Land of the Ley-Lines - Stoking The Fire

Searching through his tunic for his gem purse, Marcus frantically tried to remember where it could have gone to. The sword he was entrusted with from the Freyan Guard Academy needed to be sharpened. Even though he wasn't particularly thrilled about being enrolled in the Guard against his will, his father thought it would be the best way to keep him from trouble.

The burly blacksmith rolled his eyes and turned around to continue sharpening another student's blade.

“Tell me if ye find it son. If not, then I gotta keep it 'ere til ya do.”

Where could it possibly have gone? He had just had it after leaving his house. Could he have gotten pick-pocketed? His memory was a bit shaky from the nerves of ceremonies tomorrow. Although he did remember running into that cute girl on the way here... Could she have swindled him? He was pretty distracted, and a good thief can spot that a mile away.

As he pondered what may have happened, a chime came from the bell above the door as another customer came barging in.

“Hey Padraig! I got your money!”

Marcus recognized that voice. It was the same girl from earlier. Keeping his cool he looked away towards the shield rack stacked behind the counter. She walked quickly up to the counter next to him and leaned over it, poking the blacksmith in the back.

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Land of the Ley-Lines: The Echo Frequency

Kim loved the smell of libraries. Books always reminded him of easier times. At least when reading didn't come with strange consequences. Texts laid on the table were open in various places, lit from the dim white light of the large crystal chandelier in the middle of the five story library. Kim was studying on the second level near volumes of encyclopedias filled with studies on Ley-Line energies and how attunement effects the level of efficacy in spells.

Off to his left a group of students walked by dressed in plain black robes. One girl in particular stood out with gold embroidering of a raven on the front. Long black hair flowed behind her head like a silk waterfall. Something about this girl intrigued Kim. Pulling on the ley-energy around him lightly, he enhanced his sense of hearing to eavesdrop on their conversation.

“This is really risky guys. We have no idea how a ritual like that could effect the Ley-Network.”

The guys all chuckled uncomfortably except for one. A loud mouth young man with a buzzed haircut and a smell of hubris Kim didn't need to enhance his senses to pick up.

“Yet what if it's successful? We would be stars of the academy!”

The girl crossed her arms and cocked an eyebrow. Kim went and sat back at his table of books, pretending to be oblivious to the group.

“Or we could shut down the ley-grid for the entire city for months to come. Is that worth it for notoriety?”

The man laughed and patted her lightly on the arm.

“Absolutely! What do I care? My family's got entire storage rooms full of charged crystals. It wouldn't really effect me much at all!”

Sighing and putting her face in her palm, she shook her head.

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Land of the Ley-Lines - Lessons from a Sellsword

The smell of burning hickory and meat clashed with the clean moisture of the river. An army of invisible crickets and frogs sang an unending quiet song as Marcus sat on a rocky outcropping near a river. A simple looking wooden bow slung behind him resting on stone.

Rustling of leaves betrayed the movement of a rather large man trying desperately to push through the brush. Cursing under his breath, he finally broke through the line of pines and ruffage that lay a handful of meters from the river's edge.

“Bloody fine place you picked to relax. Food's ready ya emo bastard.”

Marcus turned only his head towards Carney. The slow whisper of water flowing made it easier to deal with looking at an enemy who became a friend within a matter of hours.

“Not sure if I'm hungry.”

Carney brushed his hand over his bald head and gave a disapproving snort. Stepping down with ease from the wooded outcropping, he found it hard to get a proper foothold on the loose rocks being nearly eight feet tall. The fact that he was wearing a simple sleeveless tunic and shorts didn't help his trek through the woods, and his sandals are betraying him on uneven ground. Not the sharpest sword in the barracks, but not someone you want to underestimate either.

“Don't give me that crap boyo. Ye haven't eaten since the border skirmish. That was three days ago.”

Carney managed to slowly make his way over to wobble on a stone just behind Marcus.

“Carney, I've got bigger things on my mind. I'm not worried about nourishment. I'm worried about leaving a border completely unde-”

Carney shouted with such force it caused the crickets and frogs to still in fear. Marcus was more shocked at the interruption.

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Land of the Ley-Lines - Kim's Corruption

Kim sat in the oak chair he had relished so many nights reading in front of a fire. A small layer of sand spilled through beneath the rustic wooden door, as candle light flickered beneath the ornate obsidian interior. It had been days since the torrent of sand had stranded everyone in the city in their homes.

Holding a bottle of gin he had been saving for a special occasion, he scratched at the armrest in deep thought. Mumbled words burst forth as his eyes darted back and forth. A book sat in his lap, brown with golden binding. There was no name to the strange scripture he had stumbled on in his library.

For years Kim had been a book collector, spending his time crossing the expanse of the Tyrianian Empire for the rarest volumes he could find. This one he had stumbled upon from a traveling adventurer who sought to pawn it after finding it in a lost tomb.

“How could it be? Just from reading it? That's... no... Not really. Can't believe that at all.”

Mumbling continued as Kim's mind raced with strange visions of distant past lives. An eery silence had fallen over his humble abode. All he could think about was the words he had read out of boredom. It didn't take long for him to finish the entire volume. At first he didn't know really what it was talking about. There were diagrams and charts.

Pictures of human anatomy, brain structure, and even speculation on how the nervous system interacts with Ley-Line energy. There were ideas Kim had never thought of before. Musings on life and death, and how you can't have one without the other. Much of the book was incredibly intriguing philosophically. Yet there was one detail that bothered him.

Something Kim couldn't shake about the last page. He had word of power within words, but nothing like this. Opening the book again, he slowly opened it to the last page.

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Castle Bragi - Rän's Judgement

Castle Bragi houses many dangers. It's servants are wights, fooling the untrained eye with their demonic magics. Commoners are people living in fear of Lord Loki. Living in fear that even if they escaped all that awaited them was a vast unforgiving lake filled with terrors that even the great Loki built walls to defend against. Each brick of the wall was laid with specific purpose, each enchanted with spells to ward off unwanted attention.

Beneath the foundations lay a realm beyond nightmares. Hel, daughter of Loki, resided in wicked slumber beneath the castle. Some say Loki had banished her to craggy hellfire caverns beneath when she refused to restore life to his now long gone love. Worst of all, she was Hel's mother. To speak the name of the lady of the lake within the confines of those bricks was a death sentence. Loki cared not for the every day corruption of his people or servants, though he monitored them closely to assure his power over them never wanes.

His agents lie in every shadow. Beings none have seen but can swear they are there. Stalkers, we call them. We know they exist only in the pulling in the backs of our minds as we speak of politics. Flashes of movement out of the corner of our eyes. A feeling that your life could depend on the things you say, or do. Death is a common happening, making the deaths by stalker that much more terrifying.

Each time a man is found disemboweled and his blood drained from him. Cuts across his body so sharp one would believe the blade was not made by mortal men. Every time a woman was found mutilated and her body shamed. Things no person would wish upon even their worst enemy. That was when Lord Loki would address his people. While he has never admitted the existence of these beings, he sets a very cold tone in his speeches.

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