Down by the River - The Revenant's Tale

Discussion in 'The Salty Dog Tavern' started by Baerron Jael, Nov 23, 2016.

  1. Baerron Jael

    Baerron Jael Well-Known Member

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    The person... creature... referred to only as the Revenant stood obediently where he was told to stand and listen. He stood, he listened, and he did not make any sound or give any indication that he was present at all. If anyone were to move about the village of Paws, he would then pass that information on to his master. Until then, he would stay motionless, soundless, like the dead.

    Most days, only a small handful of people would visit and move about the village; nothing of particular interest to the master. People retrieving their horses from the stables, or village members falsely worshipping the shrine of Spirituality; occasionally a word of love whispered to Qamra the vendor. This day, though, was a bit different. Death was heavy in the air as the Revenant watched one of Paws' own bring people to the shrine and murder them:

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    The Revenant even witnessed one person take their own life in the most painful way possible.

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    After these occurrences, there was a long stretch of time where nobody came at all. The land turned dark, and then light, and dark again. The Revenant remained motionless and watched. At last, two visitors came to the village.

    The visitors to the village were not of the Spiritwood. Revenant sniffed at their strange odor. They were from somewhere far north, but more than that they had something the master wanted. Revenant watched as his master arrived in a flurry of destruction, tearing the two people down and removed body parts from both. Time passed, as it had the tendency to do, and the remains of their bodies settled into the ground, the grass drinking up the spilled blood.

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    The Revenant remained motionless, but sensed no movement. No new scent carried on the wind through the trees of the Spiritwood. The master was far away, he could tell. The further away his master was, the more tenuous the hold the master has. In these fairly rare moments, the Revenant takes the liberty to look about himself in a slow, disjointed manner; the best his mismatched body could manage. In the fray that was now a fair amount of time in the past, the door leading to the back room of the Paws tower came ajar.

    He was curious. His curiosity was always present, especially as fragments and images of memories flashed before his eyes. However, it is always suppressed by the master so that the Revenant could perform his duties. But the master was far away. The Revenant broke his days-long motionless and crept slowly towards the door, slinking inside.

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    Inside the room were locked chests, boxes, pouches, all filled with a variety of items. The Revenant curiously looked through the bags that he could. He saw a keg of purple liquid. The master would make use of this, he thought. He found a golden spear that would please Lord Soth. A handful of gems and jewels caught his eye. The Revenant had no use for money or wealth, but the gems stirred something deep in his fractured memories. One such fragment came unbidden to him and he suddenly found himself sitting on a log in the woods next to a woman. He knew her, but he did not know her name or how he knew her. She spoke, but the words were muffled and they echoed as if spoken from a large distance away. She had blue sapphire earrings that made him smile.

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    He blinked and found himself staring at the handful of gems. He placed them in his pocket. Next to the gems was a deed for a bed. He remembered a cold night a lifetime ago where he laid in a bed, wrapped himself in a thick wolf-fur blanket, and watched... watched what? He couldn't remember. He took the deed as well.

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    Outside of the tower, the Revenant found himself staring sideways at a woman. This was Qamra, he knew. He had listened to every whisper of affection given to her by Quenby and others. She looked familiar, like someone he knew somewhere deep in the shattered mirror of his past life. She seemed to smile politely upon laying eyes on his strange visage and demeanor. He had no hair anywhere, not even eyebrows; his limbs were of unequal lengths due to coming from different bodies. His skin was pale and milky, as were his eyes. She handed him a bag, perhaps believing he would know what to do with it. Inside the heavy bag was a book, candles, bones, and a feast of spit-roasted hog, milled and boiled vegetables from the fields of Skara Brae, and aged wine from the monks of Yew.

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    The Revenant stood there examining the contents of the bag until the sun hung highest in the sky. He looked at each item in turn, each one making some small part of the shattered mirror of his memory glitter with some sort of recognition. After several long hours, at last, he opened the book.

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    The Revenant stared long and hard at the words written in the book. He could not read the sentences, his eyes simply could not follow along well, nor could his mind piece together the meaning of the strings of written words. But he did recognize some of the words. Cove. Cemetary. For some reason this seemed to spark something deep in the well of his past life. Suddenly some words came to him, floating through the abyssal chasm between his past life and present:

    Down... by... the... ri...ver...
    The... river... so... blue...


    It was a song. The rest of the words fell back into that chasm where he could not hear them. He knew that song from somewhere. Or at least, he thought he did.

    The bag was too heavy for him to carry. The book had words stating gold coins were included, but the Revenant did not find any in the bag. In order to carry this bag, he would need to lighten the load.

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    Once the bag was at a manageable weight, the Revenant shambled towards the road leading north. Something deep inside told him that was the direction to go, but he did not know why. The connection to the master was very weak here.

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    Traveling along the road, the rocks scraped and stabbed at the bottom of his bare feet. This did not bother him, though. A strange scent on the breeze caught his attention.

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    There was something strange about this creature, and very familiar to the Revenant. Although the creature smelled of the Spiritwood, there was something else nestled in its fur. An older scent, older than the master. The Revenant wandered slowly behind the creature as it led him north through a clearing in the woods. Shambling through underbrush and thicket, the Revenant found himself face to face with a glowing blue orb.

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    The large brown creature wandered away, leaving the Revenant with this new friend. The creature smelled ancient. Wisp. That was the word that finally emerged in the Revenant's mind. He remembered these old and friendly entities.

    The wisp spoke to him. It did not use words or sounds or telepathy. How it spoke to the Revenant was on a much more primordial level, as if it was fluent in the language of emotions and memories. At once, the Revenant... no... not the Revenant... the man he was before... was standing next to that same woman with the sapphire earrings. She was singing a song...

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    The words of the song echoed beautifully in his head. He still did not know her, but everything inside of him told him that she was special to him. He could not see her face, that memory was still lost in the fractured myriad of the past. Just as sudden as it began, the memory was gone. The Revenant stumbled, recovering from the potent experience and remembered he was walking north, and north he continued to travel.

    Further along the road another creature crossed the Revenant's path. This one was small enough to fit in his hands.

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    Much like the last creature, this one not only carried the scent of the Spiritwood, but also of the wisps. The memory of the woman was still powerful in his mind and he wanted to see it again. Maybe by following this creature he will get to see it again. The rabbit hopped and hopped, and the Revenant did his best mimicking impression, clumsily stumbling over brush as he followed the creature north across a bridge. Waiting at the far end of the bridge was another ancient wisp.

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    This wisp sung to him. At first the words meant nothing, it was a confusing jumble of sounds. But when the Revenant really listened, he heard what the wisp was singing...

    Down by the river...
    The river so blue...
    That's where I fell...
    In love with you...


    A pit formed somewhere inside his stomach (or what was left of it) that seemed all too familiar. The woman he saw in his memory, she made him feel this way. It was... anxiety and excitement mixed together, it was butterflies and dragons. The wisp stopped singing and seemed to consider the Revenant for a brief moment before floating away between the trees, leaving the Revenant alone by the river. He stood motionless, trying desperately to remember the face of the woman in his memory, to remember the rest of the song. Neither came to him, and he continued his shambling northward.

    He was not sure how long he wandered. The day turned dark, and the dark gave way to light, and the cycle repeated multiple times. The Revenant looked around slowly. He was not in the Spiritwood. He had passed through mountains and wandered past a desert. Cove was somewhere not too far away, something told him.

    A creature came to him. This one was smaller than the first but larger than the rabbit. The Revenant tried remembering the word for this creature.

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    The creature sniffed at the Revenant, determining his scent. The Revenant sniffed back. The creature smelled of a forest that the Revenant did not know the name of, but he also detected the vague smell of wisps and at once the Revenant wanted the creature to take him to another wisp. The creature led him east to a small bridge where he encountered another creature.

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    This creature, too, smelled of wisp. It escorted the Revenant a short way across the bridge and down the dirt path where he finally encountered the wisp that was beckoning him.

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    The wisp touched the Revenant's fractured mind. He closed his eyes and he could see the woman with the sapphire earrings. Her back was turned to him, and he could not see her face. Her hair was reddish-brown and soft like silk. He became aware of the scent of lilacs, or lilies, or lavander... he wasn't sure, or maybe it was all of them. It was her. He could hear her voice as soft and clear as the summer wind.

    Down by the river...
    The river so blue...
    That's where I fell...
    In love with you...

    You make me shiver...
    Because you love me, too...
    And all time will tell...
    How much I love you...


    And then she faded away. He reached out to her, tried to put his hand on her shoulder, but her ethereal form was gone, as was the wisp. A growing pit formed inside of him, but he began shuffling his feet once more and continued to wander.

    The night turned to day and at last the Revenant found his way to the cemetery.

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    The animated dead paid no attention to him, for he was one of their own. The memories of the woman with the sapphire earrings faded, as did the song. The master's presence was much stronger here. The book said to bring the bones here for reasons that the Revenant could not comprehend properly. He shuffled to the crypt on the north side of the cemetery, which was guarded by a lich.

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    He felt a sudden and imposing presence. Obedience became his first thought, his mantra. The master was here.

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    The master wanted the bones that he brought all this way. The Revenant did not question it, he obeyed, and handed the bones to his master. The master gathered the bones and disappeared. Just like that, the Revenant was alone and the influence of the master immediately weakened. There was something very familiar about the cemetery. The Revenant looked around, but nothing in particular was triggering any memories. No, it wasn't the cemetery itself. He remembered vaguely that there was something near the cemetery... He wandered into the woods.

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    Pushing through the brush and growth, he found himself in the ruins of a long-gone structure. This place he recognized, but he could not quite tell from where. This place was important to him on some level, and he desperately searched the shattered mirror of his memory for some reflection, but found none. Something happened here that was important and some part of him felt the need to honor that.

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    He took the candle and wine from the pack he got in Paws and placed them on the ground. He was not sure exactly what he was honoring, but he knew he had to do it.

    The Revenant stood staring at the candle for an amount of time he was not aware of when he heard somewhere in the distance...

    Down by the river...
    The river so blue...


    He began to follow the sound. The Revenant did not have to wander far to find it.

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    This was one of the ritual sites used by his master. But he did not feel the influence of his master here... instead he felt the song of the wisp. The wisp touched his memory and the woman appeared before him. He could see her face. She was smiling at him. In the palm of his hand were a pair of sapphire earrings. He gave them to her. She laughed and her face beamed with happiness. She wrapped her arms around his neck and looked up at him. And then she was gone.

    The Revenant felt something fall out of his eyes. Several small drops splashed on the bag he was carrying. His wandering was not over yet. There was something still out there that he needed to see. Small fragments of his memory were piecing together. He was someone before, he had someone he loved, and someone loved him. What happened? He coaxed his clumsy body forward and pushed on through the woods.

    He was not sure how long he walked. He blinked and he was in another cemetery. He did not know where this was or exactly how he knew to come here.

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    The undead did not look at him or even acknowledge him. He wandered the cemetery, looking at each and every grave stone, waiting for one of them to put two shards of his memory together. He looked at dozens until finally...

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    A flood of memory came back, disjointed and many disassociated. But he saw her there, amidst the void of time between the past and present. She wrapped her arms around him and sang to him the song she sang when she agreed to marry him.

    Down by the river.
    The river so blue
    That's where I fell
    In love with you

    You make me shiver
    Because you love me, too
    And all time will tell
    How much I love you

    How can I be her?
    The woman you love?
    Will it be forever?
    Will it be enough?

    Down by the river
    The river so blue
    That's where I fell
    In love with you



    She kissed him and as he kissed back, her lips faded from his. He opened his eyes and only two graves remained. His heart became too heavy to carry and he found himself on his knees because of these memory fragments connecting together. He still could not remember her name, but he remembered her face, her voice, how she smelled. He remembered everything about her except her name.

    For once, the Revenant felt no influence of the master or of wisps or any other external force exerting itself upon him. He was truly alone. He picked himself up off the ground and began a slow, clumsy walk through the woods in a direction he thought he might be familiar with. It was hard to tell, since the connected fragments of memory had already began to splinter.

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    The Revenant wandered through the moongate. He found himself in a town he thought he recognized. Did he live here once? He wasn't sure. Although he recognized none of the buildings, they gave him a sense of belonging on some hidden level.

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    The Revenant pushed through the bodies on the street. If there were any more lifeless than him, it were these people. Were they all under the influence of the master as well? The Revenant could not feel the influence himself, but that did not mean all of these people didn't. It didn't matter to him. He pushed through the throng of people into a clear street beyond.

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    For some reason undefinable, this spot seemed like the place for the bag of provisions he had carried around this entire time. The Revenant slowly began laying out the fine food that was meant to honor some dead captain that he could not remember.

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    Upon lighting the candles, a recollection of the distant past manifested itself. The wedding feast after marrying the woman with the sapphire earrings. The joy it brought to the guests of the ceremony. The joy it brought to both her and him. The song she sang to him. The life they had together.

    The Revenant blinked. He was no longer in the city street. The food, the tables, the candles, the people... all were gone. He found himself inside a frigid stone keep, surrounded by piles of the dead, with carved bodies and missing organs. The master looked at him, his visage a twisted and cruel one. The Revenant shook, but not because he was cold. Memories were surfacing that were thought to be gone forever due to the master. He did not want to lose them again.

    He focused on the sapphire earrings. Her smile. Her laugh. Her voice. Her name... He remembered... Her name was...

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    He felt a searing pain shoot through his eyes and suddenly his mind fragmented into countless pieces. The woman standing before him disintegrated. The thought and memory of everything before this moment burned away, leaving behind the ash and rubble of compliance and obedience. The man he was was gone forever. There was nobody here but the master.


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    The Revenant stood motionless near the Great Council tower, watching for any people coming and going. He made no sound, gave no indication of his presence. Day turned to night. Night turned to day. For more time than he could count, he remained motionless and watched for the master. But there was something else there in his mind. Something that was not just the overbearing of the master's influence. Somewhere, very deep down, was the sparkle of blue... no, sapphire...

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  2. Jupiter

    Jupiter Well-Known Member

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    ok. mind = blown

    I'm sure this isn't any thing close to the tale Ragar had expected from the quest bag, I am also certain he would join me in saying this exceeds all expectation by approximately 1,000.94%

    We shall send a private emissary under the truce of the shadow council to discuss apt reward.
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  3. Dun Scaith

    Dun Scaith Well-Known Member

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    The uhh.. *coughs*
    Fertilizer.. for.. the... uhh...
    Haven't... you ever heard of... the.. Boots for Britannia foundation?
    *looks around*
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  4. Pirul

    Pirul Well-Known Member

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    @Baerron Jael, I don't know who you are, but you, Sir, need to be published.
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  5. wylwrk

    wylwrk Well-Known Member

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    Ha, and here I was thinking it was obvious.
  6. Dun Scaith

    Dun Scaith Well-Known Member

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    Even I have an idea..
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  7. Jupiter

    Jupiter Well-Known Member

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    *feels clueless*

    Well, I'm sure it's not me... at least mostly. So I've ruled that guy out....

    haha. but honestly idc to know the true identity if s/he prefers to stay anonymous.

    That has been the way of Paws anyhow. I'm just honored to be part of this time in the shard.
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  8. Pirul

    Pirul Well-Known Member

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    I'm right there with you.

    I mean, other than @Jupiter, there's only one person, maybe two who have roleplayed even remotely close to this, and maybe one more with the story-telling skill.

    But either way, these short stories...or chapters of a masterful novel, are better than many books I've read.

    And by no means think that by this I want to know who it is, IF it is someone's alt. I just want to praise extraordinary talent.
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  9. Ragar

    Ragar Active Member

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    I was gonna say 1000.54% but otherwise yeah. A fantastic story. I hope the poor captain's soul is at peace. His remains were only at rest for a moment before being taken for use on some evil purpose.

    Awesome tale. @Jupiter don't forget to memorize this one!
  10. Jupiter

    Jupiter Well-Known Member

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    This story has been memorized by a man who lives in van ... Down by the river! (sorry couldn't resist)

    It is now committed to the oral history of Paws.

    MEMORIZED!​
  11. Halabinder

    Halabinder Well-Known Member

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    Yeah there is one guy I have in mind. And no it's not @One. But I agree that not knowing makes it way more fun!
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2016
  12. wylwrk

    wylwrk Well-Known Member

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    bippity boppity boo
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2016
  13. Halabinder

    Halabinder Well-Known Member

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    Edited my post above ;)
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  14. wylwrk

    wylwrk Well-Known Member

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    me too ;)
    Halabinder likes this.
  15. One

    One Well-Known Member
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    LOL Thanks but it's not me, rl has had me out of game for a couple weeks.
  16. Aragorn - OCT

    Aragorn - OCT Well-Known Member

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    Bravissimo. I gotta tell you, I enjoy these on a number of levels. Participating to some extent, reading the narrative, seeing the creativity, all accompanied with the images.... wow.

    Excellent!
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