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Requiem For The Shroud (Complete)

The Crow

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(In board post #379 it was alluded that something will happen in the shroud and that something is happening now enjoy. Also this story will be broken up into parts, how many? idk but it will be a fun ride)





After his agents dispersed the Shade moved to the camp that was setup deep within the shroud where many others stayed. It was night and as such the forest took on a serene appearance, however tonight its appearance seemed more vicious unwelcoming perhaps due to the guests that were entering its domain with no semblance of respect. The shade recognized this changed atmosphere yet payed no heed to it and made sure everyone was doing their job. As he walked through the camp his presence incited fear and anxiety, some have seen what the shade is capable of, others have only heard rumors but they are all aware by instinct making an enemy of him is a dead mans job. One would think someone would rebel against him by now, he is greatly outnumbered and in numbers there is strength but despite this there is a fierce loyalty to him perhaps it is because of his goal, respect or simply because he gives others the opportunity to embrace their true nature with no consequence. For whatever reason no matter what their emotions say, one thing rings true for them; "We will find our place with him".


After assigning some others to preform recon and tighten up the guard shifts the shade sits down near the fire in the center of the camp and waits. The sounds of the forest become more apparent as time goes by, one could hear the shuffling of predators on the hunt for their prey, the eery callings made by animals to communicate with one another. As the shade waits he makes note of all these various sounds as well as taking in the scenery, a slight fog has come through the forest and shows no sign of letting up. It has also become quite dark despite it being a cloudless night with the moon shining quite brilliantly, is it due to the treetops blocking the light or is it the forests attempt to decrease visibility. Either way the shade makes careful note of all these factors and no sooner does he do so one of his agents appears behind him to report.


"Milord I believe we have finally found the tree you speak of. After careful examination of the area we found many of the roots within this particular part of the forest heading towards one singular point. When we arrived at that point a grand tree stood before us, but as we attempted to get closer the elemental presence started to pick up so we retreated before they could act on our presence." as the agent finishes he awaits a response. Upon hearing this the shade stands up and grabs his lance that is as black as the night itself and looks to the agent "Gather everyone in camp and tell them we are moving out" once he finishes the agent promptly gets up and begins to assemble everyone in camp.


As the others get ready the shade stands at the edge of the camp looking out towards the forest and speaks as if talking to the forest itself "You will not stop us, do not think just a menacing atmosphere and your so called guardians will be enough to stop us." He grabs his lance and drives it into the ground, when he does so the forest goes silent as if all the animals and creature were aware a dangerous predator will now be prowling the forest. "We will take what we want from you and you will do nothing about it. The times are changing and the age in which the light could shield you is over." As he says this everyone in camp has gathered behind him ready to move, he simply speaks a few words "Move out this forest has no hold over us" once finished he removes his lance from the ground and begins head towards the direction of the tree, behind him are many who walk with him with a gleam of bloodlust in their eyes.


The forest remains silent, the wildlife goes into hiding, however before the night is out the forest will bare its fangs to repel the dark invaders that walk within.

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The fog is growing ever denser within the shroud and the wildlife has seemed to all but disappear due to the dangerous presence that has appeared. This presence is the shade along with his troops that number 50.


"Are we on track?" the shade says this to the agent who is a bit behind him "Yes milord, we have been in this region for countless days now no fog will disorient our approach" the shade simply nods and continues to walk forward towards their destination. As they get closer the shade suddenly makes an abrupt stop and begins to look around carefully and putting his complete focus on analyzing his surroundings. Everyone else quickly follows suit but does not dare make sound, and then ever so quietly off in the distance one could hear the snapping of a branch. Given they are in a forest such a sound is a regular occurrence however given the nature of the situation they are in this prompts an immediate defensive formation with weapons drawn. The defensive formation itself was nothing extravagant, a perimeter was established around the shade, everyone was far enough as to not hinder one another but close enough to be able to see one another, once this formation was formed the shade order everyone to continue moving forward. Despite the density of the fog it could not hide the tree the shade was seeking,a silhouette of the tree was becoming ever more apparent as they grew closer which resulted in the pace at which they all moved to increase.


The shade raised his hand signaling for everyone to cease moving, he then looked to the agent once more "How close were you able to get before the elementals began showing?" after a quick observation of the surroundings the agent replied "I believe it will be another 10 yalms before the elementals come in force as they did before". After taking a moment to think the shade issues out his orders "We will move for another 8 yalms, after that I will carry out the task myself, as I do so you will make sure nothing gets by you until I return also-" before the shade could finish speaking a very loud snapping of a branch could be heard very close to them soon after the scream of one of the troops could be heard followed by a loud thump. A second later one of the troops yells out "Its Treants and dozens of them!!!". The shade quickly issues out an order "Do not fight them now we must get into position first" once he said that the troops began to run with all their might to cover 8 yalms but with the fog so dense they could not see where or when the treants were going to attack.As they ran two were impaled by the arm of a treant who had thrusted its arm forward, another was grabbed and then tossed with a tremendous force towards others and killed on impact while those hit suffered a number of broken bones and were quickly impaled by another treant.


Screams could be heard all around and yet despite that the the shade as well as the surviving troops were moving forward unflinching and unwavering. As they approached 8 yalms a treant emerged in front of the shade from the ground but before the creature could even attack, the shade swiftly thrusted his lance forward striking the center of the creature with a great impact. This thrust effortlessly pierced the treant, without decreasing his speed the shade removes his lance from the creature swiftly and continues to move. As they reached they reached 8 yalms the shade stops for a moment to address his surviving troops, "Maintain defensive positions here until I return, you are free to engage anything that approaches. I have no doubt the elementals will soon be whispering into the Forest Queens ear so expect her faithful knights to arrive at some point as well". Once finished the shade quickly runs towards the tree. Following their leaders orders the troops establish defensive positions but this time are ready to counteract the approach of the treants, as luck would have it the fog has decreased a bit from its original dense state allowing for more visibility. With increased visibility the troops begin to engage the approaching creatures yet this time the effectiveness of these troops is clearly seen, as if acting as one unified body the troops slay the creatures one after another. Despite the losses they took the number of troops that remain is still potent enough to deliver death upon those who challenge them.


The shade is heading towards the tree where it seems a culmination of roots converge on, behind him he could hear his troops clashing with the creatures and yet his eyes remain fixed on what lies ahead. The number of troops that the shade has remaining is numbered at 30, a total of 20 were lost since they set forth towards the tree.

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As the sounds of battle echoed in the forest the shade had was moving quickly towards the tree when he suddenly halted. The elementals were gathering in force before him clearly in a state of displeasure and hostility. The shade examines the situation before him before raising up his hand towards them "I have no time to play with mindless dolls, but you might be able to make yourselves useful with the aether you carry". Soon after he finished his hand began to glow a dim orange tinge, upon closer examination one could see that the shade was fitted with a gauntlet with a corrupted crystal embedded into the gauntlet. The elementals began to gravitate towards the gauntlet but not of their own will, they were being dragged towards it and the closer they got the more aether was drained of them until there was nothing left. Quite a few elementals fell prey to this device while others backed off seeing the danger in getting close to such a thing. With the elementals no longer hindering him the shade proceeded to the tree with haste.


Upon arriving at the tree, the terrain surrounding the tree was considerably different and could even say it to be displaced from the rest of the forest a grove of sorts. There was a considerable amount of grass in the area around the tree, there were also trees of smaller size within the vicinity whose leaves were dyed a brilliant blueish hue. Some rocks also were scattered around the area with and there were a few that were fairly large. As the shade began to approach the tree a very heavy atmosphere soon enveloped the grove which caused the shade to ready his lance.No sooner after that the rocks scattered around begin to move around the grove and began to gather together, at first it seemed it would take on the appearance of your average golem however something different was occurring. Once the rocks were gathered some of the blue leaves on the smaller trees fell off and began to circle the rock formation, a concentrated amount of aether was being channeled into the rock formation and soon after a blinding last was cast throughout the grove in which the shade needed to shield his eyes. Once the light dissipated the shade looked towards the where the rocks once were and what stood before him looked nothing like the golems that inhabit the world.




"Is this what the golems were meant to be? perhaps the shifting of aether throughout time reduced them to the state we see them now" As he thought this the shade maintained a defensive stance and kept complete focus on the golem before him. Suddenly the golem lunged towards the shade with a surprising swiftness and swung its axe towards the shade. The shade quickly put the lance in the path of the axe and as it made its approach collide with the body of the lance, however the force of the axe was great enough that it lifted the shade off the ground and launched him quite a distance. As he hit the ground a tumbled violently hitting an assortment of things before coming to a stop. After on the ground for a moment the shade got back up and began to walk back towards the grove while thinking of a plan of attack and assessing the damage he took. While he was able to defend against the axe the sheer impact dislocated his right shoulder and the resulting tumble caused him to suffer a slight head injury and some bleeding. He also noticed that some of his ribs may have been broken but simply pressed on without showing any sign that such an injury took place.As he walked he managed to pop his shoulder back into place but could not do much about the head injury or the broken ribs, the grove came into view once more and there stood the golem.


With his lance in hand the shade went on the offensive against the golem, and struck quickly and precisely at various spots and angles but all his strikes made little to harm on it. While striking the shade was also dodging the axe the golem was swinging, should he take another hit his injuries may become far more grave. The shades attacks held meaning though, he was trying to ascertain a point where the golems defense was weakest yet as the fight dragged on he could not find one, then upon dodging another swing of the axe he found what he was looking for. Upon a dangerously close examination the joint between the arm that wields the axe and the main body is more thinner than others, this may even explain the swiftness of the axe itself. Landing a strike on such a location is an issue though yet the shade fearlessly continues his offensive waiting for an opportune moment. As the fight carries on the shade although shrouded in his cloak smiles ominously and begins to talk to the golem "I don't know if you understand me but listen well guardian of light, the time where your strength mattered has long since passed, we now live in an age where the light can barely avert catastrophe costing many their lives in its struggles and ineptitude. The strength we seek in the for the coming trials are within the darkness this world scorns so much, and with that strength nothing will stand before us, so when I destroy you pass on this message to your master....Your blessing is worthless it protects nothing".


Whether it be a reaction to his words or just coincidence the golem swung its axe with a force far more significant than the others it was this moment the shade was waiting, using the gauntlet with the corrupted crystal he unleashed the aether he gathered from the elementals deflecting the axe and causing the golem to lose its balance and reveal its thinned defense. Within that moment a dark aura envelopes the lance the shade holds and with a powerful thrust strikes the it at the joint and easily pierces through it. The dark aura now spreads throughout the golem like a poison slowing its movements and breaking it down, soon it falls to the ground completely enveloped in the dark aura and then a moment later completely disappears, consumed by it. The shade looks where the golem fell and speaks again this time a bit more solemnly "Should your essence be reborn perhaps it will be it will be in a time where your strength is needed" with that he slightly limps over towards the tree and stands before it. He takes his lance once more and again a dark aura surrounds it, he pierces the tree and then sticks his hand into the hole he made in the trunk and removes a crystal with an incredible life force to it. "So this is what a crystal looks like when the lifestream envelopes it" he quickly tucks the crystal away and heads back towards his troops.


As he walks, the grove begins to wither and die now that the source of its life energy was removed, the surrounding forest also begins to show similar traits and countless leaves begin to fall like rain. The vibrant green hey held now an ash lifeless grey, the trees also began to lose its color. The shade talks into his linkpearl "I am returning, we have obtained what we wanted" as he finished he looked around at the dying forest and said to himself "Truly a worthless blessing."

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  • 2 weeks later...



As the shade approached where he left his troops he noticed the sound of combat had all but disappeared and when he arrived he saw that that no further casualties were suffered by the treant attack. The shade quickly reported the success of their endeavor and gave the order now for a full on retreat from the shroud for the time being however something curious caught his attention as he looked around. "I do not see any wood wailers lying on the ground, did they never make their presence known?" the troops look around and then the agent responded "I have no doubt they are here, perhaps they wanted to see if any of us would fall to the treant attack, or they could perhaps they were gauging our combat strength. It is safe to say though they will strike when we are en route to retreat." The shade nods and then addresses the troops "We will be attacked during our retreat, when and where we have knowledge of however when the wailers make their presence know we will eliminate them then and there before we escape." The troops responded by arming themselves and began to move out towards their escape.


The shades movements were clearly hindered as they moved through the forest, no doubt to the battle he had with the golem. However the pace was not drop and no one payed heed to any injury he may have suffered, this was not due to neglect or lack of sympathy but because this was how they operated. In order to achieve their goals one must push on unrelenting, even if a key component should fall they will continue to carry out their task until their goal is achieved or fight till the last man trying to achieve that goal. As they made their retreat despite their determination the fatigue and battle weariness was present, while there were no casualties there were certainly injuries that most definitely reduced overall combat effectiveness. As they trudged on they remained ever vigilant of their surroundings however that proved to be no help at all. 10 very sharp distinct sounds suddenly rang out from within the group soon after 10 bodies fell to the ground dead, the wood wailers were initiating their attack. Another volley of arrows was fired however due to the group scrambling and making sporadic movements at the sight of the arrows the next valley hit few and those it did hit were not fatal. While the arrows continued fly through the air, wailer wielding lances were charging those not felled by the arrows and quickly engaged them. Quite a few arrows were sent towards the shade however even with his movement dulled he was able to do enough to fend off the arrows the problem resided in that this situation was particularly bad. While they know at least in which directions the arrows will come from ascertaining the exact location of the archers was an issue that will be their downfall should they not locate them. As he thought about this a wailer charged him and that's when the shade thought of a very simply plan. Before the wailer could strike the shade disarmed him and gripped his throat and slowly began to crush it and as he did this he began heading in one of the direction of where the arrows were coming from, figuring out his plan the agent gave orders to the troops to make sure no arrows or lances struck his back. While a difficult order the troops movements shifted in a way in to hinder the arrows and to create a bottleneck of sorts to the wailers engaged in close quarters combat. The wailer the shade used as a shield had already died and was merely being kept up by the shades strength. Although subtlety the shade managed to hear panicked voices as he kept pressing forward until he happened upon the location of one of the archers, before the archer can take out his blade the shade tossed the dead body he held onto the archer and quickly ran his lance through both. After that the shade pushed his body and began to circle the area around where his troops were engaged in combat at a significant speed and for each archer he found his lance ran through their heart just as quickly and fiercely. With the arrows becoming significantly lessened the troops engaged with the wailers began to push them back and striking the down before they could regroup. The battle was brief, it did not last long however even if the wailers did fall they reduced their numbers considerably, after the initial arrow volley another 10 were killed before the battle was over reducing their troop number to a mere 10.


After assessing the damage taken the shade orders his troops to keep moving, they were battered, injured, fatigued yet despite that they moved without complain or disdain. Now approaching the edge of the shroud with no further hindrances they begin to disperse to throw of any other potential pursuers, the shade takes 5 troops with him and speaks into his linkpearl "The operation in the shroud has ended tell our agents in the thanalan region to begin contacting the crime syndicates to prepare for our next operation. I will keep our prize from the shroud with me until we rendezvous." Once finished he moves forward without hesitation nor regret for the casualties suffered and moves onward towards thanalan where more death is surely to arise.

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  • 2 weeks later...



As the shade begins to approach the outer edges of the shroud he removed the crystal he acquired from tree and began to examine it more carefully. It was clear object was dense in aetheric propertites and more so seemed to have been formed in such a way that its capacity for aether itself is quite large to the point one may think it was bottomless. While the points were important the shade was also determining whether or not its aspect could be altered. Corrupting such a crystal would be a waste yet leaving it in this pure form that has been coddled by light would serve him no purpose, careful planning would be needed if success was to be gained which is way his new destination was towards the thanalan region and more so ul'dah, somewhere in the city the materials process to change the aspect of the crystal would surely be there or at the very least a hint at which direction to proceed.


As he was in deep thought he did not forget his surroundings and was on constant guard despite having 5 others with him. He was not foolish enough to think it was over, until their goal was accomplished nothing will be over and so as they moved ever closer to the border of the shroud their alertness remained unchanged.


The shroud made one more attempt to reclaim its crystal unbeknownst to the shade. It was when his troops first made their advance to the tree, the shroud ever so subtly released aether from within the trees near the city state of gridania. This aether was a message calling out for aid, yet due to the past destruction the flow of aether was still not stable enough for a clear message. To many the aether came across as a headache, to others a rejuvenating feeling, and many were unable to notice at all. It was a gamble the shroud took and whether or not that messaged reached anyone, only time will tell.

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