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Emerald Fortress Vision

From DivNull RPG

When Gutts first attuned to Emerald Fortress he fell over and collapsed, experiencing the following:

As you fall you can feel yourself being disassembled into atoms in a way that is not at all pleasant. You feel a sensation of speed and, after a time, feel yourself reassembling. The sensation nearly makes you hurl when you become solid enough. When enough of you comes together, you are on field of ice and snow, with nothing but wind and drifts in all directions. You wear your new armor but your sword is nowhere to be found.

The plain is freezing, but you are quite comfortable. Experimentally, you remove the armor’s arm guard and your forearm goes numb with cold almost immediately. Buckling the arm guard back on, you feel a warmth return.

The cloud cover is too dense to see the sky, or even locate the sun. You begin to walk. After a time, you start thinking that something is drawing you in a particular direction, but then another part of your brain thinks you are just feeling that to justify picking the random direction you picked. The plain continues without much to break up the monotonous white. After what seems like many hours, it gets dark. You stop to rest, thinking about being a bit hungry. You are soon asleep, more from boredom than anything else.

As you sleep, you dream. You are molten, golden metal, bubbling in a black stone cauldron. The most fantastic forge you have ever seen surrounds you, glowing red, with the din of hammers. Two men chant near you as something not at all human pours you into a series of stone molds. The molds give you form and you begin to solidify. Other, smaller almost-men take each piece of you and begin to pound with hammers. The chanting grows louder. With each hammer fall, you feel yourself getting stronger.

You wake, again on the plain, well rested but hungry. You sense that only a few hours have passed, but it is light again. You start to move again. Impatient, you activate charms to lighten your armor and start to run. Mile after mile of endless white passes under your feet, each as dull as the next. You run for hours, perhaps even days, before you have to stop to rest for a while.

As you sleep, you dream. Fully formed, you surround the flesh of a something more than a man. The more-than-a-man stands on a tall pyramid. Below you is lush jungle. The sun rises on the horizon. After a time, the more-than-a-man moves down the pyramid into the jungle, passing a number of well dressed man-lizards, some giving him nods of recognition. As he reaches the bottom of the steps, the more-than-a-man grabs at the side of his neck. As he looses his footing and falls down the steps, you are aware of an intruder in his blood, burning in his neck and starting to spread. You can feel the essence flow through him, reaching out to quell the poison. You reach out with your own essence to assist and, though your efforts are weak, they add to his power and the poison dies.

You wake where you stopped, covered in several inches of snow. You are very hungry. The light is faint, but grows brighter quickly. Again, you move, hoping to find something that can be used as food. All you find is more white, as far as you can see. You begin to run again, hoping to outdistance this ice plain before you starve. The work is harder today, constantly aware of the growing emptiness in your stomach. You eat more and more snow, just trying to fill your stomach with something to stop is rumbling. You notice that no matter how hard you run, you don’t seem to sweat much. As you get warmer, the armor cools down and vice versa.

The light begins to darken again. You notice that the sky on your right gets darker more quickly than the sky on your left. You continue to walk, content to walk in the night as well. Just as the last light fades, you think you see a mountain far in front of you, but then full darkness falls, ruining your sense of direction. You keep walking, though the snow is getting thicker. Several hours into night, fighting hunger pains, you fall asleep without meaning to, dropping to the ground as you walk.

As you sleep, you dream. The more-than-a-man remains the same, but all else is changed. The sky is black with smoke and the land around you is scorched for miles, fires still roaring in places. Hundreds of bodies surround you, most in ornate jade armor fashioned after animals. A quarter mile away, the more-than-a-man sees that five opponents remain, gathered in a tight circle. Three have bows and begin to fire at you. The two others begin to wave their hands and speak in a rough language that carries across the din. Your wearer, previously on the attack for hours, takes up a defensive stance and pours essence into you, causing you to surround him with a multicolored glow. The approaching arrows ignore the glow completely, but crash ineffectually into you. The more-than-a-man sidesteps a number of arrows, trying to close the gap to his opponents. If he sees the onrushing cloud of ice needles, he gives now indication. When he moves, they move to find him, ready to shred his flesh. Instead, they hit the multi-colored glow and vanish into nothingness. Immediately following this wave of needles, a wave of red and gray flame that attempts to surround him is similarly snuffed out when it hits the glow.

You wake again, face down in snow, completely covered. After a minute or so, you extract yourself and, though starving, are gratified to see the mountain you spotted last night in the distance, though no closer than it seemed before. Invigorated, you run again. The the lack of food begins to weaken you. After several hours, more peaks appear on the horizon. After several more hours, you can see a wide range of tall mountains. The snow gets thicker, and your vision starts to blur, fading to oblivion.

As you sleep, you dream. The more-than-a-man walks across an arid plain with a fur-covered woman with a lion’s head, their backs to the setting sun. The lion-woman growls a warning, and the more-than-a-man takes his defensive stance, pouring a huge amount of energy into you. The glow returns, this time surrounding a wide circle around him. From around the pair, enemies appear from concealed holes in the ground nearly a hundred feet away, on all sides. Most have bows, but five that don’t push their hands out and from each flows a swarm of black glass butterflies, rushing towards the pair. Hitting the edge of the glow, they vanish as soon as they arrive. A hail of arrows follows, but the pair lunge into their opponents slaying them by the dozen. A group in front of you fall to the more-than-a-man’s sword revealing a slight looking man, his eyes covered with a rune-inscribed strip of cloth, dripping with dark blood. The more-than-a-man attacks with a flurry of strikes, but each is parried by the blind-man’s strange grey blade. Blind-man’s attacks, however, do not miss, cutting through you for the first time. It hurts, but you feel that more-than-a-man is hurt more seriously. Even worse, you can feel that he burned much of his essence in giving life to the glow and fighting the others. Within a minute, it is over. The presence of the more-than-a-man is gone from you.

You wake, ravenously hungry. You start moving to the mountains again, more of a stagger now. As you get closer, you see a strip of evergreens starting below the mountains. It takes hours, but you eventually make it to the edge of these woods. Your vision is fuzzy, but you think you might see people scattered through the trees. You walk a little further, sure something is ahead. You definitely see people now, staring at you, just at the edge of your sight.

Suddenly, before you is a large male elk, his rack of antlers spreading out majestically. He seems to dwarf you. Black spots appear in your vision and you are not sure if you are hallucinating. You almost fall, but steady yourself and look up at the elk. For a second, you think its not an elk at all, but a man reaching out to grab at something, but then it becomes an elk again. Your head swims.

You are falling…