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The Solemn Saga of Queen Nalia of Nex (as retold by her humble scribe)  (Read 726 times)

Offline Baudouin

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Interlude: Not fully back yet, just waiting the sweet embrace of Erebyss, ahahaha!
I finished the 'core' game at long last, in a moment of free time.

Absolutely perfect in every way. There's a lot I want to say about it, but I'd rather not spoil anyone else. The final battle was a wonderful mirror back to Siralim 2, and very satisfying - I do feel a bit stupid for not cottoning on to some of the plot-related shenanigans going down, but that made me enjoy it more, so, uh, excellent?!
And now, I can grind to my heart's content!

Hopefully entries'll be a bit more regular, soon enough.

Offline Baudouin

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D'you know, Cutthroat Grapes are even more delicious than normal grapes?
It's funny, the places your mind goes to when you're stuck somewhere - as I've been stuck, following my silent liege and her increasingly terrifying menagerie through the non-euclidean incidences of Zonte's realm - the Refuge of the Magi.

... There's a lot I don't know about this place.

Helmholtz, Milner, Spielrein... Some say that even the priest-wizards of Kaito, their names long lost to the aeons -
All of them allegedly study here, in isolated laboratory dimensions, free to pursue their pursuits beyond eternity.

I know that as a scholar, I should be thrilled with this place; Nex has been something of an intellectual backwater for ages.
Though we once had a fine court culture, it's diminished over the years, ah, even before Siralim invaded.
Perhaps it's not really the time nor place to discuss it, but -

Well, I've been watching the Queen, a lot.
She's - gifted of a singular devotion, and the way she keeps going, no matter how many resdents of this place, driven mad by whatever insanity is attempting to wrest them to it's evil will...

There were rumours, you see.

It's not uncommon that various royal lineages claim descent from the Gods, though this is obvious foolishness.
Less common, and more oft used as an insult, is that certain lines trace inheritance from...
Well, from creatures.

Perhaps it's not right for me to admit how I could see how those rumours got started; I mean, they sound like a load of, if you'll excuse my Nexian, a load of $#*!ing malarkey.
But -

Her shoulders never sag; she never pauses to overthink her actions, only to - stare into the distance, with that somewhat sombre look.

I've taken to sketching her creatures.
They've been changing in her company, I think.
Perhaps because of the Gods; I know that Toryg, Torun's herald, has become endlessly stronger, as if every battle feeds it some morsel of inner rage.

But - there's just so much I don't know. How the damn things keep going, how she keeps going -

While we were resting for a moment, enveloped by a shimmering indigo nightscape, she peered over my shoulder.
Just watched me write, without being able to read a word of it.
She liked the sketches, though - I've never been good at them, but if there's one thing I remember of my mother, it's that it's never too late to start.

"Here. There's more strength there. Imagine you're like a spring. See?"

I think she's so terse because - well, it probably has a lot to do with the fate of the royal family; Nex's fortunes being what they were, I - can't really blame her...

Are you resting well? Nobody wins when you tire yourself out; and even the most driven can find their flame burn low.
I still have enough power in this place to shield you, for awhile.


So spoke Zonte, and though I feel as if the Queen had questions, she didn't ask them - at least not aloud.
I think - I think she's been speaking to the Gods without me, and I dare not ask of what.

Hopefully it's good.

... Back to the matter at hand, we've encountered everything from rebellious Plague Alchemists to bedazzled Ravens.
There were also a few golems that seemed to have been led in from another realm; perhaps tempted by half-remembered hatred of the Magi.
I'm a scholar; not a mage. I can - understand, a bit. I think.

The Queen's fire is shaded an eerie blue, here; such is the raw mana that permeates this place.
And it seems to dim the light, rather than enhance it - but it helps us to see, all the same.

Although they say that the King of Siralim -

Sorry.

Before we left, I caught the Queen tearing into some candy that looked as if it'd been carved from solid stone.
Troll Knife Juggler was staring on, mouth agape - clearly hungry.
Without a word, Nalia handed a piece over, and the troll ate it greedily even as it's teeth made clanging sounds.

I stopped writing for a bit.
A few of the things I wanted to write felt a bit stupid. If we're going to die, I'd rather not cast too many aspersions on my homeland, or the Queen.
Even Siralim had it's own charms, once - it wasn't always a blighted nightmare realm, subsumed into heresy.

We got to talking, the Queen and I - well, I was talking, ahaha, and she was listening.
But she's a good listener, and since I get nervous... It helps to kill the hours spent traveling.

There was a Gorgon I knew, rather well.

...

She, you see, she was incredibly uncomfortable in Nex, and didn't stay present very long. I tried to understand it but -
A lot of the creatures who naturally gravitate towards towns and cities have their own burdens to bear.
Despite that, she was a truly gentle soul, and I think all she wanted to do was - you know, to feel at home.

Haha, I'm not even sure why I mentioned it, but - the Queen smiled.
Said everyone must want that, really.

We walked more, in silence - occasionally, Zonte would appear and watch us, from the shadows against the wall.
I often caught him hunched over, lost in thought; and whenever we get too lost in the labyrinthine corridors, the passages seem to re-arrange themselves and guide us forward.

For the first time, I'm feeling like we might be able to do this.
Perhaps because there's no one else to do it, but perhaps -

[The text herein ends abruptly.]

Offline Baudouin

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Interlude: Sorry for the delay in updates; some family matters've come up.
I'll still be around, but I might not be posting quite as quickly! Maybe I'll set up a poll in the meantime, but I hope you'll still be looking forward to future updates, ahaha!

Offline Baudouin

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Interlude: And now for something completely different! Only not quite.
Hrmn, I wonder what goes through the head of a monarch... Guess we'll see, huh? Heh.
On a side note, I just noted the lore of Emlai. Woah.

But, is it strange that I'm happy that Caedo become part of the Heretics' Kingdom? Well - I am. Hahaha!

Offline Baudouin

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Although it was called the Cutthroat Jungle, the name had as much to do with the God Torun as with the actual nature of the place.
Over time, the concept of Anger had faded to blind fury, and the rare traveler who braved Torun's personal realm often remarked at how hostile it was; from the swinging vines that tried to strangle you with your every step, to the many poisonous plants and flowers...

... Plants and flowers that shone with every colour one might imagine; that, in their angry vibrancy, their furious desire to live, created a stunning beauty and resiliency that went all but unnoticed. And the same was true of the inhabitants of the place. It might have been fury, in a sense, that brought them peace...

Didn't matter.
Was probably overthinking things, again, anyway.

The scribe that her the Kingdom of Nex had fobbed off on her was resting against the considerable bulk of Troll Knife Juggler, whom she'd affectionately started referring to as 'Edge' in her head, because it was easy to remember and seemed apropos.

His - that being the scribe, and not the troll - stubble was coppery and awful, like someone who desperately wanted to go for a beard, but couldn't, he snored too much, and screamed in increasingly mysterious ways.
... People were strange.

Sighing quietly, Nalia stared back at the forest canopy, and waited. Not for anything, really - time flowed strangely in the Realms of the Gods.
Maybe just to wait.

"Er, were you staring at me?"

"Yeah."

Her reply was hoarse as ever - she'd never been too fond of how she sounded, and tried to speak as little as possible. There'd been a pretty bad outbreak, growing up. It'd wiped out the favoured heir to the throne, left her mute, for a few years, to have survived in the end for...

For whatever this was. Trying to stand up to a power that her forebears had done their best to ignore entirely.
... At least she had the blob of hateful anger and flesh what was Toryg. And Edge.

Weird scribbly guy was okay, too.
If worse came to worse, she could feed him to a hungry Waspid swarm, probably.

Baudouin leapt to his feet, and brushed dirt from his sleeves, looking around nervously (as he usually did. That was the thing about scholarly types. They always seemed antsy. All the time.) and trying to seem busy.

"Aha, well, if you're - not waiting for anything, we might as well go see about fixing, er, whatever it is that Torun said needed fixing - "

"It's not like that."

Words ended up being a waste. You had to explain really simple stuff to people, and if they didn't understand it, they ended up feeling like you were the one who didn't understand - or something. Creatures were a lot better than people, for that reason. Not even Ravens or Sphinxes were so, so...

"Er, Queen Nalia?"

"... Sorry. Lost in thought."

Before she could help herself, she added -

"Had a dream."

Nalia could see the faint glimmer in his eyes - the kind that suggested he knew full well not to ask, but had that awful curiousity that wasn't entirely pleasant. Probably just wanted to act concerned, or nod and smile a lot. So it went; that's how people were, generally.

Well, didn't matter.

" - you don't have to tell me, of course, if you don't want to, ahaha - "

She swept through the underbrush quietly, displacing vines and plants aggressively.
People assumed that Nature magic was about understanding and living in harmony with the world, but - it was more forceful than that. All magic was, really.
About displacing the world and placing your will in whatever was left remaining.

...

"There were hundreds of dead. Kings and Queens, just like me. All of them from Nex. They were stacked up against one another in a pile."

He was already winded, because of course he was, but Nalia knew without looking that he'd gone pale as some kind of Spectre.

"Somehow, they looked kind of like they were made of clay. I was aware I was dreaming. Wondered if they'll stack me there, when I fail."

After that, they traveled in silence.
Occasionally, Baudouin cleared his throat like he wanted to say something, and she was grateful every time that he didn't.
Despite her silence, occasionally she could hear Torun's voice, chastising her for being too loud.

That was nice, too.
Comforting.

Maybe the Gods would make it, even if the world itself didn't.

Golden light flooded through the canopy above them as they traversed another layer of verdant green plantlife, with rich vines that the local Aspects used as a kind of moving city.
Troll Knife Juggler was carrying Baudouin, and though the journey had gone silent, she felt - a little at peace, maybe.
Which was when Baudouin screamed. (Troll Knife Juggler, being Troll Knife Juggler, also screamed.) {But quietly.}

Before them was an awful, horrible, terrible sight.
Some sort of weird creature leered at them from an opening in the jungle, sweating profusely - and smelling for all the world like cheap muscat.
He looked deformed and ill-shapen, with an unnerving gait that seemed almost inhuman...

Also, to the monstrosities' side was an actual monster, some kind of Smith, maybe.

"Hey, there! Ianne Jr., be a good lad and say hello..."

She could still hear the gentlemanly smith or whatever talking to his... His son? That seemed weird.
How could such a decent monster have a human(?) kid? The world was strange.
And - now Baudouin was saying something, maybe -

THAT'S THE ONE. THAT *#$& OVER THERE. THE ONE THAT LOOKED LIKE SOMETHING A VULPES PUKED THE *$!& UP.

"... I don't think he looks that awful..."

She whispered, and five pairs of eyes turned her way, then quickly forgot she was present.
...

NOT THE &$*!*ING UGLY $&! THAT'S TO HIS RIGHT! THE OTHER ONE, %$&!, ARE YOU BLIND?

Nalia nodded quietly, and smiled.
Well, then...

"And anyway, that's how Ianne Jr. and I spent our holiday off the coast of Eskes. It's really nice, you should go there, sometime. Just - you know, do me a favour and let me know if you run across that Queen sometime? I gotta kill her. Just gotta. You know how it is - "

So distracted was the smith that it didn't notice as Toryg began pounding it into the soil.
Baudouin, who had been enjoying being fed grapes by the smith's crying son(?), made a sound somewhere between a shriek and a sob, and bravely hid behind a tree.

The smith picked itself up off from the ground, coughing up blood like liquid crystal.
It's teeth fell out, one by one - replaced from the rows behind.
And it smiled, and winked, from it's left eye to it's right.

"Oh, gee. You're her, aren't you?"

Maybe normally, an epic battle would've followed. Normally.
... But Edge had snuck up behind the smith.

"Troll Knife Juggler."

Knives between the ribcage weren't really juggling, and necksnapping was a whole different type of creature.
The smith drowned slowly, in a pool of its own viscera, asking her to do something -

But she wasn't really listening.
The nether orb hungered - and drank its fill.
...

THAT'S THE STUFF. GET THE *$!& OUT OF MY JUNGLE.

"Yeah."

"Er, Queen Nalia..."

"We're done here."

Baudouin scratched at his weak imitation of a beard, and she forced herself to ignore Torun's long-winded rant about how it'd take $*&!ing ages to get the blood and creature-gunk out of his pristine jungle. The nervous scholar was pointing at the shivering wretch she'd seen earlier. The smith's kid.

"Can you fight?"

He vomited in reply.

It would've been very easy to leave, but...
That wasn't what a Queen was supposed to do, was it...

She placed her hands against his shoulders, until the man stopped shaking. He looked confused, but - less afraid.

"Go to Nex. Wait there. You'll be all right."

For some reason, he believed - they always did.
Thankfully, Torun intervened and swept him away - and didn't even complain about it.

Before them, the air ripped open. Tendrils of energy, dark lilac and darker still, until they were something besides entirely black, rent the jungle asunder.
(At that, Torun might have said something like $*!# $&^# !#$#$ *[email protected], and then cursed profusely.)

Apologies, Queen Nalia. But I'm afraid it's urgent - as you know. Shall we?..

Offline Baudouin

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Ah, high praise indeed!
Thank you kindly - and I'll be sure to do just that, it's been a welcome respite from work and other concerns.
Glad you're enjoying it!

Offline Zack

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Love it! Keep it coming.
Designer and Programmer of Siralim and The Negative. Follow us on: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Offline Baudouin

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Interlude: Torun is so great.
I love all the Gods. My favourite?! Who knows... Heh.

Have I mentioned how much I love the lore notes?
Probably my favourite part of Siralim III, and my impetus for getting all the creatures forever.
Gotta know their backstories. GOTTA BEFRIEND 'EM ALL by sucking out their soul-cores, or whatnot.

Offline Baudouin

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Nex has some of the fairest land in all of Rodia.

Beautiful swamplands and meres, heather fields and lavender fields and fields of fertile crops; shady woodlands and high peaks that offer - offered, I s'pose - a good defence against the arms of Siralim.

Do you know what the opposite of all of that is?

Jungle.

But I'm getting ahead of myself, as I figure is becoming a habit.
The Gods communed with our Queen, she rallied the last two creatures in all of Nex, and we set out to find something resembling hope.
Given that we were searching for our 'hope' in the realm of Torun, well, you can probably imagine my thoughts on the matter.

Have I mentioned my old man raised Thrasher Fiends?

Baudouin, he used to say, while stroking his magnificent beard.
My boy, whatever you do, don't raise Thrasher Fiends. Go out, become a scribe, and become a real family man.
We were waste-deep in Thrasher Fiend dung, and if you know the smell, well - I took his words seriously.

... Even though Thrasher Fiends are loyal, and a little cute. Poor devils get a bad rap, but -
Where I'm going is that the Cutthroat Jungle smelled INFINITELY WORSE than Thrasher Fiend dung.
Must be the thrice-blighted Imps.

They peered at us as we passed, but didn't do too much to stop us; probably scared of Torun grinding them into a meaty paste.
Queen Nalia did a bit of bartering with them; exchanging mushrooms with her usual emotionless cadence.

Ah, yes. That.

Outside of battle and creature-related errata, our dear Queen, aha, she's a bit -

Queen Nalia is a unique individual, though I suppose I'm glad for her company, even though I feel rather useless.

As the Toryg - the nightmarish spawn of Torun (possibly, I'm a bit foggy on it) that the God had blessed our fair Kingdom with - cut through underbrush and vines and occasionally uppity unicorns, I noticed that the Queen was lagging behind.

Occasionally, she stuffed fruit into her maw, chewing on it dispassionately.
She saw me, and silently spat out a seed.

"S'good."

Nalia murmured, quietly.

I glanced behind us - the queen, while taller and more athletic than myself, had left a trail of crushed plants behind her.
Not a single fruit, mushroom, or blade of grass was left.
... Perhaps we were the real monsters here -

"Want some?"

As it turns out, disgusting jungle fruit is more appetizing than it looks.
I was crying a bit, but I'm not sure why.
I'm sure it was just so delicious that my memory blanked.

That night, we camped out in front of a warm blaze, lit by the powerful magicks Nalia possessed.
Unicorn charcuterie is pretty decent, though nothing compared to the regal feasts Nex used to have -

Ah, but that was before she took the reigns of things.

...

She just kept staring up at the jungle canopy, the queen.
Outside of my duties, it occurred to me that I wasn't too aware of the young lady, as a person; though really, we lot were just retainers, and always will be.
... And of course, given the fate of the previous monarch...

"Ey. Baudouin."

Whispered Nalia, and I couldn't quite catch what she said afterwards.

But she looked - sad, or perhaps pensive, and left with a rustle of her emerald-green cloak.
Leaving me alone - with the fire.

... And Torun.

HEY YOU USELESS &!#&$ AESTHETE. YOU MADE ME LOOK THAT WORD UP. I !$!&ING HATE THAT I HAD TO LOOK THAT UP.

I would like to claim that I had a witty reply that was so stunning that even Torun was taken aback, earning me a place in the historybooks, should we survive the Siralimese onslaught.
I should like to claim that, very much.
What I said, though...

"Yes, well - your mother was a slab of granite!"

...

WOW. JUST *!#&ING WOW. I WONDER IF THEY'LL SEND SOMEONE ELSE IF WE FEED YOU TO THOSE NOISY $%^-FLINGING IMPS.

Maybe I cried a little then, too.
I'm sorry! I'm a very emotional gentleman! And I could still smell that hideous(ly delicious) jungle fruit on my breath!

But in the dim light, Torun's stony face glinted impassively.

CONSIDER RESTING. MORON. IT'S YOUR DUTY TO STAND IN FRONT OF THAT ROYAL $^!%-FOR-BRAINS WHEN SHE INEVITABLY SCREWS UP. WE'LL CHEER YOUR HEROIC DEATH.

... Perhaps it was just what I wanted to hear, but I - took it as concern, in his own strange manner.
And perhaps I should have - sought out the Queen, or attempted to do something of note.
But cowardice and exhaustion are strong motivators, and so I slept - and dreamt of nothing at all, and I confess it was better than being awake.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2018, 03:26:49 PM by Baudouin »

Offline Baudouin

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Interlude: Hey there! This'll be my attempt at one of these Adventure Logs! I've always loved these sorts of sort-of-fanfic, and Siralim is ripe for encouraging them. Hopefully I'll make you chuckle, grin, or mull over your team combo?! In-between updates, I'll be including editorial notes, denoted with green.

So - I thought it'd be interesting to do a thing from the perspective of one of the interchangeable drones you see around the castle, haha!
Make no mistake, however - it's still the Queen (and the Gods) that are the star of the show, here... And I hope I manage to convey much of our mute monarch, even using this format!

Offline Baudouin

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Wherein all shall be recorded for the benefit of future generations, assuming future generations, assuming the mad King of Siralim doesn't turn us all into a bloody pulp.

Hmrn. Well.
... I'm rather in a pickle.

Yesterday, the Sovereign Serene Principality of Nex was attacked by the forces of Siralim. Bit hard to be shocked about it, really - after the triumph of that power over the self-proclaimed God, Misery, it's all been downhill. All the little powers-what-are were so busy fighting over scraps of land and prestige that nobody noticed just how dramatically the world had just changed, probably forever.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Let's see... Where should I begin.

I'm as much to blame as anyone else, really. Spent most of my days around town, getting terribly drunk and recounting stories of valour that, ah, might have been a bit embellished.
As an honourary minister, I should've probably noticed - said something.
Done something.

Thing is, Nex wasn't even a proper kingdom, til recently, and only by dint of the Queen's cousin's uncle's nephew's brother (by morganetic marriage) having stepped headfirst into a metaphorical Carnage nest. Moron.
... Queen Nalia can't even read or write. She's illiterate. We've got an illiterate for a Queen, and we're the only real power standing between Siralim and the world.

So.
Looking on the bright side...

Have I mentioned that Queen Nalia is a bare-knuckle brawler?
Right.

Well, might as well start from the beginning.

Our war council had convened the night before; we'd lost several towns and undefendable outskirts to the forces of Siralim.
And when we lost them, all contact with the people within was lost, too - might as well all have died.
Maybe they had; dunno.

Unfortunately, our play at war was too little, too late - it was the next day that I woke to guards running too and fro, and we were fought back into the palace's inner chamber.
I was fighting side-by-side with Ilberd, the Queen's Hand and Captain of the Royal Guard (formerly the Civic Guard. Bit of an upgrade, really).

All seemed lost, and I was prepared to die at the calcium-enriched bones of a skeletal monstrosity, when the Queen bellowed like an ox and delivered a flying uppercut of such magnificence that even the long-dead soldiers paused to watch.
Of course, being a mere human, it didn't do a lot to the monsters present, but it was very impressive.
Nature magi take their physical activity quite seriously, after all.

Then - then, a ray of hope descended upon us.

It seemed the Gods themselves were on our side..!

Hmn, well - if you're asking me what happened in the heat of it, I can't tell you for certain.
Stare too long at the earthly representatives of the Divine, a man goes mad - and I saw my life flashing before my eyes, and had no desire to die. Not yet, anyway.
But - the gleam of Old Man Friden's sabre as it swung through the air, the displacement of time and space that marked what might have been Vertraag, himself...

Even my patron was there, or so I'm told.
But, in the heat of the battle, somebody, and I'm not saying it was the Queen, but it was the Queen, lobbed a half-brick at my head, and, well, I'm going on rumour.
... More's the pity.

No time for regret, though.

We won the day, but not the war - hells, not even the battle.
Outside of an avatar of the undauntable Torun, and, er...

Troll Knife Juggler...

All of our creatures either escaped, or were slaughtered.

Yet, for some reason, our Queen remains implacable.
... Can't say this is how I wanted to die, of course, but, since someone ought to record the matter, I'll be heading with her.
May some use come of these writings, what all may come.

Here's hoping they're finished, and they don't die with me.
But then - that's a pretty common prayer these days, innit?..