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PostSubject: The most intense ever!   Wed Nov 08, 2006 6:39 pm

Well, here's a game that will take the meaning of fun and excitement to new levels. You write a sentance or so, and then end mid-way through another sentance. Then, the next person will write a sentence that adds onto yours, then the next person, and on and on. OK then, we'll turn it into a hard-cover novel and submit it since November is Write-A-Novel Month!!!! (It really is!) So, to get this shindig started...
_____________________________________________________________

I squinted as my eyes opened for the first time in at least four hours. I could feel that the attack had left several minor gashes on my head. Suddenly, I realized...


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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:10 am

...I was in the middle of nowhere at the back end of forever. A silence so saturating, so enveloping, seeped into my head and into my bones with a deep, dull hum.

I had always heard...


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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:01 pm

...that no man had ever survived an attack from a Vaporwulf, but the searing pain that gripped my body was more than enough proof that I was still alive. I struggled to prop myself up with my good arm, I could see my armor had been shredded, and my belongings were scattered across the ground.

As I scanned the horizon...
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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:37 pm

...I did not sense any familiar terrain, no landmarks, no hope of finding my way back to the rest of the group.

"Lord, let the others be safe. I pray I'm not the only one..."

I struggled to sit up, but my back creaked and groaned like my Mother's old rocking chair. As I used my cracked bowstaff to leverage myself up onto my knees, I thought, "...


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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:50 pm

..."Why had the beast not finished me off?" Vaporwulf are notorious for leaving nothing left of a man when they've finished with him; why had I been spared? I could only imagine that the Almighty must have wanted me alive a little longer, a fact I was thankful for.

As I stumbled to my feet, my thoughts again turned to the group. My mission could not be completed without them, but...
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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Thu Nov 09, 2006 3:06 pm

...they should have arrived at the rendezvous point at least three hours past.

"Perhaps the Vaporwulf came upon them," I thought aloud, "or perhaps they..." I could not form the thought in my aching, scrambled head. "What could be keeping them?" I mused. Captain Arnell always reinforced that...


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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Thu Nov 09, 2006 4:29 pm

..if we were to get separated during this journey, we should get to a high point and set off one of our flares.

The pain was subsiding now (it never did last very long, though I heard that in the Old Age, pain could last for hours or more at a time), and I began to search the area for my satchel of flares. The attack had left my belongings...
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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Thu Nov 09, 2006 6:25 pm

...strewn about and overturned. I strode over and scooped up my sleeping roll, canteen, and flare satchel. Fastening their straps around the metal plates of my armor, I set off for the nearest hill.

Nearly at the base of the hill, I came upon another of the strange ruins that I had seen just one mile prior to the Vaporwulf attack. It's dull, orange metal skeleton looked...


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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Thu Nov 09, 2006 7:32 pm

...warped. It looked like it had been subjected to incredible force; it was charred, twisted, and melted back on one side while the other was relatively unharmed. It was almost as if one side of it had been scorched by extreme heat. Strange, I thought.

Once I added this new ruin's location to my map, I was stunned to see that it formed a perfect diamond shape with the other three we had found, and that all four surrounded the mammoth abyss I discovered earlier. Whatever this meant, Elder Arnell would be interested.

I quickly tucked the map into my belt and headed up the hill. I didn't want to stay in Magog any longer than I had too. As I reached the top of the hill...


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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Fri Nov 10, 2006 4:29 pm

...I looked back the way I had come. The size of the strange structure now looked relatively insignificant compared to the distance between it and its counterparts.

I slung my gear on the ground, pulled out a flare, and searched for a good hiding place. Flares powerful enough to be seen five to ten miles away such as the ones I was issued surely wouldn't attract only my group. Off to my left, I noticed a large pine tree adjacent to a large rock outcrop.

Quickly, I picked my gear back up and set out to climb the tree to the top of the rock. After a tangled experience with the climb, I mounted the rock, prepped the flare, and sat down to watch. Finally ready, I ignited the flare and tossed it back onto the open ground.

Minutes passed...


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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Fri Nov 10, 2006 8:26 pm

...as I watched the already sunlit landscape become blinding white. I began to search the area, hopeful that I might spot one of my group. Then I saw it. Out in the distance to my right there was what looked like a human moving toward the foot of the hill. I strained my eyes to make out the form, and suddenly I felt my heart jump. It was a Magogian trooper! I pressed myself back against the rock and unsheathed my blade. I was in no hurry to fight a Magogian, but I had no idea what to expect. I peered back over the rock...
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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Fri Nov 10, 2006 9:23 pm

...expecting to see him walking my way, but I couldn't detect any motion.

This was the second time we had had a close encounter with Magogian patrols, and if given the chance, I would have taken back what happened the first time. It seemed too hard to believe how destructive and rapid the Shift had changed life, and now the unthinkable was upon us. Evasion was the population's only resort until help could arrive. Now, a select few of us were doomed to kill Shifters in defense of the community, but we were publicly shamed for taking the steps to protect all, including our mockers. It was a necessary sacrifice until the completion of our mission, the King's final blow to the resistance, and our final reformation. Yet, who could have thought the world would have come to this?

I wiped at my tears as I tried to clear the thought of the patrol's crimson blood on the snow and his screams in the night. Out of the corner of my eye...


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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Fri Nov 10, 2006 9:37 pm

...I spotted motion off to my left. Quickly I whirled around, my sword ready to strike, but to my suprise and relief it was Captain Arnell!.

"Put that thing down Dave, you've gotta keep your wits about you, my boy."

I was overjoyed to see my old mentor; I had great respect for the aged man. He was the only person I had ever known who had lived during the Old Age, and had more stories to tell than anyone I'd ever met (besides the King, of course).

My mind returned to the moment, and I motioned to him to be quiet. I explained about the Magogian guard walking at the base of the hill on the other side of the rock. The Elder understood and joined me in my secluded position.

I turned to Arnell. "Where are the rest?"

Arnell looked back at me, grimaced, and said, "...


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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:37 pm

..."I haven't heard from Sam and Simon, yet. I was hoping you had seen them."

My mind flashed back to the first time I had met the two upbeat brothers. It was my 257th Feast at the Capital. Sam was only thirty years older than Simon and I, but he had already been losing his youthful curiosity about the world at the time.

"Are you sure you are ready to carry on, to do what is necessary if the time comes?"

I glanced over at Arnell with an overcast face.

"Our mission is more important than any two men, you understand, as ludicrous or heartless as that may sound."

For the second time in a matter of minutes, tears of pain and sorrow streaked down my face, where tears of this kind had never ventured until these tense last years.


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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Sat Nov 11, 2006 12:26 am

Still, I knew he was right. Arnell had always proven his wisdom, and it was no different in this situation. If Sam, Simon, and the others didn't show up soon, we had to move on. I turned back to the old man,

"Omri, when was the last time you saw them?"

He looked up into the sky; his mind retracing the last few hours.

"Well, yesterday, after you left us to do some scouting. John asked me to tell him about the talks I've had with the King. You know that little fella hasn't gotten to see him yet?...Well, anyway, as I was talking, I got the feeling that something was up. I couldn't see anything, but in the distance I could hear that raspy howling sound the Vaporwulf make...you know the type."

I shuddered at the thought of the loathsome beasts, but continued listening.

"So, I told the others to hide, and I ran out to catch the Vapes' attention. Sure enough, there was a whole pack of them, and the cursed beasts spotted me. Well, they took off after me and let me tell you, Dave, I was running just as fast as I could. You know at my age, it's hard to run much over 50 miles an hour."

As I listened to the Elder's story, I continully checked on the Magogian. He still had not spotted our location. I turned back to the old man.

"...
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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Sun Nov 12, 2006 2:27 am

..."I had only run about eleven miles before I noticed the Vaporwulf were no longer following me. I backtracked to find the others, but there was no trace of them. I haven't seen them since," the Captain said as he stroked his beard. "Well, at least there was no sign of a struggle."

"For some reason, that doesn't cheer me up," I quipped. "For all I know, they could be inside the Belly of the Beast, just like the stories say."

"Dave, I know you've been under a lot of stress the last few weeks, but try to keep your head firmly planted on." Omri's hand on my shoulder was a firm reminder of reality, and I could feel his strength and confidence seep in. "Besides, we know Who wins in the end."

That was what I'd heard ever since the beginning of the Shift, but my gut feeling wasn't so sure. Sometimes, just thinking about the Creatures of the Shift scared the wits out of me. Sighing, I rested my head back against the rock and started to pray.

When I felt Omri's hand leave my shoulder, I shot back to an alert state. He was pointing up in the dimming afternoon sky...
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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Sun Nov 12, 2006 1:40 pm

I spun around to see what it was he was pointing at, and I couldn't believe my eyes. It was a Kingsbyrd, one of the most majestic sights you could hope to see outside of the Kingdom. I stared transfixed as the creature's wings danced through the air like two suspended rivers of brilliant white feathers. The bird's whole form was that of a constantly ebbing and flowing mass of elegant plumes, and as it touched down on the rock, I stepped back just to marvel at the beauty of what our King was capable of creating.

Omri hoisted himself from his crouched position, evidently unafraid of the Magogian below us, and approached the beast, nearly twice his size. As he rubbed his hand over the bird's head, he turned back to me.

"Dave, I think this fella knows something about our lost boys."

I was elated to think there might be some hope. From what I had heard and seen of Kingsbyrds before, they only appeared when it was absolutely nessesary. I was about to inquire further when an arrow grazed just inches past my head and lodged firmly into the rock wall in front of me. I whirled around to see the Magogian reloading his bow with another deadly projectile...


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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Sun Nov 12, 2006 2:45 pm

...with two Vaporwulf bounding past him at us without a second thought for the Magogian. Time slowed, and the world went silent. The arrow loosed. Golden talons streaked down from the sky, snatching the shaft of the arrow in mid-air.

My gaze shifted to the Vaporwulf howling up at the Captain and me as if they were about to tree their prey. I pushed myself to my feet and assumed a defensive stance. The largest Vaporwulf had made it up the hill the fastest, its misty gray mane flitting in the wind like a pennant. I watched as it closed the distance between us. Its powerful legs pushed it soaring into the air where Arnell met it blade first...
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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Sun Nov 12, 2006 3:33 pm

It was a transfixing sight, Omri and his feral enemy seemed to slow as they approached each other. Suddenly, it all seemed to explode into life as Omri's blade punctured the beast's chest and erupted from its back. For a second there was a howl of pain; then the creature was silent. As Omri continued his arc down to the ground below, the Vaporwulf impaled on his blade disintegrated into a black dust, leaving a trail tracing the descent of the Elder. When Omri landed, there was no evidence the beast had ever existed except for the whisps of black smoke that hung in the air.

I remembered the second Vape. I turned, expecting to see it nearly upon me, but it was nowhere in sight. I saw the Kingsbyrd snatch up the Magogian and take off into the sky, but as my eyes followed the magnificent beast into the air, my vision was suddenly blocked as the second Vaporwulf exploded from the tree...
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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Sun Nov 12, 2006 9:38 pm

...Instinctively, I brought my sword up in an underhanded arc as the beast descended. Honed steel sliced innards, shattered ribs, and tore throat in a desparate race to kill. I froze in horror in the milliseconds it took for the Vaporwulf's enormous canines to near my neck, yet the steel had already finished its work. I expected to feel the sharp penetration of teeth and a thunderous collision as I had experienced before. This time, only black, wispy smoke of a foul, sickly-sweet stench swirled around my form with a tremendous "whoosh".

In the time it took for me to drop down from the rock ledge, Omri stood up and dashed to my side before beginning to pull me down the far side of the hill by the arm.

"Quick, we've got to go before more arrive!"

At that moment, I didn't need much encouragement to run, though my legs were a bit shaky from the adrenaline rush.

A deafening roar split the sky...


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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Sun Nov 12, 2006 11:01 pm

as the forest behind us burst open to reveal an entire pack of Vaporwulf, headed up by a monstrous Draklion. I was horrified by the giant beast, its black mane trailing behind it like the fumes of a smoldering volcano. This creature was a dark and twisted version of the majestic Judalion. So, I thought to myself, this is what happens when the Enemy gets ahold of our King's animals, such a shift, such a loss. I didn't have time to think though, the giant beast and its pack of nearly two dozen Vaporwulf were closing in fast. As we ran toward a river ahead of us Omri scooped up a few rocks and hurled them behind us. I didn't follow them, but the whimper and thud of a Vaporwulf let me know they had at least minimized our pursuers. Omri turned to me,

"Dave, this doesn't look too good my boy."

I was less than encouraged by his statement, but I knew he was right, I could already feel that we were losing ground. Suddenly, I heard what sounded like a waterfall descedning from above me, I looked up and saw the Kingsbyrd swooping in on our position. Before I knew it I felt the beast's strong, yet gentle talons close around my shoulder, and my feet leave the ground. I looked over to Omri who was in the birds other talon, and couldn't help but smile.
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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Sun Nov 12, 2006 11:35 pm

As we rested from the recent attack by the Vaporwulfs, the Kingsbyrd took us past the southern ruins toward a small city that was called Mizraim in the olden days. The Kingsbyrd dropped Omri and me off 50 feet from the city gate and beckoned us to enter the city.

As we approached the city, I silently whispered to Omri: "This city has an eerie sense about it. It's almost as if it is divided into two. One side seems so dark and despondent while the other is vibrant and filled with light."

"Yes," replied Omri, "it seems as if the Shift did not completely ruin this city as it did to others. Look, the Kingsbyrd is motioning for us to enter the western, lighter side of the city. It is here that we may find our comrades."

So we slowly entered the city. We passed by several shops that sold armaments of various kinds, armaments that were needed in these outermost parts of the Empire. As we walked along, we noticed a tall, rotund fellow on a stand proclaiming something out in a loud voice...
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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Mon Nov 13, 2006 6:55 pm

...As we approached the growing crowd, I began to sense the ominous mood of defiance spreading through the city. The atmosphere had an aura of finality to it, as if some fate were about to be decided.

The man was standing outside of a two-story cedar inn called The King's Man. Its rickety sign depicting a loyal subject kneeling before the King's throne swayed in the wind in rhythm with the fluttering of our cloaks in the crisp, chill air.

We were swept into a current of people flooding to hear the speaker. As we wormed closer, we began to hear his words. "...not created in His image, as some have said. For if we were, each would have dominion and power to make his own rules and, together with all of mankind, to create a great Society. There is one who comes who can free you to do as such if you follow him. I implore you to search within yourselves to conclude whether you are worthy of such a calling. If so, let me applaud you as pioneers of progress, and He Who Comes shall greatly reward you..."
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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Mon Nov 20, 2006 7:11 pm

I could feel a knot form in my stomach. The anger I felt toward this man for speaking out against our King was stronger than I had ever felt before. I knew from The Books that people would be decieved by the Shift, but I couldn't believe it was happening in front of my own eyes. I watched in horror as more and more people from the town gathered around this blasphemer. My fist began to tighten, and I could feel myself moving toward the speaker when a strong and familiar hand clasped my shoulder. I heard Omri's calm, reassuring voice.

"Not now Dave, we know the truth, but starting a fight will solve nothing at this point. Let's see why this town has become so infected by the Enemy's lies."

The old man turned and headed toward an alley. I knew he was right, so I followed. Once inside, I could see the Kingsbyrd standing near an old metal door. I thought it strange that such a large and secure door would be in the back of an alley. The bird pecked at the door three times, looked back at Omri and I, and then took off into the sky, flying south as I gazed on. I turned back just as the door began to open...
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PostSubject: Re: The most intense ever!   Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:27 pm

...and a tall, stork-like man dressed in the red and green livery of a servant filled the slender gap in the doorway. After clearly assessing Omri and I, he glanced up and down the alley before motioning us through the door.

Once inside, we found ourselves surrounded by oppressing steel walls and a low ceiling. It was reminiscent of a prison cell from the old stories Omri told me of. The servant led us to another door at the far end of the room. His hand found its way to the handle and paused before the servant finally turned his head and spoke.

"...
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