Saturday, June 29, 2013

[Off Topic] UPCOMING 3.0 Livestream reveal!

Live Stream Reveal
     Holy spawn of Regulos! I just got done watching the Live stream that happened just this recently ended Friday (yesterday) and I am totally blown away! I must honestly say, I did NOT see ANY of this coming! Maybe I bury my head in the sand too much with the games I play? Or maybe I'm just so busy with everything else in my life that I don't have time to pay attention to stuff that is not relevant right at the moment...whatever the case is, I'm in shock and incredibly...THRILLED! about what's coming! Seriously, I'm thrilled. So excited. I can't state that enough! I didn't watch the Livestream last night sadly because, honestly, I forgot about it for one thing. And for another, the time it was being broadcasted was the time that I had to leave for work sadly. And I didn't get off work until 11pm my time (I think it's central? Or maybe mountain time?) but oh well, at least they keep it saved so I can view it later!
     While searching for internet pics for my latest lore section, I came across a pic of what looked like a cut away section of water, with "Plane of Water, next expansion" above it and that led me to the Live stream archive! There's SOOOOO much info that they released in this stream, it's insane! So here's my attempt at categorizing it!
Potential new content/info/things to come in Rift:
  • 4 new souls!! A healer rogue (zomg for real?), a tanking mage (ugh, lousy mages always demanding the ability to tank), a healing warrior (that just seems bizarre!) and a support cleric (that one makes the most sense...)
  • Venturing into the Plane of Water! Holy fudge! We actually get to visit one of the Planes! I wonder what that means lorewise...will we venture through a rift? Open a rift of our own? Maybe technology will pave the way? or the gods will show us? Oooooo I can't wait to find out more!
  • More functionality for pets?! Oh wow, that sounds neat! I just hope that it doesn't turn out like WoW's version of Pokémon...bleh! But having "familiars" sounds so cool! Especially for mages. I can see all kinds of RP potential for that!
  • More zones, dungeons, quests, mobs! Oo, my most favorite part about new content is all the new and fun things to explore! This also breeds more unique shinies, puzzles, armor, achievements, titles, pets, etc etc! Ooo goody!
  • Fishing crafting Rifts! Not sure how I feel about that! Although it does fit nicely into the whole Water theme. It sounds like it could potentially be fun. I just hope it doesn't get daily/grindy. I really hate dailies...
     Interesting extra tidbits to take away from the Livestream: The Plane of Water 3.0 expansion thingy will not just focus on water-themed content! There will be emphasis on dreams, madness, ice, etc.  That seems very promising and I am looking forward to the all kinds of content that could come from that. And one of CaptainCurser's comments about "dream people" was really interesting there before he left. They did mention something about underwater mounts, but I'm not sure if that means it's going to happen or if it was just an acknowledgement of the players desires. And they also mentioned that they will work on making the Plane of Water a fun place and not a place where you're constantly swimming around underwater. Personally, I loathe swimming underwater in Rift and WoW...There was also some random murmurs in the background about fortifications that resemble keeps or citadels? I'm not sure what to take from that because I'm not familiar with that sort of thing and end game stuff. Also, they mentioned something about a new Chronicle that doesn't require 2 people and will be more story/lore ish and less about the stabbity kill stuff. Which sounds awesome. Maybe like the Attunement Chronicle?
     All in all, what an exciting hour of info I just watched. It sounds incredibly promising and fun and I'm glad I decided to stick it out with Trion instead of fold when I heard about their F2P decision. Although I must point out, the livestream was actually quite frustrating to watch because of the trouble hearing the actual information being given. The in game volume was so loud, it was driving me crazy, and all the pointless babble and time wasting was quite annoying as well. Other than that, I'm just pleased to have learned about this!
Thanks Trion, you're amazing and I look forward for more stuff to play with in game!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

[Raeslyn's Story] 2.18: Kongeegon, Harbinger of Greenscale

Location: Guardian Foothold south of Overwatch Keep
Time: Early afternoon
Date: Year 1509, 7th Moon
     The Guardian foothold, the base of operations and spies against Hylas and his Aelfwar, wasn't exactly what I had in mind. For one thing, they were all just casually hanging around as if waiting for something exciting to happen. For another thing, it was smaller then I expected. Somehow I imagined an entire army ready and willing to launch themselves at the Keeps front gate, armed to the teeth and ready to slaughter. It made me rather short tempered, which I suppose might be considered unfair, but I was too anxious to get this over with to bother with niceties.
  "Who's in charge here?" I demanded the second I'd caught my breath upon entering the camp. I didn't have to worry about introducing myself or explaining myself to the sentries, as they'd taken one look at me and just let me waltz into camp. My reputation in Silverwood must be growing. While it was nice to finally be so widely respected, I didn't like that I was recognizable on sight, but what could I do about it? Several heads turned at my curt tone and one older woman in red leathers nodded her head at an elven male leaning over some parchment on a table set up under a canopy. The man was dressed in standard military uniform with short cut blonde hair and a long sword at his hip. As my shadow fell over him, the man looked up and gave me a calm once over.

    "Ah, Raeslyn, I take it? Brougan had mentioned your plan of infiltration. I find it a rather risky, but potentially rewarding idea, if you can pull it off." I grit my teeth to avoid saying something nasty, instead crossing my arms. My new leather outfit creaked as I did so and his smile slowly melted as he got the full "Ascended stare of doom" as I was fond of calling it.

     "Don't worry about my part, I can pull it off." I said after a few moments, irritably tossing a few strands of shell pink hair over my shoulder. Not for the first time I considered just cutting it to keep it out of the way. I didn't have the time to keep brushing and sweeping it up out of the way every day. Alas, the trials of being someone needed. I gazed over the encampment. "Where's the other Ascended that Brougan was going to send?" With a Wardstone being so close by, it was throwing off my innate ability to sense another Ascended.

     Loras pointed to the woman in red leather who'd pointed to Loras earlier. Seeming to sense the attention, she gave us a cool look. Not easily ruffled, was that one. She'd be good in a fight, I thought proudly. So far, all those that had been Ascended had been promising fighters. Still watching us, the woman made an eerie whistling noise and a large grey wolf melted out of the shadows, resting it's head on her lap like a friendly pet. Ah, a ranger then. Only a few ever had the dedication and the mindset to complete their ranger training and successfully bond with one of the wild creatures of the wood. I grinned and the woman quirked an eyebrow, allowing the corners of her lips to lift.

     "That's Cansa." Loras said by way of introduction. He then swung around and pointed to a man practicing battle forms a few paces away from the established line of the camp. "And that's Markus." The man, a Mathosian, had fair skin and dark hair common to the Mathosians. He had a strong, muscular body and good footwork. A warrior, I'd guess. I admired his form a few moments, before nodding. "And that is Madelyn." He finished, pointing to a tiny little woman wedged in between two boisterous young Guardians. I blinked and stared harder. I hadn't even noticed her before, she'd been nearly squashed by the men on either side. She was wearing a heavy robe of some silvery material and a thick book rested in her lap, forgotten as she laughed along with her much larger companions. A female dwarf, huh what do ya know. Of course I hadn't believed the standing joke that there were no female dwarves, but I'd known that they rarely left the delves. Of course, in these times of unrest, and being Ascended, it would make sense she'd want to help out where she could. From her garments I'd say she was a Cleric.

     "Sounds like a good mix." I said finally to break the silence. Loras nodded. He placed his fingers on the parchment on the table and I leaned down to study it. It was old smudged blueprints of Overwatch Keep. "Where'd you find this!" I blurted in surprise. Loras smiled at me.

     "Perhaps later I'll regale you with tales of my exploits," Loras said with a hand flourish, and I wondered if he was the flirty type. "For now though, we need to focus on disabling this threat." He finished and I sobered. "We have a lot to do and a little time to do it." Loras said.

     "We must stop Prince Hylas any way we can. If you are confident in your ability to enter the Keep undetected, then by all means, we will leave the disarming of the ritual to you. Do us proud Ascended and put an end to the Fae threat in Silverwood." He offered his hand and I felt like cringing from it. But in an effort of goodwill, I grasped his wrist lightly and gave a weak shake. I really didn't like being touched. After he'd let go, I mightily resisted the urge to wipe my hand on my jerkin. Not very polite, I reminded myself. I needed these men to be my distraction while I snuck inside. A woman walked up and saluted Loras and he gestured her over.

     "This is Cailin Amora. She's my second in command, and a finer officer you'll not find anywhere. She'll lead the Ascended." He winked at the taller woman and she blushed, her fine elven features turning pink. I rolled my eyes. Yep, definitely a flirt.

     Cailin gave me a firm nod. "We thank you for volunteering for this dangerous task, Ascended. Our hopes go with you." She said formally. I nodded, even though it wasn't so much volunteering as knowing it was the best and most time efficient. "The sooner that we extinguish the Aelfwar threat the better, so that we can finally remove the tarnish that House Aelfwar has brought to the High Elves." Cailin continued, lifting her head high. I raised an eyebrow. I hadn't thought of it in terms of reputation and all that nonsense. I just wanted Silverwood safe from Hylas's actions.

     Loras gave everyone in camp the announcement that in two hours they'd assault the Keep and suddenly the camp was a blur of activity, everyone rushing about to get supplies ready. The shring of whetstones against blades, the whirr of arrows being settled into quivers, the creak of leather and clank of plate. All the noise eventually began to give me a headache and I told Loras I was setting off to assess the layout of the Keep. I already knew my way in, but I wanted an excuse to get away from the din. Besides, I wanted to be in position for when the siege started to take maximum advantage of the initial chaos. Licking my lips, I realized I actually found myself looking forward to this fight. Despite the fact that I would no doubt meet up with former friends and acquaintances, I was glad that it was all coming to a head. Well maybe glad wasn't the word. I couldn't describe it, but I was glad. The main gate to Overwatch was heavily guarded by alert Aelfwar soldiers with hard eyes who scanned all the nearby land as if waiting for something to jump out and attack them. Which it would, in a few hours. I skirted around many patrols that roamed the areas, easily able to avoid the Aelfwar with my concealing abilities. If I wasn't Ascended this would probably be a nearly impossible feat. I found myself wondering if I'd be able to do it before, idly musing over what I'd do differently before my rebirth, as I came upon the back path that led a meandering, lazy path up to the fortress. This was usually where the more unsavory actions happened. Spies and suchlike. As much as the High Elves liked to think themselves refined and above the petty problems of the rest of civilization, we had always had occasion to eliminate threats to the wild places of Telara. Pruning among the forest as well as among the towns. At least, that was how it was ages past, when we Elves were the wandering guardians of the forest of Tavra, when the humans had been nothing but violent, heretical savages. Here's hoping that the path, so old, had been forgotten, or wasn't worth the effort of guarding, as it was a rather steep and difficult path and ended at a stone wall. The thing not many knew was that there were hand holds in the stone and if you were careful you could sneak up and over without anyone finding out.

     Just as I approached the wall, a great commotion caused me to grin triumphantly. Just in time. A shudder went through the ground as the Guardian forces assaulted the Keep. Screams and shouts grew fainter as they moved toward the front of the Keep and I quickly hoisted myself in to the first foothold.

     Once over the wall, I crept along it on the inside, alert to any danger. The Keep layout just as I remembered, and I easily avoided the myriad soldiers and spellcasters who rushed toward the sounds of battle. From the amount of Aelfwar scrambling for the gate, I suspected that the Guardians were giving them quite a run for their money. The work of the Ascended no doubt. I mentally cheered my fellows on. When one elf in high ranking armor stopped in the courtyard and bowed formally to someone I couldn't see nearby, I ventured around the corner and gasped. There was Hylas! Right there, pretty much in my face! I hardly dared breath, alternating between relief that I'd found him and panic that yes...I'd found him. Now what? He was sitting on a balcony about shoulder height in a strange, twisted caricature of a throne. A dark viridian aura of planar magic pulsed around him, the magic so powerful and ugly that I had a hard time believing that this was indeed Prince Hylas, beloved leader of the High Elves for centuries. The first oathtakers of the Covenant would surely be rolling in their proverbial graves to see how far our prince had fallen.

     "I will not stand idly by while Maelforge and his goblin minions lay waste to my beloved wild forest!" Hylas suddenly snapped and for a frozen, horrified moment, I thought he was talking to me. But movement on the balcony evidenced another spectator, a strange looking Cleric. I frowned, he looked somewhat familiar, but I couldn't place his name. The Cleric nodded, a dark ugly look on his face that I didn't like.

     "Yes my prince. These Guardians do nothing. They sit safe in their holy city of Sanctum and abandon this fight while you stand your ground against the onslaught of goblins! They ran off to help a foreign land while you stayed loyal to the forest." The man was nearly dripping with excess fawning and I felt unclean just watching him.

     "This is the only way. The only way to save Silverwood is to give in to the wilderness. Let nature consume the world and all that harms it. They will see the inevitable futility of civilization soon enough. " Hylas's voice sounded confident, fervent, but the look in his eyes was one of hesitance, like he was looking for approval that this was the right choice. I stared, suddenly considering this new tidbit. Maybe Hylas had been tricked into the whole thing? This shady cleric surely looked like the epitome of evil advisor. Maybe he had been poisoning Hylas against Tavril, against the Vigil, since the beginning. Hylas abruptly stood up and I fell back a step, lest he discover me. I may be able to conceal myself in shadows, but if someone got too close, I could be discovered. Especially if they were already on the alert.

     "These Guardians seek to dethrone me. They lay siege to my very door. The fools. This ends today." Hylas growled, the words an ominous foreshadowing. Feeling like I'd somehow missed my cue, I followed as Hylas stepped down from the balcony to the courtyard floor and for the first time I noticed the courtyard. Or rather, what was left of it. The space had been almost entirely taken over by the plane of life. Strangling mottled green vines snaked up the walls, shooting into every crack and crevice they could find and bursting through statues that dotted the area. Strange, glowing orange flowers dotted the shadowy corners and I could make out slithery movement among them to my horror. By the gods...

     This was a wake up call, a splash of cold water on the face. Whether Hylas had been swayed by trickery or not, he'd still allowed this to happen and he must be stopped before he unleashed the treant demon on the unsuspecting citizens of Silverwood. The center of the courtyard seethed with planar malevolence, tall blade like grass swaying to a wind I couldn't feel. A strange purple seed pod the size of a small child nestled among the grass tenderly. Splashes of red gave it a strange spotted look and I suspected it was sacrificial blood to feed the unnatural seedling.

     Without being aware of it, I walked up to the seed as Hylas paused at the last step. It was like there was something guiding me, a light, divine presence in my mind. It whispered that I needed to destroy the seedling. The seed pod was the connection between the plane of life and Telara. Through it, Kongeegon would be able to manifest in Silverwood, something I needed to prevent at all cost. I unsheathed my daggers.

     "What is this! Who are you? You think you can simply invoke the Vigil's name and halt my dominion over this forest? You will not defeat Kongeegon that easily! Taste the power of Greenscale!" Hylas.

     I felt a crushing humiliation. I'd let my concealment slip, allowing the Vigil to so distract me that I'd forgotten my surroundings. And I'd been chanting hymns of the Vigil. Oh gods. I was so reckless and stupid and foolish! I'd ruined the one chance we had of resolving this, I just knew it. I turned around slowly, clutching my daggers so tight I imagine my knuckles were white. I didn't want to turn my back on the malignant seedling, but Hylas was the greater threat here. Or so I thought. Hylas waved his hands in the air as he finished speaking and a jet of bright green shot from his fingers. I braced myself, expecting some kind of magical assault, but the green bolt shot right by me. The ground shook and I planted my feet apart to stay upright. Hylas laughed and laughed as the sky darkened and I heard something I'll hear for the rest of my days. It sounded like nothing I've ever heard of before, and yet it wasn't a sound at all. It was the sound of the fabric of reality splitting. On instinct I dove to the side as an enormous foot made up of thousands of roots and branches smashed down where I'd been standing. I thanked my god given reflexes for the fact that I wasn't a pancake right now, but the thought soon fled, along with any other, as Kongeegon stepped into our world, the rift closing with a thunderous snap that was silent at the same time. Invisible, hot, wild wind lashed my face.

     "Fool! You may be Ascended, saved by your precious false gods, but you will never stand up to myself and Kongeegon!" Hylas looked like a mad god standing at the last step, the wind whipping his long fair locks around his face, expression twisted into one of exultant triumph. My heart leaped into my mouth and I suddenly lamented the fact that I hadn't insisted on taking a partner. Or staying with the siege group. Or staying in Argent Glade and letting some other fool do this...

     I'm dead, I'm dead, I'm dead! Was wailing around in my mind uselessly. Kongeegon, the terrible harbinger of Greenscale, towered over me, so tall it was redundant. He squinted down at my suddenly tiny and helpless form and a rumble came forth. It took me a moment to realize it was his version of laughter. Booming, wicked laughter that conjured pictures of animals tearing each other apart and wild vines that strangled the sun.

     "Ascended! You can destroy that creature! You must! Destroy him and I shall distract the prince!" The melodic, soothing voice interrupted my mantra and I saw the Spirit Guide nimbly frolic across the tangle of wild grasses toward the balcony, the sight so incongruous with the rest of the scene that all of us stared, looking rather dumbfounded. I didn't question her sudden appearance, or her ability to take on Hylas despite her delicate, fragile mien. Her words snapped me out of the daze I'd sat in and I was immediately furious for just standing there and letting the monster slay me. I was Ascended for Vigil's safe! I was an assassin of exceptional skill of ability. And most importantly, I was Raeslyn! I never gave up, and I never surrendered, despite the odds. It was just part of who I was and I silently thanked the Spirit Guide for reminding me of that. Without thinking, I flipped forward as Kongeegon rent the ground where I'd been. I felt the passing of his fist as it crashed down and cursed. That was way too close.

     How to kill what was essentially a giant tree soaked in the strongest of planar magics? Such were the dilemmas that plagued my existence, I mused darkly as I avoided another fist. Kongeegon roared with rage. Giant, unstoppable creature he may be, but being a tiny ant had its advantages. Although I knew I'd eventually tire, and than the inevitable would happen. I needed to find his weakness and kill him quickly. And it hit me. Of course. He was a planar creature, but he was still an elemental. A treant. And treants were particularly vulnerable to fire. I could have kicked myself for forgetting that. Of course, I could be forgiven for that oversight while watching that horror step onto Telara. The blight of his presence in Telara assaulted my senses. Everyone has their frozen moments, except with the powerful threats I faced, that could prove deadly. As I rolled away from a crushing foot again, I sheathed my main daggers and yanked out the smaller ones that I'd placed the hellfire spell on, in what seemed another age. The daggers still glowed with their unearthly wreath of flame. They were tiny, even compared to my main daggers. I had a moment of doubt, but I didn't have time to cast the spell on different ones, so I had to work with that I had.

     This time, when Kongeegon crashed down, I leaped at his foot, stabbing the tiny dagger into a root. It was laughably ineffective as a physical weapon, but instantly the flames engulfed the root and all those surrounding it, blackening and charring the surrounding area. Kongeegon roared with shocked pain, shaking his foot furiously. I tried as best I could to stay on his foot and stab as many individual roots as I could but my grip slipped and I found myself blurring through the air. I cracked up against the courtyard wall with a bone breaking thud and slid to the ground. If the vines weren't covering the walls in a blanket of green, I'd no doubt be dead, I thought dazedly, coughing up blood. As it was, I think I'd definitely broken something major inside. Praying that my accelerated healing abilities were able to fix this, I climbed to my feet. Or rather, tried to. Instead, the world tilted sideways and I fought not to throw up breakfast as black spots danced in front of my eyes.

     Far away, I heard Hylas's furious howl and I grinned in bloody satisfaction at the damage I'd wrought to Kongeegon.

     "You're stronger than I thought, Ascended! But no matter, Kongeegon will smother you in the end and you will serve Greenscale. They--" He was abruptly cut off, presumably by the Spirit Guide. I sent a silent blessing to the Vigil for her aid.

     "'Bout time you shut up," I whispered, spitting blood to the side. The ground shuddered under my hand, letting me know that Kongeegon was coming to finish the job. Mustering my failing strength, I yanked myself to my feet by sheer willpower. A draining sensation caused my vision to nearly fade to white and I had the uncomfortable feeling that world was falling away. Oh, this was so not good. Grimly, I bit my lip to help focus and held up my daggers in trembling, clammy hands. I needed to finish this, one way or another. There was no failing. I felt a displacement of air, my only warning that Kongeegon was reaching for me, and I reacted blindly, slashing out viciously with both daggers. Burning wood never smelled better. But I knew, somehow, that this wasn't enough. I was just causing small injuries. Painful and possibly serious, yes, but not life ending. I needed more...

     I needed to get the fire at his heart. Or where a heart would be in a mortal. Somehow, I just knew that. But how on Telara was I going to do that? I could barely stand, for Vigil's sake. Pressing back until I could feel the prick of thorns and leaves in the small of my back, I reached blindly behind me with one hand and twined around one of the rope like vines. I kept brandishing the flaming dagger with the other and thankfully Kongeegon was somewhat wary of the fire, tiny a vessel it may be.

     With agility and strength I didn't even know I had left, I twisted my body, ignoring my laboring heart as it tried to keep my conscious. Up the wall I flung myself, half climbing, half using momentum to swing myself forward. Bracing my feet, I kicked off, praying to all the gods that I struck my target since my vision had narrowed to a point and all I could see was a large greenish brown shadow. The second I impacted with Kongeegon, I thrust both daggers into whatever root like flesh I could reach. I stabbed and stabbed, relentless in my assault, even as Kongeegon flailed and bellowed and shook. I stabbed and stabbed.

     The great body I clung to staggered, and with a mighty crash that rattled my teeth in my skull, fell to the vine covered courtyard floor. I heard a loud wail of despair and vaguely understood that it was Hylas. Had I killed the demon? I attempted to get up, but my limbs wouldn't obey me. So I just lay there. This seems nice. A bright flash of green lit up the back of my eyes and I attempted to focus, but it was too much effort. A sense of danger. Hylas had defeated the Spirit Guide. I knew it. I wondered blurrily if I was next. Than I wondered why I cared. Obviously I was dying anyway. Stubbornly, I clung to consciousness. I refused to give in. They say we are immortal. I didn't want to find out. Not because I was afraid of death, or because I didn't know what would happen, but because I was afraid that death wasn't permanent. Solid proof that I was permanently altered by the gods. Their divine hand of justice. A toy to be repeatedly brought back to fight for their cause. I wanted to be more than that. Didn't I?

     Hylas stopped and stared down at my form, looking hateful and wrathful. I smiled up at him with blood covered lips.

     "This can't be. Unbelievable." Hylas whispered in a confused, agonized voice. If I had the strength, I'd have comforted him. Wait, no I wouldn't. He was a bad guy now, remember? And his giant pet had done this to me. I tried to say as much, but nothing but bubbles of blood emerged. I whimpered. "Lord Twyl promised that Kongeegon couldn't be stopped! You may have foiled my plans for Silverwood, but when Greenscale is released, all of Telara will be entwined in House Aelfwar's wild grip! Until we meet again, Guardian." Oh, he was leaving? Why wasn't he just going to finish me? A hand on my arm seconds later answered that question.

     "We need a healer!" Came Loras's high, panicked voice. I lacked the energy to even raise my hand, so I just stared up at his blurry face. There was a flurry of movement, but I'd stopped caring. In fact, I'd stopped everything.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

[Mage Soul] I: Stormcaller

 The Soul of a Stormcaller
The Stormcaller Soul plays a part in these presets:
  •  Reaper (DPS)-5pts.
  • Flamecaller (DPS)-12pts.
  • Nexus Magus (DPS)-5pts.
  • Terramancer (Support)-5pts.
  • Stormbringer (DPS)-61pts.
External Sites:
*Bonus Mastery: Each point spent in the Stormbringer tree increases damage by 1%.
Type of Soul


An offensive mage who uses the weather and the natural elements to bring down ice and lightning on their foes, freezing them in their tracks or devastating wide areas at a time with bolts of lightning.
40 pt Talent

Lightning Arch     Mana Cost       AE Dmg
Cast time: 1.5s   +11 charge     Cooldown:1min.
Chains lightning to up to 10 enemies, dealing X air dmg to up to 5 enemies near each enemy hit by the chain. Generates a stack of Electrified on the mage for each enemy hit.
61 pt Root Ability

Perfect Storm     No Cost         AE Dmg       
4sec. Channel      -50 charge   Cooldown:2min.
Casts Eye of the Storm and Hailstorm at the enemy's location and channels Lightning Storm on the enemy. Does not trigger global cooldowns of these abilities.
Main Weapons
Staff or Dagger/Wand with off hand.

It is said that Stormcaller Amunet could stop a man's heart with the shock of her touch. Yet before she joined Thorvin Sternhammer's crusade to imprison Greenscale, Amunet was called the Weather Witch of the Emerald March. Without the Justicar's intercession, she would have burned at the stake as a heretic and dragon-pawn. In the rich farmlands of the March, Thorvin's band encountered a land beset by harsh storms and persistent frosts that had left fields washed out and barren. The March folk lay blame to the Eth woman Amunet, who stuck out with her swarthy skin and pale white hair threaded with silver. The crusaders found her bound to a stake in the village square of Smith's Haven, surrounded by villagers bearing torches. Thorvin stepped forth as the hand of divine justice, and bid them allow him to confront the condemned. "Do you have the power they accuse you of?" he asked her. "I do." Amunet responded emotionlessly. "Did you cause the frost." He asked. "I did" said the witch. "Why?"
   A smirk curled her lips. "At last, someone bothers to ask." As his men kept the villagers at bay, Thorvin untied Amunet. She led the party onto the March, where frost withered the delicate leaves of the seedlings. The Elven ranger Durnes wrinkled her nose, as the plants were rank with planar taint. The witch explained that she had discovered Greenscale's minions seeding the land with pods from the Plane of Life and had called in the storms to keep them from blooming. Together they laid a trap for the Lifetouched wretches. The heavy rains quelled and the frosts receded when Amunet released the spells she'd cast on the land. Thorvin's party hid themselves within the field. That very night, human cultists stole through the farmland, sewing the earth with corrupted seeds. Amunet surprised Thorvin's crusaders with her command of weather magic. She stood back from the fray, shielding herself with gales that threw back the cultists like ragdolls. She encircled the cultists in frost, inflicting deep chills of hypothermia. Lightning danced down from the sky, bursting single targets like ripe grapes or arcing between wretches in terrifying games of leap frog. Though each crusader felled many cultists, Amunet racked up victims by the score. When it was over, they found a member of almost every local family among the slain villains. Disgusted, Amunet decided it was time to leave the March and Thorvin offered her a place in his hand, the legendary hunting party destined to bring down gluttonous Greenscale.
      "Should you feel a chill in your bones, or an electric current in the air, you may want to run very far, very fast. You can no more hide from my lightning then block hoarfrost with a shield."
Can weave Air and Water magic together, or mix with other elements to reach heights of devastation on multiple foes at once.

A stormcaller must combine spells and abilities to reach maximum damage. They take longer to deal great damage and are easily vulnerable to foes who can interrupt or close to melee. Are also less effective on single targets.
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!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

[Karazhan's Story] 2.1: Fight the Future

  "Excuse me sir? Where might I find a Sanora Rellwyn?" I quietly asked the first person I saw after leaving the Failsafe device behind. Everything was so different here, it was overwhelming. I just wanted to deliver my message and then...well I didn't really have a plan for after that, but I would like to see what had become of the Kelari in this time. After learning that Sanora was inside the stone chambers up against the rock wall, I headed in that direction, studiously avoiding all the curious eyes that followed my progress. The expedition here had been set up for some time; maybe a year or more, as there were large elaborate tents set up, magitech devices scattered around, and scaffolding lined up against the rock wall. Men and women went about their separate duties, while several others were up on top of the rocks, evidently digging away at the mountain. A young, strangely garbed woman with bright yellow hair watched me walking toward the stone entrance with glee and anticipation. I gave her an odd look as I came closer, but she didn't seem to notice. When I'd come abreast of her position, she threw her hands up dramatically and exclaimed, "An Ascended! They do exist!" then promptly fell to the ground in what I'd assume was some kind of faint.

     I stopped and stared down at the fainted woman, feeling a new kind of fear arrow into me. How did she know I was Ascended? She had elf like features, but she looked more delicate, like a doll or a pixie. And she felt different to my magical senses. I blinked a few times, but when no one else around reacted to her rather dramatic fit, I shrugged and moved on. I had more important matters to attend to. The minute I entered the stone chamber, I knew I'd been here before. In my mind's eye, I imagined this room full of magitech constructs, with red robed scientists analyzing data and bidding me good luck. It can't be...but  this is the Life Factory, the same place I'd been reborn in, the place I'd left behind in the future when I entered the Failsafe and came here, to the past. I rubbed my temple as I felt a headache coming on. This all gets rather confusing.

     Two powerful looking women were tinkering with some kind of machinery to the right and I squinted my eyes in the dim lighting to watch what they were doing. They muttered to each other as they experimented. I cleared my throat so I wouldn't startle them. One of the women stiffened and turned around suddenly. Her face slowly morphed from irritated impatience to excited awe.

     "Sanora," she loudly whispered, never taking her eyes off me. "Sanora, it' Ascended! It can't be!" The woman, dressed in red and gold armor, scampered up to me and stared. She looked like she'd seen a ghost. Her companion, a pale skinned, pale haired elf, didn't even glance up, too busy muttering over the machine that she didn't appear satisfied with. With a muttered curse, she stomped her foot and turned around.

    "What are you talking about Jillian? You know we haven't even begun..." she trailed off as she caught sight of me standing there. I felt this was a good time to introduce myself, so I stepped forward, clearing my too dry throat. I needed a drink as soon as I was done here.

     "Hello uh....Sanora Rellwyn? My name is Anakesti Ta'lanta. I have been sent from the future by Sylver Valis and Asha Catari with a warning. 'The cults will release the Dragons. The Ward will fall. And Regulos will descend on Telara, bringing us face to face with our annihilation. If we do not stop these chain of events, everything we have worked for; everything we have died for, will have been in vain. The Ascended must forge a new future for Telara.'" I repeated what I'd been told to say by Asha, shivering at the dire portents in the words. Both women paled and stepped back a step, looking horrified.

    "...What?? Regulos? The Ward will fall? It was weakened severely already when Aedraxis unleashed the Shade. What if it's too late!" Sanora rubbed her forehead in distress.

     "Sanora. Sanora! Calm down. This Ascended, Anakesti, she's here to make sure that doesn't happen! Now that we know what is coming, we can prepare and change the outcome!" Jillian hugged her friend. Sanora took a deep breath and raised her eyes to meet mine. The steel I'd come to associate with members of the Defiants shone in her green eyes. I nodded at her.

     "Yes, you're right Jillian! We will prevail. I can hardly believe you're here, Ascended! We are so glad! We are so very much in need of assistance here at the Ark! The Guardians have been attacking us relentlessly, hoping to stop us from well...creating you! Now with Ascended on our side, neither the Guardians nor Regulos himself will stop the Defiants." The other woman, Jillian, broke into a wide grin and gave a little cheer, throwing her fist into the air. I smiled in return, unable to stay unaffected by their sudden relief and happiness.

     "I've just come through your Failsafe from the future. This is all a bit...overwhelming actually. I hardly know anything of what's going on here, or what to do, but I would like to help the Defiant succeed here so that Regulos does not destroy the world." I said quietly after the two women had calmed down some. They both nodded eagerly, still looking awestruck. "There were...others? Like me?" I asked after a few moments, tentatively. The idea of there being more of us machine born Ascended. It was like suddenly finding family that you didn't know you had. Obviously they wouldn't be true family, but maybe I could finally have others who experienced the same things I did, who felt the same way, others who I could relate to. That would go a long way toward accepting myself. Sanora glanced at Jillian. She tapped her nails on a component of the magitech she'd been working on, then nodded, somewhat hesitantly.

     "Yes, there were others. Many in fact. We've been trying to create our own Ascension ever since we heard that the Guardians had fulfilled the Vigil's prophecy. Siding with the Guardians is out of the question, especially after Port Scion, so we needed our own defense against the planes. We found this place not long ago. We call it the Ark of the Ascended. We're sure that it's an ancient Ethian site for one of their powerful constructions. We haven't found much yet, but we've found chambers full of strange technology. Master Orphiel says that there are journals about Ethian technology being able to resurrect lost souls. We just need to figure out how to make them into Ascended. So far, we have succeeded in resurrecting our fellow Defiant, but the quantity of materials required to resurrect a soul after it's been sent to the Soulstream is staggering! Not to mention the power, and they have been just ordinary, un Ascended mortals." Her face fell with frustration and she clenched her hand into a fist. "There's something we're missing, some key spark we need to create the kind of power levels that rival the Guardians' precious Ascended."

     I suddenly remembered the papers the woman had thrust into my hands before I'd gone through the Failsafe. She'd said something about having the secrets of Ascension recorded. Fishing the stained letter out of my pockets, I wordlessly handed it over to Sanora. She searched my face with her eyes, as if looking for answers, but I kept my expression neutral as I held out the scroll like a peace offering. And maybe it was? I needed some way to get involved with the Defiants here. I didn't want to be isolated and alone. Finally Sanora reached up and accepted the slightly crumpled scroll from my dark hands. She stared at it as if it was something sacred. Well, it was from the future. Or a potential future. If I avert the coming events will that make it an obsolete future? Would I cease to exist since the future I'd been born into closed, opening a new future? Ugh, there I go again, analyzing a situation I knew too little about to accurately guess at. Until I had a chance to do some research and studying, best to just stick with what I knew for sure.

     I gazed around the chambers avidly as I waited for Sanora to read the letter. I had already read it myself, since I'd wanted to know what potential information I'd be carrying with me to the past. It was some kind of formula, labeled "Ascension". Which of course, meant that I carried the information that had led to my creation. An unsettling thought. The formula was written with an Ethian accent, and had so many foreign words and diagrams that it was mostly gibberish to me, although I had spent several minutes guessing and trying to figure the basic part out. All I knew was that my body was made out of pure sourcestone, refined and tempered with vast amounts of spells and magitech, held in incubators and tubes until it was ready, in which case they formed a semi organic body, from the basic structure of skeleton upward.
     Apparently they need something as a base to work with though, for the sourcestone to graft onto, so they had found pieces of skeleton and other organic material from the many bodies harvested from the war and had built upon that. Sourcestone was such a powerful element that it had hardly needed any prompting once it had been given the blueprints on what to design and it had built the perfect body.
     Half magitech and half organic, a creature that had the potential to rival the gods in power, but was also vulnerable to attack and other maladies of the sentient races. I could die. My soul would just forever remained tethered to my body's sourcestone matrix. Instead of going to the Soulstream, I would just....well I'm not really sure on that point. Would I just magically end up back alive again? Was it a lengthily process or would it be instant? Or was it something I'd need help with? Maybe I'd need someone to perform a resurrection spell on me? Resurrection spells were very difficult and required a lot of magic to perform. Which is why none but the strongest of healers cast that spell, and only on someone of importance. It was hard to wrest a soul from the Soulstream. I'd never dared perform that feat myself. I really, really hoped that I never found out what happens after an Ascended dies for myself. An experience I'd love to avoid.

     As Sanora and her companion whispered over the scroll and reverently read and reread it, I watched a red robed scientist who was studying and prying at the far wall. It was obvious there was another chamber beyond that point, as the walls were different. It looked more like a cave in or a blockage rather than a continuation of the wall. It took me but a few scant seconds to guess that this was the doorway that led further into the Life Factory. Specifically, it led to the incubation chambers, where those strange raised discs had brought me to life. Where Sylver had stood on the balcony overhead and overseen the creation of an incredibly powerful, immortal being who had found herself in that situation without any warning or consent.

     "There's a message for you here, Ascended." Sanora's reverent words, barely loud enough to be heard, jerked me back to the here and now. I took a deep breath, feeling inexplicably like I wanted to wail and cry. Mustn't yet your fellow allies see you break down when you're their so called answer to everything. Squaring my shoulders, I turned back to the two women. Sanora gave me a knowing look and nodded down at the scroll. She held out a sliver of glowing sourcestone. I frowned. I had assumed that the message was for whoever I delivered the scroll to. Sanora nodded at my hesitant look. "Yes, it's for you. It's from Sylver...Sylver from the future." Her eyes kept going back to the crystal as if she couldn't believe it. Imagine living it, I thought dryly to myself as I accepted the tiny messaging crystal.

     "Over there, you can view hologram messages at the Imagistancer. It's how we communicate with the other Ethian sites." Other Ethian sites? I wondered curiously, but I was too eager to hear the message to ask about it. Glancing over to where Sanora pointed, I noticed a strange circle of metal embedded in the far wall. I don't remember that being there in the future. I wonder what had happened to it. Seeing a slot in the center for inserting message crystals, I walked over and activated the machine. A tiny, holographic image of Sylver Valis flickered into existence in front of me. It looked off into the far distance, at about knee height, and I knelt down to watch. This Sylver Valis looked worn and stressed, and I felt a strangle prickling feeling in my chest. I wanted to change the future of Telara, if only to make sure that my people didn't have to look like that. I had  thought I was done with my task once I'd delivered my warning of what the future held, but it looks like I'd been appointed the task of champion of the Defiants. Not a role I'd have seen myself playing, but there it is. And I don't intend to shirk my duties.

     "If you're watching  this, then you've survived the trip to the past. Your survival means there is hope for the future. You have the power to change our fate-to stop the Guardians' destruction of our society and our magitech discoveries. And when the time comes, you will defeat even Regulos himself. The path ahead will be difficult and full of danger. But you can and you will succeed. All our hopes go with you, Ascended One."

     As Sylver Valis sketched an elaborate bow before winking out, I drew a sharp, shaky breath, the first one since he'd started speaking. My eyes were a little wide, but I didn't care. By the Spirits! So many emotions ran through me. Feeling incredibly conscious of all the curious scientists in the room, I stiffly rose to my feet and kept my back turned as I removed the message crystal from the Imagistancer and placed it in my belt pouch with shaky hands. Carefully not thinking anything, I walked back over to Sanora, who looked up from the scroll with delight.

     "These formulas....unbelievable! This is just as Master Orphiel theorized. It's even written exactly as he writes it." She looked so eagerly curious at that. I didn't know much about this Orphiel. He must be important, but I hadn't come across anyone by that name while I was in the future, so I shrugged. "This's so advanced!" Continued Sanora. "This proves what we've suspected since unearthing this factory! Ascended powers can be granted by and to those outside of the Vigil's influence!" She trailed off and peered at me in shrewd awe.

     "I had a hard time believing it, when you waltzed in here and claimed you were the results of our life's work, but....I see it now! Great sun, you really are a Defiant Ascended!" I nodded. Of course, that was what I'd said after all. As if I'd lie about everything that had happened in the future. I felt interest stir in me.

     "Unearthed here at the Ark?" I asked, tilting my head to study the room again. Sanora nodded. She gestured vaguely with one hand while holding the scroll gently with the other.

     "This facility was built by the ancient Ethians, who forgot more about magic than you or I will ever learn in a lifetime. Orphiel spent years excavating this edifice, and even longer studying its mysteries. He always seemed to know so much about the Eth magitech...and he was right. What we discovered may save Telara." She was gazing at me now. I shuffled my feet. There was that name Orphiel again. I'm guessing a famous scientist of some kind. Apparently the one who discovered the means to create me. So he discovered it, and Sylver applied it to a real life scenario. Cold scientific data. Which resulted in myself. An experiment. Uneasily, I listened as Sanora gave a brief history of the Ark of the Ascended.

     Suddenly, weariness hit me full force, and I nearly slumped. I was so exhausted, both mentally and physically, from all that I'd experienced since my rebirth. It came to me that I'd yet to even sleep since this all began. Sanora seemed to catch on and gave me a gentle smile.

     "We thank you, Ascended, for delivering your message, and we welcome you to Freemarch and the ranks of the Defiant. You're more than welcome to stay and rest here at the Ark. There's tents and blankets outside where the workers and legionnaires are stationed. Get something to eat and just rest for a spell." She smiled at me, some of her reverence fading when she realized I was an actual real person just like herself. I gave her a grateful look, while Jillian looked on with pride. I left the two women as they eagerly went back to analyzing the blueprints and notes I'd given them. Stifling a jaw cracking yawn, I left the Ark chambers and ventured outside. I was shocked to see that the sun was slowly sinking into the west. I'd spent nearly half the day in there! Where'd the time go? The inner comment drew a chuckle from me. Here I am, a time traveler from the future, wondering at how fast time moved. Shaking my head at my own musings, I stumbled over to where a large bonfire crackled. A couple of men dressed in casual civilian clothing were hunched nearby, hands outstretched toward the heat. They nodded at me as I walked up. Since I was wearing the colors of the Defiants they just assumed I was another Defiant soldier, although my uniform was a bit eclectic and unusual compared to the defenders here. No doubt a reflection of the future Defiants' armor.

     "Would you mind?" I asked softly, nodding to a large cauldron of some kind of soup that sat to the side of the fire. The most wonderful smell was wafting out of it. One of the men shrugged and handed me an earthenware bowl and utensils. I hastily scooped myself some food and ate it quickly despite how hot it was. I was starving. It also helped slake my thirst, but the same man threw me a canteen of sweet cold water that I gulped as well.

     "Thank you." I murmured gratefully when I'd finished. I yawned again, blinking sleepily. The events of the past day seemed like they'd happened a millennia ago. Was it a day? Maybe two? I couldn't actually tell since time was hard to gauge in the future. My muscles felt sore and stiff as I stretched out on the ground, just as happy to be sleeping here next to the heat of the open fire as in a soft bed in a furnished room or something. I was so tired.

     As I drifted off I heard the two men discussing me in relation to the rumors of a soldier from the future arriving to save them all from the rifts and the Guardians.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

[Rogue Soul] III: Tactician

The Soul of a Tactician
The Tactician Soul plays a part in these purposes:
  • Vortex (Tank)-8pts.
  • Mad Genius (DPS/Support)-61pts.
  • Bladestalker (Melee DPS)-4pts. *Req. lvl 50*
External Sites:
*Bonus Mastery: Each point spent in the Tactician tree increases healing by .75% and damage by .75%.
Type of Soul


Tacticians are masters of Empyrean technology. These highly versatile rogues use a variety of tools and gadgets to obliterate their enemies.
40 pt Talent

Curative Torrent       15 energy       AE Heal
3.0 sec. Channel       Requires ranged wpn.
Restores X health to party or raid members in front of you over 3 sec. This effect can heal up to 2 additional party or raid members. Reduces energy by 1 for every second of channel.
61 pt Root Ability

Ablative Coil       10 energy       
Cooldown: 2min.       6.0 sec. channel
Protects all raid members around the rogue from harm, reducing dmg taken by 30% for up to 6 sec.
Main Weapons
Bow or Gun

The transit lift was enormous. A deep and armored cage suspended from track by magic and metal, it could carry a dozen Empyrean warriors in heavy plate. Or, in this case, a rogue and his golem.
The former lay sprawled in a corner while the golem prodded at the lift’s controls. The rogue pointed overhead. "Up, Cere." Blood ran from his mouth when he spoke. “To the top.”
The golem keyed in the destination. As the lift spun to life, Ceredwyn looked back to the rogue. "You're a mess,” it creaked.
“Ice mages,” said the man, grinning. He wagged his left arm – frozen solid to the elbow – at the golem. “I think they got me.” At Ceredwyn’s insistence, he conjured a healing core that took root on the floor and thrummed with elemental energy. "But you should have seen them boil," he muttered before passing out.
By the time they arrived at the bunker, the rogue was fully healed. He checked the shelter's provisions: food, water, and ley lines to power an assortment of wards and devices. While Ceredwyn briefed him on the battle raging outside, he reflected on the survivors they'd rescued so far: an ambassador’s family, a dark cleric from Necropolis – some two dozen souls in total.
Not enough, he thought. Gathering an assortment of weapons and powering the engines in his armor, the rogue signaled Ceredwyn to open the bunker’s door.
The girl fell back and called for her beleaguered parents to follow. They alone had survived a wave of invaders pouring from a tear in the sky. Now a monstrous blue dragon led a second group of demons their way.
To her horror, sizzling bolts of energy ripped past from the direction of their retreat, striking her parents in turn – yet neither was felled. Instead, the energy bound their wounds and washed away their fatigue. She turned toward the source of the magic to find a leather-clad human racing toward them.
If she was surprised by the rescue, she was even more amazed to recognize the man as they crossed paths – it was the city's madcap inventor, a rare sight outside his underground tunnels. He flashed her a smile in passing, then unleashed energy beams and pulsing turrets that made quick work of the remaining demons.
While the dragon circled overhead, the rogue directed them to the disguised opening of a massive bunker. It took the girl a moment to realize he hadn’t followed them inside. Instead, as a mechanical attendant creaked through introductions and protocols, she glimpsed the man in the distance, spewing gouts of flame and frost, locked in dazzling battle with the dragon.
“He’ll be back one day, Calliope,” her father said, putting a hand on her shoulder as the portal whirled shut. “T’Scain knows what he’s doing.”
A versatile support specialist who can excel at both healing and fighting at the same time.

Not very effective at AoE dmg. and not a true healing or dps class, more like a hybrid.
 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!

Monday, June 17, 2013

[Raeslyn's Story] 2.17: Assault on Overwatch Keep

   The Palisade loomed over the nearby natural flora, looking just as I remembered it. It had just been completed not long before I and my mentor had found out about the Aelfwar's treachery. In their fight against the Wanton hordes, we'd raised a massive fortress to the north. At the time I hadn't been so concerned, but I did wonder now how I couldn't see that the Palisade was unnatural. It had taken them a quarter of the time to build it then they would normally have, and the whole thing just gave off the feel of otherworldly. Fae. Also at the time, I'd been happy that we had a fortress so close to Quicksilver to help protect the people there from the uprising of Maelforge's followers but now I realize that Hylas had intended the Palisade as an easy position to attack the towns and outposts of Silverwood with. If that was where Marshal Rowen was holed up, that was where I needed go.

     The fortress was nearly impenetrable on a good day, but it obviously hadn't had a good day in some time. From the cover of some rocky outcroppings near the entrance I watched as goblin hordes threw themselves at the walls and door of the Palisade, trying to overcome the Aelfwar station by sheer number and strength. Some carried torches to set fire to anything that wasn't completely green, causing the satyrs and other Fae minions that the Aelfwar employed to leap from place to place to cover the weak spots. Aelfwar archers and rangers rained arrows down on the goblins, but for every one they slew, three more took its place. The goblins were crude and unintelligent, but they had the advantage of numbers and apparently time, as they didn't seem to be alarmed by their lack of real progress on the fortress. They just kept mindlessly attacking. Or maybe that was just it. I'd killed their leader and taken the talon of Maelforge after all. Maybe they really were just mindless, crazed creatures right now, with no driving force behind them to direct their actions anymore. And this was all to our benefit. As long as the Aelfwar was suitably distracted by the goblin pests, they wouldn't be able to concentrate too fully on what the Guardians were doing. Or so I hoped.

     It was actually relatively easy to sneak into the fortress undetected. Everyone was too busy fighting each other to notice little old me. And hey, I look Aelfwar enough from a distance, I could pass as one of them. I did learn the hard way that up close, I gave off some kind of planar aura that let everyone know I was touched with the Vigil's gift. A bit inconvenient, but I could manage.

     A spellcaster ran by, shouting for reinforcements on the north gate, as I crept through the shadows looking for Marshal Rowan. If it was me, I'd take the highest position so I could oversee everything and also to remind the rest of my rank. I'm pretty sure that's a mentality anyone in authority had, so I looked for any high towers or lookout posts along the Palisade. Obviously Prince Hylas knew that he couldn't defeat the goblins by just throwing men and magic at them. They were being directed by the dragon of fire after all, so hopefully the Marshal would have clues as to what Hylas's plan was. Near the back of the Palisade, a short hill protruded out of the wall. A well worn path wound up the side of the hill in a spiral, with crude, wooden huts situated along the path. Satyrs and pixies relaxed in the shade of the huts, polishing their horns or fluttering their wings respectively. I cringed as I crept past the creatures. They had no right in my forest. Warping it and destroying it to suit their own fickle desires. It made me furious. But killing a few Fae wouldn't solve the bigger problem so I focused on my task and soon reached the top of the hill.

     I found Marshal Rowan seated at a desk on a wooden platform. Hylas's most trusted commander. Once someone I admired. In what seems like a different life. I shook my head in dry amusement. Technically it was another life. The old me has gone and left this divine hand of justice behind. Steeling myself, I clambered up on the platform. As I drew closer, hoping to remain undetected as long as possible, I realized that Marshal Rowan looked different from what I remembered. He had grotesque horns growing out of his head and a dark aura of planar magic seemed to pulse around him. I wonder what he'd given up in order to reap the benefits of such potent magics. Have I mentioned before that I hate magic? All it does is corrupt and warp those it comes in contact with. I'm absolutely disgusted that our beloved prince would have ever consorted with beings of planar power.

     I must have made some noise, however small, because Marshal Rowan stiffened and stood up, eyes searching the darkness. Feeling that attempting to remain hidden would be pointless before too long anyway, I revealed myself, stepping out of the shadows. I stiffened my spine and met the man's eyes. I saw nothing there of the kind and intelligent officer I used to know. He gazed at me, not with recognition or realization, but with blind hatred and fanaticism.

     "What? Who are you and what are you doing here!" He cried angrily, striding toward me as if intent on grabbing me and shaking the answers out of me. I easily danced out of reach, my reflexes far superior to the warrior, even before my Ascension.  The marshal narrowed his eyes as he studied me and I resisted the urge to fidget. He used to give that same look to us during training exercises, back when it was my life's dream to become one of Hylas's royal personal guard. Not any more.

    "...Ascended?! Here? How dare you, fool! Prince Hylas will unleash the consuming magic of Greenscale and you can't stop him! So have at it, but know you have already lost!" He cackled, an evil, dark sound, raising the hairs on my neck. He's not the same person anymore, I reminded myself, unsheathing my daggers and preparing for a fight. Obviously he wasn't going to listen to reason or hand over the artifact and I felt a pang of naïve regret go through me, surprised to find I'd been hoping for just that.

     He lunged at me, pulling a sword seemingly from thin air that was nearly as long as I was. We clashed and spun in a deadly dance, and if I was still mortal and lacking my abilities I'd have been slain in the first few minutes. But I was not, and was able to trade blow for blow, even scoring several hits with my shorter blades. What I lacked in strength and stamina, I made up with my superior agility, lightning reflexes, and Ascended given abilities of teleporting across spaces and augmenting my blades with flames. Soon Rowan was cursing and being backed into a corner, despite the advantage of his longer blade. He made a wrong move and my foot swept out, knocking him on his back. The sword clattered to the wooden flooring and I stepped on the tang before he could retrieve it. He glared at me from his back, daring me to strike. I hesitated, dagger raised. Should I? Would I? Was I the kind of person who could kill in cold blood and be ok with that? I wasn't sure, and I didn't want to be that person even if I could. With a note of finality, I sheathed my daggers, but kept my guard up, bending down to rifle through his vest in search of the artifact I was sent to retrieve.

     "Big bad Ascended can't even bring herself to kill her enemies?" Rowan sneered nastily as I searched for the token. I wasn't really sure what it looked like, but I thought it might be a talon like Maelforge's token. I couldn't stop my hands from shaking, from what I wasn't going to think about, but I steadfastly ignored Rowan's attempt to get a rise out of me. Eventually I found the artifact, and it wasn't a talon. At least I didn't think it was. It was a strange, leaf shaped crystal with something encased inside. I could feel the strong pulses of chaotic, wild energy pulsing from within it the second I touched the thing, and quickly stepped back away from the marshal, wrapping up the artifact and stowing it in my pack. I turned on my heel, intent on walking away, since my mission was essentially complete, but apparently Marshal Rowan couldn't just let it be. I heard a clatter from behind me, the telltale sound of him retrieving his lost weapon, and my shoulders slumped. Feeling resigned, and with the sound of someone snarling behind me as he lunged for my unprotected back, I drew my dagger, spun, and threw it all in the blink of an eye. The dagger flew true and embedded itself in the marshal's throat. Eyes wide and bulging, he clutched at the wound and toppled to the side, gurgling. I stared, schooling my face into an expression of blankness, until he breathed his last, then turned and silently made my way back down the hill, a heaviness in my heart that I didn't know how to lift.

    I was able to leave the Palisade just as easily as I entered, although there was a flurry of chaotic activity as I exited the gate as someone no doubt discovered Marshal Rowan's lifeless body and the artifact missing. Remembering the artifact, I gingerly pulled it out, making sure not to touch it. I studied the leaf shaped thing and realized the item in the center was actually a ring. Squinting, I could even make out writing with my improved eyesight. What did that say? I tried spelling it out in my head. 'Kon...geeg....on? Kongeegon? What did that mean? I shrugged. Professor Bedstraw was the professor of nature for a reason after all. He should know what it means.

     "Kongeegon? Oh this is terrible Raeslyn!" Bedstraw looked pale as he handed the wrapped artifact to an assistant to be analyzed.

     "Why? What does it mean?" I asked, feeling exhausted from the events of the day. Bedstaw grabbed me about the shoulders, not noticing or not caring how uncomfortable that made me. I really don't like being touched. I jerked away from him and he gazed at me earnestly instead.

     "Kongeegon is a powerful treant demon from the Plane of Life. We don't know much about him since our research into the Plane of Life is rudimentary at best, but we do know that he is known as one of Greenscale's most prominent harbingers of the wild. By the Vigil! We must act quickly! This must be Hylas's end game! He plans to summon Kongeegon and allow the demon to overtake Silverwood with planar life magic." He rubbed at his beard, clearly agitated and yet a dawning understanding overtaking his form.
     "It all makes sense now! The reason for the ritual artifacts, the sense of quiet that has surrounded Overwatch, the lack of any real attack or threat from the Aelfwar. They are preparing even now to unleash Kongeegon! Quickly Raeslyn, we need to let Brougan Groute know of this news so he can mobilize forces against Overwatch! Kongeegon cannot be allowed onto Telara!"

     In his frantic haste, Bedstraw gave me a shove in the direction of the mayor's house and I glared at him. He gave me an apologetic look but still gestured. "Quickly Ascended!" My heart began to pick up its beat as his panic spread to me and I quickly turned and ran in the direction of Mayor Groute's offices as fast as I could. The walls of Quicksilver blurred by, as did the houses and merchants stands in Argent Glade. I darted down the main road through Argent, skillfully avoiding any travelers on the road. An Ascended woman astride a large black horse called something out to me in concern but I paid her no heed, although I briefly considered asking her for help. But so far I'd been successful by myself and I was loathe to drag someone else into my own problems. I considered Silverwood my forest to protect.

     In one breath I explained what we'd learned about Hylas and his plans to Brougan Groute, who looked shocked and dismayed at the news. "Kongeegon you say? I've not heard the name, but I believe you. Prince Hylas must be mad to involve himself with such powerful planar magic, yet it would explain much of the Aelfwar's recent activity." He hesitated, considering the fence lining his office as he thought.

     "We are at a crossroads, Ascended. What we do next could decide Silverwood's fate. Hylas plans to use this treant demon...this Kongeegon, to destroy all civilization in Silverwood. We need to put a stop to this, but I fear that if all our forces are focused on laying siege to Overwatch, we won't be able to enter and stop him in time. Overwatch Keep can withstand any siege. There are several Ascended in Argent who would gladly offer their services to the cause, which will speed up the process, but we still need to find a faster way to get inside and stop Hylas before he can complete the ritual. The second he knows that we are attacking, he will summon the demon."

     Instantly I knew what I had to do. I knew many ways into Overwatch, having lived there for some time before my death, so it shouldn't be too difficult to find a way into the Keep and finding a way to stop the ritual, although the idea made me a bit anxious. I'd no doubt be confronting Hylas himself in this, my prince of a thousand I'd been frustrated at the lack of progress we were making in nullifying the threat to the woods and now things were veritably galloping along and I was hard pressed to keep up. But I hadn't the time to deal with my mixed feelings and dread, we needed to act swiftly indeed to counter Hylas's treachery. Who knows when he will start the ritual? Bedstraw had told me it was an involved ritual and would take some time, but I doubt we had even a day to respond. We needed to act now.

     "I'll infiltrate Overwatch and find a way to stop the ritual while your men and the other Ascended assault the Keep from without and keep the Aelfwar's attention focused there." I said decisively, although I felt a twist in my insides. I can do this. Groute gave me a hard, searching look, frowning. I gave him back my best cool, confident, assassin look, and he blinked.

     "Very well, you have been successful at all your tasks thus far, so it will be the most ideal situation. Go swiftly and may you be successful. Contact the leader of my forces, Loras Tivan, at our Guardian foothold southwest of Overwatch Keep. He's been keeping me abreast of the latest Aelfwar activity and you can co ordinate your efforts with him as he'll be leading the siege against Overwtach." I nodded.

     I sat in the shade of one of the many trees in Argent Glade to eat a light lunch as hunger had been a shadow in the background of my mind that I'd put aside to attend to more pressing matters and I felt much more alert and confident after I'd eaten. Not knowing what I'd need for the infiltration, I purchased quite a few accoutrements from one of the kindly merchants in Argent. He jokingly asked if I was going to war and gave him a cool look, to which he paled. Glancing out over the trees, I could see the spires and towers that made up Overwatch Keep, the most prominent point of pride and strength that the High Elves had in all of Telara, built many, many years ago as a seat of council for us. Oh how far we have surely fallen in the eyes of the gods. I swiveled to glance in the direction of Sanctum and could just make out the shadow of the gates from here, idly wishing I'd kept Naesa with me so it would be a faster journey. Oh well. I gave a few stretched to remove any stiffness and kinks in the muscle, then set out for Overwatch. Brougan had said the Guardian foothold was to the southwest so as I gained distance over the next half hour, I veered in that general direction, knowing I'd see signs of the outpost to give me a better direction as I got closer.

     This was it, the final assault against the Aelfwar and the Fae. Once we nullify Hylas's threat to Silverwood, then what? Well, I still needed to investigate the origins of the goblins and why they had invaded Silverwood to begin with. I don't want them to cause more problems in the future. I wonder what would become of Hylas? Would he surrender? Would we allow him to surrender? I shook my head. Best not to think of such things. Focus on disrupting the ritual and preventing that treant demon from destroying my home.