Friday, November 30, 2012

[Rogue Soul] II: Assassin

The Soul of an Assassin
The Assassin Soul plays a part in these purposes:
      • Huntsman (Ranged DPS)-12pts.
      • Veteran Huntsman (Ranged DPS)-12pts. *Req. lvl 40*
      • Shadow Blade (Melee DPS)-44pts. *Req. lvl 57 and Ascended Soul Pack*
      • Voidtouched (Melee DPS)-0pts. *Req. Ascended Soul Pack (Shadeborn Soul)*
External Sites:
**Bonus Mastery: Each point spent in the Assassin soul increases damage by 1%.

Type of Soul
Rogues who have mastered the art of subtlety and subterfuge. They stalk the shadows bypassing obstacles to launch devastating surprise attacks. Those who survive the initial will rapidly find themselves falling victim to the assassin’s deadly poisons.
40pt Talent
Thread of Death   10 energy   Instant cast
Self Buff     Cooldown: 30sec.
Allows the next ability that requires stealth to be used outside of stealth. Lasts 5sec.
Legendary Thread of Death
Allows a stealth ability to be used out of stealth. Lasts 5s. You may also passively cast dmging stealth abilities at any time for 25% reduced dmg.
61pt Root Ability
Master of Poisons
The Rogue can active up to 3 enchantments at a time.
Legendary Master of Poisons
Can active up to 3 enchants. When a poison procs, you have a chance to gain Virulent Haste-resets the c/d of serpent strike and allows you to cast it with no c/d or cost.
Main Weapons
The Dwarf Veseslav grew up in the shadows of Hammerknell knowing one truth: the queen of the Dwarves had killed his mother and one day she would die for it. Veseslav’s father was King of the Hammerknell Dwarves and his mother was a comely handmaiden. The jealous queen had the young mother murdered, but not before her offspring could be safely spirited away. Veseslav was taken in by his mother’s brother, Bogdan, who made his living cutting short the lives of others. As Bogdan’s apprentice, Veseslav’s daggers became faster, his stealthy movements less detectable and his poisons more vitriolic than his uncle’s. The young Dwarf developed a particular poison of his own, and named it Ursula, after the evil queen. The Dwarves held a grand feast to celebrate King Monimier’s 60th birthday. All was joy until very suddenly the queen’s face went very pale and she toppled over into her soup, foaming and convulsing. Finally she lay still, poison the clear cause of death. But as the King’s elite guard hurried him to safety in his chambers, one dwarf dropped like a stone. A figure materialized from the shadows, pulling his blade from his victim’s back. The warriors rushed in, but the Assassin dodged their attacks, dealing cuts that bled profusely and festered and boiled from terrible venom. Moving with the ruthless precision of a hawk after prey, he finished them with strikes to their vitals. Soon, the guards were all dispatched, leaving the killer and the King. “I see myself in your face.” Said Monimier. “That isn’t possible.” “And yet, here I am.” Veseslav growled. By the time the party of men were found, the King lay dead among his guards. Veseslave never came forward to claim the crown of Hammerknell, his only legacy a series of flawless assassinations involving a poison that all of Telara now calls Queen Ursula.
Trained to meld with the shadows, bypassing defenses to launch devastating surprise attacks with their poisoned blades.
Choose targets wisely, as an Assassin can find themselves in dire straits if the element of surprise is lost or if the enemy is able to shrug off their virulent poisons or able to detect their stealthing tactics.

References: The lore information and stats provided are all products of Trion and were either taken directly from the game or from Trion's lovely lore page and do not belong to me in any way! The external links to other sites all belong to their respective authors and I had no hand in them!

[Raeslyn's Story] 2.8: The Aelfwar Problem

     Nora Glen was quite pleased to have her personal affects back and gladly offered me a place to stay for the night. In the morning, I woke refreshed and stepped outside to smell the clean forest air. This close to the swamp, the tang of decomposing vegetation also drifted on the breeze, but that was okay by me. The others who were present at the Marsh House drew my curiosity as I performed a few warm up moves with my daggers. The Mathosian who'd been concerned about the Spirit Guide in particular. Seeing he was watching me as well, I decided to go have a chat.

     "Hello there...Thomas was it?" I asked politely when I was close enough for casual conversation. See, I can be nice when I have need of it. He was lounging by one of the large trees in front of the house. I settled myself on the ground, having no problem with getting dirty. I lived in forests my whole life and felt infinitely more at home sitting on the ground amid the good clean earth than seated in a man or dwarf-made chair. The man, Thomas, nodded at me in greeting, still looking as depressed as he had been yesterday when he'd informed me of the dire straits of the Spirit Guide.

     "So what exactly are you doing out here, Thomas? No offense, but you look pretty uncomfortable in your present circumstances." I quirked a brow at him and softened my expression to prove that I genuinely was interested. The man looked, if possible, even more dejected, but began to speak.

     "I came to the Sunken Marsh to perform the will of the Vigil. Perhaps if I do all that is asked of me, I will feel their presence once again."

     I frowned, and studied him silently for a moment. He's seeking to feel the presence of the gods? That must mean that he hasn't felt their touch in some time. Perhaps being Ascended brings me closer to their divine touch, but I've always felt the Vigil with me as I've travelled through old Mathosia and now Silverwood. I tried recalling if I felt their presence this prominently before my rebirth, but the memories were too hazy. Although I couldn't communicate with them directly, or feel anything definitive, I could feel divine power coursing through me and who else could it come from but the gods? I frowned. Perhaps he was atoning for something? Or seeking guidance? Even though the Vigil had been distant and unreachable since the erecting of the Ward, I doubt they would care overmuch about the inner workings of just one mortal man.

      "So why did you come here, if you don't mind my asking? What brought you here, of all places? It can't have been simple chance that led you out here to the edge of the marsh." I pitched my voice low and soft, not wanting to seem nosey or rude. The man took a deep breath and hesitated. He seemed reluctant to speak, but at the same time, there was a light in his eyes, as if he would relish the chance to tell someone his story. I leaned closer and nodded.

     "Well. During the Mathosian civil war, my family and I were slain. I Ascended and came back to Telara...but they didn't. Tormented by guilt, I seek redemption every day but the gods are silent. Always silent! Long ago, I had a vision about the Sunken Marsh. I dreamed that the boglings of the marsh would hold the key to why the Vigil has been ignoring my prayers. I was surprised to learn that the creatures were not the virtuous beings I expected, but rather savage looters and thieves. My resolve is unyielding, however. If the Vigil has a plan for the boglings, perhaps they have one for me too."

     I blinked, knowing I looked a bit startled but not caring. That's a rather...interesting story. I felt sadness that this man had lost all that he held dear, had been Ascended by the gods to live the rest of his life alone, cut off from his family. It must be that I'm thinking about it, it seems somewhat similar to my own plight. Thankfully I have Ascension, a divine gift straight from the Vigil to help me know that I'm not alone and that my path is a righteous one. I shook my head slightly. And this vision? I felt vaguely uneasy about that. Considering what I'd learned about the boglings and their involvement with Greenscale, I wasn't sure what to make of this man's vision. But it seemed to be the only thing keeping him going and I didn't want to take that away from him too. I wasn't sure if I should warn him to be careful or not. It wasn't my business of course, but I'd rather not see any member of the Blood Storm claim another life. I pursed my lips and stood.

     "I hope you find what you're looking for Thomas. I truly do. Be wary, though. Some things are not what they appear." Before I could walk off, he held up a hand. I turned back and tilted my head slightly. "Yes?"

     "I was wondering, did the Spirit Guide live? Was she rescued? What did she say? There must be a reason for her presence here!" I blinked. Of course, I'd forgotten about that. And he seemed honestly concerned. I stepped back nearer and nodded.

     "Yes, I found her and rescued her in time. She was a small, delicate thing, but beautiful in a mystical way. Such power in her eyes...." I trailed off without realizing it, remembering the look of the small doe. She'd looked at me, as if conveying a silent message. As if asking for something. I frowned thoughtfully.

     "This might sound silly, but I had the impression she had a message for me, when I freed her. But I couldn't understand it if she did. It was more of an impression. As if she expected something from me. What do you know of the Spirit Guides?" I asked, curious. I assumed that he had knowledge about the Spirit Guides, since he was the one who told me she was in danger. And I was right. Thomas rubbed his chin thoughtfully and straightened his shoulders.

     "Long ago, the followers of Tavril placed altars across the forest to see the reflection of their true selves through the eyes of the gods. If the Vigil sent the Spirit Guide to you, praying before these altars of reflection might reveal that to you." As he finished, the knowledge came back to me. I remembered coming across one such altar in my travels around the wood. The Altars of Reflection were for the Elves to communicate with Tavril through guides and signs. It helped remind my people of what we stood for. That would be the perfect place. It felt good to have a goal and I was very much eager to meditate for Tavril again. Having to constantly remind myself that she was part of the Vigil now was tiring. At least in this, I could focus completely on my patron goddess.

     "Thanks, Thomas. I wish you luck in your quest." I stood and gave one last glance around. I narrowed my eyes at the tall male elf by the side of the Marsh House as a silent warning. He was fiddling with some sort of rod. It was his experiments, along with Nora's knowledge, that had led to poor Maffle becoming crazed and unstable. I headed into the woods behind the little hut, going over my mental map of Silverwood for the closest altar that I knew of.

     To my surprise, there happened to be an altar of reflection conveniently located not far from the Marsh. I quickly estimated how long it would take to get there and was pleased. Breaking into a paced jog, I loped through the forest. The trees here by the marsh were taller and greener, no doubt due to the oxygen-rich nutrients being generated and the extra water available.

     The Altar of Reflection was located in a small, symmetrical clearing. The physical presence of the altar infused the clearing with a sense of ancient wisdom and peace that instantly had me relaxing as I approached. I knelt respectfully before the altar and murmured a quick prayer to the gods, Tavril in particular. Studying the altar carefully, as I'd never actually had need to visit an altar of reflection before, I noticed that there was a sun disc floating as if by magic on the flat surface. The sun beams were being filtered directly through the mirror and made a curious design on the surface of the altar. I leaned closer to better inspect the design. The golden sunlight outlined an icon, but the lines were indistinct and blurred so I couldn't make out who's icon it was. The odds were, it was probably Tavril's holy symbol. That would make the most sense.

     Hesitantly, I placed my fingers on the sun disc, tracing the contours gently and reverently. I could practically feel the presence of the goddess, Tavril, in the glade. As I'd been taught all my life, I reached down and flipped the sun disc, activating the magic inherent in the altar. If the Spirit Guide was for me, she would appear before me now. I waited but a moment before shining light engulfed the altar. The light floated away and coalesced above the ground to my left. I stepped back, somewhat awed by this spectacle, and watched the light form into the now familiar shape of the Spirit Guide. The young doe, shining with an inner holy light, shook herself and pawed the ground. Than she lifted her head and gazed at me silently.

     "What do you need from me, Guide?" I asked quietly. For some reason, I hesitated to speak over a whisper. The Spirit Guide tossed her head. She gave me one, soulful look, than turned abruptly and faced the other direction, back toward the Marsh House. I frowned. What? I'd just come from there...

     "You want me to go back to the Marsh House?" I asked rhetorically. The doe nodded her head, than shook it. I considered. "You want me to head back to Thomas Penthas perhaps?" I asked, keeping my voice soft. This time the doe nodded confidently, bobbing her arched neck gracefully. I tried not to become annoyed by this, but it was hard. I'd just come from there, all the way to the nearest Altar of Reflection, to speak to the Spirit Guide, only to have her tell me that I needed to go back and talk to that bloody Mathosian again. Arg!
     Taking a deep breath, I inclined my head in a respectful manner at the doe. She cocked her head, contemplating me, than slowly became transparent. Soon, there was nothing in her place but motes of shining light, which drifted back into the altar. I snorted. Fine. I complained to myself the entire trip back to the Marsh House.

 "So, the Spirit Guide was for you after all? I envy you, Raeslyn. May the Vigil bless your path through this forest. When our paths cross again, I hope to find their light shines upon us both."

     I rolled my eyes at Thomas's flowery greeting when I explained what had happened at the Alter of Reflection. Of course, everyone at the Marsh House had been quite curious to see me come back here, having assumed I had important tasks to complete elsewhere. Well, apparently I still had unfinished business here.

     "Well, the Spirit Guide didn't say much to me. In fact, she didn't say anything at all." I said, rather crossly. I resisted the urge to tap my fingers on my dagger hilt. I hate wasting my time and going back and forth between the Spirit Guide and the marsh and the Marsh House was trying my patience. "Apparently though, you have some interesting information that could be of importance in my quest to cleanse Silverwood. So out with it." I waggled my eyebrows at Thomas to soften my sharp words some, although I was feeling quite annoyed.
      Thomas blinked and rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "I don't see how I can help...oh!" He snapped his fingers and I raised an eyebrow.
      "Yes?" I asked impatiently.
      "Isilwyn Alrai, a former member of the High Elf Council is investigating Aelfwar activity at Silver Landing. He sent me a message asking if I would be interested in coming down to help him with his investigations. You should go talk to him. I know he'd be extremely grateful if you could be of aid and I bet that's what the Spirit Guide meant. That's the only thing I can think of that would be significant. Those Aelfwar are out of control."

     I went cold. Aelfwar. The last time I'd tangled with that order I'd been slain. I fought to keep any expression off my face, and nodded thoughtfully, as if pretending to think it over. My mind was a flurry. The Aelfwar were openly attacking now? No, they can't be, or I'd have heard about it. Perhaps they were setting plans in motion though. This could be the beginning of something. Thomas was right, I needed to investigate this. I found it was my duty, as a member of that society, to do what I could to mitigate the damage the Aelfwar were doing to my beloved forest. The familiar guilt ate at me as I turned without a word and numbly walked away. I knew where Silver Landing was of course. Down the coastline further, where the inlet was. It shouldn't take more than a few hours to reach if I traveled swiftly.
      I couldn't help but think of my last living memory as my old self, a simple young rogue, just learning my trade, loyally following my mentor through the forest as we rushed to reach Mathosian lands and warn Shyla of Hylas's treachery. But of course, they had known, hadn't they? Had ambushed us before we'd even left Silverwood. Where was my mentor? My heart ached with the loss. I increased my pace to block out the thoughts, the emotions. But I couldn't outrun myself, mores the pity. I retreated back within my mind and was relieved when the other souls that shared my body sensed my distress. Gently, a maternal hand was placed in mine, and control was shunted off to someone else. I lay quiet in my own head and let someone else be the guide for once. It was still my body, and I knew I was still the one in control. But I'd let someone else steer for a little while.

     I became aware again when I realized there was trouble up ahead. Slight movement among the trees alerted me, bringing me back to my senses. I slowed, glancing around cautiously. My fine elven sight picked out a tall form moving easily in the undergrowth. Aelfwar. I narrowed my eyes, drawing my daggers silently. If I want to take down the Aelfwar, I couldn't just go around slaying any I found at random, but I hungered so sharply to slit this one's throat that I was trembling. I'd never felt bloodthirst or fury of this magnitude before and it might have frightened me once. But my experiences since resurrection had changed me. Drawing on the knowledge of my brethren souls, I took a deep breath and concentrated upon my Ascended connection. I was going to try a new trick.

     Concentrating on what I wanted, I opened my mind to the sensation of the power and felt a give in the power somewhere. With a small, almost musical sound, I vanished from view. I knew I was there. But I couldn't see anything about my figure except a vague, blurred outline if I concentrated. The effect was rather distracting and dizzying, but I didn't dwell on it long. I focused back on the Aelfwar. Holding myself invisible in this new stealth technique was immensely draining and I instinctively felt I wouldn't have long to stay this way. If I wanted to catch this Aelfwar scout by surprise, I needed to act fast. Considering, I wondered if I'd be able to do that flash forward teleport I'd pulled off in Mathosia. I hadn't thought about it recently because I'd seen no use for it, but it would be quite handy in this instance. Gritting my teeth, I called up that technique and remembered how I'd done it. The other souls inside me lent me their abilities and I teleported through the dimensions, arriving instantly at the Aelfwar's back. The scout, a young willowy woman in brown and gray leathers with a mask over her fine features, seemed to sense something amiss. She whirled about, glancing around the wood suspiciously. Her arm drew back over her shoulder, fingering the fletching of an arrow. A giddy thrill surged through me when I realized she indeed couldn't see me. I grinned, displaying teeth.

     Without warning, I exploded out of my shell of invisibility, ambushing her from behind with a lethal knife strike between the shoulder blades. The woman cried out, a strangled sound, and pitched forward. Like any good soldier, she turned her fall into a timed tumble, coming up with arrow knocked to her bow. Anticipating this, I rolled to the side, thrusting my daggers under her raised arm and scoring a hit along her ribs. Again she cried out, breath hitching. A small part of me wailed at what I was doing my kinsman, but the hard-headed Ascended half knew I had to do this. I couldn't let these scouts report back to their leader what they learned about this area. They couldn't be allowed to know Silverwood's strengths and the outposts of the Guardians. I may have belonged to the Aelfwar once, but no longer. Now I was a Guardian.
      I hissed in fury as I again slashed at the Aelfwar woman, leaving bloody lines along her shoulder and chest. An arrow whistled by me, so close it ruffled my leathers. I kept my eyes on the woman, refusing to be distracted by the arrows. I could heal most damage inflicted, I was confident of that. Another arrow narrowly missed my arm as I circled around the woman. She was fast with her bow, I'll give her that much. Time to finish this. I moved in, pivoting on one foot to avoid yet another arrow. With my left hand leading, I struck, sinking a dagger to the hilt in her back, just behind the shoulder blade. The woman jerked and stiffened. Without a sound she pitched forward.

     Grimly, I pulled my dagger out and wiped it on her tunic. I studiously avoided looking at the body as I sheathed both my daggers. I did pick up the arrows though. One can never have too many weapons.
      After that first kill, I was able to keep myself in check when I encountered other Aelfwar. Although I did find it necessary to slay several more scouts who had ventured too close to Silver Landing for my liking. I did see several coastal roving wolves as well, which was odd, since I'd thought they kept their distance from any presence of the mortal races. Unless the Aelfwar had somehow put a hold on some of the wild brethren. I wouldn't put it past them, subverting the wild creatures of Telara for their own gain.
      Silver Landing was a small, coastal outpost, sparsely manned, that had been set up more as a retreat for elves who wanted to escape from the politics of the council and the rift between Shyla and Hylas than out of any need for sentries along the coast. Although now it looked like it was a good strategic location if the Aelfwar did get a hold of it. There were several vigilant defenders standing at alert by the base of the main building. They eyed me warily as I approached, hands up to signify I meant no threat. The defenders, both Mathosian, nodded at me.

     "Raeslyn the Ascended. I'm here to see Isilwyn Alraie." I said loudly. A tall, pale elf exited the building as I spoke and beckoned me up. I assumed he was the one I needed to see.

     "You've risked much coming here. I am impressed, stranger." I scoffed. For an Ascended, the threat of the Aelfwar wasn't as high. Though there did seem to be quite a number of them roaming the woods around here.

     "This is Blair Rheese and Elenas Kerilan." Isilwyn pointed out the two other occupants of the dwelling to me, two young elven women. I nodded at both.

     "It is good that my old friend Penthas had the foresight to send you to me. There are forces unsettling the Silver Coast and I need your help to thwart their plans."

     I frowned. Something was happening along the Silver Coast? A sea invasion perhaps? Or was something else happening? Thwart whose plans? The Aelfwar? Gladly. Before I could question him, Isilwyn continued.

     "Commander Falem, the Aelfwar officer in this area, is wielding a piece of the forest that is imbued with planar magic. I have seen him admiring a great thorn he was wearing around his wrist. That thorn will serve as our last piece of evidence against the Aelfwar. If we have it, we can take it to the council and take steps to remove the head from the Aelfwar snake. Retrieve the Faetouched thorn from Commander Falem. He was last seen down along the coastline. He's set up his command post in an old fishing hut to the southeast. My men can't seem to get near him."

     I frowned thoughtfully. A Faetouched thorn? I wonder...I didn't know the Aelfwar were involved with the Fae, but now that I think about it, it makes a kind of sense. I had heard odd lilting music throughout the wood in my time before my resurrection. I'd often attributed it to some random elf maiden nearby, but I'd never actually found the source of the music. If it was Fae in origin, I wouldn't either. This was very bad indeed if the Fae were involved. I knew very little about that race of magical beings, or big of a threat they were to Silverwood's stability. I definitely needed to get a hold of this thorn.

     "I'll retrieve the thorn." I said, standing and nodding. Isilwyn looked relieved and smiled at me. "That is good news, thank you Ascended. Also, if you wouldn't mind, could you look into some trouble my companion seems to be having? Blair, if you please?" He gestured to the pretty blonde elf and I turned, lifting an eyebrow at her. I admit, the more I delve into the problems of Silverwood, the more curious I get. And I am having a lot of fun solving these little problems. I smirked to myself. Raeslyn, problem-solver extraordinaire, freeing the world from evil one quest at a time.
     Blair gave me a dainty, hesitant smile, but I wasn't fooled. She might look like a delicate china doll, but like all High Elves, she was strong, capable, and ruthless when she needed to be. I inclined my head to her.

     "A few days ago, a Guardian ship crashed just off the Silver Coast. Fearing the Aelfwar may be responsible, I sent a scout, Indra Grenwode, to investigate, but she hasn't returned yet. Could you perhaps investigate this shipwreck for yourself and search for her? I would very much like to know what happened to my scout and also...the ship. It is called the Galena and you should find it to the south of here, just off the coastline. It can't be coincidence that it crashed here, where the Aelfwar threat appears strongest."

     I nodded, silently considering. A ship crashes off the coast, an Aelfwar commander is carrying a Faetouched talisman...the Aelfwar in general are becoming more active. What does it all mean? I'm sure there's some connection, but what? I shook my head. I needed to finish these tasks and perhaps the answers will become apparent.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

[Lore] VIII: Boglings

     Boglings are a rather odd race of beings that inhabit the marshy places of Telara. They've proven intelligent enough to speak, but rarely do so. They are small, knobby, and quite vicious. They have a crude society that is very insular and they don't venture past the outskirts of the swamp or bog that they make their home in. They are vaguely humanoid in form, but have many characteristics of small rodents like mice.

     Boglings are classified as demi-human, which means they lack the awareness and sentience that the humanoid races possess. Perhaps in time they will evolve further. They do wear clothing, to a point. It usually consists of a sack-like full body coat and sometimes shoes. They also make and carry their own weapons, crudely made. Their weapons usually consist of wedges of sharpened stone tied to wood to make knives, or long knobby tree branches as staves.

     Boglings originate not from Telara, but rather from the Plane of Life. They migrated to Telara from the rifts in the planes and have adapted to Telara's climate. They are smaller than most of the 6 mortal races of Telara, all except the Dwarves. They have mottled gray, brown and green skin to help them blend into their habitat and outrageously large, rounded ears, similar to a mouse. This is their most recognized feature.

     The boglings of Silverwood appear to have a crude religion of sorts. They have religious implements about their homes and even some idols and a sacrificial altar. It was determined by Ascended later that this is actually the boglings' way of worshipping their master, Greenscale, the dragon from the Plane of Life. 
     Boglings are found in various locations around Telara, not just in Silverwood. They prefer wet, marshy areas and can also be found in Moonshade Highlands. Long ago, when the Blood Storm first invaded and the boglings had first arrived, they were a menace in Moonshade Highlands, sacrificing and worshipping their powerful master, Greenscale, until an elven priestess by the name of Kirna used her influence to shape them into creatures of Tavril. They became peaceable, happy beings that looked to Tavril for guidance and grew special blossoms around the lakes they called home in her honor, which were later named Goddess Blossoms, a plant which still grows today. Unfortunately, when the Ward was weakened, allowing the Blood Storm to again touch the minds of their planar followers, the boglings were but one race that were driven into a frenzy of violence, turning from Tavril and becoming a menace to any unwary traveler along the lake roads, no doubt due to the maddening influence of the Abyssal cult, a group of Telarans dedicated to following and freeing the mad dragon Akylios from his watery prison.

References: This lore post is entirely done with my own research in game. There is no information, or posts on Boglings in the info or lore sections of Rift's website so I kind of had to improvise here. It's easy enough to do though, if you pay attention and read the quests and observe the critters! As always, Rift and its denizens belong to Trion Worlds, not me!! :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

[Raeslyn's Story] 2.7: Swamp Thing

     Once I'd realized how dangerous the marsh really was, I told Kelnin to stay behind. Last thing I need is to have someone in my company get hurt. And I didn't need to be worrying over someone's safety when I needed to focus. The marsh was dank, wet, and smelly. Just what I was looking forward to...not. It was also hard to see due to a mist that was rising up off the fetid, spongy ground. Sighing in irritation, I tried getting my bearings.
      As I walked further into the mist, I noticed large shadowed shapes rising out of the darkness and it took me a few minutes to realize that I was staring at dozens of crude, primitive dwellings. Finally my interest became peaked. I've always love studying different cultures and here was a new opportunity to study a rather unusual one. I know next to nothing about boglings, true. I've never really had an interest in the little, mouse-headed creatures. They seemed simplistic creatures that didn't warrant any attention. Now I realized that maybe I'd been a bit hasty in turning down a class on bogling culture in college.

     With my hands hovering near my daggers, ready to draw them at the first sign of danger, I cautiously approached one of the dwellings. It was a simple, wooden hut with a small set of crooked stairs leading up to a domed building hardly large enough for myself to fit in. Of course, maybe it was quite the roomy home for a bogling, I've not a clue. As I was leaving the hut, I noticed something blue lying in the mud along the stairs. After a quick look around to be sure there wasn't anything threatening nearby, I stooped to inspect the object. It turned out to be a small, blue, leather-bound journal.

     After wiping the mud and slime off the journal I was able to read some of the words. In big, gold lettering across the front were the words "Professor Nora Glen's Research Journal." Flipping through a few pages, I read the last entry, which seemed to be filled with lamentations about a loss of research equipment that had been stolen by the boglings. I tapped my hand with the journal thoughtfully. Well I guess while I'm here, I could hunt down some of her lost research implements if I could find any. I wouldn't go out of my way to look for them, per se, but if I stumbled across something that looked like it was Nora's research, I suppose I could return it to her.
      I wandered around the marsh, quickly realizing that it was quite cool here in relation to the sun-drenched trees of the rest of the forest and I shivered, rubbing my arms. When I'd chosen my clothing, I'd gone for light, flexible and protective. I wanted leather that wouldn't impede my ability to fight and use my agility to my best advantage. Perhaps I'd have to purchase something warmer when next I visited Argent Glade.

     Lost in my musings, it took me a few minutes to realize that I'd about left the crude little dwellings behind. About to turn around, as I'd yet to come across anything related to a Spirit Guide or to Tavril, I stopped and squinted my eyes. Up ahead, there appeared to be another dwelling. This one was different from the others, however. It was larger, more detailed, and appeared to be elven-made, surprisingly. Quirking an eyebrow curiously, I walked up to the hut. Only one way to find out.
      Inside, I noticed that this house was furnished sparsely with man-made items. This must be where the professor stayed while she studied and experimented with the boglings. A book-lined shelf stood against one wall. Sensing that the house was silent and empty, I ventured further in. In the back, an open balcony of sorts overlooked the far end of the marsh, where the spongy ground gave way completely to a lagoon. In the center of the balcony stood a brazier, complete with coals and a lighting implement. And what do you know, it was still lit... movement stiffened my muscles. Out of the shadows of the house came a monstrous looking bogling. He was larger and heftier than the others and had a fanatical, manic gleam to his eyes. His skin was mottled and disgusting. I found myself reflexively curling my lip in horror, feeling my heart beat faster. This creature was hideous! An obvious aberration.

     "How good to join us." The creature's voice was guttural and throaty. "First, we will be civilized and have rotting fish and tea. Than I do you the honor of wearing your skull as a crown!" I stepped back as he shouted the last, feeling repulsed. Despite his near perfect speech, I could tell this abomination was not in any way able to be reasoned with. He'd apparently been driven mad by the experiments Nora had been conducting. I made a mental note to have a word with her about that.

    I was brought back to the present by the sudden, jerky attack that Maffle made. I easily spun away from his grasping fingers and lashed out with my daggers, scoring a successful hit along the mottled flesh of his arm. The bogling gave a crazed roar and rushed at me again. Thankfully, the longer I'd been actively practicing my Ascended powers and gifts, the more natural they became to me. My enhanced speed, agility and stamina were quite a boon now as I continuously dodged the giant bogling's attacks. Compared to some of the things I'd faced since my Ascension, this bogling was easy prey. Although I did feel a pang of pity when I finally got a finishing move in, slicing across the fleshy underside of Maffle's throat. The creature didn't ask for this fate. His madness was an uncontrollable result of Nora's meddling.

     After I'd killed Maffle, I stood for a few moments while my heart rate returned to normal. The thrill of battle finally faded and I wondered when I'd changed so much that I actually relished the idea of a good fight. The other souls inside me were definitely changing me, tempering me. Whether that was good or bad remained to be seen.

     I wiped my daggers clean of bogling blood on Maffle's raggedy tunic, than glanced around again appraisingly. I was surprised to see that there was in fact a small table tucked away in the corner, complete with a broken teapot in the center. I smiled ironically, baring teeth. Behind the table, in a pile, were a bunch of odds and ends that looked like the missing research implements that Nora talked about in her journal. Pleased to have that finished as well, I swept them up into my pack and left the elegant little dwelling behind. It seemed to have gotten darker outside, if that was possible, and I glanced upward uneasily. I'd rather not be here after dark if I can help it. Quickly I strode off toward the edge of the marsh, where it met the forest, looking for any sign of Scotty.

     I knew he had to be out here collecting whatever it was that Fiona had him fetch. Seriously, that boy needed some sense knocked into him. He was too trusting. I heard his muttering and came around one particularly large tree to see him bent over, collecting something from the earth.

     "Scotty? When will you learn that Fiona wants nothing but ill for you?" I asked with exasperation. Scotty yelped and jumped up, startled by my apparent sudden appearance.

     "Don't do that!" He replied, looking wide-eyed. I grinned and shrugged. "Sorry, habit. Come on, I'll watch your back while you grab Fiona's stuff." Scotty looked grateful and nodded, setting off away from the tree.
     True to my word, I watched the shadows warily while Scotty bumbled around the outskirts of the marsh. I steered him away from the dangerous areas where I could see bogling eyes gleaming and mostly kept him from getting killed. Fool kid.

     "Ahhh, vespids! Get 'em off! Raeslyn!" As he reached for one more item, a couple of angry vespid drones suddenly swooped down on Scotty. Acting quickly, I threw a small dagger at one to gain its attention and sent a fiery spike at the other. Both vespids left off tormenting Scotty and descended upon me, wings humming. The simple, maddened creatures tried to sting and bite where they could but thankfully my armor protected my vulnerable spots and my bare arms were moving too fast for them to target. Daggers whirling, I sliced through the wings of the vespids, making them easy prey for the mercy stroke. After I'd gutted the large insects, I turned and rolled my eyes at Scotty.

     "Can we go now?"

     Scotty nodded cheerfully and inspected the items he'd gathered thus far. "Yep, I'm all done! Thanks for all the help Raeslyn! That was just too much for me to handle alone! Glad you were there pal!" I snorted, but watched fondly as he scampered off in the direction of the Marsh House, where I'd set Kelnin to watch for his cousin.

     Ticking each task off in my head, I realized that I'd yet to see a sign of the Spirit Guide that Thomas had said was being held captive by the boglings. Feeling a new sense of urgency rise in me, I glanced around rather uselessly. Where would the boglings take a live sacrifice? I've no idea! If I'd studied anything of bogling culture, perhaps I'd know. Choosing a direction, I set off, glancing around constantly for any sign of the Spirit Guide. As I ventured yet further into the marsh, I couldn't help but be interested by all the crude little dwellings I passed. I added boglings to my ever-growing list of things to learn about when I had the time. I love research and knowledge and I couldn't wait to investigate a new subject.

     Aha! I was relieved when the telltale glow of holy light shone ahead of me to the right. Veering in that direction, I came to the edge of the marsh. Ahead, on a small island, I could just make out the outline of a small, delicate looking deer tethered to a stone altar. I eyed the water in front of me distastefully. There better not be any critters in here that want to eat me. I'm so not in the mood, I thought sourly as I waded in. Grimacing from the cold embrace of the water, I quickly made my way across the remaining distance to the small, loamy island. The ground squelched and bobbed as I stepped on the island and I had the uneasy feeling that it was just floating on the lagoon like pond scum. Not a pleasant thought.

     Presently, those thoughts were forgotten. The poor Spirit Guide-as indeed it was one, I could tell immediately-was tied securely to a large stone altar in the center of the island. Brown splashes dotted the top of the altar and I knew with certainty that sacrifices had been conducted here before. The small, beautiful fawn turned as if sensing my presence and gazed straight into my soul with her liquid brown eyes. I gasped as I felt her aura, a mix of holy and wild magics. Beautiful. Such a creature should never be subjected to this kind of torture.

     I was wondering why there weren't any guards when a large, robed bogling suddenly attacked me from behind. I quickly whirled, putting my back to the fawn. A bogling High Priestess stared me down with malicious, blood-crazed eyes. Ugh, fanatics. The bogling waved an overlong staff at me  threateningly, spouting gibberish. I wondered if she...he? was angry that I'd interrupted a sacred ceremony of theirs. Too bad. Putting myself between the fawn and the bogling zealot, I engaged the creature. This one wasn't as intelligent as Maffle, but it wasn't as mad either. There was an animal cunning in its eyes as it evaded my attacks. We danced around each other for several minutes. Every so often, the bogling would chant something and throw magical projectiles at me, but my Ascended status helped me shrug off what would otherwise be dangerous magics indeed. Before my Ascension, I'd never be able to withstand any kind of magical attacks. Now I felt confident that I could have a chance to face off with casters. Quite a new feat for me.

     Finally, the bogling had either exhausted its inner supply of magical reserve or had grown frustrated with my evasions, for it suddenly sprang at me, staff leading. A bogling with a staff was child's play to me at this point. My skill in combat had grown exponentially and I knew that the High Priestess wasn't a threat. Still, I was wary and whirled to the side as the bogling charged, wanting to avoid being hit by the staff. Advanced healing or not, it still hurt. I sliced open the bogling's arm from wrist to elbow as I danced aside, than quickly drew my foot forward, spinning, daggers leading. I could feel my weapons sink into unprotected flesh and yanked viciously. The bogling gurgled and slid to the ground in a boneless heap. I kept my stance for several more seconds, before righting myself and returning to proper balance.

     I nodded in satisfaction, cleaning and sheathing my daggers. I felt no remorse. The bogling would have ended the life of a Spirit Guide if I hadn't killed it. Speaking of the Spirit Guide, I turned back and studied the bindings intently. The tether seemed to glow with a violet, fell light that raised the hackles on my neck. A magical binding. Great. Magic wasn't something I was good at. I was a rogue after all, not a bloody mage. Still, I bent down and studied the tether thoughtfully. Being this close to the magical binding caused little sparks to arc off it and zap along my skin. The magic obviously reacted to any attempt at freeing the fawn. Clever. Very clever. I stood and moved around the fawn, who flicked her tail, watching me intently. I could feel her eyes boring into me, the weight of all the wisdom of the ages behind the innocent, animal expression. It was rather disconcerting.

    Thankfully, I did end up figuring out the catch to the binding. The magical tether had a knot by the altar that, when unraveled, dissipated the angry, hurtful magic as well. As soon as the binding fell away, the fawn shook herself from nose tip to tail tip, than pawed the ground. She turned and gazed at me silently and I received the impression of her pleasure and approval. Also, she looked strangely expectant.

     "What?" The words were drawn from me almost without my being aware I'd said them, and I blinked at the sound of my own voice in the stillness of the marsh. Than the fawn seemed to come to a decision, dashing off into the water surrounding the island. I watched her, than shrugged. Glancing around, I realized that the altar, the sacrificial and religious items, and the adornments of the bogling were all things I recognized and I felt my blood freeze. These were artifacts of Greenscale! By the gods, how did items relating to that monstrous dragon get here of all places? Were the boglings in league with Greenscale as well? I snorted. It seemed unlikely, given their lack of intelligence and organization. But I had heard that the monstrous dragon god from the Plane of Life was a vicious believer in survival of the fittest. Perhaps these boglings thought they were pretty tough? Or perhaps someone is leading them on...but to what end, I wonder?

     I sighed, blowing strands of hair out of my eyes. It seemed the further I became involved in this, the more questions I came up with. No matter how hard I worked to eradicate the threat to my beloved Silverwood, there was always something else to worry about. Grabbing up a nicely balanced dagger from the sacrificial implements, I headed back to shore. Hey, no point in letting a good weapon go to waste, right? My master had taught me to seize any opportunity I saw, because you never know what would benefit you. And I could always do with more daggers. I sensed amusement from one of the souls inside of me; received the impression of a bow and quiver of arrows, and snorted. No matter how much pressure I received from my alter egos, I refused to give up my fighting style. I liked my daggers. I was comfortable with them and I was good at that style of fighting.

     By the time I sighted the Marsh House again, it was nearly pitch black out. I was hoping Nora wouldn't mind my staying with her since I didn't relish the idea of being out in the forest after dark. Not with all the sinister creatures at work out there, actively trying to kill the Ascended and destroy everything good about the forest!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

[Books and Artifacts] III: History of the High Elves

     ".. .. For all their talk of peace and harmony with the land, the High Elves have a surprisingly violent history. They are much like a gardener who speaks of the serenity of her garden, but will not hesitate to prune plants, poison vermin, and uproot those plantings that did not bear fruit. We brief visitors will marvel at their creation, how serene and beautiful it is, how peaceful. What we don't see is the bloody and often brutal effort necessary to achieve this effect.

      Brakor Melthorpe argued in his tome on Mathosian pre-history that this was precisely how that culture came about. The elves enacted a long standing prophesy over centuries to change the nature of man. The mercurial character of the Eth was not to their liking, so they evolved human culture into the honor bound, spiritual Mathosian. If this is true then it certainly explains the many conflicts between the High Elves and dwarves in our history. It was their attempt to shape us. I credit the dwarven innate stubbornness and contrary streak for forestalling the Elven designs; unless those are precisely the characteristics they wished out of us.
      Individually, however, High Elves come across as a cultured, refined, and achingly beautiful people. Their society is egalitarian by nature, and largely invisible. Only in the forest of Silverwood have they constructed much in the way of permanent structures. The majority of the High Elves walk the land, looking for signs from their goddess, enacting her will upon those who would bring harm to the land. These groups are either a blessing or a scourge to the local populace, depending on where their arrows are pointed.

      Occasionally, one of these knight errants will grow tired or curious of this life and settle in a foreign town and live like the rest of of us mortals, learning a trade, raising a family, and enjoying the serenity that comes from not shouldering the burden of the world's problems."

              ~~The history of the High Elves as told by Historian Gulgot Rampnor, a dwarven historian

Reference: The words of this lore excerpt are taken directly from the book "The history of the High Elves", which can be found in game by completing the artifact set that awards it! It's funny to think that the Mathosian people today were molded by the High Elves into the kind of civilization they wanted. I guess they took their covenant to their goddess pretty seriously, eh?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

[Off Topic] Real life sucks!

     I've  been so incredibly busy lately that most of my online plans just went poof right out the window. I mean seriously, here we are on the cusp of November 13th, the day that Storm Legion launches, and I've had barely an hour a night to play Rift. That is so far below the usual hours I can spend on the game. It's rather depressing actually! I've been doing so many things in real life that I've had no time to even turn my computer on. Mainly I've been working. Slaving away like a dog. Although I don't know where people get that saying, because my dog certainly does not slave at anything...but anyway, ya I've been working all day just about every day. I've not had a holiday, real day off, or a vacation in quite a while, and I'm thinking I'd like to take a few days to myself here one of these weeks. Before Christmas where I'll actually get a chance to take a day off before everyone else books time off.

     I'm incredibly excited for Storm Legion though, I can say that much! I can't WAIT to try things out for the first time!! Dimensions, exploring new zones, new puzzles and shinies to find. Oh, it's going to be a lot of fun. I bought the Infinity Edition too, so I can have the neat looking pink hover mount. Cyclone? Hurricane? Something like that it's called. (My memory is on par with that of a dragonfly). I've even been neglecting my guildie duties, I'm afraid. I've been so tired after work that I can't seem to muster the energy to log in more than 5 minutes and say hello. I usually end up getting so sleepy that I need to shut down the computer and pass out in bed before I fall asleep at the keys.

     Another exciting thing happening tomorrow-or later today- is a new addition to my little family. I'm getting a baby kitty tomorrow. She's 8 weeks old and I named her Sango. A coworker is giving her to me tomorrow morning and I've been looking forward to her arrival for some time. I've already got most of the supplies needed for her transition to her new home, all except collar and nametag, because the pet store wasn't open when I got off work tonight. Which totally sucks. I had to stop by the grocery store instead. Oh well, later I suppose.

     I think that's all there is to report for this update. Hopefully things will feel less hectic next week. Another reason for the seeming chaos of my life and my lack of time to myself is my work schedule. There's been a lot of rearranging and rescheduling because a few people are taking time off, or not showing up for work, which means that my shifts get switched around to cover for it. Hopefully next week that will get straightened out and I can see how my schedule will go. I'm crossing my fingers for less hours and more time to myself, as well as more day shifts. I really hate working at night because than I'm too tired after work to do anything but log onto Rift for a few seconds than head to bed. Also tomorrow I need to clean my apt, do my laundry, dishes, litter box, organize books, straighten up computer section, grocery shopping, and probably some more things I'm forgetting right now because of how tired I am. Long day tomorrow but I hope I'll have enough time to update my Defiant blog, as well as fill in the missing Chapter 2.1 on this blog. Lots of work, are blogs hehe. Oh, and I definitely need to take time out to play Rift of course! That's the main course. My boyfriend is also coming over to stay for a few days tomorrow. See how much time I have to myself here? Almost none!! *pulls hair out*

     That wraps up this entry I think. Darkwysper signing out!