Ombre didn’t remember falling asleep. But, nevertheless, she was waking up now. She also didn’t remember the swamp she found herself waking up in, or the strange sensation of being outside herself. Requiring only a split second to settle her thoughts, she set her mind on full alert, ripped out her spear and shield, scanning her surroundings for any sign of danger. No viable hiding spots, vantage points, just knee-deep muck and a dense layer of fog. The one place an assassin didn’t want to be. Fully alert, she began to go through the events of last night, trying to remember how she arrived here. Something about the shaman attempting a ritual, everybody joining in. Then, she remembered something going wrong. The firelight began making strange noises, there was a large amount of smoke, and then, nothing. Ombre now knew why she was asleep, but why and how needed answering.
Ombre’s thoughts were interrupted by a disembodied voice ringing through-out the swamp. A chill ran down her spine as the voice rang out “Ombre.” Spear at the ready, Ombre follows the fog into the mists.
Then there was a voice. At least, that was the easiest way she could think to describe it. It wasn’t a noise, and she had had enough experience with telepathy to tell it wasn’t that. What ever it was, it was very clearly directed at her. She could tell because over and over again, “Ombre” was being echoed. Then, she realized that she knew where it was coming from, she wasn’t quite sure how she knew, but she was definitely compelled in one direction.
Ever defensively, Ombre waded through the mists until she saw it. It was perhaps the largest lily pad Ombre had ever seen, and sitting atop it was a large, spectral frog, and Ombre almost felt she recognized it.
It suddenly hit her. Perched upon the giant foliage was the equally large spirit that trends to follow around the shaman Gren? Anyway, this thing was big and this thing was after her for some reason.
“Ah, it worked”, The spirit said. Ombre did a double take. The thing could talk?
“What worked?”, She said, a look of bewilderment upon her face.
“My takeover of that ritual”, The spirit said, in a clear, emotionless voice.
“What?”, Ombre was no longer confused, but angry. So it was this thing’s fault she was here (where ever here was), “You did this?”
“Yes, Gren needs help”, The spirit said, still emotionless.
“I’m afraid I don’t follow”
“Gren’s mind is in a state of distress so I altered the meaningless ritual he was preforming to allow the spirit of one of his friends to enter his mind. Unfortunately this caused an unbalance so now each of you is in another’s mind.”
“Why did you do this? Couldn’t you have just asked one of us to help you voluntarily?”
“I am simply a manifestation of Gren’s spirit. Outside of his mind, I simply am a tool, a weapon. That is why you have never heard me speak. In here I am a guide for Gren, like a conscious, or a tad more literal.”
“Well, okay. So if I help Gren, I get to go back?”
“Of course” It sounded simple the way he put it.
She sighed. “Then what’s the problem?” Nothing was ever as simple as it sounded.
“Gren is suppressing his memories. He is running from his past. This is destroying his mind, causing those blackouts he’s been having. We must restore those memories to restore Gren’s mind.”
“How do we do that?”
“I will have Gren relive those memories he has been blocking the most. We will make sure Gren’s mind will not interrupt those memories.”
“I still don’t see what you need me for…” Ombre had an almost questioning tone in her voice.
“You will see”
“Fair enough. Let’s get this over…”, before Ombre could finish she found herself in the rocky Arcadia Borderlands. She then saw a young boy, around 12, with black hair walking towards her. She instinctively jumped behind a rock for cover. She peeked out and noticed the boy didn’t seem to be looking for her, but seemed to looking for someone.
“Gren!” A voice yelled out from nowhere. Ombre looked towards the noise and there was what looked like a young mountain lion bounding towards the young Gren. The loin pounced and Ombre was about to leap out and charge the thing when all of the sudden the lion changed into a young girl, around the same age as the young Gren. Ombre almost remembered the position she found the young Gren in from storm tower. The girl was noticeably taller than Gren so when they landed Gren’s face was completely under the girl’s chest. The girl was young so she still hadn’t developed breasts, but the position was still familiar.
“There you are Grenny!”, that from the girl was enough to make Ombre chuckle. She was careful enough not to lose here cover though. A lifetime of training was enough for that. Ombre was a tad surprised to hear the girl talking in Deep Speech.
“H-h-hey, Moura”, Gren said. Ombre scanned her memory, she was sure she had heard that name before. Then it hit her. Mark wanted him to translate a letter, addressed to a Moura Horizon Diver. She had puzzled at that before, as the tribe Gren came from and the Horizon Divers were notorious enemies. She supposed she would finally get her explanation.
“You ready, Grenny?”
“I’m not so sure I should be there…”
“Listen, Grenny, I need you for this. Please?” Moura’s face was obviously manipulative. Ombre was trained to pick up on things like that.
“Gren melted like butter, “Okay.”
Moura then Grabbed Gren by his arm and dragged him towards a cliff face about 50 yards away. Ombre gave silent chase. Eventually they came to a large cave. Ombre jumped between the shadows of the rocks until she managed to find them. Gren was crouching behind a large rock.
“Okay, just sit there Grenny, and don’t let them see…” Moura was interrupted by a large cracking sound. The ground had given out underneath Gren and dropped him about 50 feet into the ground. Both Gren and Moura screamed. Moura came to her senses, and yelled down, “I’ll go get help”, and ran out of the cave. Ombre picked up on the sound of crying as she ran out. Then, something else entered the cave.
Ombre heard a voice, then noticed a small version of Gren’s frog sitting atop her shoulder, “Those, are Gren’s inner demons. A representation of Gren holding back his memories. Stop them from touching Gren, and the memory finishes.”
Ombre jumped out from behind cover. The things appeared to be masses of tentacles, squiring on the ground. Ombre puled out her spear. The things noticed her and stared slowly creeping towards her. Ombre jumped towards the closest one and stabbed it with her spear. The thing squirmed a little and then disappeared. Ombre then felt a tentacle wrap around her waist. Ombre jumped in the thing’s shadow and out of another one’s. She stabbed at it and missed. The thing the grabbed her and dragged her away from the hole Gren had fallen in. Ombre fell into the things shadow and managed to kill another. Two left. One of them grabbed her and dragged it towards the other, which promptly lashed out her. Ombre leap out of the other one’s shadow and stabbed at it, missing it. Then, she was grabbed again. Luck was clearly not with her as this was repeated over and over, much to her chagrin, until Ombre began feeling weak, and blood began covering the creature’s tentacles, her morale sinking. Ombre stabbed one last time, and she felt relieved when she felt her spear connect, killing the thing. Ombre conjured a shadow noose and threw it at the thing. A smile grew on her face as she squeezed the life out of it. She then felt the spirit clenching her shoulder, then a feeling of relief as the pain started to go away and her wounds began to close. Then, she heard a noise, like a rock falling in water, from within the hole Gren was in.
Ombre looked down into the hole. There was the young Gren, soaking wet, pressed up against a the cave wall of one of the few spots of ground that wasn’t a large underground lake. Ombre stared into the water, noticing the fact it didn’t behave like water should. When Gren moved a little and a few rocks from underneath him fell into the water, there was no ripple effect, and the sound wasn’t quite right. Then it hit her, it wasn’t water, it was the surface of some sort of portal, resting on top of the water. Then, she saw something near Gren. It appeared to be some sort of eye-stalk. Then, another rose up. Eventually, ten of the things were above the water, staring at Gren. Then, Ombre saw what they was attached to.
Ombre gasped as she saw one large eye poke up from the water and stare at Gren. Ombre knew a beholder when she saw one, and this was one, no doubt about it. Soon, the whole thing was above the water, with a surprised look on its face.
“You are not one, you should not be here”, The beholder said in Deep Speech. Ombre felt lucky she understood what was going on.
Then Ombre jumped at a noise, diving behind a rock, unfortunately not one where she could still see what was going on in the pit. She did however manage to pick up a distincive, “Prey we do not meet again.” from the beholder.
Several humans entered the cave, lead by Moura, in tears, and a figure in a dark, hooded robe. In the dim- light Ombre could not see the figure’s face… not clearly at any rate. Moura pointed to the hole and one of the humans dropped a rope into the hole, and the rest started to pull Gren up, but Ombre was more concerned with the robed figure.
“You should not have let him into the caves”, the figure said, still in Deep Speech.
“I’m so sorry…”, Moura started, but she was interrupted by the figure striking her across the face. Ombre noticed the figure had long, black finger nails and distinctly non-human hands.
“No more association with the ”/campaign/one-way-trip-to-oblivion/wikis/soul-runner-clan" class=“wiki-page-link”> Soul Runners"
“Yes, Mal Naru”, Moura whimpered.
Then, the scene changed. Ombre was standing next to the side of a very conservatively constructed house, very tribal in Ombre’s eyes. She looked beyond the corner and saw a young Gren, looking around 16, listening at the window. Ombre wasn’t one not to miss an opportunity so she found another window and also listened in to the conversation between an old looking man and a rather built younger one.
“Listen, ”/campaigns/one-way-trip-to-oblivion/characters/73784" class=“wiki-content-link”>Urse, I respect you, but don’t you think your being a little harsh?" The younger one said, with a tone of someone in command.
“”/campaigns/one-way-trip-to-oblivion/characters/73772" class=“wiki-content-link”>Fow, You haven’t been doing this Cheif thing long, but surely you realize the threat Gren poses", Ombre was put off by the old man’s statement. Gren a threat? Ombre could barely picture him as a threat to a kobold.
“I know, but he’s your son.”
“But the tribe comes first, you know that Fow.”
“Well, either that or we will kill him before anything happens”
“Good point”, Fow seemed reluctant, “how do you think he’ll take it?”
“He won’t have to, I have a plan…”, suddenly they stopped. Ombre then heard something moving towards her. A large plant, the size of a small tree, shambled towards her. (Ombre can ask anyone to make a nature check to identify the plant) Thorns and vines covered the thing, and two smaller vines slithered along with it, covered in roots from the larger one. Ombre stabbed at it and look off one of the vines. She then noticed that her legs were covered in roots, just like the ones covering the smaller vines. She then felt a bit of her strength being drained away. More vines began to grow over the thing. The thing lashed out at her, wrapping a vine around her. Ombre struggled lose, but not before more of her strength was sapped and more vines began to grow. Ombre dodged out of the way as the smaller plants lashed out at her. Ombre countered with another stab, but then it happened, the vines peeled off of the plant, revealing a large, dark colored flower. A fine pollen burst out of it, right in Ombre’s face. Ombre was thrown off guard, and took in a huge lungful of the powder. She was unconscious before it hit the ground.
Ombre was woken up by a surge of primal healing from Gren’s frog, which she found lying on her stomach. Ombre got up, and groaned as she realized the roots were still attached to her. She was beginning to doubt herself, wondering if her skills were of any use at all. Then, she was hit with inspiration. Ombre stabbed at one of the little ones, and the roots fell limp as the plant died. The large plant shambled over to Ombre, but she fell into its shadow and out of the other smaller one. She stabbed, missed, and stabbed again, killing it too and cutting off the large one’s power supply. The plant shed its vines again, but this time Ombre was ready. She held her breath, managing to avoid a good portion of the attack. She coughed up a fair bit of blood as the deadly dust did it’s work. Her instincts kicked in as she stabbed at the unshielded stem, connecting for a fair hit. A white ooze began to drip from it. At this point, Ombre was desperate. She let loose a flurry of strikes with the spear, severing vines and finally severing the stem completely. She wiped the sweat from her brow, and walked back to her window.
The men were completely still, almost as if a painting, until Ombre crouched under the window sill, then Gren’s father finished, “Well extend his coming of age. Give him a longer list, with harder tasks. We’ll get rid of him no struggle on his part, and he wont be able to return honorably.”
“But what if he does accomplish our wild goose chase?”
“Ha ha”, Urse laughed sarcastically, “Your cracking me up.”
Ombre, closed her eyes, listening to young Gren’s footsteps fade. She didn’t look like she could take much more fighting, she was ready to leave, battered mentally and physically, and the spirit could sense this… he took her back to the lily pad, letting her rest, and patch up any wounds she could… it gave as much help as it could, strangely, it’s gentle croaking seemed to ease her aching muscles, restoring her will to fight, and her belief in her own two hands… “This next memory will be the last memory i will require your help on. The rest, i can handle myself…” She nodded getting up… “Course. I never leave a job unfinished.” although it could hear the doubt in her voice. She closed her eyes and centered herself, bringing out her falcion and feeling her energy flow along the blade.
Ombre found herself outside a huge pavilion, with a large crowd gathered inside. Ombre found herself a suitable hiding place behind one of the large pillars holding the structure up. She saw two line ups of 13-year-old looking humans, next to two large fires. One fire was a pale green, while the other hot pink. One of the lines were sitting down, each with a spirit next to them. Ombre then realized she was not the only one looking hiding. A familiar looking girl was behind another pillar, on the other side from her. Moura looked a tad bit bored, but at the same time intently scanning the line of standing children, searching for somebody. Then, the boy in front of the spiritless line stood up. Ombre was quick to notice this was not Gren, as he was far to muscular and attractive. The boy walked over to the green fire and raised his right hand. He took a nervous breath and stuck his hand in the fire. After about five seconds, a loud, cat-like roar filled the area, and a panther spirit walked out of the fire. The boy removed his hand, which did not appear burned or injured in any way. The boy the walked over to the pink fire. He placed his left hand in the fire, and the fire quickly took the shape of an owl. There were a few girlish giggles from the sitting crowd, and a little waved from a girl with an owl spirit sitting on her left shoulder. Then, the next boy stepped forward.
A young Gren looked far less hesitant than the last boy. Ombre noticed Moura’s take notice and do a little wave towards Gren. Gren Stuck his hand in the fire, then a load croak echoed out. The entire crowd began to grow loader as a familiar frog jumped out out of the fire. Several shouts of “He’s cursed” and “Ill omens are upon us” rang out, but none seemed to faze Gren. Gren stepped towards the pink fire and wore a large smile as he stuck his left hand in. Then, stillness.
Ombre felt the footsteps before she heard them. She turned around to find a large, humanoid shape looking down at her. It had long, messy hair and pale white skin. It wore a sickeningly pink dress and had a cold emotionless face/ But what really sent a shiver up Ombre spine was its cold, black eyes. A sickening thought hit Ombre… this thing may very well be the source of Gren’s… aversion to women. She chuckled… She wouldn’t give this thing a chance to touch her. She locked her gaze onto the monster, as her shadow, as if filled with a life of it’s own, charged, slicing through the thing with deadly precision, taking her form, giving her just enough time to release a dart of shadow magic, striking the thing right between the eyes, a black ooze running down it’s face, her shrouds were almost drawn to the shadow magic-infused beast. A tear ran down it’s face… it was terrible to see, and at the moment… almost pitiful, but in less than a second, her mind returned to what she was. Pity was not an emotion she spared on such things as this. It thew itself at Ombre, attempting to wrap its sickening caricatureistic arms around her, but ombre was ready, spinning the curved blade and sinking it into the thing’s chest, finishing the deed and casting the body to the side. She briefly recalled the old expression, "The hells hath no fury like a woman’s scorn, " she dismissed it. Thinking like that is what probably what put The beast thing in Gren’s head in the first place.
Ombre got back into cover and the memory started again. The pink fire Began to take the shape of a mountain lion. Ombre, intrigued, looked over to Moura, and saw one of the biggest smiles she had ever seen in her life. Then There was a scream. Ombre looked over at the fire and noticed it had turned a bright purple. The fire took on the appearance of writhing tentacles and a thick smoke rose from it. Then, the fire went out. The room fell silent, and the memory stopped. Ombre found herself sitting on a lily pad, back in the misty swamp with Gren’s frog.
“Are we done?’ Ombre asked, out of breath.
“Yes, thank you. Don’t think i wont reward you. I’ll enchant your gloves with some of the essence of the spirit world, giving you the ability to store things in the spirit world.”
Ombre thanked the spirit, feeling the gentle silence of her own shadow wrap around her once again.