Posts Tagged ‘Melody’s Diary’

Melody’s Diary 09

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Sep 04 2012

Dear Diary,

Wow… So much has happened. I can’t tell if I’m still broken or not, but I’m tired. Not like my body or mind are tired, more like my soul is. It’s weird, and if I wasn’t so tired I think I’d probably be worried about it.

I didn’t have any reason to think that the snake people would accept peace with the villagers, but I knew I had to try. It was really scary, and also sad. I knew I had to have some sort of plan, so I was going to try appealing to them without appearing weak–but I was ready to use the Lost Lullaby to put them all to sleep and kill them all if I had to. It was really sickening to think about, but I suppose it would be respectful of their culture at least…

Unfortunately gathering information in town about the snake-peoples’ culture didn’t go very well, no one knew much that seemed useful for suing for peace. Tiffany was pretty sick from her drinking, and apparently climbed up to Jack’s window in the night and saw that he sleeps in the nude! Why didn’t I think of that? Though I suppose I’m still pretty bad at climbing… I would like to see Jack naked though…

Rose says that Jack had a big fight with a woman recently! So apparently he at least was taken, though he seemed really depressed when he came down for breakfast and totally not himself. I wonder who she is? What did they fight about? How did they meet and how long have they known each other? I tried to let Jack know I was there for him, but I don’t think I did any good. I never had to deal with anything like this in the Temple, and I hate to think I did it wrong when Jack needed someone!

When Rose found out I was planning on confronting the lizard people she chastised me that it was disrespectful of me to make decisions for my friends. I think she was sort of confused, but maybe it’s because it was early. I wasn’t making a decision for anyone else, I just knew what I had to do. So I was ready to do what I decided to do regardless of what anyone else chose to do–though I’ll admit the riskiness of it did have me kind of worried if we were going to all put ourselves in danger before accomplishing the mission we were sent for.

Not long after Jack left this huge heavily armed lizard man with an eye-patch came looking for us! His name is Sylvester and apparently he is the greatest warrior of the lizard tribe! And he wants peace too! He loves fighting, it sounds like fighting is a religious experience for him–sort of like singing for me. The way he describes it I actually feel like I can relate, even though I could never feel that way about hurting people myself.

But Sylvester was tired of all his friends dying–which I think is a very good reason to prefer peace over war–and had finally decided that peace would be best. He could take us to argue for peace to the Chief and Elder of his tribe, but had no direct decision making power himself. Obviously Nova, Terra and even Rose wanted to go along with me–though I felt pretty bad for Tiffany who got dragged along by the Girl Code, even though she obviously didn’t want to go. I’m not sure why she’s forcing herself to go on adventures, there are so many better ways to see the world.

I tried to get as much information from Sylvester as possible on how to talk to and make a good impression with his people, but I guess what we were trying was unprecedented enough there was no real precedent. He recommended we wear as little as possible and present ourselves as warriors though. Stripping down to my underwear was sort of exciting, though I think Rose enjoyed it the most. As for being a warrior, that was sort of what I was afraid I’d have to do. I just don’t like hurting people enough to get into that mindset.

I do like Sylvester though. His passion and intellect are really inspiring, even if those traits apparently aren’t valued by his culture. Maybe some sort of organized competitive sport would give the snake people a better outlet for their intense physicality.

The village was heavily fortified and guarded out in the middle of the desert, and obviously Sylvester had quite a reputation as the guards of his own village were scared of him. We were presented as his prisoners, which I wasn’t sure how that would impact our bargaining position, but apparently we were just supposed to play it like we’d come in of our own free will–which technically we did. It seemed like a pretty rough crowd over all, and I just can’t help wondering if they’d be happier if they could somehow turn their attention from destruction to creation.

The Chief was a warrior somewhat less impressive than Sylvester, and the Elder was a beautiful old naga! She was one of those blind seers who Maester Forte had told me about too.

My TASK training actually came in handy for making a good impression as I spoke for our party–though I really wish Nova, Terra or Rose would have said more. I didn’t know how to talk to these people or even what they could possibly want that we could offer them in place of the nihilistic mission they were currently pursuing. It was taking everything I had just to present myself as a fighter instead of a lover, and in the end I don’t think I really got through to them much. How do you negotiate with someone whose only desire is to kill their perceived enemies? Why couldn’t more of them value their own people the way Sylvester does?

We ended up retiring to Sylvester’s tent for an intermission as the negotiations began to break down. Their tribe apparently struggled with abstract concepts such as numbers and currency, so they’d been taken advantage of by merchants in the desert before and were as a result very wary of bargaining of any kind.

Somehow we managed to rally and turn the lizard folks’ opinion back to our favor and then present the option for them to control monster populations around the human village in exchange for the items they currently took in raids–thereby continuing their current living, utilizing their warrior talents but preserving the lives of people on both sides of the issue. I wasn’t sure if they’d go for it, since Sylvester was the only one who’d shown any appreciation for life over death, but I guess we convinced them! They apparently did want to live more than they wanted to kill, and so did approve of an option to live with less death! I was so excited, I knew that the snakefolk were people too and it felt so good to actually get through to them!

Of course, the Elder called for a test of our worthiness to seal the pact–that we bring back evidence of slaying the guardian on the lowest level of the dungeon we were going to anyway! That wouldn’t be any problem, since Nova and Terra are really good at exploring dungeons. The only potential complication on the lizard side was their interest in learning Tiffany’s knife technique, which we couldn’t quite claim Tiffany had down yet–let alone well enough to teach it.

The next hurdle was convincing the villagers to accept the negotiation we’d made without them. Fortunately the mayor appreciated the benefit of saving lives at the cost of the goods currently being stolen anyway and was prepared to argue for it at the next town meeting. After a night’s rest we were to head to the ruin and things were finally looking up!

Then Rose woke us up the next day with news that Jack had dropped out of communication. He was missing. I felt like it was my fault for not knowing what to say to him the day before! I hated delaying the mission we were sent on further, but Jack was much more important to me…

We headed into the desert in the direction Jack had followed John, but encountered an old gypsy woman named Esmerelda with a huge pack. She was tiny, especially next to her pack, and somewhat creepy. We asked about Jack, but she didn’t have any information–though she could relate to our quest for a man. She offered a magic feather that would let us find what we were searching for, but it cost a lot more money than I had–and all my gold is still back at TASK.

I guess Terra already had a feather like that though, so she just bought some chocolate covered fireflies and we used Terra’s feather to find Jack. All this heat seems really hard on Nova, and probably me too though I’ve been too focused on what I’ve been doing to really notice. Maybe I just have heat exhaustion? No, I think it is something else.

Putting all my heart into wishing for Jack, I released the feather and we followed it north. It skirted the village and took the easiest path to the ruin! Nova found the lever to open the cave, Rose decided to wait outside and we all headed in. It was much cooler inside the cave, which I know Nova liked. The cave was dark and musty, then melted eerily into perfectly worked stone in a way that seemed decidedly supernatural.

Actually, the ruin itself seemed an awful lot like Alishtor’s castle. Following the sounds of running water we found a huge chamber with platforms suspended above water where John was holding a shepherd’s crook like the one in Nova, Terra and my nightmare. I had a really bad feeling about it, but it was too late to back out. John still seemed perfectly pleasant, but I couldn’t shake the ominous feeling I had about him–made much worse by that staff.

He explained it was an artifact that helped you get what you wanted, which that alone sounds dangerously vague, and obviously he intended to use it in the memorial to his friend that I’m really beginning to suspect is Alishtor. I tried to convince him to be careful with the artifact, but it was pretty obvious his mind was made up one way or another and he was telling us any more than he already had.

Tiffany was entranced by the staff and got into a whisper conversation with John, where all I could over hear was him asking her what she wanted. I didn’t know what to do, and felt so powerless with just this shapeless dread clouding my thoughts. Something was wrong, but I couldn’t do anything about it. I pray John isn’t making the same stupid mistakes as Alishtor, but it also seems like that would be too much to ask for at this point. We asked him about Jack, but he said he hadn’t seen him.

Once John was gone Tiffany attacked Nova with her daggers, so Nova had to sit on her to restrain her. I tried the Hymn of Healing and the Dynamic De Capo Aria, but none of my songs seemed to have the power to undo whatever John had done to Tiffany. Nova and Terra had her restrained with no difficulty, and even attempted tickle torture to get her to confess what was wrong, but to no avail. Finally I let out that dark thing that had been growing in my chest since Alishtor’s castle. I took control of Tiffany’s body and mind with a new song… The Marionette’s March.

I got Tiffany to tell us how John had promised her power and the ability to be awesome and go on adventures with him in exchange for killing us. Since I didn’t know how long my control over Tiffany would last we escorted her out of the cave and I had her let Rose tie her up. We tried to work out a solution to the problem, and hit one! Love! Love is much more powerful than any artifact or twisted ambition, and so Tiffany’s love for Jack was enough to break her from John’s control–or so we thought.

Thinking Tiffany was okay again, and with her promise not to cause any more trouble, we went back into the ruin. The next room we checked had a massive gladiator with a golden key, who Nova hit so hard he dropped his key and was reeling–giving us a chance to escape with the key into the hall! Though Tiffany decided to stay and finish him off, which I guess is okay since he was just a statue, though it would have been kind of fun to get away without destroying him.

Something’s changed in me. My spiritual energy that I spend when I sing comes back so much more quickly now than ever before. I can’t explain it, I feel like my soul has wings! Singing has always stirred my soul, but now when I stop singing it feels like some sort of transcendent experience as well. Maybe inner peace?

The next room had a sofa with a vanity, in the mirror of which we got to witness the ghost murder of the woman who had been sitting there by some madman. I hate haunted places, the stories behind them are so sad. There has to be some cure for all this senseless violence, pain and hatred. Is it something I could ever fix with my song? I’d pay any cost to myself if only I could heal the world.

There was another ghostly dining hall, but these ones were less aggressive and with no exorcism skills between the four of us we decided to leave them be. The next room we explored was more of a problem. The ghost knights there were strong opponents, though Terra and Nova were well positioned to take them on with me supporting. Nova got the first one, and I distracted the next with my ball so Terra could cripple him. Then both of Tiffany’s daggers sank into my back.

Why didn’t I see that coming? Of course we hadn’t cured her, John was Alishtor’s researcher and had an artifact of unknown power. We should have left Tiffany tied up until we could get a Sage to help her. I’m so sorry everyone. I should have had my spirit shield up. I should have done better.

I woke up to the taste of chocolate with Nova sitting on Tiffany again and Terra fighting the last two knights by herself. I started on the Hymn of Healing immediately, but things had gone pretty badly wrong at that point. Nova had to go back in to help Terra finish the fight, so with my shield up this time I told Tiffany what she did was wrong. She ran away, but we couldn’t leave her loose, so after finishing the fight we searched for her.

Terra and I found her in the room with the vanity while an agitated Nova continued banging around the ruin. Poor Nova, this seems really hard on her–and Terra got hurt worse than she had to because I couldn’t take care of myself again. I’m so sorry everyone.

Tiffany emerged from under the vanity when she thought we had gone, and I put her to sleep with the Lost Lullaby. I’m sorry Tiffany, I’ll do my best to find some way of helping you. I still like pretty clothes, but I suppose I shouldn’t wear them on adventures. Another outfit ruined.

Leaving Tiffany bound in Rose’s custody for the long haul this time, we returned to the ruin. So many dilapidated rooms and halls, haunting presences and mysteries fill this place. It’s almost too much to mention here. Nova’s handling the ghosts here much better than at Alishtor’s Castle I think, though they really aren’t any threat to us, we’ve gotten so powerful. I guess that’s kind of fun, though it’s important to remain humble. There’s always something more powerful.

We found a room with buttons on a pedestal that moved up and down to different floors according to the buttons pressed, some jester ghosts that weren’t as fun as they should have been–I used the Marionette’s March to make them dance, I… I think I like this new power too much, it isn’t a natural ability. I should be careful not to hurt anyone with it. It’s, sort of addicting.

After sending the ghosts on to their final rest, we found a cylindrical key which seemed to go with a device in the large chamber with all the water. We needed two more such keys to activate it though, and decided to search the other two floors the rising and falling room accessed.

The first one down was way too hot with cave walls again, metal doors and barred windows, and a big metal monster like a giant lizard walking around in the lava in the center of the area. In deference to Nova we decided to explore the lower level before dealing with that.

There was a room with platforms obscured by water where I got a sense we needed to go left. Navigating the water and the platforms and the drop-offs proved hard for Nova, especially since she was having to carry or throw me too, though Terra got around with little difficulty. The things that attacked us here were all mechanical in nature, including a sort of assassin that kept disappearing and stabbing at my shield–until he finally broke through! Nova and Terra rallied to save me, while I continued to heal our wounds with the Hymn and sustain my damaged shield.

More climbing and struggling to navigate the platforms–I really hate adventuring, I don’t understand why Tiffany would choose to do this. I feel a responsibility to do so, but if I could just settle down in a small village with Jack… Well, I’d rather have friends and security than excitement and struggle.

Then we found some sort of laundry room where Jack was encased in a block of ice! I thawed him out with the Dynamic De Capo Aria and just collapsed with relief that he was okay! I wanted to faint after we finished negotiating with the snakefolk, but I very nearly did once Jack was okay again.

Gods, if I can have one selfish wish I want to see Jack happy. Please.

-M

Melody’s Diary 08

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Jun 29 2012

Dear Diary,

I, I’m not sure I like it at TASK… Maybe Nova and Terra can do the same job as Jack, but it just doesn’t feel right for me. Also it seems like maybe TASK knows way too much, across too broad a spectrum–like maybe they should be several separate organizations? They certainly seem to share information internally like a bunch of separate organizations.

I don’t know, it’s just all so confusing I guess. Oh, I’m also keeping a Journal for TASK now that I’m a Researcher–I think I’ll just give them the facts-only-version of what I tell you, without the analysis of myself and others. Maybe the stuff about myself is important to learning Song Magic, but I don’t really want to volunteer it.

The night before our first day Nova, Terra and I all had this terrible nightmare. We were in a field with lights like in Taragosh’s clearing, then this man on the horizon with one glowing red eye lifted a shepherd’s staff and summoned three of the gargoyles and a whole lot of gargites like we fought in Taragosh’s clearing… Like, way too many of them. I put all but one of the gargoyles to sleep with the Lost Lullaby, but even that one was too powerful for Nova and Terra to defeat, and then he did that thing where they destroy all their friends and bring them back fresh, and next this big vile red dragon came out of a portal in the sky and swooped down to eat us and we woke up!

I didn’t like that dream. But I especially don’t like that I think it was probably more of a vision or prophetic dream or something. I think the guy with the red eye is Alishtor’s Researcher, and now I’m worried he might have the same issues his Sage had.

In the hallway on our way to breakfast we met another new-recruit of TASK whose name turned out to be Tiffany–though she didn’t tell us that at the time. She’s got a headband and wild hair that sort of matches her personality. She was pretty insistent that we try the waffles at breakfast, but I really wasn’t hungry enough for waffles–those are sort of a once-a-week thing for me. If that.

The hogling chef in the kitchen is nice and reminds me a little of Cooky back at the Temple. I was a little surprised with how impressive the building looked to learn that their kitchen was fairly average. Terra had a big mouse the chef had caught in the strawberry jam, Nova had some chocolate bread that smelled wonderful, and the chef did his best to make a mixed berry parfait for me–though they didn’t have much in the way of fruit and the jam was sort of weird. Not weird like I got the same container as the mouse, just, not very normal for a parfait… Still, it was a good breakfast.

Orientation was in a large auditorium, and Dr. Zjavont was the one giving it! I guess he’s our Sage for now because he knows us best. So, Yay Science! He told us about how we’d have three days of tests to establish what our course in TASK would look like, and told us a lot about what the organization is–basically a reaction against any limited definition of humanity, or people-ness since they also help hoglings, scarecrows and even simians… I don’t like simians, I mean, I guess… Well, they’re pretty scary.

With the size of the auditorium I thought there might be a lot of new Researchers, but I guess it’s just Terra, Nova, Tiffany and I. Also, apparently Tiffany and Dr. Zjavont don’t get along–and not just because she doesn’t have patience for science. Then because I’m capable of Song Magic I guess I’m going to have special sessions with the Sage researching Song Magic.

Charlie went to find Gokasan to confer with him about the current situation–I really hope he has a good answer that will minimize any suffering caused by Alishtor’s actions. Jack is away on a mission to find Alishtor’s Researcher. I missed him a lot already, but after our dream I was actually really worried to imagine Jack looking for the Researcher by himself. Jack promised he wouldn’t die again, but Alishtor’s Researcher should actually be more dangerous than Alishtor was himself. I don’t know where that puts him in relation to the Man in the Red Robes, but after our dream I’m really worried about it.

Also, why doesn’t anyone even know what Alishtor’s Researcher looks like? I know TASK is a big organization, but given the kind of knowledge they deal with that just seems irresponsible to have such a loose grasp of who’s in the organization and who isn’t. It seems TASK is led by a Council of Five Sages, and apparently Barrister is the sixth Sage!

They’ve positioned themselves as Arbiters of knowledge, with a lot of checks and balances on that knowledge. I understand that the wrong information in the wrong hands is extremely dangerous–case in point being Alishtor. But he WAS a member of TASK. In fact he was a Sage! I feel like a more open system would work better. Who really has the right to decide what other people are or are not allowed to know anyway? I think that if everyone had access to all information, even the dangerous knowledge, then we could all keep each other in check as a community.

Would Alishtor have been as costly to stop if we’d all known what he knew from the start? I don’t think so.

Oh, and I guess Terra, Nova and I are specialized in exorcism, so our first mission is an excavation of ancient ruins with a mild ghost infestation. Nova wasn’t too happy about that, but I guess it is sort of what I joined TASK for… Kind of. Though I don’t think this is one of the breaches Alishtor made.

I know I have my doubts about my place in TASK, and I’m not sure Terra or Nova are particularly committed to it either. Tiffany on the other hand seems really excited, when she isn’t sleeping on her feet. I guess she escaped what she considered a dull farm life and is really excited about mastering special powers. I think it would be nice to live on a farm, getting to be outside and enjoy all the fresh air, and the company of the animals, and just living freely and simply. Nurturing life.

After the orientation Nova, Terra and I went to the gym to work out. On the way we met a Sage with brown hair and big glasses named Argentino! He’s the Song Magic Sage! He talked a lot about how amazing Song Magic is, and the sorts of amazing things I’ll be able to do with it if I continue on the current path. Raising the dead, reversing the degradation of age, regenerating lost limbs, all the sorts of things I heard the priests whisper about back at the Temple of the Consecrated Choir. I think he was talking about The Song of Life–only, I’m starting to get the feeling there’s another Song… One I don’t think I want to know.

The Hymn of Healing and Dynamic De Capo Aria are different from The Lost Lullaby in a way I can’t really explain. The priests and in particular Maester Forte taught me the Hymn of Healing, I just sort of made up the Lost Lullaby. There’s this thing in my chest that feels both tempting and wrong at the same time, and it feels more closely related to the Lost Lullaby than the Hymn of Healing or Dynamic De Capo Aria. It’s been there since sometime after our battle with Alishtor and the Man in the Red Robes.

Why did the Simians attack our temple?

Anyway, Argentino is capable of Song Magic himself! So I’m not the only one who can use it! I wonder if Maester Forte could use it too? Though if he could, why wouldn’t he ever demonstrate it to me? Argentino taught me some cool sub-vocalization techniques and showed me how to manipulate water with multi-tonal singing. He says it’s staggeringly amazing that I can use Song Magic, so I guess we’re still really rare even if I’m not the only one.
Terra doesn’t seem to like Argentino for some reason–but I’m really excited to meet someone else who can use Song Magic.

We learned a little more about our first mission. We’re apparently retrieving an ancient magic from the ruins used by an advanced civilization to launch projectiles from a metal barrel sort of like a crossbow. It was used to conquer much of the world, and a rather nasty tribe of lizard people in the area mean to reclaim the method when the ghostly activity subsides during the equinox. Since we’re not as superstitious as the lizard folk we’ll go in before the equinox and get the magic before them.

Then we heard that Barrister is currently away on a diplomatic mission to deal with some disgruntled royalty that TASK has to buy off with knowledge from time to time.

Our training in TASK began with a simple Will application. Dr. Zjavont shot us with cushioned cross-bow bolts, and we were supposed to manipulate reality with our Will to cause the bolt to miss. We opened with meditation, so I used the meditation hum I learned at the temple to help everyone get into it–Tiffany in particular seemed unfamiliar with meditation, or wound too tight to do it just then anyway.
It turns out we were learning in the Spiritual Practice Room! A whole room with an Energy restoring circle in the floor! The Spiritual Practice Room is now my favorite room in TASK! What would have been a draining meditation elsewhere was a breeze in the Spiritual Practice Room!

Then it was time to actually test the technique. I volunteered to go first, and was able to force the bolt off course with my Will… Only, the technique spends spiritual energy, and I do more than enough of that already. I don’t think this technique will be very helpful for me. I need ways to generate more Energy, not more ways to spend it! If only I could get some sort of reserve of additional energy or something!

Dr. Zjavont then proceeded to shoot Tiffany repeatedly, which didn’t seem very nice. She was really struggling with the technique, but I guess it was worth it because she was really excited when she finally got it.

Then it came time for Terra and Nova to try the technique–only their combat reflexes were so good it was really hard for Dr. Zjavont to hit them in general. By the time he fitted a scope to the crossbow and they were actively trying NOT to dodge he started shooting them like he’d been shooting Tiffany, though eventually they were able to cause the bolt to miss instead of dodging themselves… I’m not sure how useful a technique it is for them either though, because with their level of combat skill it doesn’t seem like the degree of spiritual influence the technique provides is very likely to be significant.

After that it was time for our testing to determine our areas of focus in TASK. I went first and did a bunch of vocal exercises just like back at the Temple. I guess I still need to work on volume… Though I’m not sure why? I can be heard just fine even over long distances. I hope they’re not hoping for me to sing so loud it hurts people…

Terra went next and they worked on escalating her already impressive jumping ability toward outright flight! That would be so amazing if Terra learned to fly! I’ve never seen a flying fox before! Nova worked on her super strength, lifting weights that even some of the people at TASK hadn’t realized were actually for use!

Then we finally got to see what Tiffany’s power was! She can generate pink lightning and crystalize it into a blade! Only, when she tries to split the blade–which looks possible–she has trouble controlling it and I guess the spare tends to go flying and stick in Dr. Zjavont’s arm. So that’s why they didn’t get along so well… What’re the odds on hitting his other arm like that? Especially after he taught us the technique to make things miss us?

Dr. Zjavont had other business to attend to after that, so he put on a bat mask and left. We got underway ourselves, with Rose providing transportation again. Tiffany and Rose seem to get along really well–I think they think sort of alike.

When we got to the town it was pretty heavily battle damaged. I guess they never bothered to name their town, though some of the youth refer to it as the Middle of Nowhere–even though it’s really close to the coast. The ruins are North East of the town past some awkward trees resembling a werewolf, unmentionables, and an Indian head respectively. The battle damage on the town is apparently a result of an ancestral feud that had been bred into the neighboring lizardfolk with no clear indicator of what started it.

Wait… Near the coast… Are we near the ocean?! Ooo! I have to go see it when we’re done! We’re close!

Apparently I reminded the old man who greeted us of his daughter and he was very friendly and helpful… Then I saw the blacksmith! He was fairly nondescript with brown hair and an eye-patch over the eye that glowed red on the figure in our dream! That seemed very suspicious to me, so I did some digging.

I guess his name is Jack, though he isn’t as cool as the real Jack. He’s lived in town for thirty-three years, which admittedly doesn’t sound like it would describe a Researcher for TASK. He pooped on the Indian Head Tree as a boy, and tried repeatedly to sleep with the old man’s daughter–and got caned just as many times. The old man says his daughter is loose, but not that loose… I’m not sure I’m as flattered about reminding him of her anymore. I’m not loose!

Then blacksmith Jack developed a fascination with staves–like the figure in our dream had! He married a hot red head, and has been the village weapon smith for ten years. Then the old man’s daughter showed up after he got off on a tangent about his wife and politely escorted him away.

I decided to spy on the blacksmith while Nova and Terra were buying weapons from him to see if I could learn anything. If he’s the figure from our dream I’d really like to figure that out before he hurts anyone. A slow witted and inept hogling who called everyone Larry entered the weapon shop to buy some gauntlets for punching out ‘Larry’. He returned home with the gauntlets in tow to apparently inflict injury on himself…

That’s when John arrived! He was an elegantly dressed but similarly nondescript brunette to blacksmith Jack, who also covered the eye that glowed red on the figure in our dream! If the figure had been closer I’d know what he looked like, but as is he really could be almost anyone!

John’s a traveler, which lines up more with being a Researcher for TASK… Are we allowed to talk about TASK? I wish I’d thought to ask that before we left. It would have made checking John out much easier if I could have just asked him if he was a member of TASK. Maybe I can? Secrets are so confusing. I’m not supposed to tell anyone I’m the Songstress, but if others are capable of Song Magic then I’m still allowed to use mine, right?

Anyway, John told us the armorer is a bit of an enchanter if we want nicer equipment–though I left my gold from Alishtor’s castle back at TASK. It’s so heavy! John doesn’t stop by the town often but seems well ingratiated with the community. He let us know not to take the cheapest deal at the Inn, but to favor the middle option. Also he was able to guess what Nova and I wanted to drink! I’d never even had the Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri Charlie recommended before! How did John know to about it? If it’s that obvious I’m less happy about the Pink Lotus Rose got me.

John shared that he was named for his uncle, who was a doctor. He also told us about the town’s feud with the lizards–and how a couple villagers recently disappeared to be experimented on! Apparently Psion and Golem came from this village! So then, Emperor Regal was one of the lizard folk! The lizard folk believe they were wronged, and have the philosophy to “Leave no trace of your enemies.” There has to be some way to make peace here, but it doesn’t sound easy.

Just as John was leaving, screaming lizard raiders with scythes attacked the town! I tried to talk them down, but they were very crude and both they and Terra and Nova seemed bristling for a fight… As a last ditch attempt at deescalation I used the Lost Lullaby to put all but one of them to sleep–not doing bad on my effectiveness there, but I’d like to get all of my targets one of these times. Terra rushed into battle with the last one, and John crushed the lizard man with some sort of air distorting force effect! So he’s got the power to possibly be a TASK Researcher too.

That didn’t really line up with my idea of disarming them and trying again to talk things out–but John says their scythes are forged and enchanted to kill in a single blow–and I would rather the lizard die than Terra. It’s so frustrating! They didn’t want to listen to me at all!

I guess a towns person named Jimmy tried begging the lizard folk to stop their hostilities, and they ate him! Is that what’s going to happen when I ask them? Blacksmith Jack is a survivor of the counter raid on the lizards after that. Even the old man says that we can’t make peace with the lizard folk… So I left the lizards to the townspeople… Blacksmith Jack slit their throats then burned the bodies. Apparently the funeral pyre is considered an honorable warrior’s death, and so there won’t be reprisals from the lizard folk for the loss of the raiding party.

I basically murdered those lizard men! They were completely helpless because of my song, and because I thought it was easier to let them die than work to find a solution that benefited everyone! I’m such a horrible person! And then we just went to the bar like it was nothing but mindless monsters we’d disposed of, or tormented ghosts we’d freed from suffering!

Turns out Tiffany is only 15, and she went to the bar to get drunk! I guess that’s her choice… But it seems like a really bad idea. I could tell it tasted just as bad to her as it did to me, and then after the third one she seemed really off balance, and then was finally sick… Why would anyone do that to themselves intentionally? I looks terrible! But, I guess it’s not really my business what other people do to themselves…

John opened up a little more, telling us how a friend of his died recently. His friend used to get an Old Fashioned to drink at this bar, and Beef Wellington is apparently John’s drink there–though it doesn’t look anything like the Beef Wellington the High Priest liked to eat. John says his friend died in construction, and he just wanted to make things right. I wanted to ask him if his friend was Alishtor, but construction does seem like a bit of a stretch… Though maybe from Alishtor’s perspective his business wasn’t really destruction–only I think he knew it was because he mostly talked about what he was taking out of the picture, hell and the gods.

Then John had to leave. I was too dispirited to really dig any further into my suspicions that he might be Alishtor’s Researcher… The way I failed those lizard men, just feels so inexcusable. I hate myself right now. It’s so strange, I’ve never, EVER, felt hate before… But this whole stupid feud and intolerance and violence… My heart is full of hate, and it’s making me sick! But I can’t afford to let it out, because if I were to actually direct the hate at someone or something else that’s the only thing I could imagine being worse than feeling it in the first place… So I hate myself.

In the past whenever I’ve felt bad I’ve been able to cheer myself up by singing. So I went to the town center and sang with all my heart. Most of the village came to listen, so I wove the Hymn of Healing in under the song to cure their hurts. I sang of faith, and hope and all the things that used to comfort me. Please, gods, don’t let me lose my way like Alishtor or the Man in the Red Robes.

The villagers figured out I was the one healing them, I was kind of hoping they’d chalk it up to the power of positive thinking and good attitude… It turns out that Jimmy was their pastor. Faith and spirituality have been low in the village since his death, and they don’t have a doctor so some of the injuries get pretty serious with no one to treat them.

Then an old woman started calling for me to kill the lizard folk with my songs. She wants a killing song… And the worst of it is, I think I… I think that… I can. Why are there songs that can hurt people? It just seems so wrong! Even the other townspeople wanted me to stay with them forever, and I can’t do that… I’ve got too many other responsibilities around the world, plus I’d hate to put them in greater danger like I apparently did the Temple of the Consecrated Choir.

I have to stop this feud with the lizard people. I’m going to go to the lizard village and find some way to stop this before we go… I wonder if we can send the relic back with Rose? We should probably take care of it first, and we can’t risk it falling into the lizard folks’ hands… But I don’t think Nova and Terra would let me go alone, and I’m so confused right now I don’t know if I’d want them to or not.

Then as the sun was setting Jack arrived! I feel so much better knowing Jack’s okay, but I’m also ashamed for him to see me like this, and embarrassed about what I said the last time I saw him. We did tell Jack about our dream though, and he told us it was a shamanic dream–which is very significant. I also gave him detailed descriptions of blacksmith Jack and John, and the reasons I had to suspect each of them of being the man in our dream and/or Alishtor’s Researcher.

I don’t know what’s going to happen, or what exactly I should be doing here, but I know I’ve got to try my hardest. I can’t give up!

 

-M

Melody’s Diary 07

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
May 07 2012

Dear Diary,

Poor Alishtor, I don’t think he was really bad–he was just very sad and confused. He let his pain control him and forgot that it’s possible to love. I guess that’s what happened with the Man in the Red Robes too. I hope I don’t end up like that.

Alishtor caught us in a magic trap that kept us from moving, so that gave us lots of time to talk. I really think I almost got through to him, but he was so blinded by his pain he refused to accept salvation. If at the end of time there are any souls still in Hell I believe it will be because they couldn’t accept entrance into heaven, and not because it wasn’t offered. Though that is terribly sad to think about.

Alishtor was trying to complete the Man in the Red Robes’ mission to eliminate the presence of the gods and merge Heaven, Hell and Earth into a single tortured reality–that just wouldn’t be as bad as Hell. The Man in the Red Robes was doing it because his wife was sent to Hell for sleeping with another man, which I don’t feel like that could be the entire story. Alishtor was doing it because his friend was in Hell for reasons he refused to divulge. They both supposedly tried everything to secure the salvation of their loved ones, but I wish he would have let me pray for them. Whether either of them ever had real faith, it was pretty obvious they didn’t by the time I knew anything about them. You have to believe in the gods before they can help you.

Oh, and apparently the reason Alishtor needed to sacrifice Charlie for his ritual is because Charlie’s master, Gokasan, is the exorcist who stopped the Man in the Red Robes 400 years ago! I guess if you have silver dragon blood in you, you live forever! So Jack’s going to live forever? I don’t even know what to think about that! Forever is a long time.

Alishtor did make a lot of interesting points though. Apparently a type of medicinal fungus has been propagated by spreading on the bodies of zombies! In fact, it’s used in the Medicinal Chocolate that Nova loves so much! I didn’t know any good ever came from the undead. So I guess Alishtor’s right that all things return to nature, and nothing unnatural remains so for long. Of course, my real issue with his merging of the three worlds is that it would be unholy–and that concern remains. Though it’s very interesting that it does seem possible to be unholy without being unnatural! I always thought anything unholy was also unnatural by default.

I guess Jack got tired of listening to Alishtor (and I think Alishtor was getting pretty annoyed with me, deep down I think he knew I was right that what he was doing was wrong and that there was a better way) so Jack shifted into his tiger mode and broke Alishtor’s magic trap. But then before we could fight things got all weird and we were transported to another space!

The scholarly man’s ghost was there, but now his eyes and glasses glowed with whitish purple flames. They’d be kind of pretty, except he definitely fit the unhappy ghost pattern. I guess that’s what happens to people who are slain by the dagger. It’s really a terrible thing! Of course we had to fight him, and his eye lasers were really deadly! Terra and Nova both went down, but Nova was able to revive Terra before going down and I was able to heal everyone with the Hymn of Healing.

Jack defeated the ghost and the ghost’s spectacles were left behind! Apparently they make whoever wears them invisible! Which seems kind of strange for spectacles, but I guess they are ghost spectacles. We went back to reality long enough to confuse Alishtor before we were pulled to another space to face the ghost of the exorcist’s wife.

She was a much stronger fighter, sort of the opposite of when they were alive, and dressed in red malevolence trimmed with gold love–the love was I think the real source of her power, and the malevolence just misdirected it. She had some really nasty daggers and could make them rain out of the sky! She was tough to fight, but everyone ganged up on her and Jack brought her down.

Terra got the glasses–I thought they might be useful since being invisible sounded safe, but it turns out they take a lot of spiritual energy and I already spend more than enough of that on my songs, and my amulet uses some too. So Nova got the ebony and silver daggers the ghost-wife left behind, and orchestrated a little reunion between the glasses and the daggers that seemed nice. Once that was done, Nova ate the daggers and her teeth sort of sparkled after that. I used the Dynamic De Capo Aria to restore everyone’s energy except Jack, since he didn’t need any.

This time we returned to Alishtor’s chamber to fight him. He summoned a bunch of gelatinous scarecrows and plant creatures. They were easy for Jack to kill, and with some effort Charlie beat one too. Then Terra just jumped over all of them to fight Alishtor by herself! Alishtor caught Terra’s wrist and then there was a flash of red light! He transformed into the Man in the Red Robes and knocked Terra out!

I kept everyone alive with the Hymn of Healing while Jack fought the Man in the Red Robes to protect Terra, and Nova and Charlie finished off the last of the minions. Unlike Alishtor, the Man in the Red Robes actually seemed to be as good as Jack! Actually, unlike anything we’ve seen so far, at least since I’ve been with them. The Man in the Red Robes kept making these big whirlwinds of lightning that dealt way more damage than I could possibly heal with the Hymn–in fact he was the one who killed the last two scarecrows. The Lightning had a big area, so I was the only one not getting hit.

Lucky, I guess, there’s no way my Force Field from the amulet could have stopped that. Even Nova couldn’t take that kind of damage and Charlie went down too–only Jack was able to keep fighting and he was badly hurt. Really badly hurt. I thought I’d lost Terra for a moment, but then her life force suddenly re-surged like she was refusing to die. Then Jack’s Sage, Barrister, showed up! He pushed a helix of energy into the ground that sprung up around the Man in the Red Robes and restrained him, giving me time to heal everybody more! Charlie was able to get back to his feet and Jack was looking better again.

The Man in the Red Robes broke out of Barrister’s restraints too soon though, and knocked Charlie back out. Barrister aided my healing efforts with some sort of dragon prayer that seemed much more powerful than my Hymn! Why is the Hymn of Healing so weak? Maester Forte and the priests made it sound like such a big deal that I could sing it, and it wasn’t even as strong then as it is now. Seems to me like there are plenty of people with much more powerful abilities than my Song Magic.

Nova got back up too, but really Jack had been the only one able to even hit the Man in the Red Robes this whole time, and even he was only damaging the robes themselves slightly. But they’d worked the Man back into a corner, and Nova toppled a bookshelf onto him! All his fancy defenses didn’t do as much about a big shelf of heavy tomes falling on him–though he was still up and fighting.

Basically it was still a fight between Jack and the Man in the Red Robes. Then the Man in the Red Robes finally seriously bloodied Jack, it looked like Jack was going to go down and we might lose! But Jack kept standing and responded in kind, finally really damaging the Man in the Red Robes! Nova surged with all her strength to help Jack, and finally got her own powerful bite in–though the Man in the Red Robes still defended against her next attack.

Barrister noticed how much energy I was spending on the Hymn of Healing and so grabbed me by the head and transferred a lot of his own energy into me! It was definitely as powerful as the Dynamic De Capo Aria. I could keep singing a lot longer thanks to that, but my songs still weren’t powerful enough to compensate for the damage the Man in the Red Robes was doing! Then Barrister started cheer-leading and I followed his movements while singing. I managed to get Charlie back on his feet again.

Then the Man in the Red Robes stabbed Jack and Jack fell! The Man in the Red Robes finished Jack off by stabbing him through the neck! If my heart was broken from losing Maester Forte and the priests, and the fight with Alishtor’s gargoyle, this finally shattered all the little pieces that were left into dust. I don’t know how I managed to keep singing the Hymn of Healing, I guess I knew I couldn’t give up yet. Jack had done so much, and if I could keep everyone else alive they might find some way to finish things.

Sure enough, Charlie did charge in to avenge Jack and in that moment seemed as cool as Jack always was. He broke the Man in the Red Robes with his bare hands, reverting him back to Alishtor–who Charlie tossed aside. Everyone was conscious again, I’d managed to save everyone with my song. Everyone except the one who meant the most to me. Charlie and Barrister were so upset at Jack’s death, and it was my fault again because I couldn’t heal him fast enough.

I couldn’t let it end like that. So I poured my life force into the Dynamic De Capo Aria again and tried to give it directly to Jack. Barrister figured out what I was doing and used his dragon prayer again to help and it worked! Jack was back, but still dying. I switched back to the Hymn of Healing and managed to get everyone back to full strength. I think I may have had some energy left, thanks to Barrister, because I didn’t pass out. But I didn’t feel like I had anything left.

Everyone crowded around Jack, they were so happy to have him back. I really wished I could join them, but I didn’t want to get in the way. There’s no way Jack could feel the same way about me that I do about him. After what he’d been through, Charlie and Barrister were the ones he needed to have close to him. Why do I always feel broken after these big fights? Will I ever get used to them? Or will there ever be a point where I can’t break any further? I never even got hit in that whole fight, but I think I hurt worse than I did from that treasure trap.

Soon the entire castle had faded away and we were back outside in a field where Rose drove up to meet us. The energy circle was still where the bad scientist’s lab had been and I managed to crawl back to it, while Nova dug around in the bushes for her treasure chest and golden shield. I think some of Terra’s fur has gotten darker too, she’s got a whole new vitality to her since surviving the Man in the Red Robes’ onslaught–she also seems a little edgier than before.

Apparently Alishtor’s ritual was partially successful in creating breaches where the worlds are merged. Until I figure out what I am supposed to be doing I guess I should try and fix those areas before too many people suffer because of them. I hope that means I get to continue traveling with my new friends. I don’t want to be alone ever again.

The whole carriage ride back to TASK it was hard to really say anything or engage with the others. My only thought, screaming through my head, was how much I loved Jack and I really wanted to tell him, but it didn’t seem like the right time or place–only after he actually died briefly back in the castle now it seemed like there might not be an unlimited amount of time to tell him. Barrister ordered Jack to get one of Dr. Zjavont’s clones when we got back to TASK, but I get the impression Jack feels the same way about those creepy things as I do.

Barrister increased the magic in my throwing ball to be more accurate, and Charlie recommended that I try a drink called a Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri. Rose was really mad. I love strawberries, so if there’s no alcohol that could be really good. Barrister promised Nova a swimming pool of chocolate when we got back to TASK, and invited all of us to join TASK. They even have a Sage researching Song Magic, who might be my best chance at figuring out my destiny. Though I don’t want obligations to TASK to get in the way of my responsibilities as the Songstress–even if I don’t really understand what those are. I HAVE to do something to make Maester Forte and the priests’ sacrifice on my behalf worthwhile!

I gave the damaged book and scrolls to Barrister, who was able to repair them! Well, the first page anyway–and I think he’ll get through to the others. It has all kinds of fascinating information on the gods that has been lost to the world since the Man in the Red Robes’ ill-conceived initial attempt to merge the worlds! I think Barrister will be able to restore the rest in time too.

Also Nova, Terra and I all seem to have ghostly armor now! Barrister was able to make it appear and says we all have special powers–and I don’t think he was talking about my Song Magic, even though I’m pretty sure that’s the only thing even remotely special about me. Anyway we all decided to join TASK, with Nova and Terra haggling for food as their main condition for accepting the offer. I hope I get to learn new songs and what to do with them.

TASK Headquarters is an amazing five story building! I’ve never seen anything like it, though it sort of reminds me of a magic library! I followed Jack around after we got to TASK and eventually managed to catch him alone. I hugged him and told him I didn’t want him to die again, and he patted me on the head like some sort of kid or animal.

I told him that I loved him–which felt good at first, but then I kept talking, and Jack didn’t say anything, and I couldn’t look at him and finally I had to run away. I wish I wasn’t such a coward, but someone as amazing as Jack, there’s no way he could ever love me back. I’m just a singing doll. As long as I can heal people with my songs, that’s really the only thing I’m good for. I can’t help wishing that I could just be me, be a real person, follow my wishes.

But I know that’s terrible and selfish of me. I have a special power, and even if it doesn’t seem that great compared to what other people, or even just magic chocolate, can do–mine comes with a responsibility. I won’t shirk my duty, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned since leaving the temple, it’s that pain comes and goes. It’s like the waves Maester Forte told me water makes on the sea, always changing, always coming and going. I wish I could have seen the sea with Maester Forte, he made it sound so beautiful and peaceful. I’ll get there someday, and I’ll sing a song for Maester Forte.

For now I have to pray for Alishtor, Alishtor’s friend, the Man in the Red Robes, and the Man in the Red Robes’ wife, and all the people they hurt too. I pray that they can find peace and accept and be accepted into Heaven. It’s not exactly what the priests taught, but I really believe with all my heart that Heaven was meant for everyone–and Hell is only for the people who aren’t ready to accept Heaven, something they inflict on themselves but can rise above.

-M

Melody’s Diary 06

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Apr 25 2012

Dear Diary,

I won’t stop trying, but it’s so hard to believe in myself. I still feel broken after that fight with the gargoyle, and I think things are just getting worse. It’s hard to explain. I’m stronger than ever, and I don’t think I’m as scared as I used to be… More than anything I think I might be scared that I’m forgetting who I am. Or maybe I never knew. I don’t feel things I used to feel, it’s like I’ve become numb to everything except terrible pain. I still feel that.

Who is The Songstress anyway? Am I really her? Was I someone else before?

I couldn’t tell Jack why I wanted his dagger. I didn’t have words at the time, and I think everyone still considers me fragile and helpless. I don’t want to be helpless any more. Eventually he did give it to me, and I used it to cut my hair and slit my dress. The dress was ruined anyway, and now I can move more freely–though I hope when we go to town again I can get something cute and functional. It took four years to grow it out that long, and Maester Forte said I had beautiful hair, but it was only a matter of time before it got in the way. I don’t want to be a burden! I want to help!

I left my hair for Ludwig when he re-materializes–maybe he’ll understand how I feel.

We got to an interesting laboratory for the first room we visited. But the ghost lady-scientist was crazy–and I think she was crazy even when she was alive. She was a very bad sort of scientist who cut people up and re-animated them like Emperor Regal’s constructs, but without the metal parts. Terra was pretty amazing, she sprung all over the room and cut up the bad-scientist and her minions. The way she was jumping it didn’t matter there were tables full of experiments and other stuff all over the room–I couldn’t find a safe path through the room, so I just sang the Hymn of Healing inside the force-field from the amulet. The bad scientist and her minions were no match for our team, especially Jack and Terra this time–the tables didn’t get in their way as much.

The interesting part of the room was the alchemical circle that drew energy from the earth and gave it to those standing in the circle! I HAVE to learn how to make those circles! It was SO nice! As good as the hot spring! I felt totally refreshed after standing in it for hardly any time at all! In fact, I felt better than ever! Though there’s got to be a more portable way of restoring energy that works better than those silly little vials I bought from the merchant–that doesn’t deplete my life force like the Dynamic De Capo Aria.

We continued to explore the castle very carefully. It is pretty creepy, so careful seemed like a good idea. The hallways are all twisted and warped–Charlie explained a bit about how the haunting effect worked. Neither Nova nor I really like all of the creepy stuff, though I think it actually bothers Nova more than me! The others seem fine.

The next room had a bunch of ghost knights, humans and hoglings, at a feast. They all drew their swords and I tried to convince them they didn’t have to leave their feast and that Ludwig let us in, but they didn’t listen at all! So everybody just took them out so quickly the lead knight was surprised. I even hit one with my ball!
It’s sad, I really wish we could get along with the ghosts. But it seems like every single time the best we can do for them is break their bond to this world and let them move on. What a terribly sad way to exist! If that really is what it’s like to be a ghost, I don’t think I can forgive Alishtor for making so many of them.
Not even the bad scientist-lady who was afraid of the king doing bad science back on her would have deserved so tortured an existence. Sometimes you have to stop bad people from hurting other people, but there’s no reason to ever torture them!

Nova opened the doors, and there were a lot of them! Jack found a key in the wall, so then Nova scratched the wall a lot but didn’t find anything else. Eventually we decided to go upstairs. The hallway at the top of the stairs was actually stable, but when we entered the room at the end the door sealed behind us!

It got dark, and Alishtor’s weird ghost-lady was dancing in there! Just when I figured out the beat she switched to a much more violent one and attacked us! I think she very nearly killed Charlie with her first attack, just based on all the blood. And she was fast! Charlie couldn’t even touch her with his ghost-busting fire, though Jack’s daggers were quick enough to keep up with her as was Terra’s sword. I tried to stay close to Charlie while singing the Hymn of Healing, while Jack, Terra and Nova attacked the dancing ghost-lady. The ghost was unbelievably fast, only Jack and Terra had any luck keeping up with her–though I felt a lot safer with Nova standing between her and Charlie and I. The ghost got Terra like she got Charlie after Terra had been defending pretty well, but then Jack finished the ghost off and spat where she fell. It took a lot out of me singing enough to heal up Charlie and Terra’s wounds though! I can’t even imagine if the ghost had attacked me. The ghost lady had a golden key we took after defeating her.

All of this ghost stuff HAS to stop! This just isn’t right, and it seems like the only result of their lingering presence in our world is suffering. They hurt the living and seem hurt themselves. Nobody benefits.

After swinging back by the circle to replenish our energy we went through another warped hallway–though I worked to counter-act the unnatural flow of the hallway by singing a river-song to help us flow. We came out in a room with a big door and a couple of sarcophagi. The key Jack found in the wall opened this door and there was too much treasure in there! We all knew it was a trap, but didn’t know what to do about it! It seemed like there should be some way to disable the trap, but we weren’t even sure what it was.

I accidentally started reading a book that was open on top of the treasure and it made my brain tingle! Not in a bad way though… I got a sense that the book was safe, so I figured I could lift it out without trouble… Unfortunately I stepped on a loose coin and that wasn’t safe…

Um…

Eventually we got the treasure. Nova smashed the sarcophagi. The trap stopped, but…

And the book made me smarter…

Sorry, I don’t think I can write about any of that. I feel out of balance now. The book is part of my mind now instead of a physical thing, and we got this golden shield and everyone got a lot of gold–which is heavier than my ball, which is heavier than I thought it was before throwing it at Ludwig so many times. Nova’s got a whole treasure chest full of the gold and the shield.

The alchemical circle was getting kind of dim at this point. We went up the other staircase to where the bad-scientist kept all of her victims. I helped Charlie exorcise them. I really wish I could learn how to exorcise ghosts and evil spirits, and that I could learn science like Dr. Zjavont… But I guess really I need to focus on my singing. That’s what I need to know how to do, and I guess I just have to trust Charlie to do the exorcism and Dr. Zjavont to do the science, even though it seems like it would be totally awesome to know how to do those things.
I liked exorcising the ghosts much better than fighting them.

Next we found a room where a desk and chair were inside a square of sigils to keep out evil spirits. When we entered the square we had a vision of a scholarly man discovering something in the book on the table–then he was attacked by a red-robed figure with Alishtor’s dagger! The scholar was apparently an exorcist and tried to fight back, but the red robed figure killed him and then destroyed his book! The book lost its magical element, but I’m going to take it back to TASK and see if they can reconstruct it so we can figure out what it said. Charlie doesn’t think it’ll work–actually I still don’t know what he and Jack had fought about before Charlie died.
I wish I’d thought to read it while the exorcist was reading it! I’m pretty good at remembering what I read.

Next we came to a room with some bric-a-brac, a ghost bird and a mirror. I made sure not to look in the mirror, I wasn’t ready to know what I looked like after everything we’ve been through. I want a bath and some new clothes before I go near anything reflective! Nova looked in the mirror though, and it forced all of us to look too. Only instead of reflecting us it reflected a scene of a pretty woman in a nice white dress getting murdered by the red-robed figure before he moved on to the room where he murdered the exorcist.
I don’t like it here! And that dagger is terrible! It’s been used for such horrible things, I think it has to be destroyed. I don’t know what Alishtor wants with it–but I do know it’s bad, and making ghosts is bad… And I just have a bad feeling that whatever Alishtor wants is also bad. Why are there evil people in the world? It seems like evil would rot you from the inside just as quickly as it destroyed everything around you. Who would ever want that?

Terra caught the ghost-bird and was going to keep it, but after it’s head spun all the way around she put it back.

Nova re-arranged the statues in the next room, though it turned out what she needed to do was smash the one with a lever in it. The door the golden key opened led back to the banquet hall, but the lever opened the way to Alishtor.

I’ve got so many questions, I don’t really know who I am or what I’m supposed to be doing any more. But I am pretty sure Alishtor shouldn’t be doing what he is doing, and I know there’s no way he can beat all of us.

-M

Melody’s Diary 05

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Apr 09 2012

Dear Diary,

What is destiny anyway? How do we know if we’re doing the right thing?

On the day we were to leave, Charlie went off to find Jack and left Terra, Nova and myself at the bar. Then this lizardy-amphibi-ish shifter arrived in the square with a pair of constructs and said he was going to conquer the world–starting with the eradication of the village!

He said our two options were to either lay down and die (which didn’t sound good) or to infamously go down in history for opposing the most famous man in the world (which sounded more like a perspective thing). His name was The Great Emperor Regal–unless some of that was a title, which I’m sort of confused about now. He shot fire from his staff, which was REALLY bad for Nova, though his constructs (Psion and Golem) didn’t actually appear to do much at first.

I used the Hymn of Healing to keep Nova alive, though another fire-blast knocked her out. Terra fought Regal, Golem vibrated and eventually Psion joined Terra in attacking Regal. I guess Psion was technically the one who won the fight, then he ran off into the woods shrieking. Golem just fell apart.

Charlie and Jack showed up after that. Since Bill is taking Nerev back to TASK head-quarters, and we’re going into danger, they decided to send us a more combat-worthy cabbie named Rose. Her Sage apparently died, and since her specialty is transportation that’s what they have her doing until she gets assigned a new Sage.

Regal said he was destined to conquer the world and therefore couldn’t fail… But then he died so easily. Rose says that destiny doesn’t always happen… But what about my destiny?

Also it turns out that gargoyle we fought in the forest was more than likely created by Alishtor, using a variety of Earth–specifically dust–magic to form it from sand. It was a long carriage ride, so there was time to learn a whole lot! Rose explained travel to us–both through time and space! She also let us know that Alishtor was always a dick, which is another word for a penis… I’ve never seen a penis, though I guess Alishtor isn’t really a penis? He’s just not very nice, and I’m not sure what that has to do with being a penis…

Charlie gave an amazing Ghost Lecture on the Body, Mind and Soul. How all three are interconnected, but the Body and Mind are weakened by an artificial concept of separation. The Soul is the most powerful because it recognizes the interconnectedness of everything. It was all things I’d sort of suspected anyway, I’ve always felt like my spirit was my real driving force, but Charlie explained it so well. Though Rose fell asleep during the lecture. Fortunately we were on a straight road.
He also talked about how the soul creates things, like my Song Magic or the chocolate Nova makes with her necklace. I tried creating an image of a flower just using my spirit, but I guess it takes twenty years to learn how to do that. Charlie made his ghost-busting fire and let me shape that into a flower though, it was so pretty!

While Rose was asleep Terra decided to eat in the carriage even though Rose told her not to. When Terra accidentally spilled blood on the floor of the carriage Nova helped her clean it up. I don’t think Rose ever found out.

Then we got to the town we were going to stay at before reaching Alishtor’s coliseum the next day. Rose insisted we have a Girls’ Night out on the town, so Jack and Charlie weren’t allowed to come. She made me drink something called a Pink Lotus… Actually she made me drink two, and they made me really sleepy! Though I guess they didn’t taste as bad as Nova’s chocolate bourbon. Then Rose said I wasn’t allowed to fall asleep on Girls’ Night Out and made me drink something called a Copper Moonrise that was terrible and spicy and bad! It woke me up… But why? Why did she make me drink all of those things?

I don’t like alcohol at all. Even when you can’t taste it it’s so bad! And… I don’t want to think about it anymore. I just hope I never have to drink alcohol again.

Then Rose took us out into the alley behind the bar and taught me how to punch! She says it’s something all girls should know how to do. I wasn’t very good at it, and Rose said I needed to do it with emotion. So I thought of the happiest things I could, like kittens and rainbows and flowers, and it really helped me punch harder! I’m still pretty sure if I weren’t punching a pillow I’d be the one who got hurt though…

Next Rose took us to a weapon merchant standing on a bridge to buy me a weapon! She says all girls should have one. Rose has boot daggers that come out of the toes of her boots! He had a really curvy blade he called a kris that he said made your enemy bleed a lot–which sounded mean. He also had a really ugly warhammer. Then I saw the pretty ball in his inventory!

The weapon merchant said that his seven year old daughter prefers the ball. When you throw it it helps you hit your target and delivers a gypsy curse that makes them easier to hit with other attacks, and then returns to the thrower! So something that I can use, looks pretty and can help my friends who are actually capable of fighting. It seemed perfect! The price was pretty high at two hundred dollars, but Rose said I need a weapon and I did like the idea of being able to do something when I didn’t have the energy to sing. I got Regal’s fire-spouting staff, but the more I examined it the more I didn’t think I’d be very good with it.
Eventually we were able to haggle the ball down to something I could afford if I spent my five dollars plus everything Charlie was still holding for me. Part of that was Nova giving the merchant some chocolate to take home to his wife.

I think all that made Rose happy. But the next part was definitely the best! We all went to a hot spring and got to relax and soak! I’d always wanted to go to a hot spring, it’s so much nicer than a regular bath! The heat really relaxes you. It makes your muscles feel like melting butter and gets rid of any aches from the day. Terra, Rose and I soaked in the hot spring. Nova got an ice bath next to us. I might have to try that next time. I think I remember Maester Forte telling one of the priests that an ice bath followed immediately with a hot spring is one of the five best experiences in this world.

Oh! And Rose taught me all about sex! I had no idea! Why didn’t Maester Forte or one of the priests ever tell me any of that stuff? Some of it would’ve been nice to know sooner, but there’s way too much to go into now. I’ll let you know if I get to use any of it though.

When we got back we found Jack and Charlie playing cards. Jack won.

The next day when we got to the coliseum it was completely shrouded in ominous black mist! Rose waited outside with the carriage, and we all went in! I was SO scared. Even Charlie was scared when we got to the spot where he’d been killed. And we saw the indent in the sand from which the gargoyle had been made. Then we crossed the bridge up to Alishtor’s castle, and the bridge collapsed behind us! I was so scared, I really didn’t want to be there!

That’s when I saw Alishtor for the first time! He is SO creepy! It’s unreasonable how creepy he is! He’s got this weird constant smile and I think he wears black lipstick… He had his ghost archers open fire on us and I got hit in the shoulder! It hurt so much! I don’t know how everybody else is able to keep going into battle when they keep getting injured like that!

Nova carried me to safety and the others ran alongside to reach the covered area under the portcullis. Nova hefted the portcullis up and let us all in. There we were faced with a ghostly knight named Ludwig. We talked with him for a while, but as it turned out we didn’t have an audience with the king and didn’t know the password (though we all tried our best to guess) the only other way into the castle was for each of us to individually defeat him in combat!

I really didn’t want to, wasn’t even really sure I could, but it was the only way–so what choice did I have? Ludwig duplicated himself so we all fought him at the same time, though we could each only affect our copy. Jack won quickly, and Nova mauled the original about as fast. Charlie opened with a powerful fire blast since Ludwig is a ghost, but had to fight harder after Ludwig got close enough to force Charlie to use his fists. Terra exchanged sword strikes with her copy for a while, but ultimately won out with reasonable efficiency.

As for me… Well, I couldn’t hit him with the ball and couldn’t risk singing. He couldn’t penetrate the force field from the amulet Charlie gave me–unlike the arrows from the archer. So we just sort of talked some more and failed to hurt each other repeatedly. After the others all won their fights and couldn’t do anything to help me with mine, I decided I had to risk the Lost Lullaby. It almost worked, but taking my attention off defense to sing let him smash my force field and cut me really bad!

I took another blow after that–and I told Ludwig I couldn’t yield because I had a duty too. I think we understood each other, but it was so sad we had to fight–and I was especially sad that I thought I was going to die. Finally Lost Lullaby worked.

We’d won, but I was so tired and I hurt so much! I can’t let the others know how much it hurts, because I know they take wounds like this all the time. My dress is ruined. But I guess now I understand better what my Hymn of Healing fixes. I’m really looking forward to singing it again–though Nova gave me some of the healing chocolate she makes and that helped so much. I won’t sing again until the others need it though. I can’t waste my energy selfishly when so much is at stake.

Maester Forte, I still don’t know how to fulfill my destiny. But at least now I finally believe it’s possible. If I’m willing to give my life I can do anything. I will achieve my destiny. I swear it. I have to stop being so selfish and think about what’s really important.

Thank you, Ludwig. I understand what I have to do now.

-M

Melody’s Diary 04

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Apr 02 2012

Dear Diary,

Oh, I like the town so much more than that terrible forest! Everyone is so nice here, and there are so many interesting things to do and see, and it’s pretty peaceful I think.

To thank us for saving his life, and help us prepare to go to Alishtor’s castle, Charlie gave us all two hundred and fifty dollars! I think that’s a whole lot of money, though the dollar Nova gave me last night is my only real frame of reference. It was really exciting having money, I don’t even think I know everything you can do with money! I know you can buy things like clothes and food and items, and you can pay for services and places to stay for the night.

Oh, but apparently some people aren’t very honest when it comes to money and ask for too much! That’s really sad, but because of that Charlie said he’d hang on to my money and I should ask him if I want something.

We all split up for the day to prepare for our journey next Moonbloom. Charlie went with me and Nova and Terra both went off on their own. I’m not really sure what Jack did, I saw him in town briefly but didn’t get to talk to him at all. Charlie’s uncle, Virgil, said that the merchant caravans came through town at Moonbloom–the extra light is believed to prevent, or at least reduce, dishonesty! The merchants in the caravan apparently have the really nice items, plus the other merchants in town restock from them!

I tried to find something to help with the fact that I keep running out of energy from singing so much. One of the traveling merchants had five vials of condensed spirit energy collected from the souls of plants! I don’t really know how I feel about drinking souls, but it’s probably okay if they’re plant souls. Right? Charlie said that he’d seen them before and they worked, so he let me buy them. They cost twenty dollars each! Isn’t that a lot? The vials don’t seem like they contain that much spirit energy to me…

Oh, and I got this really cool messenger bag to carry my items in–plus the five dollars Charlie let me carry myself! I wish it matched my outfit a little better, but at least it looks nice, and it’s sturdy and water-proof! Nova and Terra came and shopped around a bit too–I didn’t pay as much attention to what they were doing, I was distracted by my own shopping!

One of the other traveling merchants had a little golden pyramid that helped restore energy when used during meditation, but it didn’t sound like what I was looking for. If I have time to meditate I can just get my energy back that way–I’m more worried about running out of energy while fighting. I think Nova ended up buying the pyramid to go with some necklace that makes chocolate using the wearer’s energy.

They also had a bunch of weird clothing items that disappeared when you put them on! Is it supposed to be some sort of joke? The Kitten’s Mittens apparently give you claws, but no one could explain why that was useful. Something about scary things popping out, but the claws don’t stop them from popping out in the first place.

One that didn’t disappear was a ring of warding, the merchant demonstrated that his knife didn’t hurt him while he was wearing it… Though I think I’d still rather not get hit at all. Nova ended up testing the ring out by putting it on and asking Terra to hit her–it was hard to watch, but Nova said it was for science. The first hit didn’t do anything, but then Nova told Terra to hit harder and Terra wounded her pretty seriously! Turns out the ring doesn’t stop much damage at all! I used the Hymn of Healing to patch Nova up while she made more chocolate.

Then Nova and Terra went armor shopping. Turns out the smith who made Terra’s armor lives in this town and Terra’s his muse! I had no idea Terra was a muse, but it makes a lot of sense how good her armor looks now. Very elegant but also, as I saw plenty of in the forest, very effective.

Once we were done shopping Nerev, the blind girl, came running back into town in a big hurry! She said she was sorry and it had gotten stronger, which isn’t good to hear from someone who’s possessed by a demon! I thought Charlie took care of her problem, but I guess it isn’t that easy. Her demon had raised a bunch of zombies and they were after her.

Bill helped Nerev while Nova, Terra, Charlie and I prepared to face the zombies. I tried using the Lost Lullaby, though it turns out zombies don’t sleep! Do ghosts sleep? I might like Alishtor’s castle even less than the forest if nothing in there is susceptible to my lullaby.

Nova gave Nerev some of the chocolate she made with her necklace and I switched to the Hymn of Healing while Nova and Terra were in combat–and tried to soothe Nerev with it too. Charlie threw fire at the zombies and completely destroyed them. Maybe it’s because he’s an exorcist and they were undead, but he seemed as powerful as Jack! Though, I still like Jack best.

In the end the zombies weren’t any trouble at all! We’re actually pretty powerful now, I guess… Well, my friends are. I guess I’m doing pretty good too, a lot stronger than I used to be. But after two Hymns of Healing and a Lost Lullaby my energy was already severely depleted and we hadn’t even faced any serious challenges. Anyway, I used the Dynamic De Capo Aria to restore some of Nova and my energy so we had something to work with for the rest of the day.

Once the zombies were taken care of we found Bill on top of Nerev on a table in the bar! I guess the wraith (not a demon, but a very, very bad sort of ghost) in Nerev was getting more out of hand and Charlie said there was only so much even he could do about wraiths. He got the wraith quiet again, but Nerev needs long-term care and going to a ghost castle without the exorcist would be a terrible idea!

Bill suggested he take Nerev to Dr. Zjavont at TASK Headquarters since there aren’t any bodies for the wraith to raise there and Dr. Zjavont could help control the wraith and study Nerev. Since we needed Charlie at the castle that seemed like our best option.

I really hope things go okay at the castle and that Nerev is okay… I’m kinda nervous now.

-M

Melody’s Diary 03

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Mar 23 2012

Dear Diary,

That gargoyle and his little minions were terrible! Was he sent by Alishtor? It doesn’t seem like I was the one he was after… And yet I was still a liability to my new friends as they tried to fight him. I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

Using the Last Lullaby I was able to put four of his minions to sleep, but there were still more and they were so powerful! We were all trapped on the battlefield by a wall of blood where the stream had been and the big one just kept throwing meteors at us over and over again! I couldn’t get out of the way in time for the first one, so Jack jumped in the way and turned into a tiger-person! He shrugged the meteor off and saved me, but Bill and Dr. Zjavont didn’t do as well. Terra and Nova were clear of the blast fighting the gargoyle’s minions.

I was able to take the Hymn of Healing to a new level of power to try and keep everyone alive, but it wasn’t enough. Nova went down and Jack had to teleport in the way and take a really bad wound to stop the little gargoyles from finishing her off. Dr. Zjavont was working on some alchemical thing the whole time right in the middle of the battlefield–though I don’t really think anyone could see what he was doing.

Eventually everyone finished off the little gargoyles who were still awake, but then the big one destroyed the sleeping ones and just summoned a whole new batch! I was running out of energy for Song Magic, and suddenly Bill and I weren’t as far away from the fight as we’d been trying to be. The big gargoyle came down to actually fight at this point too!

Bill did his best to protect me, though we were boxed in and badly out numbered–even if I counted as one for our side. Nova and Jack took on the big one, though even Jack didn’t really seem to be able to hurt it. Terra was basically taking on the other half of the fresh minions that weren’t after me and Bill all by herself. Dr. Zjavont was still doing something in the dirt, though in spite of my Hymn and his Safety Amulet he’d been hurt badly and knocked down several times.

That’s when things went bad. The little gargoyles murdered Bill while he was protecting me! All I could do was edge away while they fed on his body! I didn’t have any energy left to sing, and it was my fault he was dead now! Jack tackled the big gargoyle and just tried to hold it down–which at least stopped the meteors for a while. Nova tried to draw more of the little gargoyles’ attention, but went down again. Everybody was so hurt, and I couldn’t heal them anymore! I tried to draw the gargoyles off the way Nova did with the Feasters, but they just ignored me!

I guess Dr. Zjavont finished what he was working on because he ran over to take Bill’s place in protecting me. They killed him too. Because I can’t protect myself two of my new friends died, and I couldn’t do anything to help! A new song came to me at that point, one that I powered with my own life-force and restored the energy I needed for my other songs. I don’t know if it made any difference. I tried to resume singing the Hymn of Healing after that… but I hadn’t gotten much power back from the Dynamic De Capo Aria… I’m just not powerful enough!

Nova, who had been revived with their Goblet of Life… That Goblet is so amazing, and even the chocolate that I think they might be out of now is so much more effective than I am… Chocolate bars are more useful than I am… It’s a little depressing. Anyway one of the little gargoyles was finally chasing me and Nova broke away from Jack and Terra to come over and save me from the little one. I don’t know how I would have survived without her, and I guess that’s probably part of why they didn’t believe me when I said I had that last one.

Using my new Aria I restored energy to Terra and Jack since they were looking tired too, I apparently hit some sort of limit on how much I could restore to myself. Then we figured out what Dr. Zjavont had been up to before! The glacier around Taragosh shattered and he saved us all! He even brought Bill back, though apparently Dr. Zjavont had some sort of fail-safe that had already revived him in a different body far away.

Happy ending, right? Not really. Turns out that besides the magical, spiritual and biological components of the creation of the Fruit of Life, it also required the rebirth of the Guardian. Taragosh had to die so we could bring Charlie back… No wonder he made such a big deal about whether or not we deserved to have it!

I just don’t know how much more of this I can take. I don’t want anyone else getting hurt because of me! I mean, if I knew the Song of Life I probably could have brought Charlie back without Taragosh having to sacrifice himself… I think, maybe? I still don’t even know what The Song of Life does! How am I going to learn it? How am I going to ever make it up to everyone who’s given so much for me?

I gave more in that fight than I’ve ever done before–more in the space of a hellish couple of minutes than most weeks at the Temple of the Consecrated Choir… I initiated Song Magic five times in a few minutes! It helped that I figured out how to power the Aria with my life instead of just energy, but afterward I felt so empty.

I feel broken. The others tried to comfort me. Bill said that he didn’t sacrifice himself for me, that he made a calculated gamble and it just didn’t work… Jack asked me what I’d tell Maester Forte I’d done with my second chance at life that I’m now realizing he and the priests probably gave theirs in order to secure for me… I can’t help thinking they’re all dead now, why else would they have asked me to run away by myself when I’d never left the Temple before?

Jack’s Sage, Barrister, is an impressive man with white hair and beard who came personally to get us all back to town safely. There was some sort of weird incantation that went with it, though I guess Jack’s traveled with Barrister enough times he didn’t have to say it. We traveled to town in a beam of light! I like town a lot better than the forest!

Everybody was excited to see Nova, Terra, Jack and Bill come back–and Dr. Zjavont was even already waiting for us! Charlie’s uncle, Virgil, brought out the body. It wasn’t pretty, but Dr. Zjavont’s science and the Fruit of Life–administered by Nova and Terra who have experience feeding the unconscious–together were enough to bring Charlie back in perfect health! Everyone was so happy, it was nice.

There was a big party. They introduced me to Charlie, but mostly I tried to stay out of the way. I didn’t want to spoil everyone else’s good mood. Then we saw a blind girl named Nerev sitting a little apart from the rest of the party. I guess Nova and Terra knew her from before, and she was apparently possessed by a demon! So she was really happy Charlie, the exorcist, was back. “Spirits” or alcohol also helped quiet the demon, though I don’t think I’ll ever drink again! That stuff’s so… bad.

I thought I’d lost the heart to sing. But seeing everyone so happy, and specifically Nerev so hopeful… Well I couldn’t help but sing. I still feel hollow, broken, but I guess it isn’t my voice that’s gone. I’m not sure what it is anymore.

Nova got drunk and gave me a dollar. It’s actually really exciting having money! I’ve never had money before, I’m not even sure what to do with it! I hope someone will take me shopping, I don’t want to do it wrong.

We got to rest for a night. Then the next day Charlie and Jack had finished catching up and decided to go to Alishtor’s castle that he resurrected! Apparently Alishtor has a dagger tied to the collapse of the culture that existed 500 years ago, and is resurrecting the spirits and even land-marks of that culture as malevolent ghosts!

I’m not sure how much help I’ll be, I don’t want to go and I’m absolutely terrified of going into danger again, but I feel like this is something I have to do. I still don’t know what I’d tell Maester Forte I did with my life if I saw  him again, and I really don’t know what I’m supposed to do… But if Alishtor is trying to recreate the calamity that destroyed the previous civilization, I have to try and do something. I have to.

Dr. Zjavont actually offered to let me stay at TASK as his test-subject, though I don’t know if that would have been any better. I didn’t take him up on his offer to grow a replacement body in case I died like he’d used either. I think all of the others did… Am I being selfish? I don’t want to die, let alone come back and die again.

-M

Melody’s Diary 02

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Mar 16 2012

Dear Diary,

Am I an adventurer now? Probably not, that siren apparently wasn’t very trustworthy. Oh, but I’m getting ahead of myself. So another day in this creepy forest with Jack, Nova, Terra, Dr. Zjavont, Funko and Bill (our cab driver’s name is Bill!) and I’ve got at least as much to say as last time. Back in the Temple I could get away with only writing like once a week and I wouldn’t forget anything important! But since I made these new friends we have more stuff happen in a day than ever happened in a week at the Temple!

I’m getting science lessons from Dr. Zjavont now! I know I’m not that smart, a lot of concepts just don’t click for me–I don’t even really understand why my Song Magic works the way it does! Though I think Maester Forte could have told me more about the theory than he did, instead of just focusing on application. I suppose the High Priest might have been pressuring him to teach me faster though… Anyway, the point is I love learning! Even if I’m not as smart as some of the priests, or especially Dr. Zjavont.

While we were resting Terra went out hunting and got surrounded by these really huge angry scary monsters! We later found out from Tara (the cat) that the monsters were wildebeasts! Huge angry wildebeasts with claws. I tried to put them to sleep with the Lost Lullaby, but it didn’t work! That’s the first time my Song Magic has ever not worked at all–even if the Hymn of Healing is a lot weaker than the chocolate and Goblet of Life that Nova and Terra already had with them, at least it always worked. I really can’t wait to get out of this forest.

I’m trying really hard, but I’m just not sure I can keep up with my new friends. I keep feeling like I’m just holding them back. I was too exhausted to go on after that encounter, so we all camped and Jack gave us glowing stones since the moon was getting dark. Dr. Zjavont complained about traveling around with a bunch of animals because of how brutally they all fought–it was really bad. Nova said that Jack wasn’t an animal, but I could tell there was something about Jack he was keeping secret.

Oh! And I found out that when bats use echo-location they use an ultrasonic frequency so fewer things hear the bat itself! I use ultrasound as part of my Song Magic! Though I was able to produce a wholly ultrasonic song, I wasn’t able to hear myself… So I guess I still need light.

And then, after we’d rested just enough for me to be able to sing again, we were attacked by a swarm of life-stealing shadows Dr. Zjavont called Feasters! Nova drew pretty much all of them to attack her, and they brought her down! But I was able to revive her with the Hymn of Healing–and then she kept all of them busy while Jack and Terra finished them off one by one! It was amazing! Nova and Terra were pretty hurt by the end of that fight even with me singing the whole time. I just wanted to heal their wounds, but I guess I pushed myself a little too hard and fainted from the exertion. I haven’t fainted from using Song Magic since I was fifteen! That was the only time Maester Forte ever apologized to me too, saying he shouldn’t have pushed me so hard. Though I definitely used more Song Power in the last couple days than I’ve ever used before! I can feel that my spirit is getting stronger.

Everything in this forest is SO scary! I thought Jack, Nova and Terra were pretty amazing and the forest would be no problem for them–but the deeper we go the more it seems like we’re all in over our heads–me just a little more so than them. When I woke up Nova was in her polar bear form and I was laying on her back. I guess they all made camp, and we must have been there a while. It was the best rest I’d had in weeks! Maybe ever, there’s something very comforting about sleeping on a polar bear.

Anyway, Jack and Terra were the only two already awake and they were talking. Jack was telling her his story, and it was so sad! Jack’s own brother betrayed him, did some terrible things and tricked Jack into helping him before trying to kill Jack when Jack found out! A man named Barrister, a Sage at TASK, saved Jack’s life and that’s why Jack is part of TASK now. Also, Jack has silver dragon blood and the spirit of a tiger! Literally! He is no longer human and no longer has limitations, but had to reject who he was before. It sounds really hard, but he’s so completely amazing now, and he still gets to visit his tribe! His brother’s name was Res, I’m hoping we never meet him.

After Jack shared his past, and Terra woke Nova up, I decided I’d better tell them who I was. I mean, that was the right thing to do, right? The priests told me to never tell anyone, but that was at the same time they told me to never leave the Temple… I mean, I can trust these guys, and they should know that I’m The Songstress–even if I don’t know exactly what that means myself. I didn’t tell them about The Song of Life, but it’s not like I really know enough to be able to tell much anyway. I really hope Maester Forte and the priests are okay.

Dr. Zjavont did already know I was The Songstress, and didn’t seem to think it was a good idea for me to have told everyone. I wish I knew more about what being The Songstress even means. Can anyone else in the world use Song Magic besides me? What’s so special about me? Why am I able to learn The Song of Life? Who do I even learn it from anyway? I don’t think even Maester Forte knows it… Though maybe he does? I guess there’s a Sage in TASK who’s studying Song Magic, though that’s as much as Dr. Zjavont knew about him–that he exists and has his own Researcher (do all Sages have Researchers? Sounds like they probably do).

Everybody reminisced a little about Charlie Wilkenson, the exorcist they’re hoping to revive with the Fruit of Life, while Dr. Zjavont made a potion that would glow when we got closer to the Fruit of Life. Also there’s apparently a place called the Checkered Room where I shouldn’t go–Terra and Nova have been, but Jack hasn’t. Once the potion was done we set out again.

Next we came to a lake where there was this beautiful singing! A blue-skinned woman with white hair rose out of the lake, and she was the one singing! The song put all the men in our group into a trance and made them start walking toward the lake–though the woman (a siren) said it wasn’t the song doing it and I believed her! Fortunately I reflexively started deconstructing her song anyway–my musical training pays off! Terra held Dr. Zjavont at bay, while Nova grabbed Bill and I hung off Jack–slowing him down anyway. After Jack broke the Siren’s control long enough to tell me it was the song controlling them, then I knew what to do and using arpeggiation I constructed a Counter-Song that broke the Siren’s control completely and Jack was able to kill her! I felt kind of bad for the siren, but after everything else we’ve been through I was mostly glad none of us were hurt this time.
Dr. Zjavont let us know that the water of the lake would turn anyone who drank it into a siren–so it’s a good thing none of us drank.

As we got closer to the center we were ambushed by a bunch of things sort of like the Feasters, that Dr. Zjavont called Breathers. They had us totally surrounded and breathed out this black smoke. Jack, Nova and Terra were all fine–and Dr. Zjavont didn’t even get affected! I actually managed to avoid inhaling much of the smoke, but it still burned really bad! Bill got seriously burned though, it didn’t look good. So I went straight into the Hymn of Healing and counted on Jack to get me to a safer distance–he’s so amazing! Terra got Bill out and Dr. Zjavont ran while Nova drew the Breathers’ attention–she got pretty hurt with all of them attacking her, but it wasn’t as bad as the Feasters. Terra and Nova wanted to run, and I was too focused on healing Bill and Nova to interrupt the Hymn. When Jack charged in and killed one of them with a single attack everybody felt a little better about the fight though.

Actually, after the wildebeasts and feasters, the breathers were a much easier battle over all. At last we finally reached a tranquil clearing with floating blue lights and a heart-shaped pattern of shallow flowing water. We all crossed the water to the center, and Tara (the cat) appeared before us. He was the Guardian! I was right! His Guardian form is a lot scarier than his cat form though… And in this forest I couldn’t help being a little scared of the cat. Anyway, the others had just convinced him to give them the fruit of life to help Charlie and stop Alishtor and his crazy evil castle of ghosts, when a meteor like the one that knocked us off the cliff into the forest hit Tara!

This big mean gargoyle flew down and landed on Tara, who was trapped in ice! And then we were surrounded by little copies of the gargoyle and everything got really scary! Oh, guess I have to go now–I’ll finish the story next time.

-M

Melody’s Diary 01

Uncategorized | Posted by davidludwig
Mar 09 2012

Dear Diary,

I guess we’re kind of starting over, since I didn’t have time to bring anything with me when I fled the Temple of the Consecrated Choir. So, Hi, I’m Melody Fayth! I’ve got a lot to write to you about, I’m not even sure where to start.

First off, it’s been like a week since the Simians attacked the Temple and this is the only breather I’ve gotten this whole time! The world is so big, and scary! I really hope Maester Forte and the priests are okay…

 

Anyway, these strangers found me in the woods after I’d been lost a long time. I wasn’t sure if I could trust them at first, because the priests always said I had to be careful who found out who I was–that’s why I’ve never really left the Temple before. But they’re totally nice and I’m glad we found each other now, I just hope I’m not getting them in more trouble than they already were. Seems like they’ve got this huge mission on their plate right now.

Jack has black hair with this white shock through it, wears a long coat and is so totally cool! We were attacked pretty much as soon as they found me, and Jack stayed by my side the whole time while the others fought.

Then Nova is this amazing woman who turns into a polar bear with beautiful white fur! She’s so strong, and I think she’s the first shape-shifter I’ve ever met–definitely the first I’ve ever seen change. Though, I don’t really like the chocolate bourbon she carries around with her. Who knew you could ruin chocolate?

Terra is a little arctic fox woman, who I suppose is also a shape shifter–I’m less sure, I haven’t really seen her change. She’s got this really amazing fiery sword and seems very resourceful.

The battle with the big spider-horse-thing went really fast, Nova and Terra are amazingly powerful… I bet I wouldn’t have had to run if they’d been at the Temple when the Simians attacked, especially if Jack was there too. They also have a driver, who I really hope I remembered to ask his name, but after all the excitement I can’t remember it at all! Anyway, they fed me real food and promised to get me back to town–which was great after being lost in the woods so long.

But first we had to wait for this crazy doctor named Zjavont who came in on a donkey named Funko. I guess Zjavont knows who I am! But he didn’t tell anyone, so that was nice of him. He seems very strange, but he knows a lot. I’m not sure how I feel about the way he “enhances” things like his donkey though… If it hurts I don’t think I’d want to be enhanced.

Anyway, they started taking me back to town when an explosion knocked their carriage off a cliff and back into the forest! Jack saved me and the driver–he is so incredible! Nova and Terra broke out of the carriage and slowed their fall with an ice whip that came from Nova’s earrings! I guess her earrings and Terra’s sword both came from ghosts they subdued! We were all hurt, Dr. Zjavont kinda badly, so I used the  Hymn of Healing to fix everyone up… Though I was only able to save one of the horses. Funko was apparently fine though, I guess those enhancements were good for something.

Dr. Zjavont still seems to be the only one who knows who I am… But maybe I should tell the others, I mean, I can definitely trust them. If they were bad they would have shown it by now, and they should probably know. Anyway, Song Magic is still pretty draining for me, though I’m getting a lot better. We rested for a couple hours and then we met a talking black cat named Tara.

Apparently Terra hates cats, I think he would’ve been really cute if it weren’t for how unbearably creepy this whole forest is. Tara warned us about a horrible monster called an Ersthax before disappearing–I don’t know what an Ersthax is, but it might be one of monsters that attacked us while we were trying to figure out where to go next.

I used the Last Lullaby to put most of the monsters to sleep, and then everybody finished them off. Nova and Terra say you have to finish off monsters, but I still wish we could have left them and just got away. The driver got really hurt while sending a message to the headquarters of the group he, Jack and the doctor are part of. TASK. It sounds really exciting.

Apparently the driver and Jack both have silver dragon blood! I don’t even know exactly what that means, but the driver seemed to be able to heal from what looked like fatal wounds. Then Terra healed him the rest of the way with water from the Goblet of Life, which has far more amazing healing powers than my Hymn. I wonder if the Song of Life would have that sort of effect.

It seems like my new friends all came to this forest to find the Fruit of Life–I didn’t even know it was real! I’m actually kind of excited that I’m probably going to get to see it! They need it to revive an exorcist named Charlie Wilkenson so he can stop this evil guy who used to be part of TASK but is now raising angry spirits all over the place. Tara, the cat, says the guardian of the fruit probably won’t give it to use because it grows really slowly and we’re not making very good arguments for why we should have it.

Oh, and we met this weird statue of a scarecrow! He tried to turn me to stone, but Jack got in the way! Then he turned Doctor Zjavont to stone! He just wanted friends, but he was right that we wouldn’t stay in the forest with him if we had a choice. I felt bad, but I really really want to get out of this forest! Terra caught a bird and gave it to the statue to be his friend, then he turned Dr. Zjavont and Jack back and let us leave. I felt bad for the bird, but I guess we had to do it… I wish I could have taught the statue a song that would call birds without him having to turn them to stone though.

I’ve been using so much Song Magic I’m exhausted! But my new friends seem fine even after all the trials we’ve faced so far. I’ll just have to try harder! It sounds like their mission is really important and I don’t want to be a burden.

-M