Part 11a: Walking the Pattern

Part 11a - Walking the Pattern by Dworkin (GM)
In a cavern deep below the castle, Aaron approaches the Third Veil.  Somehow he knows that is the name of it, as if a voice somewhere in his mind is giving him the information.  The same voice which led him to this chamber from a cave down near the harbour, told him how to evade the traps and guards, and which route to take through the tens of miles of tunnels and caverns.
Then it had told him to walk the strange glowing lines on the floor of this chamber.  And not once had it told him why he should do these things, save that he would understand in the end.
So now Aaron walks the lines and loops while energy burns the air around him.  Every step is a struggle, as if the energy is trying to force him backwards, but he knows that going back will kill him.  He passes the Third Veil, and the pressure eases, although the burning is brighter around him now.
Suddenly there is a yell from somewhere, and he is aware that a group of men, one clad in various shades of green, the others in unmistakable guard uniforms, have entered the chamber.
The man in green hurls a dagger at him, it flies true, but at the last moment something intervenes to deflect the blade.
Aaron continues to walk.  If he stops he might never get started again.  Finally he reaches the centre, bathed in white flame that prickles along his skin, aware that the man in green is now following him along the Pattern.
The voice whispers again, It is done.
The chamber vanishes...

... and Aaron finds himself standing in another chamber, with a head full of knowledge, all placed there by his mysterious guide, now vanished without another word.
This chamber has a domed ceiling, and the walls and floor are composed of a strange, glistening, black material.  There is a glowing orange globe up in the centre of the dome, and in it's light Aaron can see a single exit, an open archway in the wall...

Re: Part 11a - Walking the Pattern by Aaron
Something had happened to him. He could feel it. Though he knew yet not what had caused it, he believed now that he had walked the Pattern. He must have. After all, how else did he get here? How could he feel the things he could?

"Well then, where am I now?" he thought to himself. He had realised his transformation. Now he needed to do something about it.

Aaron passed his eyes across the chamber, his intelligent gaze taking in every ounce of information his mind could gather. He noted the sheer blackness of the room itself, the dome above him and the glowing sphere at the top of the dome. Moving with his eyes as well as his body, he continued walking forwards until he became bathed within the light above.

It illuminated his body, lightening the blue hues of his tunic and pants, and the darker colors of his boots. He once more became aware that he was sweating slightly, from his palms and on his forehead. He was apparently quite excited, which was unlike his usual calm countenance. It surprised him.

"I'm going to walk the Pattern..."

For a moment, standing beneath the glowing sphere, he took a breath, held it, and slowly let it escape. He became aware not only of his excitement, but also of the weight of his cloak. And... something heavier.

Gazing up at the sphere above his head, his pupils contracted, and the back of his head brushed against the solid mass of the hilt of his short sword.

"In all my life, I never thought I would be able to leave that city. And yet..."

He felt his head lowering, and turning. Aaron felt himself about to look back, to what he had left behind...

...but he halted himself before his chin crested his shoulder, and he returned his scattered, wild attention back to the task at hand. He looked up once more at the sphere above, and his mind worked within its intricacies. Was it an energy source of some kind, or merely a source of light? And who was the man who had followed him? Was he a guide, or an adversary? Aaron shok his head at these questions, somehow understanding that the answers needed to be sought out at a later time.

Returning his eyes to the rest of the room, he saw what he truly needed to see. What he needed to understand now.

The doorway.

He hitched his shoulders, adjusting the sword at his back.
That familiar weight.
His weight.

Aaron gritted his teeth at old memories, clenched his fists at old enemies; the sword told him more about this room, and this place, than his eyes and mind ever could. It was a new beginning for him. It was his answer.

He was needed.

He took a few slow steps forward, but the speed of those steps increased as he came ever closer to the door.

Aaron stopped as he reached it.
And slowly, but without hesitation, he took one step through the doorway, then another, until he entered it completely.

Into what, he did not know...

Re: Part 11a - Walking the Pattern by Dworkin (GM)
Aaron finds himself in a tunnel, semicircular in cross-section and about ten feet high, of the same strange material as the chamber he just left and illuminated by more of the orange globes, spaced widely along the ceiling.  There are pools of light separated by large areas of darkness, but as far as he can tell the passage leads away and upwards at a slight angle, with no side tunnels or corners.
From somewhere in that direction he can hear a noise like the chattering of starlings at dusk.
Suddenly, far along the corridor something moves, just a shadow passing through an area of light.  Then again, and again, getting closer...
It's hard to tell from the brief glimpses he is getting, but whatever it is seems to Aaron to be bigger than a human, and wider too.
The sound is getting closer as the thing in the tunnel approaches.

Re: Part 11a - Walking the Pattern by Aaron
Stepping into the tunnel, it took a moment for his eyes adjust to the slightly dimmer light within. He noted that those globes, the same as before, were used for illumination. As his eyes adjusted, he noticed first the sound, then the shadow. His eyes took it in for the moment.

Then the shadow moved. Not just once, but many more times. The sounds of something moving down the cooridor echoed into his ears.

He was not alone.

Whatever it was, it was in his way.
He had a feeling that if it was the Pattern that had brought him here (what else could it have been? That room, how he had walked within it...), he knew that he was here for a reason; and he'd be damned if he was going to die at the beginning of his journey.

He took note of where he was in relation to the shadow-thing. There were pools of light before him, and he was sure the thing would approach and be seen within them. Perhaps it was afraid of such light. Not only that, but getting it into the light would at least give him an advantage, even if he could see just what it was, and exactly how big it was.

Also, he had the room behind him (as far as he was sure), and he could back into that and give himself more area to maneuver.

Reaching behind him, he unsheathed his sword. He knew it had a name. A name that only two men knew.
When he found that name, he also knew that he would unlock the sword's true potential. The weapon's current abilities were far from what it was capable of in its absoulte state.

It sang as it was released from its prison, its shining blue-steel blade reflecting and mirroring the light nearby onto the walls. He knew that it would give him away in this slightly dim hallway, but Aaron figured that whatever was ahead of him would know that he was here already.

He focused his mind and took a single step forwards, advancing towards the beast for that one moment. As he focused his mind, he did the one thing that he used to do as a young boy.

He pictured something in his mind. Something that focused him. Something he knew could help him.
Back then, it had been his mother, or his father.

Now... it was the Pattern.

Holding that image in his head, he split his concentration between that and the shadows ahead. He knew he'd have to focus on one or the other, but for now, he drew his strength from that image in his mind.

And ever wary, he took another step.

Re: Part 11a - Walking the Pattern by Dworkin (GM)
As the shadowy form moves closer, it's size is revealed to be a trick of the light.  It turns out to be distinctly human after all, and the strange noise is just the echoes of the man's muttering and whispering to himself.  Something about a tower and a thing which is coming to kill them all, whoever them all might be...
He looks to be young, and is fairly handsome.  He does not seem to be armed as he approaches through the patches of light.

Re: Part 11a - Walking the Pattern by Aaron
"Who in the world?"

Aaron spoke this aloud. Loud enough to echo it down the hallway chamber, as a matter of fact. Straightening himself, he resheathed his sword and reluctantly released the image from his mind. It faded away, swirling into the back of his head like some sort of mystical spiral.

He couldn't believe he was so close to trying to cleave the man asunder, if he could have done it at all. Considering his options, his ears perked up a bit.

He caught a vague note of the man's mutterings and quickened his pace down the hall. Soon, he was near enough to the man, but he kept his distance and approached one of the lights above.

Walking beneath it, he allowed himself to be seen within its bright halo.

"Excuse me, sir. If I may ask, are you in trouble?"

His face held a quizzical look, but he was honestly concerned. He knew that there had to be some reason why he was put in this place at this time, and something about a "group" poked at the back of his mind...

Re: Part 11a - Walking the Pattern by Dworkin (GM)
The stranger stops on the edge of the light, dimly seen, but his face obviously sheened with sweat and contorted in pain.   “Who are you? What do you want?” he demands.

Re: Part 11a - Walking the Pattern by Aaron
Aaron watches the man carefully. He seemed to be in some pain, judging from the way he reacted and his current physical condition.

Taking a deep breath, he opened his hands to show he meant no harm, and even focused his mind towards him. This was an attempt at delivering his intent, trying to make the man feel his truthfulness.

"Sir, my name is Aaron, and all I want is to help. I have a feeling you need quite a bit right now."

Re: Part 11a - Walking the Pattern by Dworkin (GM)
“How can you help me, Aaron ? I’m being assaulted by the Gatherer...” the man calms his tone, “Can you help my friends caught out in the Gatherer’s storm?” he hesitates for a second.  “Please can you help them? I don’t care about myself, help them... please.”

Re: Part 11a - Walking the Pattern by Aaron
Aaron paused for a moment. He didn't know what a "Gatherer" was, and couldn't properly gauge how to deal with it. But judging from the man's distress, and the fact that a whole group of people was in danger, it must've been quite serious.

And in all honesty, was there anyone else in the area who just happened to be there at that exact time?

Aaron made a decision and looked to the man.

"Show me where your friends are, and I'll do my best to help. No matter what we're dealing with, I'll put all my effort into helping you."

It felt to him like the words were just pouring out of his mouth, without him being able to control them. There were a great many things to consider when delving into a situation like this. A great many of those things dealing with his own skin, and him wishing to keep it.

However, a furious thought overrode that desire.

Now! You are needed, at this very moment, RIGHT NOW!!!

Re: Part 11a - Walking the Pattern by Dworkin (GM)
The man suddenly howls and staggers forward, about to fall.  Aaron steps forward to catch him...
... and suddenly finds himself in a new place, sprawled on the floor alongside the same stranger.