Vondals Vandals: The Church of Sun and Shadow

The pyramid crumbled, the rod burned and Akmenos was back among us. We accompanied the ethereal spirit of Veralis to her home. After long weeks of turmoil escaping the pyramid of shadow the road was a welcome respite. Feasting made way to laughter and we all learned a little more about each other. Veralis kept mostly herself, while Akmenos spoke passionately about his bakery, never once dwelling on the mental imprisonment he endured courtesy of Thrullzon.

The journey was over too quickly. Veralis took her leave in an overgrown forest not far from a large town. We carried onto the town not really sure where the future would take us. I knew I had to start building an army to try and take back my homeland, but I still had no idea where to begin. Akmenos was just happy to begin with feasting.

That was until the young initiate burst into the tavern and asked for assistance. Thugs attacking the priest of Khors he said. Turned out the Shadow Fey are anything but thugs. Their ruler has claimed dominion over this town and has banned the worship of light inside his domain. We tried to reason with the Shadow Fey but they would not talk. We could not save the priest either despite out best efforts. The assassins cut him down and then fled. Only a handful got away, the rest fell at our blades, but none were left alive, not the initiate, not the priest, not the fey, that could answer our many questions.

It seems we have stumbled upon another darkness, though I could not say who has the right of it. At least I slept well, the fatigue of battle and the company of a nice tavern girl helping me rest easy.

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Point of Fashion: Flying a kite
Current Obsession: Final Fantasy 13 I have defeated you.

Vondal's Vandals: Karivakos numbered

Traversing this dimensional pyramid I had begun to have my doubts whether this was a prison for Karivakos or not. So often had we seen fragments of his soul taken vile form. So often had we cut them down. Were we just paying into his hands, killing him over and over again so that his soul would return to him and make him whole.

My doubts disappeared when I saw the 3 doors skipped through my journal to see the notes I had written next to my maps where we found clues. It was Enna that pieced it all together, a complicated puzzle lock designed to keep Karivakos in. Or perhaps to keep us out.

It would have been foolish to have expected Karivakos to not attempt some form of escape. That we stumbled upon him during his magical ritual suggests that if we hadn't ventured into this prison and killed his other selves then maybe he would not be able to make the attempt, but there would have been others, people who followed him and his memory, and they would have tried just as hard to free him as we did to vanquish him.

Vanquishing the age old sorcerer tyrant was no easy task. It was as if he had cast himself through a mirror. We had to cut through his visage over and over before we trapped the real Karivakos in a room away from his ritual and hacked him to death. He put up a fight with his mirrors but when we finally met him in battle, Enna, Harkill and I he was barely worth fighting.

It might have been the sight of so many faces of his hated foe but I think Thrullzon was driven mad in the end. His magics misfired and his god, whoever that is, laughed and pulled him back into death once Karivakos was dead. Akmenos did not wake for some time, but I was glad to see his soul when I looked into his eyes. Still Thrullzon may have wanted to reconquer the world but in the end he made a sacrifice to save Snowfoot. I was not in position to save her from the stunning black orbs that lined the walls, but Thrullzon risked himself to pull her free. Without her the battle might have been lost.

Veralis, now an ethereal spirit of the Eladrin she once was has asked us to escort her home. I can only imagine what new lands that will take us too.

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Point of Fashion: Mage's robes
Current Obsession: Dragon Age

Mage the Ascension and why it is so hard

So I'm running a one off Larp in a couple of weeks which will include a couple of Mages and I find myself wondering what have I got myself into. Mage 2nd Ed is a fantastic game with some brilliant ideas and a whole new way of looking at the world.

I've played in/run a couple of games of Mage, both live. One was small with just a couple of players and only ran for a few session and the other was massive, went for three years and for most of that time I was a storyteller. But I don't think I ever nailed it. I mean I think we nailed story and character. I think we had some interesting discussions about the nature of magic, but I don't think we ever nailed the game.

Why? Because it is so freaking hard to grasp. And yet now when I step back and think about it I have a much better understanding of the whole thing.

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Point of Fashion: Band-aid
Current Obsession: Dragon Age 2

Vondal's Vandals: Throne of Bone

We chased the last fragment of Karavakos soul through his infernal prison to a room overgrown with bones and seeping death from every corner. We knew it would be too much for the skeletal giants and flaming skulls that stood between him and us to be his prison wardens. Whatever they had been in life, the dark magics of Karavakos had turned them into his servants in death. He had led us a merry chase here only to spring his trap.

We held back at first, letting the giants come to us while Snowfoot summoned roots from beneath the floor of bone to protect us, the lifeforce of nature versus the decay of death. Then we felled one giant and forced the other two back against the wall so my companions could skip past them safely and reach the true target. Enna's first attack on Karavakos was mighty and he turn all his attention to her. In that moment while I was locked in deadly combat with the giants and Harkill was harrying one of the flaming skulls I thought all was lost. Enna had no protection and was being blasted left and right with necrotic energy and flaming balls of fire. Snowfoot kept them both from succumbing to death however and slowing my blows whittled down the giants.

The tide turned as the last giant fell. Harkill finished off the first of the flaming skulls and Karavakos escaped into a corner. It was a long way to go so I ran and leaped onto the bone platform charging straight toward the vile wizard. With my axe now back in the battle Enna was free to rain down her devastating attacks.

With the third key we now had a way of getting out of here, but there is still the issue of Thrullzon possessing Akmenos and I fear that even though this fragment of Karavakos is gone, we will still have to face him one last time before all of this is done.

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Point of Fashion: Panda
Current Obsession: Poppyseed

Vondal's Vandals: Visions of the dead

We have destroyed two embodiments of Karavakos, but we have yet to find the third and free ourselves from this foul prison. And now it seems he is toying with us, visions of him seem to be everywhere we turn. First a pale imitation of his actual power, then an illusion designed to lure us into a trap. Our caution would have prevented the trap being sprung, and had it not been for Thrullzon's mindless rage at seeing Karavakos we would have escaped unharmed. Instead he got himself trapped in a room filling with poison. Enna teleported inside to try and disarm the trap while the rest of us bashed the invisible wall down so they could get out of there.

After a few trips through the horror that is the screaming maze made of tormented and bound ghosts we found ourselves in a crypt fighting of rats and undead warriors. I took on the warriors with Enna's help while I dispatched Harkill to deal with the wraith that was floating around. Snowfoot provided support for Enna and I, while Trullzon mostly moped up the rats leftover from Harkill's thunderous smite. It seems that everyone is starting to come to terms with the tactics I have been training them in. Perhaps we will stand a chance when we finally meet face to face the final incarnation of Karavakos.

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Point of Fashion: Dark grey
Current Obsession: Chuck

(no subject)

When I get the chance I'll probably write a much longer lj entry about making this short film over Easter, including lots of photos. For the moment though here is what wyldcard, my brother and I made over Easter. I think our set turned out awesome, despite some setbacks in the building process and I particularly like my opening dolly shot.

It was a shame we only had 48 seconds as the original scene is about 1m 15, and we kind of shot it close to shot for shot. We have to cut down some of the emotion to get the whole thing in there. That was an excellent exercise too.

Anyway, our V 48 seconds entry, recreating the iconic Hoth Ice Cave scene from Empire Strikes Back where Luke saves himself with his mind, and a can of V.

Point of Fashion: Director's Hat
Current Obsession: Filmmaking

Vondal's Vandals: Into the cold

The next portal took us to the frozen wastes of the pyramid and right into the lair of a white dragon. Veralus spied an amethyst stone amongst the dragon's hoard, another part of her fractured soul. Explaining to Harkill afterward that we were carrying around the soul of an evil invoker warlord in the body of a friend and the head and spiritual essence of the woman that betrayed both Karavakos and Thrullzon was interesting to say the least. The dragon however was quite reasonable and when we offered to trade it the old orb we picked up back in Thunderspire Mountain. It agreed, not immediately of course, dragon's never do anything immediately, but Harkill, in the tongue of dragons was eventually able to talk him around. Lucky for the dragon too because Enna was just about to steal the damn thing right from under his nose.

The Eladrin in the next chamber were not so friendly. With their floor covered in ice and their teleporting ways we had to use a lot of tricks to take them down. I do not know much of the Eladrin, so I have no idea why they attacked us on site. Perhaps they are wardens here and they thought we were some evil band of mercenaries come to free Karavakos. Perhaps they themselves are just twisted and evil from being trapped in this pyramid so long. Because they choose to fight though, I will never know.

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Point of Fashion: Owls
Current Obsession: What will happen to Clary?

Vondal's Vandals: The cult of the Great One

Thrullzon vexes me more and more with each passing day. He seems to have no understanding of morality or even civility. I can only say that I am glad I didn't live in his time, and that I hope he will never truly get to live in ours.

Case in point. We discovered a group of malnourished humans and their minister. Thrullzon immediately claimed that they could be his slaves and the beginning of his new army. Malnourished humans do not make an army. Occasionally he would interject with something completely inappropriate while we tried to discuss civilly with the minister and discover his motives. It is no surprise that later that night we were attacked. I would say that they wanted to cave Thrullzon's brain in for his actions but honestly we knew the minister had a secret and we were pretty sure he intended to betray us.

We play-acted sleep so when we were betrayed we could quickly take the fight to our betrayers. Sadly the mindless humans could not be saved and the minister when he realized our strength only thought to save himself. He ran, but Enna and Harkill cut him down anyway. At least that menace will not escape this pyramid into the world outside. I can only pray to Kord that Thrullzon won't either.

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Point of Fashion: Textured roots
Current Obsession: I would say Dragon Age 2 but what I really want to do is play Microscopes again. It was cool.

Vondal's Vandals: Two down

It has been an eventful few days since we vanquished the first sliver of Karivakos. A foul bewitching demon that hid behind his minions, only be sheathed in Thrullzon's darkness and cast into oblivion by my axe and Enna's blade.

Since then we have battled gargoyles on the disappearing stairs, demons in a hall of hungry mouths and giants in halls dripping of poisonous ooze. But we have also made an ally. Sent here by his god, or perhaps imprisoned unwittingly, Harkill the mighty paladin of Bahumut now fights beside us. Thrullzon, unsurprisingly didn't want to free him, but he has proven a noble and valiant ally since his rescue.

And we have need his divine aid as well. The second form of Karivakos was an abomination of sorcery and strength. Enna accidentally freed him when she teleported inside the wind field that kept him trapped, but we were always going to kill him anyway. It is better that Karivakos be wiped from the face of this dimension and any other that he has tainted with his touch. That is something that the 5 of us, even Thrullzon, agree on.

He was indeed a mighty foe with stunning blows and backhanded tricks to keep us at bay. I wonder if Harkell is part berserker because in his blood rage he tried to cut down the enemy instead of aiding his allies. Reason returned to him though when his scythe did little to harm the monstrosity and he came to my aid, realigning my ringing senses. I reengaged our foe, keeping his blows directed at me. The fight had dragged on. Thrullzon had stepped up and fled away. It was no surprise that with his cackling laughter, a laugh once enjoyed when it came from the mouth of Akmenos but now despised, came a crackling of lightning all around me. It jolted the beast but it also jolted me. At that moment my anger was for Thrullzon alone but amidst the sparks I drove my axe upward through the demons skull, splitting it asunder.

In the silence of battle I seethed. Not just for the brutal attack Thrullzon landed on me, but for the disarray we showed on the battlefield. I wanted to split Thrullzon in two but I knew I couldn't. Thrullzon is only a mind. If when this is over he will not leave Akmenos' body then I will kill him and free my friend. But until then I will hold to hope.

In my mood, our rest was not much of one. These people. They follow me, well all of them but Thrullzon of course who follows no one, but I am no leader like Anton was. I need to find a way to lead them in battle. We need to work on our strategy and tactics, because as difficult as Karivakos abomination was, the final challenge will be far more so.

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Point of Fashion: PJs
Current Obsession: Words

Vondal's Vandals: Showdown

The giant tree finally fell beneath our blows hut not before we had suffered mist mightily. Blood caked our clothes, our armor, my shield. I fell to my knees sucking in the tainted air of the indoor grove. It was only the unnatural light that reminded me we were still in the pyramid hunting down Karivakos, an ancient enemy of times past.

The roots of the great tree reached out for me again and I lashed out with my axe, the last of my strength spent in that final blow. I surrendered to sleep then. Later I woke and cleaned. No food was waiting for us. Akmenos was off muttering to himself, cackling as he wrote in that journal of his. Not like the old days. I suspect the rod, but either way something strange has happened to my friend ever since we got here.

I went back to cleaning my shield, and tried to ignore the rumbling in my belly. It was then that Akmenos chose to reveal his secret. He called himself Thralzon, named himself a king and us his servants. I threw my shield down and shoved him up against the wall demanding he give Akmenos back. He would not relent. He laughed. He cackled. He enjoyed this, I could tell. Snowsuit tried to reason but in my anger I could not see past this evil possessing force. He claimed to want the same things as us but would not promise to give Akmenos back. In the end I punched him and left him lying there, laughing.

We pressed on through the maze of this curse pyramid but my mind was hardly there for the anger. I ignore Thralzon as much as I could despite his jests and orders.

Come on Akmenos my friend, you can fight off this evil and find your way home. We will need you before this is over.

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Point of Fashion: Work stripes
Current Obsession: Mammoth yoghurt

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