Crash Down" (Cause earthquake that can prone nearby enemies). Zada steps up next and gains "Power Font" (Can restore one soulfire ability). Midas gains "Lost Whispers" (Auto-success on one Martial Check).
The last trial is then conduct to the second NPC. However, as Jaxon holds the orange blob, the NPC stabs the ember lord. Maxwell kills her as a reaction. Ari checks the body of killer and she finds orders. The orders say that to kill with poison and the antidote is at their HQ. In her boot, there seems to be a map to that base. Maxwell then orders the party to find the antidote and they leave.
Shadow of Tyre Ep. 15 (RoyalCaster)Asht, Toot, and Moe all enter the Library and each look for their own thing. Ahst reads about portals, Moe asks about power words, but it was restricted so he drops the subject and asks about possessions with Rixie in mind, and Toot asks about genesis seeds.
Ahst learns of a legendary ranger by the name of Icarus; legend says that, with his harmonica, he was able to walk through sunlight. It is said that Icarus was last seen at the Rotten Wound, a mountain range in the Badlands. It is also believed that if one wanted to be able to walk through portals then one can do so through the sun
Moe finds a book pertaining to possession and all of its forms. Moe reads about how nomadic half elves reinvisioned elven runes and formed them into dream catchers which are used to detect if someone is possessed or not. While diving deeper and trying to figure out how to make a dreamcatcher himself, Moe learns that dream catchers can act as protective bubbles the more intricate the design of the dream catcher the stronger the shield.
Toot researches where he could find genesis seeds. Reportedly found in the remnants in where the world tree once was deep within the rift. Reading on Toot looks for examples of usage of Genesis seeds it is rumored that genesis seeds are a concentration of manifested life stream and can used to produce amazing pieces of life, and had created the first races, it is also rumored that the once fertile soil of Kalkatesh was given life by the planting of the world seed which was larger than the rest and maybe more pure than other genesis seeds. Toots also learns that the Seed also has other uses such as reinvigorating lands by removing curses, creating a race by creating life, bringing someone back from the dead, and creating the most potent elixirs heard of.
Ahst returns back to the counter, inquiring of the Scrolls of Indicar. Once obtaining them Ahst reads that it speaks of ritual that needs five, in the center depicting an orange light it seems that the scrolls are instruction for something called “false refraction”
She finds a book about her very own changeling race and how the hags made changeling with the hopes in that by sending them out into the world to collect as many faces as possible before being returned to the hags, giving up their free will and turning into one of them again sacrificing themselves toward the coven and taking all of the faces, powers, refractions, and the essence they have reaped and bring them into the central of power, revealing the purpose hags have for changeling deeper in the book it reveals that Tomen is the brother of all changelings. Unknown to the hags in the attempt to develop methods to remain youthful and beautiful, they were actually working their way to creating refractions by sacrificing their own hag kind in the hopes that those who survive can continue their goal. Somehow in all their attempts they created Tomen, but the male Tomen isn’t affected by their rituals which are designed with the female hag body in mind and escaped while on the run he sheltered his fellow run away changeling sisters in the mirror realm until he was imprisoned.
Moe digs into ways to essentially exorcise spirits from the brain, and basically cleanse a person. He finds out about a material called soul stone which is rumored to be bones of Outsiders that has been grated and refined down to its base self, Moe reads that soul stone has the ability to contains souls with in them with the draining and the releasing of souls, in relation this material was used to create the Hakari’s armor. Moe finds that to get soul stones he must be able to find somebody who can summon Outsiders, or it is also rumored that the Vega have been known to make soul stones.
Woku leads Raost and Eustace to the library once the party regroups and asks Woku to instead take them to the Hall of Mirrors. The party asks for a possible tapestry room and Woku leads them there. Woku leaves them to themselves, and while in there Ahst feels some faint portal energy. Eustance and Moe look at the tapestry called a Strange Ship, and being pirates, they recognize the ship Unfortunate Circumstance which is owned by Red Eyes Raymond. Raost inspects the tapestry called the Astral Outpost and notices a strange symbol on it thinking it would be best to get Moe’s input on this Raost calls him over, but it seems that Moe isn’t able to truly recognize it for what it is. Thinking that it might have something to do with portals, he asks Ahst to come look at the tapestry and this is when Ahst can detect that the symbol on the portal grants access to a powerful, perfect portal that takes them to the Twilight Station. Figuring this out Toot feels a burst of power come from his breaking free of his eye patch but quickly covering it with his wing in time, resisting the pull of the enemy. Focusing Toot is able to ask the enemy a question on it’s retreat, and asks “why do you keep attacking us?”
For a brief moment there is no Toot, there is no Kenku, there is no violet eye. Toot’s soul sees a vision. Falling past the deconstruction of 5 towers, and the great wheel with the great implication of traveling to the past. The soul is projected into the body of a man toiling away, catching the glance of his significant other, but violet light shatters the memory filling the man with hate and rage. Now at the edge, the emotion of pure malice and thirst for the destruction fuels him to destroy all so that he can finally be at peace.
Toot is shaken awake by Ahst. Toot comes too with more questions in his mind. He shakes his head, and denies Raost by meaning to say “toot stop” but actually says the words “I saw things” he actually speaks and crumbles in confusion and stupor. The Kenku Curse has been replaced by a curse from the violet to be able to speak through Toot at a chance whenever Toot speaks. Toot begins to explain but it is cut off by Moe trying to rush the out, before they leave Ahst takes a look at the tapestry, but notices there is a point of violet light in the painting which surely wasn't there before. Ahst and Raost decides that given the change of circumstances they want to take it with them, but Moe is against taking it with them given that things on them are at peril. While they are arguing Eustace receives a message from the vizier in his head that the camp is under attack. Once they head on their way they run into Woku out there and ask if they help them at the camp, and they decide to leave the tapestry here at the town.
Broken Bonds Ep. 12 (RoyalCaster)The Empress of the Shadow Fell teleports the party to Dolton in the North Western part of forest that surrounds the crimson citadel.
While arriving at the forest they make their way through the forest Ea’r finds a tree with fruit being held by a branch hand. Nox determines it's fine to eat so Ea’r eats the whole thing. Ea’r steps up to a flesh tree and sees a face in the tree and notices something shine in the mouth of the face. She puts a fruit in the mouth of the face and it splits the fruit, seeing that the party looks for a rock to put in the mouth, but the mouth still shatters the rock. Ea’r wants to speak to the tree that the face is on, and the tree only communicates one word “pain”. Ea’r asks what they could possibly do to help but it only wails in agony. Ear pets the tree, and the tree moans “peace”. P’mis decides to cast mage hand to reach in and grab the shining object and retrieve a diamond.
Next to the tree there is a pile of corpses piled on top of something possibly cocoon, or an egg. The party deliberates what could possibly be under the corpses. They decide to clear the pile and they find a swollen larva. Ea’r picks up the 3ft long maggot, and it splits open. A skull comes squirming out plopping on the floor, displaying a skeletal corpse with entrails lined along it’s bones. It reaches out to Ea’r and the Mohrg recognizes the true kindness, once it rises it speaks directly to Ea’r asking who had awakened him. Ea’r admits it was her thinking that honestly that it’d be a butterfly or something she asks that what they are. They say that they are the tender of graves, one of two of rot and pain, but he has forgotten, and Ea’r taking the Mohrg’s visage she calls him Zorro. The Mohrg says that for releasing him such things must be recompressed. Assuring that this is something Ea’r does want as a final precaution. The Mohrg places its hand on Ea’r forehead. Ea’r is turned into the assistant of the guardian of the prism, and takes the role of a shrine maiden. Her blue watery hair turns into black viscous ichorus goo, her eyes get the symbol of the shrine maiden around her pupil, she gets a golden sash, and a glove with a black onyx shard with the powers of undeath. Upon finishing the ritual on Ea’r. the Mohrg says he needs to find the other, and once he reconvines with the other the prism must be completed, the enemy must be stopped and the traitor must pay the price. Ea’r agrees to help him.
Nox suddenly remembers a question she had for the group, and asks about a two headed white snake, the group laughs about her asking and Bryan summons Tomen. Wondering about why she inquired about him she claims that she had a vision and asked for insight from him, and Tomen says that the this has come to pass because the pieces are falling into place, and that things are coming into fruition and that she needs to stay vigilant with her task of keeping the violet eyes safe, as shadows of the enemy will soon be at their footsteps.
Upon arriving at the entrance of the Crimson Citadel, two night guards question the party as to what business they have there. They tell them that Bryan is an aspirant, and so they go to check with the Night Lord, given the okay, the guards let the party into the citadel. Once they make it inside they are greeted by Lenon Attorix. He leads the party into the inner fortress, he says that before any aspirants can be accepted they need to be inspected by the Night Lord. They stand before and the Night Lord requests who the Aspirant is and Byran presents herself, they converse about previous attempts at joining the citadel, and hopes that Bryan will have the conviction that those lacked, he gives his blessing and wishes Bryan luck. As each of the party members give something to Bryan to aid her in the crucible and is filled with inspiration. Bryan resolves herself and begins the trial. At the beginning Bryan is mangled, but manages to dodge a boulder, shocking the shadows she breaks free of the shadows but is not able to free her chest of the tendrils, they surge within her but in her naturally dead state she resists. She passes the test of body. During the test of the mind, her thoughts filled with fear, and paranoia, her mind begins to dull as fear digs deeper into her psyche. As a woman of logic she frees herself of the thoughts her self worth is attacked by the shadows, and her confidence is able to keep the shadows at bay, and passes the test of the Mind. finally at the final test the very essence of the citadel isolates bryan in the endless night, the shadows seek to severe bryan’s soul from her body, and they achieve it, her soul detached drag her soul away from her body but Bryan’s soul reaches out and pulls back into herself, and Bryan steps out of shadow as a Night Guard.
Secrets in the Stone Ep. 11, FINALE (av5hadow)The party returns to the pocket existence they were in during the last session, this time bringing the Hatter Mad and Laffy Taffy with them. When they arrive back, they introduce Taffy to One of Two who asks if she is ready. Taffy resolves herself as it is the purpose of every translator to bear knowledge and translate it so that others will understand what they need to do. Her order has existed for at least two iterations, and she hopes that this time, it will be successful. She asks One of Two if he will tell them, and he believes that there is enough Order.
He tells the party that they are not the only piece of their life and informs them of Yggdrasil, the tree of life. He informs them that the world is a great wheel that has never been able to complete its turn as a wrongness prevents it. This wrongness wields the traitorous, the most powerful, and the most unpredictable color of the Prism. One of Two says believes it is time to reveal the secret of the stone in this iteration and pulls out the Prism. Through the Prism, where thought, want, and memory are made, the seven colors are created. In the first iteration, there was a great conflict, and seven stood up. Each one was a color, but one became a traitor. He then guesses that the party wonders about the Prism and will then answer that query.
The soul is made up of life and will. Life is energy while will is the Prism. When the party looks into the prism, they see the emotions that make up a person. They also see themselves in their most basic parts and in different colors.
When the Violet turned traitor, the colors scattered. Before the colors rallied back together, most of the world of the first iteration was lost. The colors seeked to seal the Violet, and so they did. However, it turns out that the traitor was sealed by a traitor of itself. One of Two will ask The Seven (Sivelle) for the name of this traitor. Sivelle says it was “Ventil” (+3 Order). One of Two reveals that when something is sealed, it must be done so by its ilk. So only a traitor can seal a traitor. With each iteration, there must always be a betrayal to buy time to defeat the Enemy. This iteration’s traitor, Tyre, leaves hints for the heroes of Kalkatesh in his labyrinth.
The Enemy’s side gets stronger while those that oppose it are growing weaker. He believes that this iteration would be the last. At the same time, the heroes must allow the Wheel to turn without destroying it. However, it is believed that this is nearly impossible. Right now, it appears that the events from the last iterations are repeating again, and One of Two implies that this iteration will meet the fate of the previous iterations. One of Two will place the Prism on a pedestal and tap it. A rainbow appears in it, and it begins to play the Song of Creation (Lumina).
During the speech, the following is revealed. For every color, there is a guardian. One of Two is the guardian of Blue. The Great Wheel is sectioned by the 7 colors. However, the Violet section is missing. Each time the Wheel cannot complete its turn, it is threatened to be shattered. Each time, the people of the iteration have reset the wheel, only providing a brief moment of peace. The heroes must break this cycle to save the world. To do so, the torch bearers must take up their place, the guardians of the prism must be awakened, and all of Kalkatesh must give it their all.
One of Two senses that his brother has been awakened, but he states that the other guardians are still asleep. He will then turn to Taffy, asking her to fulfill her purpose as Translator, and he allows the PCs to choose which color they will seek. (The players have chosen to go with the Yellow Square as it has no progress. Out of the two campaign choices, they have chosen to enter the “quadrinox” / the big cube, and this campaign is about salvaging powers from the past iterations. This involves the Obituary Towers).
Yellow Squares appear in Taffy’s eyes as she writes instructions on parchment. As she writes, the violet affects her and begins to appear on the parchment. One of Two stops her before any significant is written, but Violet cracks appear on her. but One of Two tells them that it is in Violet's nature to destroy. Ulm and Gorrul hugs Taffy. Elwood asks if this will happen to Dusty. One of Two that it is the fate of all Translators, as it is their purpose to translate knowledge. He will craft a crystalline face of Taffy. This face is similar to those seen on the orb of spirits which is One of Two’s way to keep the memory of all translators. The Hatter Mad asks if she can do anything, but One of Two tells her that she has a significant role in the conflict as she has the freedom of movement. He says that there is only one other who has the same freedom, the guardian of the Red Star. Taffy places her hat on the ground and thanks the party. Ulm picks up and hugs the hat, and the party says their farewells before she turns into dust. Ulm’s violet eye flashes towards the other PCs, allowing them to remember Taffy.
The party takes the parchment and shows it to Hatter Mad who exhibits shock. She does regain her composure then take a look at the parchment which has instructions on how to create a portal to a certain destination. She changes and scales Taffy’s hat and places it on Ulm. Gorrul asks One of Two about the watch from Babylon. He says that it is a Timekeeper’s Piece, an artifact that can literally keeps time. It can be used to accelerate or slow down time The Hatter Mad will create a portal, and the party jumps in.
Heart of Tyre Ep. 13 (av5hadow)In the last session, the party is assisting their fellow Top member, Ives, in the Indigo test. They are fighting against the Steel Storm who had just killed Seren. Mad Morc rushes up to Seren and gives her a Greater Potion of Healing before smacking the Storm a few times. Freshly revived, Seren finally plants down her healing Sakura tree.
Ives, who is in the Storm Veil area effect, leaves moves towards the Storm, as at the start of the Storm’s next turn, the Veil damages all enemies before dissipating. Derok asks the Storm a couple of questions but receives a minimal response. The Storm takes down Seren again. Morc martial checks the removal conditions for each of the three effects conditions of this fight: Pierced, Broken, and Prone. The reason he does so is that two effects debuff the character, and the Storm’s attacks may inflict these debuffs. As Seren is in the healing area of the tree, she gets back up. She identifies Pulsing Bolt, a bonus action attack that targets the furthest enemy. The Tops sends the Shadow Demon away from the battle to mitigate the Pulsing Bolt.
Neve identifies Execution Strike which can 1HKO an enemy with all three status effects. Wild Magic Sorcerer Derok learns that an Indigo event occurs if the amount of spells he uses reaches beyond an unknown threshold (This overrides Wild Magic Surge.). By the time it is the Storm’s turn, it will use Fighting Spirit to heal itself by a lot. It initiates a martial clash with Derok Dranf. Derok loses the clash, and his hammer is knocked away from the fight. Surrounded, The Storm then uses the Storm Veil, which covers everyone but the Shadow Demon. Seren leaves the Veil.
Derok identifies FOR DABORAK, an ability that can activate at 10% HP. (the Storm may initiate a martial clash against all enemies within 30 feet. With each success, it heals 10%. If it loses more than it wins, then the Storm is defeated.) Derok retrieves his hammer with a Misty Step and moves back to whack the Storm. Storm Veil goes off, hitting Ives, Morc, and Neve. The Storm strikes Morc down, but the Relentless Morc gets back up. Seren attempts to Wild Shape. However, the Storm uses Grand Charge, a reaction whose trigger is non-attack ability, to charge towards and attack Seren. Surprisingly, Seren survives and Wild Shapes into a direwolf.
Neve and Ives learn of the details of both Attack and Defensive Stances. At this point, the party has identified all abilities, so they start learning about the tactics. Enduring Cry, an ability that is able to remove one debuff, will end the Storm’s turn if it is used outside of its Defensive Stance. Derok casts Shield to defend himself from an attack, but the Indigo Event Threshold has been reached. An empowered event is rolled, and the randomized target is the Storm. Derok uses the Wild Magic Negator (from an NPC during the Maw of Abbadon) to cancel the event. At this point, the Storm is roughly 25% HP. The Storm uses Thunderous Step, a teleportation ability, to go after the Shadow Demon. Morc chases as Seren wild shapes into an octopus.
Derok senses the confidence the Storm has in ending the fight soon. He kills that confidence with Hold Person. The Veil goes off, killing Seren, despite her Wild Shape. The Steel Storm uses Enduring Cry to remove Hold Person, but that’s all it does in this round as it is not in its Defensive Stance. Seren, revived by her tree, puts him back with her own Hold Person.
Neve lands a Chill Touch, preventing the Storm from healing. The Storm uses Enduring Cry to remove its paralysis and end its turn. Morc attacks, and the Storm is now under 10%, ready to use FOR DABORAK. With the help of Derok’s Bend Luck, Seren uses Hold Person, paralyzing the Storm again. Ives flies over the Storm, and after missing a shot, he dives down with his knife, hitting the Storm. With the help of Bend Luck, Derok then hits the Storm twice, defeating the Scorn Lord of Dabarok.
The Neverend shows up and restores the party to their full health. Seren attunes to her Fire Shield again. The next fight parameters are the following: Humanoid Ranger. Ban Spellburn and Humiliate. A phantasmal airship fades in from the infinite void, and a man with a fancy hat and a scimitar arrives on the scene. Alleo Ad’daire, the Skylord and the husband of Starcaller Minthis, a" still living" Seven, is the Top’s next opponent
Soul of Tyre Ep. 12The Waiting Weird stands as Hackne falls to the ground scarred from violet flames and with her party watching in horror. Ozzie's martial learns that "Coward's Price" that if its targeted enemy has the "Mark of the Herald" and are not adjacent to it, the Waiting Weird can attack all adjacent enemies to that target and happens in the Wrath initiative. Ozzie then summons a chain of wolves to drag Hackne's body away from the Waiting Weird.
Luckily, from the aid of the heroes of Kalkatesh, Order is increased and a new shadow enters the fray. Two order is expended and Mirage from Strange Roads join the fight. However, the Waiting Weird takes initiative. The speaker teleports away from the rest of the party and tries to end Hackne's soul. As it reaches down with the violet flames, a shadow of a seven appears. The Seven Stephan uses all its might and saves Hackne from the violet's grip. However, to save one soul, the seven must sacrifice its own and the shadow of the seven disappears from this world in the violet light (Thank You Drspanky for your service). With catastrophe temporarily averted, Belanovan notices that Mirage can empower a Guardian. The Siren explains that she is a chord and she can empower those related to the lifestream. (But because Mirage can only empower on her turn,) Belanovan rushes to Hackne's side and gives a potion of greater healing to weaken "The Pyre". He rushes away to set up Braktor's weaver heal. In Braktor's turn, He gives a triumphant speech and casts 'Weaving Light" on Hackne and Belanovan. The Pyre on Hackne is broken and she manages to escape death's door. Braktor then learns that The Pyre is considered a curse and can be removed but the Herald's Mark is not. The Waiting Weird nuke AoE ability activates downing Ozzie and Braktor loses concentration of "Solarity" which gives Gruff and Belanovan exhaustion. The speaker then summons a rift. Yojimbo turns to Braktor and asks if he should either attack the speaker or heal the translator and Vizier. Braktor informs him to heal the two downed NPCs and Yojimbo rushes to them and stabilizes the Vizier.
The violet energy falters and all the order is expended to summon the final set of reinforcements. The Shadow of Tyre party enters the initiative (half of them though). Hackne learns that 'The Rift" stops any teleportation in a certain radius and summons additional acolytes. She then disengages from the speaker and shouts to Braktor. Hackne exclaims that after all of this, they should get married. Mirage learns that "The Rift" radius is 10ft. She then empowers Belanovan giving him the "Freedom Stance" and heals Ozzie. Ozzie transforms Hackne into a T-rex and flys away. Eustace tells Ahst that "Operation Wet Willie is a go" and runs to the beach; Ahst follows. The speaker summons an Orb of Admonishment which downs Braktor. It then teleports to Ozzie to finish him off. Again, another soul is on the brink of violet death and again, another seven sacrifice their soul to save them (Thank you Nurp for your service). While his other party members run the other way, Moe uses a power word to increase his movement and run into combat. He uses another power word to heal Braktor and rushes to Yojimbo to help the downed NPCs. Unfortunately, the Waiting Weird attentions turns to Moe as it sees another power word user. Braktor learns that clashes can cause instant violet death and normal death won't prevent the enemy to cause violet death on that being. Braktor gambles and tries to kill Ozzie but misses.
The Waiting Weird casts "Gaze of Doom" on Ozzie and turns his focus to Moe. The speaker enters a power word clash with Moe. However, the speaker is not targeting Moe but Dailos, his handmaiden. Mirage notices that some of Moe's words thrum with the lifestream and she risks her own soul to aid Moe in his clash. The speaker and Moe clash with all their power words and Moe gains the upper hand. However, the speaker is not alone, the Herald expends an entropy and overpowers Moe's word. Mirage begins to disintegrate in violet ash and the light of the red star fades. Suddenly, another Seven comes in and interferes with the clash. However, this Seven seems to be more potent from the previous as it is one of the last living Seven.
"The wizard stands with a druid. Ranic places his hand on Minthis' shoulder. She turns her eyes full of sorrow as if to ask "Is it truly my time?" Ranic will nod as he has made a place for her with all of their friends. She will smile and they will walk away together. Their time in this world is done. The light of the Seven dims further. Swirling, shifting, and fading. An like a nova of light, like that of an exploding star. This great sacrifice pays for it all."
The Starcaller Minthis fades away out of existence. Ozzie stands again and the wounded are healed. "The Herald Watches" is sealed and its presence disappear. The violet light fades away from the sky and the speaker fights alone. "Speak" is then sealed and the Waiting Weird goes silent. The speaker retreats from the fight and leaves the camp. However, The Waiting Weird escapes with confidence that his enemy has lost much more than it has. The fight is over and everybody gathers together.
In front of Moe lies a golden wedding ring with an inscription that says "To Minthis, Thanks for not killing me" (Thank you Wanderer for your service). Moe picks up the ring and take it to Braktor. Ano comes back from the mysterious light and shows Belanovan two Shards of Oblivion. Ano then explains that a staff with the symbol of the green triangle that was planted to the ground and it presented her with the shards. Moe and Braktor go to Mirage and thank her for what she did in the fight. Mirage continues that he was sent by Inu and the lifestream associates gather to talk about what they need to to. Braktor tells if Mirage has seen any violet eyes and Mirage answers that her party member Zacharius had one. Mirage also tells them that she knows the Song of Creation. The rest of the Shadow of Tyre party finally arrive and the camera fades out.
Death and Debts (No Session)
Thanks for reading.
Ch. 27 - Two Sides of the Same Coin
I’m going back to finish an old story of mine since I’m stuck at home doing this quarantine thing.
I’m having trouble polishing this chapter. If any of you have twenty minutes and could give it a quick read, I’d love feedback on what it’s missing.
Two Sides of the Same Coin
Severus Snape knelt down in a dark cave, his white knuckles raw and bloody. His black robes were in tatters and wet tears streaked a grimy face. There was a small fire burning beside him, throwing dancing shadows along the rocky cave walls. The pulsating heat from the fire warmed Severus, yet a cold sweat persisted on his brow. His right leg shook uncontrollably, raging adrenaline still coursed through his body like an angry fjord. Faint voices hissed outside the cave, and he heard his name voiced by the unseen shadows.
Civilized society preaches that violence is never the answer, should only be considered as a last resort; it ingrains in us that the ultimate act of evil is to take another's life. But Severus felt no shame or regret, there was no overwhelming disgust at what he had just done. But he also felt no joy or righteous acceptance, no soothing relief washed over his tired bones. He felt…nothing. Just a yawning emptiness – it was something that needed to be done and he had finally done it.
A dark specter entered the rock cave, floating in on a cold gust. The icy breeze washed over the fire, causing it wane down to a low burning ember – a signal for Severus to struggle up to his feet.
A soft voice seeped into his ear, "He's waiting for you…go forth now, little brother…join us…"
Severus found his way out of the dark cave and into the gleaming moonlight. He stood on a narrow rock path, impossibly carved into the side of a steep cliff face. It sloped downwards, toward a sandy beach strewn with small pebbles and broken sea shells. He numbly walked along the path, staring at his tired feet – one foot slowly stepped in front of the other.
The sound of waves relentlessly crashing down onto the white beach kept time with his weary steps. He licked his lips at the wet night air, tasting blood and saltwater dew.
The path leveled out when Severus reached the sandy beach and he felt a sudden urge to tear off his tattered robe. The frayed material may have been threadbare, but without it he felt the sudden sting of the cold sea breeze. It gusted right through his undershirt, constricting his chest and causing small goosebumps to pimple along his pale skin. After a few steps, Severus kicked off his shoes – the grainy sand felt warm and inviting in between his toes.
Severus looked around – the sandy beach stretched for miles on end in either direction, with nary a soul in sight. He looked back up towards the rock face and saw nothing but jagged stone – the fire within the cave had consumed itself. Up ahead of him stood an old wizened tree, with a patches of grass poking through the sand around its knotted trunk. The tree was tall and skinny, glowing white in the luminous moonlight. It had long twisting branches, with only a few leaves dotting its snaky limbs. It reminded Severus of himself – strong and sinewy, yet ugly at the same time.
He walked past the old tree and waded into the foamy surf, letting the cold ocean wash over his tired body. The freezing water mercifully numbed his body, but could not wash away the horrible images floating in his mind. He stumbled backwards and eased his sore limbs down onto the wet sand. The tide slowly drifted up and kissed his outstretched legs, the cool water licking his aching muscles.
Severus stared out into the black ocean, moonlight dancing along the waves with the distant stars reflected in the water – a strange kaleidoscope of black and white twinkles. He dug his hands into the wet sand and rubbed the slick dirt between his fingers, trying to scrub away the dried blood and disturbing memories. He quietly sat there, blankly staring out at the vast expanse of sea water – time melded together and he wasn't sure if he had been there for minutes or hours, when he was suddenly roused from his silent vigil.
"Rise Severus – come to me now."
Severus was surprised at how high his heart leapt upon hearing the smooth, silky voice – its majestic owner ready to claim the now vacant paternal mantle. Severus struggled to his feet – the frozen sea air had stiffened his muscles and they screamed in defiance as he stretched out his skinny limbs.
Severus looked up and saw a tall, lithe figure standing alone under the old withered tree. The man wore fitted grey robes, black sandals and white gloves. His face was pallid and white skin was stretched taught across sunken cheeks. Only a few wisps of hair remained on a bald, smooth head – the strands were light golden blonde tinged with a white hue. He had a short thin nose and his eyes were small slits – dilated fire red pupils burned from deep within them.
The Dark Lord held out a gloved hand towards Severus, beckoning the teenager to come forth. Severus obeyed automatically, a supplicant yielding unquestioningly to a lifetime of obedience with this simple act. He stood shivering in front of the Dark Lord – his teeth chattering loudly and his body giving involuntary spasms against the cold sea air.
The Dark Lord gently waved his arm around and the cold night air vanished, replaced by a flowing hot breeze – it now felt as though a roaring fire burned fiercely right beside the tree. Severus didn't notice the temperature change, transfixed as he was on the red eyes staring right at him. They were filled with intelligence and power and terrible purpose. They hypnotized Severus, as they did to most everyone upon whom they fixed their red gaze.
"You have been deemed most worthy Severus Snape, most worthy indeed. A true servant to the pure blood cause, a willing soldier, a holy knight born to serve the righteous."
"Yes…my Lord." The words poured out of Severus of their own volition. He somehow knew the correct response without prompt.
"You stand on the precipice of something beautiful, something truly grandiose. Are you ready for what lies ahead?"
"Yes my Lord."
"The road will not be easy or straightforward. Very few wizards have traversed the golden path that lies before you. Sacrifices will be demanded, danger must be braved – your life may be the cost for our holy cause. Are you ready for what it is I ask of you? Are you prepared for this terrible crucible?"
"Yes my Lord."
"Heed my words. Do not take my warnings lightly."
"No my Lord."
The Dark Lord reached out a long pale finger and tilted the young man's chin up – His penetrating stare bore a deep hole down into Severus' mind. They were two black pools of nothingness, darker than night itself. They screamed of anger, of terrible pain, and of a deep yearning to be acknowledged.
Severus felt a gentle warmth spread throughout his body, his finger and toes tingled as if pressed with tiny pins. He could sense a strange presence within his head – someone new now resided in there, mingling with his private thoughts. His mind instinctively raised up defenses against this foreign intrusion – unknown safeguards he did not know he possessed were triggered and sprang into action. But he felt these mind shields probed and ultimately discarded, for the Dark Lord was never to be denied.
Severus could feel distant, long forgotten memories unearthed and shaken loose – his mind fragmented into small pieces and was shuffled around like a jigsaw puzzle. But rather than feeling violated, Severus was completely at ease. He wanted to share his personal memories and thoughts with this new master – a brutal mind rape that he meekly submitted to and even welcomed. He longed for someone to share in his pain and suffering, to bear witness to the injustices inflicted upon him – he unburdened himself totally and completely to the alien host now nestled within his mind.
Lord Voldemort observed the squalid upbringing within a small home located at the end of a dingy street, bore witness to the neglect and abuse suffered by a scared child. He experienced the incensed resentment experienced by a sullen teenager constantly harassed on a beautiful school campus. He became the longing regret that resided deep within this young Slytherin from lost opportunities and scorned relationships. And most importantly, He tasted the violence and power buried deep within the heart of Severus Snape.
The Dark Lord released his newest servant from His mental grasp, the most accomplished Legilimens the world had ever seen…had just seen enough. Yes, this one would make a worthy soldier – so much untapped potential, if only they all harnessed such reservoirs of dark power!
But there was something else lurking below the surface of this boy, a troubling capacity for the light He wouldn't have thought possible from someone so drawn to the dark. But it was of no concern, the Dark Lord knew that no one was truly light or truly dark – as a student long ago someone had once told him that it was the choices a wizard made – not his abilities and feelings – that revealed who he truly was. And this boy had made all the dark choices, all the right choices.
"Severusss…I warn you one final time to consider the blood oath you are sealing. Once consummated, there is no release from my service, not even in death. I have the ultimate power – can haunt foolish traitors into the very afterlife, can reach into the great beyond. I demand unquestioned loyalty, complete obedience – I will not tolerate failure. You may still serve me faithfully as an acolyte, there is no shame in it. The service of a Death Eater is reserved for only the true believers, the ardent stars of the dark universe!"
"I am one of them my Lord! I believe!"
"I doubt you Severus Snape!" Lord Voldemort pushed Severus away and spat at his feet. "I was witness to a great many things hidden deep within your mind! Disturbing and most troubling images…petty friendships with the weak and feeble! Cowardice in the face of danger! And most unsettling of all – you're drawn to the light!"
"No…no…that's not true!" Severus stammered, vigorously shaking his head. The sudden shift in mood alarmed him – I'm so close to being accepted! To being part of a loving family! What was it he saw in my heart?!
"You couldn't save your mother! You curried favor from filthy mud bloods! You allowed yourself to suffer humiliation and degradation at the hands of lesser wizards!"
"I – I – I was weak. I've learnt from those past transgressions. I seek to right my many wrongs. I want to become a better person, a stronger man…a powerful wizard!"
"Do not lie to me!"
"I'm not my Lord! Never to you!"
"What is it you truly want?! Tell me!" The Dark Lord's voice thundered, a smoldering volcano ready to spew violence at any moment. "Tell me…Snivellus!"
The loathed childhood nickname cut through Severus like an angry whipsaw, triggering white hot shame to well up inside him and fill his heart – "I want knowledge of the dark! I seek power to unleash revenge!" Severus was panting now, a red gleam radiated within his vacant eyes. "I want to be known, to be feared…I want to be…RESPECTED!"
His anguished scream carried far across the beach, reverberating loudly along the jagged cliff face. Lord Voldemort wore a satisfied smile on his twisted face – I always learn the truth, for they all bare their secrets whole to the Dark Lord.
"I can deliver you from the evil of your past, teach you to rain down vengeance upon this world that has wronged you so. Follow the golden path wholeheartedly, bind your soul to me and you will unlock a power residing dormant within you, a dark power only a few wizards have been blessed with. Become what you were destined to be!"
Severus held out a shaking arm – scared and enraged and excited all at once. The Dark Lord grasped Severus' left forearm in his left hand and turned the young man's palm face up. A silver blade appeared in the Dark Lord's right hand, glinting ominously in the moonlight. Severus waited with baited breath as the steel was held over his forearm, his skin suddenly burning in knowing anticipation.
The Dark Lord pressed the blade down into the waiting skin, red sticky blood bursting forth like a flowering rose. He slowly carved His gruesome symbol into his most recent initiate, taking his time and savoring the disfigurement. Severus yelled and screamed in uncomprehending pain, skinned alive, his flesh sliced right from the bone.
His forearm began to throb and his body trembled in shock, but Severus never yielded – he was determined to keep his eyes on the Dark Lord. Finally, mercifully, he was released from the iron grip and fell into a withering heap, his screams doing nothing to alleviate the throbbing, wrenching pain pulsing from his sliced forearm.
Severus struggled to his feet, clutching his left arm tightly to his chest. Blood oozed from the deep cuts, the warm sticky liquid coagulating against his bare skin. The Dark Lord wrenched the injured arm free and waved his wand over the bloody cuts, muttering a dark incantation not found in any text on Earth.
Severus swayed unsteadily on the balls of his feet, threatening to pass out at any moment. But soon the throbbing pain subsided, replaced by a lukewarm sensation. He looked down at his arm – a coiled black snake now resided there. It slowly slithered in an eight shaped pattern, getting settled into its brand new nest.
Snape looked down at the snake and felt a sudden attachment to the serpentine brand. It was the missing piece in his inconsequential life, something that was always meant to be there. He looked up, desperate to again pledge his undying loyalty to the Dark Lord. He would be worthy of this noble honor!
But the Dark Lord had vanished into the salty sea air. Snape was left all alone on the sandy white beach, with only the moon and roaring waves to keep him company. He anxiously looked down at this left forearm, afraid it had all been a dream. But there it was, the infamous dark mark – the serpent stuck out its forked tongue, smiling at its new master…
…The faded snake grinned at its master – Snape fought disgust as he stared at his dark mark. The brand was darker than the previous year, but still very faint as compared to when the Dark Lord had been at the height of His powers.
"And do you solemnly pledge your loyalty to the Order of the Phoenix? Severus…are you paying attention?"
Snape looked up – piercing blue eyes nestled behind half-moon spectacles that rested on the crooked nose of Albus Dumbledore. The deep blue pupils were in stark contrast to the angry crimson flames of Snape's other master.
"Yes, of course I'm paying attention."
A nervous cough caused Snape to jerk his head around – he was standing on the far shores of the Great Lake, accompanied by Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall and Remus Lupin. The school castle loomed in the distance, a solemn witness to this curious scene.
Dumbledore was decked out in a splendid golden-orange robe, a bright red scarf draped around his shoulders. McGonagall and Lupin were draped in long silver robes with patterned red stripes crisscrossing their sleeves. Whereas Dumbledore wore an excited expression, the other two members of the Order were much less enthusiastic – wary looks painted across their brows.
Snape could not help but reflect back to his Death Eater initiation the 'Last Rite' – in such juxtaposition to Dumbledore's Order ceremony. Why these two sycophants had to bear witness to my Order initiation was beyond me. I can feel their suspicion permeating each scathing look they shoot my way. I risked my life countless times to save their brethren during the last wizarding war and my thanks? Slander to my good name! They cast aspersions and sow mistrust behind my back! Their lack of respect is disgusting!
"Do you solemnly –"
"Yes, yes – of course I do!"
McGonagall and Lupin gave each other a knowing look, while Dumbledore simply looked bemused.
"And do you swear, upon your priceless soul, to never to reveal the Order's most precious secrets? To never betray your brothers and sisters? To always be true to your solemn pledge?"
"Swear to me, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore!"
"I do, I swear my allegiance to you!"
"Well done my boy!" Dumbledore exclaimed and then turned behind him. "Who bears witness to Severus Snape?"
"I, Minerva McGonagall, bear witness to Severus Snape!"
"I, Remus Lupin, bear witness to Severus Snape!"
The two Gryffindors then spoke in unison – "May he be received as a brother unto the Order, always protected, always cared for and always welcome!"
A golden red glow appeared around Snape, vibrating angrily and then washed away.
Dumbledore gave a quick clap, enthusiasm plainly evident on his face. "And now, for the final test."
Snape had begun to turn away, but Dumbledore's words stopped him in his tracks. What final test? He turned back to face Dumbledore and his two lackeys.
"A truly light wizard encompasses all that it means to be light – compassion, courage and of course, loyalty. The final test is to produce a fully corporal patronus."
"Right now will suffice. If you please?"
Snape felt a cold sweat manifest itself at the nape of his neck, for he had never produced a patronus before. Could a dark wizard even have the ability to cast one? The one time he had been in the presence of hostile dementors he had wilted like a weak flower on a cold day. The patronus charm had a simple incantation, but was notoriously difficult for even powerful light wizards to cast.
Snape did not doubt his magical proficiency, but he did doubt his ability to cast a powerful light spell that required him to be bursting full of happiness.
"Headmaster, I'm actually not feeling –"
"I really must insist Severus. The final binding to Fawkes, to the Order, to me, is contingent on this one final display of light. Come now my boy, you can do it."
Snape looked between the encouraging Headmaster and his wary compatriots. He closed his eyes and thought of…what?
The silence stretched for what seemed like an eternity. Think! What made me happy? Truly happy?
Snape thought of the finest potion he had created, the first time he saw the school castle, an especially glowing compliment from a teacher…he thought of finally being accepted his housemates…the joy of being recruited to the Death Eater ranks, the acceptance he found there. His happiest thoughts were tinged with the dark, evil acts to which he had always been drawn.
A wispy white mist shot forth from his wand – a milky viper landed with a thud and began to slither to and fro. But it was hardly corporeal, its milky white scales crudely formed and barely visible in the sunlight. It slithered in an angry daze, unfocused and confusion. Its chalky eyes focused on a tall figure and slinked towards the Headmaster. It rose up and reared its hissing face in front of Dumbledore, baring its vaporous fangs and cloudy forked tongue and then…it melted away into the summer air.
McGonagall and Lupin instinctively reached for their wands and took a step forward – if a wizard could not produce a patronus than he was not truly light and darkness was the overriding force within him. And Snape's patronus had seemingly tried to attack their leader! Dumbledore held up a hand to his brethren, momentarily staying their wand hands. He walked up to Snape, unperturbed by the bizarre spell just conjured.
"I – I don't know what that was sir."
"Rest assured my boy – I've heard of dark patronuses, but I'd never actually seen one until this very moment."
"I didn't mean for it to…attack."
"You're not thinking clearly and it was confused, drawn to me yet frightened at the same time."
"Clearly you're not focused, not consumed by a single happy thought, yet you somehow were able to produce a variant of the light charm – simply amazing my boy. But now you must focus, clear your mind, empty it completely…concentrate on a single happy thought."
"I did! I was focusing!"
Snape's frustrated yell stirred the two wizards standing behind him. They each took a step forward, slowly unsheathing their wands.
"What you just conjured was not borne from happiness my boy. Relief, comfort, fleeting contentment – those memories feel good, but are no substitute for pure happiness."
"Nothing has ever made me happy!" Snape looked directly into Dumbledore's piercing blue eyes, then looked away. "Nothing."
"Hers was a doe…"
Dumbledore walked away from his whisper, gently guiding the other two Order soldiers away from Snape.
Snape shook his head, but Dumbledore's words didn't leave him – her memory soon took hold of Snape's thoughts. He always fought to keep her memory at bay, his mind had naturally developed barriers to suppress his feelings. These barriers kept her from his thoughts, but also affected the rest of his personality. They stifled Lily from his thoughts, but also warped his other emotions – they made him distant, cold…uncaring. It was a price he willingly paid in order to not feel the guilty sting of his betrayal. But he could bottle her up all the time.
A smile on someone's face, a funny joke, an intoxicating scent – something would always trigger a thought of her and Snape would become overwhelmed. Memories of Lily would take hold and he would be able to concentrate on nothing else for hours at a time. During these times, Snape would lock himself in a room and shut himself away from the world – focus on creating a potion or a new spell while Lily whispered to him. She was his drug and he was the recovering addict, relapsing from time to time.
With Dumbledore's whisper she slowly began to consume his inner core, the woman he had tried to bury far away from his waking thoughts. He couldn't help himself, standing here on the shores of a calming lake, a gorgeous sunny day, surrounded by strong light forces…he began to softly cry, hating himself for showing any emotion in front of others.
He turned away and gazed out across the Great Lake, hot tears sliding down his checks and into his dry mouth – the regret tasted salty and sweet. Ripples shimmered on the lake's blue surface, the merpeople floating below were drawn to the cries. The water reminded Snape of a vast ocean he gazed upon long ago…the moment where he took his first step down a dark path he had been trying to turn from ever since.
The doors in his memory house soundlessly opened, sunlight filtered in for the first time in months, warming the dark recesses of his mind. I'm so sorry Lily…I miss you so much it hurts. I don't want to feel this way, I don't want to still think of you. But it never stops hurting, I think about you every single day – you're always in my thoughts. I never ever wanted to be the source of your pain, never wanted to destroy the happiness you had lovingly built. I was mad, I was angry…I was lost! So lost…
Snape flashed back to his childhood, little Severus secretly watching a beautiful red head laughing on a swing. Coveting a forbidden fruit amongst the trees in Eden. How could I have wrought such devastation down upon a sweet angel, wreaked such havoc on her life? The only person in the world who didn't care what I looked like or where I came from – the only one who ever cared about me selflessly, altruistically, never once expecting anything in return except my company!
I don't deserve peace, I don't deserve happiness – I am due a lifetime of penance for what I have done. My actions merit agony, I am to be Sisyphus, forever carrying this boulder of regret.
Yes, she chose another…my rival…but I don't blame you Lily flower. I was a mess, hated myself, reviled the world. I wouldn't have chosen me either…I don't blame you…
I didn't mean to! It was a mistake…I'm so sorry Lily. I wanted you to be happy, even if it wasn't with me, I swear to you I did!
I promise to protect your son. I swear it! On my life, in this world and the next. I swear to you he will be kept safe! He will survive! He will live! I promise you Lily…you will not have died in vain…
A stunningly effervescent light shone bright on the shores of the Great Lake, illuminating the air and blinding three stunned Gryffindors. They all took a step back, holding their arms up to shield their eyes, a brilliant light penetrating their very beings. A starry eyed white doe playfully galloped around them, impishly running in circles. It looked so real, so full of zest…so alive.
Behind the gorgeous doe stood a skinny pale man. He had shoulder-length black greasy hair, a hooked nose and sallow skin. Nothing in his appearance spoke of power or talent or a capacity of light. But his unassuming appearance belied the prodigious magical talent that flowed within his blood.
Severus Snape had enough dark in his soul to absorb the dark mark and live, yet he had such light within him to conjure a stunning patronus that could scatter a thousand dementors. How was this wizard able to walk within both worlds? How was he able to balance the two opposing forces, nimbly walk on the edge of a sword blade? Which path would he ultimately choose when the time came?
An eerie cry echoed out among the clouds and a dazzling red flame swooped low towards Snape. The reedy man held his right arm above his head and a golden red bird blazed towards him in angry arc. Snape closed his eyes, squeezed his right hand as tight as he could and grasped the flaming red tail of Fawkes. Both disappeared in an angry flash of fire – a single feather floated in the wind, the only evidence they had ever been there.
McGonagall appeared shell shocked and Lupin's mouth was agape in dumbfounded amazement – there was light in the brooding Potions Master after all.
Dumbledore removed a silver handkerchief from his robes and lightly dabbed his misty eyes. He then turned to the newest member of the Hogwarts' faculty.
"Welcome back to school Remus."